18 December 2012

happy exam week

12 December 2012

Mostly German Philosophers Love Song

The Mostly German Philosophers Love Song 
J. Boor 
Hegel, I Goethe Goethe have ya, 'Cause I Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche So bad. 
I'd like to Leibniz the stars with you. But I know you'd Schopenhauer late, like you always do. 
So I say, Hegel ... 

here's the guitarring and the singing: link

h/t: Edgar

04 December 2012

SPEL colloquium

There is a SPEL colloquium this Thursday, Dec 6, from 11:45-1:00 in UUW 324.

Speaker: Carlos Cortissoz


December 5, 2012
Robert Guay, Associate Professor, Philosophy
IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series:  Nietzsche on Truth and Politics
Nietzsche's account of truth is usually taken as an offering a radical form of skepticism or relativism. Robert Guay will argue that Nietzsche's main interest in truth was in identifying a conflict between a transcendent sense of truth and a sense of truth required to govern linguistic and epistemic practices; Nietzsche's concern was that a common conflation of these senses leads to harmful effects on a variety of social practices.
12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

26 November 2012

20 November 2012

it's about time

for some reason no one's ever picked up on my idea for a Critique of Pure Reason movie musical, but at least someone has finally had the sense to adapt TJ for the stage:


h/t: Blake

06 November 2012

election day

one of the things I remember from introductory linguistics is that native speakers have a wide range of linguistic competencies that haven't been specifically inculcated. for example, studies show that native speakers know the proper location in a phrase -- or even within a word -- to insert "fucking" to be vulgarly appropriate.

and yet can't quite decide if it's "election fucking day" or "fucking election day," although I lean toward the latter. in fact, I almost titled this post "voting day," which is probably eurosocialist or something.

oh well, I'm an idiot, but I still get to vote at Binghamton Fucking Town Hall.


30 October 2012

Halloween IASH

October 31
Carlos Cortissoz (Philosophy-SPEL) Psychology of the State: Plato, Virtue Politics and the Collective Mind

12:00 - 1:30
in the IASH room, on the ground floor of LT

24 October 2012

technical difficulties

a story

when the first attempt was made to send this out, it got rejected by the Notre Dame servers for "content." since their servers don't typically make philosophical criticisms, poor Gary Gutting had to figure out why.

the answer seems to have been that the word "Viagra" appeared in the review -- the mere appearance of this one word in a 3000 word review triggers a major Spam alarm. "Viagra" has since been replaced with the word "aphrodisiac" in an attempt to sneak the review past the servers.

but the servers were apparently wise to this ruse. hence, "technical difficulties"

in the end, the first paragraph or so was sent out with a link to the rest.

moral of the story: when writing for publication in professional venues, don't use the word "Viagra." based on a quick scan of my junk mail folder, I would also recommend that you avoid the following  phrases: "raspberry ketone", "browse Christian singles in your area", "penis enhancement", "cash loans," "University of Phoenix", and "easy mole removal"

likely meta-moral: don't write blog posts with those words, either.

SPEL workshop

SPEL workshop: Teaching, Diversity, and Prejudice.

Thur, Oct 25, from 11:45-1:00 in LT 1210.

Please bring a laptop (with wireless access) if you can.

All first-year students are expected to participate -- others are welcome to come, too.

23 October 2012

Philosophy department lecture

Thomas Pogge
Yale University

"Ending Poverty"

Tue 23 Oct

with a bunch of co-sponsors, too

16 October 2012

14 October 2012

11 October 2012

Philosophy Department lectures

not SPEL Colloquia, as far as I know.

Richard Miller
Cornell University
"After the American Century: The Moral Challenge of China's Rise"
17 OCT
UUW 324

Nicole Hassoun
Binghamton University
"Fair Trade Bio: Extending Access to Essential Medicines to the Global Poor"
17 OCT
SL 206

a busy day!

03 October 2012

SPEL Colloquium

"Socrates in Aristotle: Some Oddities"

Anthony Preus
Binghamton University

Thursday 4 October
UUW 324

commentator: Gina Santiago

19 September 2012

Vestal Hills Elementary

not actually SPEL-related, but worth pointing out that the closest school to BU, Vestal Hills Elementary, is a Blue Ribbon School, and, yes, they have Hot Faced Sandwiches

so suck on that African Rd, Glenwood, Clayton Ave, and the other one.

SPEL colloquium

tomorrow (Thu 20 Sept)

Sarah Kenehan
Marywood University

"In Defense of the Duty to Assist: A Response to Critics on the Viability of a Rawlsian Approach to Climate Change"

UUW 324

cries for help

NYT has a hazing story about our very own campus, here.

And for fairness and balance, here's a story about Geneseo's volleyball team -- link.

18 September 2012

haven't posted in a while

been busy. how about you?

here's something about cheating, written by a philosopher:


here's the Times' "Room for Debate" on student evaluations:


and congrats to everyone who passed their Comps.

and don't forget: first colloquium of the AY on Thursday.

04 September 2012

fair use

did classes start yet?

here is some leftover summer news about Fair Use, from a Federal District Court in Georgia:

"At the same time, however, the judge imposed a strict limit of 10 percent on the volume of a book that may be covered by fair use (a proportion that would cover much, but by no means all, of what was in e-reserves at Georgia State, and probably at many other colleges). And the judge ruled that publishers may have more claims against college and university e-reserves if the publishers offer convenient, reasonably priced systems for getting permission (at a price) to use book excerpts online." 

article here

another article here

02 September 2012

logging back in

welcome (back) everyone

ready for the semester?

... some dates:

4 Sept: Classes begin
5 Sept: Soc-Pol Comp
6 Sept: SPEL Workshop
10 Sept: Ethics Comp
20 Sept: Colloquium: Sarah Kenehan, Marywood University

10 August 2012

regulatory requirements

from the Provost's memo:

Beginning with the Fall 2012 semester, faculty or graduate students teaching General  Education courses  must include  the General  Education  student  learning  outcomes  in their syllabi  for the General Education categories  which their courses meet.

This  is  necessary   for  the   university   to  be  in  compliance   with   regulatory   and   reporting requirements, including Middle States accreditation standards.

here are the learning outcomes for 'H' and 'C' courses:

H requirement - Humanities

Students in H courses will demonstrate an understanding of human experience though the study of literature or philosophy.

C requirement - Composition

Students in C courses will demonstrate

1.     The ability to write effectively and coherently, in ways appropriate to the discipline and the level of the course.
2.     The ability to revise and improve their writing in both form and content.

12 July 2012

holy shit

that's a student/faculty ratio of about 1600:1, right?

Perhaps the biggest problem was the company was just growing really, really fast. Ashford now has 90,000 students. It had about 10,000 in 2007. How was it doing that?
Part of the way it did this, and part of the reason Western Association of Schools and Colleges seems to have denied the institution its seal of approval, had to do with its staffing.
According to the article, Ashford employed only 56 full-time faculty members in 2011. The institution had only 14 writing specialists and 38 instructional specialists for those tens of thousands of students. Oddly, however, the institution had 2,305 staff members in “enrollment services.” That means the people in charge of finding and recruiting people to attend this open-enrollment school.
source: here

01 July 2012

graphing philosophy

a graph of the influences among philosophers as indicated by wikipedia

link: here

h/t: philos-l

23 June 2012

Schopenhauer in the world

from The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, p. 257

IN THEIR SEARCH of the Eldert Street apartment, Brooklyn police officers found several books with Mrs. Gross’s name on the flyleaf. They were medical books, with information on different poisons. The last was philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s Studies in Pessimism, which despairingly contends that, at core, the universe offers no hope of a rational existence.

Geoghan, the district attorney, first dismissed the books as unimportant, but then neighbors filed in with stories about Mrs. Gross. A woman who lived two doors down made and filed a statement about a conversation she’d had several weeks before the chain of deaths began. Mrs. Gross – after learning that she was pregnant again – had said that she intended to kill her children, her mother, and herself with rat poison.

actually, one thing to post about

congratulations to Andres Molina, for successfully defending his dissertation, "On How Law Determines Morality"


hey it's summer

not much to post on

20 May 2012

random linkage

semester's over. I'm going on sabbatical. here's some accumulated linkage:

what feminists look like

lutheran insulter

get a philosophy Ph.D. so you can be a tech entrepreneur

stand by whatever words, part ii (it's like a plan to annoy me)

'shit my students write'


hey ladies check out my faculty id

if you sent me something and I omitted, it probably wasn't on purpose.

don't click on any of these (esp. Procatinator). write your dissertation instead.

happy summer!

04 May 2012

here's a conference you could go to in Sept.




Organized by Barry Maxwell 
(Comparative Literature and American Studies, Cornell University) and Raymond Craib (History, Cornell University) 
All events will take place at
Africana Studies and Research Center, 
310 Triphammer Rd., 
Cornell University   


02 May 2012

SPEL Colloquium

final SPEL colloquium of 2011-12:

Serena Parekh
Northeastern University

"Towards a Phenomenology of Global Displacement"

Thursday May 3rd
UUW 324

commentator: Shelly Duford

27 April 2012

awesome poster

'thou shalt not commit logical fallacies'

in various formats: here

h/t: Anna

awesome minister

Australian minister: 'I don't know what the PM said, but I agree' – video
In an interview on Australian Sky News, the country's employment minister, Bill Shorten, is asked his opinion on the return of Peter Slipper, the speaker of the parliament, after a sexual harassment claim. Shorten admits he does not know what his prime minister said on the issue - but says he supports whatever it was.
link/video: here
the extra awesomeness is that sexual harassment is presumably part of his portfolio as minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

25 April 2012

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of ...

... Teaching.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Charles Goodman, winner of SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching!

24 April 2012

night owls > morning larks

very important research from Psychology Today

"Why Night Owls Are More Intelligent Than Morning Larks"

submitted by Sean

23 April 2012

possibly useful advice ...

... on getting a job at a community college.

and it's not behind a paywall: here

22 April 2012

ha ha

For a question asking students to discuss why college costs are so high, Mr. Perelman wrote that the No. 1 reason is excessive pay for greedy teaching assistants.
“The average teaching assistant makes six times as much money as college presidents,” he wrote. “In addition, they often receive a plethora of extra benefits such as private jets, vacations in the south seas, starring roles in motion pictures.”
E-Rater gave him a 6.
link: here

16 April 2012

welcome Nicole

Nicole Hassoun, currently assistant professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University, will join the Department for the Fall Semester 2012 as Associate Professor of Philosophy.

Prof. Hassoun's research focuses on global economic justice. Her first book, Globalization and Global Justice: Shrinking Distances, Expanding Obligations has just appeared with Cambridge University Press, and she is the author of numerous articles in applied ethics and political theory. She has also held fellowships in Frankfurt, Salzburg, Helsinki, and Stanford. 

15 April 2012

SPEL colloquim

this THURSDAY (19-Apr)!

Melissa Zinkin
"Kant and the Pleasure of 'Mere Reflection'"

UUW 324

commentator: Tommy Hanauer

*this is a during-the-day, read-the-paper-in-advance meeting

02 April 2012

SPEL colloquium

next SPEL colloquium:

Jay Garfield
Smith College (etc.)

"I am a Brain in a Vat"

TUESDAY (not Thu) April 10th
UUW 324

commenter: Karin Howe

a version of the paper is available: here


April Comps reminder.

Comprehensive Exam in Ethics: Monday, April 9th, 9-12

Comprehensive Exam in Social and Political Philosophy: Wednesday, April 11th, 9-12

another book sale

this time it's Columbia University press, and the occasion is Spring.

50% off all titles with coupon code "SALE"

link: here

h/t: Blake

27 March 2012

IASH Fellowships

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) fellowships are a major site of IASH intellectual exchanges. IASH offers Faculty Fellowships, Graduate Students Fellowships, Undergraduate Students Fellowships, and Visiting Faculty Fellowships. All IASH fellowships are residential and involve a commitment to attend a Fellows Seminar that is open to the public and present one's work in the seminar. The seminar meets on Wednesdays, noon to 1:30pm in the IASH Conference Room, LN-1106.

Please visit the IASH website for more information http://www2.binghamton.edu/iash/index.html

Application Deadlines

March 29, 2012 .............
 BU Graduate Student Fellowships
 BU Undergraduate Student Fellowships
 Visiting Fellowships

Graduate Student Fellowships

IASH offers two types of of Graduate Students Fellowships to Binghamton University Ph.D. students. Up to two stipended Graduate Student Fellowships a semester fund a competitive merit based Dissertation Fellowship (DF). Students applying for the IASH DF will be ABD, their funding from Binghamton University including the IASH DF will not exceed 12 semesters if entered with BA/BS, or 8 semesters if entered with MA/MS, and expect to be working full time on their dissertations in the semester of the fellowship. Up to two unstipended Graduate Students Fellowships are available to students who are released to full time research by a departmental DF or an external grant.

26 March 2012

apartment hunting tip

surprising and sadly, this story from the Press and Sun Bulletin ...

refers, strangely, to people who own horses, rather than to horses who own property.

so if you you are looking for an equine landlord*, you are probably out of luck.

that is my apartment hunting tip.

(*they would probably smell like the inside of Lisa's car, anyway)

25 March 2012

SPEL colloquium


David Lefkowitz
University of Richmond

"Climate Change and Corrective Justice: A Partial Defense"

location: UUW 324
Tucker Sechrest will be commenting

Important information about Dissertation Assistantships

1) The application deadlines for 2013-14 Dissertation Assistantships:

- if you entered SPEL with an M.A. in Philosophy and this is your fourth semester: May 25th, 2012
- if you entered SPEL with a B.A. and Fall '12 is your seventh semester: Feb 1st, 2013

You must of course be ABD to apply. See the Handbook for more details.

2) To be eligible for Dissertation Assistantships in the future, you must have already applied for at least two external fellowships. See details below.


For appointments to dissertation semester/academic year fellowships funded by Binghamton
University (i.e., any source of internal funds) for academic year 2013-14 and beyond:
To receive an internal dissertation fellowship, students must show evidence of having applied for
at least two external fellowships (not funded by Binghamton University), one of which must be
for a year of funding. To count, submissions must be registered with the Office of Scholarship &
Fellowship. It is the responsibility of the graduate program to make sure internal fellowships are
only awarded to eligible students.

It can take as much as a year to identify appropriate fellowships and prepare the application.
Students must start well in advance. Applications must be submitted by the deadline. The Office
of Scholarships & Fellowships can provide assistance in identifying funding sources and advice
about applications. Provided that the students register with that office, the office will also track
who submitted what and when, and so verify individuals’ and graduate programs’ track records.

Nietzsche's Hunger Games name

I came up with "Helmapfel B. Gehenpetra"

source: here

23 March 2012

Jessie Payson at IASH

March 28, 2012
Jessica Payson, Graduate Fellow, Philosophy
IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series:  “Structural Justice and the Objects of Responsibility”
Structural injustice presents unique problems for determining what individuals can be said to carry responsible for.  In the most straightforward applications of a causal responsibility model, what individuals are responsible for can be determined by calculating deviations from a given baseline.  An individual who causes a certain amount of harm is thought to owe that much in return.  In a role-based responsibility model, the content of individuals’ responsibilities can be specified by reference to the tasks and expectations associated with the role.  An individual’s responsibility is determined by reference to her position in a structure, and the content of the responsibility is typically meant to perpetuate this structural framework.  Both causal and role-based models of responsibility suggest that the meaning of individuals’ responsibilities is self-contained: what an individual is responsible for can be explained only in reference to the individual’s own doings or positioning, as measured against either a stable baseline or given structural framework.  Efforts towards structural justice, in contrast, aim to question and amend such background structures.  Additionally, changes to this background are not brought about by individuals acting discretely, but instead by individuals acting together.  The meaning of individual responsibilities is not entirely self-contained, but instead is explicable only through reference to what others are doing to collectively intervene in structural functioning.  The topic of this paper is to explain the content of individual responsibilities in this context.  If an individual, despite her limited causal effects, can do something meaningful towards justice, what is the “something” that can appropriately be said to carry value?  How does an individual contribution become meaningful?
12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

19 March 2012

18 March 2012

some kind of dessert

from the Times' Whit Stillman profile:

“I detest Parfit,” said Echikunwoke, with bred-in-the-bone conviction.
“I agree,” Gerwig replied.
“What is Parfit?” Smith asked. “Some kind of dessert?”
Nobody, including the actors, had any idea what Parfit was. Or to put it properly, who Parfit was, for Parfit was not a dessert but the renowned ethicist and philosopher Derek Parfit, white-haired author of “Reasons and Persons,” whose vogue among academics Stillman found irksome.
“You want to do one more?” Smith said after a few takes.
Persons unsure of their reasons fired a final volley at poor Parfit.

24 February 2012


this game is awesome


15 February 2012

animated gif test

testing whether I can post animated gifs
maybe there'll be some Philosophy/SPEL ones someday

Jess Kyle at IASH

February 15, 2012
Jessica Kyle
Graduate Fellow, Philosophy
IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series: “The Ethics of Care and Military Humanitarian Intervention”
Cases of military humanitarian intervention (MHI) suggest that values promoted by an ethic of care at times take center stage in public policy debates, whatever their general political marginalization.  Yet the very appeals to care values used to justify MHI also encourage exceptionalist attitudes toward international law when they hold that the moral urgency of certain humanitarian crises demands unauthorized or otherwise illegal military action.  Kyle considers the extent to which the approaches of two prominent care theorists, Virginia Held and Joan Tronto, can address this issue of legal exceptionalism in name of care.  She argues that both approaches ultimately contribute to what she calls the problem of global worldlessness—the loss or erosion of the relatively recently emergent global space of politics—and she turns to the Arendtian care value of “amor mundi” or care for the world as a potential counterbalance to other care values during policy deliberations.
12:00pm, IASH Conference Room (LN 1106)

13 February 2012

unexpected good news?

this doesn't look like a huge deal, but how often are there unexpected good things from NYS ... (or maybe the bad news is that it took so long. pessimism! and cash! just like last post.)

New York State recently released funds for a payment - under the authority of  Article 5.13,   Doctoral Program Recruitment and Retention Enhancement Fund of the Agreement between GSEU and the State of New York - relative to the GSEU contract in place in 2009. The Graduate School identified the graduate students who are eligible for that payment. Those students will receive notification from the Office of Human Resources about that, and they will receive a one-time gross lump sum payment of $217.28 in their payroll check of February 15, 2012.  The amount was determined by dividing the funds released to the University - by the number of eligible students – TAGAs on appointment for spring 2012 and officially “doctoral” status at the time of appointment.

11 February 2012

Colloquium reminder

Tuesday at 11:45 in IASH.

also, Johnny Cash kinda looks like Schopenhauer, amirite?

08 February 2012

Colloquium reminder

tomorrow, THU 9 FEB, 11:45am

in the IASH conference room

who knew?


30 January 2012


start today!

in bocca al lupo.

article about adjuncting


h/t Sean

13 January 2012

slippery slope arguments are awesome

for example, here:

Guest Viewpoint: Once deer are gone, where does cull stop?


- I'll be on sabbatical Fall '12

- Whoever sent me the psychotherapy magic 8 ball, thanks. (I think)