The Philosophy Program at A&M University - Corpus Christi offers the Minor (18 hrs.) and the Major (30 hrs.) in Philosophy. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about studying philosophy.

Elegance

Courtesy Leiter Reports, we have the New Yorker's remarkable story of Yitang Zhang and the beauty of pure mathematics.

The Earnings Argument Revisited

In an article on Forbes, economist Jeffrey Dorfman (University of Georgia) has analyzed data on the earnings potential for students majoring in the humanities. From the article,

Humanities degrees have received a bad rap recently, even from President Obama. Many people, including top policy makers, routinely push policies to encourage more students to major in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Some governors have even suggested that state subsidies for public universities should be focused on STEM disciplines, with less money going to “less useful” degrees such as the humanities. Yet, in contravention to this perceived truth, the data show that humanities degrees are still worth a great deal.

...I took the early and mid-career average salaries by major from PayScale.com and used those to estimate the annual average pay increase for each major’s graduates. Then I computed the present value of 45 working years of those gradually increasing salaries (the present value is the lump sum in dollars you would accept now in exchange for all those future salaries). I then subtracted the present value of the same 45 years worth of earnings from a high school degree. Thus, these are not lifetime earnings, but the value of additional earnings from a bachelor’s degree.

Here are the data Dorfman reports:

Major Early Career Salary Mid Career Salary Lifetime Earnings Gain
Art $36,100 $57,100 $315,500
Drama $35,600 $56,300 $302,400
English $38,700 $65,200 $444,700
French $40,900 $66,700 $470,900
History $39,700 $71,000 $537,800
Philosophy $41,700 $78,300 $658,900

Free Philosophy EBooks

Open Culture has compiled a list of links to 110 free ebooks in philosophy. Many entries are well-regarded albeit standard fare, but there are some surprises--e.g., Wittgenstein's Notebooks.

Ephemeris Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy: Call for Paper Submissions

Ephemeris 2015, Volume 15 an undergraduate journal of philosophy
 
Call for Papers

Ephemeris is student-run and dedicated to harvesting exceptional undergraduate writing grounded in the distinct value and interest of the philosophical endeavor.
 

Deadline: February 16, 201​5
Please visit our website for particulars of submission <http://punzel.org/Ephemeris>.  Direct all inquiries to <ephemeris.uc@gmail.com>

CFP: Arete

Arete, the undergraduate journal of Rutgers University'’s Department of Philosophy, is now accepting paper submissions for publication in its Spring 2015 issue. On the order of 3 papers will be published, digitally and in print (limited run).

Traditionally, only work from juniors and seniors is encouraged, as analytic rigor is a prerequisite for publication. That being said, any paper of exquisite quality from any field of philosophy is welcome for submission.

Submissions should not exceed 8,000 words, with a cover page, abstract, and citations. For the purpose of blind review, do not include information in the text of your paper that identifies either you as author or the institution you attend. Papers should be submitted via email attachment (from an email address we can use to correspond with you), in Word document or PDF format, to rundergrad.philo.journal@gmail.com by October 17, 2013.

Authors of papers accepted for publication will be notified in December.

Taking Both the Subjective and the Objective Stances

The NY Times' Stone Series has an entry by Erik Parens on the value of balancing what we learn of ourselves from neuroscience--the objective stance--against what we believe of ourselves from experience--the subjective stance. From the article,

When I said in the beginning that there’s something right about the reasoning of those researchers who reject the idea that our choices are “spontaneous” and not determined by prior events, I was referring to their rejection of the idea that our choices are rooted in some God-given, extra-natural, bodyless stuff. I’m with Crick and those researchers on that point. My complaint is that they slip from making the reasonable claim that such extra-natural stuff is an illusion to speaking in ways that suggest that free will is an illusion, full stop. To suggest that our experience of choosing is wholly an illusion is as unhelpful as to suggest that, to explain the emergence of that experience, we need to appeal to extra-natural phenomena.

The more difficult — and, I would argue, better — way to go about trying to understand what sorts of beings we are is to see ourselves as both free subjects and as determined objects, and to accept that we aren’t wired for seeing ourselves in both ways at once. Using either lens alone can lead to pernicious mistakes. When we use only the subject lens, we are prone to a sort of inhumanity where we ignore the reality of the natural and social forces that bear down on all of us to make our choices. It would be hard to exaggerate, for example, the inhumanity of locking up huge numbers of people who are clearly mentally ill. When we use only the object lens, however, we are prone to a different, but equally noxious sort of inhumanity, where we fail to appreciate the reality of the experience of making choices freely and of knowing that we can deserve punishment — or praise.

Our conceptual lives would be tidier if we could see ourselves only as subjects or only as objects, but our understanding would be shallower. If we want to understand persons in deeper ways than either lens alone can offer, we need to practice a more binocular habit of thinking. Such a way of thinking would accept the necessity of oscillating between seeing ourselves as beings who can — and can’t — deserve punishment. Neuroscience can help us grind one of those lenses, but it can’t obviate the need for the other.

Superintelligent Machines

In an article extracted from his new book, "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies", and in interview, Nick Bostrum (Oxford) argues that any superintelligent machines we might create, if they can be created, would pose a series threat to human existence. Rule out animosity or resentment. They are much more likely to lack anthropocentric or even anthropomorphic ends and will compete against us for resources to achieve them.

Interesting TED Talk on consciousness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0c5nIvJH7w

 

It was banned from the TED website due to its controversial nature.  Enjoy

The Hemlock Papers: An Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy (CFP)

A CFP is a Call for Papers, as follows from the following email. Should you have any questions about the merits or process of publication, please do not hesitate to contact one of your faculty

The Hemlock Papers is soliciting submissions from undergraduates for its fall 2014 issue. If you teach undergraduates, please let them know. This might be an especially nice opportunity for students who plan to apply for graduate school this fall, as this issue is scheduled for release by December 1 of this year.

Full information for submissions is included below and can be found at http://www.uidaho.edu/class/philosophy/hemlockpapers.

Many thanks, Graham Hubbs

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Hemlock Papers is a student-run philosophy journal based at the University of Idaho. We are in search of original philosophical papers authored by current undergraduates. Selected papers will appear in the journal’s fifteenth volume, the first to be published since 2010.

DEADLINE: October 3, 2014

See below the fold for submission information.

Avoiding Philosophical Philistinism

Scientific American has a wide-ranging and candid interview with physicist Carlo Rovelli. From the interview,

Horgan: What’s your opinion of the recent philosophy-bashing by Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson?

Rovelli: Seriously: I think they are stupid in this. I have admiration for them in other things, but here they have gone really wrong. Look: Einstein, Heisenberg, Newton, Bohr…. and many many others of the greatest scientists of all times, much greater than the names you mention, of course, read philosophy, learned from philosophy, and could have never done the great science they did without the input they got from philosophy, as they claimed repeatedly. You see: the scientists that talk philosophy down are simply superficial: they have a philosophy (usually some ill-digested mixture of Popper and Kuhn) and think that this is the “true” philosophy, and do not realize that this has limitations.

Here is an example: theoretical physics has not done great in the last decades. Why? Well, one of the reasons, I think, is that it got trapped in a wrong philosophy: the idea that you can make progress by guessing new theory and disregarding the qualitative content of previous theories. This is the physics of the “why not?” Why not studying this theory, or the other? Why not another dimension, another field, another universe? Science has never advanced in this manner in the past. Science does not advance by guessing. It advances by new data or by a deep investigation of the content and the apparent contradictions of previous empirically successful theories. Quite remarkably, the best piece of physics done by the three people you mention is Hawking’s black-hole radiation, which is exactly this. But most of current theoretical physics is not of this sort. Why? Largely because of the philosophical superficiality of the current bunch of scientists.

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