Friday, October 07, 2022

We laugh at ‘something mechanical encrusted on the living’


  1. An upcoming video game is about Arthur Schopenhauer as a student “seeking prohibited knowledge” — developed by Toby Svoboda, “The Life of Arthur” will be released next week
  2. “Analytic philosophy, even at its most technical, is one way of tackling those fundamental tasks [of securing grounding and direction in life], and as such serves the same emotional needs that non-philosophers reveal to us during our classes, at parties and in hair salons, planes and Ubers” — Helena de Bres (Wellesley) wraps up her series on analytic philosophy and the meaning of life
  3. “We laugh at ‘something mechanical encrusted on the living’” — Emily Herring (Ghent) on Bergson’s philosophy of laughter
  4. “There seems to be nothing that in principle cannot be taught in a college classroom provided its relevance to the course” — Carlo DaVia (Fordham) has produced a guide to help professors untangle and address different potential moral problems related to teaching and classroom speech
  5. “The puzzle of addiction: why do people keep using drugs, given that costs outweigh benefits?… Costs and benefits can only be weighed relative to a set of values [so] whose values determine when drug use becomes addiction?” — Hanna Pickard (JHU) is interviewed about how to understand addiction
  6. “Just 20% of PhD-granting institutions in the United States supplied 80% of tenure-track faculty members to institutions across the country between 2011 and 2020,” according to a new study — and “depending on the field, only 5–23% of faculty members worked at an institution more prestigious than the one at which they earned their PhD”

  7. “I am an American Philosopher” is a series of interviews (15, so far) with philosophers published by the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy — here’s one with Eric Mullis (Queens University of Charlotte), who brings together dance and philosophy

Discussion welcome.

Mini-Heap posts usually appear when 7 or so new items accumulate in the Heap of Links, a collection of items from around the web that may be of interest to philosophers. The Heap of Links consists partly of suggestions from readers; if you find something online that you think would be of interest to the philosophical community, please send it in for consideration for the Heap. 

  1. “I’ve always thought I was better at helping other people think through their ideas than I was at generating new or ground-breaking things of my own. I used to be ashamed of that, but now that I’ve got students of my own, it’s one of my favourite skills to use” — Audrey Yap (Victoria) is interviewed at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher?
  2. “Too often, well-intentioned calls to ‘diversify the profession’ of academia seem to be motivated by brute desires for demographic representation…. That intelligence comes in many forms suggests a better rationale” — Devin Sanchez Curry (West Virginia) on appreciating “Grandma’s metaphysics”
  3. Princeton has so big an endowment that it could, from now on, let in every student for free and still have at least $1.9 billion left over each year — So why don’t they? The author raises this question, but doesn’t really try to answer it, and so doesn’t seem to realize what’s to be learned from it (via The Browser)
  4. “The Mystery of Consciousness,” a live public philosophy discussion, took place this past summer in Liverpool — featuring Philip Goff, Laura Gow, Anil Seth, Jack Symes, Rowan Williams, and a string quartet
  5. “Gareth paced up and down and told me he was worrying about me a lot. I had to realise, he said, that I was extremely stupid and would need to work very hard to get any kind of degree. I wasn’t in the least offended” — Lincoln Allison (Warwick) remembers Gareth Evans, who “made intellectual activity exhilarating”
  6. When (and why) are some things best left to the imagination? — Jennifer Church (Vassar) considers the question
  7. “Young Plato,” a documentary about a headteacher in Belfast who brings philosophy into the teaching at his elementary school, will be screened in the United States — it’s “a very engaging film” according to The Guardian