Archive | March, 2016

Upcoming Panels on International Law and Prison Reform

[cross-posted at BHL and C4SS]

Two panels organised by the Center for a Stateless Society are coming up at two different conferences next week, bringing a left-libertarian market-anarchist perspective to international relations and prison reform.
1. The Molinari Society will be holding its annual Pacific Symposium in conjunction with the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association in San Francisco, March 30-April 3, 2016. Here’s the schedule info:

Molinari Society symposium:
Author Meets Critics: Gary Chartier’s Radicalizing Rawls: Global Justice and the Foundations of International Law

G6D. Thursday, 31 March 2016, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (or so), Westin St. Francis 335 Powell St., San Francisco CA, Elizabethan C, 2nd floor.

Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

David Reidy (University of Tennessee)
Zooey Sophia Pook (New Mexico State University)

Gary Chartier (La Sierra University)

2. We’ve also organised a panel at the Association of Private Enterprise Education conference in Las Vegas, April 3-5, 2016. Here’s the schedule info:

Prisons: Reform or Abolition?

2.G.8. Monday, 4 April 2016, 4:00-5:15 p.m., Bally’s Hotel and Casino, 3645 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas NV, room TBA.

Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

Daniel J. D’Amico (Brown University)
Gary Chartier (La Sierra University)
Jason Lee Byas (Georgia State University)
Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

Another C4SS writer, Billy Christmas, will also be speaking at APEE on “Toward Methodological Anarchism,” on Tuesday, 5 April, in a session at at (horribile dictu) 8:00 a.m.

Hilary Putnam R.I.P.

One of the greatest and most influential philosophers of the past half-century – and one of my favourite professors from my undergraduate days – has died.


Putnam was not only brilliant; he was also usually right. His arguments for direct perception, moral realism, and (most famously) the causal theory of reference, as well as his arguments against skepticism, reductionism, positivism, Kuhnianism, and type-identity theories of mind, are groundbreaking and incisive. I’m not convinced by his best-known positive theory of mind (functionalism), by his dirigist politics, or by his sometime critique of metaphysical realism. (During his antirealist phase, Putnam thought that the only way we can avoid skepticism is to reject the view that truth is radically non-epistemic; but I suggest that Putnam’s own work lays the foundation for a different solution, namely, rejecting the view that belief and consciousness are radically non-alethic.) But as I’ve written elsewhere, “everyone working today in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, or philosophy of science toils in the shadow of his revolutionary achievements.”


Here’s a nice piece by Martha Nussbaum about Putnam (CHT Dan Ust) – though I don’t agree with her claim that Aristotle made no contributions to philosophy of language or religion.

Rubio’s Philosophobia

[cross-posted at BHL]

The other night I caught a few minutes of Marco Rubio talking about education. (I think it might have been from this.) One of the remarks he made was that students shouldn’t major in “Roman philosophy” if they want a successful career after graduation. Apparently he’s been saying this a lot, though more often with Greek philosophy as his example.

Will studying Cicero wreck your career?

Will studying Cicero wreck your career?

I suppose it’s no surprise that a Senator named Marco Antonio Rubio would have it in for the likes of Cicero. But apparently Rubio is unaware that philosophy is one of the very best majors one can take to prepare for a successful career. For those going on to law school, philosophy majors score higher on the LSAT than any other major; they also have higher admission rates to law school than such common prelaw majors as political science and criminal justice.

For other graduate degrees, philosophy majors score higher on the verbal and analytic portions of the GRE than any other major, and are also very competitive on the GMAT. Philosophy majors also enjoy a higher acceptance rate to medical school than either biology and biochemistry (and also higher than English or history).

For students planning to go straight on to the job market after graduation rather than going to graduate school, philosophy majors with no post-bachelor’s degree receive on average a higher starting salary than most other majors, including biology, chemistry, and business. And philosophy majors also enjoy a faster rate of salary increase than any other major.

I wouldn’t suggest that any student major in philosophy solely for the sake of the career boost. First, such a strategy disrespects the mind. And second, the kind of student who values philosophy solely as a career boost is not likely to have the kind of mindset that makes philosophy majors do so well after graduation. But any student who loves philosophy but is afraid to major in it because she doesn’t plan to become a philosophy professor and she thinks there’s no other practical use for the degree should take heart – and heed the data rather than the junior Senator from Florida.

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