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Philosorapters - Preparing students for the job market Feb. 20th, 2011 @ 05:32 pm
 Philosorapters - Preparing students for the job market
Hello everyone,

I doubt this is the right place to post this so I apologize if it's wrong.

I recently applied for graduate programs in philosophy all over the US. I realized at some point that I was doing about an hour of research a day and just storing it for myself. This seemed a bit on the selfish side so I decided that I would publish my findings on this blog. This blog is my research into how to survive as a career philosopher.


This blog is designed to keep you updated on professional news and movements in philosophy today, trolled from many site over the internet.
Firstly, particular focus is on the professional aspects of philosophy such as how to create a good C/V, prepare ones application, Publish papers, and understand hiring practices.
Secondly, I'm also quite interested in why philosophy, specifically critical thinking, is not taught in high school, and other issues in the profession.

I will be posting my findings that I think could be beneficial to other undergrads, graduates as well as post-doc students.

Please feel free to comment, criticize, or suggest research material.

Yet again, I apologize if this is posted in the wrong place,

I hope this blog might help philosophy students prepare for the job market if that is where they want to go.

All the best,

William Parkhurst

How to make a critique on Ethical Theory Jul. 22nd, 2007 @ 10:22 pm
What should be the characteristics of an ethical system?

How could one say that an ethical system is correct or at least complete?
Current Mood: curiouscurious

Mental Jousting (On the Relativity of All Things) Jun. 19th, 2007 @ 12:09 pm
For a while, I've been having occasional mental jousting matches with myself on the issue of moral relativism.

Then, along comes an article on Salon.com by Laura Miller (not the current mayor of Dallas) about a new book by Terry Eagleton, the noted British academic. Eagleton examines the question that perpetually plagues mankind. (No, not "Where can I buy adult-sized footy pajamas?") What is the meaning of life?

I like this paragraph from the article.

Eagleton brings contemporary linguistics-based
theory to bear on the idea of "meaning," pointing
out that it takes several forms. I might mean (that
is, intend) to say the word "poisson" ("fish")
to a French waiter, but I might actually say "poison,"
which in turn means (that is, signifies)
something else entirely. ("Poison" has the same
meaning in French, actually, as it has in English.)
There's what I intend to signify or communicate
when I speak, and then there's what my words mean
in a larger system, such as a language. For linguists,
the first kind of meaning is an "act" and the second
is a "structure."

I think there's some overlap here -- I mean, issues of the relativism of ANYTHING.

At first, I thought there had to be some moral absolutes. Right? Surely, murder is wrong. But, wait. The state murders people via capital punishment. Lots of folks support vigilante justice. What about abortions? And God sent people to kill other people all the time in biblical times, dispatching armies or persons or floods to be the instrument of His will. Geez. I think most of us are familiar with the many, many instances that Leviticus commands us to kill people -- by that humane method of stoning.

I think the true answers to my questions are more complicated than black and white. And just when ya think you've rooted yourself in a defensible position, careful examination with intellectual honesty forces you to reconsider.

Second Life Pseudoporn / crosspost from my LJ May. 9th, 2007 @ 02:11 pm
Read this: it's absolutely gobsmacking: 


This does, of course, open up all sorts of interesting ethical and legal questions. Let's lift out a few salacious quotations: 

"German prosecutors have launched an investigation to track down anonymous participants of the virtual computer game Second Life who are reportedly buying sex with other players who pose as children, as well as offering child pornography for sale."

Sex? not quite I think. Getting to sets of bytes and pixels to cavort hardly amounts to sex in my opinion, I do find it interesting how something which is by definition virtual and simulated gets to become confused with the Real Thang; does this say anything about the state of society? I`m quite sure Baudrillard - of 'Hyperreality' fame' would have something interesting to say about this. 

"Some players choose to dress up as child figures, but with no sexual motivation, purchasing "skins" to make them look like minors, but that do not as a rule depict the private parts of the body. There are even adoption agencies that offer lonely "children" the chance to have a virtual family.
But the established Second Life practice of so-called "Age Play", in which players request sex with other players who dress up as child avatars, has encouraged a growth in players posing as children in order to make money. "

Interesting except for the fact that the 'money' is not actually money. It is a Second Life dollar which can only be spent in the Second Life world; so strictly speaking we can`t speak of buying sex because there is no buying and there is no sex. We don`t confuse playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with committing Grand Larceny. I don`t see how this is any different.

"It has already attracted much criticism both from inside and outside the imaginary world. Child protection agencies say it has encouraged people with paedophile tendencies to play out their darkest fantasies and could have a knock-on effect in the real world. Bestiality, or sex with animals, is becoming increasingly popular on the site, which now has over six million players and is growing by an average of 800,000 a month"

I find this a dodgy argument, I find it frankly preferable that a peadophile 'plays out their darkest fantasies' with a set of pixels than with my neighbour's four year old. Lurid? Yes, no doubt. Immoral? Quite so. Criminal? Hmmmm... not so sure. What is however more dodgy about this argument that it postulates an unproven knock-on effect which is then used as a legitimation for criminalisation.  We could, of course, hypothesize duch a knock-on effect if in a year's time we find that the number of sexually abused goats in Germany has skyrocketed, but until then, no go. 

By cheapening the concept of child-abuse (by extending the definition to cover two adults (as under 18s are not allowed on SL) having their pixels cavort, with one set of pixels being dressed up as a child) we lose our powers of distinction between the dangerous and the weird, which is not where we should want to go.

On another note, I also find it worrying that we are slowly but surely moving away from one of the basic principles of Criminal Law: the principle that you are to be sentenced for what you have actually done, not for what you might possibly do later on. This sort of preemptive criminal proceedings could, perhaps be justified if we could predict the future with certainty. It is, I think, moot that this is not the case (yes, this is the stuff where Minority Report is made of)
Current Mood: pensivepensive

A moral question May. 8th, 2007 @ 04:14 am
When it comes to cheating in an academic setting, can "study drugs" be deemed immoral on the same grounds that steroids are cheating and immoral in the world of sports?

Does taking adderall to write a paper or study for a test cheat the system, and yourself?

I'm talking about when it's not prescribed, though perhaps for those prescribed the question is not so different. Still, regarding those who do not need the drug but still take it, is there anything wrong with it?

I'm torn between saying it's horrible and saying it's neutral. Any thoughts?
Other entries
» It seems to me....
It seems to me that ethics is the most important of all human disciplines. This puts me in the same camp as Diogenes the Cynic of ancient Athens. Morality/ethics are incredibly important for day to day life, as well as the big picture.

Lately I have been getting into disputes with friends (and occasionally enemies) of mine, over what is moral and what is not. There are some people I know, who, upon reflecting upon, they are not very moral.

They are friendly people however--they don't see you and try to kill you on sight or anything. But some of their actions are most emphatically immoral (or at least immoral from my lens).

Now, it seems that I cannot TELL these people they are immoral, for then they just get defensive and offer up their rationalization of their actions. I cannot tell OTHER people that said people are immoral, then it's gossip and unfair to attack somebody behind their back.

Even if I do tell these people, to their face that they are immoral, it can become a question of whose morality? Not only that, but who am I to tell this to them? I'm no saint. I admit as much. Like all humans, I am flawed, but now in the way these people are.

What this post boils down to is the question: What do you do with immoral people?

Is the answer to educate them? Show them why what they are doing is wrong? That seems to be a bad answer since telling a theif, "Stealing is immoral" will not make them stop stealing.

So what am I, in a college setting, to do about non-criminal but seriously immoral actions? (Or to modify that, some actions may be criminal, though none are violent--violent crime I would be obliged to report to the authorities)

So I repeat: What do you do with immoral people?
» Dictionary Psychedelica

Dictionary Psychedelica is a podcast and soon to be a zine. This is the basic concept: we choose a word each week and discuss the word in our podcast from different angles, in particular discussing altered states of awareness and the place of psychedelics. Our podcasts so far have covered:

ART : whether art stems from repression and the formation of the subconscious

ALCOHOL : why alcohol is underpinning our entire social structure as we know it and why we may in fact be living in an alcohol cult. Do we permanently see the world through beer goggles? Is ecstacy ten times safer than alcohol? Is vodka the Russian Prozak?

Disconnected EGOS: What is "i"?

and coming up soon 2012: a revolution? a change in global conciousness?

We are hoping to open up a discussion on the topics in our podcasts - so if you have any angry rants, responses, thoughts or relevant ANYTHING to hit us back with send it to dictionarypsychedelica@gmail.com and we will discuss it in our next podcast or post it up on our blog or our Myspace. Alternatively if you contact us we would be very excited for you to appear on our podcast using Skype communication. 


IN addition to this we are also producing a zine under the name of Dictionary Psychedelica. If you would like to contribute anything concerning any of the topics already discussed on the podcast, psychedelics, Buddhism, the ego, conciousness, revolution, social problems or anything else you think might be relevant please email us at dictionarypsychedelica@gmail.com

» Seemed like an ideal place to post this
Do you live in Australia? … ok, good start … Are you over 25? … good, good … Now for the big one … do you happen to reflect on personal moral issues in your blog?

What do you mean personal moral issues I hear you say? … Well, might be anything from whether you should help a friend out, break up with your partner or how you think Karma is a useful concept? If you think its morality, it probably is.

If you think you meet some of these criteria (I can’t be too fussy now) I would love to have a read of your blog and maybe an online chat to you for my PhD research in Sociology.

Read more...Collapse )
» Someone asked me an interesting question:
Can cloninig and the bible coexist? Explain. Hmmm....interesting, what do you thnk?
» Illegal Activity
If you found evidence of illegal activity on Livejournal, and were able to locate the person or persons involved, would you report it?

I feel ethically torn because there are certain issues that I would not report (drug use, going AWOL), and certain issues that I would report immediately (molesting of children, child porn, murder, etc.) The issue that I am comptemplating falls more towards the immediately side, however, if the accusations are false, and the media finds it, that person could be ruined in his/her small town.

Is LiveJournal, and the Internet, a free for all where everyone can say what they want, regardless of legality and prosecution? Or are there boundaries where someone can be prosecuted if they cross them?
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