- Posted by Paul Gowder on January 11th, 2009 filed in academia, calls for papers and funding opportunities, economics, law, philosophy, psychology, roundup
- 16 Comments »
1. There’s a hot debate on Brian Leiter’s blog about whether young philosophers (and, by extension, other academics) are “entitled” because they tend to prefer urban to rural areas and light teaching loads to heavy teaching loads, even to the point that some may not be willing to take, say, a 4/4 load in Nebraksa, preferring to “bartend in San Francisco.”
Paul’s take: dude, have none of you people read chapter 3 of On Liberty? Read it again, then stop judging other people’s career choices.
2. While we’re in the Department of Subjective vs. Objective Goodness of Preference, Mike Munger’s movie discussion is amusing.
Paul’s take: My subjective preferences track objective goodness-of-movie, damnit.
3. The urban preferrers might want to know that city life rots your brain. It’s true, Psychology says so! “After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control.”
Paul’s take: I want to see the paper. This seems like the sort of paper where the experimental method is actually less useful than large-n non-experimental studies of the sort usually done in the social sciences, because the experimental method can only test short-term effects, whereas what matters is how people who are in the city for extended periods of time function, relative to those who are not.
4. Academia, too, rots your brain, it would appear. Or, at least, it is supposedly less conducive to creativity than working in some .com. Perhaps this is because, hah, .coms are in the horrible suburbs like Palo Alto, Land of a Thousand Rug Stores, and so there are no nasty urban distractions. Includes the most cynical statement ever about academia: “Academia is like a business, where we do not optimize profit, but prestige.”
Paul’s take: would have been more interesting if coherent. And, apparently, prestige is bad, mkay? At least, it is if we believe the nimrod Paul Graham, purveyor of dumbed-down versions of remedial critical thinking as insight. And, yeah, it’s probably bad in general, unsocial sociability and all that. Rousseau and Kant sit astride the world, yo.
5. Perhaps the solution is to will oneself to be a genius?
Paul’s take: He did it to impress Lou Andreas-Salome, not Cosima Wagner.
6. “Intelligent men are always appealing.” It’s true, Psychology says so!
Paul’s take: I don’t even believe this anymore. It’s simply not true. Also, he never got Lou Andreas-Salome.
7. The anti-city psychologists also said that the temptations (that is, desirable things, sources of happiness) of city life reduce one’s reserves of self-control. This seems to be the latest fad in psych research: the “you have a limited amount of self-control” research. What the psychologists don’t seem to be offering us is any story about how we increase our self-control reserves… except by eating candy bars.
Paul’s take: This is exactly what one does not want to read when one is simultaneously trying to lose a lot of weight (see previous item!) and write a dissertation proposal.
8. Or maybe it’s because the city offers too many confusing options, making it hard for us to deduce which we’ll prefer from the menu alone?
Paul’s take: I actually really like it when economists start elbowing psychologists out the door and doing really creative rational choice analyses of phenomena. It stops them from pathologizing everything, and also makes some of the fatalistic practical import (“you have no self control, you’re doomed”) of much psych research a little gentler.
9. What the fuck is a zombie bank?
Paul’s take: What the fuck is a zombie bank? Wikipedia says this. Are macroeconomists all on crack? There’s a reason I only know anything about micro, and I think that reason is closely tied to zombie banks.
10. Larry Solum has a Legal Theory Lexicon post of the usual fabulousness about contractualism, contractarianism, and the rest of the word salad that people who care about social contract theory go on about.
Paul’s take: My only gripe is that it might have been useful to drop a reference to some of Russell Hardin’s critique of the field.
11. Finally… two calls for papers. The Association for Political Theory, October 22-24, 2009, proposals due February 15, 2009, submit on the APT website. The Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, August 6-9, 2009, abstracts due February 15, 2009, via e-mail (in Word format) to Benjamin Hale (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alastair Norcross (email@example.com).
Paul’s take: gah! I’ve gotta get something out to these! At least the APT!