By John Mccargar
Professor Victor Kumar has been awarded a Peter Paul Career Development Professorship. Made possible through the generous support of distinguished donors and alumni, these professorships are presented to promising junior faculty near the beginning of their independent academic careers. They support three years of research and scholarly or creative work in the recipient’s field. Victor is one of only five assistant professors across the university who were chosen this year (and the only one in CAS): congrats!
Some thoughts about what philosophers do from the Washington Post:
The Department is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Robert S. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Physics. Bob was a longtime member of the Department, Director Emeritus of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science and founding editor of Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science.
Congratulations to Madeleine Freeman and Rachael Molenaar for being accepted to the Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy! The seminar is an intensive three-week graduate-level program for outstanding advanced undergraduates who are considering graduate school in philosophy. Rachael has also been accepted to the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy’s Summer School on Mathematical Philosophy for Female Students, where she will join advanced undergraduate and graduate students for a week-long series of courses in formal and mathematical methods in philosophy.
You can read more about the program online here.
Congratulations to our PhD student Joseph Frigault, whose paper “Fair Play, White Privilege, and Black Reparations” was chosen as winner of this year’s APA Jean Hampton Prize. The prize annually honors the best paper in the late Jean Hampton’s areas of philosophical interest submitted to the Pacific Division by a philosopher in an early career stage.
The Department is deeply saddened by the death of Professor Klaus Brinkmann, who passed away in Bonn, Germany on November 1. A scholar whose work focused on both German Idealism and Aristotle, Professor Brinkmann taught for more than two decades at BU and served the Department in a number of important administrative roles over the years, including as Interim Chair, Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies. (For information about memorials, please contact the Department.)
Congratulations to philosophy undergraduate student Melinda Reyes for having her paper “Kant’s Missing ‘Second Thoughts’ on Women: Race, Gender, and Teleology” accepted for presentation at the upcoming Humphrey Undergraduate Colloquium at the University of Louisville.
George Anders, writing for Forbes, recently examined a peculiar phenomenon– tech companies hiring non-engineers in order to accomplish goals they would otherwise not be able to.
If you’ve used Slack’s team-based messaging software, you know that one of its catchiest innovations is Slackbot, a helpful little avatar that pops up periodically to provide tips so jaunty that it seems human.
Such creativity can’t be programmed. Instead, much of it is minted by one of Slack’s 180 employees, Anna Pickard, the 38-year-old editorial director. She earned a theater degree from Britain’s Manchester Metropolitan University . . .
What kind of boss hires a thwarted actress for a business-to-business software startup? Stewart Butterfield . . . the proud holder of an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Canada’s University of Victoria and a master’s degree from Cambridge in philosophy and the history of science.
“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true.”
In fact, he points out, there may be more non-engineering jobs that arise from new tech companies than engineering ones:
Think of the ways the automobile revolution of the 1920s created enormous numbers of jobs for people who helped fit cars into everyday life: marketers, salesmen, driving instructors, road crews and so on. Something similar is afoot today.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2022 some 1 million more Americans will enter the workforce as educators. Another 1.1 million newcomers will earn a living in sales. Such opportunities won’t be confined to remedial teaching or department store cashiers. Each wave of tech will create fresh demand for high-paid trainers, coaches, workshop leaders and salespeople. By contrast, software engineers’ ranks will grow by 279,500, or barely 3% of overall job growth. Narrowly defined tech jobs, by themselves, aren’t going to be the answer for long-term employment growth, says Michael Chui, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute.
His findings help shine on a light on the fact that studying the humanities (maybe even Philosophy in particular!) today can be very good for your long term job prospects.
Read the full article on Forbes
We’re proud to announce that the eighth and newest joint major in Philosophy– the new Philosophy and Neuroscience major– is officially online and accepting new majors! Check it out: http://www.bu.edu/philo/academics/academic-programs/ba-in-philosophy/philosophy-and-neuroscience/
Supported by a generous grant from BU Philosophy alumnus Steven Karbank, eight BU undergraduates studying philosophy are the recipients of Karbank Fellowships this summer. This year’s class of Fellows is pursuing a wide range of ways in which their philosophical questions connect concretely to the world—from exploring the role of emotions in musical performance in Florence to taking part in a survival course in the Utah desert to studying the moral status of lab animals and the effects of mass incarceration on women. The Karbank grants support “structured activity, study, or hands-on experience” that can “significantly enrich the student’s philosophical understanding of self and world.”
2016 Class of Karbank Fellows
Claire Chiodini plans to follow on her recent philosophical study of the notion of good in Plato and Aristotle in a concrete way: participating in the annual Rimini (Italy) “Meeting for the Friendship Amongst Peoples,” which draws a diverse group of people from many faith and philosophical traditions, and interviewing attendees about their varying notions of the good.
Salimata Diakité is planning to undertake research into how mass incarceration affects women, examining the procedures of non-federal prisons in Massachusetts, as well as the privatized and state-funded reentry programs partnered with Massachusetts Department of Correction.
Rebecca Strong Garcia aims to explore the role of emotions in music as she takes part in a Renaissance performance program in Florence.
Rahim Hirji is interviewing lawyers in the UK who have an unusual common experience: representing criminals or companies who were detested in the public eye.
Sharmin Rahman is studying how internet access affects political decision-making and opinion-formation by comparing cities where internet access is low (Detroit, MI) and high (Cambridge, MA).
Anush Swaminathan plans to explore the moral questions raised by the use of animals in lab work, making use both of key philosophical texts concerning the moral status of animals and of the first-hand perspectives that come from working in a developmental neurobiology lab at BU.
Abraham Tawil is studying what light philosophy can shed on the difficult questions of free will and determinism raised by addiction.
Stephen Valdesuso is exploring the relation of human philosopher to natural environment by taking part in the rigorous Boulder (Utah) Outdoor Survival School Field Course.
Previous Award Winners
Rebecca Dobyns (’15)
followed with her camera two experienced backpackers on the Lost Coast of Northern California for five days and 50 miles. Her project will result in a documentary film that explores, among other things, philosophical questions about the value of outdoors exploration and the relation between freedom and nature.
Samantha Kennedy (’15)
researched the philosophical underpinnings of the contemporary issue of universal daycare, drawing on moral arguments from philosophers ranging from Aristotle to Smith and Rousseau.
Chad Kringen (’15)
attended the North American School for Logic, Language, and Information (NASSLLI) in College Park, Maryland, as well as its European counterpart (ESSLLI) in Tübingen, Germany, taking a series of classes ranging from causal graphical models to game theory and temporal logic.
Julian Lijtszain (’15)
visited pediatric hospitals as part of an internship with the Mexican Institute of Social Security or Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) in Mexico City. He did extensive fieldwork for the Institute that resulted in new methodological approaches for patient surveys.
Demarius Walker (’14)
used his grant to attend EMT training classes in Atlanta. The hands-on experience opened his eyes, he said, to many real-world ethical dilemmas that don’t find easy philosophical resolutions.