Thanks to many many people who have sent in suggestions for children’s books. I’ve made a Google Documents page with the list of suggestions compiled on it.
Recommended Children’s Books.
Our little family is working through this list slowly, and with lots of fun. Nyaya’s current favourite is Knuffle Bunny Too, which is great for talking about pre-school.
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 10:51 am
1 Comment »
Sadly, on the same weekend, so you can’t go to both:
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 11:05 am
No Comments »
My daughter, Nyaya, loves to read. Or, more accurately, she loves to be read to. I’m really happy about this fact, and I hope she continues to love books for a long time to come.
But it has meant we have gone through a lot of books. Here’s a list of which books have been, in some week or other, Nyaya’s favourite book. They’re arranged in rough order of when they were her favourite book, though my memory on this score is surely rather hazy.
If you have any suggestions for similar books, I’d love to hear from you either in comments, in email, or on Facebook.
- B is for Bear – Roger Priddy
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? – Eric Carle
- Eat – Roberta Grobel Intrater
- The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
- Jazz Baby – Lisa Wheeler
- Of Thee I Sing – Barack Obama
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
- Bittle – Patricia & Emily Maclachlan
- Homemade Love – bell hooks
- Andrew’s Loose Tooth – Robert Munsch
- Ten Little Fingers – Mem Fox
- More Pies – Robert Munsch
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider – Constanza Basaluzzo
- Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs – Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds
- Smelly Socks – Robert Munsch
- Topsy and Tim Visit London – Jean Adamson and Gareth Adamson
- The Cat in the Hat – Dr Seuss
- Knuffle Bunny – Mo Willems
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 1:53 pm
1 Comment »
Since it is a University in Scotland, the University of Edinburgh needs a philosophical research centre. And now it has one – Eidyn. They already have several exciting projects underway, and some great looking events.
Edinburgh was already one of my favourite cities to visit, and thankfully I’ll now have a few more reasons to be there.
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 10:37 am
1 Comment »
In the previous thread, Robbie Williams asked about the converse of the question set there. That is, he was wondering
- What fields that are currently not (primarily) studied inside philosophy departments could (in nearby worlds) be inside philosophy?
This is a much harder question I think. But there are a few candidates that come to mind.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 12:00 pm
2 Comments »
I’ve been writing up some stuff on Herman Cappelen’s great new book Philosophy Without Intuitions. And it got me thinking about just what is distinctive about philosophy. You might have thought it was something to do with the use of intuitions, but Cappelen shows that isn’t right. Whatever intuitions are, there isn’t much ground for saying they are more prevalent in philosophy than in other disciplines.
So what is it? It’s not a trivial question, because there isn’t much obviously in common between what different philosophers work on. Just looking at my own colleagues, it’s hard to say what the common thread linking the work of Sarah Moss, Elizabeth Anderson, Chandra Sripada, Allan Gibbard, Victor Caston and Laura Ruetsche could be.
I sort of suspect there isn’t really a principled answer to the question of what is philosophy. Rather, the answer as to why some things are done in philosophy departments and others are not will largely be historical, turning on some fairly contingent choices that were made in the formation of the contemporary academy.
To get a sense of how plausible this hypothesis is, I wanted to run a couple of little thought experiments. The experiments concern which departments house which questions. Here’s what I mean by ‘house’. For some questions, there is an obvious department (or small group of departments) to be in if you want to work on that question. If you want to work on what needs to be added to justified true belief to get knowledge, you should be in a philosophy department. If you want to work on the power relationships between the French monarch and aristocracy in the 18th Century, you should be in a history department (or perhaps a very historically oriented political science department).
Which departments house which questions changes over time. In the distant past, physics was part of philosophy departments. In a good sense, economics only split from philosophy in the early 20th Century. At Cambridge, which was at the time the most important place in the world for both disciplines, the economics tripos split from the philosophy tripos in 1903. To the extent that cognitive science was a recognisable field in the 1950s and 1960s, it was just as much part of philosophy as anything else.
Similarly, which departments house which questions can change over modal space. In some very nearby worlds, there are very few departments we would recognise as philosophy departments, even though there is much work on philosophical questions. That’s because in those worlds there are separate departments for moral philosophy and for logic & metaphysics, as there was at St Andrews traditionally.
But let’s focus on worlds in which there are recognisable philosophy departments. Here’s the question.
- For each sub-discipline in philosophy, how far into modal space do you need to go to find a world where it isn’t housed in a philosophy department?
I’ll put my views on this over the fold, so if you like you can think about this before seeing what I have to say.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 11:40 am
18 Comments »
The first issue of Thought is out.
I was wondering whether it would be good to have comments threads on different papers in it. If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll set them up.
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 11:37 am
1 Comment »
Recently Kevin Drum asked his readers for podcast recommendations. I learned two big things from his nice summary of the replies.
One is that the In Our Time archives have now been made available. This is a very nice thing for the BBC to do, and I suspect I’ll be spending a lot of time listening to them over the forthcoming months.
The other is that there is a lot of demand out there for philosophy podcasting. As well as In Our Time (which has over 60 philosophy programs in its archive), there were a lot of recommendations for David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton’s Philosophy Bites.
So in the interest of satisfying that demand, I thought I’d post a link to a couple more philosophy podcasts, and see if TAR readers had suggestions for more.
Philosopher’s Zone is a weekly philosophy show on Australia’s Radio National. It features a mixture of public lectures, interviews with philosophers, and programs on specific topics.
The 10-Minute Puzzle is a new podcast series out of the Northern Institute of Philosophy centre in Aberdeen. It basically does what it says on the tin: introduce a philosophy puzzle and some of the natural solutions to it in 10 minutes.
The links I’ve posted so far have a pretty high concentration of male presenters. But I’m sure that if I knew more about what was available, that imbalance would be somewhat corrected. So, any further suggestions?
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 3:23 pm
2 Comments »
Last week the linguistics department here at Michigan hosted the 2012 Marshall M. Weinberg Symposium. The theme for this year’s symposium was bilingualism. I learned a ton from the various speakers, much of it about how hard it was to learn a second language after very early childhood.
Even people who appear, to naive judges, to be fluent in a second language they learned after childhood, perform well below native speakers at cognitively demanding linguistic tasks, such as understanding speech in noisy environments, or explaining proverbs. I don’t have the citation link for this, but Jürgen Meisel reported that German students learning French by immersion did much better if the immersion started between 32 and 42 months than they did if they started after 42 months. The errors that he reported were common among the older learners after several months of immersion, like not getting the genders of articles right even for words like maman where you would think it was obvious, were really striking. Karen Emmorey reported that the same thing was true for learners of ASL; late learners can become fluent enough for practical purposes, but are never as good as people who learn ASL in early childhood.
The striking contrast to all this is how successful first language acquisition is. To a first approximation, 100% of people successfully learn the syntax of their first language, and do so at a staggeringly young age.
I realised a few days after the symposium that there was a huge question I wish I’d asked. Why are we so good at learning a first language, and so poor at learning a second language. What cognitive system would have such a feature(/bug), and what evolutionary advantage could there be to having such a system?
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 3:53 pm
8 Comments »
I’ve added new versions of three new papers to my website. They are:
There are also a couple of summer courses I’ve been asked to announce.
Problems of the Self at CEU.
The course aims to present the state of the art in research on the self from philosophy, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, sociology, and cognitive anthropology. Themes revolve around the nature of the self, as revealed through self-consciousness, body perception, action and joint action, and its embedding in society and culture. Historical and developmental perspectives provide other angles on the self. The course presents a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary discussion on the self from multiple perspectives. It is directed at advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty working in philosophy, psychology, cognitive neuroscience and cognate disciplines.
Metaphysical Mayhem at Rutgers.
Metaphysical Mayhem is back! Rutgers University will be hosting a 5-day summer school for graduate students May 14-18, 2012. John Hawthorne, Katherine Hawley, Ted Sider, Jonathan Schaffer, and Dean Zimmerman will lead the seminars on a variety of topics in metaphysics, including: natural properties, composition as identity, grounding, metaphysical explanation, and stuff like that…
Posted by Brian Weatherson at 11:17 am
3 Comments »