Category Archives: news
I’ve made a major update to my site, The Practical Ontologist. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Major site updates:
- Topical Subsections: Metaphysics, Professional, Science, Traditions, Value, & Fun.
Incoming posts are classified via Naive Bayes Machine Learning. The categories, save Fun and Professional, are roughly modeled on [PhilPapers’ classifications](https://philpapers.org/browse/all). Fun is a stream of philosophical memes, mainly from Tumblr. Professional contains news about the profession and other meta-philosophical content.
- RSS feeds for each subpage.
- Now scanning over 200 text and media feeds.
- Timestamps show the freshest content.
- Screencaptures of the different blogs promote site recognition.
- A “Top Blogs” section on the subpages listing blogs commonly posting content in that area.
I’ve launched a new website called The Practical Ontologist. From its about page:
Every few hours a computer at a datacenter scans the web for new philosophical content. It then analyzes, processes, and formats the information. This creates an always updating website for easy perusal.
I built this site to highlight all the public philosophy that is posted every single day online and as a way for people to discover philosophically oriented websites. While there are already many excellent websites that post links to philosophical content, *The Practical Ontologist* is focused on staying fresh and not being a Balkanizing social network. It is the Google News of philosophy blogs.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
A few weeks into the semester and the calendar is packed with events (but no one seems to have told the admin of Rutgers Philosophy Dept. webpage). Traffic to the calendar has continued its slow and steadily rise, with a corresponding rise in repeat visitors, that is, people who come back to check for updates. So, hello to all you new and return users. Feedback is welcome, as are event submissions.
I finally got around to looking into the issue where every event had a button to buy tickets, whether or not the event actually required them. If any of you checked the website this afternoon (16 September) you would have noticed that the entire site was down. Only “Error connecting to database” when loading the site. Yep, clicked on the wrong thing in the database and ruined the entire site. Took me a few hours to restore everything, but, hey, no useless ticket buttons anymore. The loss of data do to this crash is also why there are minor changes to how the site looks. Backup your data, people.
I’ve also started relying on a program to check websites for changes. This has been very helpful as my list of different philosophy-related groups has grown. So thank you to urlwatch by Thomas Perl.
As per usual, lots of great philosophy talks. I’m
still waiting on CUNY to update [updated Feb 1], which is unusual, since they are often first to publish their speaker list. Many departments and groups have been modernizing their websites, too, which is a step forward. Most are not quite there yet, and some departments, apparently, do not even control what goes on their webpage.
In this, the 9th(!) year of the NYC Philosophy Calendar, it seems that there has been greater professional interest in public philosophy: There has been talk about how to engage the public through the internet and new public philosophy awards. (Is the ivory tower starting to shake a little? Or just being dragged into the future?) I’d settle for a little more interdepartmental communication in terms of scheduling. We could have a mini-conference each week if we wanted to, and it could serve as a focus of outreach and community building.
Speaking of outreach — not that I’m actually an academic — traffic to the calendar has steadily risen over the last year. Manhattan has beaten out Brooklyn in calendar pageviews in the last few weeks, which is rare. I’ve even met people who found talks through my calendar. (No beer donations, sadly.) Also, for the first time ever, I rejected a request to be on the calendar: don’t write me a cloying email saying how insightful my blog has been in the last few months (when I hadn’t actually posted anything, and not that it has ever been insightful) and then ask to get your cult leader/ dvd seller/ pyramid scheme talk on the calendar.
One idea I had was to become a degree granting institution. That’s right, a NYC Philosophy Calendar Degree in philosophy! I’ve been developing a way to register which talks you’ve been attending, and when you take enough talks, you get credit towards a degree. Enough credits equals a minor, then major, eventually all the way up to PhD. Yes, this will all be based off fake internet points, and you will have to self-report your attendence, but, hey, people love tracking progress and getting awards for it.
Have a great semester, all.
[image credit: oglaf.com. Often gleefully NSFW.]
It has been an interesting 2015 for me philosophically. I’ve been writing feverishly because I had something published — to my great surprise — in Analysis. Figure I need something to follow up with. The paper is a modified version of my post Punny Logic, from back in January, and was the top download of both June and July. If you have institutional access, you can click here, else click here for the preprint. Hopefully I’ll have some new posts and papers to show soon.
As per usual the philosophy calendar is going strong. Lots of philosophy talks, workshops and conferences are scheduled for the coming semester in and around New York City. Even more will be posted as websites and departments update.
My only regret is that I don’t have plans to get to England in the next few weeks to witness the glory of Dismaland:
As is my Xmas tradition, I watched “Die Hard”. Surprisingly one of the characters reminded me of the current state of internet philosophy:
Something that caught my eye in the recent PGR debate was a compliment of the anti-PGR faction’s organizational skills that was stated right along side an insult to their actions. Specifically:
“I really do not understand what is going on. You [did x]… The response has been a well-organized attempt to force you to [do y]. But [doing x] had exactly nothing to do with [doing y].”
This well-organization stands in contrast to:
“I would rather not have had to make the decision in the face of a sometimes irrational cyber-mob”
I think this contradiction in characterization — either the anti-PGR faction is well-organized or it is an irrational mob, but not both — reveals something interesting going on with the PGR and philosophy.
I’d like to focus on the compliment of the organizational skills as it is the more revealing.
Let’s assume that complimenting your opponent’s organizational skills was not done out of magnanimity. Instead, it works to shift the blame away from the pro-PGR arguments and moral standing: the opponents won because of reasons that were not pertinent to the discussion, not “legitimate” reasons. That is, no one is paying attention to the pro-PGR arguments because they are so blinded by the ‘organization’ of the anti-PGR faction.
There are two ways to understand this:
- They are accusing the anti-PGR faction of running a conspiracy. Being well organized implies that there wasn’t really a consensus against the PGR. Instead, only the appearance of a consensus exists through the efforts of the anti-PGR leaders. These masterminds have engineered the appearance of a consensus to gather popular support for their illegitimate cause. The masterminds have fooled the masses into doing their bidding.
Besides implying that there is no consensus, this is a clever strategy because it puts the the anti-PGR faction into the position of proving a negative: proving that they were not so well organized and hence that there is no conspiracy.
- Though the pro-PGR folks understand what has happened, they do not understand HOW it happened. The claim of well-organization is being used as a catch-all in place of a better causal explanation.
I think the latter is the more likely of the two options. Firstly, because confusion is admitted directly in the quote, and secondly because the PGR debate itself is exactly about how to evaluate different philosophies.
The PGR has systematically been evaluating philosophy for years, and hence inherently creates confirmation bias with respect to those rankings. The confirmation bias will, over time, overvalue philosophy at the top of the rankings and undervalue philosophy at the bottom.
What, then, may have happened is that the success of the PGR infected the minds of those most involved with it. The confirmation bias caused them to undervalue and overlook the capabilities of low-ranked philosophies, to the point of atrophy. So when those philosophies became mobilized against them, they couldn’t see or understand what was happening. They became inevitable victims of their own success.
After running this site for 7 years, I have done a comprehensive update of the systems that run it, namely migrating it to a brand new database. This has increased the site speed, noticeable in page loading times especially on the calendar. The calendar is going strong, with many talks and events for the Fall of 2014. Please check it out if you are in the New York City metropolitan area.
I’ve updated the NYC Area Philosophy Calendar for Spring 2014. As per usual, there are some great talks and conferences to check out.
I’d love feedback about the calendar, so please get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions.
From my website statistics Brooklyn, NY has the heaviest calendar users. Hello Brooklyn.