We're very pleased to announce that Lawrence Blum has joined the list of contributors to PEA Soup. Lawrence is a Professor of Philosophy at U-Mass, Boston, as well as a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education. He's written several highly regarded books in moral philosophy, including the very influential Friendship, Altruism, and Morality. He's also done work on the philosophy of race (see hisI'm Not a Racist, But...: The Moral Quandary of Race), philosophy of education, empathy, and care. Welcome aboard, Lawrence!
We, the Davids Shoemaker and Sobel, have decided to step down from the managing of PEA Soup. Shoemaker has been a co-editor of the blog since its inception in 2004 (with Dan Boisvert, Josh Glasgow, and Doug Portmore), and Sobel has been a co-editor since 2013. During that run we have made a number of efforts to increase traffic, diversify the line-up, encourage greater participation, and partner with the top moral and political journals for sophisticated discussion of their leading articles. While we have had some successes, we also recognize that it’s a changing internet world and we haven’t been as successful as we would have liked in some respects. And we have also come to agree that we no longer have the energy required to move the blog forward in the ways that would be necessary to sustain its relevance in this changing world. So we will be stepping down.
However, we also appreciate the value the blog could continue to have under the leadership of someone (or someones) who have the energy and wherewithal to keep it running and bring new ideas to the table. We are thus looking to hear from people who would be willing to take it over. There are some relatively minor financial costs to doing so, but the opportunities are great. So we are asking for proposals from interested parties, consisting of a few paragraphs saying what ideas you might have for helping PEA Soup to flourish, along with a bit about your background, interest, and commitment. Please send these “proposals of interest” to both dshoemakATtulaneDOTedu and davidsobel3ATgmailDOTcom, no later than December 31, 2015. (We welcome co-managing proposals as well.)
PEA Soup was founded as a place where people would try out new ideas, posting about an idea for a paper and not a completed, fully armored, paper. We don’t want to discourage discussion of completed work. Indeed, we have partnered with many great journals, whose recently published papers are commented on and discussed here at quite a sophisticated level. We love those discussions. But we miss and feel the need to especially encourage the more half-assed posts about papers that are still just a twinkle in the author’s eye.
It seems clear that three things help explain the drying up of the unguarded, exploratory posts that used to be the Soup’s bread and butter, if you will. First, Facebook happened. Now people informally try out ideas with their friends on Facebook and this, we fear, feels like a more low stakes way of testing the waters. Second, our friends (and our friends of friends) who have joined PEA Soup have aged and become more decrepit, er, we mean reputable. And perhaps, as a result, a little less adventurous and willing to try out publicly ideas that have not been vetted by those we let see our warts. For a while now we have resisted adding new contributors out of fear that there would be too much posting. We have now decided that that fear was misguided and will again be open to inviting new contributors. Third, Soup itself has perhaps become somewhat reputable and now feels like a more high-stakes venue to post on than it once did. Consequently, younger folks likely feel rather intimidated about posting what they view as less-than-stellar ideas or comments.
We are pleased to announce our next Ethics discussion on Chike Jeffers's new article, "The Cultural Theory of Race: Yet Another Look at Du Bois's 'The Conservation of Races." Jeffers is an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. The article is available open access here. Tommie Shelby, professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard, is kicking off the discussion with a critical precis of Jeffers's article. Here now is Tommie Shelby:
Jeffers’s article is rich, subtle, provocative, and carefully argued. It makes
contributions to a number of related debates within what has come to be called
the philosophy of race. Jeffers offers a fresh interpretation of Du Bois’s
influential essay “The Conservation of Races” (1897) and helpfully situates his
reading within the context of leading commentaries on that piece. Extracting
insights from Du Bois, he defends a cultural theory of the meaning of “race” that
highlights the cultural dimensions of racism. And he stakes out a position on
the ethics of resistance to racism, calling for the conservation of racial
identities now and in the imagined postracist future.
If you are a contributor whose first name starts with "K" or "L," it's your special month, and we encourage you to post something. Check the calendar of events to make sure you won't be posting on top of some other planned event. Remember, we are happy to see more informal blogging, so feel free to let that half-baked idea rip!
This is the 1000th post on PEA Soup—a milestone
that seems a good occasion for reflection on the blog. We would welcome fond
memories of past discussions on the Soup or suggestions for how to improve it.
As the newcomer to Soup, I cannot give enough shout outs to the Fantastic 4
that created and sustained it for its first 9 years: Dan Boisvert, Josh Glasgow,
Doug Portmore, and David Shoemaker. Thanks guys—all of us who have benefitted
from the Soup owe you.
The blog is doing well. We are now averaging over 1000
visits a day. And there are a variety of new initiatives that we are excited
about that are only just starting up. We have significantly expanded the
excellent journals we are partnered with, started up the Featured Philosopher
series, and encouraged our contributors to post a new thread at least once a
year. As you can already see, the blog is becoming more active and there will
be more posts than ever before.
Just a quick note to point out the new "Calendar of Events" feature on PEA Soup, with the link in the banner above. It will keep you informed of forthcoming events, e.g., the Featured Philosophers scheduled to appear (several are already scheduled) and the various journal discussions. This will better enable you to plan your life around the Soup.