We are pleased to announce that Peter A. Graham has accepted our invitation to be a contributor at PEA Soup. Pete is a professor of philosophy at UMass Amherst. His current research concerns arguments for the incompatibility of free will and determinism, theories of moral blameworthiness, the relation between ability and obligation, and subjective and objective moral obligation. Welcome Pete!
A free online forum sponsored by Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and Wiley-Blackwell. Scheduled to run July 9 to 13, the invited symposium "Feminists Encountering Animals," published in the Animal Others special issue of Hypatia, is open for public comments and discussion.
Leading feminist animal studies scholars Lori Gruen (Ethics and Animals: An Introduction) and Kari Weil (Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now) invited six feminist scholars to reflect on trends within this burgeoning new field of scholarship. The online forum will include free access to their co-edited special issue in addition to commentary and real-time interaction among participants and authors—allowing for a lively discussion that extends the beyond the printed page.
We haven’t had a post on professional issues lately, but I hope that readers won’t mind a bit of light reading. In any case, here it goes:
Suppose that I’ve become a better teacher. Suppose, for instance, that I’ve used the same bank of test questions over the years and that, due to implementing certain non-substantive changes in my PHI X course, students taking that course from me this year are doing a better job answering those questions than students who took the same course from me in previous years. So the material that I’m trying to get the students to learn and the technique that I’ve been using for assessing whether they’ve learned it hasn’t change, but I’ve become more effective in that my current students are, on average, leaving the course with a better understanding of the material than students who took the same course from me in previous years.
The question, then, is: Should I (A) adopt higher standards with respect to what level of understanding I expect from them so as to earn certain grades or (B) keep the same standards and give higher grades on average than I had been giving in previous years?
It is fairly common to give a conditional analysis of an option, e.g.:
(CAO) Performing an act X at a future time t1 is an option for a subject S at the present time t0 if and only if S would perform X at t1 if S were to intend (to try, to decide, or to choose) at t0 to perform X at t1.
I know that there are a host of problems with such conditional analyses, but let’s set those aside for the moment, for I want to address what seems to be an unappreciated worry concerning the possibility of indeterminism.
In light of feedback some of you have sent to the editors over the past several months, we have finally been able to make a few improvements to PEA Soup. You've likely already noticed the most important ones, but just to make it "official," a brief description is below the fold:
We are pleased to present the next installment of Ethics at PEA Soup. Our featured article this time around is Justin Clarke-Doane’s “Morality and Mathematics: The Evolutionary Challenge,” which is available here. We are very grateful to Matthew Braddock, Andreas Mogensen, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong for kicking off the discussion with the following thought-provoking post (see below the fold). Questions and comments about either Clarke-Doane’s article or the post by Braddock et al. are most welcome.