Monday, September 19, 2011

Spreading the word on a new jobs board.

Given what a disaster the APA website has turned out to be this year, I think its worth publicizing a new place to advertise philosophy jobs. Most of you have probably seen this already, but I think the more places it is posted, the better. Copying from The Philosophy Smoker:

David Morrow, who is awesome, writes:

Chris Sula and I have revamped the Phylo site to create an actual jobs board to (ahem) supplement the JFP. The URL is the same as the old wiki: As of today, we'll start accepting job postings in that space from departmental representatives only. Following Harry Brighouse's advice, we'll also require a link to an external site (e.g., an announcement on the department's web site) to verify each post's authenticity. We're moving the job wiki to People will still be able to post unofficial updates there. We're still in the process of updating the wiki software to play nicely with the jobs board, but it will be up well before anyone needs to post status updates. In the meantime, watch the main jobs board to find out about job openings..

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Conclusion of the Kanazawa Affair

The LSE internal review into Satoshi Kanazawa's controversial blog post (which we discussed here and here) is finally concluded. The findings (and a letter of "apology" from Kanazawa) can be read here. The report states, among other things that
some of the arguments used in the publication were flawed and not supported by evidence, that an error was made in publishing the blog post and that Dr Kanazawa did not give due consideration to his approach or audience
some of the assertions put forward in the blog post were flawed and would have benefited from more rigorous academic scrutiny
and that
the author ignored the basic responsibility of a scientific communicator to qualify claims made in proportion to the certainty of the evidence.
As a result of these findings LSE has taken disciplinary action against Kanazawa:
In particular, Dr Kanazawa must refrain from publishing in all non-peer reviewed outlets for a year. Further, he will not be teaching any compulsory courses in the School for this academic year. 
Somehow the school thinks that these measures will ensure that
an incident of this nature does not happen again.
I don't know what readers of this blog who followed this story think, but as far as I am concerned this is an egregious example of too little too late and I really can's see how the measures put in place by the school can stop a repeat offender like Kanazawa, whose modus operandi crucially involves making outrageous and divisive claims on the basis of very little or no evidence evidence for the purpose of presumably getting some press attention, from offending again. What do others think?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Evolutionary Psychology and Philosophy of Biology

Philosophers of biology often have a very dim view of evolutionary psychology, and evolutionary-psychology bashing has been a successful cottage industry.

I have been unimpressed by many of these criticisms, in part because of the feeling that the critics of evolutionary psychology were very poorly informed about what evolutionary psychology was. Imo, many of them simply have no serious acquaintance with the field they are criticizing.

But, so far, my reaction was just that: an opinion, a feeling. Not anymore.

In a forthcoming article ("An evidence-based study of the evolutionary behavioral sciences" in BJPS), Kara Cohen and I have provided support for this impression. using a new tool: quantitative citation analysis. We show that the usual, very negative characterization of evolutionary psychology is largely mistaken, and that philosophers of biology have been fighting a strawman.

It is also noteworthy that quantitative citation analysis could be particularly useful for philosophers of science who want to add quantitative tools to their toolbox.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Journal: The Journal of Causal Inference

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Journal of Causal Inference, a new
journal dedicated to building a rigorous cross-disciplinary dialogue in causality.

Existing discipline-specific journals tend to bury causal analysis in the language
and methods of traditional statistical methodologies, creating the inaccurate
impression that causal questions can be handled by routine methods of regression
or simultaneous equations and glossing over the special precautions demanded
by causal analysis. In contrast, Journal of Causal Inference highlights both the
uniqueness and interdisciplinary nature of causal research. The journal serves as
a forum for the growing causal inference community to develop a shared language
and to study the commonalities and distinct strengths of their various disciplines’
methods for causal analysis.


Journal of Causal Inference encourages submission of applied and theoretical work
from across the range of rigorous causal paradigms.

In addition to significant original research articles, Journal of Causal Inference also

1) Submissions that synthesize and assess cross-disciplinary methodological
2) Submissions that discuss the history of the causal inference field and its
philosophical underpinnings
3) Unsolicited short communications on topics that aim to highlight areas
of emerging consensus and ongoing controversy, or to bring unorthodox
perspectives to open questions
4) Responses to published articles in causality

To read more about JCI, including our aims and scope and editorial board
membership, please visit our website:

Papers can be submitted electronically at:

The first issue is planned for Fall 2011.