24 04 2008

I suppose it’s been about four months since I last updated here – partly that’s been because I was busy with the job search, and partly it’s because I’m still finishing up my dissertation. Anyway, I’m glad to announce that I’ll be taking a tenure-track position at USC starting next year. Additionally, I’ll be spending two semesters as a post-doc in the RSSS department of philosophy at ANU, most likely from June to December of 2008 and of 2009. Part of the reason why it took so long to sort out my job situation is that I’ve been trying to make sure these two positions will be compatible. (Part of the reason was also that the tenure-track offers I did receive were all offered to other people first, who turned them down.) At any rate I’m very excited to be affiliated with both of these institutions. The other job offers I had were also quite attractive, and it was very hard to turn them down.

I’ve missed a few things in the past few months that I should mention. My second book review was published, as was my first actual paper:
Review of Jody Azzouni’s Tracking Reason
“The Role of Axioms in Mathematics”
Plus, I also got a paper accepted to Mind, and a paper (with Mark Colyvan) accepted to The Australasian Journal of Logic!

Also, since I was tagged by Shawn, here’s the 5th, 6th, and 7th sentences of p. 123 of the book that happened to be closest to me when I read his post (which is Roger Penrose’s, The Road to Reality, which I’ve been using so far to refresh my multivariable and complex analysis, and hope to eventually learn a bit of physics from).

From the complex perspective, we see that $1/z$ is indeed a single function. The one place where the function ‘goes wrong’ in the complex plane is the origin $z=0$. If we remove this one point from the complex plane, we still get a connected region.

From now on I hope I’ll be back to more regular posting.

## Probabilistic Causation in Hungary

20 12 2007

Budapest is a very nice city, and this sounds like an interesting program – I’m just not yet sure whether I can plan anything for that time period, or else I would certainly apply.

Course Dates: JULY 21 – AUGUST 1, 2008
Location: Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary,
Detailed course description: http://www.sun.ceu.hu/causality

Faculty: Miklos Redei, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics, UK; Nancy Cartwright, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Damian Fennell, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Gabor Hofer-Szabo, King Sigismund College, Budapest, Hungary; Ferenc Huoranszki, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Laszlo E. Szabo, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary; Richard E. Neapolitan, Northeastern Illinois University

Target group: advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty and researchers in philosophy, physics, economics and computer science
Language of instruction: English
Tuition fee: EUR 500, financial aid is available.
The application deadline: February 14, 2008 (for scholarship places), April 30, 2008 (for fee-paying applications)
Online application: http://www.sun.ceu.hu/apply (attachments to be sent by email to causality@ceu.hu).

For further information queries can be directed to the SUN office by email (summeru@ceu.hu), via skype (ceu-sun) or telephone (00-36-1-327-3811).

## APA Interview Scheduling, 2007

13 12 2007

I realized from looking at the Philosophy Job Market Wiki that I had been waiting for interviews to be announced and worrying about them not being announced substantially earlier than I should have been. So I figured it would be useful to compile statistics on the time-line of when interviews were scheduled. I’ll try to keep updating this as the season goes on. I was considering compiling something like this after the APA was done, but some comments in this thread on the Philosophy Job Market Blog suggested that there would be demand for it now. I think it’ll be more useful for people in future years than for this year (since by definition, the data isn’t available until after the interviews are announced).

Also, for those paying attention in future years note that the distribution may well vary from year to year, both because weekends will fall at different points in the semester and in relation to the date of the APA, and also because there will be a different number and selection of departments hiring, and disciplinary trends will be changing. (For instance, in future years, more or fewer departments may decide to skip the APA interviews, or it might become more standard to e-mail candidates rather than call them or whatever.) Also, in each case, I’m just counting lines on the Philosophy Job Market Wiki – I know that sometimes a single line represents two or more potential hires, or that a single department may have multiple lines on the wiki that don’t all end up representing different hires, but this is the easiest way to count. “Leiter Ranked” means Leiter 2006-2008 top 54 in the US, 15 in UK, 4 in Canada, and 4 in Australasia – I know this unfairly excludes universities in Ireland and continental Europe, and is a fairly arbitrary cutoff in each region that is included, but at least it’s publicly available.

TOTAL TENURE-TRACK JOBS – 278
TOTAL LEITER RANKED – 49
TOTAL NON-US – 30

Number of jobs that first scheduled an interview (phone, APA, or otherwise) or campus visit on a given date (rows are grouped by week):

 DATE: by 12/2 12/3 12/4 12/5 12/6 12/7 TOTAL TT 20 1 7 10 7 12 LEITER RANKED 5 0 1 0 0 1 NON-US 4 0 0 0 0 0 DATE: 12/8-9 12/10 12/11 12/12 12/13 12/14 TOTAL TT 4 20 13 25 25 23 LEITER RANKED 0 7 2 6 7 5 NON-US 1 3 0 1 0 0 DATE: 12/15-16 12/17 12/18 12/19 12/20 12/21 12/22-23 TOTAL TT 5 16 13 12 8 2 1 LEITER RANKED 1 2 4 3 1 0 0 NON-US 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 Not entered in Wiki as of 12/24 TOTAL TT 75 LEITER RANKED 14 NON-US 22

If there are other categories that would be easy to track that people would like tracked, mention them in the comments. I might want to track liberal arts colleges, but I won’t necessarily recognize which names to track. I may well have missed a couple international jobs too, because the name wasn’t obviously Canadian.

16 09 2007

First, I’ll mention that I’ve updated my blogroll – there’s been a real burst in math blogs over the summer, at least in part instigated by my friends at the Secret Blogging Seminar, but also by the spurt of Fields Medalists with blogs. (Are we up to 10% of the total number now?) I’ve also added a few philosophy blogs that I’ve been reading for a while, and a couple that I should have been reading, but of course I’m sure I’m missing others.

Anyway, there’s new math job search gossip stuff going on on the web – I think the discussion on that post is interesting and relevant across disciplines for people trying to figure out whether this is generally a good thing or not.

Tim Gowers discusses the way logarithms and other abstract things should be taught. He advocates a way that’s a bit more formalist than some others suggest, but it sounds reasonable to me. There’s also interesting discussion of formalism there in the comments, though some of it sounds more like structuralism to me. See for example Terence Tao’s comment, “I guess there is a fundamental transition in mathematical learning when one realises that what mathematical objects are (and how they are constructed) may be less important than what mathematical objects do (e.g. what properties they obey).”

Also, a discussion about the Axiom of Choice at The Everything Seminar (I may add that one to my links later too), focusing on a puzzle I first heard from my friend Lukas Biewald. There’s interesting discussion in the comments that reveals implicit ideas about platonism and formalism among mathematicians. I think the anti-platonist majority there should be a bit more careful though, because similar issues apply in arithmetic, thanks to Gödel’s results. I think we should be much more hesitant to say that the natural numbers are just something we make up than they are with the universe of ZFC (or a topos, or whatever), as I mentioned before.

## Job Search

12 09 2007

As some of you probably already know, I’m going on the job market this year. I don’t know if that will affect my blogging, except possibly to make it lighter (especially since I won’t be at any conferences for a while, and they tend to give me blogging inspiration). I probably won’t blog about job-search-related stuff though. (You can find that sort of stuff here if you want it.)

But it looks like Aidan has put together some links on this (despite being only in his third year). One he missed is the academic job market wiki, including a philosophy section. I wasn’t too in touch with people on the market last year – does anyone have any comments as to how useful that wiki was then? I suspect it will only be useful if a lot of people use it.

## Melbourne Visit

18 06 2006

Liek Richard before me (and myself last year), I had a nice visit in Melbourne. Unfortunately, it was fairly short because the tickets were more expensive at other times. It’s amazing how helpful it can be to explain your ideas to someone who isn’t working immediately in the same field – I got some useful ideas from my conversations with Greg and Zach that I spent some time writing up yesterday. In some sense they’re just points about how to present some of the ideas, but the right way to present and link ideas is certainly an extremely large part of the advances in most good work (if not 90% of the progress).

Anyway, so that this post has some slight amount of content itself, here is a link my boyfriend sent me to a talk by psychologist Daniel Gilbert on decision theory, and how people are often bad at estimating both probabilities and utilities. I find it particularly interesting because I’m talking on Tuesday about decision theory here in Canberra (I’ll be repeating it at the AAP in a couple weeks, and I gave a version a few weeks ago at Stanford as well). But also, it’s interesting that someone could be talking about this stuff to a general audience at South by Southwest (which apparently is much more than just a music festival).

## Linguistics and Philosophy

6 06 2006

I’m off to Australia this evening (I’ll be there until July 7), and it’ll probably be a few days before I get settled in.

Anyway, until then, I was struck by this post by Mark Liberman over at Language Log, where he points out that by several measures, it seems that the field of psychology is around 10 to 100 times larger than the field of linguistics. This quite surprised me, because I was under the impression that linguistics was substantially larger than philosophy (at least, currently). I’m not entirely sure where I got this impression, because when I repeat the sorts of searches that Mark Liberman mentions there, philosophy comes out ahead of linguistics. I must have picked it up when finding papers on Google Scholar and noticing that, for instance, an important paper in philosophy like “On What There Is” or “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” have 192 and 649 citations listed each, while Grice’s two big papers get 478 and 3487 citations each. I’m sure it’s at least in part because these papers are somewhat more recent, and thus have been cited by more papers that have made it into Google’s database, but I had also thought that citations by linguists were swamping those by philosophers. It’s also possible that Google just has better coverage of linguistics journals than philosophical ones. But anyway, now I’m wondering, which discipline is larger, and how is it really possible to measure something like that?