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Dotson, Kristie, , . How is this Paper Philosophy?
2013, Comparative Philosophy 3 (1):3-29.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: This paper answers a call made by Anita Allen to genuinely assess whether the field of philosophy has the capacity to sustain the work of diverse peoples. By identifying a pervasive culture of justification within professional philosophy, I gesture to the ways professional philosophy is not an attractive working environment for many diverse practitioners. As a result of the downsides of the culture of justification that pervades professional philosophy, I advocate that the discipline of professional philosophy be cast according to a culture of praxis. Finally, I provide a comparative exercise using Graham Priest’s definition of philosophy and Audre Lorde’s observations of the limitations of philosophical theorizing to show how these two disparate accounts can be understood as philosophical engagement with a shift to a culture of praxis perspective.

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Dotson, Kristie, , . On the Costs of Socially Relevant Philosophy Papers: A Reflection
2019, Journal of Social Philosophy .
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Introduction: The noticeable uptake of the paper ‘How Is This Paper Philosophy?’ (Dotson 2012a) within professional philosophy has given me the occasion to reflect about the uptake of philosophy papers. This may shed light on producing socially relevant philosophy articles and their costs. The relative success of that paper is a huge surprise to me. What I mean by success is pretty straightforward and not particularly ambitious. I am counting success as whether one regularly runs into people who have read one’s paper and cite it as having had an impact on their considered or ambient positions on the paper’s content. That is, it has received some uptake in a populated domain of activity. What I take to be central to ques-tions of how an article becomes socially relevant are questions of uptake. Uptake, here, is understood broadly to refer to readership that takes one’s stated positions seriously enough to adopt (or be influenced by) them in part or in whole. What I have found is that many people in academic philosophy, for example, have read ‘How Is This Paper Philosophy?’ Some folks pay serious attention to it.

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Douglas, Heather, , . Inductive Risk and Values in Science
2000, Philosophy of Science 67(4): 559-579.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: Although epistemic values have become widely accepted as part of scientific reasoning, non-epistemic values have been largely relegated to the “external” parts of science (the selection of hypotheses, restrictions on methodologies, and the use of scientific technologies). I argue that because of inductive risk, or the risk of error, non-epistemic values are required in science wherever non-epistemic consequences of error should be considered. I use examples from dioxin studies to illustrate how non-epistemic consequences of error can and should be considered in the internal stages of science: choice of methodology, characterization of data, and interpretation of results.

Comment: A good challenge to the “value-free” status of science, interrogating some of the assumptions about scientific methodology. Uses real-world examples effectively. Suitable for undergraduate teaching.

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Gannett, Lisa, , . Echoes From the Cave: Philosophical Conversations Since Plato
2014, Oup Canada.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Publisher’s Note: Echoes from the Cave: Philosophical Conversations since Plato is an anthology of classic and contemporary readings in philosophy compiled to introduce students to the main problems discussed by philosophers past and present

Comment: This is an anthology of texts on central topics in philosophy, many of which might be suitable for the DRL.

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Jacskon Balcerak, Magdalena, Brendan Balcerak Jackson, , . Understanding and Philosophical Methodology
2012,
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Abstract: According to Conceptualism, philosophy is an independent discipline that can be pursued from the armchair because philosophy seeks truths that can be discovered purely on the basis of our understanding of expressions and the concepts they express. In his recent book, The Philosophy of Philosophy, Timothy Williamson argues that while philosophy can indeed be pursued from the armchair, we should reject any form of Conceptualism. In this paper, we show that Williamson’s arguments against Conceptualism are not successful, and we sketch a way to understand understanding that shows that there is a clear sense in which we can indeed come to know the answers to (many) philosophical questions purely on the basis of understanding.

Comment: The author argues, contra Williamson, for the role of understanding as a way of gaining knowledge and providing answer to lots of philosophical questions. Good to use as a further reading for postgraduate courses in epistemology of understanding, as well as philosophical methodology.

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Le Doeuff, Michele, , . Hipparchia’s Choice: An Essay Concerning Women, Philosophy, Etc
2007, Columbia University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: A work of rare insight and irreverence, Hipparchia’s Choice boldly recasts the history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the post-Derrideans as one of masculine texts and male problems. The position of women, therefore, is less the result of a hypothetical “femininity” and more the fault of exclusion by men. Nevertheless, women have been and continue to be drawn to “the exercise of thought.” So how does a female philosopher become a conceptually adventurous woman? Focusing on the work of Sartre and Beauvoir (specifically, his sexism and her relation to it), Michele Le Doeuff shows how women philosophers can reclaim a place for feminist concerns. Is The Second Sex a work of philosophy, and, if so, what can it teach us about the relation of philosophy to experience? Now with a new epilogue, Hipparchia’s Choice points the way toward a discipline that is accountable to history, feminism, and society.

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Lord, Beth, , . Spinoza’s Ethics
2010, Indiana University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Pauline Phemister

Publisher’s Note: Baruch Spinoza was born in Amsterdam during a period of unprecedented scientific, artistic, and intellectual discovery. Upon its release, Spinoza’s Ethics was banned; today it is the quintessential example of philosophical method. Although acknowledged as difficult, the book is widely taught in philosophy, literature, history, and politics. This introduction is designed to be read side by side with Spinoza’s work. As a guide to the style, vocabulary, and arguments of the Ethics, it offers a range of interpretive possibilities to prepare students to become conversant with Spinoza’s philosophical method and his challenge to conventional thinking

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Lovibond, Sabina, , Scheman, Naomi. Engenderings: Constructions of Knowledge, Authority and Privilege
1993, Routledge
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: Naomi Scheman argues that the concerns of philosophy emerge not from the universal human condition but from conditions of privilege. Her books represents a powerful challenge to the notion that gender makes no difference in the construction of philosophical reasoning. At the same time, it criticizes the narrow focus of most feminist theorizing and calls for a more inclusive form of inquiry.

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Midgley, Mary, , . Philosophical Pluming
1992, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements 33: 139-151
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion, Contributed by:

Introduction: Is philosophy like plumbing? I have made this comparison a number of times when I have wanted to stress that philosophising is not just grand and elegant and difficult, but is also needed. It is not optional. The idea has caused mild surprise, and has sometimes been thought rather undignified. The question of dignity is a very interesting one, and I shall come back to it at the end of this article. But first, I would like to work the comparison out a bit more fully.

Comment: This text offers an accessible and vibrant discussion of meta-philosophical concerns regarding the nature and purpose of philosophical enquiry. No prior knowledge is assumed, and the text would make for a fruitful starting point – or introductory reading to – the topic of metaphilosophy or philosophical methods. It will be particularly useful for sparking interest in philosophical methods and demonstrating to students the purpose and value of asking meta-philosophical questions.

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Midgley, Mary, , . What is Philosophy For?
2018, London: Bloomsbury Academic
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Why should anybody take an interest in philosophy? Is it just another detailed study like metallurgy? Or is it similar to history, literature and even religion: a study meant to do some personal good and influence our lives? In her last published work, Mary Midgley addresses provocative questions, interrogating the various forms of our current intellectual anxieties and confusions and how we might deal with them. In doing so, she provides a robust, yet not uncritical, defence of philosophy and the life of the mind.
This defence is expertly placed in the context of contemporary debates about science, religion, and philosophy. It asks whether, in light of rampant scientific and technological developments, we still need philosophy to help us think about the big questions of meaning, knowledge, and value.

Comment: An accessible text that could serve well as an alternative introduction to philosophical methodology.

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Murdoch, Iris, , . Against Dryness
1961, Encounter, January issue: 16-20.
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion, Contributed by:

Abstract: The complaints which I wish to make are concerned primarily with prose, not with poetry, and primarily with novels, not with drama; and they are brief, simplified, abstract, and possibly insular. They are not to be construed as implying any precise picture of “the function of the writer.” It is the function of the writer to write the best book he knows how to write. These remarks have to do with the background to present-day literature, in Liberal democracies in general and Welfare States in particular, in a sense in which this must be the concern of any serious critic.

Comment: This text offers a vibrant reflection on the different writing styles within philosophy and literature throughout the centuries. It would be useful for courses which touch upon the subject of philosophical style, meta-philosophy or philosophical methods, as well as – more broadly – discussions which pertain to the importance of contextualising philosophy and situating thinkers within their surrounding political environments. Though this text is clearly written, it requires a good amount of background knowledge of the authors cited within the text and as such is probably best suited to intermediate or advanced students.

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Nagel, Jennifer, , . Intuitions and Experiments: A Defense of the Case Method in Epistemology
2012, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3): 495-527.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are produced by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions.

Comment: Nagel is one of the prominent epistemologists who bring relevant psychological researches to philosophical debates. In this excellent paper, Nagel discusses the legitimacy of using pre-theoretical epistemic intuitions in epistemological theorizing in the light of findings in cognitive science. It is very useful for teachings on experimental philosophy in courses on epistemology or methodology of philosophy. It can be used together with Stephen (2013)’s response “Do different groups have different epistemic intuitions? a reply to Jennifer Nagel”.

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Potochnik, Angela, , . Feminist implications of model-based science
2012, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2):383-389.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Recent philosophy of science has witnessed a shift in focus, in that significantly more consideration is given to how scientists employ models. Attending to the role of models in scientific practice leads to new questions about the representational roles of models, the purpose of idealizations, why multiple models are used for the same phenomenon, and many more besides. In this paper, I suggest that these themes resonate with central topics in feminist epistemology, in particular prominent versions of feminist empiricism, and that model-based science and feminist epistemology each has crucial resources to offer the other’s project.

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Potochnik, Angela, , . Levels of Explanation Reconceived
2010, Philosophy of Science 77(1): 59-72.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher-level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher-level explanations are more general than their lower-level alternatives or that higher-level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different levels are preferable in different circumstances because they offer different types of generality, which are appropriate in different circumstances of explanation.

Comment: An interesting anti-anti-reductionist article. Would be useful in a discussion of explanatory power or levels of explanation in a philosophy of science course.

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Richardson, S. Sarah, , . Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome
2013, The University of Chicago Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Isela

Publisher’s Note: Human genomes are 99.9 percent identical—with one prominent exception. Instead of a matching pair of X chromosomes, men carry a single X, coupled with a tiny chromosome called the Y. Tracking the emergence of a new and distinctive way of thinking about sex represented by the unalterable, simple, and visually compelling binary of the X and Y chromosomes, Sex Itself examines the interaction between cultural gender norms and genetic theories of sex from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, postgenomic age.
Using methods from history, philosophy, and gender studies of science, Sarah S. Richardson uncovers how gender has helped to shape the research practices, questions asked, theories and models, and descriptive language used in sex chromosome research. From the earliest theories of chromosomal sex determination, to the mid-century hypothesis of the aggressive XYY supermale, to the debate about Y chromosome degeneration, to the recent claim that male and female genomes are more different than those of humans and chimpanzees, Richardson shows how cultural gender conceptions influence the genetic science of sex.

Richardson shows how sexual science of the past continues to resonate, in ways both subtle and explicit, in contemporary research on the genetics of sex and gender. With the completion of the Human Genome Project, genes and chromosomes are moving to the center of the biology of sex. Sex Itself offers a compelling argument for the importance of ongoing critical dialogue on how cultural conceptions of gender operate within the science of sex.

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