Archive for August, 2014

Cover 'The Divine Order'

Two historical papers made it into the Philosopher’s Annual 2014, as reported on Leiter:

Congratulations to the selected authors!

A quick glance at previous editions of PA suggests that this result is fairly standard. Papers in history of philosophy—not restricted to the modern period—have made up between zero and two items per issue, with texts on Kant and Frege doing especially well (respectively, eight and five papers in total over the 32 years surveyed). But does that mean that typically only a maximum of two historical works is among the ten ‘best papers’ published each year?

That is debatable. Meena Krishnamurthy at Philosop-her has raised questions about the methodology used in selecting the papers (here, and also last year here), and Eric Schliesser noted last year that for modern philosophy, inclusion in this list does not particularly reflect what is going on in the field. For good reason, then, on its website PA is characterized as ‘an attempt to pick the ten best articles of the year’, not as a final judgment on what work will push a field forward. Further, we may even wonder whether we should keep on ranking ‘best’ papers in the first place? Best in what respect anyway—persuasiveness, style, urgency?

More optimally, we view Philosopher’s Annual as a list of recommended reading from the papers published in the previous year. Stuff that you would do good to pay attention to, in case you had not yet gotten round to studying it. Viewing this list as recommended reading brings out that there is a specific group of philosophers doing the recommending, possibly even with a specific group of philosophers they are recommending the work to.

In the spirit of viewing these lists as ‘recommended reading’, are there any papers in modern philosophy published in 2013 you would suggest to a general philosophical audience?

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Eric Schliesser has some remarks about the role of Jonathan Bennett’s translations at Earlymoderntexts.org in scholarship:


First, all translation is an interpretation. Translating complex philosophical texts is much, much harder than figuring out ‘gavagai.’ This is so, even if you have written the text yourself and are fluent in both languages. You should try translating some time; even if you are not a meaning holist, you’ll discover that a lot of philosophical jargon is not stable and uniform across cultural and temporal contexts. (Surprisingly enough, this is even  true of works in the history of physics.) So, leaving aside honest mistakes, all translations involve non-trivial judgments and trade-offs with a complex interplay among style, content, jargon, sentence structure, and even argumentative structure (this list is not exhaustive).

In earlymoderntexts.org, Jonathan Bennett, who is one of the greatest historians of philosophy of his generation and who should be praised for his dedication to the field and pedagogy, is refreshingly forthright that in his translations the aim is to make “the original thought more accessible than it is on the original page.” He uses many more ‘tricks of the trade’* than any other translator known to me to achieve this and he is refreshingly and admirably transparent about how he deploys them.


See the whole post here

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CFP – 2015 Locke Workshop

The 2015 John Locke Workshop
to be held at
The Rotman Institute of Philosophy
at The University of Western Ontario
May 1-2, 2015
Keynote Speaker: Peter Anstey (Sydney)
“Locke on Measurement”
The aim of this workshop is to foster interactions among Locke scholars, encourage the development and creation of new scholarship, and further the pursuit of new ideas regarding Locke’s philosophy, its context, and its continuing significance.  Please submit a title and abstract of no more than 750 words by NOV 1, 2014 to johnlockesociety@uwo.ca.  Final papers should be no longer than 5000 words.  The full program will be made available by DEC 15, 2014.  Further information regarding the workshop, accommodation options, and other practical matters will be available at that time.  Submissions on any topic of Locke’s philosophy will be considered, but we would especially welcome submissions regarding Locke’s natural philosophy and/or philosophy of science, broadly construed.

The John Locke Society
Jessica Gordon-Roth (CUNY-Lehman)
Benjamin Hill (Western Ontario)


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