A New Emmy Noether Group

We are very happy to announce that long-time phlox-member Moritz Schulz has received a prestigious Emmy Noether Grant for a project on knowledge and decision here at Hamburg. Moritz has already advertised a Post-Doc position in the project. Further positions will be announced in due course. So stay tuned.


Summer School with Jonathan Schaffer

We are very happy to announce the fifth instalment of the Hamburg Summer-School in theoretical philosophy, this year organised jointly by Phlox and Richard Woodward’s Emmy Noether-Group. The summer-school will be taught by Prof. Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers) and focus on contrastivism in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language. It will take place from July 18 to July 22.

For more information please consult this page.


New Members

The Phlox-group is happy to announce the arrival of two new members:

  • Sonja Schierbaum started working on a DFG-funded project on Leibniz’s and Crusius’s theories of free will and the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
  • Moritz Schulz, a member of the original lineup of Phlox, will be a core member of Phlox again as he just started on an assistant professorship at the University of Hamburg.

We are very glad to welcome the two and we’re looking forward to working with them.

Stipends for the workshop Imperatives: Worlds and Beyond

We are happy to announce that we will be able to offer up to five stipends, each in the amount of 400 Euro, for graduate students to help finance their visit to Kit Fine’s workshop “Imperatives: Worlds and Beyond” taking place in Hamburg on June 12th and 13th this year.

In order to apply, please send a CV as well as cover page including your name, affiliation, contact information, and a brief statement of no more than 250 words, briefly explaining how your research would benefit from attending the workshop, to robert.schwartzkopff@uni-hamburg.de.

The application deadline is March 16th 2016. We aim to arrive at decisions no later than April 15th 2016.

Pronouns and Philosophia Mathematica

The editorial board of Philosophia Mathematica have discussed the review of Haverkamp’s book (see the post below). The general editor, Robert Thomas, issued the following statement:

In the recent review of Nick Haverkamp’s Intuitionism vs. Classicism: A Mathematical Attack on Classical Logic in Philosophia Mathematica, published online on October 27th 2015, a paragraph was included that did not meet the standards for which we aim in the journal. We apologise for this. The review has now been retracted and procedures have been established to prevent similar episodes in the future.

Sexism in Philosophy and Mathematics

In a note on Nick Haverkamp’s Intuitionism vs. Classicism. A Mathematical Attack on Classical Logic, the reviewer Fred Richman, Professor for Mathematics in Florida, shows several bad judgements rolled into one. In the middle of his comments on the philosophical contents of the book, one finds the following sudden outburst:

“The author constantly uses the pronouns ‘her’ and ‘she’ in a gender-neutral setting. This juvenile affectation seems now to be de rigueur among male academic writers. I wonder if it helps them attract women or if it just makes them feel like cool dudes. Maybe they simply enjoy offending people, pour épater les bourgeois.”

So much comes to mind that one wonders what to say at all. Perhaps only two things:

1. It is bad judgement to think that a critical review of a young academic’s work is a good place for an old man’s rant about the youth gone astray. While this holds independently of the specific content of the rant, such an outburst is just obviously a wrong if that content doesn’t have anything to do with the substance of the work reviewed. But some old men apparently won’t learn that any more.

2. While I think that using the pronoun ‘she’ in a gender-neutral setting is an appropriate way of drawing attention to the curiosity of the habit of using ‘he’ in such a context, it can of course be discussed whether it is the best way, and also whether there are reasons to avoid this particular way. But note that the rant by Richman does nothing of that sort. Instead, it is a mere combination of sexist (surely, that is how to make women fall for you …) and outright stupid elements.

3. I do not think that editors should censor the work they publish, except in exceptional circumstances. How to define such circumstances, I do not know. But independently of that, the present case is a brilliant opportunity for the editors of Philosophia Mathematica to position themselves and publish an editorial notice in which they point out some advice on what should, and what shouldn’t, be part of a good review. That wouldn’t be censoring; it would just be the right thing to do.