Archives for philosophy



Women and Philosophy

In our podcast “Women Are Not Men,” we explored why Wikipedia has such a low percentage of female editors. John Riedl, the researcher who studied the Wikipedia gender gap (and who passed away this summer), had this to say:

RIEDL: We know from a bunch of psychology studies that women tend to be made more uncomfortable by conflict than men are made uncomfortable by conflict. And so one of the ideas is maybe in Wikipedia where the fundamental nature of the site is that if you want to correct what someone else has done, the way you do that is you delete it and write them a really mean message. Well, maybe that’s creating a culture of conflict that is driving women away. They just don’t find it a place they enjoy being, and so they go places where they’re happier.

An op-ed by Linda Martín Alcoff in The New York Times reports a similar discussion in the field of philosophy, where only 16.6 percent of professors are women, and none are women of color. Read More »



For Salespeople in Need of a Self-Esteem Boost …

In Book 2 of Plato’s Republic, Adeimantus poses a question worthy of an economics seminar:

Suppose now that a husbandman, or an artisan, brings some production to market, and he comes at a time when there is no one to exchange with him — is he to leave his calling and sit idle in the market-place?

Socrates replies:

Not at all; he will find people there who, seeing the want, undertake the office of salesmen. In well-ordered States they are commonly those who are the weakest in bodily strength, and therefore of little use for any other purpose; their duty is to be in the market, and to give money in exchange for goods to those who desire to sell and to take money from those who desire to buy.

All right, the “weakest in bodily strength” crack isn’t so nice, but it is nice to see Socrates (and Plato) give credit where credit is due — to the hardworking salespeople and money-handlers who keep our commerce flowing.

(HT: Carlos Eduardo Soares Concalves, via JPE.)



A Year Without Unhappiness?

A year without lying followed by a year without unhappiness. Read More »



Who Is the Greatest Modern-Day Thinker?

The e-mail gods recently delivered this interesting query from a reader named Derek Wilhelm: I go to the University of Richmond, which requires [us] to take a class called Core, where we read famous historical books. (Gandhi, Marx, Plato, Augustine, just to name a few). Anyway, my question for you is: Who do you think […] Read More »