Lots of people pay close attention to the US News National University Rankings. But some academics want field-specific rankings. And some academics have created their own. In philosophy, we created the Philosophical Gourmet Report to rank philosophy Ph.D. programs. For many reasons, academic philosophers are becoming more vocal about their criticism of these philosophy rankings (e.g., Bruya 2015, De Cruz 2018). In this post, I will propose a new system. This system will address common complaints about philosophy’s existing ranking system: It will be more versatile, up-to-date, and generalizable.
1. THE COMPLAINTS
The complaints about the rankings are voluminous — what else would you expect from philosophers? In lieu of an outline of every blog post and every public statement, I provide a list of major themes that fall into three different categories: the practice of ranking, the current process of ranking, and the current leadership of the ranking.
Complaints About Ranking
Rankings might misrepresent the magnitude of the differences between departments.
Rankings might indicate a false sense of hierarchy and/or prestige.
An office can be a sanctuary for productivity. An important component of the santucary is the desk. I find that some desk setups are less distracting and more practical than others. In this post, I’ll mention a few things about my current desk setup.
1. THE DESKTOP
Sometimes I stand at my desk and sometimes I sit. I When I am sitting, I use the ViewSonic LCD monitor as an external monitor. Mounted on the wall behind the desk is a SteelMaster Organizer. On the top shelf of the organizer I have a Dell LCD monitor. I extended the bottom shelf with a piece of plywood that protrudes over the desk to hold my laptop and my coffee tumbler. I use the other shelves in the organizer for papers.
And yeah, I know. It’s not a glorious workstation. I had to MacGyver the standing desk from leftovers in the department storage closet. Another department was kind enough to give me another old monitor after they remodeled some offices. What can I say? I’m a scavenger. I’m always on the lookout for ways to use redundant campus equipment, e.g., my last standing desk.
2. THE COMPUTER
I’ve had a few laptops and a tablet over the last 10 years. I’ve found that I strongly prefer Apple’s operating systems to Microsoft’s operating system. I also prefer smaller and lighter devices over larger and heavier devices; it makes travel and bike commuting a lot more tolerable. And when I’m traveling I find that I prefer screens that are no larger than a piece of paper. That leaves me with two options: an iPad or a small Macbook. I’ve tried iPads, but they just didn’t do everything I needed to do. The main problem is that iOS is miles away from OS X. So I went with the macbook air. It’s small, light, durable (no glass panel display), and powerful enough for my daily needs. Plus, I get 9-10 hours of battery life which is great when I’m traveling.
So that’s my desk. Sometimes I sit. Sometimes I stand. And when I stand I prefer to stand on The Level. My trusty workhorse is the macbook air accompanied by one of two computer monitors.
Thoughts about the steup? What is your desk setup like? Or if you’re undecided about a setup, what do you want out of a setup?Thoughts, pics, links, etc. are welcome in the comments.
† Here’s an example. First, some background. When I’m at my desk, my back is to the door. And the door is almost always open. When I am reading and writing, I often listen to music. And sometimes I find myself dancing to the music…with my back to the door…while the door is wide open. Once in awhile I catch myself and then turn around to find a couple of students laughing at me from the hallway.