Miscellany: Forthcoming Reason Papers; Joe Duarte’s new blog

I’ve been a little slow (and will be a little slow) on the blogging front because Carrie-Ann Biondi, Kate Herrick, and I are in the middle of proofreading the forthcoming issue of Reason Papers (vol 36, number 1). It looks like the issue will be going live on the RP site on August 18. We were supposed to get the issue out last fall, but events conspired against us, so it’s taken us until now.

There’s a lot of good stuff in the issue. I myself particularly liked the juxtaposition of a symposium on Robert Talisse’s Democracy and Moral Conflict and a retrospective symposium on Waco. Talisse is a phenomenally interesting and productive philosopher, and a great guy to boot, and I think his book is a must-read.

Unfortunately, the Waco symposium has come out a year late, so that it’s inadvertently a 21-year rather than 20-year retrospective on the event. And disappointingly, two symposiasts–Kenneth G. C. Newport and Jayne Seminaire Docherty–had to pull out before they sent us submissions. I haven’t yet read Docherty’s book on Waco, but I find her work extremely interesting; I’ve read Newport’s book, and it’s superb. (I had also invited John Danforth and Ronald Noble to write for us, but both declined. Noble is the author of the Treasury Dept report on Waco, and Danforth wrote an independent report on Waco in the year 2000.) In any case, the five remaining symposiasts–Michael Barkun, Paul Blackman, David Kopel, Dick Reavis, and I–have some provocative things to say.

Talisse and Waco aside, I got a lot out of reading David Riesbeck’s review of Eugene Garver’s Aristotle’s Politics: Living Well and Living Together, and Danny Frederick’s review of Mark Friedman’s Nozick’s Libertarian Project: An Elaboration and Defense. But more on all this when the issue actually comes out.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something else to read online, try Joe Duarte’s new website and blog, Social Psychology and Scientific Validity. Joe and I met for the first time last year at the TAS Graduate Seminar, where he attacked all the philosophers there for being so anti-empirical. I guess I took his criticisms to heart because just a few months after I met him, I decided to enter a master’s program in counseling psychology, in part to become more empirical about ethics–by remedying my embarrassing ignorance of social science, among other things. As I put it in my personal statement, I decided to pursue the degree because I thought it was about time that I learned something about people, something that a PhD in philosophy hadn’t really taught me.

Anyway, Joe seems to have started his blog just a few weeks before I started this one, and it’s well worth reading: he’s more polemical and opinionated than I am, and that’s saying something. He’s also just published a paper (as first author) in Behavioral and Brain Science alongside Jonathan Haidt, Philip Tetlock, and several others. That’s an ass-kicking achievement, if you don’t mind my putting it that way, and one that’s bound to have some impact, so I’d advise taking a look.

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