Running a Summer School in Mathematical Philosophy

February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP) is organizing the first Summer School on Mathematical Philosophy for Female Students, which will be held from July 27 to August 2, 2014 in Munich, Germany. The summer school is open to excellent female students who want to specialize in mathematical philosophy. The three main methodologies that will be introduced are agent-based modeling, epistemic logic, and decision theory. We will discuss how they can be used and which questions they can illuminate in philosophy. There will also be plenty of room for discussing other areas of scientific and formal philosophy, such as for example philosophy of climate science, formal philosophy of linguistics, ethics, etc., with PhDs and PostDoc students in a more informal setting.

You find all the program and all other relevant information at the summer school’s website:

Since women are significantly underrepresented in philosophy generally and in formal philosophy in particular, this summer school is aimed at encouraging women to engage with mathematical methods and apply them to philosophical problems. The summer school will provide an infrastructure for developing expertise in some of the main formal approaches used in mathematical philosophy. Furthermore, it offers study in an informal setting, lively debate, and a chance to strengthen mathematical self-confidence and independence for female students. Finally, being located at the MCMP, the summer school will also provide a stimulating and interdisciplinary environment for meeting like-minded philosophers.

Running a summer program for women undergraduates

January 17, 2014 § 1 Comment

We at UCSD are very enthusiastic about the Summer Program for Women in Philosophy that we will be running starting this summer. It is a two-week program, with all expenses covered, in which undergraduate women (philosophy majors finishing up their sophomore or junior years) will have a chance to take a couple of intensive courses from established female faculty and participate in workshops geared towards helping them make a successful run at the grad school application process.

The main goal of the program is to help address some of the factors that contribute to the gender imbalance problem that plagues the discipline. Participants in the program will be able to learn in an environment where they are not in the minority, where the instructors and teaching assistants are successful women in the field, and where they will be able to start building networks of contacts and friends, both horizontally with their peers, and vertically with philosophers further along the career trajectory.

The dates are July 28 to August 8, 2014. Application deadline is March 15, 2014.

More information can be found at the Program’s website at

And anyone interested in helping us to reach more potentially interested parties are invited to share our Facebook page at

What SWIP-Analytic is doing in the NYC area

December 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

A new calendar on the SWIP-Analytic website showcases talks within train distance of the New York City area given by women graduate students and faculty working in analytic philosophy. We feature solo talks by women and gender-balanced conferences. This calendar is inspired by the Gendered Conference Campaign. Users may contact our webmaster at swipanalytic [at] gmail [dot] com to suggest events to add to the calendar. We hope you check it out and attend!

What a Summer Institute does for undergraduates

December 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

We’re now accepting applications for PIKSI , the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Institute, 2014. This is a week-long Summer institute designed to encourage undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue graduate study in philosophy.

This seven-day institute is designed to encourage undergraduate students from under-represented groups to consider future study in the field of philosophy. PIKSI will emphasize the on-going project of greater inclusiveness that is transforming the discipline, inviting students to be participants in the conversation.

PIKSI will be permanently housed at the Rock Ethics Institute on the campus of the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. The director and the theme will change on a regular basis.

If you know promising undergraduate women or men from underrepresented groups such as African Americans, Chicano/as and Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, LGBT persons, economically disadvantaged communities, and people with disabilities, please call this program to their attention. In addition, please consider serving as their “sponsor.” Faculty sponsors mentor students, helping them to prepare their applications, and, when possible and appropriate, work with the students after the Summer Institute to help further the gains the students have made.

What Oklahoma’s doing to fund M.A. students

November 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

At the University of Oklahoma, we have just adopted a policy of reserving up to 2 assistantships per admissions year to fund MA students. We noticed that our applicants from underrepresented groups were disproportionately coming to philosophy from other fields, and thus in need of further training prior to being competitive for our PhD program. We hope that this MA funding will provide opportunities for members of underrepresented groups to begin their graduate work in philosophy without incurring debt, and to move on to the PhD in our department or elsewhere. MA students are full participants in our program, with access to faculty mentorship inside and outside the classroom. Our graduate students are a tight-knit group, and MA students are fully included in our community.

Network: Under-represented groups in philosophy

September 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

This year, graduate students at a number of philosophy departments will be participating in a coordinated effort to increase discussion on minority issues in philosophy. We are in the process of setting up an interdepartmental network of working groups (tentatively called Minorities and Philosophy, or MAP), through which independent ‘chapters’ at North American philosophy departments coordinate projects and exchange ideas throughout the year. Though the groups are primarily led by graduate students, faculty and undergrads are encouraged to participate.

Broadly speaking, MAP chapters provide a venue for examining and addressing minority issues (e.g. relating to gender, race, disability, class, religion, and sexuality) within academic philosophy. Each chapter is free to structure its meetings in the way that best fits its department.

MAP began at Yale in 2010. Since then, the Yale group has hosted regular reading groups and talks by internal and external speakers. Proposed events at MAP chapters include panel discussions, undergraduate mentorship events, interdisciplinary speaker sessions, and practical workshops (on strategies for working with diverse communication styles, teaching undergraduates with proper attention to minority issues in the classroom, etc.).

If you are interested in starting a chapter at your department, contact:

East Coast/Southeast: Yena Lee (yenal AT
Midwest/West Coast: Maegan Fairchild (mfairchi AT

For more information, go to We welcome any suggestions or feedback, especially as the project is in developing stages!

What Informal Logic did about what it’s like

August 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Cate Hundleby writes:


Inspired by the “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy” initiative, I informed the “Informal Logic” editors about it.  They are adding to their instructions for authors and reviewers:
“Informal Logic encourages authors to make an effort to ensure that relevant work by women or indeed members of unrepresented groups more generally not be overlooked.”

What Fred Dretske did about what it’s like

August 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

Lynne Tirrel writes:

Fred Dretske was my undergrad epistemology professor. He did something wonderful that stuck with me forever. I was giving a seminar report, up at the board, drawing diagrams etc, in a graduate seminar on scepticism, and I paused and asked if there were any questions on what I had covered so far. A grad student at the table sat back, folded his arms and said: “I. Don’t. Get. It” So I asked what exactly he was confused about, and he said “Everything you said.” So Dretske said, “Oh, maybe I can help.” Really gently. And then he repeated the first half of my presentation! The student said, “Oh, thanks! That was very clear.” And in the same gentle tone, Dretske said, “Well, I just said exactly what Lynne said, in her own words, so that’s something to think about, isn’t it?” I was blown away. First demonstration of a male professor showing a male student up for being such a jerk, but doing it with total class.

What the SEP is doing about what it’s like

July 13, 2013 § 1 Comment

Here’s the letter that SEP authors received yesterday.

The SEP administrative staff has been following the discussion sparked
by Kieran Healy’s recent work regarding the undercitation of women
philosophers in articles published from 1993-2013 in four important
journals. See, for example:

We take this citation issue seriously and we are writing now to
encourage our authors, subject editors, and referees to help ensure
that SEP entries do not overlook the work of women or indeed of
members of underrepresented groups more generally.

So please keep this in mind as you write, revise, or referee an entry
for the SEP. And any time you notice a source missing from an SEP
entry (whether or not it is your own entry), you are welcome to write
to us.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and thank you for your
participation in the work of the SEP.

Changing the images around us

June 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Man posterWoman poster

Recently, for the first time, I had lunch in the main campus food court of one of the institutions where I work. These two posterboards were prominently positioned by the entrance/exit. Obviously and intentionally, the boards encouraged folks to think and act in an environmentally conscious manner. However, only slightly less obviously (and one hopes less intentionally) they also telegraphed a rather unsubtle message about gender.

Here are a few relevant features of the two boards:

Near the man’s head is a thought bubble (he immediately looks like a thinker), with nearby encouragement to “Think smart! Think efficient!”
Near the woman’s head is an arrow pointing to her face, with advice on what make-up she should wear.

The man is carrying a newspaper (he looks informed) and a football (he looks active).
The woman is carrying a shopping bag and a coffee mug.

The woman is posed and dressed in a much more obviously sexualized way.

With one exception, every piece of advice surrounding the female figure is about clothing, make-up, shopping, or beverage consumption. (The exception is right at the bottom of the image, almost hidden behind another board, and is about walking wherever possible.) The same is not true of the advice surrounding the male figure.

With lots of help and encouragement from friends and colleagues, I composed and sent an email to the Principal and VC of the university explaining that these boards were sending a damaging message, and that we were doing everyone a disservice by reinforcing stereotypes about gender which are detrimental to (among other things) the academic success of women. I invited the VC, and those involved in the design of these posterboards, to an upcoming public event on implicit bias against women hosted by the research institute where I work.

I received a reply from the VC the next day, saying that although he may not be able to attend the event, he had forwarded my message to one of the Vice Principals who has responsibility for a team looking at gender policy and awareness in the university. I followed up with the Vice Principal in question, who wrote back to me explaining that the posterboards were five years old and she hadn’t seen them before, but that after reading my email she had canvassed opinions and got the posters removed. In fact, they were taken down the day after I sent my original message.

While it’s sad that these boards were around for five years before anything happened, I am heartened by the university’s prompt and positive response to my concerns, and especially by all the goodwill and support that made it so much easier to raise them than it might otherwise have been.

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