Formal Epistemology and the Legacy of Logical Empiricism

If you’re in Austin, you probably know this already. If you’re not, it’s probably too late. But this is what I’ll be doing this weekend:

Friday, 26 April 2012
Thomas Uebel, University of Manchester, “The Logic of Science and the Pragmatics of Science: The Challenge of Complementarity.”
Christopher French, University of British Columbia, “Carnap, Jeffrey and Explication of Radical Probabilism.”
Sebastian Lutz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, “The Criteria for the Empirical Significance of Terms.”
Saturday, 27 April 2012
Sahotra Sarkar, University of Texas, “Nagel on Reduction.”
Michael Stoeltzner, University of South Carolina, “Could Mathematical Physics serve as a Model for Formal Epistemology?”
Flavia Padovani, Drexel University, “Reichenbach On Causality in 1923: One Word, Many Concepts”
Richard Zach, University of Calgary, “Carnap on Logic.”

Thanks to Sahotra Sarkar for putting this together!

Running Beamer Presentations from Your Phone

Have you ever given a presentation at a conference using your laptop, and then were annoyed that you had to carry aroudn the thing for the entire rest of the evening?  It happens to me all the time. By which I mean, once in a great while, but I nevertheless though it would be cool if I could give my presentation just from my phone (a Samsung Nexus).  Just in case I can help other mathematicians/philosophers/scientists with either a bad back or a tendency to leave bags in restaurants, here’s how I did it:

  • Get the phone to talk to the projector. For that you need a microUSB-to-VGA adaper, or, for versatility, a microUSB-to-HDMI plus a HDM-to-VGA adapter. In the latter case you can plug into the HDMI port on the projector if you have it. I got this and this but I’m sure there are other options.
  • Get a longer power cord or simply a longer USB-to-microUSB cable.  The microUSB-to-HDMI adapter is powered and you don’t want the phone to be suspeded between the power outlet and the projector. Don’t forget your power adapter.
  • Get a Bluetooth mouse/clicker thing, since swiping from slide to slide on the phone is a drag. I got this one.
  • My presentations are produced with the beamer package for LaTeX, which produces PDF. So I need a PDF viewer app which displays the PDF properly (centered, full screen, no controls), transitions from slide to slide without delay or silly page flip effects, and reacts to the clicker.  This was actually the hardest part, but the OfficeSuite PDF Viewer works fine.  If you use PowerPoint or something like it, you’ll have to look for something that does that.
  • When you actually give the presentation, you don’t want to be interrupted by text messages or phone calls.  So turn airplane mode on. But you need the clicker, so turn Bluetooth back on. Luckily, this is possible.

How To Get A Job Outside Academia With a Ph.D. in Philosophy

We train professional philosophers. Sadly, there aren’t enough philosophy jobs to go around, and it’s hard to pursue a career in philosophy if you can’t move to wherever you find a job.  Fortunately, philosophers have transferable skills that are in high demand. Prospective employers just don’t associate these skills with “Ph.D. in philosophy”.  The challenge is to overcome this.

Mike Steiner wrote a fine dissertation on an anti-realist theory of natural kinds under Marc Ereshefsky’s supervision. He won national scholarships. He had good chances at finding an academic job. But he couldn’t leave Calgary for family reasons. Now he’s working in Oil and Gas (!) and is very happy.  He has some advice for you if you’re in a similar position.