I’ve caved and created a category for these inevitable posts.

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

As for accountability of teachers and administrators, Sahlberg shrugs. “There’s no word for accountability in Finnish,” he later told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. “Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.”

I would very much like to read some political philosophy on this; how important is accountability? It seems to inevitably get in the way of things, but surely we need some.

Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331”

I think that the xkcd method may no longer be good enough.

Nigel Warburton, virtual philosopher | TPM

Omens | aeon magazine

Toby Ord, someone from my college, is apparently in conflict between whether our moral responsibility for our trillions of potential descendents overrides our responsibilities for people starving in the third world today. This is what you get for being a utilitarian!

Pinker: Science is Not Your Enemy

There are quite a lot of problems with this article, even though it’s probably right to say that philosophy should pay more attention to results coming out of psychology etc. Particularly worrying is the claim that a bunch of liberal, democratic values flow automatically out of science—and the unstated assumption that we shouldn’t question these values because they arise in those who do enough science. Here’s a response (which I haven’t read).

Psychiatrists: the Drug Pushers | Will Self in the Guardian

Lessons of the Snowden Revelations | CounterPunch

Where Thomas Nagel Went Wrong | The Chronicle

The Decline and Fall of the English Major | The New York Times

The Cartography of Bullshit

This is another article lessening my faith in the media. One thing I notice is that now I’ve graduated university the people who write the blog that this one is criticising are no longer so far away: I know someone who was just one year above me at university who now writes for the Telegraph. The fact that they were previously older and more educated than me led me to doubt that they could really be as terrible as people say they can be; I thought I wasn’t in a position to know. Increasingly I feel I can.

The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture | The New Yorker

Does Great Literature Make Us Better? | The New York Times

Mr Currie argues that there is no evidence that great literature makes us morally better; in order to recommend reading and studying it for this purpose, scientific studies are required to show that it changes people for the better. He makes a good point that the common belief that it’s really great for your soul to read Anna Karenina and friends is not very well defended. However it’s not clear what such a scientific study could consist in. Lots of philosophers, following Aristotle, have argued that direct comparisons between individuals as to their moral status is literally impossible (rather than just very hard) except in obvious, crude cases. Without attempting to get into that here, a simpler point is that literature shapes society so much that you can’t get out of its clutches in order to make dispassinoate evaluations.

Philosophy isn’t dead yet | the Guardian

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go | The Chronicle

grim grim grim

Chomsky: Corporations and the Richest Americans Viscerally Oppose Common Good

[The capitalists require that] people must come to believe that suffering and deprivation result from the failure of individuals, not the reigning socioeconomic system. There are huge industries devoted to this task.

Teach for America Apostates: a Primer of Alumni Resistance

On Anthony Cody’s blog, he describes TFA as part of a “neoliberal hyper-accountability movement.”

The Real War on Reality | The New York Times

Why does France insist school pupils master philosophy? | BBC News

Challenging material! I could not say much for most of those questions and I have just done a degree in it.