Some interesting thoughts on peer review…
There are a number of boring, tedious, and even unfair things about academia as presently constituted. No argument from me about that.
But sometimes certain procedures come under fire in ways that I find unconvincing.
For example, I’ve discussed here before that I am unpersuaded by the argument that the peer review system for articles and books needs to be abolished, because it enforces narrow conformism, etc. I think there’s a grain of truth in this, but it ought not to be exaggerated.
Yes, for example: if you submit to a mainstream journal in continental philosophy, and if you do speculative realism or something else fairly new, you’re possibly going to get some haughty nitpicking from well-established reviewers who come from the Derrida/Foucault days, or who do a safe mainstream version of Deleuze, or something along those lines. I’ve gotten that sort of feedback myself. But guess what? The articles…
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Some of you might remember a previous post on this blog from an anonymous atheist Freemason about what it is like to be just those to things.
Readers might also be interested in a couple of blogs which have emerged over the past couple of months from a UK Freemason (PM & PZ) who has become, paradoxically, an atheist, humanist, and feminist. Sceptical discussions from inside the craft, “aimed at anyone who values reason above dogma” can be found at Sceptic Freemason with more general intellectual discussion at Bad Freemasonry.
Apparently, you can also Ask them (almost) anything. Happy learning, people.
Those of you who know me well will know that this past few months have been particularly turbulent in terms of my personal life. Back in June, my world was turned upside down when my dear friend Will died tragically and unexpectedly. I had known Will from the start of high school, and since then we had both moved over from Northern Ireland to Edinburgh at the same time, where we maintained frequent contact for the next eight years. I was going through one of my suit pockets the other day and discovered the short tribute that I read at Will’s cremation, and thought that it was about time that I shared it with the world, in some sort of attempt at a memorial. No doubt, it will not compare with the lovely piece that is residing on his departmental website at the University of Edinburgh, written by his PhD supervisor. I don’t personally believe in life after death in any sort of spiritual or religious sense, but I believe that we all leave our mark on the world and in the memories and lives of those who knew and loved us. Will shall certainly never be forgotten.
In October, a group of Will’s friends did a 5km run in his memory, and raised over £2000 for PIPS (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm) Newry & Mourne, and I believe that my JustGiving page is still functional, should you want to donate anything.
What follows are the scans of my tribute, and some pictures of Will and his friends. This is not intended in any way to be self-indulgent… it just seemed in some way appropriate.