November 15, 2006

Two bits of horn tooting for today:

First, from the famous and notorious Philosophical Gourmet Report. Brian Leiter pointed out that the report hit the newspaper here in Australia. The point of the little note in the Higher Education section of The Australian was that the ANU topped the rankings of Australian philosophy departments (as it has in the past), over Sydney and Melbourne.

Curiously the article picks out discipline specific areas where Melbourne scored higher than ANU (Applied Ethics) and where ANU scored higher (Metaphysics). You wouldn’t be surprised that Melbourne did well in Applied Ethics, since we have a centre devoted to it, and there are lots of good things going on in the field. We ranked very well internationally in that area (we end up in the cohort of the top 7-18 departments in the survey). What The Australian’s report didn’t mention was that Melbourne also scored respectably well in Philosophical Logic. (Here, we’re in the cohort of the top 5-12.) I suppose one salient difference is that in philosophical logic, we don’t have a named centre: we just a few people who do it.

Here’s the second bit of shameless self-promotion concerning logic at Melbourne: You might have heard about the process of institutional change taking place at this University. One part of this is the introduction of new undergraduate degrees. One part of this is the development of new ‘breadth’ subjects, to teach material to students across the university system: I’ve been working with colleagues on a proposal to teach a new first-year undergraduate unit “Logic: Language & Information,” collaboratively between philosophy, computer science, linguistics, mathematics and electrical & electronic engineering. The idea is that we teach propositional and predicate logic with lots of different applications in the related fields. It’s been a bit of a tricky process, but now that it’s all come together, the thing looks like it might fly. With such interesting people here like Greg Hjorth, Jen Davoren, Steven Bird and Lesley Stirling, we can teach a pretty good course on logic & language.

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I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. ¶ I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.



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