This episode, we're joined by Ross Colebrook and Jesse Prinz, from Philosophy.
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00:00:00The Graduate Center of the City University of New York presents academically speaking and audio miniseries about the dissertation process from planning and writing all the ways to the defense As Told by Graduate Center students and faculty this episode where joined by Ross Cobra and Jesse print from philosophy
00:00:30Cobra X especially on the objectivity universality of Ethics weather ethics really matters at all and I'm also really interested in the moral psychology and how that relates to the normativity of of ethics and that yeah this point I'm pretty decent ways along in the dissertation got drafts of the major chapters so working on building a nap but coming along quite quite nicely so far
00:01:16I'm Jesse Prince I'm in The Flossy program of The Graduate Center and my work mostly involves the mind to anything about how we think feel reason understand look all of those things. Made me and I approach them with an interdisciplinary methodology that includes both goals of psychology and philosophy so the topics that have been of most Central interest me in recent years include things like Consciousness Concepts perception Aesthetics and maybe most of all ethics which is the topic that brings us to this conversation today
00:01:56play actually wanted to come to The Graduate Center because I read one of Jessie's books when I was getting my Master's Degree done at Texas A&M so we took a class on meta ethics and read his emotional construction of morals and really thought the arguments were interesting and took approach to ethics in the right exactly what I thought was the right way and true exactly what I thought were the wrong conclusions so I really wanted to get involved in Manhattan that it was a pleasure to get to come here and interact with Jesse but yes I think I want to Jesse to be my advisor from the beginning so I'm glad that worked out
00:02:46yeah I would just had I mean Ross's rival with like a godsend at their field where you want students who are going to kind of carry on the program that you've been engaged and people who are committed to the same views that you've been defending philosophy isn't one of those fields and I'm like The Sciences were maybe teams. And collaboration and project for your in mutual agreement is best way to move forward and philosophy one of the best ways to learn and grow his to be confronted with critique so to have somebody of Ross's talented energy arrive in the program who is on the opposite end of certain philosophical debates has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career so it's been it's been really great working with raw
00:03:35advising is very often conversation there's a lot of criticism feedback reading that fit goes into it but really I think for both parties that the points that are most exciting are when you just have that those synergetic conversations where you're just bouncing off each other and it flossy again it doesn't doesn't this early require agreement a common set of issues that interest you that adamant you think you really care about figuring out and getting right you can bring two people to the table and when they try to sort it out in that conversation away you really have a feeling that you're learning and growing
00:04:19I actually think that this is not a politically neutral thesis so I think there's good reason to believe that the job is not a lot of great work on differentiating liberals and conservatives in terms of their their basic moral commitments and liberals bite by a large or more more concerned and effect exclusively concerned with harm reducing harm and treating people fairly however we specify that conservatives have a much more expanded moraldi point that includes things like security and respect for authority loyalty but I think that when you get down to it despite the fact that these other more expanded moral concerns are art are indeed likely a result of innate processes in the mind never the less
00:05:19the things that they're tracking in the real world are Things That Vary so widely between different societies that we ought not take them seriously that in fact the conservative expansion of morality is one that when we really get down to brass tacks we will find to be unjustified so I think it is something that has political implications when I think that
00:05:48one thing I do my work is trying to do is provide a positive ground work for a kind of left or liberal critique of conservatism
00:06:00I think that it's important to have not to let conservatives own the the values of values or I would take it when Ross first approached me about the project he said look I don't know if moral realism is true but I know that believing it's true impact people's behavior and he was really responding to a series of empirical results to come out of psychology that indicated that people who believed they were moral facts or more likely to behave in good behavior in people who were relevant so this was just a simple practical point that we have a good reason to try to make a case for moral realism because it just promotes good behavior but is the project of all that it really gotten even more applied and practical than that and I think for a relativist like me and for a lot of social scientist study morality when we see a political debate say today
00:07:00between Republicans and Democrats that which is at the bottom of moral debate we just assume that both sides of equal claim the truth no party is making mistakes no party is evil no party is done and that the real problem with political discourse is not that one side is just stubbornly committed to falsehood but rather that both sides equal claim the truth and there can be no resolution that's the relative you and it's a defeatist you it's a view that says we really can't make progress on political debate the best thing we can do is designed societies were different perspectives can flourish
00:07:35atrocity is very different from that Ross actually thinks there's hope for making genuine progress on these debates when you see political difference is at least in some cases it may work out that one side is right and the other is wrong and he's been making a very powerful and a passion case for the value of philosophy and trying to determine where the truth lies and political and moral discourse
00:08:12another thing that comes to mind that The Graduate Center has is location so not only is there a lot of a lot of benefit in terms of interdisciplinary work that goes on in the GC but I mean right in the middle of New York City and I was able to take a couple of classes over it and want you I know people are taking classes at Columbia there are there's a program that allows us to do that for a couple classes during or a Graduate Studies and it was really helpful to get to know more people working in these areas in the philosophical community in the New York city so it's another great advantage that the credit center has
00:09:06I think that there's no better place in the world to study philosophy the New York City maybe it's the best place in and the history of Western thought because we have such a huge concentration of agenda-setting figures in the field within short train distance away so NYU Columbia Princeton and Rutgers are all top 10 programs CUNY is right up there as well the new school has amazing resources so we're really very resource-rich and that means that not only do we have outstanding faculty from multiple institutions including the very large and very talented Kenny faculty but we also student bodies from each of these places I've never taught a seminar without several students from this Consortium and I have benefited tremendously from their presence my students have benefited from those conversations but it's also been for me a constant source of pride in our own because
00:10:06cuz we have some of the top programs around us which means the top graduate students around us and I have consistently semester after semester seen that are students rival the very best students are studying Western thought Western philosophy today so it's a really gratifying to see those interactions
00:10:40when you are taking classes do everything you can to make the the term papers you turn in some way relevant to your overall research project that won't always be the case but when you can do it it's great and so I've had a number of things that I've worked on just it started out his term papers and ended up being a substantial portion of a dissertation chapter and I think more important career-wise is to just start really early trying to send stuff off to be published if you can do it course do you need to get as much feedback as you can but you really shouldn't wait too long yeah so those are that the really important things also you need to make sure that you have identified a number of professors that whose work you respect and that who's input you
00:11:40seek and from an early time try and keep up a dialogue with them sending them work trying to get comments going to their events to know it's a great idea to make sure you're involved in the in the department
00:11:58I would agree complete with everything raw said I would only add something a keys he's too gracious to mention which is that getting feedback from from faculty takes a lot of work and I think it's you really need to be very very persistent if you're looking for feedback it may take a long time and they require several emails that may require knocking on doors if you don't continually do that it's going to be very lonely process and you're going to miss out on opportunities to get that feedback and not just from your supervisor but really from anyone who could we possibly listener or read your work so we will resource-rich and having all of these wonderful people around but we don't take advantage of each other enough and that's because everyone is very busy and it does take a tremendous amount of patience and persistence to get that feedback sometimes one thing I would recommend it to students coming through the program is one
00:12:58you get into a rhythm of writing it's not a bad idea to set up some kind of regular meeting time with your faculty advisor is our conversation partners because if you don't have that fixed in your schedule it's very easy to let Mom since Masters go by without producing anything and without getting feedback on the stuff that you do produce sometimes we do have a semester that's just the loss that does happen so don't beat up on yourself so much when it happens but I do think that we can really all game if everyone is proactive about trying to make sure that they're getting those those head-to-head mind mind moments with members of the community
00:13:45another thing I should mention that I found really helpful I have a friend who's also had a graduate student and we made an agreement at one point to produce at least three pages of writing every day for a period of time and I've never been more productive in my life than when I had to either produce that 3 pages each day or pay him 5 bucks I was our agreement so if you can make it if you can try and find other people to keep you accountable Weatherby the at your advisor or other faculty members or even undergraduate students you got to make sure that you're accountable to other people in order to be accountable to yourself so I absolutely love that suggestion I want to take you up on it we really I mean working without a deadline working it out and send it is very very hard at the self-motivated field but really incentives are an important part of getting things done I have a colleague
00:14:45remind Tara who works in a cafe near where I live everyday if you just go to the cafe whether she has a project or a deadline or not and there's no Wi-Fi there and it's not the train ride from her apartment so she can't not go I mean it's a trip when she's there she sets herself down and someday she right someday she doesn't but by having this building to her schedule it increases productivity and she wrote a magnificent book I'm in a really impressive a short time doing that and I think all of us can learn from those objections if you just dedicate one hour a day in a we beat up on herself by not spending hours and hours each day writing but actually he's been one hour day dedicated to write egg where do you get a page or a paragraph
00:15:33that's going to take you on course for being extremely productive so make those arrangements with yourself and your friends and you're likely to proceed at a pace that will make you proud
00:15:46this has been academically speaking presented by The Graduate Center of the City University of New York subscribe on iTunes follow us on Soundcloud and visit us on the web at GC. / podcast

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