Historical echoes, part 2 
This is the second part of William Leue's history of the UAlbany Philosophy Department. For context, see part I.

This installment is from Phib v 1 (1972-1973), n 13, pp 55-6.
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Historical echoes, part 1 
A few weeks ago, I posted about back issues of the department bulletin which I discovered while moving furniture into a department storeroom. In them, William Leue wrote a series of articles on the history of the SUNY Albany Philosophy Department. The articles are of interest to me personally, as a philosopher at UAlbany, because I feel an irrational connection with this place and its philosophers. Of course, the events described have no more direct effect on my life than ones that occurred to other philosophers at other institutions. The final installments, discussing student revolution, may be of more general interest - but in offering it here I will begin at the beginning.

I had the department's work study type up the whole series, and I am now making a cursory effort to correct errors in transcription. Other than transforming Leue's underlining into italic emphasis, I've confined my comments and changes to square brackets.

This first installment is from Phib v 1 (1972-1973), n 8, pp 29-30.
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Further indeterminate fallout 
Thinking more about indistinguishable spacetimes has led me to think about the contrast between underdetermination and indeterminacy. Somehow, I wrote a dissertation on the former without clearly thinking through the latter.
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Fallout from Pittsburgh 
A few weeks ago, I participated in a workshop on underdetermination at the Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science. The conference was fabulous, both socially and intellectually. Here's a post growing out of that, specifically about John Manchak's work on global features of spacetime.

The post is somewhat rambling, so let me begin by summing up:
The underdetermination facing our theorizing about global features of spacetime is formally more like familiar illustrations of the problem of induction than it is like familiar examples of empirical equivalence. Yet (if Manchak is right) it is different than usual worries about induction because we could never have the right kind of background knowledge to justify the inductive generalization.
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A blog before the internet 
We have been rearranging our department lounge. Previous efforts have made it less of a cluttered dump, and efforts are now directed at making it less clinical.* Today we got new chairs from university surplus, green relics which were probably purchased for an administrative office in the 1970s.



While shuffling around furniture, I happened to pick up a bound volume in the department store room. It contains issues of Phib, the Philosophy Information Bulletin, from 1972-1974. It was a department newsletter, filled with trivia like contact information, records of faculty meetings, announcements of events, and descriptions of what various faculty had done on vacation.

Phib was editted by "WHL." I surmise from internal references that this was William Leue, who was part of the department at the time. Each issue consisted of a few typewritten, mimeographed pages. But the series is numbered as two volumes, with continuous page numbering within each volume.

There is a long, multi-part history of the department which I may comment on later. For now let me quote something that WHL wrote at the end of the academic year in 1973:
I guess I'm not really in a position to judge whether doing this thing was worth it. I'm not sure what the criteria should be. It certainly isn't a project I would urge upon a young man trying to forge an academic career for himself, but then I'm not a young man. It fits no recognized category - it isn't "research," it isn't "teaching." It isn't even a "publication" - it is probably "infra-professional" - too casual, too episodic, too "journalistic." I guess it isn't even good journalism - irresponsible mixing of the reporting and the editorializing, with snide innuendoes and private jokes at which only I can snicker. But then that's probably part of the reward for me - getting my own anomic kicks - and the price that you, poor (but quick-scanning) readers have to pay.**
Phib was essentially his blog, and almost the same paragraph might be written today by any blogging academic. The only sentence out of place would be the warning to career-minded young men, since blogging has been predominantly a young philosophers' game.

If I were just starting to blog now, I might have settled on Phib as a name rather than FoE.


* Most of the recent work has been done by my colleague Lisa Fuller, who has been watching the university surplus website for better lounge furniture.

** 'A Year of Phibbing.' Phib. v 1, n 31. p 148.

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