Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Start your engines...

Good news.  The Faculty of Classics here in Cambridge will very soon be advertising a vacancy for a University Lectureship in Ancient Philosophy.  Details of the timetable for the appointment process and the Further Particulars for the position will be posted soon on the Faculty website.  But the deadline for application will be relatively tight.  So, this is an early warning: if you might be interested, please keep a look out for the advertisement and prime your referees.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


At the beginning of term, there are all sorts of annoying things to do.  In Cambridge, often we have to do similar things twice because each thing has to be done for the Faculty and also for the College.  So the beginning of term is also a time when you begin to get grumpy with each other because if you look across at the person down the table from you at lunch, it often seems as if they are doing less than you.  Grrr.  Add in the fact that some colleagues have acquired the talent for playing off the college against the university and vice versa ('Dear college person, I'm sorry I cannot do the small job you've asked me to do because of me heavy commitments to research projects in the Faculty/Departmnent.  See you for dinner on Wednesday, love,...'; 'Dear Faculty person, I'm sorry I cannot do this small thing in the Faculty because I have lots of things to do in college at the moment.  blah blah blah'.) and things can get very annoying.

But I think I have discovered the problem.  It's wikipedia.  The relevant bit of the page reads as follows:

Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin

  • At Cambridge, teaching officers (lecturers, readers, and professors) are entitled to a college fellowship. For lecturers and readers, the process is competitive – generally the most able academics get fellowships at the richest and most prestigious colleges[citation needed]. Professors are allocated to colleges by a centralised process to ensure fairness. These fellows may or may not provide small-group teaching to undergraduates in the college, for which they would be paid by the hour. College fellows at Cambridge (except for research fellows) have no duties as such and are not paid. They will typically have a salaried post either with their college or the university.
'Citation needed' indeed.  Hear that, fellows of poorer colleges?  It's because you lost.  But the bit the bothers me is the '...have no duties as such...'  Nonsense.  But worse: dangerous nonsense.  People might believe it.  Worse: some Fellows might believe it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stoics, indifferents, etc.

I've been joining in a discussion here on Peter Adamson's History of Philosophy with No Gaps blog inspired by a paper by George Karamanolis.  I wasn't at the talk but, according to Peter's report, George was interested in the Stoic notion of indifferents and how it might be that some are preferred and others dispreferred while none is either good or bad.  Good question.  And it's also part of what lies behind the Stoics' odd claims about how a person might become virtuous (and might make progress towards virtue) which is behind some of Plutarch's discussion in the text being blogged here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teubners online

A useful link for people on the Cambridge network (and any other subscribing institution): the De Gruyter online ebooks includes lots of Teubner editions, available to be downloaded in pdf format from this link here.  (Click the 'Series overview' tab and then the links to the various texts.  If you see a 'Read content' box like for the Sextus Empiricus volume here, then you can download away.)  They have lots of other books here too.  Search for what you want and then you will be able to access the pdfs by clicking when you see a 'Read content' button (e.g. for the recent Anaximander und Anaximenes here).

Monday, January 09, 2012

The miners' hymns

I might have gushed about Jóhann Jóhannsson here before (in particular, his wonderful IBM 1401, A user's manual: look here for 'Part I, IBM 1401: Processing Unit' (annoying ad beforehand, I'm afraid), but I've just been listening to his most recent work, the 2011 The Miners' HymnsYou can read more about the background of the pieces here and the roots of their inspiration in trade unionism and brass bands.

Here is the final piece from the album, 'The cause of labour is the hope of the world', with accompanying film put together by Bill Morrison.  Stay with it as it builds.


Thursday, January 05, 2012

New blog

I've been a bit slow here, but there is a blog written by the Cambridge Classics graduates.  It's over here.

Being a better person

Over at Blogistikon they are beginning a virtual reading group on Plutarch's On progress in virtueI'm told that they are keen to have as many interested participants as possible, so please go and join in.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Thankless futility

This link is doing the rounds on the interwebs, but it has a tangential link to things ancient philosophical, so here goes (and, anyway, my head is hurting too much from a first day back at my desk to think of anything more creative to say just now).  Click here to 'enjoy' some retro-gaming-style recreation of mythological Greek punishments and also to see whether you can complete Zeno's dichotomy paradox...