The Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP) announces a competition for students, trainees, and early-career academics and practitioners. Eligibility includes medical students, graduate students in philosophy, psychology and related fields, residents in psychiatry, and those who have completed such education and training no more than three years prior to the end of the academic year in which the award is to be conferred.

The Karl Jaspers Award is given for the best paper related to the subject of philosophy and psychiatry. Entries must either be unpublished or published no more than one year prior to submission for the award. Resubmissions will not be accepted. Papers can have more than one author but all authors must be eligible for the award. Appropriate topics for the essay include, among others, the mind-body problem, psychiatric methodology, psychiatric nosology and diagnostic issues, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophical aspects of the history of psychiatry, psychodynamic, hermeneutic and phenomenological approaches, and psychiatric ethics. Unless already published or submitted for publication elsewhere, winning submissions will be offered publication, following appropriate review and editing to meet journal guidelines, in the electronic version of Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology. The home departments and/or training progams of the award winners are notified of the outcome. In addition, the Jaspers Award is announced at our AAPP Annual Meeting, held concurrently with the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting. In 2019, the meeting will be on the weekend of May 18-19 in San Francisco. The award carries a cash prize of $350 and recognition in AAPP publications.

The deadline for entries is December 15, 2018.

Submissions must be no more than 7500 words in length, excluding footnotes and bibliographies.
Each entry must include a word count.
Entrants must send their submissions in PDF format.
Submissions must be ready for blind review and not contain the author’s name or other information what will make the author identifiable.
Entrants must also send separately an explanation of their current career status and eligibility to enter the competition. In cases where the work is part of a project done with others, they should also add an explanation of the contributions of advisors or others to the work submitted.

Submissions that do not meet the requirements will be rejected without being considered.

Send submissions to Scott Waterman (Scott.Waterman@uvm.edu).

SS: Letter from Laura

As readers will know, Laura is a contributor to the Blog, who has written for us several times, and who has been missing for a time. But, she is back! In her moving and important letter she explains her short absence and offers some wise suggestions for us all.

Dear Bob,
You don’t know what you have until is gone. That is the idea I want to explore here. How is that possible? And what is to know that I have something? And why does it matter? I think I’ll start with the last one.   I’ve had a tough year of cancer treatment. Before I was diagnosed I was riding my bicycle, eating fairly well, although eating too much sugar perhaps.  Those bikes rides in the backcountry were so energizing, so pleasurable, so refreshing. I miss them. I miss being fully mobile and strong. I keep thinking that the day I am able to ride again I am going to savor the journey even more. But I will savor it more only because I’ll have the memory of being impaired and how terrible the feeling of being sick is. As with other things, I think that a person can live not appreciating enough what she enjoys moment by moment. But I appreciated my rides before. It is only that I miss them because I love riding free. It is like a wine lover having a glass of nice wine after a long period of abstinence. His pleasure level will be higher than before. Now think of something much simpler. Every day I wake up, get up and walk. But I can’t say I enjoy these actions as I enjoy riding a bike, so it is a different feeling, a deeper one. What happens when I am sick in bed, with a bad backache or healing after surgery? That day I miss my capacity to get up and walk and it just dawns on me the complexity, perfection and wonder of moving to stand up position and how the body holds itself and stands there with no pain or difficulty and then starts to move legs and arms automatically with such a beautiful synchronicity and grace, without pain or difficulty. Every basic function my body has is terribly missed when for some reason it can’t perform. I miss them so dearly simply because I understand all these things are part of being human and being able to move and explore. And as I gain this appreciation, then I care more and I feel more in tune with my body. Not so much before and even less when I was a teenager. Does it matter that I really comprehend what nature has given me and what I have now? Yes. It is important to have this connection just so I live more deeply my moments on this planet and I take better care of myself and others.   By saying that it is important to really comprehend what nature has given me and what I have now means that that understanding is not so straightforward. You can ask a healthy 6 year old whether he can hear and he would obviously answer he can. So he evidently knows what capacities he has; same with me. So it is not just awareness. To know you have these amazing abilities is something beyond the mere realization one can perform some action. The thing is, you gain something to add to this simple awareness when the capacity is taking away. You marvel and realize how miraculous (not in the religious way) is. And in that moment of enlightenment you say, wow! I have it!. But it is this going to the nothingness what makes knowledge complete and perfect. I wonder, though, whether this fleeting moment can leave a permanent print. Or will I go back to take things for granted? I want to keep feeling the glory of what my body does and how it lets me move and experience. Routine, I guess, is what could take me back to the old not knowing what I have. The job is to do anything possible to not lose that knowledge.     I wake up feeling so happy that I can stand up. It is real happiness. Living the moment is what matters now. I want to be always thinking deeply about the want of simple abilities and the joy of having them.  Because I want to know well what I have before it is gone.


Hello all! I am a representative from the blog of the American Philosophical Association. We are hosting an Undergraduate Philosophy Competition. We are accepting submissions that relate to public philosophy from undergraduate philosophy students. We accepting submissions now until Dec. 20th.

 The Winner of said competition will win a $500 cash prize, free membership for a year, and their submission will get published on the blog. A PDF that gives more details on the competition is attached to this email.

If you are a professor we would really appreciate passing this message along to your students. Thank you so much.
The APA Blog Team

Philosop mailing list

APA Blog Undergraduate Public Philosophy Award
The Blog of the American Philosophical Association is holding a public philosophy writing contest for undergraduate philosophy students, sponsored by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and the Hi-Phi Nation podcast.
The winner of the contest will receive a prize of $500, APA membership for one year, and publication on the APA Blog. The runner up will receive a prize of $100 and publication on the APA Blog. Other runners-up will also be considered for publication on the APA Blog.
To be eligible, you must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate student and majoring or minoring in philosophy. We will only consider previously unpublished essays of between 800 words to 1,500 words, and one submission per author. The essays should be engaging, original, with significant philosophical content and/or methods, and written for a public ( not academic) audience. The types of pieces we are looking for would be
similar to articles published with Aeon , The Institute of Art and Ideas , New Philosopher magazine, or The Stone column in The New York Times .
The winning entry will be determined by the Award Committee (see below) and the APA Blog Editorial Board.
All authors will be notified of the outcome of the competition. The cash prizes are made possible thanks to John Kaag at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Barry Lam’s Hi-Phi Nation podcast .
Award Committee:
The Award Committee includes Myisha Cherry , Skye C. Cleary , Lewis Gordon , David V. Johnson , John Kaag , Barry Lam , Massimo Pigliucci , Jason Stanley , and Adriel Trott .
The deadline for this award will be December 20, 2018 at 5pm EST . Please submit the following: (1) your essay in doc, docx, or rtf format; and (2) a statement from a faculty advisor that you are an undergraduate philosophy major or minor. Refereeing will be anonymous; authors should omit all remarks and references within their essay
(but not the faculty statement) that might disclose their identities. Attach both documents to your email, include your essay title in the subject line, and send it to blogcontest@apaonline.org . All enquiries should be sent to Asia
Forcucci at: blogcontest@apaonline.org .

On myth

What I know about myths I learned from Bob’s book on the bible. Here is what he says:

Myth is one of these constituents, and an important one. “Myth” is not used here to mean merely “fictional,” or “not real,” but in its full sense. As the German theologian, Bartsch, has said, “Myth is the expression of unobservable realities in terms of observable phenomena.” Myth then is always used to interpret reality, to read the physical and psychological world. Myth is metaphor. It is story. It explains the complex in terms of the simple. It may be non-rational, but it is not false. Myth is true to not true of the world. The non-rationality of myth is its very essence, for religion requires a demonstration of faith by the suspension of critical doubt. “In this sense,” as Edmund Leach puts it, “all stories which occur in The Bible are myths for the devout Christian whether they correspond to historical fact or not.”

Another characteristic of myth is its binary aspect: seeming opposites as heaven and earth, male and female, living and dead, good and evil, first and last, gods and people. In an attempt to bridge these binaries, a new element, “mediation,” is introduced into the story. “Mediation” is achieved by introducing a third category which is “abnormal” or “anomalous.” Thus myths are full of fabulous monsters, incarnate gods, virgin mothers, and the like. This middle ground of half-gods and super-humans is abnormal, non-natural, holy. It is typically the focus of all taboo and ritual observance. Leach, commenting on the tales of the patriarchs, says, “this long series of repetitive and inverted tales asserts: (a) the overriding virtue of close kin endogamy, (b) that…Abraham can carry this so far that he marries his paternal half-sister…, (c) that a rank order is established which places the tribal neighbours of the Israelites in varying degrees of inferior status…the myth requires that the Israelites be descended unambiguously from Terah, the father of Abraham.”

“Mythology,” he writes, “is not a datum but a factum of human existence: it belongs to the world of culture and civilization that man has made and still inhabits.” (p. 37) In this second sense myth is not merely a mistaken explanation of natural phenomena but is rather a form of imaginative and creative thinking that helps to produce the world we occupy. And that world includes our stories just as it includes the objects of the physical world. Again Frye: “…the real interest of myth is to draw a circumference around a human community and look inward toward that community, not to inquire into the operations of nature.” (p. 37)

Myth has these characteristics:

  1. form: primarily narrative (but may be pictorial)
  2. time: set in the past or the universal present – the same thing said in a different way at the same time – or, more simply, the past is universally present.
  3. subject-matter: themes are drawn from the realm of the non-verifiable, or at least from that which was incapable of demonstration at the time of the creation of the myth.

There are these kinds of myth:

  • myths of the gods
  • nature myths
  • myths of origins
  • philosophical myths
  • myths of the “hereafter” or the other world

they function as:

  • allegories
  • explanations of the beginnings of something
  • para-scientific explanations
  • expressions of the collective story of an age.

A myth is living or dead not true or false. We cannot refute a myth because as soon as we treat it as refutable it is no longer a myth but has become hypothesis or history. We need not believe everything we read in the Bible as literally true (because it is not), but it can be read as pointing toward a truth, or truths, about the human story. Sometimes we may smile at the naivete of the stories but we should never sneer at them. Often the seeming naivete is indeed just that, seeming. Myths are like parables – to be meaningful they must create their own lens for viewing the world.

We see the world through these lenses.