Calling for topics

As Russell once did to interesting results, and Kazzy just reminded me, I’m open for suggestions for anything you’d like me to blog about.

I got my BA and MA in film studies, then switched to philosophy. I specialize in the intersection of aesthetics and philosophy of mind (particularly imagination and creativity). This requires me to research cognitive development, and I’m really interested in it. Ethics is an area I like to play around in. I think a lot about pedagogy. I think a lot about being a mom. I think a lot about being a mom to a special needs kid, and to balancing between special needs and typical. I live in the suburbs. I used to live in Long Island, then Manhattan. I like TV. Sooooooo….ask away!

Rose Woodhouse

Elizabeth Picciuto was born and reared on Long Island, and, as was the custom for the time and place, got a PhD in philosophy. She freelances, mainly about disability, but once in a while about yeti. Mother to three children, one of whom is disabled, two of whom have brown eyes, three of whom are reasonable cute, you do not want to get her started talking about gardening.


  1. I’m slightly tempted to ask you to expand on that email dialogue we had once into a full blown post, but I’ve already asked enough of you on that topic. But if you really wanted to… I wouldn’t throw myself in front of you to stop you… 🙂

    Regarding cognitive development, I’ve read a bit about the differences in cogdev between the sexes, but would love to hear more about the topic if this is something you are knowledgeable about. I’d love to see not only what the scientific literature shows, but what the implications of it are and/or ought to be.

      • Don’t know much about sex diffs, I must say. But happy to talk about some of the stuff I do know about: pretend play, theory of mind, language, facial expressions, emotions, and a few others.

  2. I would like to read your review of
    “The end of sexual instinct and the hydrogen bomb war.”
    I’m certain you’ve read the author before (he’s quite the philosopher).

    😉 I’ll probably toss up a review over on Jaybird’s site (or here if you’d like), but I’d like to hear your insights…

  3. This could be a joint question for you and the good Dr. Saunders. My daughter has some kind of rash and joint problems that surfaced in the last 24 hours. She went to the doctor and he gave her two prescriptions. I went to one pharmacy and they wanted a total of 81 dollars to fill them. I politely told them that I needed to shop around. The next pharmacy I went to charged a total of 31` dollars. I would like to know what kind of ethics allows that kind of price gauging for the ill.

  4. What popular female characters in contemporary visual media present the best role models to children (girls mainly but boys too)?

  5. Hey,

    I have my BA and MFA in theatre. The MFA is in directing and then I switched to law. I was considering getting a PhD but as I explained in another thread, I decided academics were not for me. This came partially from observing friends in adjunct hell.

    How about the ethics and politics of aesthetics? How much should people try to make sure their aesthetic desires (which might or might not be partially or wholly biological) ethical.

      • As someone who hopes to defend this semester, I’m definitely thinking you made the right decision.

        But yeah, ethics and aesthetics is def something to write on!

        • Bonus points if you do it in the form of rhyming cuplets.

          And I am not necessarily always talking about physical attraction. This can also get into lifestyle choices and aesthetics.

          An example:

          One Monday, a barrista was in full rant at my coffeeshop. The subject of his rant (which was to another co-worker but loud enough for everyone to hear) is that said barrista could not tell whether it was more offensive for someone to make a really expensive handbag or someone to buy a really expensive handbag. The price being talked about was 3900 or 39,000. There is a big difference between the two but most people would still not spend 3900 on a handbag.

          I suppose one can look at this from a somewhat Marxist prospective and see it as an obscene use of money/resources. I believe Peter Singer makes the argument that people are ethically obligated to put their discretionary income to a greater good.

          But on the other hand, why should it matter to the Barrista? Plenty of people seem to think nothing about laughing at someone who spend a lot on something like handbags or clothing but then fully defend their expensive entertainment/aesthetic purchases.

          Is there any difference between a 3900 dollar handbag and a 39oo dollar stereo system?

          • How about a cup of coffee that costs $6.00? If you have one $6.00 coffee a day for a year, that’s getting into the same ballpark of luxury spending as a $3,900 handbag.

          • Burt,

            Where does a cup of coffee cost 6 dollars?

            I live in San Francisco and never here the coffee tends to be no more than 3.50 for a drip coffee at the expensive/arty places that take their time.

          • Ah I see now, you said that because he was a barrista.

            This place is affordable as SF indie coffeeshops go.

          • I would love to address Singer specifically, and more generally the matter of $3900 handbags and $6 coffees.

          • Rose,

            I find Singer to be a fanatic and like most fanatics I have suspicions of hypocrisy in what he preaches and what he practices. I am also deeply suspicious of people who can make good livings through basically contrarian and extreme arguments like Singer, Rophie, Pagalia, etc. They can be intriguing or entertaining but I also have to wonder on some levels whether they are trolls.

            Still a very worthy topic to discuss though especially when dealing with consumer ethics and lifestyle choices.

          • In response to New Dealer’s question — I’ve seen venti frappucinos at Starbuck’s in exurban Los Angeles with asking prices approaching six dollars.

            Query whether something with that much sugar, cream, syrup, chocolate, and ice, and in which espresso is often substituted for tea or fruit juice, can fairly be called “coffee” instead of “dessert.” But it’s up there on the board so you don’t even need to know the secret menu to order them. Consequently I’ve little doubt that there are people who make a habit of these things.

      • Thanks. I largely think so to.

        It is largely more about geography and where I want to live though. I’d be happy as a professor at a small liberal arts college in the Northeast or Northwest (like my undergrad alma mater). I would be happy at a university in a city in the Northeast or Northwest like Boston, Seattle, NYC, DC, San Francisco, Portland, etc.

        But I would not be happy at the University of North Dakota or Southeastern Alabama, etc. And often as an academic, you need to apply where the jobs are.

        Being an academic is a lot like being an artist, it has to be the only thing you want to do above all other considerations.

    • As a PhD who considered going to law school, I think you made the wrong choice. ;). But I hope it works out well for you.

  6. I wouldn’t mind a retrospective on The Satanic Verses/The Last Temptation of Christ and dynamics that were obvious then that have aged well (and ones that haven’t) since 9/11 and compare to the modern discussion of “offensive” religious content… along with thoughts on which dynamics will age well and which won’t.

  7. What is the most ethical purpose of higher education? (and any related topics)

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