Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Using the glossary package in LaTeX

My dissertation includes a lot of Sanskrit terms. For the benefit of my readers, I'm including a glossary which will have the terms and their definition.

The package I'm using for this is the glossary package, which you can read about here. The steps include, basically,

0. Create a document called "glossary.tex" with entries
1. Call the package: \usepackage{glossary}
2. Load the external file: \loadglsentries{glossary}
3. If you like, set a particular style: \glossarystyle{altlistgroup}
4. Tell LaTeX to make the glossary: \makeglossary
5. At the appropriate place in your document, print the glossary: \printglossaries
6. If you want to print all entries, not just the ones you mark in your text, add: \glsaddall
7. Finally, add the glossary to your table of contents: \addcontentsline{toc}{chapter}{Glossary}

The steps in compiling are supposed to be: XeLaTeX + BibTeX + MakeGlossaries + XeLaTEx

Problem. TeXWorks doesn't have the "MakeGlossaries" option. So my compiler kept stopping, telling me "can't find input index file."

After a lot of searching, I found the solution: just add my own "makeglossaries" option to the list of processes in TeXWorks. This website has instructions. You go to TeXWorks > Preferences > Typesetting, and add a processing tool. Name it "makeglossaries" (or whatever you'd like, really), enter the program "makeglossaries" (which should be already installed somewhere---don't worry about the full pathname), and add a single argument: "$basename" so that your main filename will be passed to the makeglossaries process.

That's it.

One last thing, which I found in the documentation for the package: if you want to suppress page numbers (I didn't want to index every instance of these terms), you can call the package with the option "nonumberlist." My resulting glossary looks like this, with just two sample entries:

Note: be careful not to add a period at the end of your final sentence in the glossary file. One will be automatically added for you, and if you put your own, the result will be ".."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why should contemporary philosophy care about Indian philosophy?

A frequent question that I'm asked, by philosophers and non-philosophers alike, is, "Why should contemporary Western philosophers care about philosophy done by people in India a thousand years ago?"*

Since I'm asked this so frequently, I thought I'd put a response on my blog. First, though, I thought I'd point out a few assumptions that drive this kind of question. Much of what I take my work to be is challenging preconceived notions people have of the distinction between "Indian philosophy" and "Western philosophy."

(A note. I take it that this question is typically not raised to ask whether the individual asking the question has a burden herself to be a philosopher studying Indian texts, but whether philosophers as a whole ought to consider Indian texts interesting, useful, important, or something else--and that something is generally left implicit by the questioner.)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Animation for teaching philosophy

Last semester I used several of the "Three Minute Philosophy" videos available on YouTube, as part of the Introduction to Philosophy course I was teaching. They're quick, funny, and summarize key points for the students, as well as add a visual interpretation of some of the more abstract points in philosophical arguments. I also used Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal or other comics which had philosophical narratives: for example, this Utility Monster allegory.

Of course, there aren't such videos available for everything I was teaching, and if you Google for animations on philosophical topics, you'll often come up with a combination of: 1) shoddily made animations, 2) very lengthy videos, and 3) inaccurate interpretations. So I've decided to start making my own videos. I asked for, and received, some Christmas presents to help with this process:

A Bamboo Splash pen tablet means I don't have to draw on paper and then scan the results into my computer. I can also use the tablet for note-taking and marking on PDFs.
Anime Studio software lets me create short cartoons from my own art (or by importing characters that come with the software).

There's a steep learning curve with the software, so I don't know that this semester (especially given dissertation-writing responsibilities) will see a lot of animations. However, drawing for philosophy gives me a way to get back to one of my favorite hobbies while still being productive. I'm a teaching assistant this spring for Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, and I'd like to animate Anselm's Ontological Argument (and Gaunilo's response). I haven't seen a good, short version of these online yet. That's in progress. In the meantime, I drew up a quick little cartoon explaining the concept of theodicy:
I've got a lot of ideas for cartoons, with the goal that they're accessible for intro students and at the same time are an accurate representation of the philosophical views. Perhaps a philosophy webcomic is in the future?