July Open Thread II


179 thoughts on “July Open Thread II

  1. Why are so many politically liberal philosophers such completely fucking idiots when it comes to debating about politics, especially when they use social media as their soapbox? (As a politically liberal philosopher myself, I ask this with great exasperation and with a degree of shame.)

      1. Well, I think it’s completely fucking idiotic to imply (as Smith does) that a real possibility under a Trump presidency is that you or your loved ones will end up in a labor camp in Oklahoma wearing a pink triangle. But otherwise, there’s a lot of good sense here. So, no, this wasn’t what I was referring to.

    1. I think you mean “such complete fucking idiots” unless you want to say that the idiots are fucking completely.

  2. Isn’t the important thing for philosophy’s feminists is to use an anonymous platform to publicly smear philosophers and doxx their families?

  3. A striking (but unsurprising, except that it was allowed) comment over at FP:

    “I’ve been squeezed out of two societies for women in philosophy. In one case, after an APA panel discussion when I asked suggested we all go to lunch, the other members of the panel ditched me in the ladies’ room.

    That was quite a while ago. I haven’t been involved with either of these groups since, but I always have been and remain a committed feminist. Early on I was trashed in the profession because I was a woman, I’ve contributed to ‘What it is like to be a woman in philosophy’, etc. I’m admittedly skeptical about ‘feminist philosophy’ but totally committed to feminist political action, including support for affirmative action with hard quotas, etc.

    Maybe things are different now. But this drove me away. And I know lots of other women in the profession, especially younger women who don’t want to be involved because of the perception that such groups, SWIP in particular, are devoted to ‘feminist philosophy’, the it isn’t what they do, that membership won’t do anything for them professionally, and will in fact make them look bad.

    I believe that it’s important for women in professions where they’re underrepresented to have organizations for women in their professions and for feminist concerns in the profession–not as ‘safe spaces, but because when you’re a minority in a profession there are special concerns to be discussed. It might be useful however to compare organizations for women and (not the same thing) for the discussion of feminist issues, in philosophy, what they do and how they’re viewed, to, e.g. the Association for Women in Mathematics and the International Association for Feminist Economics.”

    1. My experience might no be generalizable to the US context (I’m not in the states) but I haven’t found that when I go to events for Women in Philosophy (which I do only occasionally) that they are devoted to feminist philosophy, or assume that the women involved are interested in feminist philosophy in particular.

  4. Leiter should do another poll on the vote in light of the DNC leaks. Some comment on reddit:

    OK, so we all know Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) was the co-chair of Hillary’s 2008 presidential run, where she lost the nomination to Obama. So, in order to lock down the nomination for 2016, Hillary was able to get DWS in charge of the DNC and manipulate it from within. That’s the theory anyway, except….
    In order for this to work, they would first have to, not only get the DNC chair to step down, but also get them to recommend DWS for the position. The Clinton’s would have to promise something to that person, something more prestigious than being head of the Democratic party. So who was that person and what did they get in return?
    It would appear that Donna Brazile was in-line to get the position, but she was only the interim chair after the previous chair left, served only one month. According to this, http://rulers.org/usgovt.html#parties, the previous chair of the DNC prior to DWS was Tim Kaine.

    1. Yet again feminists come to this site to promote the murder of all men.
      That’s what those feminists do. I for one am outraged. But will we hear a peep from Daily Nous or feministphilosophers about this terrifying representative DAFM?
      Will we heck!

      1. Yawn… more straw men and failed parodies from the Femtroll. God, she thinks she’s brilliant. The less they know. ..

        1. Not a parody. It’s well known that the Femtroll is the one who invented the stupid DAMF idea, and that it was a straw man – this was discussed and shown extensively on the previous metablog. Basically, the person she was attempting to mock with this DAMF business never claimed that he was a metablog founder. So yes, straw man.

            1. Well if the old DAMF posts were meant to get under the skin of one particular angry metametablogger, they definitely didn’t work. See 12:43 for details.

              1. Some people engage in online discussions to discover the truth through honest inquiry.

                Others do so in order to get under people’s skin, without caring about truth or reasoning, and would rather speculate about others’ mental states than objectively assess the arguments.

                These are not both philosophers.

        2. Something can’t be both a straw man and a parody, failed or otherwise. A straw man involves presenting a stronger version of your opponent’s view, as if that were the view they held. A parody is when you deliberately exaggerate someone’s views for effect – so you don’t actually believe that they hold the deliberately exaggerated view, nor do you intend your audience to believe that they literally hold the deliberately exaggerated view.

          1. Another example of a failed parody that’s a straw man: Smith holds that Jones, who happens to be black, is a corrupt politician because he was caught accepting a bribe to lie to the public on an important matter. Brown, on the basis of no evidence, decides that Smith’s only reason for disliking Jones is that Smith must be against n I nonwhite people in politics. On that basis, Brown draws a political cartoon of Smith in a Klansman’s costume, intending thereby to do a parody of Smith’s purported racism. But Smith is not a racist, so the parody fails and is a straw man

            1. I wouldn’t call that a straw man. For it to be a straw man, it would have to be the case that Smith actually held similar (but weaker) views than those attributed to him by Brown. But he doesn’t, so it’s not a straw man.

              The reason something can’t be both a straw man and a parody at the same time is that if you are parodying someone’s views, you neither think that you are accurately representing their views, nor intend your audience to think that the views of your opponent are being accurately represented. But for a strawman to be a strawman, it’s got to be the case that you either think you are accurately representing your opponents views, or you don’t but you intend your audience to think that you are accurately representing your opponents views.

              1. Actually, 12:19, a straw man argument need not attack anything too close to the actual position or argument advanced by the interlocutor. In the case at hand, for instance, the Femtroll can’t or won’t read worth shit. Because of this, she routinely thinks her interlocutors are saying one thing when they are really saying something radically different. She then attempts to mock a position they don’t hold by exaggerating it, but the result is never a comedic exaggeration of what the interlocutor actually said, since she never takes the time to figure out what the original view really is. This has been noted by many metabloggers, particularly back in the early days when she generally used the moniker ‘Thatkid’. Back then, many of us tried at once to get her to acknowledge how unfairly and carelessly she reads, but it became clear after enough tries that she’s a hopeless case. She now posts anonymously or uses other pseudonyms, but the stubborn and extreme distortions, combined with her failed attempts to dairies those already distorted views, are fairly easy to spot.

                1. Actually it does. You might need to look it up again. A strawman fallacy involves attacking a position superficially similar to, but distinct from, the position your opponent really holds.

                  While you are looking up fallacies, you may want to look up argumentum ad populum too. You’ve committed that fallacy a bunch of times in your post.

                  1. 6:57, you’re the one who needs to look up the straw man fallacy. Here’s the explanation, for instance, from fallacyfiles.org: “A straw man argument occurs in the context of a debate―formal or informal―when one side attacks a position―the “straw man”―not held by the other side, then acts as though the other side’s position has been refuted.” As you can see, there is no need for the interlocutor to hold something akin to the straw man position. The fallacious reasoner merely has to portray and/or believe that the misrepresentation is accurate.

                    You also seem confused about the ad populum fallacy, but you don’t give us enough to make clear hiw you’re misinterpreting that one. But I have never made an argument here of the form “the majority believes X, therefore X.” That’s what the fallacy is. Perhaps you understand the fallacy but have failed to read my short comments with any accuracy.

                    1. @2:41: ” As you can see, there is no need for the interlocutor to hold something akin to the straw man position. The fallacious reasoner merely has to portray and/or believe that the misrepresentation is accurate.”

                      If you click on the link under ‘resource’ you’ll get more information about how the fallacy works.

                      But in any case, you still have a problem. With the kind of parodies you’re talking about – where someone exaggerates a view for comic effect – the reasoner is neither portraying nor believing that the misrepresentation is accurate.

                      When you make claims like ‘many of us tried to do x’ or ‘this has been noted by many metabloggers’, and you make these claims in order to support further claims about what this person who you think you’ve been talking to is doing, you’re committing a fallacy. Furthermore, unless you’re tracking IP addresses or something, you also don’t have any good reasons for believing these claims. You couldn’t know how many people have tried to do something here, or noted something here. At best you could know that two people (you and someone who has not you) .

                    2. Idiot@9:32

                      Your ass has already been handed to you. Time to back up. Wading in further is hiring your already shot credibility, not helping it.

                      Try taking a philosphy 100 course and learn the fallacies from a qualified professional. There is no fallacy in merely mentioning that some fact is well known. That’s not what the ad populum fallacy is. How could it be? It would then follow that it’s fallacious to say “as everyone knows, 2+2=4.” The fallacy only appears when someone gives an appeal to popularity as the ONLY reason for believing in a controversial claim. Use your head.

                      The mistakes you’re making are typical of a complete beginner in reasoning. People at your level of confusion are exactly the intended audience that a Philosophy 100 course is intended for. Who knows, it might even help you become a non-idiot!

                      In the meantime, no offense, but you’re just not a careful enough thinker for serious and busy people to waste their time talking to. I don’t mind giving you a few lessons, but you seem incapable of learning due to your arrogant and laughable delusion that you already know what you don’t have the slightest idea about. Perhaps others here will be more generous with their time and try to teach you. But you have to be willing to learn from them. Good luck.

                    3. “Try taking a philosphy 100 course and learn the fallacies from a qualified professional.”

                      Occasionally I try to imagine what metametametablog commenters are like in real life. I haven’t been successful.

                    4. And I have a hard time imagining how someone with no grasp at all of basic fallacies, like 9:32, is here commenting on a philosophy blog. In my uncharitable moments, I think of them as having learned from continental or feminist ‘philosophers’. In other moments, I imagine them as having taken legit courses but having learned nothing from them. But it’s probably just some bored 10 year old trolling us.

  5. Why did Alva Noë leave CUNY to go back to Berkeley?

    He seems like one of those assholes with a student cult.

    1. I don’t know about why he left Berkeley for CUNY then left CUNY for Berkeley, but he did once give an interview on pornography in which he claimed to be the author of someone else’s views.

      1. Also wrote an op-ed on transformative experiences as if this was his novel theory on ‘what to expect when you’re expecting’…

  6. Good news: Hey folks, The Pilos continues to be growing strong and to keep abreast of the new arguments constantly emerging in philosophy. Why not weigh in

  7. People find things which they think will be useful. Sometimes those things outlive their usefulness, or were never really all that useful to begin with, but people continue to use them.

    hope this clarifies things.

      1. The only thing the femphils have left is their repeated attempt to generate a public shitstorm around Pogge and get him fired, and this started as far back as 2014. Beyond that, there is no longer anything of interest to say that hasn’t been rehashed hundreds of times by those concerned with the gradual ruination of the profession by feminist liars and scumbags. There have been various imbroglios, witch hunts, abuses and fiascos in the last couple of years driven by feminist scumbags. No one is going to change their mind about anything. Glaucon’s PMB and its later developments, and the few other dissident expressions of opinion, were useful for a while; but their purpose has been served. You either go along with the shit that is modern feminism in philosophy and accept its bullying, lying and maltreatment of others; or you don’t.

    1. Nobody ‘ll ever talk about the stuff I want to talk about. Philosophically, you only seem to engage with already thoroughly vetted ideas, or else extremely fashionable ideas, all the time using constrained and predictable language, baby language because it’s such safe language; otherwise, you’re ranting against SJWs or engaged in sadistic gossip about named individuals. I wish it were different. I want to love you.

      1. Well, except the argument above for the claim that something can be both a parody and a strawman is pretty interesting.

        1. It was interesting but I wish people wouldn’t derail discussions like that by going off on rants about who needs to go back to Phil 101 or whatever. It’s so boring, and it usually stops any real discussion that might have been happening.

          1. But at that point the issue was resolved anyway. I too was intrigued by the idea that maybe something couldn’t be both, but then it turned out that the writer had a too restricted understanding of what the straw man fallacy was. She should have admitted this and continued the conversation along better lines. Her condescending attitude after her argument failed was unfortunate, and the silly attempt at an ad populem charge was cringeworthy. It was all over after that, sad to say.

            1. I think you’re confused about who was who. The person who ended with the long condescending rant about how they were a serious and busy person and how the other person was an idiot who needed to go back to school was the person with the broader view.”I don’t mind giving you a few lessons’?? What a wanker.

              1. Read 6:57. That’s the condescending note that started the decline. 6:57 is the wanker. The response you mention was more than warranted.

  8. “What matters to philosophers?” A short survey

    Philosopher Valerie Tiberius (Minnesota), the current President of the APA Central Division, asked me to share the following, which I am happy to do:

    Dear Colleague,

    As chair of a philosophy department at a large state institution (University of Minnesota), I’ve frequently been called upon to defend philosophy and to justify its place in higher education. This has made me reflect on what really is worth preserving, celebrating, or (possibly) changing about our field. To this end I want to solicit the views of my philosophy colleagues in a more systematic way than just asking my Facebook friends, which is what drew me to the project of creating a survey.

    I am now writing to ask you to participate in this (fairly short) survey: “What Matters to Philosophers”. Please click the link below to take the survey, or copy it into the location bar of your web browser:


    The point of this survey is to gather your views regarding what is valuable in your academic discipline, so that we can address questions about philosophy’s future and its role in the academy on the basis of values we share as a community.

    I should say that this survey is not intended to answer tactical questions about effective ways of helping philosophy to survive in difficult times; rather, I would like to know what you believe is valuable and worth preserving in academic philosophy. And so that you can feel comfortable being entirely candid in your responses, the survey is completely anonymous.

    Of course, the success of this project depends on the generous contributions of time from people like you. Mindful of this, I have tried to create a survey that will not take too much of your valuable time – it should not require more than 15 minutes to complete.

    Data from the survey will form the substance of my presidential address at the APA Central Division meeting in Kansas City in March 2017. Presidential addresses are published in the APA proceedings, and I hope to publish and discuss my findings in other arenas as well. I will also share the data – in a form that does not permit the identification of any individual’s responses – with the APA and with philosophy departments who are interested in it.

    During the planning process for this project, some philosophers have expressed reservations about completing the survey because they do not have full time academic positions, or are still in graduate school, or are not APA members. Please be assured that there are no such restrictions on who may take the survey! It is only by hearing from as many philosophers as possible that we can get an accurate picture of what we, as a community, think about philosophy.

    I greatly appreciate your assistance. Thank you.


    Valerie Tiberius

    Professor and Chair

    Department of Philosophy

    University of Minnesota

    The survey is at this link http://z.umn.edu/PhilosophySurvey

    1. Is it paranoid to worry/conjecture that this survey might be fishing for responses that might be used to advance a certain trendy and insidious political agenda in the discipline? I took the survey and came away more than a little concerned…but I also worry that my horror at the identity politics cabal in the APA may have driven me too far in the other direction…perhaps by more-or-less the same mechanism that drove them to where they are.

      1. I had very similar thoughts, Stealthy. I, too, am surprised at myself for having shifted to the point where I find it refreshing to hear things now that could be construed as offensive to this cabal. That would have surprised the 2011 version of me very much. But the disgusting pressure over recent years to join the lockstep on these issues, and the sickening ease with which so many of our colleagues have fallen into it, has really pushed me in new directions. I feel now that I know what it’s like to live through a moral panic and be horrified at the complicity of all those one used to respect. Obviously, this is not likely to cause as much practical harm as Nazism, Stalinism, red-baiting, or the KKK. But that really just seems to be an accidental feature. I’ve already heard many colleagues openly speak about finding ways to eliminate dissenters from the profession, with no shame or even a sense that anyone else should find it shameful. I don’t think it would be a hard sell at all to convince these people to go further and suggest that the dissidents should be dealt with even more harshly and sent to work camps, particularly if the details of the work camps were kept fuzzy. All it would take, I feel, is a little social pressure and a clear social acceptance of the proposal among their peers. I have never had such little faith in the moral and epistemic integrity of members of the profession. I begin to feel that many of them don’t even understand what the aim of philosophy is.

        Yes, it seems very likely to me that Tiberius plans to use this survey to advance the agenda — a toxic form of feminism. If the results strongly support the agenda, framed as usual in innocuous-sounding platitudes to do with ‘diversity’, then it will be used to silence the critics who will feel outnumbered. If enough people disagree with the agenda in the survey, then it can still be used to bewail what little progress we’ve made on getting everyone on board, which in turn can be used to push through even more programs and initiatives.

        It would be interesting to have a survey that makes the goals clearer. For instance, “How much do you agree with the following statement: free debate on issues should sometimes be suppressed in the hopes of getting more women to stay in the profession.”

        1. “Yes, it seems very likely to me that Tiberius plans to use this survey to advance the agenda — a toxic form of feminism.”

          Or is your point only to report on how things seem to you? (Phenomenology is much, much less interesting than some people think.)

          1. 2:11, if you don’t know Valerie Tiberius or anything at all about what’s going on in the profession, then I’m just not addressing you. I didn’t write to present you with an argument. Once again, you(?) are trotting out some acute 101ism. The mere fact that someone doesn’t provide evidence for a claim is not a basis for pretending that the person failed to do so or doesn’t understand that phenomenology isn’t an argument. In fact, if you pulled that shit in real life in the bar where I most frequently hang out, I guarantee pretty well anyone you tried it on would punch your lights out for being a condescending prick. Just sayin’. If you want support, then ask for it without the irritating, sophomoric snark.

            My reply was to Stealthy, who presumably knows what I’m talking about. At this point, I have no interest in talking to you.

            1. You’re being a bit over-sensitive, 3:34. Sure, that last comment was a little snarky. But it’s not unreasonable to ask you why you think it seems likely that Tiberius plans to use a survey to advance an agenda. Responding by talking about someone getting there lights punched out is a bit over the top.

              1. He’s the ARG: talking about punching people and calling people idiot is his whole thing. Don’t cramp it – he has nothing else to live for.

            2. 6:55/3:34,

              2:11, if you don’t know Valerie Tiberius or anything at all about what’s going on in the profession, then I’m just not addressing you.

              I know both. That’s why I asked.

              The mere fact that someone doesn’t provide evidence for a claim is not a basis for pretending that the person failed to do so

              Of course it’s not a basis for pretending you failed to do so. When you don’t provide evidence for your cowardly libel I don’t have to pretend you didn’t. And now you’ve confirmed that you have no evidence – you just smeared Tiberius out of the trashiness of your soul. Which is what I thought you were doing.
              Nice job! True colors!

              In fact, if you pulled that shit in real life in the bar where I most frequently hang out, I guarantee pretty well anyone you tried it on would punch your lights out for being a condescending prick. Just sayin’.

              Donald? Donald Trump?
              Seriously, I don’t give a shit whether you’re a brown shirt with thugs for friends. You’re just an asshole. I wonder who’s the next woman you’ll defame anonymously on the internet.

              1. Hear hear. 6:55 etc finally gets s taste of what he deserves. I wonder what pathetic little rant about femtrolls and idiots he’ll follow this up with while pretending to be another poster. I guess we’ll find out!

              2. Idiot,

                First, not providing evidence for a claim is not the same as failing to provide evidence for a claim. This difference should be clear to any trained philospher. It is trivially true that, in presenting any non-circular, finite set of assertions, you will not have provided evidence for at least one. You yourself say many unsupported things in your own posts. Note that I don’t try to show off and score cheap points by pretending that you believe phenomenology is a replacement for argumentation merely on this basis. That’s because FAILING to provide evidence is something else: it’s the non-presentation of evidence when evidence is dialectically or epistemically required. I was having a conversation with Stealthy, not you, and was reporting on what seemed likely to me as well as him in the course of saying something else. My point was not to make a case for the likelihood of Tiberius acting in that way. You later invited me to present you with evidence for that likelihood. I made it clear that I’m not interested in talking to you. Your only function on the metablog is to derail productive discussions, as far as I can see. I’m not interested. That’s not akin to failing to present evidence in court. It’s akin to not being in court in the first place and having some random person accost you as though you are.

                Second, it doesn’t follow from the fact that I’m not interested in telling you what my evidence is that I have no evidence. Just… THINK for a second.

                Third, I have not “libelled”, “smeared” or “defamed” Valerie Tiberius. I merely stated that it SEEMS likely TO ME that she will use the survey to advance the familiar agenda, an agenda that many of us, for reasons we’ve all made clear, hold to be highly objectionable. I clearly presented this as a report of my own view. It was a speculation about what Tiberius and others would do with the survey results, identified as such. That is hardly a “smear” or libel. If you think it’s libel, then please go ahead and sue. You could as easily sue a critic of Donald Trump who says in public that he strongly suspects Trump will start needless wars if he becomes president. Clearly identified speculation is not libel or smearing. Get a grip.

                I’ll tell you what. Six months after the survey results are released, if they haven’t been used in furtherance of some end of toxic feminism, point this out and I’ll acknowledge that I had this all wrong. But if they get thrown up on Daily Nous and Feminist Philosophers and the New Consensus Facebook pages with ample commentary about how they show a need to support new “diversity” initiatives, and how terrible they show the profession is for women, and then all that leads to a similar mention in a CHE or Inside Higher Ed article or something in the mass media citing Tiberius or some other feminist in philosophy about this, then you openly admit here that you don’t actually know what’s going on in the profession. Deal?

                1. So I got two out of four – not too bad. We’ve got a pathetic rant and an idiot, but no femtrolls and no pretending to be someone else. But ARG did throw in another of his signature moves – the good old ‘many of us’. All in all, another classic ARG post. I wouldn’t put it in the top 5 though.

                  1. Yes, idiot, I do sometimes use the phrase “many of us.” Apparently, you still haven’t learned that this does not constitute a fallacy.

                    Again, do you accept my offer? If I turn out to be wrong, I admit it. If you do, you admit it. Deal?

            3. I don’t want to pile on, 3:34, but, though I agree with much of what you say, I think punching might be an over-reaction in this case. And I’m not sure I’d be willing to move beyond “spinning is possible, and a concern” to “spinning is very likely.” I do realize that you make it clear that’s opinion…but I probably wouldn’t adopt it as my opinion at this point.

              Hard not to get angry about all this.

              1. Fair enough, Stealthy. I still think it’s likely, but I feel now that my “very likely” was an unfair overstatement.

                As for wanting to punch people: I’m actually a very nonviolent person. Only a very few things get my blood boiling to the point where I’d like to punch someone. Merely being a toxic feminist isn’t one of them, though the harms that movement is responsible for are considerable, I think. But when I take the time to try to put things plainly for someone who doesn’t even bother to read or listen with even minimally adequate care, straining my patience to explain obvious things, and then in response the person idiotically and smugly condescends to me, well, that might be less awful objectively than toxic feminism or serial killing but it makes me strongly inclined to smack the moron in the face. I’ve never actually done it, though, and wouldn’t. I have seen it happen to others — I live in a small area with simmering town and gown tensions, and my local bar really has seen its share of wankers like this getting called outside or, on one memorable occasion, knocked off a barstool by lumberjacks and longshoremen: http://www.theonion.com/article/guy-in-philosophy-class-needs-to-shut-the-fuck-up-1804

                Though I’ve only seen a handful of these much deserved punishments, and they used to disturb me, I’ve come to think of it as an important part of the education of those intellectually conceited pricks who missed the extracurricular lesson in high school. Just wanted to be clear that it’s the wankery, not the ideology, that I was reacting to.

        2. I don’t at all think that anyone (manyones?) would send us to work camps…but I have no doubt that they’d send us to reeducation camps in the form of “diversity” training or whatever. Y’know…for our own good. Just to get our minds right. Folks on that edge of the spectrum actually implement such policies pretty routinely. They’re typically big fans of mandatory re-education.

          I was kind of confused by some of the questions–for example the ones about what kinds of “diversity” we value in the profession. I would be unhappy to exist in some bizarre discipline that’s, say, all men, or all rich kids or whatever. I’d certainly be happier if we were a more normal lot in certain ways (but not others). But that doesn’t mean that I think it’s alright to discriminate against men in order to achieve some kind of demographic balance that will make me happier. And certainly not in order to achieve some kind of demographic distribution that will satisfy the bizarre beliefs of the IP crowd.

          Anyway. I was basically taking the survey thinking “I can see how this could be spun. I can see how that could be spun…”

          Gosh, I sure hope I’m just paranoid. That seems to be the best-case scenario here.

          1. “I have no doubt that they’d send us to reeducation camps in the form of “diversity” training or whatever”

  9. What a fluff piece by Gutting. As if Christianity and Islam are on par regarding their scriptual content. As if hippie Jesus was anywhere near the same as rapist pedophile Mohammed. And Leiter the imbecile thinks it’s a very good article. But then, He also likes Robert Paul Wolff.

  10. I would like to call to this community’s attention a case of cronyism and political corruption in our profession.

    Rachel McKinney is currently Fellow in Residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University. Prior to this appointment she has been a postdoc at MIT.

    Despite receiving these two highly prestigious research positions in a row, she has exactly one publication, in the journal Social Theory & Practice.

    How is it possible for someone in our profession to benefit from such highly prized positions with practically nothing to show for it?


    1. Rachel McKinney (no relation to Rachel McKinnon) is Linda Martin Alcoff’s protege. She’s a virulent feminist, but she’s a lot better than the other RMK at avoiding public attention.

    2. This post is disgusting. If you’re upset with trends in the profession, fine. But to publicly tar and feather a specific individual from your anonymous perch is downright shameful, and really only provides ammunition to the other side. I do not know this person, nor am I female, nor am I a ‘SJW.’ Yet when I see posts like this, I start to see why some people think philosophy has a problem.

      Is this unfair? Maybe. Probably not though. More likely you’re misjudging McKinney’s work. And anyway, even if it were, life’s just unfair. Women didn’t have the vote until the goddamn 20th-century. That wasn’t fair either. Work harder, do better, and most of all grow the hell up and stop bitching about it.

      I hope you should someday have the displeasure of being so named on an anonymous forum. smh

      1. I disagree. Nothing in her cv justifies such cronyism. Cronyism is always bad, not matter what kind of persons are involved in that. And in order to stop that, there has to be backlash against those who participate and benefit from it. Only when the costs of doing are so great that your carerr can be in doubt, cronyism will stop. And give me a break, feminist philosophy and critical theory as areas of specialization/competence.

        As for misjudging her work, what work? One measly article? She is riding the feminist gravy train, others are hard working and engage with real philosophy but do not share the radical views of their advisors. Meritocracy my ass.

        1. No.This is just vigilantism. You’ve taken a quick glance at someone’s CV, decided on that basis alone that a person did not deserve her job, and now you are deliberately trying to ruin her career. by, as you yourself say,attempting to incite a ‘backlash’ against a specific person. And what’s more, you’re not even prepared to put your name to it.

          Anonymously inciting mobs like this is despicable, whether it happens because someone has been accused of sexual harassment or because some dickhead thinks a quick glance at a CV gives them the right to play judge and jury when deciding whether or not to drag a person’s professional reputation though the mud in order to cast doubt on their entire career.

          1. What’s wrong with vigilantism when there is no justice at all? MIT and Harvard are top addresses. McKinney is everything but top, neither in pedigree nor in publishing record. How she got there? Connections, not ability. First she sucks up to Alcoff who is probably friends with Haslanger and from there the road is paved. Cronyism is the sin of the modern academy. If you are willing to ride the gravy train, be prepared for the justified backlash from those who never had the chance to ride the train or refused to do it. Easy as that. It would be egregious enough if it where just the cronyism, but critical theory and feminist philosophy, come on. But that is something you cannot understand, for you lack a penis and certainly balls. Just as I as a man cannot understand the distinctive female perspective feminists bring to the table in areas like metaphysics, logic or epistemology, your lack of male genitalia and a human brain prohibits you from understanding philosophy proper and everything not feminist.

            I am willing to shame all those people who obviously got where they are now because of connections. As for the SJW crowd, they play dirty and engage in name calling, so can we. Did you forget how they tried to abandon due process in their crusade against male toxicity?

            1. So your argument is that because other people have engaged in smearing and name calling, it’s OK for you to smear not even a person who you know to have engaged in that behavior, but a person who you consider associated with those who do? Nice moral theory you’ve got there.

              1. Welcome to the real world. You probably never had to deal with bullies yourself. You fight them with their own methods.

                1. If Person A mistreats Person B, you’re not therefore justified in similarly mistreating Person C. Even if C has some characteristic in common with A, like religion or political view or AOS.

                  And in any case, in the real world we don’t think that the correct response to someone doing something wrong is to do it back to them. That’s why the punishment for slander isn’t that the person you’re slandering gets to spread false and damaging rumors about you.

                  1. If person C uses politics and connections to obtain jobs to the detriment of better qualified persons D1, D2, D3, etc., then person C is mistreating persons D1, D2, D3, etc.

                    1. Nope. Your problem is that you are blaming individuals, but you should be blaming institutional structures. If the institutions are set up in such a way that rewards networking and connections – and the job market clearly is, in fact I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single person who did not use their professional connections in order to get a job – then it is unfair to single out particular individuals and decide that they have ‘mistreated’ you and try to incite a backlash against them.

                      If you think that connections shouldn’t matter when getting a job, then what you ought to do is campaign for anonymous letters of recommendation, and for information about which school a person attended to be removed from CV’s, or something like that. Singling out one particular person and picking on them is cruel and unjustified.

                    2. Saul Alinsky’s 12th Rule for Radicals: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

                      This is what SJWs have been doing for decades. It’s time for us to do the same until they stop.

                    3. It looks like a false dichotomy to pretend that one must blame either individuals or institutions, when both are responsible.

                      Just to be clear, I also blame Harvard, CUNY and MIT.

            2. Why don’t you tell us more about your theory of how a lack of male genitalia relates to being unable to understand philosophy, 12:32?

              1. Look for a disaffected and unhappy dropout who was in the Syracuse graduate program from around 2008-2013. Suspect #1 for these mean posts.

                1. What counts as a dropout? And I’m aware of some graduates of that program during that time who are really into making mean comments. And I also know of some people who dropped out because of it. But no big deal, right?

                    1. Well, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that neither of these allegedly terrible non-males are the ones who are writing about McKinney here. I’m going to further guess that whoever it is, it’s the same person who names other women by name, and I’m going to further guess that that person is most likely you, 8:59. Knock it off.

        2. Hm, the accusation of ‘cronyism’ looks very speculative. There’s no substantiation for it, right? Just this: “First she sucks up to Alcoff who is probably friends with Haslanger and from there the road is paved.” But that’s a guess, not knowledge.

          I do think speculative accusations of cronyism are approximately as bad as speculative accusations of sexual misconduct.

          1. Speculative accusations of sexual misconduct ruin people’s lives and careers.
            Speculative accusations of cronyism cause exactly nothing.

            1. I don’t think either of those are true. I can’t think of a single case in which it is the case that a mere speculative accusation has ruined a person’s career. If a speculative accusation doesn’t go anywhere – that is, it doesn’t get turned into an official complaint at the university level – it is hard to see how it could ruin a person’s career. People don’t get fired on the basis of speculative accusations. They only get fired if those accusations get escalated to official complaints.

              But it’s also not true that speculative accusations of cronyism cause nothing. Reputations matter in philosophy. And just as it’s true that speculative accusations of sexual harassment might damage someone’s professional reputation without rising to the level of ruining their life and career, it’s true that speculative accusations of cronyism might damage someone’s reputation without ruining their life and career. You won’t get fired for either, but it doesn’t follow that they’re not bad.

              1. Speculative accusations of sexual misconduct *cause* people’s lives to be ruined; and actually have done, despite having no factual basis. But no example exists of a speculative accusation of cronyism *causing* anyone’s life to be ruined. The suggestion is preposterous. It’s like comparing burning down a Vietnamese village to accidentally treading on a person’s handout at a seminar.

                1. ” But no example exists of a speculative accusation of cronyism *causing* anyone’s life to be ruined.”

                  Right, but I didn’t suggest otherwise. I just said that “accusations of cronyism might damage someone’s reputation without ruining their life and career.” It seems like you’re trying to set up a false dichotomy, where we either have to say that accusations of cronyism cause nothing, or they ruin lives. But there’s a lot of space between ‘causing someone’s life to be ruined’ and ‘causing exactly nothing.’

                  I should qualify this statement, though – I can’t think of a single case *in academia* in which it is the case that a mere speculative accusation has ruined a person’s career. You are certainly right that there are cases outside of academia in which people’s lives have been ruined by accusations.

                  As for comparing them, it’s almost certainly true that the worst cases of people being accused of sexual harassment are worse than the worst cases of people being accused of cronyism. By saying that they are comparable in some way, you don’t have to commit yourself to the claim that they are always equally bad, or even generally equally bad. But it is the case that anonymous accusations of cronyism and anonymous accusations of sexual misconduct are alike in this respect – they often unfairly damage a person’s professional reputation. So they may not be equally bad, but they can still be bad in same kind of way.

          2. “Hm, the accusation of ‘cronyism’ looks very speculative. There’s no substantiation for it, right?”

            Actually, wrong. Rachel McKinney didn’t make it into CUNY through regular admissions. She was brought there ‘through the backdoor’ by her crony Linda Martin Alcoff.

                1. I’m sorry, but nobody at CUNY knows anyone else enough at CUNY to know or care about this sort of thing. So I don’t think you were at CUNY, 12:30, and I wish you would stop. I happen to have met Rachel McKinney once or twice, and she is a passionate and talented philosopher. I wish people would stop trying to put other people down. If that’s what you want to do with your life, I’m pretty sure there are professions made just for that. Maybe you would be happier in one of those.

      2. > life’s just unfair. Women didn’t have the vote until the goddamn 20th-century. That wasn’t fair either. Work harder, do better, and most of all grow the hell up and stop bitching about it.

        Would you have said that to those women too? Did they just ‘work harder’ and ‘stop bitching about it’, or did they do something about it?

    3. Some points,

      1. Vigilantism is using extra-judicial means to punish someone who’s done something wrong. Has McKinney done anything wrong? No one has even alleged that.
      2. McKinney appears to be very lucky. She can hardly be blamed for that.
      3. McKinney has published in Social Theory and Practice, which is a very good journal for normative work: probably the third best, behind Ethics and PPA. If she publishes one paper like that per year, she could well deserve and earn tenure at a very good (R1) department.
      4. If you want to size up a philosopher, you should actually read their published work, not just glance at the CV.

      1. “1. Vigilantism is using extra-judicial means to punish someone who’s done something wrong.”

        No, it is not. Vigilantism is using extra-judicial means to punish someone who is *claimed* to have done something wrong; vigilantism is routinely used against the innocent.

        1. Presumably also only if the wrongdoing is something that is properly subject to judicial oversight, though, right? (It would be weird to say that a parent who punishes a child for hitting her brother is engaging in vigilantism).

      2. Point 3 is potentially misleading. McKinney’s “Extracted Speech” speech paper was part of a special issue on “Dominating Speech” edited by Hallie Liberto. It was based on a conference that took place in 2014 (Jason Stanley was a keynote speaker) at the University of Connecticut. Papers in the issue were not subject to rigorous blind review procedures; the editor of the issue, for example, certainly knew the identities of authors.

        1. Nice catch! So the only publication listed as peer-reviewed is actually in a special issue of conference proceedings.

          1. This is another reason why judging someone from just a CV is unreliable. Some try to pass off a “it’s who you know” conference proceeding as a genuine contribution to uninvited anonymously-reviewed research in a good journal.

          2. These aren’t actually mutually exclusive. I’ve just had a piece accepted in a special edition of a decent journal, based on a talk I gave at a conference. The paper was peer-reviewed, and not just as a formality — I had 2 fairly searching sets of comments and it had to go through a round of R&R. I will be presenting it on my CV as a peer-reviewed paper, because it is one.

            1. There are different levels of anonymity in peer review. What 5:03 claims is that the highest and most trusted or professionally valuable level of anonymity (“triple-blind”?) was not respected in this case, since the editor of the special issue (and presumably, conference organizers) knew the identities of paper authors at some point in the process prior to full acceptance.

    4. The CV is thin but totally fine. Oftentimes it takes a while for academics to start producing research. Nothing to see here, folks

      1. That’s true in general, but those academics don’t get postdocs at Harvard and MIT before they actually started to produce that research.

        1. That’s just not true. I know lots of people who have gotten post-docs at great schools before publishing things. Coming from a top grad school helps. Having a famous adviser helps. You might think this isn’t fair, but it certainly isn’t unusual, as you are suggesting.

          1. But do you consider CUNY a top grad school, and do you consider Linda Martin Alcoff a famous adviser? Alcoff is famous for the wrong reasons (the ‘pluralist’s guide to climate for women’), and CUNY is ranked lower than Harvard and MIT.

            1. Yes and yes. CUNY is ranked *one place* lower than MIT. And it’s just 5 behind Harvard. And Alcoff might be famous on blogs for that reason, in the same way Leiter is most famous on blogs for the Leiter report, but they also are famous in their respective fields. In other words, this case is not an outlier at all.

                  1. How noble. What about the more deserving people whose careers are being harmed or destroyed because of the gender and political bias in hiring? Are you going to indirectly throw them to the wolves instead?

                    I respect your choice if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, but that doesn’t make it obvious that you’re morally superior.

  11. For some reason I couldn’t reply in the thread, so:

    “This is what SJWs have been doing for decades. It’s time for us to do the same until they stop.”

    12:45, You’re right back at the original problem. You are attacking one individual, on the basis of the fact that you happen to associate her with a group of other individuals, some of whom have done bad things. It’s unjust, for the reasons I have pointed out.

    “It looks like a false dichotomy to pretend that one must blame either individuals or institutions, when both are responsible.”

    12:51, I didn’t pretend that one had to blame *either* individuals or institutions. In some cases it is appropriate to blame both. I just claimed that in this case, it was appropriate to blame institutions but unjust to blame individuals.

    1. “You are attacking one individual, on the basis of the fact that you happen to associate her with a group of other individuals, some of whom have done bad things.”

      I am attacking her because she is wasting philosophy’s resources for nothing. Besides, I don’t just ‘happen’ to associate her with the Moral Majority. I know that she is very closely involved with them.

      1. 1:09, please post a copy of your CV so we can decide whether or not you are wasting philosophy’s resources for nothing. Please also list your religion, who you vote for, and a list of your associates, because I want to know which of your connections to pull out as my justification for trashing your professional reputation anonymously on a blog.

  12. When a feminist filmmaker sets out to document the mysterious and polarizing world of the Men’s Rights Movement, she begins to question her own beliefs. The Red Pill chronicles Cassie Jaye’s journey exploring an alternate perspective on gender equality, power and privilege. http://www.theredpillmovie.com/

    1. If you’re trying to convince anyone that the people who frequent this forum are reasonable, posting links to loony MRA sites is helping.

      1. A sign of extreme and pathological intellectual unfairness in the discipline today: Women’s Rights Activism (I.e. feminism) is automatically considered good and “reasonable” in all its instances, while any instance of Men’s Rights Activism is automatically “loony” and unreasonable. Amd this is not a bias limited to a fanatical fringe, but to the quietly and confidently fanatical majority.

        1. I’d say it’s worse than that. Feminism isn’t merely automatically considered good, but more like: agreement with feminism is considered obligatory in philosophy. And this agreement must be more-or-less unquestioning–a common theme currently with respect to certain political views, and the aspect of the prevailing climate I find most troubling. And this even given that many common flavors of feminism are extreme and implausible and often philosophically inconsistent with common metaphysical and epistemological views. Perhaps I’m wrong, of course, but that’s the way it seems to me. I would understand pushback against someone who denied that males and females are morally equal. But things go far beyond that, I’d say.

          Also: I’ve seen crazy MRA stuff, but I’ve also seen perfectly sane MRA stuff. I have no sense of what the overall tenor of MRA-dom is like…but life is short and it’s something I’m probably not going to sink a lot of time into investigating. Nothing in the video above seems obviously crazy to me on one viewing. Might it not be that the men’s rights movement, like feminism, is a mixture of sane and well-meaning egalitarianism and crazy sexist identity politics extremism?

          Boy, people get mad at each other around here really quickly.

    2. Can we please get back to naming and shaming people who we think don’t deserve their jobs? The MRA stuff is just fucking stupid.

  13. An anonymous reader a top department asked me to comment on my availability for public appearances. As one might expect, I get invited to loads of events, usually as a keynote speaker. I confess that sometimes it takes me a while to reply (in this respect, I am like my colleague and friend Martha Nussbaum).

    Additionally, would readers please share Paris restaurant recommendations? (fine dining only; no sushi) I’ll be there in September.

    1. Yeah, 3:00, that’s pretty scandalous behavior there. Good job exposing it, as usual. I’ll never trust him again, now that you’ve helped me see the error of his ways. And it was so funny the way you called yourself Bryahn! It made me feel really cool when I got the joke.

  14. Hey all. Long time hater, first time commenter. This space is garbage, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Just so you know what an outsider’s perspective of this site is:

    You mostly come across as bitter and hateful people, with some unsettling fixations on a notion of “justice” that feels mostly like tantrums about not getting what you want.

    Reading the comments here mostly confirms that you aren’t very good at the core skills of critical thinking and rational argument, let alone basic reading comprehension that would be needed for someone to take you seriously.

    And of course, the recent turn towards singling out junior career folks who you think have better jobs than they deserve so you can anonymously armchair evaluate their CVs is both despicable and makes you look dumb. And it is mostly in service of putting another piece of yarn up on your conspiracy theory wall, or maybe your goal is just harassing someone who has a job you wanted, I guess?

    No one on a hiring committee gives a good god damn whether anonymous 8:46 thinks someone’s CV isn’t impressive enough. They’re not taking their cues from this dumpster fire you call a discussion forum, and acting like you can definitively determine whether someone should have a particular job from glancing at their CV is a pretty good way to prove that you don’t have the first idea how to evaluate people for employment.

    Any of you who think “well not *all* commenters here are awful!”, guess what? You, too, are part of the problem. Because this whole site is fueled by comments, and anything posted here that isn’t just trashy harassment is more or less cloud cover for the more horrendous stuff that gets posted. It’s also not very good philosophy, so it comes up short on that redeeming value measure as well. When you are participating here, you’re either harassing folks, or enabling harassment.

    I don’t have any illusions about this comment, You’re not going to read this and think to yourselves, “oh gosh, we are being total trash!” You’re going to accuse me of holding some objectionable ideology or offer some other bullshit dismissal of what I’m saying (I’ll never find out for sure, because I’m not tuning in for your replies).

    My advice to you is to get a better hobby than being shitty on the internet.

    1. So I guess you’re “part of the problem” too, by your own lights, since “anything posted here that isn’t just trashy harassment [e.g. your very own comment] is more or less cloud cover for the more horrendous stuff that gets posted”.

      Oh, but please continue making judges about the “core skills of critical thinking and rational argument” here. It’s a hoot.

    2. You mean “a better hobby” like obsessively following a blog you profess to hate, and “enabling harassment” by contributing 400-word posts to it?

    3. 2:20, it’s maybe one person here who keeps trying to obsessively discredit others or of jealously. As you can see, the rest of us routinely jump on him or her for it.

      Should the rest of us avoid this blog in order not to facilitate his/her inappropriate comments? Well, if the other blogs were not cheerleaders for certain achingly stupid ideas, silent in the face of clearly horrible moves by the APA, and if they didn’t routinely skew discussions by selectively censoring one side’s comments — in other words, if Justin Weinberg, Mr. Zero, and the gang at Feminist Philosphers were actual philosphers and had an ounce of perspective or intellectual integrity — then we wouldn’t need a blog like this. So if you want to see the toxic shamer(s) here get shut down, as most of us do, take it up with the moronic blog editors and backward APA administrators that got us here through failing to understand the need for free discussion about topical issues.

      1. “achingly stupid” is a great phrase, and an appropriate description of the standard fare at philosophy blogs

    4. I’m a recent PhD and I’ve been reading the metablogs since they first appeared a couple years ago. In that time I’ve talked to far too many people who privately admit that there’s systemic favoritism toward certain people for reasons other than merit. I’m sympathetic to 2:20’s concerns about singling people out, but what I’ve experienced firsthand with the identity politicians within my little corner of the discipline, what I’ve heard from others, and what I’ve seen occur in public (the Laura Kipnis debacle, the site visit program at Colorado, and the lockstep narrative among the usual suspects) convinces me that the profession needs a place where people can speak freely about what’s happening in the discipline. That doesn’t make the ‘name and shame’ crowd justified in what they’re doing, but it is to say that 2:20’s talk of “bitter and hateful people, with some unsettling fixations on a notion of “justice” that feels mostly like tantrums about not getting what you want” is not responsive to what’s going on.

      1. In the last couple of months, one or more FP nuts around here has been defaming various named male philosophers as “sexual harassers”, and even defamed the young wife of someone – who then promptly left social media. This actually is genuine online harassment, and it’s done by femphils.

        I have no idea who the person obsessed with the CUNY/MIT/Harvard person is. It’s a completely inconsequential matter anyway. It has no signjficance whatsoever, and is not comparable to anonymously making unsubstantiated allegations of criminal conduct against male philosophers or their partners.

        Maybe some of the FPs around here need to learn critical thinking and get some proportion. Allegations of sexual misconduct ruin people’s lives. Gossip about who hired who, or who belongs to some bunch of networked cronies, has little significance; and, in any case, cronyism and networking is well-known in the philosophy profession and deserves to be discussed, rather than covered up.

        1. “This actually is genuine online harassment, and it’s done by femphils.”

          You have no evidence that it’s done by “femphils”. But it suits your ideology so you say it anyway.

          1. Many commenters have explained that point over and over again to that numbskull. He’s either too stupid to understand the point, or he thinks that repeating something like the over and over again when it is really obvious that he has no evidence is somehow clever or convincing. Like those people who keep insisting Obama’s a secret Muslim.

          2. True. And let’s also not forget that there’s similarly scant evidence that the person accusing femphils of harassment is an MRA, a sexist, or a misogynist.

            1. No one has asserted that the numbskull in question is any of those things. Are you trying to imply that they have , or do you just like listing arbitrary things that there are no evidence for, and you just happened to pick those three? Why not remind us that there’s no evidence that the poster is French, likes spinach, or plays the trombone?

              1. Wow, you’re so witty, 1:24. Definitely the smartest poison on the blog, as always. You sure showed us! Why, a commenter here is no more likely to be caked a misogynist or MRA than to be accused of liking spinach or playing the trombone. You sure nailed it. What a dizzying intellect you have, and what powers of perception and conversation.

      2. Here’s the thing, though – it’s not like the only options are either having no place at all to discuss what is happening in the profession or having a place like this. It would be perfectly possible to have a blog with moderation, where there were simple rules about what comments were moderated – e.g, no comments identifying specific people accusing them of harassment, no comments identifying specific people discussing whether they deserved their job or not. This would still leave plenty of scope for discussing all the important things.

        The cost of having an anonymous, unmoderated blog is that it gives people a platform for things like anonymous accusations of sexual harassment. What commenters here need to decide is this: is having a blog like this worth that cost, or if it would be better to have a moderated blog. A moderated blog would of course require work. But it seems pretty irresponsible to let people’s reputations be destroyed because no-one can be bothered moderating comments on a blog. And I think it is clear by now that people’s reputations are being destroyed here. I can think of at least three senior philosophers who have had rumors about them sexually harassing students spread on this blog – these people were clearly identified, and these rumors have not (to my knowledge) been publicly discussed anywhere else (at least on none of the other widely read philosophy blogs). The question is whether it’s worth it to you to sacrifice these people’s reputations in order to have a totally unmoderated discussion as opposed to a moderated one. (To be clear, I am not suggesting this moderated discussion needs to take place on the existing philosophy blogs – but that someone could set up a new one. FP is a moderated blog pushing one ideology. It’s not clear why there couldn’t be a moderated blog critical of that ideology).

    5. You’re right about at least this much: the metablog is more toxic and less interesting than it used to be. I don’t think that means it should be abandoned, though. It would be better to overwhelm the shitty comments with interesting and non-toxic ones. There’s still no other blog or forum for philosophers where people feel they can say what they actually think.

        1. You forgot, Christina Hoff Sommers is considered “toxic” by professional feminists in philosophy. Their definition of “toxic” is anyone who dares to use logic, facts, critical thinking and evidence, or anyone who criticizes their naming & shaming campaigns and witch hunts.

    6. “anything posted here that isn’t just trashy harassment is more or less cloud cover for the more horrendous stuff that gets posted.”

      I think you have to give some kind of argument for that dubious claim. (And pointing out that by your own dumb standard you’ve just been engaged in providing cloud cover for hateful idiots is just low-hanging fruit.)
      The point about attacking junior women philosophers is right — that’s an awful feature of this blog. But I think the bulk of your (2:20’s) impressions — and that’s all they are — say as much about you as they say about the content of the blog.

  15. Toronto is advertising for four positions this year. What are the odds that they’ll actually find 4 people who meet their desiderata in the paltry pool of a thousand or so applicants they’ll get?

    1. Given the deeply conflicting desiderata from various personalities on the LEMM job committee… good luck on that one.

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