September Open Thread


206 thoughts on “September Open Thread

  1. Let’s start with the Northwestern story. A radical political theorist is a gadfly in her dept and in the University. She criticises diversity and spousal hires. The associate chair of the dept, an African American scholar, is pissed. NU is pissed at her because she denounces their ties to the military-industrial complex. To try and fire her NU seizes on the complaints by the African American associate chair to claim that she creates and unsafe space and bans her from campus. The Slanger of Ha and the Amsterdam Balloon signed a petition in support of the banned scholar before it transpired that she had been witch-hunted because of identity politics. Interesting.

  2. Whatever one may think of Stevens, and no matter how much one admires and gives credence to Tillery or Monoson, it’s a chilling sight to see a tenured professor excluded from campus because some of her colleagues get bad vibes from her. It’s an easy situation to mock, and all the parties will rightly be mocked for various reasons, but the punishment here (and for Sartwell, and for one of the people at Colorado) is vastly out of proportion to the verbal offence. If the cheap observation “s/he might be crazy, eh” and the cheap premise “a crazy person might well come in with a weapon some day!” are together sufficient for exclusion from campus, there will soon be few philosophy professors left.

    1. So verbal interaction should never be sufficient for banning someone from campus, or suspension, or demands for psychiatric treatment?

      1. always funny to see the crude, over-the-top straw-manning and stupidities in the argumentation here, given that you philosophers are supposed to be experts in logic and the use of reason.

  3. If the early postings to are representative, then the most important areas of research these days are the bullshit Catholics come up with, and what your genitalia and skin color is/looks/you want it to be like.

    What is reality like, how do we know about it, and what ought we to do about it? So passé.

    1. The philosophy of race ad hasn’t been posted for more than a couple of hours, and the patently insincere social media signaling has already commenced…

      1. What do you mean?

        Also, FWIW, there are a fair few more race/gender/etc. jobs being advertised already, they’re just not all on philjobs.

    2. Hey- Skin and genitals are important parts of our contingent reality. Maybe you think they shouldn’t be. Maybe you’re right about that. If you have an argument one way or the other, I’d like to see that.

      1. I happen to think that not all “important parts of our contingent reality” are deserving of philosophical interest (at all and/or at the level that departments seem to be investing in).

        Crazy idea, isn’t it?

        1. Two observations, from, say, an experienced realist perspective, one neither PC/femphil ditto head nor metabro crank (to use the prevailing stereotypes).

          1) The hiring patterns are responding to emerging fields. This happened in English and History and is now happening in philosophy. Only recently has philosophy of race or feminist philosophy become a widely recognized field that departments believe they ought to have representation in. That is a neutral observation, absent any judgment of whether a department ought to hold to hold such beliefs. So, given an economy of scarcity, most departments would choose to spend their one line on hiring in a field in which they have need, rather than one in which they are already staffed.

          2) Saying that gender/sexuality or race are “skin and genitals” isn’t going to make you a lot friends in the world outside of anonymous cyberspace (“and so what?” I hear you say). The question of whether or not one thinks they ought to be the basis of subfields in the discipline of philosophy can be legitimately separated from the obvious fact that gender/sexuality and race are an important part of the social reality in which we live. The question it seems to me is whether universities should invest in “philosophy of x,” when x is some important feature of society and politics (rather than logic or science or language or what have you). I think people can reasonably disagree on this issue, but it would be nice to get some clarity on what folks are actually arguing about.

          1. Yeah, maybe. It seems like we could benefit from a good mix of *theoretical-theory* and slightly more applied uses of that theory. So, gender and race (granted, obviously better than “genitals and skin”) are not only morally significant, but also metaphysically interesting sociological artifacts. So, you know, let’s embrace those topics, people.

  4. This article on ancient Greek philosophy has overlap apparently with previously published articles (highlighted in yellow):

    The university investigated this instance, and others, and then issued a bland press release concluding “minor violations of copyright” and “minor incorrect mode of citation” :

    What the press release fails to mention is that a couple of publishers have already issued retractions for other work. The author has had three articles retracted and another paper reissued with an erratum. Two of the articles are in the philosophy journal Argumentation.

    The article on ancient Greek philosophy is not retracted, however.

  5. Philosophy’s leading SJW – Social Justice Whineberg – seems quiet on the identity politics affaire du jour, affecting philosophy and politics, at NU.

  6. From DN: “I go to a Leiterrific program that doesn’t report its placement data. I would ask my faculty to make our placement data publically available, and to be up front with students about the odds that different people face in this job market. In the last 5 years nearly 60% of our tenure-track placement has gone to women or men who were spousal hires for women. The group of women and their spouses makes up less than a third of the graduates for that period, giving that class a 75% placement rate in tenure-track positions, as against 30% for those who are neither women nor married to women. This distribution is statistically significant, with a p-value of .0308 using a two-tailed Fisher exact probability test (similar numbers in favor of women alone go back to 2000). Of the remaining 40% of our tenure track placement in the last five years, half have gone to people who tick some other demographic box that explains their placement in the jobs they landed. Some of this is explained by what people work on, some of it by their advisors, but there is no mechanism in place for people to talk about the realities our graduates are facing without running the risk of censure from the faculty (which in some cases has already happened–hence the need, regrettably, to post pseudonymously).

    With all the bad information that is out there about our program, without this information the people who either are considering coming here or who are already here cannot make informed decisions about the payoff odds of the effort they put into pursuing a career in philosophy at the expense of other employment.”


      1. Where? I don’t see it on their website. They do say who’s a job market candidate, but I can’t find any placement record.

        If it’s not Harvard, then the only other T20 department (American T20 and International T20) I could find that doesn’t report its placement is Cornell, but it looks like that’s just because the link/page is broken.

          1. Thanks. That was well hidden.

            So… either it’s Cornell, the student in question means ‘Leiter-ranked’ rather than ‘Leiterrific’, or the student in question is full of shit.

    1. Hmm, the OP appears to be relying on demographic trends in the ratio of tenured positions to total graduates. Most departments don’t provide data on total graduation numbers. This could be just about any program.

      1. Yeah, but I was looking at the claim that it was a Leiterrific program that doesn’t post its placement information publicly. Didn’t seem there could be many of those. And it turns out there’s just Cornell, whose placement page is broken.

        I read the OP’s demographic trends as dependent on his/her own analysis of them. Come to think of it, thought, that might just fit with what we know about one Cornell grad. So maybe that’s it, then.

        1. I don’t know what you mean by the trends being dependant on the OP’s analysis. They appear to depend on knowing the total number of graduates, which few departments give. I see no reason to think Cornell was meant.

          1. The reason to think Cornell is that it’s the only T20 (nationally or internationally) that doesn’t currently report its placement. Since the OP specifically says he attends a Leiteriffic department that doesn’t report its placement, that narrows things down quite a bit.

            So either it’s Cornell, the OP doesn’t have a good grasp of ‘Leiteriffic’, or the OP was full of shit.

                  1. It’s not really better, since it requires that the poster not understand that when he says his department doesn’t post placement data, that claim is false and what he really means is that it doesn’t post demographic data. So he’s full of shit, as I said.

                    If I say ‘Ford doesn’t make cars’, that’s patently false, even if what I meant was the more specific claim that ‘Ford doesn’t make self-driving cars’.

                    Seriously, read the post. The first two sentences read: “I go to a Leiterrific program that doesn’t report its placement data. I would ask my faculty to make our placement data publically available, and to be up front with students about the odds that different people face in this job market.” That’s pretty clearly two different things: (1) making placement data available, and (2) giving a demographic breakdown.

                    Reading is tech.

                    1. Given the claims make no sense unless by ‘placement data’ the OP includes ratio of total graduates to placed graduates, there is no question what was meant. So it is the better explanation.

                    2. “The first two sentences read: “I go to a Leiterrific program that doesn’t report its placement data. I would ask my faculty to make our placement data publically available, and to be up front with students about the odds that different people face in this job market.” That’s pretty clearly two different things: (1) making placement data available, and (2) giving a demographic breakdown.”

                      I read 2 as a gloss on what he or she means by placement data. At 12:11 below you seem to admit this reading is possible, but disagree with it. So that looks like the disagreement.

                    3. reading lip gloss is most certainly, without a doubt, misplaced in the face absent job placement data of this job market. get out of this place and go to the market for a new tube of reading gloss.

      2. Indeed. The Anonymous with the hard-on for Cornell seems to think ‘placement data’ can’t include ratio of graduates to placed graduates.

        1. No, he thinks the original poster made a clear distinction between the two and said his department posted neither.

          Incidentally, we do know that someone who cares a lot about demographic data in philosophy attends Cornell.

          1. No, I admit your reading is possible. But it is not plausible given the fact that the OP’s statistics only make sense if by ‘placement data’ the OP means to include the ratio of total to placed graduates.

          1. He didn’t say it was Cornell, he said that either it’s Cornell or the other poster was confused about the meaning of something. He suggested that confusion might be over what counts as “Leiteriffic”, and someone else suggested it might be over what’s meant by “placement”.

  7. From the heterodox academy

    “I believe it is far too late to counter orthodox academia’s shut down of free speech with either reasoned eloquence or satire. This movement is far too strong at this point for this to be effective. It is also counterproductive to frame it as a movement to shield snowflakes from certain kinds of speech and behavior. This is buying into the orthodoxy’s framing.

    There is no shielding of ANY language or behavior from the orthodoxy directed at its many enemies.

    People who are open to treating fairly those who may have an openness to an eternal being, Jesus Christ, a Torah-guided life, free enterprise, treating Israel fairly, traditional marriage, life begins at [con]ception, merit systems of reward, problems with Sharia law, “all lives matter,” the police are not evil racists, and so many other people with unorthodox thoughts, are now being cleansed out of the campus. The people who are actually open to such thoughts are largely gone from many departments of the university already. The success of the orthodoxy is beyond dispute. I do not consider the existence of token classical liberals, moderates and conservatives to be substantive proof otherwise.

    I believe the proper framing is the one chosen by the orthodoxy with far less accuracy when describing the GOP. The orthodoxy is well on the way to cleansing the university of alternative thoughts. If a person is actually open to one of the above beliefs, that person has three choices: shut-up, convert, or leave.

    This is the reality and it should be described as such.”

    This has certainly been my experience. And I used to consider myself something of a liberal.

  8. Hi, are there any actual professional philosophers who visit this blog? I need help. A couple three years ago someone (fairly well known philosopher or biologist I think) told a story about how he had brought some problem to the attention of an authority (minor authority — like the desk of an airline) and had received a response that showed the person whom he was speaking to didn’t have the concept of someone being concerned about the greater good. He expressed surprise that this person responded to his concern about the problem as if it were a self-interested personal complaint. I am trying to recall who this person was and how the story went in more detail. Can you help? Thanks in advance.

  9. Really proud that the pilos is covering an amazing philosophy emerging at NRP and biology. Why did we evolve? Does this prove that we can see anything at all? Pretty amazing stuff. I found the link at Justin Daily Nous, which is a rich source of quality philosophy. I really hope you way in with a comment or even just tell us how you feel. I knew we wer emonkeys but come on! I want to see at least something real

    1. I think this is really interesting. Does this mean that, say, prawns might be able to see simple things for real, but when we get up to greater complexities our abilities “bottom out”, yielding a kind of evolutionarily helpful but actually uncorrelated-with-reality structure that we use for sexuality and mating only? Or is that an oversimplification? Genuinely struggling here.

    2. Naturally, no pun intended, I just want to jump on this choo-choo train of genetic progress to say: yes, we are animals, but how great thou art! I want to learn to be better and better at adapting to my environment. Some days, that may involve going to university and making “knowledge”, other days, hey, I might get lucky if you know what I mean. It’s all good in the mix, in its proper place, and that’s what we’ve evolved to do. Relax fellas; it’s gonna be fine.

    3. Just jumping in the ring here, to say that, look, eveything’s evolved, right? We at least know that much, (Un)Intelligent Design people aside. So, that means whatever we mean by truth is an evolved thing too, right? So how can we say ‘We don’t know real truth, only an evolutionarily adaptive version of how things are?’, since truth itself is evolved? What is the real comparison class? I smell a rat here.

    4. Evolution is us. Evolution is life. Evolution is how we got here. If you want to make up stories, fine, but Darwin will be there for you when you’re all done.

  10. As I find your association between mating and struggling highly problematic I might need to report this to the authorities at Daily Douche.

  11. Reader writes to Leiter on whatever topic:

    “I appreciate your service to the profession, your blog, the PGR,…”

    Leiter is such a comical figure.

  12. So, the APA publishes a “guide” to nonacademic careers which includes the suggestion that you become a celebrity like Chomsky or Dennett. The celebrities all have (or had) cozy academic posts. Also, I’ve never heard of most of the people on their list. I have heard of Scratchy, but is she a celebrity? What I mean is: Does she actually make a living at being a blogger or whatever, or by “career” does the APA mean “A mere hobby paying literally nothing”? If one has the chops to actually make a living as a philosophy-celebrity, isn’t it likely one can find a teaching post somewhere? And did any philosopher interested in a non-academic career actually need to be told that there are celebrities and that Chomsky is one of them? Did any of this occur to the authors? The “guide” makes other inane suggestions, such as that a career in big pharma might be in the cards, but only if you happen to have graduate training in biochemistry, or perhaps health management. Thanks, APA!

    1. I understand that Scratchy has a book forthcoming from a non-academic press. If, however, that’s a sufficient condition for being identified as a public intellectual, then the operative notion of “public intellectual” is pretty thin stuff.

      One also gets the sense that there is an APA in-group that cannot help but engage in shameless acts of self-promotion.

  13. Have I misunderstood something, or has “Professor Manners” just outed herself as Amy Olberding?

    The post has nothing to do with feminism, either. I guess Olberding doesn’t get a huge number of readers at her own blog. (Or, any readers.)

    I wondered before how the self-styled Prof. Manners qualified as any kind of expert in manners. I guess the answer is: not in any way.

    1. Any way she’s wrong. It’s easy and straightforward to characterize philosophy in a way that distinguishes it from other disciplines taught in the schools. In her sarcastic, exasperated-sounding, seen-it-all, know-it-all rant against narcissistic narrow minded know-it-alls she doesn’t even touch on it. But it is something we are all very aware of.

        1. Without going into a long story here, I would appeal to the idea that its a kind of activity (in the way that is often done, contrasting that with a body of doctrine), and add that when people do philosophy together, the togetherness has a different sort of function than the togetherness you might find in a chemistry lab or among a group of literary theorists. It’s constitutive of the activity in the case of philosophy but not in the case of the others.

  14. “Reader writes to Leiter on whatever topic: … Leiter is such a comical figure.”

    Is it possible Leiter may have problematically or inappropriately replied? Do not underestimate the potential here for Post-Leiterific Stress Disorder. Let us all hope and pray the reader is safe. Remember, Leiter is one of The Elders of the Patriarchy of Zion.

  15. Brian Leiter argues for moderation in the treatment of academic sexual harassment.

    Eric Schliesser responds.

    But isn’t this whole discussion quite outdated now that the APA “Beyond Academia” guide is out? Surely there are many opportunities in publishing or, say, global development for a bright person like Thomas Pogge or Colin McGinn.

    1. McGinn self published his shitty novels. I’d guess at the high point of his career he maybe pulled down a 5K advance for his books, the best selling of which maybe (*maybe*) brought him twice that in royalties. So, no, there’s no opportunities in publishing there, or none that would be anything like whatever salary (mid 200s, I’m guessing) he was pulling down for teaching one course a semester at Miami.

      1. Just to clarify, I’m guessing the 5K advance tops for one or two of his *philosophy* books. His self-published shitty novels cost *him* money.

  16. Daily Nous is censoring comments that don’t meet Justin’s version of the ‘be nice’ rule. So, let’s have it out here. Grad student metabloggers, what would you like to tell your fellow grad students?

    1. Well that’s odd, because SJWs are notorious for being being the opposite of “nice”; they are vindictive and sociopathic, creating an environment where others around them are silenced lest they be attacked by a SJW mob.

  17. I don’t read it much, but I take it Inside Higher Ed’s comment section must really be a shithole considering Leiter will still link to this site.

  18. Did anyone bother to read the bizarre piece by Eagleton on utilitarianism as the “ideology of capitalism” to which Leiter linked approvingly? One is reminded of Schopenhauer’s disparaging remarks about Hegel:

    “these monstrous conjunctions of words, which cancel and contradict each other, so that the spirit torments itself in vain to connect some thought to them, until it finally sinks down exhausted, gradually destroy in him so completely the capacity to think that from then on hollow, empty phrases pass for thoughts.”

    Eagleton, remember, is the guy who denounced people like David Armstrong and Ruth Barcan Marcus as “right-wing [sic] Cambridge dons” for noting that Derrida’s work “does not meet accepted standards of clarity and rigour”. It would be interesting to carry out a research project comparing the social and political interventions proposed by leading utilitarians (e.g. Bentham and Mill) with those Eagleton and Leiter hold in high esteem (e.g. Marx and Nietzsche).

    1. haha, my thoughts exactly. is it just me or leiter is showing early signs of senility? his crusade against effective altruism is just ridiculous (see mcmahan’s recent piece for a good examination of those criticisms). i say this as someone who is generally supportive of his noble fight against the social justice warriors. he has lost his compass here.

    2. Hadn’t seen that. A very bizarre piece indeed. But this is just par for the course for Leiter. What’s more surprising is the support this curious fellow—I mean Leiter, not Eagleton—gets from people who should know better. No, the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.

      1. new anonymous. i don’t really care either way about effective altruism or utilitarianism. but leiter doesn’t have my support because he’s the enemy of my enemy. he has my support because he’s right about the new infantilists.

  19. Rebekkka Kukla’s bravery in the comments at DN is awe inspiring. She speaks out for all the poor black women in analytic feminism from her tenured post in the astonishingly white (seriously, look at their website) Georgetown philosophy department. My hero.

  20. …well I for one am shocked–JUST SHOCKED–to find the daily noose publicizing unsubstantiated context-free gossip about philosophers who maybe, possibly, committed thought crimes.

  21. It’s an amazing thread — it’s actually making me feel a bit sympathetic with Justin. Although my first thought, when I read the comments from prominent feminists, was “Damn, and people call the Metametametablog a ‘cesspool'”.
    I’ve met Shelby a few times and I have a hard time imagining him being “belittling” or “demeaning”. I don’t just mean intentionally, either — he’s very measured and modest in discussion.
    I don’t think Kukla, Millstein, and Norlock have exactly covered themselves with glory in this one.

    1. From what I can piece together, Shelby is being raked over the coals because he was (perceived to be) kind of a dick when responding to questions about his criterion for deciding whom to cite and/or engage in his work. This is some high level nonsense, of course. Imagine a Q & A at the ASL where the speaker curtly declines to justify his decision not to engage with Hegel’s logic. Such behavior wouldn’t provide grounds for the ASL to issue a public or semi-public apology. Indeed, it would be a non-event. If the speaker were REALLY curt, his behavior might provide grounds for a conference organizer to take the him aside and remind him that magnanimity is a virtue. One wonders how the Shelby situation differs from the one I just cooked up.

  22. I thought long and hard about whether or not I would speak or stay silent regarding #SAF2016, but words of my fore-mothers kept coming into my mind and I decided that I cannot stay silent.
    These words are for *me.* It is important to me that black women’s experiences and our stories are told and documented, despite the risks it may pose or the misunderstandings that could ensue.
    I have observed that for many feminist philosophers (read: white feminist philosophers) these gatherings are rejuvenating, revitalizing, and a safe space where ‘we’ can do our work. However, this has not been my experience. Due to countless instances of microaggressions and even overt racism and misogynoir, I have learned to arm myself when I am entering into these spaces. But the armor that I have cultivated was not enough to shield me from the events that took place this weekend. I will speak of just one central event, because 1- it was the most public, 2- on multiple levels it serves as a paradigmatic example of the erasure of black women’s bodies and our words, and 3- if you want to know why so few of us are in philosophy, this example hits on a multitude of reasons.
    Now I commend the efforts made to bring a talk into this space concerning black women; however, within the current climate, this should have been done by a black woman in order to avoid objectification. If academic feminist philosophy truly wants “a dialogue about racism, it will require recognizing the needs and the living contexts of other women.” It requires making space for our voices to be heard along with the recognition of the power dynamics within the space that I am entering. While our voices were given salience during the talk’s q&a, our voices were entering into an already hostile and emotional environment where I don’t wield much power.
    My first question to the speaker was ‘Why on a talk on black women and black women’s bodies, black feminist theorists were not being engaged?’ I framed it as a metaphilosophical question concerned with methodology, but it was flat out ignored. Space was made for me directing the speaker to address my question; however, I was told to repeat it because the speaker ‘had forgotten it’ and once the question was repeated, it was dismissed as “asking for a bibliography.” Another response was given that the speaker ‘was just trying to do philosophy.’
    It is harmful enough to sit through that talk, then to be ignored and belittled, and effectively told that I don’t do philosophy. But more harm occurred when the majority of the remaining questions abstracted out black women and focused on women as a collective (read: white women). I am now at a talk where the object is black women, black women’s work was not being engaged with, black women’s questions were dismissed and ignored, and the remaining questions erased black women. I am at a talk focused on black women without using our work and then we drop out of the conversation when the talk’s focal point is our bodies. This is erasure on multiple levels. We were silenced on numerous accounts.
    Afterwards I was told that my responses were visceral and that I was being angry. Yes, I am angry and it is a painful place to reside, but in order to survive I have learned to use it. I was also told that I was brave and that my courage should be commended. I appreciate the positive affirmation – truly I do. It helps to keep me from being pushed out of philosophy. But what I need is for my feminist allies to realize that when I am fighting against misogynoir and in unsafe spaces, I am trying to survive.
    Operating in a space under such duress I do not consider fun, epic, nor rejuvenating. I left the conference wondering how much time will it take for me to grapple with this trauma? How many days did the stress of this take off of my life? I heard other women speaking on being in “survival” mode during the event, but I want to stress that it was not your womb that was being addressed. It was not your womb that was being explicitly told could act in a morally reprehensible way. It was not your work and words that were being silenced. You are still able to see the weekend as a success, to experience the speaking event as one of solidarity, a joint venting, and to even look forward to the next gathering.
    I do not. I can not.
    I see how unintelligible black women are. I see how with such ease and lack of awareness we are erased. And now, by documenting this, I see more clearly the work that needs to be done.
    These are my words. These words is my anger being well used. May these words be words of fire.

    Fuckin hell

    1. We’ve entered a realm of intolerant social justice lunacy that openly rejects fairness, accuracy, free speech, tolerance and respect for others’ opinions. If you disagree with another person’s opinion, you may ignore it or you may debate it or you may even be insulting. But it is beyond any reasonable norm of acceptable conduct to tell blatant lies about non-existent “harm” and demand punishments and apologies – these are the methods of repression used by the authoritarian bigot who cannot imagine a pluralism of views and values.

    2. It’s remarkable the degree to which Jews think their views of Christian philosophy matter. It looks like the chief shriekers against Swinburne (just by a quick glance at the Facebook names) were Stanley, Kukla, Abrahamson, Moser, Clare, Sharon, and Klein. Wow! It’s like the gay agenda and Jews have joined forces to socially ostracize Christians. It’s funny that Leiter was the one who tried to ostracize Christian colleges from philosophical societies and now he’s complaining when the same tactics are turned against him. How are Jews going to think about this campaign when it is turned against anyone who supports Israel? I say this as someone who is not a Christian and who has never been to church, but I don’t like it when bullies pick on people with less power and social status.

        1. This is from VP Joe Biden:

          “”Think — behind of all that, I bet you 85 percent of those changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media, are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry.”

        1. Conidering that, according to no less an authority than the vice president, Jews are the most powerful group in America, we need more anti-semitic assholes because the people in power need to be criticized. Criticism tends to make people behave better. Jews, however, tend to ignore all criticism because, of course, it’s just anti-semites. That’s why we need rational and evenhanded criticism of Jews now more than ever.

  23. frankly, what annoys me most is that the “#SAF2016” complainer (“Hastag”) was being really disrespectful to black feminist philosophers.

    either the black feminist philosophers of whom Hashtag was thinking had things to say that raised problems for Shelby’s argument, or they didn’t. if they did and Hashtag knew about them, she should have raised those problems in her question, giving credit where credit is due and making Shelby look like a tool.* if they did and Hashtag didn’t know about them, she’s being the worst kind of hypocrite. if they didn’t, then Hashtag is asking Shelby to discuss people whose work does not bear on the substance of his arguments for the sake of keeping up appearances, which would make both everyone involved look bad.

    but rather than doing any of these things, Hashtag (a) asked a question that was at once substanceless and shaming, and (b) used these philosophers whom she professes to admire as bludgeons. it may still be true that the ideally virtuous response would’ve been gentler than Shelby’s alleged actual one, but in this context it strikes me as clearly supererogatory to be even as gentle as he reportedly was.

    so, to (other) people sympathetic to feminism, critical race theory, etc.**: am I missing something? honest question.

    [*] afaict Shelby is emphatically not a tool.
    [**] in the perhaps unlikely event that other people sympathetic to feminism, critical race theory, etc. actually read the metablog

  24. I spent the whole day yesterday at an auto dealership buying my wife a new car. But last night I didn’t dream about the car, but about Hillary who appeared young and stunning and topless, but with very small breasts. What does this dream mean?

    My subconscious was telling me that Hillary came across in the first debate much better than Trump (young and stunning) and that therefore she ‘won’ the debate despite her indefensible position (toplessness) and weak arguments (small breasts).

    1. It’s stupid. He can’t come up with any good reason at all for Rea to apologize.

      This Feser guy is a leading light of rightwing Christian thought, huh?

      1. So pervasive have tactics of this sort become in recent years that one sometimes finds even professional philosophers resorting to them, at least in online contexts (blog posts, comboxes, Facebook posts, etc.). 

        …What does all this have to do with Rea and Swinburne?  Just this.  Sophistries and ruthless political pressure tactics of the sort just described succeed only when people let them succeed – when they let themselves be intimidated, when they acquiesce in the shaming and shunning of those who express unpopular views, when they enable the delegitimization of such views by treating them as something embarrassing, something to apologize for, something “hurtful,” etc. 

        This, it seems to me, is what Rea has done in the case of Swinburne.  Given current cultural circumstances, Rea’s statement amounts to what philosophers call a Gricean implicature – it “sends a message,” as it were — to the effect that the SCP agrees that views like Swinburne’s really are disreputable and deserving of special censure, something to be quarantined and set apart from the ideas and arguments that respectable philosophers, including Christian philosophers, should normally be discussing. 

        That is unjust and damaging to philosophy itself, not merely to Swinburne.  It is especially unjust and damaging to younger academic philosophers – grad students, untenured professors, and so forth – who are bound to be deterred from the free and scholarly investigation of unpopular ideas and arguments.  If even the Society of Christian Philosophers is willing to participate in the public humiliation even of someone of the eminence, scholarly achievement, and gentlemanly temperament of Richard Swinburne, then why should any young and vulnerable scholar trust his fellow academic philosophers to “have his back” when questions of academic freedom arise?  Why should he believe they are sincere in their purported commitment to reason over sophistry?

        Rea is an excellent philosopher from whose work I, like many others, have profited.  But in this recent statement he has in my opinion done a disservice to his fellow philosophers and an injustice to Swinburne.  He owes Swinburne an apology. 

        1. I’m glad you drew on Grice to work this out. Without his pioneering work in pragmatics, this all would have been lost on us.

          Here’s my apology to Swinburne:

          Sorry you’re a moral dinosaur who holds awful views about gays and have a pack of angry right wing trolls trying to defend your name in shitty discussion threads. Some of your earlier work makes me think you deserve better.

          1. Calm down, fool. The disgraceful conduct of many professional philosophers in the last couple of years of abuse, witch hunts, smear campaigns, online attacks, etc., makes Swinburne look like a saint.

          2. 10:26, the abusive and obnoxious tone of your comment as compared to Feser’s thoughtful, civil, and well reasoned analysis shows exactly which side is showing reasonableness here.

          3. 10:26 might as well be wearing a ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt. What a poor showing these people are giving.

          4. You’re a real piece of work 10:26. First, you spout off about how Feser “can’t come up with any good reason at all” why Rea should apologize, ignoring the five reasons he did give. Then, when you’re presented with a careful statement of why Rea’s actions are detrimental to the health of the community, you retrench in moral condescension. You make your position look devoid of merit, propping itself up on moral hysteria.

  25. It is a consoling thought to remember that the hypocrisy of this profession’s career idolaters will pass away, but the words of Jesus Christ will abide forever.

      1. Jesus Christ is a fictional character. And thus will live on eternally in half-wit graduate student papers on the metaphysics of fiction.

        1. 5:53 is not thinking very clearly. It’s the words that were said to live on after the hypocrisy and career idolatry of this generation of philosophers have faded from collective memory. I’m not a Christian, but I suspect that’s right.

  26. I love the irony of Leiter’s “Authoritarianism and Fascism Alerts” tag being attached to a post where he advocates banning the speech of his political opponents and shutting down media companies with whom he disagrees.

    1. No. Because Leiter is not actually in the philosophy department. He was refused a courtesy appointment there and is only faculty in the law school.

  27. Can someone explain why it is so crazy to think that homosexuality is immoral or in some sense a disabilty when people like Singer openly argue for infanticide? I find the latter view much more repugnant but Singer is free to have his opinion.

    And where is the outcry against violent Islam and its adherents who continue to attack civilians (Chelsea)?

    1. “Can someone explain why it is so crazy to think that homosexuality is immoral or in some sense a disabilty when people like Singer openly argue for infanticide?”

      Lots (and lots and lots) of people think Singer’s view about infanticide is abhorrent. So why does it surprise you that many decent human beings find what Swinburne said abhorrent? I certainly do. It’s disgusting, and every attempt to defend it just looks more desperate.

      1. Swinburne has said he thinks certain activity is wrong.
        Singer advocates killing people.

        Teeny weeny difference there, is there not?

        1. Thought experiment: Imagine you’re disabled and you can spend time with a philosophy professor, either a utilitarian or a feminist. The utilitarian wants to kill you, while the feminist wants to rape you. Which is preferable?

  28. Is Jazz Tranley really making an analogy between Swinburne and the Nazis? If it wasn’t for the holocaust, I think Tranley would be out of ammunition to smear those whom he disagrees with. Does he masturbate to those Holocaust fantasies? And why does he have this weird hatred for christianity but is the first to scream islamophobia?

    1. Have not philosophy’s feminists repeatedly condemned consensual adult romantic relationships between profs and students? (Despite the widespread prevalence of such relationships, including ones that involve several, indeed several prominent, feminists themselves.) Does this make feminists Nazis?

    2. By applying the principle of charity to Jazz’s behavior (verbal and otherwise), I’ve come to conclude that he is a Cynic (in the ancient sense) engaged in one long stream of public urination.

  29. So what is happening to traffic on this blog? Over 700 posts in June, almost 600 posts in July, 372 posts in August, and now headed for maybe 150 posts in September? What happened?

      1. Thanks 3.17 for the reminder that, on the recorded statistics for 2012 and 2013 philosophy job hiring, the median number of publications a woman needed to get hired was 0 to men’s 1; and the mean publication rate (0.8) for women was about half that of men (1.5). Gender inequality is the new cool in philosophy!

        “The average publication rate for women hired was about 0.8.
        The median number of publications for a woman hired was 0.
        The average publication rate for men hired was about 1.5.
        The median number of publications for a man hired was 1.
        … For the Top 15 journals, 27% of men hired had at least one such publication, while only 11% of women hired had at least one. For these journals, the average publication rate for men hired was 0.42 publications, while for women hired it was only 0.14 publications.”

        1. Thank you – it’s interesting though that philosophy’s feminists have gone strangely quiet about the now well-known gender bias against men in philosophy job hiring, since all the relevant statistical evidence appeared in the last two years; evidence showing that women are held to lower professional standards (requiring on average just 0.8 publications to be hired, as compared to men’s 1.5) and receive substantial preferential treatment in hiring.

    1. Sure. In most systems where there are status hierarchies the guys on the top of the pile are not exclusively the best. They’re there on top for lots of reasons that don’t have anything to do with the putative content of the status hierarchy. Yale and Harvard have good philosophers in them, but there are equally good philosophers at many other completely unimportant schools. So fucking what?

    2. Interesting you say so, since the entire rationale of the Leiter Report in the early days was to counteract the “halo effect” by elevating good departments in otherwise not so great universities (NYU and Rutgers paradigmatically) and demote not so good departments in otherwise great universities (Harvard and Yale paradigmatically).

      1. By the ‘Leiter Report’ do you mean the Philosophical Gourmet?

        NYU didn’t even have a PhD program in the early days of the Gourmet. And in those days Leiter himself did all of the rating.

  30. Jazz Tranley looks like he is going through menopause. In earlier pictures he was always lean and cut, but in recent pictures his face looks puffed up and horrible. Does he not take care of himself? Does he stuff himself with junk food? Is he an alcoholic? He seriously looks way older than his 46 years.

    Jazz, if you are reading this, the average 46 year old does not look doughy and jowly like you. For someone with a national profile like yours, it is unseemly to let yourself come apart so thoroughly. If you want to be a persuasive advocate for SJW causes, it’s not helping you to look like an overweight lesbian, because that’s the stereotype people already associate with those views.

  31. A thought occasioned by Jason Stanley’s recent rant …

    I know I am pretty much preaching to the converted here, but can I get an “amen” for how much I love Brian Leiter? I know people think he is testy and combative, but at least with Leiter you know what you are getting and he is a fundamentally fair person. He has done a great service with his law school and philosophy department rankings, at great risk to his own career (one must admit his rankings have made him a lot of enemies); he is completely unafraid to take on bullies and imbeciles in the blogosphere, in philosophy, and in academia as a whole; he is fundamentally reasonable, standing up for his leftist convictions while now allowing himself to be drawn into the inanity of new infantilism. I have to admit there have been times when I was skeptical of Leiter’s influence and animadversions—I did my undergrad at a SPEP philosophy department and I don’t think he has been fair to many good philosophers and much good work in that branch of philosophy—but that’s a small complaint, really, in the face of how salutary his overall role has been, as a really stand-up guy, a principled advocate for academic freedom, a staunch proponent for free information about departmental quality and professional prospects, a critic of the ways in which posturing wankers on both the left and right are harming academia and culture at large, and generally a voice of reason and maturity in the field. The more crazy things get, the more I like Leiter.

    1. This is exactly my view. He’s an irascible guy but he’s right about the big stuff and he’s willing to call bullshit in public. God help us that this is a rare and necessary virtue.

  32. Over the last two weeks we’ve been treated to the Shelby incident, the Swinburne incident, Weinberg’s smarmy call out of Soames etc., and an additional attack on Swinburne from a committee operating under the auspices of the APA.

    In light of these events (and against a background of frequent and consistent violations of professional norms), I’m giving serious thought to quitting professional philosophy.

    No, I’m not going to resign from my professorial position. I enjoy teaching (and paying my rent). I haven’t lost my love for philosophy either. I don’t intend to give up on my research projects.

    What I think I’m going to do is to withdraw my support from the “system” of professional philosophy. I’ve already let my APA membership lapse. Soon perhaps I’ll stop refereeing papers, commenting on conference papers, replying to e-mails, or otherwise contributing my grease to the wheels of the profession. I just no longer want to support a group of people who’ve decided that their parochial (and often incoherent) notions of diversity and inclusivity justify treating those with “problematic” views as mere obstacles to be removed (by means of public shaming), rather than as interlocutors with whom to converse. I could be doing something more important, like reading Dugald Stewart.

    I say all of this as reasonably successful early-career philosopher. I have a tenure-track job in place that I enjoy living. I’ve published in several good journals. I’ve presented at many conferences. My classes are always full and my students give me good reviews. I’ll have no trouble earning tenure. Thus, sour grapes have nothing to do with this.

    Moreover, I say it as someone who isn’t a member of the groups towards which current hostilities are directed. I’m neither a Republican nor an orthodox religious believer. And I’m definitely not Tommie Shelby. I’m just an ordinary philosopher who no longer wants to interact with people who lack any shred of epistemic humility or sense of professional propriety.

    Finally, if you use your stupid face book account to demonstrate to the world that you can and will slay all of the “isms,” even if it means insulting graduate students or pissing on due process, then you can go fuck yourself. I’m out.

    1. I think you’re making a mistake.

      First of all, you are affording Justin Weinberg exactly the status he’s trying to wield: You’re taking him and his favorite commenters to be the voices of professional philosophy. They aren’t, and I doubt they’re even the majority. Look at the significant amount of dissent in the comments of the recent post on ‘resonance conferences’, for instance. Of course, if people like you really do withdraw, that’s how the profession really will become monolithic. Or, uh, univocal.

      Second, if you stop refereeing and otherwise greasing the wheels, the people who are going to be hurt aren’t the ones who are frustrating you. It’s the new junior professors and grad students who need their papers refereed in a timely way, and who need good commenters at conferences, and so on. Other people did those things for you. Now pay it forward.

    2. I want to second unvocal. Speak up, push back. These people are a very vocal minority. They’ve made their way in the profession with no real challenge to their attitudes and tactics, and now they’ve managed to put their hands on the levers of power. Time for some even-handed opposition.

  33. Who wants to suck Kukla’s cock? I’d rather munch on her super muscular vagina. And who is the poor fellow in her facebook pictures who appears to be into pegging?

    1. Oh look, scatman is back. Pay him no mind. He’s just bitter because he’s neither part of the new consensus, nor someone with anything interesting to say.

  34. I’m trying to understand the thought process that goes from ‘Some people are misbehaving’ to ‘I’m going to stop refereeing papers.’ You should referee because other people had to take time to do it for you. Don’t act like a selfish prick because you don’t like how other people are acting. Do your share of the work. (I’m not into the scene, fwiw, and I think a lot of the shit I’ve seen lately is annoying or disturbing but there are lots of junior people who need non-junior people to stay and so their part. Don’t go Galt on us now.)

    1. Hi 12:22, OP here. I have to confess that I’m unlikely to act on the desires expressed above…largely because I realize I’d be acting like a dick and penalizing the wrong people. Against my better judgment, I went on Daily Nous last night and found the Soames call out thread, which so disgusted me that I came here to emote.

      Anyway, although I’m not likely to stop refereeing, I really do have the sense that our few bad apples have turned nearly the whole bushel rotten. I’ve seen no organized push back to any of the nonsense of the last few years. Leiter, of all people, appears to be the lone voice of non-anonymous sanity.

      Moreover, I don’t have the professional standing to make any difference. Speaking out would make me worse off without improving things in any meaningful way. This is because the bad behavior is enabled by generally well-meaning people who (a) don’t want to ruin their own reputations as right thinking good guys (b) think most recent targets of abuse kind of had it coming and (c) are non-confrontational to a fault.

      I get along with my colleagues and mostly like them. Still, I’m not sure ANY of them would be prepared to defend me if I said something like “hey Swinburne’s position on homosexuality isn’t very plausible but lets not make a public spectacle out of an octogenarian for expressing views that reflect Christian orthodoxy at a conference that is expressly for adherents of Christianity.” They’d let the bad apples run roughshod all over me. As a result, I often feel like riding off into the sunset.

      1. All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. But sure, tell yourself that you’re riding off into the sunset.

  35. Open question: Who is more like Trump, the thin skinned New Yorker Sir Ranks-a-lot, or the operatically self-congratulatory Jazz Tranley?

    1. Leiter. When he spins out of control and digs himself deeper into a hole, it’s pure Trump.

      Stanley’s more of a Ted Cruz, in my opinion.

    1. Of course not. Strange white supremacy that gives to non-white people. Show me one black person who has made great contributions to logic, maths or physics. You know why there aren’t any? Because those fields are racis an sheet.

      1. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Shirley Ann Jackson, Benjamin Bannecker, Katherine G. Johnson, Annie Easley, David Blackwell, Dudley Weldon Woodward, William Waldron Schieffelin Claytor, J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr., William A. Massey… surely one of those ought to satisfy you.

        1. Yeah, all of them geniuses. You would not mention the hundreds of white men who have gained PhDs from MIT and now are just regular college professors. It is people worthy of Nobel Prizes, fields medals and so on that are in focus here Not people who win some Presidential Medal of Freedom because they are dark-skinned and are good for quotas. Be honest, without wikipedia you would not have been able to compile this list.

              1. You asked for a single person with “great” contributions to math, logic, or physics.Despite the severe restriction of domains, I offered a few candidates. You don’t know their names offhand, so you rejected them, and now you require that they compare to the two greatest mathematicians of all time. It’s not like the ground is shifting or anything.

                Besides, how many white Gauss-Eulers have there been in all of human history? Two, plus a double-handful of second-tier mathematicians like Newton and Riemann. How many of them have been American? Zero, so I guess that means that Americans are inferior mathematicians. Oh wait, that’s not how that works? How long has it been since African-Americans had access to decent education? Oh yeah. They still don’t.

                1. Newton is now second-tier, aha. There are simply no great mathematicians of color. There are, however, plenty of Asian mathematicians that can only described as geniuses.

                  1. With respect to mathematics, yes, he is (with respect to physics, he’s first-tier). The first tier of mathematics is clearly occupied by Gauss and Euler alone. That doesn’t mean the double handful of second-tier mathematicians were no good.

    2. l’ve read some of McPherson’s papers. In my judgment, he is a very good philosopher. I am confident he’s not, as often happens in academia, taking a radical political position to obscure his mediocrity.

      Absent that motive, however, I have a hard time seeing what his end game is.

      What concrete proposals does he offer as a remedy for philosophy’s racial failings? Are we supposed to put an asterisk next to the names of all the canonical figures who held unenlightened racial views? Stop teaching them? In his own scholarship, McPherson meets the usual disciplinary standards for clarity and argumentative rigor. Does he want us to dial these back somehow? And, really, to what end? I don’t think he wants us to start teaching and writing about poetry or doing sociology or whatever. So what does he want us to do qua philosophers to change philosophy?

      1. I tend to think of Russell, Carnap, Kripke, Barcan and Lewis as white supremacists. It’s courageous and brave of McPherson and Weinberg to point out these important facts to the profession. Thank you for your contribution!!

      2. I haven’t seen concrete proposals from LM, but maybe he just doesn’t know of any good ones. I believe in that case he’s doing and saying exactly what he should be doing and saying: make the criticisms, even if you don’t see the solution.
        (I largely agree with you, 9:03pm, about the other things.)

  36. “You can worry about this blog post. I will worry about the future of my country. We each have our priorities, I guess.”

    Trump is far worse than LaRouche
    But this self-satisfied Scaramouche
    Is so new consensusly smug
    An SJW thug
    My god what an insufferable douche.

  37. As the person who first associated Kukla with muscular female genitalia, I now realise that it was insensitive on my part to refer to her “big queer cock”.

    Seriously though, she objects to may admittedly profane language but then proceeds to curse like one of my nephews after his first week at a state school. Is she for real?

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