October Open Thread

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189 thoughts on “October Open Thread

    1. Cool, someone (from Rightly Considered) linked to Rightly Considered.

      Wonder who it was. C’Zar? Ben? Callum? Taylor? If Natural Lawyer is Francis, there’s probably a lot of manly touching in store for you at the next SCP. Oil up!

      1. I’m glad for the link. JW is a censorious piece of shit (which we already knew, but it’s nice to have additional proof).

    2. That is hilarious. If people who call themselves Criticus Ferox, Eudaimonic Conservative, Jan Sobieski IV, or AR-15 are against it, I’m for it.

      1. A perfect moral compas by accident. They seem super pissed that nobody wants to blog with them or recognise their brilliance but (a) there are plenty of blogs that allow talentless hacks to join but (b) only if they have a modicum of self control and decorum. So, I have to ask, how stupid and childish did they really have to be to be shut out of all the blogs that they rail against for excluding them from the community? Jesus, could they not even hack it on Prosblogiom? Were they blacklisted by What’s wrong with the world by Lydia for being too boring and unimaginative? I’d cry if their pain wasn’t so delicious.

  1. I would vote to give the ‘Nobel Prize in philosophy’ to Brian Leiter, but he’s too modest to nominate himself. #sadface

    1. Finally someone who is not an apologist for the antisemitic Catholic Church and understands the true importance of Marx today. A true working class advocate when he is not travelling all over the world, dining in fancy restaurants.

  2. Is the net worth of an individual supposed to be taken into account before deciding whether or not to award them a prize in philosophy? I didn’t know that was a rule.

    1. Should have ruled out Kripke, I guess. But it also rules out certain law professors at top instituitons painting themselves as supporters of the common man. But then those law professors never produced something of lasting significance.

    1. Not to take this too seriously, but consciousness nihilism is widely held belief, right? The eliminationists and Sartre were consciousness nihilists of a kind, if I’m not wrong.

    2. I get the joke, but how smug and complacent can you get! Surely that genuinely is a problem in phil sometimes even if you can big ridiculous examples which fail to support the point

  3. There’s no way Leiter is the shit mailer. And what’s with all the hate for him on here? He’s on the few relatively sane people left defending philosophical virtues against the power grab of the SJWs.

    1. Leiter is an obnoxious ass whose influence in the profession far outweighs his philosophical accomplishments. Plenty of other people “defend philosophical virtues” who don’t have a track record of being a complete cunt.

  4. Who Posts to Rightly Considered? C’zar Bernstein, Calum Miller, but who else? Seems only fair to warn people so they can sever ties if they want to.

      1. Why? If they can expose liberals for thought crimes to the right wing blogosphere and media, what would it be wrong for people to put the clues together and identify them? Do you think it’s cool for people in your Facebook friends list to screengrab and post your thought crimes or outbursts?

          1. I take it that the question was about what would make this a dick move. I’m not saying that it’s not, I’m just curious to know why you’d think it is. Do you think that it’s because the punishment wouldn’t fit the crime or is there some duty not to tell people when you’ve put the clues together for some other reason.

  5. Can someone give all the relevant links and data for the Leiter-CDJ-SH, etc. shitstorm to some hacking group with humor and time on their hands? Seems like it should be relatively easy to solve the mystery. Then we can all go back to talking about something a little less ridiculous.

  6. The shit-poster could be scatofem – remember that loon from late 2014? Her response to any moderately sensible comment at Glaucon’s metablog was scatological lunacy, referring to shit and “cumming”.

  7. Am I the only one here who thinks that being mailed a box of shit just isn’t a big deal? Yeah it’s gross, but it’s also so absurd you just kind of have to laugh about it, right?

    1. Lol, I thought this story is bullshit, but it is true. I don’t think Leiter could muster up that courage, he is a keyboard warrior and like all salon socialists incapable of action.

  8. Yeah, I’m with Beavis on this one. Not that I’d like to receive a box of shit in the mail, but the ‘harm’ has been grotesquely exaggerated.
    The whole idea that philosophy blogs are having endless fucking discussions about shit-in-a-box makes me more embarrassed to be in the profession than I have ever been. (I don’t mean this blog — the more ‘official’ ones.)

    1. +1

      Not only that, but casually, publicly falsely accusing Leiter of criminal behavior is pretty incredible. These folks have lost their minds.

    2. I don;t think it has. Maybe the shit itself is gross more than anything else, but the idea that there is someone nutty enough out there to go to the trouble of hand-delivering shit to your office is pretty scary, because that person a. knows where you work, and b. has shown that they’re willing to go to pretty extreme lengths.

      And of course people are talking about it. it’s an interesting story, because it’s so bizarre.

      1. It’s not the fact that people are talking about it that’s so embarrassing. It’s the way it’s dominating the two main ‘philosophy news” blogs. (Or, gossip blogs, if you prefer.)
        But I take your point about the hand-delivery, that would be more worrisome. Although I’m not sure we really know the shit was hand-delivered.

  9. Yea, the virtue signalling, pearl clutching, new consensus lunatics are out in full force about this. Between the armchair psychoanalysis used to condemn the guy, the consternation about ‘victim blaming and shaming,’ and the devolution to conspiracy theorizing the thread sinks to by the end, I’m beginning to think the New Consensus Crew is an avant-garde tryhard comedy troupe.

    The exchange here

    http://rightlyconsidered.org/2016/10/06/jason-stanleys-response-to-rightly-considered/

    on the other hand, is refreshingly candid and thoughtful. Makes the dailynous crowd look passé.

    1. Are you serious? That post comes with a threat of gun violence at the end, if you “mess” with the serious intellectual who has “published papers on topics in applied ethics.” Why a real philosopher like Stanley bothers with these wingnuts is beyond me.

      1. Conservatrarian has a degree in philosophy from the UK. He has published papers mostly on topics in applied ethics. Conservatrarian carries a Glock 19 with a 15 round magazine on his hip at all times, so mess with him at your own peril.

        Mah pearls!!!

  10. I already like rightlyconsidered, even if it just delivers the harsh tone that Stanley and suckers like Littlejohn deserve. What I wonder is why philosophers who are in general quick to come up with arguments for privacy and its invasion by facebook and other social media outlets, continue to use it. It is like peer pressure amng high schoolers to sign up to the whatsapp-group.

    1. “What I wonder is why philosophers who are in general quick to come up with arguments for privacy and its invasion by facebook and other social media outlets, continue to use it.”

      Do you really wonder? And why do Stanley, Littlejohn, and Pogin deserve the harsh tone? Because they don’t agree with the RC crowd or because they’re giving that crowd what they want (i.e., arguments about pointless bullshit)?

      1. They deserve their treatment, because they are sanctimonious assholes, whose moral compass is too twisted to be a guide for anyhng other than uneffective virtue-signalling. Yes, and I do wonder, because grown ups do not have the need to constantly give status updates, post bullshit in a medium suited only for bullshit and then wonder why they constantly have to apologize for it, if called out for it.

        1. I, too, am disappointed by Stanley’s apology but I don’t miss his Facebook posts. RC is also a pack of sanctimonious assholes. And pussies. And they play the victim card too much. And their mommies failed to reach them the difference between good and bad attention. And they really probably all such at philosophy and blame their career failures on people who are better than them even though they’re not good philosophers, either.

            1. No, that’s what you get when elite-educated liberals meet elite-educated conservatives and there isn’t a filter keeping one side from speaking.

  11. What is the purpose of Pogin? Is she in the end just an internet bot that posts random bullshit on philosophy blogs? And why does NWU participate in this weird joke?

  12. Why are philosophers getting involved in identity politics? Sheesh. There was a time in the 60s and 70s and maybe 80s when identity politics was useful in such a way that it was justified. It’s run its course. It’s done. It makes no sense anymore.

    In any case, the absolutely LAST thing that philosophers should be doing is supporting people’s perverse notion that their identity consists in their set of beliefs. And that’s exactly what identity politics is about. The various identities — political, religious, “cultural” — are distinguished by their sets of beliefs. They are not distinguished by historical continuity with ancestors, cultural or genetic. They are distinguished by the sets of beliefs they lay claim to. And for philosophers to support this deep confusion is about as bad as it can get. People need to learn to consider their beliefs to be things that are true or false and subject to the test of evidence. Any playing along with identity politics of any kind is irresponsible. That’s not to say that philosophers don’t have any duty to engage politically. They do. But not this way.

    1. “The various identities — political, religious, “cultural” — are distinguished by their sets of beliefs.”

      That just seems straightforwardly false – surely many of the identities (like gender, sexual orientation, race and class don’t fit into that category. Being gay isn’t a set of beliefs, in the way that being Christian or being a Democrat is. Neither is being a woman, or being black, or being working class. And identity politics is clearly about those kinds of identities – race, class, gender etc – a lot of the time.

      1. OK, thanks for the response but you’re missing the point I’m afraid. I agree that identities are not constituted by sets of beliefs. However, Identity politics is based on identities conceived that way. To the extent that it works it works because people are identifying with a certain set of beliefs (which are the political agenda of the group that is playing the political game). Do you understand the difference between Identity politics and other political ways of fighting for social justice?

          1. “I’m not missing the point, I’m just disagreeing with you. Do you understand the difference?”

            OK, 7:53. With your expertise in reading texts, why don’t you state the main point of my post at 4:38. Perhaps you can also add in what your explicit assumptions are about why anyone would be concerned about philosophers being involved in identity politics. If I were a betting person I would bet tons that your assumptions are way off base and very parochial.

            1. “OK, 7:53. With your expertise in reading texts, why don’t you state the main point of my post?”

              There is no point in discussing the main point of your post, or whether anyone should be concerned about philosophers being involved in identity politics, until it is clear that everyone is operating with the same understanding of what identity politics is. I disagree with you about what identity politics is. To be clear, I don’t believe that identities are constituted by sets of beliefs, or that identity politics is based on identities conceived that way.

        1. 7:16, “I agree that identities are not constituted by sets of beliefs. However, Identity politics is based on identities conceived that way.”

          I’m not sure sure what you intend to mean by “identity politics”, but it seems highly idiosyncratic. In Identity Politics, an identity is usually, for example, something like being gay, being white, black, male, female, able-bodied, disabled, trans, etc. Such identities typically have nothing directly to do with a “set of beliefs”. Some may; it’s just that typically they don’t.

          On the other hand, such “sets of beliefs” are usually called *VIEWPOINTS*,in these kinds of debates. It is precisely the *absence* of viewpoint diversity (indeed, the enforced absence, via political silencing, ostracism and intimidation tactics) within academic circles dominated by identity politics that has been criticized strongly recently – e.g., at Heterodox Academy.

          1. Hi, thanks, 8:24. I’m totally in favor of including consideration of all belief sets, or at least all that there is time to consider and against silencing. Worries about silencing have been a dominant theme in my whole intellectual existence for over 40 years.

            As you would probably agree, not every belief set constitutes a viewpoint. In fact, maybe there is more to viewpoints than sets of beliefs. But we can put this issue aside, I suspect.

            What I am concerned about is the idea that lots of ordinary people have (ones who are only slightly politically awakened) that their identity is constituted of a certain largish set of beliefs. This means that to give up one of these beliefs is to die a little.

            Identity politics is when you must vote/protest/speak out as your identity dictates. When politics is constituted of battles among groups who are not contingently gathered as a result of their members having the same view about one particular question, but who are rather made to believe that they are essentially gathered in the same group with respect to a large slew of questions there is a problem. There is a problem if they believe deep down that to vote differently from how the group with which they share a name votes, they are disavowing some feature that makes them who they are.

            The problem is that people are not being taught that beliefs can be true or false and are subject to evidence. Instead, they are being taught that whatever ‘beliefs’ they own constitutes who they are. Seeking an identity and some substance to one’s ‘soul’ goes very deep for people — people can’t handle it if they don’t know who they are. If you tell them they ARE their beliefs you are doing a huge huge disservice to them. And that is basically the lesson of identity politics so popular in this era.

            1. “Identity politics is when you must vote/protest/speak out as your identity dictates.”

              That doesn’t seem like an accurate characterization of identity politics. Can you explain why you are thinking of it in this way?

              ” When politics is constituted of battles among groups who are not contingently gathered as a result of their members having the same view about one particular question, but who are rather made to believe that they are essentially gathered in the same group with respect to a large slew of questions there is a problem.”

              Isn’t this just party politics, rather than identity politics?

              1. In response to your first point: If you don’t like my characterization, why don’t you say what you think identity politics is and how it is different from other kinds of politics concerning matters of social justice?

                In response to your second point: It appears that after all you don’t think that identity politics is any different from party politics. Is that correct?

                One way I think they’re different is that a person can leave a party, but he or she can’t leave his identity.

                When people are made to think that in order to be an authentic X or self-loving X or fully-realized X or an X with integrity or even an X at all they must have beliefs and values a, b, and c (only because those have been specified to be the ones that characterize Xs, or proper Xs or what have you) and that to defend other beliefs is to be inauthentic or self-hating or a sell-out or not fully realized, this encourages the tendency all people have (if not educated or genuinely curious and open) to think that beliefs form their identity rather than being things they can dis-attach from in light of evidence. Why does an NRA cheerleader never shut-up about his guns? It is because WHO WOULD HE BE if he suddenly gave up the belief that it is a good thing for everyone to have guns. These people are almost incapable of functioning without cloaking themselves in their beliefs, and philosophers do a serious disservice to other human beings who they could otherwise serve to the extent that they enable any of this.

                I think identity politics were great for certain groups, during certain eras, for very specific reasons having to do with their very specific political circumstances and the very specific histories of injustice towards them. This doesn’t mean that identity politics is something that philosophers (who should know better) should be actively enabling/be involved in.

                1. I think that two of the claims you are making are inconsistent. It can’t be true both that “whatever ‘beliefs’ they own constitutes who they are… they ARE their beliefs” (which is how you are characterizing identity politics) and that a person “can’t leave their identity.” Because obviously a person can change their beliefs. So either your identity is constituted by something other than your beliefs (for example, by your social position, gender, race etc), and you can’t change it, or it is constituted by your beliefs, and you can change it. You can stop being a republican if you choose to do so, But you can’t stop being black, or being a woman (at least not very easily). Especially with something like race, even if you didn’t ‘identify’ as black at all, and it was of no importance to you, you can’t change the fact that *other* people will treat you as a black person. So your identity is politically important because it contributes to your marginilization, and your identity has to do more with how other people treat you than with your own beliefs.

                  “In response to your second point: It appears that after all you don’t think that identity politics is any different from party politics. Is that correct?”

                  No. I think that your characterization of identity politics is no different from how we would characterize party politics, and as such isn’t an accurate characterization of identity politics. The difference is that with party politics, people do cluster together based not on having the same view with regards to one question, but with regards to (as you put it) a slew of questions. I don’t see this as a problem. Why shouldn’t people form groups, and even identify as a member of that group, based on having a set of shared beliefs? However, the groups being talked about when we discuss identity politics are groups that aren’t clustered together based on sets of beliefs, but based on social position, gender, race etc.

                  As for my take on identity politics, I think it’s a messy term. There’s a good article in the SEP on it, though.

                  1. New voice, but I’ve enjoyed the back and forth. Part of what makes this place worth coming back to. I wanted to respond to this from 6:04:

                    “I think that two of the claims you are making are inconsistent. It can’t be true both that “whatever ‘beliefs’ they own constitutes who they are… they ARE their beliefs” (which is how you are characterizing identity politics) and that a person “can’t leave their identity.””

                    As I see it, that’s inconsistency is what 4:22 is pointing out. The identity politician *supposes* that her identity is given by the beliefs and feeling she holds dear, while *in fact* her identity is a necessary relation and so cannot be given by contingent features of her psychology.

                    1. Sure, but so far no one’s provided any evidence for the claim that the identity politician believes that identity is constituted by beliefs. In fact, the first paragraph of the SEP article undermines this view: “Rather than organizing solely around belief systems, programmatic manifestos, or party affiliation, identity political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context.”

                      It’s all very well pointing out that the problems with a particular view, as 12:13 etc has done, but it’s strawmanning the identity politician if there’s no evidence for the claim that identity politics is in fact the view/s that 12:13 etc is describing.

                    2. ‘the identity politician believes that identity is constituted by beliefs.’

                      Seems pretty accurate to me. Explains why they’re so threatened by criticisms of their beliefs.

  13. Kate Abramson has apparently been harassed for her incendiary remarks on Facebook. So how does your own medicine taste, Dr. Abramson? You’ve tormented and belittled conservative students and faculty at IU for years on end, from admissions to hiring to evaluation. Finally they are are hitting back, and you predictably cry victim.

    The schadenfreude is strong tonight.

      1. That answers itself. SJWs like Abramson don’t __earn__ tenure, but they are tenured anyways. Why? That answers itself. No university wants to get sued for not tenuring a gay woman philosopher.

  14. Regarding the pearl-clutching about guntalk, don’t forget this is a group that had Crispin Sartwell threatened with firing over a music video they didn’t understand, and a professor escorted off campus for fear of a joke. These people are not mentally well-ordered on some fronts.

    1. Responding to existing cretinitude by pumping out an equally powered daily wave of differently flavored cretinitude isn’t much of a floor clearing. It just buries the floor twice as deep in cretins.

  15. Philosophers are a rarified species
    But someone’s sent four of them feces.
    Is this poop-perpetrator
    An impersonator?
    Or one well-versed in those Feuerbach theses?

    1. Missed you Glaucon. There will always only be one metablog. The others are poor imitations (with, apparently, no grasp of the difference between ‘meta’ as higher order and ‘meta’ as after).

  16. Those who passionately and publicly pursue identity politics tend in my experience to be dishonest and immoral individuals who don’t really care about their cause and are only interested in self-advancement. When interacting with such individuals I’m constantly tempted to argue with them just to not give them the upper hand; I don’t want these people to prosper. On the other hand, I do not think their cause is a bad one; I just think it’s unfortunate that it tends to attract people like them. Is there anyone else in a similar position, and more importantly, what’s a person in this position to do?

    1. Yeah, those excluded social conservatives. If only they had a few supreme court justices, a majority in Congress, a majority ownership of basically everything, the world would be so much better off. But now that people won’t even talk to them, their beneficial power will fade out. It’s a shame really.

    2. I want to know if they think that their discussion threads fit their conception of intelligent and reasoned discourse. If so, is it really surprising that they haven’t been invited to join other philosophy blogs to discuss things?

      1. My sense is they’re finding their footing. They’ve fairly well dismantled the ‘invasion of privacy’ canard from the new consensus cretins, for instance.

        1. You mean that awesome post where they argued that they weren’t acting like a pack of dicks because they weren’t doing anything illegal? That was an impressive display of philosophical reasoning.

          While on the subject, who do you reckon natural lawyer is? He doesn’t post much so it’s hard to say. I’d love it to be Beckwith but he can’t keep quiet this long. Maybe Trent? Baylor seems an obvious location for their secret clubhouse.

          1. Look, the days when you could cheerlead your way through this are over. If you want to respond to the arguments, do so. But you’re not going to do anything but signal a tribal allegiance by this kind of behavior. The bubble has burst.

            1. You speak as if there’s some awesome treasure trove of arguments on Rightly Considered. Does anyone know how to find them?

              Also, are you paying PMMMB for advertising? Everyone knows that the pathetic little creeps who post there are using this site to create the appearance that people care about what you have to say. It’s clear that nobody does. There are no interesting discussions taking place there. It’s only when you lash out like petulant children that you attract some discussion but after the spectacle dies down nobody cares to read what you have to say.* (Look at Ed Feser’s comments section, ffs. The guy isn’t exactly a genius, but he at least attracts some other not terribly bright people to join in the discussion. You can’t even manage that and you’ve just received all this great right wing press.)

              (*Well, in fairness, you’ve attracted that funny little anti-semite and some high school dropout who ‘argues’ that teh gays shouldn’t marry because we need the babies, but you’re not going to generate any interest among semi-intelligent people because you all have fuck all to say about interesting issues. Maybe there’s a reason why you aren’t invited to join the blogs in your chosen areas of expertise. It’s not because you’re conservative (hate to break it to you, but lots of conservatives have been welcomed to discussions elsewhere) but because you’re just not very good at what you do (apart from making a spectacle to generate temporary traffic so that the social justice warriors can come and tell you that you’re guilty of offending liberal sensibilities.))

              1. Hi 6:45. I’m neither a conservative nor an author at Rightly Considered. But they did demolish the ‘invasion of privacy’ position, and by giving arguments. Seems to me they’re right about the ‘beyond the pale’ stuff, too. You can ignore that, but when you write things like this then you are just cheerleading.

                1. 11:03: We might have to disagree about their response to the moral argument and the jury is still out on whether they violated terms of service. (On the legal issue they might be solid, but I don’t think that was ever the main issue.)

                  You said they were right about the ‘beyond the pale stuff’? How’s that? Not trying to be difficult but it struck me as an exercise in strawmanning. The author ascribes some silly views and motives to some group of liberals (can we have a citation?) and then says that the bad ideas liberals oppose won’t go away because (roughly) a critical mass of backwards people will propagate those views. What’s the point of this post?

                  Liberals don’t say things are ‘beyond the pale’ for reasons unconnected to the truth and they don’t do so in the belief that it will make those ideas die out. (Sometimes you say it because you want to register how bad it is that these ideas won’t die out.) What more is there to say here? Best thing they’ve written so far, but it doesn’t seem particularly good.

                  1. Why don’t you take this to Rightly Considered? If you’re interested enough in reading it and coming up with objections….

                    And I’m not a blogger there, fyi.

              2. “Also, are you paying PMMMB for advertising? Everyone knows that the pathetic little creeps who post there are using this site to create the appearance that people care about what you have to say. It’s clear that nobody does. ”

                Right, no one but you, Stanley, Pogin, Protevi, Cogburn, Littlejohn…

  17. Anyone else enjoying CDJ’s meltdown on the poop thread at DN? She is so overly eager to accuse BL that you have to wonder whether she’s behind the whole thing.

      1. Looks like he tried to tell someone they won a debate against one of the site’s authors using the name ‘Rightly considered’. Is that sock puppetry if you impersonate the host to say that the home team lost to some visitor? I thought sock puppetry was when you assumed multiple identities to agree with yourself (or do you think Littlejohn was Ultimate Philosopher?)

  18. “The author ascribes some silly views and motives to some group of liberals (can we have a citation?) and then says that the bad ideas liberals oppose won’t go away because (roughly) a critical mass of backwards people will propagate those views. What’s the point of this post?

    Liberals don’t say things are ‘beyond the pale’ for reasons unconnected to the truth and they don’t do so in the belief that it will make those ideas die out.”

    This perfectly exemplifies the problem with the academic left. The other side is a “mass of backwards people”, and liberals only use reason and truth to decide which ideas will be shut out of the conversation. I’m no conservative, but this point of view is obviously a problem.

    1. I think it’s better to stick to the phrase “academic left”; or better still, “academic social justice left”. Because while the academic social justice left involves many things, one very obvious thing these people are not is liberals. At the heart of their whole outlook is authoritarian illiberalism.

      1. This is important. I am a member of the liberal left but strongly reject “social justice” as it usually appears in the academy today. They call themselves progressives, but because their views are so at odds with any commitment to freedom/autonomy/living-and-letting-live, I don’t even want to concede words like “progressive” or “liberal” to them. Maybe “regressive academic left” will do

    2. Eye roll. Leiter, again, nailed it. There are things too stupid to waste time arguing about. The fact that some loud philosophers hold onto some outdated and poorly defended ideas isn’t a reason to engage and isn’t any reason to think that their views are somehow more within the pale than now widely abandoned views about interracial marriage. (I cant stand the social justice warriors, fwiw, but can’t we just see that there are some outdated and irrational moral ideas that are beneath serious discussion?)

      1. You do confirm the point, though.

        As long as you realize that there are people out there who aren’t themselves conservatives who think this eye-rolling ‘liberalism’ is actually deeply illiberal. You can disavow social justice warriors all day long, but when the tactic is to demonize the other side as stupid, backwards, or whatever, and his views beyond the pale of debate, it doesn’t matter what you call yourself.

        1. In terms of backwardness, surely it’s possible to say that almost any moral view could be within the philosophical pale if actual evidence was given for it, but that those who want us to take certain views seriously then appeal only to “God says so in the bible/personal-revelation” as reasons that would warrant those views… well, those are silly backward people that no-one should feel bad abut ignoring until they can come up with reasons that someone who lives outside their head has any epistemic duty to countenance.

          1. Two things worth saying in response to the pinhead angel. First, this is a horrible strawman of the conversation going on at Rightly Considered, and so it’s just more evidence that this kind of ‘liberalism’ is really bad for the academy. Second, and more importantly, to the extent that you find yourself in a community with people who hold a belief about morality that you disagree with, and who are defending that belief in the mode of rational debate rather than, say, by force of arms or irrational/ignorant response to objection, then you have a duty to treat those people with the respect owed them as members of your community. That duty involves, among other things, trying not to be a pinhead.

            And evidently like others objecting to the pinheads here, I neither consider myself a conservative, nor am I associated with Rightly Considered.

            1. Anyone arguing that gay people are acting immorally in having sex isn’t worth engaging. The discipline of physics would spend all its time debating flat-Earthers if the standard is “someone says it with the appearance of sincerity and politeness.” Rational defenses of homophobia, racism, anti-feminism, should have to meet the standards for a top-5 journal publication to be taken seriously. A website of gun freaks doesn’t.

                1. No that is totally ok, I mean Singer has Marxist credentials he is therefore allowed to do so. Let Conservative Christians have their philosophical arguments against homosexuality, where is the problem?

                  1. It’s not exactly a *problem*. Those conservative Christians are defective human beings, but that’s not a problem for me, personally.

                    I can’t tell if anyone posting here really thinks that Singer is free from criticism for his views about infanticide. I don’t think anyone posting to a philosophy blog would be that ignorant, so it must be irony or sarcasm, but I can’t see the point.

                    1. Singer’s not free from criticism. Neither are conservatives. And that’s the point. From the fact that someone holds a position about other people that one disagrees with morally, it doesn’t follow that they are ‘beyond the pale’ or ‘not worth engaging with.’

        2. What’s illiberal about deciding that certain views with a bad track-record (centuries of support from only exceptionally poor arguments) aren’t worth the investment of time and resources? If you think duty requires engagement, you go engage with that dumb dude at RC who wants to argue that ontology isn’t metaphysics or argue with Alex Pruss about the permissibility of hand jobs. I can’t stop you from wasting your time, but liberalism doesn’t demand that we waste our time arguing with nitwits.

  19. I think there’s a pretty simple standard for determining whether views deserve to be engaged with. If your view entails that I am not worthy of being treated with respect. Of course, you still need to treat the person expressing the view with basic respect, because we always should treat people with basic respect, but you are not required to engage with the view with the basic respect we ordinarily accord to positions, So you are not required to treat it seriously as a view, to engage with it in the terms you would engage with more sensible positions etc. That’s because when we engage in the ”mode of rational debate’ (as another poster put it) the underlying assumption has to be something like this: that both parties are (at least roughly) rationally and morally equal. That’s why there’s not point engaging in this kind of debate with a three year old or a psychopath. So if your view entails that I am not roughly rationally and morally equal to you, and then you expect me to engage that view in the mode of rational debate, you’re the one making a mistake. Your view denies one of the assumptions that grounds the whole process that you are then asking me to engage in.

    1. This is prima facie plausible, but I worry it’s not so simple a standard. What counts as ‘basic respect’ and ‘roughly rationally and morally equal’? For instance, suppose I think alcohol is the only form of inebriation/stimulant that is morally acceptable to use, and suppose you’re a marijuana user (substitute heroin if you prefer). Am I now beyond the pale, so you won’t engage with my arguments that marijuana (heroin) use is morally wrong?

  20. Essentially, these students believe that modern scientific understanding is too Eurocentric. One explained:

    “I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana. They believe that through the magic’ you call it black magic’ they call it witchcraft’ you are able to send lightening to strike someone. Can you explain that scientifically because it’s something that happens?”

    Many people laughed at this remark because, well, witchcraft is not something that happens. But according to the student, witchcraft is like Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity—it’s just one way of explaining the world, among many.

    “Decolonising the science would mean doing away with it entirely and starting all over again to deal with how we respond to the environment and how we understand it,” the student continued.

    Down with science: coming to an American university near you? It wouldn’t surprise me.

    Ideally, universities are the perfect vehicle for reforming idiotic views about science. Let’s hope Cape Town is up to challenge of explaining why concerns about social justice should not lead students to reject the theory of gravity.

    http://reason.com/blog/2016/10/14/watch-leftist-students-say-science-is-ra

  21. OP here. “Identity politician” sounds like a self-conscious creature with intentions clearly focused on identity politics.. When I said people start thinking that they are their beliefs as a result of identity politics, I mean that’s the effect that identity politics can have on people even when those people are not directly engaged in activism themselves. I meant to emphasize that people in general are prone to think that their beliefs define them, that it is an important cognitive achievement to understand that you are not your beliefs, that your beliefs are only representations, that they have truth values and that they are subject to evidence, that you can and must detach yourself from your beliefs. This is not only a cognitive achievement to realize that beliefs are THIS sort of thing, but it is also what must be called a spiritual achievement. Only people who have explored some of the depths of their psyches are able really to be very rational and not pushed about by their attachments to their beliefs. Academic philosophers, despite all their training, are often very self-deceived about all this and think they are being objective when they are not. But the main point I was making was that that the pursuit of identity politics and encouragement of such political strategies in others by philosophers is a mistake and even a disservice. Philosophers can offer so much more.

  22. I’m loving Darlene Deas’ guest posts at Leiter Reports, very insightful! Hope Brian extends her guest posting stint/allows her to take over should he retire.

  23. When you copy and paste Federal Philosopher’s text into gender identifying software, the software suggests FP is a he, not a she. (Not perfectly reliable, obviously, but interesting evidence. Raises it above chance.) I’d bet FP is a dude pretending to be a lady. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to gender, but it’s pretty creepy for a dude to post things to a controversial blog while leaving misleading clues about his identity that would connect these posts to a grad student in NJ who isn’t involved. It’s also creepy for the others to play along. Name the right wing Christian bro most likely to blog in a dress, wig, and lipstick. Survey says?

  24. So what do the metabros and metabroettes think of the IQ-variance explanation for the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields? Does it hold water? If it did, would that bear on the push to get more women invited to conferences, published in journals, tenured at universities, etc., or would all that continue regardless?

    1. Very little, but maybe because I’m not quite sure what you have in mind. Suppose that there is some variance. What’s supposed to follow from this? The hypothesis that there is a variance is compatible with all sorts of views about whether the differences are relevant to performance or lead to significant differences in measurable results, whether the differences are reflected in the relevant populations of people with interests and opportunity to go into STEM fields, etc. Maybe fill out the details a bit and you’ll get a response. So stated, it’s quite hard to evaluate the explanation you had in mind because it’s hard to see what sort of explanation interested you.

    1. Huh. Why was it worth their time suing? Does she have any assets after the divorce and criminal trial? Appearing pro se suggests no.

      1. I still think that Disability Studies Quarterly’s refusal to retract the article published under the name of the rape victim on the authority of Stubblefield is absolutely astounding.

          1. How is it “incredibly complicated”? I can see how it would be *politically* difficult, given that a section of the disability studies community adamantly supports Stubblefield and believes in facilitated communication. But that’s politics. What are the intellectual complications here or “disability issues”?

              1. JenFem, 1) We’re talking about retracting the article. Please answer the question as to what’s “incredibly complicated” about retracting an article when it the authorship of it has been at the very least called into question? (If you don’t believe that Stubblefield wasn’t communicating with “DJ” then you also don’t believe he wrote that article). and 2) What is “incredibly complicated” about raping the disabled here? Stubblefield was found guilty of rape because the facilitated communication defense wasn’t found to be credible. Some people in the DS community stick by facilitated communication and some still stick by Stubblefield (the two don’t have to go together). Are you saying that he was able to formulate and express consent?

                1. The jury understood the issues right, even if many with doctorates in philosophy didn’t. Abuse of the defenseless is a serious crime. The criminal and civil penalties make perfect sense.
                  For Disability Studies to allow that fraudulent article to remain in their archive shows how much lower their standards are than those of any genuine science journal.

                2. Great article by Mark Sherry. Thanks to whoever posted it.

                  I wonder how many others at Rutgers are guilt of mistreatment of this patient, whether actively involved or passive bystanders who did nothing.

    1. meant to be a comment on 0ct 29 at 7:24pm. because the RC shitshow is great spectacle. it’s like a texas steel cage death match with weasels vs badgers vs ferrets.

  25. How come no new Venezuela posts from Leiter? Does he not want to closely examine the failures of the Chavez/Maduro revolution so that the next glorious socialist revolution will avoid the mistakes of the past?It’s almost as if socialist revolution is the kind of thing you believe in, not the kind of thing that can be improved with experience and reflection.

  26. “How’s operation don’t let Rightly Considered turn into Stormfront for ‘Philosophers’ going?”

    Heidegger was not just a “philosopher” but a real-honest-to-goodness philosopher. Nietzsche was a philosopher. Schmitt was a philosopher. These people all had views like you’d find on Stormfront. Actually a lot of what Nietzsche says in some places puts him to the right of the typical Stormfront poster. It takes real ignorance or stupidity or dishonesty to pretend otherwise. (Like, maybe Brian Leiter would pretend otherwise.) Not to mention all the Big Thinkers and Great Artists who’ve had similar views. Pound, Eliot, Yeats, Celine, Hamsun, etc. When you pretend that RC folks aren’t philosophers because some of them say things that sound like Stormfront that’s just utter bullshit and you know it. Smug PC dinks. You and your kind won’t be running this shit forever you know. You might consider taking a more philosophical attitude toward philosophers you disagree with. At some point you might be asking for same from the rest of us.

      1. Someone here is saying in effect “Some people at RC have views like those at Stormfront, so they’re not philosophers”. So I’m pointing out that people who are clearly great philosophers also had those same views; therefore, having such views doesn’t mean you’re _not_ a philosopher (but merely a “philosopher”). Not “everyone who has a similar view to a philosopher is thereby a philosopher” but “It’s not the case that anyone who has a view similar to some non-philosopher you don’t like (e.g., someone at Stormfront) is not a philosopher”.

        “Great point”.

        1. it might have been a great point if anyone had actually made the claim that having such views entails that you are not a philosopher.

  27. Oh please. When someone asks ‘How’s operation don’t let Rightly Considered turn into Stormfront for “Philosophers” going?’ you don’t think that’s a way of saying/implying that Stormfront-for-“Philosophers” would be a place for “philosophers” rather than philosophers _because_ it’d be like Stormfront, i.e., because the views expressed there would be like those expressed at Stormfront?

    Anyway, it is at least a _better_ point than the one you take yourself to be satirizing above, which, ironically, really is a claim that no one has made. (Or at least I didn’t make that claim.) And I guess you’re now tacitly admitting that the “great point” you refute has nothing to do with what I said? You just want to add that this other, better point is still dumb for some other reason you failed to mention.

    You guys can’t even stop for a few seconds to think over what people on the other side are saying. You just default to your dumb prejudices–e.g., anyone who is a “racist” or whatever is not a real philosopher–and then, when those are challenged, you resort to the lamest straw man bullshit. And now you pull out some other bullshit. “No one ever said that”, etc. When plainly someone did at least _strongly suggest_ the view under discussion, that Stormfront-ish thinking means you’re not a real philosopher. Yes, I suppose it’s true that no one explicitly laid out that stupid inference in standard form. This is just some blog. Readers with half a brain get the gist. What else do you think was the point of that comment about “Stormfront for ‘philosophers'”? Why the quotation marks? I’d like to hear a better interpretation. Who really are the “philosophers” here? Smug PC dinks.

    1. ” When someone asks ‘How’s operation don’t let Rightly Considered turn into Stormfront for “Philosophers” going?’…”

      No. It’s a way of implying that the people who run/post on RC aren’t really philosophers. It might help you to think of the connective as ‘and’ rather than ‘if…then.’

      “Anyway, it is at least a _better_ point than the one you take yourself to be satirizing above…”

      I didn’t make any other point above. The post at 9:45 was my first post on this thread.

      “When plainly someone did at least _strongly suggest_ the view under discussion, that Stormfront-ish thinking means you’re not a real philosopher., Yes, I suppose it’s true that no one explicitly laid out that stupid inference in standard form.”

      The problem is that you are treating a casual comment made on a blog as though it were the very strong claim ‘if x has ever held a view similar to those expressed at Stormfront,then x is not a philosopher”. You’re interpreting a casual comment in the strongest (and therefore least charitable) way possible, and then claiming victory when you counterexample it.

  28. No idea who you are. Hard to keep track of so many anons. Casual commenting on a blog. Sorry.

    So your point is that this “casual comment” should be more charitably interpreted along these lines: “For no reason that I care to produce, I claim that people at RC are not real philosophers and, by the way, RC is a lot like Stormfront, though that similarity has nothing to do with the fact that people there aren’t philosophers. After all, people like me have no particular opinion about Stormfront, or the likelihood that people over _there_ are real philosophers.”

    The anonymous poster, whoever that was, just wanted to “casually” point out that a bunch of people with terminal degrees and jobs teaching philosophy and publications in philosophy are not really philosophers, and just wanted to also point out–a completely independent matter–that these people are kind of like Nazis. And it’s really not cool to object to this “casual” accusation of non-philosopher-hood and Nazism. Is that about right? Because that seems pretty crazy. May I just casually assert with no argument that you guys are child molesters then? Oh, and not “real philosophers” either. Please exercise extreme charity when interpreting these comments.

    1. “And it’s really not cool to object to this “casual” accusation of non-philosopher-hood and Nazism. ”

      You’re doing it again. No-one said that it’s not cool to object. The point is just that interpreting that comment in such a way that you assume the person means that any person who at any time held a view vaguely like those espoused on stormfront entails that they are not really a philosopher and claiming victory by producing a counter-example is not a good response, because you’ve assigned a much stronger view to your opponent than is warranted. Saying that one objection you make is not a good one is not the same as me saying that it’s not cool to object. But you should be clear about what you’re objecting to. Are you really objecting to the fact that someone has characterized the people who, in 2016, post not just racist crap but terribly argued racist crap in the comments section of a website, as ‘philosophers’ rather than philosophers?

      “May I just casually assert with no argument that you guys are child molesters then? Oh, and not “real philosophers” either. ”

      No, you probably shouldn’t assert without any evidence that people are child molesters. But what has this got to do with anything?

      Look, maybe you’re missing this context for the comment:http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2016/11/at-last-theres-a-home-for-racist-and-anti-semitic-philosophers-on-the-web.html

      Does this make things clearer for you?

  29. I know the context. It’s just more of the same: Leiter absurdly claims that the blog is “Stormfront for philosophers” because one or two commenters say things sort of like what you might find at Stormfront. (I guess he didn’t say “philosophers” at least.) In effect, he’s saying the blog as a whole is a Nazi blog on the basis of the faulty reasoning you’re attributing to me. Do I need to explain why that reasoning is faulty? As the RC people pointed out, this is like saying it’s a leftist blog just because some of the commenters are leftist or say things that leftists might say.

    The comment I was responding to earlier just obviously does naturally allow for this interpretation: “The people at RC aren’t really philosophers given that RC is like Stormfront”. In that case it’s open to the refutation I offered: real philosophers have held views like those you find on Stormfront. Alternatively, the comment might mean: “The people at RC aren’t philosophers” with no reason whatsoever being given for that strange claim AND “RC is like Stormfront”. I take it that’s the interpretation you like. Fine. Then it’s just stupid to accuse people of not being real philosophers when there’s no reason for the accusation and these people are obviously engaged in the same kind of thing that philosophers are supposed to do.

    “Are you really objecting to the fact that someone has characterized the people who, in 2016, post not just racist crap but terribly argued racist crap in the comments section of a website, as ‘philosophers’ rather than philosophers?”

    Finally something quasi-substantive. I’m objecting to the fact that “philosophers” think they can decide who is a real philosopher just by deciding who is a “racist”, as you do here. I’m objecting to the fact that arguments are ignored or denigrated just because they resemble something on Stormfront, as Leiter does on his post. When everyone knows that such arguments have been made by Great Philosophers and lots of other intelligent people in the past. This is not how philosophy is supposed to work. I’m objecting to the typical behavior of “philosophers” in this society: most have never really thought about the arguments that can be made for “racist” conclusions, and have no intellectually serious objections to most of the best arguments, but they just sneer and posture.

    So please tell me why a philosopher can’t be a “racist”. You’re aware, I assume, that people considered Great Philosophers were indeed “racists”. Please don’t just say “It’s 2016” or some other facile BS but instead say what it is that all real philosophers are supposed to know about race and related stuff in 2016 that wasn’t known in the past. (For example, do we now have compelling scientific evidence that all racial groups have the same intellectual capacities?) Tell me why these arguments are not just mistaken but so “terrible” that they would disqualify the arguer from being a real philosopher. I sense this may become interesting.

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