April Open Thread

Enjoy, fools.


217 thoughts on “April Open Thread

    1. Without a doubt. You see, women still exist, and sometimes they avow feminist beliefs.

      Plus, he’s incapable of not being the centre of attention. He’s a child. I’d say he was pathetic, except that he’s clearly not deserving of pathos in the first place. Just another psycho loser.

      1. No in fact the real psycho loser is the dead girl who psycho-ed me for 3 years before I decided I should have sex with her (any hole’s a goal) and [continues for 75 pages]

    2. If he does, his antagonists who won’t shut the fuck up about him will surely bear no responsibility for it

  1. Job market. Let’s talk. 15 guys from my department applying — for many, their second year on the job market. One got a rubbish teaching gig paying what a grad student makes. The rest got nothing. 6 women in my department applying. 4 got decent jobs. When prospective students ask me about placement, I no longer know how to sugarcoat the situation. I’d like to, but can’t audibly say, “well, if you’re a guy, getting a job is really hard. If you’re a woman, we have an excellent job placement record.”

      1. I never presume!

        But seriously: the scenario I am referring to was in a group setting with prospective students and current students. And nobody seemed to want to just come out and say what is clear as day from the past 3 years of placement.

        1. With the market being what it is, I would not advise a male student to enter a PhD program outside the top ten.*

          Maybe I should scale that back to the top five though?

          *With caveats for those who present special cases, e.g., Catholics who can count on Catholic affirmative action.

          1. By “Catholic affirmative action” you mean saint Joseph lobbying our Lord to make us land a job? (That’s how I got my job)

            1. Haha, that’s what I should’ve meant. I was being cute. What I really meant is more prosaic; namely, that several conditions give Catholics a moderate advantage in the job market. They are: (a) Catholic colleges tend to have at least one, but often several, required philosophy course, (b) this results in Catholic colleges having large philosophy departments that are often hiring, and (c) these colleges tend to hire Catholics or people with graduate degrees from Catholic universities.

          2. “The statistical findings, at least as far as philosophy job hiring in 2012 and 2013 were concerned, indicate the existence of both prestige and gender bias in philosophy job hiring: Against lower prestige male applicants. For high prestige female applicants. As noted above, the correlation amongst those hired between being unpublished and gender is statistically significant.”


            1. Yeah, but so what? Sure, it sucks to be a low-prestige male applicant, but does anyone really think that stellar candidates are being forced to go and teach high school (nothing wrong with choosing to do that, of course) because they rank behind low-prestige women, high-prestige men, and high-prestige women in the job market? It would be a much better world if there was a good job for every graduating Ph.D. in philosophy, but the fact that we don’t live in such a world isn’t sufficient grounds, I think, for hating on the fact that the profession might as a whole choose to prefer mediocre women to mediocre men* for the next thirty years in an attempt to reach a long-overdue gender equality.

              (But the mediocre man has 1.983 publications and the mediocre woman has -12.9 publications, you say! Thing is, a few publications, even in good journals, doesn’t stop mediocre men being mediocre.)

              1. “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”

              2. Hm, I’m not sure about this. What is your ‘mediocre’ and ‘stellar’ standard?
                Do you mean, mediocre, as in 98% of all contemporary philosophers? And stellar would be the top 2%? I don’t think we’re going to miss the next John Hawthorne because a mediocre woman will take his slot. But I do think we are going to miss out on a lot of interesting and really good philosophers and we’ll get some more tepid work from AA candidates instead. So it’s a real loss.

              3. If the multiple job markets thesis is correct, the result you say is unlikely is not so far fetched. If a male candidate publishes his way out of being competitive for jobs where flight risk is a concern, and very many places unconcerned with flight risk lower their standards to make AA hires, then that stellar candidate very well could be left out in the cold (unless you make the term “stellar” apply to 2% of philosophers).

                On your publication line, yes, a lot of published work is bad, and even fancy publications don’t always track candidate quality. But neither do letters, institutional prestige, etc. I take it what talk about publication count differences are supposed to get at is that search committees lower expectations significantly for AA candidates on this one dimension at least. Testimony from many who have served on search committees seems to support this claim. I’ve always been surprised that people dispute this. Shouldn’t the argument be about whether the degree to which expectations are lowered is reasonable? Is it just that people don’t want to be pinned down about how weighty AA considerations are?

                1. “Finally, can we in some way quantify these biases? There is no simple statistical measure of the degree of prestige or gender “boost” involved in job hiring from no prior position, other than mere taking the ratio of the publication averages involved:
                  Prestige boost = (av. pub rate for betas)/(av. pub rate for alphas) = 1.55/1.09
                  Gender boost = (av. pub rate for men)/(av. pub rate for women) = 1.45/0.81
                  The results are: Prestige boost = 1.4. Gender boost = 1.8. These “boosts” are rough indicators of the extent that one currently “gains” on the job market from either higher prestige or being female”


              4. So what’s the argument here? That everything is the same below brilliance, and so it’s fine to hire mediocre women over less mediocre men, just so we can have gender parity? What about academic values?

    1. When I squint, I’m almost sympathetic. In two years on the market, I’ve landed 1 non-TT interview (last year), and 1 postdoc (this year), for almost two hundred applications. Two female friends from my program who are new on the market applied selectively and got 5+ interviews each.

      But when I stop squinting, I remember that (1) both those women are genuinely better at philosophy than I am (in fact, they’re better than anybody else I know–and even if they aren’t, they’re still brilliant, and it shows), (2) their AOSes are in demand and mine is not, and (3) I didn’t get interviewed, but I do have a postdoc; they got interviewed, but didn’t get anything.

      I’m jealous of their interviews and the success I imagine them having, and that’s what’s driving my thoughts when I squint. In fact, given (2), it’s not at all surprising that I’ve struggled to get interviewed. Given (1) and (2), it’s not at all surprising that they haven’t. And for the time being, it turns out that I’m actually doing really well. So I can stuff my jealousy in a sack.

    2. This coheres perfectly with my experience. I graduated recently from a Top 5 department. During the entire time I was there I don’t think a single woman failed to get a job her first time on the market (there’s only one case where I can’t recall whether she got a job first time). Most the jobs they did get were TT. Quite a few men failed to get jobs their first time round.

    3. cry babies

      looking at NYU’s placement record (supposedly no 1), we see:
      – 59 PhDs
      – 14 are by women (23%)
      – 42 TT jobs total
      – of which 6 went to women


      meaning 79% of men who got a PhD from NYU got a TT job but only 42% of women

      of course, sexists are going to have a sexist explanation of these numbers

      complaining about ‘preferential treatment’ of women in philosophy makes you look entitled and self-important

      1. That’s one program over a 14 year period. It isn’t nothing, but it’s hardly representative of what’s been happening the past few years, which is what people are talking about.

        And spare us the sexism baiting, please. Pointing out that women are having an easier time on the market lately implies no wrongdoing by women, nor any negative claims about women. Scorn should be directed at the cheerleaders for extreme AA policies, not the beneficiaries of those policies.

      2. Excellent point, 11:59, your example of a single program convinces me that all the data documenting a clear preference for women in recent years is bullshit!

        1. “The data examined relates to: The publication patterns and prestige standing of their PhD granting department for the cohort of those hired during 2012 and 2013 into tenure-track and post-doc positions from no prior position (those with prior positions were filtered out). This data reveals two statistical biases and an intriguing negative correlation: Women hired had published less than men did, in fact about half as much. Having a prestigious background—for example, a PhD granted by a high Leiter-ranked department—benefits jobseekers. Prestige and publication rates are negatively correlated: those hired from high prestige departments had lower publication averages.

          The data therefore suggests two statistical biases in philosophy job hiring: a gender bias towards women and a prestige bias against applicants from departments with lower prestige ranking.”


        2. Female NYU graduates are high-prestige applicants.
          Female NYU graduates are about half as likely to find a TT position as compared to male NYU graduates.
          It is not in general the case that high-prestige female applicants have a job market advantage as compared to their male counterparts.

          Which part of this argument do you not understand?

          Looking at data collected during one or two job market seasons does not reveal much about long-standing and deep-seated biases in the profession.

          1. Well, there are a number of things I don’t understand about the argument, but one thing that I DO understand is that the conclusion does not follow from the premises.

            Let’s try an example, shall we?

            1. Person A bought a lottery ticket.
            2. Person A won the lottery!
            3. It is not in general the case that people who buy lottery tickets do not win anything.

            Good argument?

            1. LOL is that the Ketland-“Shall we”?

              The analogy between the two arguments breaks down. Getting a PhD from one of the 5-10 high-prestige institutions is not like buying one of a million or so lottery tickets.

                  1. Oh, come on. Every person reading this thread understands why the “Female NYU grad students” argument is no good, with the *possible* exception of the person who wrote it. (My guess is you were trolling.)

                    1. Not good at showing male philosophers should stop whining about the grave injustice they are suffering? But why? It seems so watertight.

                  2. Next time your echo chamber is talking about how the metablog is so toxic and not worth reading, remember that you were the source of all the bile in this conversation. You’re Milo Y., but not so good at getting people to take the bait, which makes you even sadder.

    4. Male candidate, one year after PhD from a Phil Gourmet school ranked somewhere between 10-30. I add my results just so people can have access to multiple data points.

      I got 10 interviews, four of which turned into final round interviews, one of which I withdrew from before I was offered anything (unlikely anyways) for family/geographical reasons. The schools and types of jobs were wide ranging. I haven’t gotten any offers yet, though a few places are still possibilities.

      I don’t really know what I’ll do if I don’t get an offer. I also have some non-academic interviews set up, but I feel like I did really well on the market this year, and I have also had a lot of research success this year. That makes me want to try again. On the other hand, I think I might not be a very good interviewee. I also think I might be a little too specialized, and I have no intention of becoming less specialized.


  2. At Feminist Philosophers a recent comment says that those like Pogge and Searle, if guilty, are guilty of public offenses because they have harassed their students. I’m late to the party but is this correct?
    I thought Pogge was accused of harassing a post-grad research fellow but found not to have done so. Further, I thought Searle was now accused of harassing a post-grad research assistant who had taken a class from him a few years ago. Are those even allegations of student harassment?

      1. I bet whatever you want. I can’t think of a man getting 3 on campus and 2 tt offers in this market. Not even if it’s David Lewis.

        1. David Lewis would be ruled out at too many places as a flight risk. And was too white and male for many elite departments this year. I’m not going to name any names, but if you’re curious, look at NYU’s recent non-placement record to see what can happen to a white guy with an already absurd publication record in this market. (I’m not that person, btw.)

  3. “Last year, I had no on-campus interviews, but this year, I had four on-campus interviews”

    Honestly, this blog post, rather than make me optimistic made me throw up in my mouth a little. He just got a job with 15 publications! He should have tenure by now, jesus!
    Also, just going by his cv, the year he had no on-campus interviews, he had 6 publications, 2 in Mind… are you effing kidding me, no one wanted to hire him??
    Why? Because he went to a non-Leiter ranked school?? 2 publications from Mind surely signals that it wasn’t a fluke.
    Very depressing stuff.

    1. Were there any jobs with an epistemology AOS this year? Besides there being fewer and fewer jobs every year, it seems to me that the jobs that do come open are rarely in “core” areas. Another reason to think the ship is sinking, perhaps.

      1. Jobs explicitly mentioning epistemology in the AOS:

        LUNO VAP, McMaster (visiting professorship, so not entry-level), Cologne, Brandon, Stanford postdoc, Delft postdoc, Boston U postdoc, UPenn postdoc, Rutgrers (full prof),CSU Stanislaus, Research Square, NRUHSE (Moscow), Ryerson, Texas Tech, Northwestern, Simon Fraser, Southern New Hampshire, Creighton, UIUC, Georgetown (senior), LSE, UCSB, WUSTL.

        Plus all the open ones, of course. My impression is that open jobs typically go to people working in LEMA (LEM+Ancient). When was the last time an open job went to a philosopher of art, or of biology, or a medieval historian?

        1. There’s a lot of noise in the above post.

          Minus Post-docs, visiting gigs, and senior searches it appears that we have: Cologne, Brandon, CSU Stanislaus, NRUHSE, Ryerson, Texas Tech, Northwestern, Simon Fraser, Southern New Hampshire, Creighton, UIUC, LSE, UCSB, WUSTL.

          Of these, off the top of my head, most MENTION epistemology along with several other areas. So they’re more like general LEM positions. Note that only four-ish are at schools where a non-elite applicant would be competitive.

          Perhaps you are correct about the open jobs going to LEM people. My sense is that that’s true at the research level and false at the “lower” levels, where such jobs tend to go to ethics folks.

          Anyway, as someone who works in both ethics and epistemology, I wish someone had clearly and bluntly told me to write an ethics dissertation. I have a pretty good job, so no sour grapes, but I do have the abiding sense that many opportunities were foreclosed.

          1. Shrug. I’ll cry for epistemologists when we start seeing 0-2 ads per year.

            If we’re being honest, we should have chosen to work in ancient or phil. of science, not ethics. Ancient’s always steady, and phil. of science is steadily increasing. Ethics is at the saturation point.

              1. Toronto, Chicago, … ? (These are the two I applied to. I didn’t make it to the first round interview, so I am curious to know who got the two jobs).

            1. There were 2 openings this year in Ancient. Last year there were 5-6 (I don’t remember). I got one of the spots that were open last year. Most of the junior folk I know who do ancient are unemployed/underployed

              1. On PhilJobs alone I can see TT ancient jobs at St. Francis, Central Oklahoma, Missouri State, Chicago, CUNY-Lehman, and Toronto. That’s six, which is a lot more than two. I also see three senior posts, one postdoc, one 3-6-year VAP, one 1-2-year VAP, and one 9-month-renewable instructorship. So 10 junior jobs for AOS: ancient. Not bad.

                And that’s just PhilJobs. I’m almost certain there were more on the Chronicle, higheredjobs, and in a few other places, but I can’t tell since expired ads there are removed. Ancient philosohers probably also qualify for some jobs in Classics. Anyway, the point is just this: anyone who applied to 2 ancient jobs this year didn’t do it right.

                1. Your last line is true of many subfields. I know people who’ve applied only for jobs that explicitly list their AOS as an AOS and who only looked for jobs on PhilJobs who then complained that they were only able to apply for n jobs this year (n < 10).

                  That is stupid.

                  You gotta get out there and earn. This includes trawling all sorts of ad portals across the web and applying for jobs that don't appear to have anything to do with your dissertation (newsflash: the actual content and area of your research is mostly irrelevant for most jobs — it's how you sell it that matters, and of course, your teaching). This was a bad year but even so, no one really has any excuse for applying for fewer than 50 or even 75 jobs this year. Placement directors (for departments lucky enough to have them), dissertation advisors, and older-students-cum-mentors should be transmitting this kind of information to the younger generation.

                  tl;dr: "What do they teach them at these schools!?"

                2. FYI, for their “ancient or early modern” jobs Chicago and CUNY-Lehman flew out, between them, five early modernists and one person who works on late neoplatonism. Yes, there were more than two jobs. But ancient philosophy was a whole lot worse off than philosophy of science. The opinion voiced upthread that “ancient’s always steady” is just sadly misinformed.

                    1. Take some credit! You were among the top candidates for a position in a very competitive field – kudos!

                    2. Does anybody know what happened to the Toronto (ancient philosophy) search? Phylo Wiki says it has been suspended.

  4. I’m counting down the days to get my copy of Kipnis’ new book. It promises to have a much fuller picture of the Ludlow affair than any public stories yet, even the text messages between Ludlow and Leydon-Hardy.

    1. It may well prove damning for Leydon-Hardy. Preview from The Guardian:

      And what of Peter Ludlow, whose story she went on to more fully investigate for her book? “I try not to be his defender,” she says. “I want people to make up their own minds about him.” He was, she thinks, certainly foolish. “But he is also unemployed and unemployable as far as I know.” Having resigned from Northwestern before he was pushed, and finding himself effectively blacklisted by other institutions, he is now living in Mexico. Ludlow was accused twice under Title IX, first by an undergraduate [Yoona Ha]… in her book, and then by a graduate student [Lauren Leydon-Hardy]… In essence, [Ha] accused Ludlow of groping her in his apartment, where she had gone of her own volition after they had had a night out together. He denied this, but Northwestern’s Title IX officer chose to believe [Ha]. Ludlow was duly stripped of his named chair, had his salary cut, and was required to complete a harassment prevention training programme.

      But then came [Leydon-Hardy’s] accusations. As I read Unwanted Advances, I was inclined to give [Ha] the benefit of the doubt: as Kipnis is the first to admit, sexual harassment exists in universities, as it does everywhere, and those involved should expect to be disciplined. [Leydon-Hardy’s] allegations, however, seemed to be of a different order altogether. She and Ludlow had seemingly been in a relationship: a consensual relationship documented in dozens of fond texts and emails that Kipnis has seen. She was a 25-year-old graduate student, and he was not her supervisor. It wasn’t, moreover, until two years after this relationship ended that she rang her thesis adviser and told her that Ludlow had once had sex with her without her consent (it was this adviser who contacted the university’s Title IX officer).

      In her book, Kipnis ruthlessly unpicks [Leydon-Hardy’s] story. Among the evidence she uses to do so are emails [Leydon-Hardy] sent to Ludlow the morning after the alleged rape, apologising for having hurt him – she was also seeing a man she later married – and telling him that she loved him and would always be in his life; a receipt from the nearby hotel where Ludlow spent the night alone, apparently devastated that [Leydon-Hardy] could not bring herself to choose him over his rival; and the fact that the couple remained on good terms for a while after she eventually ended the relationship. Confronted with the same evidence by a Title IX investigator, [Leydon-Hardy] changed her story: perhaps she had been wrong about the date of the alleged rape. Nevertheless, the investigator favoured her version of events. She couldn’t rule on the rape – and the police were not involved – but Ludlow had, it could be said, taken advantage of the “unequal power balance between them”. After this, the university began dismissal proceedings. [Leydon-Hardy], by the way, was one of the two students who made Title IX complaints against Kipnis [the other being one Kathryn Pogin].

      1. That is tragic, the discipline has basically run one of its best out of town on really terrible evidence. If Leydon-Hardy ever gets a job I will break some shit.

        1. and let’s not forget “Kafka” Pogin, who (on a balance of probabilities) co-filed Title IX complaints against Kipnis and briefly against a senior member of the faculty senate who had the temerity to defend Kipnis.

  5. I’ve been around for a while but I’m still amazed at how inarticulate philosophers can be. Transcription of a random selection of Stanley’s contribution (from 10:23-11:08) in this interview:

    “I don’t think that history, I, I, I think that we we fool ourselves, I mean, not we fool ourselves, it’s complex. Do I know whether the marketplace of ideas will always work itself out? I think we just had a presidential election where we saw that unfettered uncivil freedom of speech can lead to problematic illiberal consequences. Does that mean i’m against the United States’ very uh very almost unique um commitment to all to preservation of freedom of speech? No. But I think we do ourselves a disservice by not recognizing that reality is actually much more complex.”

    1. If you mean things like ‘I, I, I,’and ‘uh’ and ‘um’ they are actually very common in complete transcriptions, it’s just that when interviews and things are transcribed they are usually edited out for clarity. They are obviously common in speech too -it’s just that we notice them more when reading a transcription because we are not used to reading them.

      1. The transcription is my own. I noticed all these tics when _listening_ to the thing, not reading it.

        I guess my point is this: these irritating tics can be eliminated with practice. I wish philosophers who are public-facing would take the time to practice and shore up their lackluster communication skills.

    2. You’re missing the headline here. Stanley calls Ludlow his “undergraduate mentor”. This explains a lot! Also relevant: Stanley then goes on to talk about anonymous online harassment related to the Ludlow case (harassment of who, I wonder? Stanley? Ludlow?).

  6. Fascinating account of Jessica Wilson’s involvement in the Ludlow affair — as a character witness!


    … a feminist philosopher at the University of Toronto named Jessica Wilson, had volunteered to testify as a character witness for Peter Ludlow. (Ludlow wasn’t in the room for this session.)

    Wilson had known Ludlow for 15 years, she said, first as his student and then in two departments as a colleague, and spoke movingly about him as a mentor and a person. Being around him had been a sort of “effervescent philosophical situation” for Wilson and her then-boyfriend, also a philosopher, when they were all in the same department. When she and her boyfriend decided to get married, they chose Ludlow as the officiant “because he was the most erudite, witty, wonderful person that I knew.” Hearing about Ludlow presiding over a marriage ceremony came as a small shock, I think, to a roomful of people who’d been told he was virtually a predator. Here was a smart, attractive, successful woman from one of the top philosophy departments in North America who revered Peter Ludlow.

    “The thing about Peter is that he’s a brilliant scholar, a fantastic teacher and mentor who just creates a fantastic community, a real social community, which is where a lot of philosophy actually happens.” She had never heard a single negative comment or even a whisper about Ludlow in 15 years, and she would have, she said, because people came to her about this sort of thing.

    Wilson herself was someone who created instant confidence. She was honest, well spoken, deeply intelligent. She also sketched a far more convivial view of professor-student relations than the predatory scene depicted in the Title IX reports. Indeed, Wilson’s boyfriend (now husband of 13 years) had been a junior professor in the same department when she was a grad student, and she hadn’t suffered any particular consequences. “In fact, I think I held most of the power in that relationship. Still do,” she said, laughing. Mentorship isn’t a top-down enterprise, she emphasized; it’s a community effort held together by a lot of late-night socializing and drinking.
    All of which sharply rebutted Hartley’s portrait of Ludlow, echoed in the Title IX findings, as a manipulative intellectual bully. “That’s just absurd. He is the most tolerant, low-key guy you could ever hope to meet. His basic nature is completely live-and-let-live.” When asked if Ludlow was sad and lonely (Hartley’s characterization, repeated in the report), Wilson practically snorted. “He’s one of the most social and socially adept people I’ve ever known.” He loved to go out and usually paid for dinner (there was some family money). The entire time they’d known each other, he’d never asked for anything in return.

    The university’s lawyers were saying that Ludlow’s buying Hartley dinners was part of a predatory pattern, a plot to exert influence over her. “I’ve never seen anything to indicate that there was any kind of manipulation there,” Wilson countered. Describing herself as “crazy feminist,” she went on to say that she herself had been sexually harassed — one of her professors had tried to put his tongue down her throat. She’d also been raped and had been the subject of an attempted rape. “I know what it’s like to be a subject of predation and abuse,” she said. “I’m very sensitive to those issues. If Peter had a predator bone in his body, I would know it.”

    The faculty committee was paying close attention; Wilson seemed like someone incapable of bullshit. On the subject of Ludlow’s dating history, she was equally frank. Yes, Ludlow had dated younger women — but her own husband is 12 years younger than she is. “Does that make me a predator?” she asked. Focusing on age differences was ageist, she pointed out. Ludlow was actively pursued by women of all ages because he was charming and magnetic. “My experience is that he had to kind of be pushing women away a lot, as an internationally renowned scholar who’s like the epitome of cool.”

    Wilson had explained to the faculty panel that much of her own work focused on what she called “inference to the best explanation,” which means, as I understood it: How do you know what happened when you yourself didn’t see it happen? This was exactly the question the faculty committee was grappling with, and Wilson took on their dilemma directly — which was where the wonderful part came.

    Using her own philosophical research as the springboard, she said that Ludlow’s having had a relationship with a younger woman wasn’t something that “in an inference to the best explanation” had to be explained by his having Svengali-like power over her. The allegation that he was some kind of weird predator was simply incompatible with what she knew, so there must be an alternative plausible explanation. “What I can tell you, from my experience of Peter, is there’s no inference to the best explanation according to which what’s alleged to have happened, did, in fact, happen.”

    “But it’s an undisputed fact that the undergraduate student did sleep in Ludlow’s bed,” one of the panelists said to Wilson, almost pleadingly.

    The dismissal hearing had suddenly become an impromptu philosophy seminar, with the faculty panel turning to Wilson as the guide who might lead them out of their own epistemological wilderness, away from the forest of documents — they each had several thick binders in front of them, containing thousands of pages of photocopies — and the wasteland of the official reports.

    “We can do the philosophy on this,” she assured the panel. “There are two things I would say. One is pragmatic, the other is principle. Let’s say I wish Peter hadn’t done that [had an undergrad student sleep in his bed], because it was going to invite exactly the kind of rush to judgment that it did, notwithstanding that there was nothing wrong in principle with that happening.” This was the pragmatic side of things, she meant.

    But as far as principles, the undergrad was an adult, Wilson said. She had free will; she’d engaged in the events of the evening of her own free will — in fact, she had initiated them, according to the transcript Wilson had read. It looked to her like “the arrow of pressure was coming from her at least as much as him, but, again, I wasn’t there.” She was being scrupulous about not exceeding the limits of what she called her “epistemic position.” From the panelists’ rapt expressions, Wilson’s intellectual crispness must have seemed like a momentary foothold.

    “But the second thing that colors my response is just — how can I put this? It’s kind of like the Kantian test, where you say, what if everyone did it? From my epistemic position, I do know that there are predators out there, but I don’t believe Peter is one of them.”

    “But how do you determine the intent of a relationship that happens between a faculty and a first-year graduate student?” a committee member asked. “On what basis do you determine whether the intent was predatory or romantic?” Wilson acknowledged that it was a huge question. “Part of being in an epistemic position is that we have a responsibility to consider alternative explanations, especially when someone’s life and career are on the line. It’s our responsibility to look very carefully at this kind of allegation and ask yourself: Could there be an alternative explanation?”

    One panelist pressed her about the “unwelcome behavior” Wilson had described on the part of her own professor. “Isn’t the student’s view of what happened the most relevant factor in deciding when lines have been crossed?”

    Like a great teacher, Wilson flipped the question around. She’d been speaking from her own experience, she pointed out. Yet didn’t the panelists have to ask whether she was telling the truth? They hadn’t been there, so how would they know? And if she were being entirely honest, she herself wasn’t sure if the disturbing thing was a professor trying to kiss her, or simply that she was getting unwanted attention that she “wasn’t participating in.”

    At this point the ground momentarily shifted. One of the panelists said, “And in this case the students are participants.”

    It wasn’t clear if it was a question or a statement, but for an instant the two female students were sexual agents, too, and the university’s case against Ludlow collapsed.

    Another panelist quickly countered, “It seems very clear the students feel they have been harmed. That is definitely the message that the university is presenting, at least from the interviews with the investigators: that they feel harmed.”

    Wilson’s solution, again, was inference to the best explanation. “What’s the best explanation of all of the data? It’s a delicate position. But, I mean — we’re aware of human nature. Sometimes a person’s memories can be distorted. There are psychological and other motivations that need to be brought to bear.”

    I think she was trying to remind everyone in the room, as delicately as possible, that people don’t always tell the truth, even student accusers.

    She added, sympathetically, addressing the panel, “I don’t think your task is an easy one. Basically I just want to put my piece of evidence on the table, which is that I love Peter Ludlow. I’ve known him for 15 years. He’s a great person. He’s a staunch feminist. He cares about women. He supports women. He mentors them. He treated me exactly the same as any male, and all of these considerations weigh quite heavily in my mind because I’ve known him for so long and so intimately.”

    She was near tears, anguished about the impossibility of rescuing Ludlow from this web of shaky accusations and the phalanx of lawyers gathered to end his career. It was slightly embarrassing: There she was, humanizing the person the process was designed to demonize. But I think the professors were all a little in love with Wilson right then. She was one of us, and she’d risen to the occasion heroically, transforming the hearing into a symposium, and herself into the best sort of mentor. There were no easy platitudes about victims and survivors. She simply had such conviction in the power of thinking to solve problems that it was mesmerizing.

    It probably sounds bizarre to say, given the circumstances, but it felt as if there was an erotic current in the room. It reminded me of my own student days, when the excitement of learning made me feel alive in such profoundly creative, intellectual, erotically messy ways — which were indistinguishable from one another, and no one thought it should be otherwise.

    1. I admire Wilson’s bravery. It must be hard, speaking on behalf of Ludlow in the midst of an incredibly hostile profession that’s already decided he must be a perv. This is how you use tenure, folks.

        1. Look, I am inclined to believe that Ludlow was innocent or at least hard done by and that some kind of nasty, improper witch-hunt took place.
          BUT – the fact that he has at least one good friend – a lady feminist no less! – who is prepared to be a character witness and state that he is cool and funny and nice etc and had never looked or acted like a ‘predator’ in front of her, is hardly THAT decisive or important a bit of evidence is it? Surely virtually any ‘sexual predator’ could muster up some ally prepared to testify to their good character?

          And whilst it was no doubt nice and good of Wilson to testify on his behalf, I think its going a bit far to start applauding her for her ‘bravery’ or for what a difficult thing she has done. It was just a panel of other academics she was speaking to, in private, about how she likes Ludlow and would vouch for his character. Not exactly testifying in Congress to the UnAmerican Activities Committee!

          1. In terms of actual evidential value, I agree that her testimony is hardly decisive. What makes it weightier in terms of practical interest is that Wilson (correct me if I’m wrong–and I really might be wrong) is in the “new consensus” crowd. It’s (sadly) in some ways like a member of a political party defecting from the party line on some public scandal. Their opinion shouldn’t carry any more weight than that of any other person, but it’s more likely to turn heads.

            It’s for the same reason that it’s impressive that she did this. It wouldn’t be surprising if it cost her some esteem among activist friends. (Again, I have only an outsider’s impression of Wilson’s ties within the profession.) Sure, it’s not HUAC. But risking the loss of friends and standing within your profession in order to deliver unpopular testimony is brave. People in the profession get hatemail for far less than what she did.

            1. Ludlow lost the job he had, the job he had been offered, two book contracts, and nearly all his philosophy friends. Wilson has a lot to lose too, and will likely lose friends, volume/conference invites, and perhaps even jobs offers — yet she still spoke out. That is courage, and I admire it.

    1. If there’s a nasty critical response somewhere it will go in the heap of links, which fewer people read. That seems to be his MO for things he wants to avoid giving a platform. Even if he did post it, it’s not as if there’d be a reasonable discussion. People are nuts about this stuff. In fairness to Weinberg, I wouldn’t want to moderate those posts, either.

    2. Let’s not forget a classic parody:

      –Look, I…
      –What now?
      –Don’t think I’m not sympathetic. I am! It’s just…
      –Just what, Justin?
      –It’s not credible!
      –Ha! Now you’re worried about credibility? You don’t think you’re already compromised up to your neck?
      –You don’t understand! People think… I mean, they know I’ve got an agenda, but they still credit me with some… some…
      –Out with it, Justin.
      –…editorial independence.
      –Don’t make me laugh!
      –They do! Really! You don’t know what you’re asking. If I don’t say anything about the CHE piece…What reason could I possibly give? It’s not some scurrilous blog post! It’s a respectable, well-research piece in the CHE! They cite their sources! Scrupulously! I can’t just say nothing! I’ll be a laughing-stock!
      –Leave that to us, Justin. Don’t worry about reasons.
      –But what are people going to think? I’m really not sure you’ve thought this through…
      –The calculations have been made, Justin. Everything’s been factored in. I’ve told you: this is coming from the very top.
      –But think about it… in the long term… how am I going to get your message out there effectively if I look like some kind of… lacky?
      –Is that supposed to be funny?
      –No! No! It’s just a figure of speech!
      –We made you, Justin. And we can break you. Just remember that.

  7. Beauvoir was banned from teaching for sexual misconduct, having groomed and kidnapped a schoolgirl. Beauvoir and Sartre were well-known for grooming and sexual liaisons with schoolgirls. She forced one of her and Sartre’s victims, who had been impregnated, to have a back-street abortion. Are feminists going to draw attention to this if they teach Beauvoir?

      1. Yes, we all know that the Stubblefield case happened sometime during the reign of Charlemagne. Amazing that anyone even remembers it; the documentary record is so sparse.
        We all also know that it was such a singular occurrence that it would be impossible for any decent person to draw any general lessons from it. Not allowed.

  8. https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-lawsuit-accuses-yale-of-censoring-even-inoffensive-ideas-1491163998?mod=e2fb

    The linked lawsuit makes for interesting reading.

    91. John was a Philosophy major and had submitted an academic paper to his TA in compliance with and satisfaction of an assignment to critique Book IV, 435c-441c of Plato’s Republic regarding justice and how it integrates with matters of the soul. John critiqued Plato’s argument for the tripartite nature of the human soul, where Plato argues that the soul has three parts: the rational, the spirited (desire for power), and the appetitive (lust) that can be in conflict when directed at the same object.

    92. On point, John in relevant part argued,
    “I believe spirit can be allied with appetite against reason. Take any drunken-fest. People drink spiritedly even when they know it is against their greater good. Even if an argument will be presented in that case that people’s reason is impaired at the time they drink, and thus not in conflict with their spirit, consider the case of a rapist. A rapist may rape with much vigor, or with anger. Here, presumably, reason should dictate not to rape. However, the person rapes with passion. Is spirit not allied with appetite against reason in this case?”

    93. Later in the paper, John developed his argument denouncing “rape” and the “rapist” as follows:

    It is possible, however, that when Plato dismisses the non-noble soul, Plato is doing this because he believes that in the non-noble soul, also, there is no conflict between spirit and intellect. Perhaps he believes that the non-noble person’s intellect does not tell him that justice should reign supreme. Thus, to Plato, the non-noble person, also, does not have a conflict between spirit and intellect. Perhaps, then, similarly, Plato might believe that in the case of the rapist, the rapist would be considered in a similar vein to the nonnoble person. The rapist lacks the reasoning to tell him that his spirit is misaligned. Thus in the rapist, too, spirit and reason are not in conflict. This counterargument, though, is weak. It is improbable that it would be the case that rapists are universally not in touch with a reason telling them that their conduct is counter to reason.

    94. In a second paper John submitted to the TA, Doe critiqued Plato’s Republic (Book IX, 580d-583b), where Plato argues that philosophers, who correspond to the human intellect are better arbiters of the good life than the victory and profit lovers, who correspond to the spirited and appetitive components of the soul, and as such philosophers should rule the polis. John, in his paper, stated in relevant part:

    The victory/profit lover has several possible replies to the philosopher. They can say, simply, that the claim that philosophers have experienced all three of the basic pleasures is false. Many philosophers have simply never experienced the full impact of the spirited or appetitive pleasures. Have philosophers necessarily experienced the full pleasure of a sexual or love relationship? Or have they experienced the pleasures massive wealth can bring?

    95. When discussing this line of reasoning with his TA in preparation for writing his paper, John made the following statements in the style of a Socratic inquiry and in relevant part during an academic exchange with the TA as follows:

    96. John first established that Yale’s philosophy faculty “are among the world’s most acclaimed masters of philosophy.”

    97. Then John rhetorically queried, “Is Yale’s philosophy faculty most qualified in today’s society to opine on matters of sex?” an established element of the appetitive component of “the good life.”

    98. Finally, to counter Plato’s argument and prove his point that philosophers are not the best arbiters of the good life, John concluded, “The philosophy faculty is probably least likely among the population to know how to get laid.”

    99. At the meeting, Schirmeister explained that she had called John in to discuss the paper he submitted in which he discussed rape. Schirmeister complained that John’s choice to employ “rape” to illustrate and support his inquiry in his assigned academic papers made him a person of interest to Defendant that necessitated intervention to ensure that John was not a perpetrator himself (an inference that may not have been considered had John referred to a more anodyne crime, like murder, which is the example Plato offers to support his argument).

    1. 111. A male professor in the philosophy faculty explained to John that the department
      was considered a bastion of male patriarchy and Yale took the TA’s complaint seriously as a
      means to address that perception.

    2. that paper sounds like comedy gold, though, what a shitshow.

      on the one hand, it sounds like a crappy experience for everyone involved. (his teen angst is understandable, but it is also not his TA’s job to deal with it.)

      on the other, the fact remains that if you somehow manage to get into Yale while remaining the sort of person who would read Plato in so childish and yet so douchey a way, I have no sympathy for you.

      1. What? I work on Plato, and I’m not at all seeing what’s childish or douchey in what the student is reported to have said about possible alliances among parts of the soul on the Republic account.

        1. The student seems to think that any action done *passionately* involves spirit. But this is ridiculous and relies on a very rudimentary misunderstanding of what a spirited desire is. I take it that this is what anon meant when s/he said the student’s reading was childish. The douchey bit, I think, is separate, but pretty clear.

          1. Right, exactly, thanks. I also can’t imagine any paper the student could’ve been writing such that he wouldn’t have much better served by just working closely from the Odysseus example in the actual text. It seems to me that he must’ve departed from the example *in order* to talk about rape, which I think is super creepy.

    1. If you read that complaint against Yale, you’ll see the (male) claimant was a victim of sustained domestic abuse and violence by the woman who got him thrown out.

  9. In Kipnis’ new book, she says that Lauren Leydon-Hardy was in a relationship with a professor before coming to Northwestern. Kipnis calls this person “Professor X” throughout, but doesn’t say who it is. Anyone know?

    1. The Kipnis book reminded me to look at the old Ludlow texts. This exchange ftw:

      PL: I’m stalking Trent Daugherty on Facebook. I’ve seen enough. When can I kill him?
      LLH: Ohmigod SO SOON.

      PL: There is a pic of TD with his arm around mullins.
      LLH: Axis of evil!
      PL: Axis of fail.

      LLH: Srsly they’re not even just the axis of fail. They run the gamut if creep, from religious cannibalism to skeezy perv. So much hate.

      1. LOL, Leydon-Hardy is actually still “friends” with Trent Dougherty on Facebook, creep/skeezy perv thing notwithstanding!

    2. Clue 1: Professor X’s nickname is “Jer”
      Clue 2: Professor X sent LLH a mug from “U of C”
      Clue 3: “U of C” means Calgary and not Chicago, since LLH went to Calgary for undergrad
      Clue 4: Professor X was one of LLH’s former advisors

      Conclusion: Professor X is Jeremy Fantl, Lauren Leydon-Hardy’s undergraduate supervisor at the University of Calgary.

      1. I don’t think the fact that Leydon-Hardy was in a relationship with Fantl is news, it was already in one of the lawsuits (maybe the Lockwood affidavit?). Why does Kipnis talk about it?

        1. PL’s history of dating students was thought to be relevant to the lawsuits and allegations against him. Kipnis argues that if that’s the case, then LLH’s history of dating professors is relevant as well.

            1. That can’t be right:

              1. Kipnis says that Professor X comes up several times in the Ludlow/Leydon-Hardy text messages, but Hawthorne is never mentioned at all (no name, no nickname, no nothing that appears to reference Hawthorne).
              2. Kipnis also says that a gift from Professor X to LLH is mentioned. The only gift mentioned in the text messages is one from “Jer” to LLH, a “U of C mug”.
              3. Kipnis says that Professor X was married at the time of his relationship with LLH. But Hawthorne wasn’t married at that time.
              4. Kipnis says that Professor X was at a “previous school” of LLH’s, which would have to be either Brandeis or Calgary.
              5. Kipnis says that Professor has was an “old friend” of Jennifer Lackey’s. Lackey and Hawthorne are not old friends. Lackey and Fantl, on the other hand, were graduate students at Brown at the same time and were both Sosa students.

              1. “Professor X, on the other hand, appears to be professionally thriving. He signs well-meaning petitions protesting sexual misconduct in the discipline.” — Kipnis

                Hawthorne has signed no such petitions or open letters, to my knowledge. Fantl has.

          1. If you haven’t read the Kipnis book yet, do so. It’s actually pretty clear that Professor X is Fantl, if you know any of these people.

  10. Guys please look at the Princeton, Columbia and Yale hires on philjobs.
    folks with 1 single article each.
    Then tell me this profession still has a future

    1. “The data examined relates to: The publication patterns and prestige standing of their PhD granting department for the cohort of those hired during 2012 and 2013 into tenure-track and post-doc positions from no prior position (those with prior positions were filtered out).
      This data reveals two statistical biases and an intriguing negative correlation: Women hired had published less than men did, in fact about half as much. Having a prestigious background—for example, a PhD granted by a high Leiter-ranked department—benefits jobseekers. Prestige and publication rates are negatively correlated: those hired from high prestige departments had lower publication averages. The data therefore suggests two statistical biases in philosophy job hiring: a gender bias towards women and a prestige bias against applicants from departments with lower prestige ranking.”

      “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.”

      “The statistical findings, at least as far as philosophy job hiring in 2012 and 2013 were concerned, indicate the existence of both prestige and gender bias in philosophy job hiring:
      Against lower prestige male applicants.
      For high prestige female applicants.
      As noted above, the correlation amongst those hired between being unpublished and gender is statistically significant.”


      1. of course. but Yale Princeton and Columbia sort of set a new standard.
        Assuming that EVERYBODY applied to these jobs, they could have hired white men with dozens of pubs in top journals. But they did not. (see the discussion over at Arvan’s blog on the very well published Jared Warren and others who did not land any job).
        SJWs seem to have won. time to look for another job.

        1. “Finally, can we in some way quantify these biases? There is no simple statistical measure of the degree of prestige or gender “boost” involved in job hiring from no prior position, other than mere taking the ratio of the publication averages involved:
          Prestige boost = (av. pub rate for betas)/(av. pub rate for alphas) = 1.55/1.09
          Gender boost = (av. pub rate for men)/(av. pub rate for women) = 1.45/0.81
          The results are:
          Prestige boost = 1.4
          Gender boost = 1.8
          These “boosts” are rough indicators of the extent that one currently “gains” on the job market from either higher prestige or being female. So, the prestige boost of 1.4 indicates that, on average, a Beta prestige applicant needs to publish 40% more than an Alpha prestige applicant does, to reach the same position. Similarly, the gender boost of 1.8 indicates that, on average, a male applicant needs to publish 80% more than a female applicant does, to reach the same position.”


          1. It would be interesting to see this data updated for the last 2 hiring seasons. I wonder if the numbers have gotten even worse. Obviously that’s a huge project, though.

            1. That is indeed a huge project. Worse, there are significant barriers to collecting and analyzing that data, unless you state at the outset what your political aims are (as someone like CDJ does).

          2. To whoever maintains this site, please consider updating it. Perhaps you could crowd-source some of the data gathering work? If you’re interested in that, post to this blog, and I’ll bet we could get some volunteers.

        2. Wow, the Jared Warren case is truly disheartening. I kind of wish he would do a Reddit-style AMA so we could find out more about his situation.

          1. That guy must have superhuman self-restraint. If I were him, self-destructive or not, I’d be letting Yale have it on every public forum available.

          2. Jared Warren has become a somewhat popular example for the “only SJWs get jobs” crowd, but my understanding (from some people in New York) is that there are personality issues that go a long way toward explaining his situation.

            1. I would say that there a lot of nice people with good CV (although not as good as Warren’s), who would definitely deserve more than the SJ anointed ones

            2. Maybe that’s true–and I’m in no position to know whether there are problems and, if so, how severe they are. But I’ve also heard that one candidate who seems to have gotten a demographic boost has severe personality issues, and yet the market outcome in that person’s case is very different. But of course one can only conclude so much from individual cases.

            3. Without saying anything about what these supposed issues were could you maybe say something about the *way* that they could explain the situation? For example, by rumors being spread about them or by adversely affecting letters of recommendation?

                1. It has been confirmed to me over and over again, through many independent channels, both that my letters are *extremely* strong and that there is nothing in them about my personality that in any way explains my situation (in fact, yesterday I spoke on the phone with an NYU Prof who had just read them for the first time and who confirmed all of this). Maybe everyone is lying to me about this, but I doubt it.

                  On the other hand, I was highly critical of the graduate program at NYU while I was there (for good reason, I think) and so it’s possible that based on this, rumors may have spread about my being difficult to deal with. I’ve heard speculation about this, but nothing concrete. It’s possible that something like this may have hurt me on the margins, but I really don’t think it has played much of a causal role in my job market woes.

                  What explains my joblessness? One thing to keep in mind is something that Profs at top places have told me over and over again: hiring committees are not just trying to hire the best philosopher (and even if they were, their success rate wouldn’t be perfect). Connections, demographic factors, and area/perceived area play *major* roles in the market. In some cases these factors alone are decisive. I have personally had the experience of being told “off the record” by search committee members at different places that a particular job had been intended for some well-connected person from the start, that the job would only be going to someone in a particular demographic due to internal or external pressures, and that despite the job being listed as “open” that they were really only looking at people in two or three areas.

                  None of this should be surprising and I’m not complaining about it. All of us on the market should recognize these realities and work to improve our chances in any ethically permissible way available to us (particular and direct cases of corruption should, of course, be decried). The reality is that having the potential to be good or even great at philosophy is neither necessary nor sufficient for getting a job, even a top job. But the heartening thing for someone in my situation is that merit, especially as demonstrated by quality publications under blind peer review, is a still a factor on the job market. Philosophy hasn’t yet completely turned into just another corrupt humanities field. So yes, being human, I’ve been bitter and frustrated at times, and I’m in a life situation that makes philosophical work difficult to undertake, but nobody owes me a job, no matter how good I am and no matter what I do. And for various reasons, I’ve avoided the social aspects of the profession that would have helped me to get my name out there and improve my chances. With all of this said: I believe very strongly in my own philosophical ability and I have not yet given up all hope that said ability will land me in a top research job eventually.

                  I’d prefer not to discuss my case further in this public forum, but people can e-mail me if there was anything about my situation/case they were curious about. I decided to jump in here since, having been pointed to this discussion about me, I wanted to dispel any unfounded rumors or speculation about my case that could take on a life of its own and make it *impossible* for someone in my position to *ever* get hired. The most depressing thing is that these comments might mean it has already happened.

                  1. Connections and Demographics do a lot of explanatory work in who gets what jobs, obviously. Anyone who’s been on a search committee can likely attest to this. Many searches are run with express demographic directives (“you may not hire a man”; “you must hire either a woman or a person of color”; “you may not hire another specialist in Anglophone or European philosophy”), which directives are rarely if ever expressly shared with candidates. For those outside the currently favored Demographic directives, all of this sucks, but it’s plainly true.

                    1. There’s a lot more pressure to hire women than to hire “people of color”, but yes, that is basically right

                    2. after I landed my TT job (last summer), I had to met the HR person to sign the contract. With ink literally fresh on the paper, the HR person commented: “oh yes, and they hire always men in the philosophy department, don’t they?”
                      I am a white man. #newnormal

                  2. I don’t know you, Jared, but I just wanted to say that I admire your accomplishments and obvious pluck. It’s a shame you don’t have a post yet. Good luck in landing a publisher for your book manuscript!

                  3. Jared,

                    Thanks for your post. I’m another one of those who admire your work, your tenacity, and (now) your willingness to explain your situation in detail here non-anonymously.

                    For what it’s worth, I’ve also heard “unfounded rumors or speculation” of the sort that April 5, 2017 at 11:06 pm alluded to, from people who would reasonably be thought to have some insight into the matter. If you’re confident that they’re unfounded, have you asked one of your references to explicitly and strongly vouch for you in his/her letter? That’s an awkward request to make, but it should help mitigate whatever search committees may come across that churns out of the gossip mill.

                    In any case, best of luck! If things don’t work out for you soon, then that is a damning indictment of the current state of our profession.

                  4. Jared, I don’t know anything about your situation other than what I’ve read here and at the Cocoon, but I checked out your website,and for what it’s worth as someone who has been on a hiring committee it could do with some editing. At the moment some of the things you say, whether or not they are warranted, unfortunately do not come across as sounding particularly professional. My advice would be to ask someone that you trust, preferably a senior academic, to look it over and give you some advice. I hope his helps you.

                    1. Let’s be more concrete: cut the stuff about being a high school dropout, making your own oxygen. Silly, not relevant. And cut the stuff about your publication success, and how you don’t network etc. And include proper citations to your articles (volume, year, page numbers).

        3. It really is disheartening. When I entered graduate school, in 2005, philosophy looked like the one discipline in the social science-humanities nexus that was largely untouched by “theory,” campus identity politics, and the culture wars. Little did I know!

    2. All I can say is that you and everyone else has to make peace with the hypocrisy.

      In a way, you have to laugh: we are seeing lesbian transvestites hired simply because they are sexual deviants, and to top it off, their “research” is premised on the idea that they are somehow the ones being systematically oppressed.

      Even secularists can feel at a primal level that something is deeply wrong with the world around us. Good is now evil, light is now darkness, and sweet is now better. Everything has been turned upside down, and we are witnessing only the beginning if what will be a very rapid decline into total darkness.

      My advice is to stop worrying about trivial things like a career or the hypocrisy of the “profession,” and get right with God and prepare yourself for everything that is on its way, because it’s only going to get worse.

      1. i am really curious. please answer the following:

        (1) is this a joke?
        (2) are you high?

        if the answers to both (1) and (2) are negative, please also answer:

        (3) do you have a PhD from, or are you currently pursuing graduate study at, a PGR-ranked philosophy department?
        (4) what do you work on?
        (5) how many guns do you own?

        1. I work at a R1 institution and make lots of $$$.
          I was not high.
          Alas, I don’t own guns. And no, I am not going to tell you what I work on.

          1. “I work at a R1 institution and make lots of $$$.”

            not gonna lie, surprised. but annoyed though I am with the discipline rewarding sloppy philosophy and mediocre philosophers because their work is about trendy social issues, I am frankly much more troubled with its rewarding religious nutjobs like you seem to be.

            (I don’t know robin dembroff, but the ONLY evidence I’ve seen against her philosophical chops is that she went to biola. if departments categorically stopped admitting any prospective grad student from a conservative religious school, the discipline would be a much better place.)

            1. “Religious nutjobs”? E out of your denial and face reality man. The world is falling apart right in your face but somehow you’re still too deluded to admit that there’s more to life than a career. Sad. Try thinking about your soul for a second and realize the party is going to come to an end one day.

    3. This is par for the course; Ivy League schools often hire on *promise* over *actual achievement*. They can always deny tenure later, so there’s little risk in hiring someone at the Jr level who hasn’t done much by way of real published research. Unlike at other schools, this strategy doesn’t have much of a downside: the TT line’s not going anywhere (Ivy League privilege). This is basically has it’s always been, so I say there’s nothing to see here. Move along, kids; move along!

    4. Dhananjay is absolutely amazing. Any top department would be lucky to have him. You guys have no idea what you are talking about.

      1. The most reasonable version of the criticism of these hires isn’t that the candidates chosen are bad. Rather, it is that there are other available candidates about whom there is more evidence of philosophical talent. The persons hired likely have excellent letters, have worked hard, and in many cases have a shot at bright futures in academic philosophy. But these same claims apply to people who are not getting jobs, and who in addition have multiple top 20 publications. They too have friends who will say they’re absolutely amazing, and there’s additional support for that assessment from a blind review system. It is hard not to notice the demographic patterns of who falls in which group.

        None of this should make candidates who got jobs feel bad about themselves. And critics of the hires mentioned above should not blame the successful candidates, some of whom very well might have gotten these jobs without any assistance affirmative action. (One thing that sucks about those policies is that they can’t be sure if that’s true in their case.) I hope Dhananjay is amazing. He probably is. But lots of people in the reserve army are, too. And of course I could be wrong, but I’m more confident of that assessment in many of those cases.

        1. Yeah I think it’s networks and supervisory horse trading but also faddish philosophy that every department needs at one of:

          I am NOT surprised that someone with Nussbaum, Kraut and Moss would get a good job purely on “promise”, I see white guys getting it all the time from Oxford etc. If there are “demographic boosts” why would Moon not get a job right away? He “ticks the same box”, as it were, as Dhananjay does. What do I mean by faddish? No disrespect to feminism, but it’s a “hot” topic right now and Yale has literally zero feminist philosophers. I suspect that a man who did good feminist philosophy could have been hired as well. I actually know a few white guys who do feminist philosophy who got hired to tt jobs purely on promise and the work they do. Sorry epistemologists, it’s been a rough few years. Is it fair Yale said “open” as AOS to that advert in philjobs? Hell no, that’s bullshit and they should be heaped with scorn for wasting our goddamn time.

          1. If I remember correctly, Moon said in his cocoon post that his interview requests went way up after he put a high quality photo of himself on his web site. Perhaps pedigree hurt him, too.

            But I know of other east Indian candidates who had a hard time on the market. Perhaps there is little or no demographic boost for men in that group, or it only helps in certain geographic locations? You don’t hear much noise being made about hiring Indian men, after all.

            Another phenomenon: in some fields, departments tend to use lines for certain subfields to achieve their visible diversity. Perhaps there’s some analogous practice developing in philosophy.

              1. This coming from a blasphemer…

                Come to your senses when there’s still time. You won’t be a “philosopher” forever buddy. One day you’re going to day, and then you’ll be held accountable for all the things you’ve said, including the times you used the name of God as a curse.

          2. But he didn’t “get a good job purely on “promise””. Search committees read the candidates work, published or not. They hear a job talk. They have dozens of conversations. Committees are capable of evaluating all of this just as well as any journal referee. Though all searches look for candidates with potential, evaluations of candidates without publications involve assessment of actual work.

            Of course coming from a top place and having important letter writers matters. No one claims otherwise. And no one denies that there are dozens of really great philosophers out there and many have published extensively. But I’ve read Dhananjay’s work. It is better than most ancient philosophy that is published. And the people at Columbia seem to agree. I don’t see any great injustice here.

            1. so you’re telling us that the search committee read 500+ writing samples, ranked them, and Dhananjay’s piece was among the best? do you think we’re stupid or what?
              Had the first cut been made on the basis of publications alone, as it should be, his cv would have been tossed out.

              1. I have seen both Helton and Jagannathan give papers, I’ve seen them ask questions at papers, and I’ve talked philosophy with both of them. Both are excellent philosophers, and I’d *love* to have either of them in my department. In particular, I’d rather have either of them than somebody with an arbitrary number of papers in “top journals” defending, let’s say, conciliationism. (NB I do not have someone particular in mind here; apologies to anyone this description picks out!)

                1. But the things you say about these philosophers are also true of people with many good publications. Publications aren’t merit, but they’re evidence of merit. They’re also probably more reliable evidence of merit than the favorable impressions of friends and advisers as recorded in inflated letters, which, of course, most people with strong publication records also have.

                  1. “11. Summary: The statistical findings, at least as far as philosophy job hiring in 2012 and 2013 were concerned, indicate the existence of both prestige and gender bias in philosophy job hiring: Against lower prestige male applicants. For high prestige female applicants. As noted above, the correlation amongst those hired between being unpublished and gender is statistically significant.
                    12. Discussion: The first point to make is that the indicator of academic merit used here is based on an applicant’s number of publications on being hired into their first academic post, from no prior position. One might perhaps try to argue that this is too crude an indicator, and that there are other factors relevant to merit, which may even outweigh a good publication record (transcript; reference letters; submitted work; research-talk; teaching experience). However, to try and argue that publication count is not a major indicator of academic merit is not a reasonable position to take.”


          3. This was almost exactly my reaction.
            For various reasons, places like Princeton don’t put a lot of stock in quantity of publications. They’re going to trust their own judgment of the work. It’s always been that way. And as ayenaanimaas says, they’ll trust the judgment of superfamous recommenders too.
            It may be inaccurate, but it’s genuinely how they proceed.

            The case of Jared Warren seems to be quite different. When someone with his level of achievement is getting *nothing*, there’s plainly something special going on. I have no insight into what it is though.

    5. Why would that suggest that philosophy doesn’t have a future? To me it suggests (or would, if the Princeton, Columbia, and Yale hires were representative, which in fact they aren’t) that philosophy’s future will resemble its past.

      1. it might be a generational issue. the comment above is clearly written by a younger philosopher “who didn’t realize yet” that our profession is corrupt and hijacked by the left

        1. This reminds me of people rejected in dating wanting to argue the case. Princeton liked the one they hired, not any of the other ones. The rejected ones naturally think they’re the ones who should have been chosen.

          1. Except that dating is a private matter that no one else has a right to interfere with, while employment is matter regulated by laws against discrimination. In philosophy, those laws are being egregiously broken by statistically well-established discrimination against men.

            1. In your opinion. Many of us don’t (though not so many on here) accept that publications mean shit. There are a lot of decent publications per year by people who would be ok colleagues. It’s not discriminatory to pass over people who have proven themselves to be ok in favor of people who might be great. You might want to apply a different algorithm – when you’re on a search committee, that will be your right.

              1. You’re right. People who have published in J Phil and PPR are ok. But people who have a paper in Phil Compass just might be great.

                1. Not the person you’re responding to, but as Anonymoose pointed out elsewhere in this thread, there’s more to being a great colleague than publishing in great journals.

                  1. Of course. And in any particular case, a search might result in a choice between a diversity candidate with a light CV and other candidates who are miserable, selfish human beings. This is reason not to single out and decry any single hiring decision unless one has sufficient inside information (which I did not mean to do at 4:15 above, though the specifics do at least partly line up with one recent decision). What is unlikely is that all, or even very many, search outcomes can be explained in this way, unless an absurd and unjustifiable amount of weight is given to intangibles. This is sort of like one commenter on a Leiter thread who insisted that people who publish well are not just flight risks, but bad teachers. There’s no reason to think that publishing well is a very strong predictor of having that or other extreme vices that would make one a bad colleague. It might be a bit more likely, but not as likely as it would need to be to justify the trend we’re experiencing.

                2. Fwiw, Princeton did hire somebody this round who has published in Mind and Nous. Check Philjobs appointments page.

  11. Funny that there’s not a word about Kipnis’ new book on Daily Nous, despite its _extensive_ discussion of Title IX as applied to academic philosophers. This is a book that philosophers need to read, especially philosophers who are (rightly) concerned about sexual harassment and abuse in our profession. Kipnis has a lot of interesting and provocative things to say about all of that. You don’t have to agree with her assessment of particular cases, but you do have to engage with her arguments if you want to be a responsible participant in conversations about this aspect of the profession.

    1. Wise words from Rachel McKinnon that were passed around over a year ago:

      “I can’t stand Justin Weinberg anymore, and I don’t follow Daily Nous… here’s what extra pisses me off: his inconsistent use of his own comment policy. I have friends who sometimes post snarky comments on there. He lets them through. But when one of my ‘snarky’ comments was calling out both him and a colleague of his… he applied the policy scolding me to be more charitable.”

    1. still better than a full professor salary in Romania or Lithuania.
      They’ll have to pay their slaves a bit more after Brexit

    2. Why would anyone qualified to do that, do that? That’s sub-poverty-level wages, 25% below the UK’s “living wage” if my calculations are right, to interact and help some of the most privileged people in the world. It might, at a push, be a way of keeping open the possibility of going on the job market once again, though I’m not sure someone on those wages could afford the expenses of being on the job market.

      I’ll go further: anyone taking that job is doing him- or herself, the profession, the students, and the adjunct and unemployed population a disservice.

      1. it’s the market, mate. If there is somebody willing to take that job, the college is not gonna raise the salary.
        And somebody may accept it because it allows him to live the “dream”.
        Like all those millennials moving to expensive cities for supposedly good jobs that allow them to share a closet with other slaves of their age and can afford a date at McDonald’s every weekend.

        1. Well, that’s my point. Fuck working for such wages, and fuck the college for offering them. Have we become so wedded to the idea that teaching philosophy is the only thing we can do with dignity after a Ph.D. that we’d rather be humiliated like that than go into one of the other thousand jobs that would pay a multiple of that? Even Starbucks pays its branch managers three times that.

          It’s only when we stop being so dependent on one kind of work that our conditions will improve.

      2. It comes with food, at least. Presumably also housing? Those Oxford jobs usually do.

        Still shitty, of course.

    3. By default, people put two similar roles together, or do a 6-hour stipendiary plus a few hours casual teaching. Six hours of tutorials is about 12-15 hours per week of work including marking, so you can hold multiple positions. Oxford terms are in total only c.50% of the year, so you get your research done in the vac.

    1. The choice between a senior hire and giving the chair internally and making junior hires…

    2. She has been laying the groundwork for this for years. They could either give the chair to her or face a major stink with accusations of sexism. Mediocre women are capturing important Oxbridge statutory chairs (Magidor, anyone?) thanks to the femphil fad.

        1. An internal appointment like Ofra would have gotten a modest raise, at best. I would be surprised if she made more than 100K GBP. But I disagree with old Don, Langton is not a mediocre appointment, she is better than Crane fairly clearly, isn’t she? Still surprising they did not hire from outside.

            1. No, it’s not, it’s on average lower, although he’s done some very impressive things. Langton has a much broader range of top-quality work.

  12. did justin weinberg or jennifer saul post on the laura kipnis book yet at their blogs? it’s a book discussing sexual harassment allegations and a major case at northwestern university involving the philosophy department that kipnis was privy too. kipnis’s article in the chronicle is called Eyewitness to a Title IX Witch Trial. her book has been reviewed in many places


    weinberg and saul are two prominent and powerful figures in philosophy promoting the “sexual harassment” narrative for years on their widely read blogs. but neither has mentioned kipnis’s book. why not?

        1. You seriously want people to infer something about someone’s honesty from the fact that they wrote an article arguing that lying wasn’t intrinsically worse than other forms of deception aimed at producing false belief?

          No doubt you also think nebulous “feminists” are a threat to rational-norm governed discourse in philosophy.

  13. According to Kipnis’s CHE article, Wilson “had never heard a single negative comment or even a whisper about Ludlow in 15 years, and she would have, she said, because people came to her about this sort of thing.”

  14. Profs at top places have told Jared Warren, “hiring committees are not just trying to hire the best philosopher”.

    Suppose you’re running a search at Arkansas State University. If you hire a top-notch philosopher with a strong research trajectory, then you’re looking at a very serious flight risk: this person will be doing everything they can to get out. That’s not what you want. What do you want? Someone who is going to be thrilled to get a job at A-State, and who is going to stay at A-State. Someone who will throw themselves into the four-four teaching load at A-State. Someone ready to put down roots in Jonesboro, AK. You want someone who is a decent philosopher, for sure, but philosophical excellence is not your top priority. If you’re running such a search, you do not even give a second look at a file with three papers in Phil Review and a book forthcoming with MIT Press. And this is perfectly rational: those people are over-qualified.

    1. I’m not so sure it’s rational. We all know there just aren’t enough jobs for all the people with papers in Phil Review and a forthcoming blah blah blah. Sure, the one who gets the A-State job might leave the next year, but there’s an awfully good chance they won’t.
      Anyway, I think your main point isn’t that it’s rational, but that it’s how most not-awesome departments proceed, and I’m sure you’re right about that.

    2. That is a corruption of the purpose of a university, which is deferring to and worshipping the greatest minds. I’m not denying, however, that you’re right about the factual proceedings.

      1. For what it’s worth, there are sometimes very good reasons not to hire the best philosopher. Two examples from my own experience.

        * Some of us have colleagues that don’t do their share of the work. If someone gives off the impression that they’ll be like that, I don’t really care if they’re the best philosopher we’re interviewing. Experience tells me that it’s probably best to pick the next best philosopher. The fact that candidate A will publish more papers in Phil Review than B is a pretty silly reason to hire A over B when you think about spending, say, 30 years with A doing A’s work for them and trying to resist the urge to murder A when they ask you to read another draft they’ve written.

        * Some of us have to choose between teaching needs and philosophical excellence. I’ve wanted to support people very much like Jared (I’ve looked up his CV and it is very impressive, but I’m not commenting on his case because I’ve only seen his CV and wouldn’t want to comment on any particular person in this setting) who haven’t fit the department’s teaching needs. It’s often difficult to get the right people on board to make this kind of appointment. If you fight for the imperfect teaching fit with colleagues and administration, you might just end up losing a battle that means that you’ve spent your ammunition and don’t get your second or third preferred choice. I don’t think anyone should apologize for deciding on a strategy to get the best appointment even if that means deciding not to vote for the strongest candidate for strategic reasons. (Also, don’t forget that (a) specific teaching needs are not always built into the ad (because departments don’t necessarily want to tie themselves to a set of criteria for making an offer before they see the pool of applicants) and (b) lots of us have experience with appointments where some candidate promises that they’ll cover some courses that they’ve been hired to teach only to then fight with them in the years to come because they don’t actually want to cover those courses. I have a colleague like this now and it makes life unpleasant for everyone. In retrospect, we would have been better served hiring someone who doesn’t publish much of anything at all. Many of us in the department will probably spend more years with this person than our current spouses, so this kind of thing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Once they get tenure, you can’t divorce them.)

        If someone tells you that they regret that they couldn’t offer the job to the best philosopher, please bear in mind that they might have these or other perfectly respectable reasons in mind when they tell you this.

  15. Echoing Old Time Feminist (April 6 5.29): In a way I’m relieved that Kipnis’s book hasn’t been mentioned on the Snooze, because, well, can you imagine the discussion? But really, the fact that it hasn’t even made it into the heap of links is just scandalous, and obliterates any claim by Whineberg to be hosting a forum for discussion of issues facing the profession. When everyone was piling in on Ludlow he couldn’t post enough about it; and remember the article on Pogge translated from German? There may be a lot to disagree with in Kipnis’s book, but it’s obviously a genuine and significant contribution to the debate — this much is clear from Rachel Cooke’s profile in the Observer (the Sunday Guardian, for non-UK readers), an impeccably left-liberal newspaper. The only possible reason for Whineberg’s increasingly embarrassing silence is ideology. Either he’s deliberately suppressing ‘incorrect’ views or (the more charitable interpretation) he’s terrified of another public mauling by the zealots.

    1. Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?

    2. That all may be true, but there is another possibility: JW may be waiting to post until he’s read the book, and, for one reason or another, he hasn’t had a chance to read it yet. Perhaps, for example, he wasn’t given an advance copy. I don’t know if that’s the reason, but it’s a possibility, so may be worth waiting a week or two before assuming some other reason.

      1. As an explanation of why he hasn’t posted, that’s pretty weak, since we have no reason to think he feels it’s necessary to read all of any document he posts about. Do you have a single other instance of his having waited ‘a week or two’ before posting on some major story? And as an explanation of why it hasn’t even been mentioned in the links, it’s hopeless.

  16. Over at Naily Douche, the comments by “Anne” in the English Oppression of Colonial Philosophers thread are delightfully loony.
    The fact that English speakers are ignorant of agglutinative languages supposedly has important ramifications for our understanding of compositionality. And English speakers are very narrow-minded about the self, because alterity.

      1. The article says that the graduate student from the 2004 incident met with the OPHD people, which suggests that the chair passed the complaint along.

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