April Open Thread II



210 thoughts on “April Open Thread II

    1. Thanks for the link. This shouldn’t be surprising. Putting side constraint objections aside, and granting that gender diversity is a valuable goal, how does one set the optimal quota level? If it’s set too high, the supply of women more qualified than the mediocre men will be exhausted, and less qualified women will be appointed rather than qualified (and some really not mediocre) men to meet the quota. If you think gender diversity is very valuable, that will be a tradeoff worth making, up to a point. Reasonable people can disagree about the weight of that value. But at some point the tradeoff will not be worth making. Why think that anyone has the knowledge required to set and administer the quota so that it doesn’t have that bad effect? How could it be set across a field housed in thousands of non-cooperating institutions?

      Or maybe you were making a more general point that any AA policy will have this good effect. In that case similar pros and cons follow.

      A perhaps not so obvious point in favor of quotas from opponents of current affirmative action policies: if the quota is set accurately, and institutions treat it as a ceiling for considering gender as a factor in hiring, that could be an improvement over current practices.

      RE the “MRA whiners” dig: Grow up.

  1. If I was David Barnett I would go on a killing spree against those SJWs. If Kipnis’ account is true, U of C is not a serious academic institution.

      1. Not really, BL was full on with the pursuit of Pogge and McGinn. He never thought Barnett was treated fairly, follow the link to his old post.

    1. David Barnett is doing pretty well. A company he started, PopSockets, is one of the fastest growing in CO and is worth millions of dollars. While he was the victim of grave injustice, he’s honestly probably better off.

      1. Yeah, let’s find out and publish the names publically so that random assholes on both “sides” can fuck up their lives further!

      2. Given the publicly available information it’s not hard to figure out who Anne is. Thanks to the Dean, for example, we know that she entered the PhD program in 2014. Thanks to Alison Jaggar, we know that she’s a person of color. There is only one person who meets that description, and she is currently listed on the CU Philosophy Department website.

              1. Barnett got a raw deal, but it wasn’t so cut and dry. The administration basically thought he engaged in witness tampering during his investigation, which was a reasonable claim. He was, after all, interviewing people he had power over, and it was well known what he wanted to hear. Kipnis left that part out.
                And yes I know who Ben and Anne are, and no I’m not telling. Suffice it to say that no one was surprised when Ben was accused.

  2. Yesterday, there was a link to Jennifer Saul’s 2012 endorsement of lying and deception.

    Jennifer Saul, “Just Go Ahead and Lie”, Analysis (2012)

    A response to this agreed that Saul endorses “forms of deception aimed at producing false belief”, but insists that deception from Saul, and the endorsement of deception by from Saul, count as “rational-norm governed discourse”. Is Saul right in promoting lying?

    1. As I recall, someone tried to use the title of that article last year to smear Saul as dishonest. I say smear because, again as I recall, the actual thesis was something like: withholding information to mislead people is on par with lying, so you might as well just go ahead and lie. I don’t care enough to look it up.

      1. It might be useful if you make an effort to read Saul’s own claim, which is: “if you feel the need to deceive, go ahead and lie”.

        1. Here’s the abstract from the link: “The view that lying is morally worse than merely misleading is a very natural one, which has had many prominent defenders. Nonetheless, here I will argue that it is misguided: holding all else fixed, acts of mere misleading are not morally preferable to acts of lying, and successful lying is not morally worse than merely deliberately misleading. In fact, except in certain very special contexts, I will suggest that – when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie.”

          The conclusion of the paper: “Suppose, then, that you are faced with a need to deceive. Perhaps you are convinced that deception is justified, perhaps you just can’t figure out what else to do. Moreover, you’re not in a courtroom or any of the related contexts mentioned above. Should you, then, carefully construct a truthful but misleading utterance rather than simply lying? It seems to me that you should not. You should simply go ahead and lie. Or if you do choose to merely mislead, you shouldn’t do so in the comforting belief that you are thereby doing something better. That might have been a morally admirable choice before you read this paperback when it would have revealed a laudable desire to minimize wrongdoing. But if you have been convinced by my arguments, that choice is no longer an admirable one for you: you no longer think that you will thereby minimize wrongdoing. In general, acts of misleading and of lying seem to be morally on a par. Now that you know that, you might as well just go ahead and lie.”

          So: lying is on par with other means of deception you might use, and so lying is justified. If you mislead rather than lie, what you’ve done is no better than lying. How exactly is this promoting lying? It is just as naturally described as discouraging deception.

          Nowhere in the paper does the quote “if you feel the need to deceive, go ahead and lie” appear. Is what you’re doing a meta-post demonstrating Saul’s claim, 12:14? Higher up you misled, and now you just lied? I genuinely can’t tell. I’m not 8:43 in the other thread, but that person’s first paragraph is right. This is really dumb.

          1. This is from Saul’s online slides for the same paper: “if you feel the need to deceive, … go ahead and lie”. The ellipsis is not relevant, as it’s the claim Saul makes which is relevant; namely, to go ahead and lie on the basis of “felt need to deceive”. And, from Saul’s article quoted above: “when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie.”

            Saul’s claim is that if one “feels a need to deceive”, then “go ahead and lie”.

            Hopefully, this is now agreed. Normally, considering someone who “feels a need to deceive”, we would say that person ought not to lie or deceive. This is because, irrespective of one’s “felt need to deceive” or inclination to lie, one ought not to. Only in exceptional circumstances ought one to tell lies. Whereas Saul recommends lying on the basis of “a felt need to deceive”.

            So is Saul’s defense of deception and lying on the basis of “a felt need to deceive” justified?

            1. I don’t know what was in place of the ‘…’ in your first quote, but re. “when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie.”, it’s pretty clear to me from the abstract that the ‘might as well’ is doing important work there, and isn’t just stylistic fluff. The claim is that lying is ‘as well’ as, and thus not worse than, non-lying deception. Tbh I kind of wanted it to be endorsing lying so I could enjoy some outrage, but it really appears that Saul is not endorsing deception or lying here.

            2. The file at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.476630!/file/GoAheadAndLie.pptx does not contain your quote, either.

              Here are the contents of the final slide: “Suppose you feel the need to deceive.
              Unless you’re in a special context, there’s no need to carefully merely mislead.

              If you do choose to carefully merely mislead, you should not think that you are doing something better.

              If you have been convinced by my arguments, that choice is no longer an admirable one for you: you no longer think that you will thereby minimize wrongdoing.

              So– if you’re going to deceive– go ahead and lie.”

              Why insist on this uncharitable misreading of Saul’s view? If you don’t like her political views, why not just go after those directly?

              1. Saul says “when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie”.

                What is the justification for lying based on “a felt need to deceive”?

                1. The claim is that lying is ‘as well’ as, and thus not worse than, non-lying deception.

                  The paper is not a justification for lying based on “a felt need to deceive”.

                  1. But Saul says it is: “when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie”. This is a conditional, saying that if a condition holds, then “go ahead and lie”. The condition is “a felt need to deceive”.

                    So how does “a felt need to deceive” justify lying? After all, a sensible person would say the opposite: when faced with “a felt need to deceive”, do not lie, outside extreme circumstances.

                    1. Why not tell the truth? How does a “felt need to deceive” justify any act of deception? Why does Saul rule out telling the truth?

                    2. Again, you’re misreading the might as well phrasing, if you’re even trying to get this right. In this context it’s not an endorsement of the act; it’s a comparison of its value with the implied alternatives. That’s why telling the truth is not considered as an alternative. The interesting comparison is between the degree of wrongness of lying and other acts of deception. Everything else in the paper makes it obvious that this is what’s going on there.

  3. Oh my god.

    The protasis is not supposed to be a justification for the apodosis. Cf. Darwall on “If you want to murder someone in a messy way, (you ought to) use a chainsaw.” For more, see von Fintel and Iatridou’s papers on anankastic conditionals.

    Probably I’m responding to a troll, though. Gotta be, right?

    1. On grounds of impressive stupidity, troll is the most charitable reading. But it also makes even less sense than usual. Why attack a feminist philosopher with nonsense on this blog only to see ‘metabros’ defend her view? I’m no fan of Saul’s activism in the profession, but I enjoyed reading her paper. It’s interesting.

      1. That world-renowned “troll”, Jamie Dreier, writing on “Practical Conditionals”,


        put the point being made by metabros above (“why not tell the truth?”) like this:

        “Take Steve Darwall’s example:

        (3) If you want to kill Jones in a particularly violent way you ought to use a cleaver.1

        This may strike us as true. But suppose Jill does want to kill Jones in a particularly violent way. We are reluctant then to assert the consequent (addressing Jill). That is, we are (to say the least) reluctant to follow modus ponens to the conclusion it seems to demand, even when we find the premises quite acceptable and believable. A plausible explanation is that the logical form is as follows:

        (4) O(You want to kill your victim in a particularly violent way ‘ you use a cleaver.)

        If you do not satisfy (4) then you are incoherent and therefore irrational. And you ought not to be irrational.3 But it doesn’t follow that you ought to use a cleaver, even if you do want to kill most violently, because it’s quite likely that you ought to stop wanting to kill in a violent way. (Not to belabor the obvious, but you ought to stop wanting to kill your victim, period.)”

        1. Just out of curiosity: did Jamie think, at the time, that “you ought not to be irrational” in at least roughly the sense that you “ought to stop wanting to kill in a violent way”?

          (Was this before the Raz/Kolodny “myth of instrumental rationality” stuff?)

  4. Courtesy of our good friends a Daily Douche: “A closer look–without an actual closer look—at evidence excluded…” What did Justin mean by this?

    1. He meant that one doesn’t get to see the actual evidence that the court prevented the jury from seeing I think.

    1. The lack of information seems pointed.

      Helen de Cruz apparently decided that this is an appropriate time to use him to flog the increasingly flop-sweaty Nothing Has To Change but our Messaging project.

  5. Is it just me, or does Nick Zangwill come across in his interview as unusually (even for a philosopher) pompous and dismissive of others’ views?

      1. Oh, he’s not pompous at all. (In my experience.)
        He’s sometimes dismissive of others’ views; that’s true of about 90% of philosophers.

  6. Review of the new Kipnis book in WSJ. Here’s the full text

    “Witness to the Star Chamber”
    A disturbing glimpse into the process of campus investigations and a scathing indictment of current American feminism.

    By Cathy Young
    April 10, 2017 7:14 p.m. ET

    Two years ago, Northwestern University professor, noted feminist and cultural critic Laura Kipnis found herself targeted by student protesters when she wrote an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education questioning the campus panic about sexual violence. The students went so far as to file a Title IX “hostile environment” complaint against Ms. Kipnis. Ultimately she was cleared of any wrongdoing, but it was a Kafkaesque ordeal at the hands of what she calls, in her new book, the s[Ha]ol’s “midwestern Torquemadas.” Thankfully, the experience did not silence her but made her all the more determined to challenge prevailing politically correct mores about sexual politics and free speech.

    In “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus,” Ms. Kipnis tells the story of her own experience and the incidents that inspired her essay. It’s a disturbing tale of the abuses of Title IX, the federal law intended as a safeguard against sex discrimination. But the book is also a scathing indictment of the state of American feminism.

    Ms. Kipnis’s original thought crime was to come to the defense of Peter Ludlow, then a philosophy professor at Northwestern. Not five years ago, Mr. Ludlow was an academic star working on cutting-edge issues of virtual reality and cyber-ethics. Now he has become a pariah — unemployable, unpublishable and living in self-imposed exile in Mexico — thanks to accusations of sexual misconduct from two former students.

    One, whom Ms. Kipnis calls “Eunice Cho,” [Yoona Ha] was a 19-year-old undergraduate who had stayed friendly with Mr. Ludlow after taking his class and who claimed that he got her drunk and sexually assaulted her. The other, the likewise pseudonymous “Nola Hartley,” [Lauren Leydon-Hardy] was a graduate student who had been romantically involved with Mr. Ludlow and later came to see their relationship as coercive.

    Ms. Kipnis provides a detailed account of the two cases, based on files turned over to her by Mr. Ludlow. They make for a riveting read and a disturbing glimpse into the star-chamber process of campus investigations under the rules laid down by the Obama administration six years ago. Those rules lowered the standard of proof from “clear and convincing evidence” to “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that if the accused is deemed more than 50% likely to have committed the offense, he is guilty.

    Mr. Ludlow emerges from this account not as a power-abusing lecherous professor but as an overly egalitarian one, prone to ignoring social hierarchies in “schmoozing with undergrads.” One of those undergrads was Ms. [Ha], who invited Mr. Ludlow to an art exhibition in February 2012. After an evening of art events and bar hopping, the two returned to his apartment, where they slept, clothed, on the same bed. Ms. [Ha] later claimed that Mr. Ludlow repeatedly propositioned her and groped her while she was drunk and barely conscious. Mr. Ludlow has said that Ms. [Ha] made advances toward him and was only slightly intoxicated.

    Clearly, even in the best-case scenario, Mr. Ludlow showed very poor judgment. But his punishment was so disproportionate to the offense, and based on such a blatant travesty of justice, that it is difficult not to feel sympathy. Once Ms. [Ha] made a report to Northwestern’s Title IX bureaucrats, everything Mr. Ludlow did was seen in a sinister light. Despite Ms. [Ha]’s many credibility problems, the s[Ha]ol’s Title IX officer, Joan Slavin, arbitrarily credited her story over Mr. Ludlow’s while just as arbitrarily rejecting a few of her claims, including the accusation of groping. “If this is how ‘preponderance’ is established,” Ms. Kipnis notes wryly, “let’s just admit it’s completely a matter of caprice.”

    After Mr. Ludlow was harshly sanctioned but not fired, Ms. [Ha] sued, and student protesters clamored for his dismissal. A job offer from Rutgers University was withdrawn. Then the complaint from Ms. [Leydon-Hardy] finished his career for good.

    Ms. [Leydon-Hardy] claimed that Mr. Ludlow raped her after they drank together at his place and she passed out; she also admitted that she had consensual sex with him later on one occasion, when both were drunk. Yet numerous emails and text messages, some of which Ms. Kipnis reproduces here, not only back Mr. Ludlow’s story of a three-month consensual relationship but show Ms. [Leydon-Hardy] to have been in many ways the dominant partner.

    In later chapters, Ms. Kipnis examines campus rape statistics and the controversies over false accusations; she also surveys other Title IX cases, mostly involving students whose only perceived power lies in their maleness. While she is appalled by the railroading of the accused, her broader theme is the disservice done to women by narratives that turn them into victims. This narrative, she writes, paints a “world of dastardly men with the nefarious power to bend passive damsels to their wills, a world out of storybooks.” What baffles Ms. Kipnis is how this very patriarchal storybook became a feminist one: “What use to anyone is a feminism so steeped in self-exoneration that it prefers to imagine women as helpless children rather than acknowledge grown-up sexual realities?”

    Ms. Kipnis ends with a plea for a “grown-up feminism”: one that supports victims of sexual violence but does not automatically label every accuser a “survivor”; one that holds men accountable for behaving badly but does not shy away from telling young women that getting blackout-drunk at parties isn’t wise; one that celebrates women’s sexual autonomy while teaching women to say “no” to unwanted sex.

    One may quibble with some of Ms. Kipnis’s conclusions (she blames current sexual conflicts partly on the fact that women are still socialized to be deferential toward men, yet the women she describes seem anything but). Yet overall, “Unwanted Advances” is a bracing book, its message delivered with fierce intelligence and mordant humor. It is also, critically, delivered by a left-of-center feminist who cannot be easily accused of pushing an anti-feminist backlash.

    1. From the description of her activities in Kipnis’s book I don’t understand how Heidi Lockwood hasn’t been the target of a lawsuit to date. Filing legal affidavits in cases about which your knowledge is at best third-hand, or even entirely rumor?

      1. You can’t get sued for libel or defamation for what you say in court, in a deposition, in a witness statement, affidavit, etc. This kind of immunity is very well-established and stands for good reason. If Lockwood is liable, it would be for perjury, if anything. But she is so guarded in what she says (“I’m just reporting rumors, man”), so charges of perjury are extremely unlikely.

  7. Any thoughts on the state of newapps, or the history of newapps? In the buzfeed nostalgia-listicle of newapps authors ranked best to worst, who’s your pick at each end? Do you think Protevi’s still taking on new authors? What would it take to revive what was once the Ozymandias of non-Leiter philosophy blogging?

  8. There is finally some semblance of a response to Kipnis’ book. This is a public Facebook post from Jennifer Lackey:

    “* Please feel free to share.

    Laura Kipnis’s recent book, Unwanted Advances, discusses one of our philosophy graduate students at great length. We want to make clear that we believe that the characterization of our student as portrayed in the book is grossly inaccurate. We stand by our student as a person of substantial character and high integrity, in addition to being an extraordinarily talented philosopher.

    Sandy Goldberg, Chair, Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University
    Jennifer Lackey, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University”

    The discussion is just getting started on Facebook, and Kipnis joins in, but you have to be logged in to FB view it.

      1. The exchange between Lockwood, Hellie, and Pogin is good popcorn. (Paraphrased):

        L: Kipnis makes a provably false claim! Right on this page!

        H: Where? I don’t see it there. Nevermind, I found it on my own. And the claim Kipnis makes is not what Lockwood says.

        P: It doesn’t matter what Lockwood said, because nobody is trying to adjudicate this over facebook.

        H: Um, Lockwood was *just* trying to do that. And she was wrong. What are you talking about?

        P: I can’t possibly continue this publicly.

          1. Unlikely.

            I’ll bet Peter Ludlow sleeps like a baby these days though. Retiring to a life of eating and drinking in Mexico isn’t so bad.

    1. Related to the lack of discussion until now: Colin McGinn posted on the book a week ago on his blog: 0 comments. Location, location, location.

      1. That might also have been because his entry only consisted of one sentence: “Her new book Unwanted Advances makes for an interesting read.”

    2. That’s a pretty embarrassing exchange to read. I’m not seeing the huge errors of fact I was promised.

    3. If these people want to say that Kipnis’ book is grossly inaccurate, they need to pony up with specifics. Kipnis has put her reputation on the line and provided lots of evidence for her main claims (text messages, emails, official university reports, testimony from the student herself, etc.). If this is all nonsense, then it deserves a reply with evidence and detail, and Kipnis should be brought up under charges of academic misconduct. Saying she’s a liar without saying where or how cuts no ice.

      Kipnis’ portrayal of the student, incidentally, strikes me as consistent with what Goldberg and Lackey say, that she is a person of integrity and talent. You can have great character and get things wrong, especially in a broken system, which is Kipnis’ real complaint — the whole Title IX system is messed up in various ways.

      1. Lockwood identifies one specific claim in Kipnis and contests it. Lockwood writes:

        “… on pp. 157-8 Kipnis refers to a blog post I wrote and claims that the grad student was the origin of a specific anonymous comment. This is provably false; the origin of the comment is a survivor from a completely different case.”

        But Kipnis doesn’t say what Lockwood says Kipnis says. Kipnis observes certain similarities between a particular comment in Lockwood’s blog post and things the grad student said, notes the relationship between Lockwood and the student, and then says: “Did both passages refer to Ludlow? There’s no way to say”. So Kipnis does *not* claim that the grad student was the origin of that specific anonymous comment, but instead makes it clear that she lacks the evidence to make that claim!

    4. Yeah, you bet they say she’s of substantial character and high integrity, because otherwise … Title IX on their ass!

      1. Jennifer Lackey is, recall, the very professor Peter Ludlow called a “typical fag hag”, so it’s no surprise she’s disinclined towards the man. What’s harder to understand is why she’s defending Lauren Leydon-Hardy, the accusing graduate student. Ms. Leydon-Hardy is the one who said “TOTALLY” in reply to Ludlow’s charming characterization of Lackey and who also said, “Unrelated: why is Jennifer fucking with me? Why won’t she just give me my paper with comments? Answer: because she *likes* fucking with me, because she is evil.”

        Maybe Lackey really is scared of a Title IX suit against her. Maybe that’s why Lackey is so protective. Maybe, just maybe, she was inspired to defend this piece of work despite the terrible things Leydon-Hardy said about Lackey because she fucking believed her story, because it was credible? That is a live explanatory hypothesis for me.

    5. Sobel seems intent on nitpicking precisely what evidence could have warranted Kipnis’ belief that “dating” was going on. This sort of response just seems so weak to me. Yeah, Kipnis based it off some testimony from Ludlow, and when more evidence came in later (text messages), it further confirmed she was right.

      David’s point seems to assume, from the get go, that Ludlow’s testimony just can’t have sufficient epistemic weight. This seems a bit different from their usual epistemic standard of “Listen and Believe,” when someone is claiming to have been wronged. Oh, I forgot: that only applies to people they agree with.

      1. Sobel: I’m not saying they *didn’t* date, but what I am saying is that you didn’t have sufficient evidence at that time to justifiably make such an assertion. And, as we know from Descartes, if you are ever mistaken about anything, then everything you say should be doubted. Ergo, Kipnis is an evil deceiver demon. QED.

        1. Ha! That part of the facebook exchange fascinates me. As far as I can tell, the best case for Sobel is that Kipnis asserted something in 2015 without sufficient evidence; it turned out to be true; she asserted it again in the book with more evidence. But he’s talking as though this shows Kipnis is wrong about everything. Strange!

          That facebook thread is really embarrassing.

    6. I’ll give Lackey this much credit: she’s allowed public debate to happen on the thread and hasn’t tried to censor those whom she disagrees with.

    7. It is great to see this stuff getting talked about in public. Would be nice to see that conversation happening on Daily Nous or Leiter Reports too!

  9. By my count, we’ve had reviews and discussions of Kipnis’ book by NYT, WSJ, NPR, The New Yorker, National Review, NY Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mother Jones, Forbes, and HuffPo. We now have public Facebook posts with philosophers weighing in. And still not a mention over at Daily Nous.

    I suspect one of two things will happen. 1) Justin will eventually put something related to Kipnis in the heap of links, hoping it will be forgotten. Or, 2), Justin will eventually post something about the story but only when he can link to a one-sided “take-down” of Kipnis, or only when he can write a 1000 word preface that boils down to “Kipnis is wrong and bad!” before closing off comments.

    1. You forgot the long profile of Kipnis in the (UK) Observer (= the Sunday Guardian).

      Your point is well taken. Weinberg’s silence is completely pathetic.

    2. Here’s the likely counter-argument: since her book is so well-covered elsewhere, it doesn’t need coverage at Daily Nous. What’s wrong with this argument?

      1. If you have to ask…

        You’re not by any chance the person who suggested on the previous thread that maybe Justin hadn’t mentioned the Kipnis book because he hadn’t had time to read it all?

        Now the suggestion seems to be that Justin only mentions issues that hit a certain sweet spot: they must have attracted enough attention to be newsworthy, but not so much attention that his coverage of them would be redundant. Because, you know, it’s not as though discussion of Kipnis’s book in a specifically philosophical forum could add anything to the din and clamour of the general media. And it’s not as though Justin has ever hosted discussion of issues that are completely dominating the news cycle.

        Aaagh! I get it. You’re trolling. Sorry. Carry on.

        1. @4:14 – fwiw, I’m the person who suggested in the other thread that maybe Justin was waiting until he had read the book, but I’m not the person above at 9:25. By now though, I’m inclined to think Justin’s avoiding it on purpose, or at the least, is in no hurry to host that discussion. I expect that’s why Leiter also hasnt opened a discussion thread yet.

          1. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I’m impressed by your lack of cynicism about JW — but also a little puzzled! Not sure what you mean about Leiter though. His several posts on Kipnis’s book, without opening a discussion, themselves show that JW’s being ‘in no hurry to host that discussion’ is still no excuse. Nothing’s stopping him from doing what he did with Searle and not accepting comments. Or, FFS, just putting it in the heap of links.

      1. There’s loud and increasingly frantic support for Lackey and Co., but I don’t think Hellie and Wilson are alone in publicly expressing reservations. Margot Strohminger, Bernard Kobes, Brian Leiter, Ned Block, and others have all made some sort of public show of doubt when it comes to the mainstream/damning narrative about Ludlow.

        1. John Collins too (just hours ago, he said in the public FB thread “One may think, as I certainly do, that Ludlow was shafted…”)

    1. Whoever runs this site needs to update it with recent information about Ludlow. It is extremely one-sided right now.

  10. I think I might agree with Kipnis about how Title IX is going off the rails in a lot of ways, but I also think that Ludlow probably deserved to get fired or at least severely disciplined. Why are people even debating the details of how an elderly professor ended up in bed with a freshman student and what exactly they did when they got there? Or the details of his protracted courtship and romantic affair with his graduate student? In no business or corporation in the world do they tolerate supervisors using their interns and employees as their primary dating pool. It’s totally ridiculous that professors would consider their students fair game for romantic pursuit. What parent would want to send their 18 year old to a college knowing that college would tolerate professors taking them out, getting them drunk, and inviting them home? What graduate student would want to go to a department knowing the professors would be playing favorites based on which grad student they were having pillow talk with the night before? It’s absurd. Northwestern shouldn’t put up with that. And it shouldn’t be necessary to have trumped up “rape” charges or kangaroo courts to act in such a case.

    From everything we know Ludlow’s behavior was significantly worse than Colin McGinn’s, but there seems to be much more controversy about the case. Not sure why that is.

    1. If you think that’s not tolerated in any business or corporation, then you may want to remain in academia, because life outside the tower is gonna blow your mind.

    2. “In no business or corporation in the world do they tolerate supervisors using their interns and employees as their primary dating pool. ”

      In every business, and every corporation in the world, and in every university I am familiar with, people have relationships.

      1. No, no, no — you can’t call it ‘having relationships’! First, because relationships are non-exploitative, and any disparity of power between the parties entails exploitation. But, more importantly, you have to consider it only from the side of the wrongdoer, and call it ‘using [group of people at work] as one’s own personal dating pool’. That it way, it already sounds basically indefensible. See?


  11. It’s totally ridiculous that professors would consider their students fair game for romantic pursuit.

    Look, it may well be that professors just shouldn’t ever get involved with their students, and it may well be that there should be rules prohibiting this, and I get that you want to fast-forward the cultural revolution, but whether something like this counts as ‘totally ridiculous’ just does depend to an important extent and ineliminably on what people in general think. And there are at the moment just far too many children around of very happily married parents who got together because one of them was teaching the other in a university for this to sound like anything more than just another attempt to shut people up by raising the rhetorical stakes. Don’t overplay your hand.

  12. For those of you who have read the book, is there much in the way of new evidence? As someone who has kept up with the case online, I’m wondering if it’s worth it. Maybe there’s more from the hearing(s) or from Ludlow’s file that wasn’t already out there?

    1. For Anonymous at 5:42…Ludlow gave Kipnis all his records. He didn’t ask to review her final MS.
      There are a lot of details in the book that I doubt you could find anywhere else. As one example, specifics about professional rivals in academic philosophy encouraging students to file Title IX complaints against other professors.
      The account of Ludlow’s dismissal hearing, which Kipnis attended, is very moving.

    2. Some new evidence, but not much. Quotes from emails (not just the texts), quotes from margin notes in the Title IX officer’s report, and unsourced details about some of the people involved (like Jeremy Fantl, the professor Leydon-Hardy was in a relationship with before coming to Northwestern)

  13. Can we run a poll on who are the worst people in the discipline these days? Make sure to include Stanley, Kukla, Ichikawa, Schliesser, Dowell, Tremain, Weinberg–for balance, better include too Leiter, Kaufman, Jessica Wilson. Other nominations?

    1. A list of “worst people” is not useful, since “the worse” is said in many ways. What would be better would be more fine-grained lists: bad advisor, sexual harasser, annoying social media presence, self-righteous and self-centred blowhard, etc. etc.

    2. It would be useful to have a list of people who should never be hired, lest they turn your department into another Colorado. Stanley, Kukla, Ichikawa, Schliesser, Dowell, Tremain, Weinberg: sure. Cameron and Barnes belong on that list. Protevi too, though no philosophy department would ever hire him. But more importantly their lackeys need to be on that list, so we don’t hire them on the tenure track and then find that we can’t deny them without ending up with Title IX on our asses.

          1. Once he had shafted Ketland he knew his virtue signalling had been perfected and it was time to get back on the gravy train.

            1. Shields threw Ketland to a mob. Like a trolley problem, Shields pushed the guy in front the train, to protect himself and keep the mob away from him. Having shafted his colleague, he left Oxford immediately to wash his hands of his callous misdeed.

          2. It’s scandalous that he accepted a better offer in the USA. He should be arrested for not being willing to stay for a worse deal at Oxford.

              1. That’s interesting. Are you suggesting he was blackmailed–‘shaft Ketland or you’ll get it for shafting student…and you know how we can make that work.. WIP announces pervy old academic exploiting his power and privilege to corrupt innocent Oxford student, then we leak your identity, our mob calls for your resignation and before you know it you’re living in Mexico’?

                1. Shields and Arntzenius didn’t want anyone prying into their backgrounds and knew that throwing an innocent colleague Ketland to the mob was the best way to signal their virtue.

      1. in which capacity did Shields do harm to Ketland at Oxford? was Shields head of department back then (or whatever name a head of department has in Oxford)?
        thanks Oxford buddies for sharing your knowledge

  14. I think Benj Hellie might be my favorite living philosopher now (from the Lackey FB thread):

    “David Sobel , regarding the pressure: look, you and your comrades set out on a cause you took to be righteous. In the course of it, the field was agitated into an angry mob against Ludlow. In consequence, Ludlow was driven out of his job, and out of philosophical society; lost his house and savings, and wound up with no source of income. Now, that is not a nice thing to happen. Thinking about it makes the heart ache. Of course, if it happens to a bad guy who deserves it, the instead of heartache, time to clink the champagne.

    So of course that is what people want to believe. Moreover, your group has made this a big rallying point: a shibboleth, if you will, by the ritual recitation of which people recollect their big success and restore group solidarity. So you and your crowd really have it as a big part of your self-identity that Ludlow got what he deserved.

    I add also that the group sees itself as setting the moral tone for philosophy as a whole: I think Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa made a point to that effect the other day, about how it is important not to let outsiders (like me, I guess) define philosophy’s response to this debacle. I acknowledge the success of your campaign: there is truly a chilling effect, where almost no one is willing to challenge your verities in public; and perhaps some of the causes the group stands for are to the good (set that aside).

    Now comes Laura Kipnis. The world is paying close attention; and the judgement of the world is that this very central rallying point of your group is a grave mistake. Within the group, it does not seem that way, but that is really very blinkered: a great many folk out there think your shibboleth is a false god.

    Now, reiterating the point above, from the point of view of your group, that is quite unsettling. The smashing of the icon inevitably threatens group cohesion. And the moral supremacy of the group within philosophy is also on very shaky ground, if the rest of the field wakes up to the overreaching and decides to give the raspberry.

    So, regarding the pressures in question: both the internal cohesion of the group, and its external capacity to exercise power, are threatened. Neither of those is something anyone would abandon willingly; but I suspect each is something all see looming on the horizon. A pressureful situation, without a doubt.”

    1. Bravo. That was both eloquent and punchy. I hope the profession does decide to “give the raspberry” to these goons.

    2. Well-written and convincing. I’ve expressed admiration already for Wilson’s bravery in standing up to the literally hundreds of philosophers who try to shout down inquiry about Ludlow, and now I must express similar admiration for Hellie. These two are doing the right thing.

      1. Agreed. I’m very impressed by both of them. I don’t think I’d have the courage to go up against this mob even if I were professionally secure.

  15. I also admire Hellie’s unwillingness to be shamed out of his sensible position (re. Pogin’s oh so tactful display of virtue (moral and epistemic): “I am so utterly horrified by your willingness to publicly suggest — in her own social circle, as a senior member of her profession — that the allegations in question were false, when you have not even heard them from at least one of these women, except by way of third party testimony, and when others are telling you that you do not have the whole set of relevant facts at hand, that I can’t help but question whether or not reasonable discussion with you is even possible.” ) If only he met, and talked to at least one of the women…Perhaps they’re harbouring powerful evidence?

    1. +1
      It’s brave of Hellie to do this and well done to him, Wilson and Kipnis for telling the truth.
      Isn’t it normal for militants like Pogin, Lackey, Sobel, Schliesser and co to falsely accuse others, without consulting any evidence or contacting the person they are attacking?

      1. so utterly horrified… I can’t help but question whether or not reasonable discussion with you is even possible.

        That’s it, right there: the tone, the attitude. The one fundamental grotesque dialectical vice that has the moral majority in its clutches — they’ve been doing it so long they don’t even think about it — an ingrained disposition to respond to objections with a pantomime of ‘moral’ indignation and denigration of the objector. Notice how, even as she denounces her interlocutor as morally depraved, it doesn’t occur to her that anyone (least of all her interlocutor!) could possibly suspect that she’s being evasive — that she can’t argue the case on its merits. It’s one thing to ask someone to take it on trust that you’re arguing in good faith, but to do this while you’re kicking them in the teeth — that’s really something.

        1. Well said. It reminds me of the return of some sort of “priest class” that issues unassailable judgments and feels no need to provide arguments or evidence for any of it. Only they have the privileged information and access. Only they know the full story. If only you knew what they knew. But, sorry, they can’t share any such evidence, and they don’t have the time to write detailed replies. The important thing is you recognize they are right, and you even questioning them is a deeply troubling form of injustice.

          It’s all just so infuriating. I’m more than willing to grant that they very well may be correct about what happened, and the facts of the case, and whatever. But the way they conduct themselves — the absurd epistemology at work, the demonizing of anyone who wants to ask questions as a troll or not worthy of conversation, the utter partisanship and failure to call their friends out on any objectionable behavior — is very disheartening, exclusionary, and just anti-philosophical.

    2. Pogin just got into Yale Law. She is currently doing the “will I go or won’t I go?” dance. Probably just needs sufficient time for the appropriate amount of hand-wringing about going to an “elitist” and “historically racist” institution. And then she’ll become the Oprah of Title IX’s: “You get a Title IX complaint! And you! And you! Everybody gets a Title IX complaint!”

        1. oh FFS, not this again. Look, there’s really no need to make stuff up. There’s enough to deal with just focussing on what people actually *do* say.

          1. See, this is what I like about some metablog folks, and it’s a shame this conversation has to be conducted anonymously (lest people face career problems). Despite whatever other things Saul has said or done, some folks here are perfectly able to still charitably and reasonably interpret her work. There’s no need to engage in grotesque misreadings. When she says questionable things, one can dispassionately note so; and when doesn’t, one can note that too. And that just seems to be a different methodology from that employed by some others in the profession. For them, we first identify a speaker’s identity and political affiliation. And if the speaker meets the right criteria, then we meticulously construct a context where what they said is correct. But if the speaker doesn’t meet the criteria, then they are wrong, and we logic chop, nit pick, demonize, denigrate, and engage in a sort of meta discussion about why the speaker is even speaking, and how the speaker’s speaking is itself problematic (only tangentially ever engaging with the content of what was said).

            I used to tell my students that one of the things that was great about philosophy is that we are concerned with the argument, and not who makes it. A dumb or immoral person can make a good argument. To object to an argument, we object to a premise, or the logic of the argument, or both. What we don’t do is evaluate the speaker. Questioning motives, or noting hypocrisy, or retreating to some amorphous notion of “the broader context” is not by itself sufficient to undermine an argument. As an example, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to remind students that the fact that Singer doesn’t donate all his money to charity doesn’t show that his argument is wrong. But now, things seem to have drastically changed in the profession. Why bother engage with an actual argument when you can dismiss it with an appeal to the identity of the speaker, or some hand-wavy idea that by engaging with the argument at all, you are reaffirming a problematic dialectic, and, of course, may be offending some populations. Yes, young Earth creationist-minded students are sometimes offended when we go over how the arguments for their position are terrible. But I never for a minute took this to be a reason to stop doing so. Similarly, the fact that someone has a problem even hearing the name “Searle” doesn’t strike me as something that even rises to level of warranting a conversation about whether we should stop teaching his works.

            And the sad thing is, I only see things getting worse as those with this twisted sense of methodology come to hold more positions in the profession.

            1. Jennifer Saul has a *record* of going ahead and lying. And so do the others belonging to her group of activists. That is the point. You need to pay attention to what people *actually* *say*.

            2. +1. Let go of the article, other guy. There’s plenty of material for criticism that doesn’t depend on a forced misreading of what is, at worst, loose talk in an article. Your position is stronger if you quit beating this dead horse.

              1. And yet the prevalence of this “criticism” is zero. Or perhaps you can give an example of some “criticism”?

                1. Not sure I get your point. If there are better things to criticize Saul for, it doesn’t matter if no one is talking about them. And more to the present point, the fact that people are ignoring actual wrongs doesn’t make fixating on an invented one any less irrational.

            3. Why bother engage with an actual argument when you can dismiss it with an appeal to the identity of the speaker?

              Right? The expression ‘white dude’ is now used so contemptuously in academia that if it applied to any other group it would be universally acknowledged as a slur. And sure, ‘reverse racism’ is conceptually impossible, these complaints are all a bunch of MRA bullshit, whatever. But consider this:

              The most conspicuous aspect of the spectacle of white women in academia taking every opportunity to speak this way is how much people just love to denigrate people on the basis of their sex and/or ethnicity if they feel they can do so with impunity. Whether or not this counts as racism etc, it certainly manifests the deep-seated affective syndrome that brought us racism in the first place. You can see the thrill in the sneer: it’s not just acceptable, it’s positively an expression of solidarity with the oppressed!

              It also suggests that these white women are presupposing that the fact that they’re are women is so much more important than the fact that they’re white. You only get the occasional routine mea culpas about that latter fact. But 54% of white women voted for Trump. Four percent of black women did. Who do white academic feminists think they represent?

              1. Saul’s claim is: “when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie”

                The objection to Saul’s claim is this: a “felt need to deceive” doesn’t justify lying, or, for that matter, deception itself. A “felt need” to do P does not justify doing P. This ought to be obvious. It’s in a way instructive that someone might not even understand the difference between a “felt need” to do something and actually doing it. The claim itself is false. Rather, when faced with a “felt need to deceive”, one ought not to deceive. Only a crude behaviorist would think that a “felt need” to do something somehow normatively or rationally justifies doing it. It does not. Under no scheme of decision-making, including decision theory, does a “felt need” to do something justify doing it.

                That is the objection. You may dislike this objection, for some unspecified reason. But please do not change the subject to some personal issue that exists only inside your mind, because you can’t answer the objection. Saul makes a claim. That claim is criticized with the objection.

                1. Reply: there’s another interpretation of that statement which is not susceptible to that objection.

                  The other interpretation is suggested by this passage “If you have been convinced by my arguments, that choice is no longer an admirable one for you: you no longer think that you will thereby minimize wrongdoing.”

                  Are we done?

                  1. No. There is a claim and an objection. But let’s forget it, as you seem impervious to argument.

                    Which particular “actual wrongs” by Jennifer Saul do you have in mind, by the way?

                    1. You’re arguing with multiple people about this. I think this person’s reply is that your interpretation of that sentence is less plausible than other ways it might be interpreted, and which seem to be more in line with the rest of the content of Saul’s paper. The principle of charity recommends accepting the more plausible reading. And the objection you give does not work against that interpretation of the claim. So in addressing the interpretation of the claim they’ve rendered the objection moot.

                      Here’s a test we might run. Your reading of that sentence results in a really implausible claim, as you point out. If someone asked Saul if that reading is what she meant, what do you think she’d say?

                  2. Interested to hear about the “actual wrongs” by Jennifer Saul which are being ignored. Perhaps someone has something specific in mind?

                    1. I have only heard rumblings, probably on here, about bad conduct in interventions in sexual misconduct cases. But I’m not aware of specifics. The gendered conference campaign is her work, right? That’s pretty poor behavior, but also relatively mild these days.

                    2. There’s the blogpost on Saul’s “What is it like to be a woman in philosophy” blog in October 2013 where she published an article calling one of her colleagues a murderer and a sexual harasser. She made no effort to check the facts or contact the victim of her smear, which was intended to incite a mob. Saul’s blogpost was widely read on social media before she deleted it. Would that count? Or perhaps calling someone a “murderer” is a “charitable” way of describing someone?

                    3. Are you claiming that she called someone in particular – as in, by name – a murderer? Do you have any evidence of this?

                    4. Was this entire thing with the felt need line from the article a pretext for raising this blog post thing? For god’s sake, man. Just bring up the fucking blog post if that’s what you wanted to talk about. If she actually did what you describe, that’s bad enough to cut to the chase. What are the details, if you can raise them without making things worse for the maligned person?

      1. That is bad news for the world, and I mean that sincerely. These people are the last ones who deserve the kind of money or power that comes with that kind of training.

  16. Many philosophers I really respect are lining up in support of Jennifer Lackey and Sandy Goldberg and the Northwestern graduate student. I just looked at the list of people who’ve
    ‘liked’ Lackey’s Facebook post, for example, and it includes dozens of philosophers I hold in the highest moral and intellectual regard. And yet I can’t help but feeling that Ludlow is, in the words of John Collins, getting “the shaft”, and that a deep injustice may have happened when he was run out of the profession.

    Like most of you (and like almost all the philosopher’s who’ve ‘liked’ Jennifer’s post), I am not privy to all the relevant evidence. So I’m stuck between what that the available evidence (the lawsuits, the text messages, and the Kipnis book) supports, which is that Ludlow is innocent and the testimony of some people who I have reason to trust, which is that Ludlow is a charming liar and rapist. It sure would help if the latter group had something more to say than “Kipnis is the liar”, since every single scrap of evidence so far (beyond their say-so) points in the opposite direction.

    1. There’s detailed documented evidence, texts, emails, other items (a bill where Leydon-Hardy calls Ludlow her “boyfriend”), in the case of Peter Ludlow, some of it eyewitness evidence too. Against this, there is the mere word of two individuals, and some of that is internally contradictory.

      It is not a difficult case of testimony versus testimony or “he said versus she said”. It is a straightforward case of evidence versus testimony. In a normal court, the case against Ludlow would be thrown out in a few minutes, because the evidence is on his side and shows that his accusers were making false accusations.

      1. Anon 1:03, I am horrified – HORRIFIED – that you would even entertain the idea that such accusations are false. After all, you haven’t even met Laura Leydon-Hardy in person!!! That being said, I don’t think I can continue this conversation with you.

        The horror…. the horror…

        1. Yes, and this HORROR is widespread…

          It’s why Kipnis calls professional philosophers “psychological nincompoops”. Their knowledge of the world is limited to their secluded privileged lives and their ability to think critically, evaluate facts and evidence is close to nil. Philosophy is meant to be a profession interested in truth, evidence and justice. And yet, time after time, professional philosophers are contemptuous of truth, evidence and justice. Instead, they run with the herd.

    2. I’m afraid to read any more of that post. There’s one philosopher in particular who I think is absolutely first rate, but who is there engaging in depressingly poor motivated reasoning. What’s the point of honing our analytical skills if this is how some of the best of us reason when it actually matters?

    1. Until Jason Stanley comes forward with independently-verifiable data that is pertinent, your speculation is worthless.

    2. He knows a lot since he was right there with Ludlow for whatever Ludlow was doing for years and years. JS was (and probably is still) by far the creepier of the two. I can’t wait to see him get his, though I may have to wait until he’s Searle’s age to see it.

  17. Prediction, for all her tedious prevarication about it, Pogin will, without any doubt, go to Yale Law School. The probability of this is 1.

    1. Given how badly she reasons on the internet, I am quite surprised that she could make an LSAT score sufficient for acceptance at Yale.

  18. HH Lockwood: I’m a “self-styled carpetbagging rape activist with a propensity for inserting herself into sexual misconduct cases” (p. 70); a “shadowy figure darting around in the background” (p. 83); and one of two individuals “stirring the cauldron” (p. 160). Such purple language is propaganda — and gendered right-wing propaganda, at that.

    my sides

      1. Good grief. I had forgotten about many of these details. There was a long and damning reply from Garthoff on one of the blogs ripping Lockwood a new one over her twisted claims about him in this statement. How pathetic that she’s satisfied to dismiss criticism of her behavior as “gendered right-wing propaganda”.

        1. I forgot what Garthoff said about the “Edinburgh student”, who arrived at NU in 2010 looking for an older man. Isn’t this woman known for her man-chasing? Didn’t she also have a relationship with a professor (late 50s) Peter Milne in 2008 at Edinburgh?

  19. “look, you and your comrades set out on a cause you took to be righteous. In the course of it, the field was agitated into an angry mob against Ludlow. In consequence, Ludlow was driven out of his job, and out of philosophical society; lost his house and savings, and wound up with no source of income. Now, that is not a nice thing to happen. Thinking about it makes the heart ache. Of course, if it happens to a bad guy who deserves it, then instead of heartache, time to clink the champagne.” – Hellie

    “when someone resigns or is dismissed after sexual assault allegations, I am certainly not doing anything like clinking champagne” – Ichikawa

    “I recollect a post from the first week of March 2014, in which Ludlow’s being driven out of his classroom was characterized as ‘*awesome*’: this received 39 Likes — not from you, I highlight, but still from many members of your crowd — and a number of comments one might characterize as ‘bumptious’. That is just an example, of course, but it is an important one: this was very early in the discussion, and among a number of central players; in consequence, we there observe ideology coalescing into a mode that would, I think, reasonably be described as ‘aggressive’. (It is a nice question what a survey of the 20+ DN threads on the Ludlow affair would turn up: it is perhaps reasonable to predict that there is a fair bit of more of the same, not significantly counterbalanced by in-crowd attempts to apply the brakes.)” – Hellie


    Benj is just clearly right here, and putting things well. There was most definitely an atmosphere of victorious rejoicing across philosophical social media when news of Ludlow’s resignation came through, and there’s little use in denying that.

  20. Anyone who’s curious about what actually happened between Ludlow and Leydon-Hardy needs to read their correspondence. Leydon-Hardy says they were not in a dating relationship. This is extremely implausible if you’ve actually read the texts. Don’t believe? Read them for yourself.

    1. I wonder if any of the Northwestern cheerleaders who still say LLH wasn’t in a relationship with PL have actually read the correspondence. It would take a stunning capacity for self-deception to read this all and still take the party line. fergodssake, there are thousands of texts, they spent many nights together in his apartment and she keeps on saying that she loves him~! What more would it take to establish a relationship?

      Still: people in relationships can rape each other. Showing that LLH lied on this claim wouldn’t show that she lied about whether PL raped her. But it would undermine her credibility at least to some degree.

    2. The plain text version of the texts doesn’t have all the images. In the PDF version, you can see images they sent each other, including LLH saying, in her own handwriting, that PL is her ‘boyfriend’ and that this is ‘a big step, FYI’. Also LLH in a bathrobe at PL’s apartment.

  21. Thought experiment: A distinguished older female philosopher at a university is accused of sexual harassment and faces charges in a procedure. A male philosopher at a significant geographical distance from events and with no first-hand knowledge of them files unsolicited affidavits to the procedure. The male philosopher speculates about possible sexual promiscuity and illicit drug use in the past of the female philosopher, all of this based on rumors.
    What would be said about this male philosopher’s behavior?

        1. “Pick a different enemy” is sound advice, but mainly because Lockwood has achieved Clown status. I do think there are some across the aisle from Kipnis who have some credibility left, but she’s obviously not one.

          1. Of those “across the aisle from Kipnis”, only Lockwood and a few others have credibility. Lockwood is at least honest. And she is powerless and has no influence. She is being targeted by Ludlow’s supporters because she is an easy target.

            1. I’ve said a few skeptical things here or there about the case against Ludlow, but I don’t consider myself a “supporter”. He seems like a scumbag, tbh, even if not enough of a scumbag to deserve losing everything. Are there really Ludlow “supporters” out there? Like, people who think he’s a fine person who didn’t at least do a little something dubious with these students?

              1. That’s certainly my take, and, I would think, the take of reasonable people: he’s a bit of a degenerate, and yet the gleeful and quick reaction to drum him out of the profession (as Hellie points out and any number of facebook threads and DN threads shows) is discouraging.

        2. Honestly, more philosophers should be blowing lines and taking all manner of drugs. They can be such a dull bunch.

  22. Prediction: if LLH ever tries to get a job in philosophy, she is going to face an epic shitstorm and the eye of the storm will be here.

    1. This visceral desire for revenge against Lauren Leydon-Hardy or Heidi Lockwood is one thing that makes Ludlow’s supporters look rather less noble than they imagine, in their virtuous proclamations.

      1. Yes, because you should be able to ruin someone’s life by lying without facing any consequences. Maybe someday someone will do that to you. 🙂

      2. Do you have a cite for “visceral desire for revenge against Lauren Leydon-Hardy”? Not in Kipnis, not on this blog.
        Lockwood has worked hard for the copious ridicule she’s received. No “visceral revenge” mentioned by anyone.

    2. I think that’s just incorrect. Look at the string of important philosophers that are falling over themselves to congratulate and applaud any effort made by LLH, Pogin, and any other grad student involved in this way. They rub shoulders with tons of big name professors, and are invited to all sorts of professional and private functions. Their facebook walls are filled with comments from important philosophers about how great they are and the work they are doing. And so, they’ll do fine professional because they have all the right friends — and when they get some nice job, no doubt it will be prefaced by how bad the profession has been to them.

      I know the current thought is to point out the publication disparity between men and women and note the disparity, but this disparity won’t last for long. As more of these people get jobs without publications, they will be put on admission committees. and editorial boards, and select people and submissions they politically identify with. They just need a critical mass, and then, lo and behold, all the hot research projects are on all the things they write about, and if you’re aren’t writing about, say, intersectionality or epistemic injustice, then nevermind with you. It’s happened to other disciplines. But any public suggestion of this complaint will be met with some form of the rejoinder, “well, philosophy has been dominated by white males for 2500 years, so it’s okay if the scales are tipped the other way for [5, 10, 50, 2500] years.

          1. Maybe this has all affected Leydon-Hardy so badly she’ll never complete her PhD? Why the desire for some kind of revenge against her? She made a mistake: she falsely accused Ludlow. But I don’t see why either of them should be punished permanently for it.

            1. Oh, yes, I agree completely. People don’t always make the best decisions — no reason to punish them permanently for it. It’s more the profession’s reaction to the whole debacle that I find worrisome. Ideally, we would have this conversation without shitting all over any particular individual. But any time you try to, people scoff at these general characterizations of the profession and mock you for living in some fantasy land — witness Justin’s or Stanley’s reaction to any concern that there is a growing trend in some universities to suppress politically controversial speakers (that is, speakers who put forward less than fully progressive points).

            1. I don’t read “What is it like…”, but my understanding was that the stories there don’t mention any alleged perpetrators by name. If that’s right, the anonymous gossip about particular identifiable people is quite different.
              (“By name” is not precisely what I mean, since some other way of picking out a philosopher that would enable readers to identify her/him is just as bad.)

              1. Upthread someone mentions Saul did that on the “What is it like …” blog in October 2013 and then deleted it after it was widely read.

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