April Open Thread III


314 thoughts on “April Open Thread III

  1. Leiter removes the reference to Elizabeth Harman in Hellie’s fb post. Guess some families just too powerful to go against…

        1. Power networks. Ludlow’s network getting revenge, mainly on soft targets, powerless folks like Lauren Leydon-Hardy and Heidi Lockwood. When one of these takes on someone with power, that’ll be a first.

          1. What the hell are you talking about? Who has gotten revenge against LLH or Heidi Lockwood? Are you referring to people criticizing/mocking Lockwood and LLH’s behavior? That counts as revenge?

            1. Maybe wanting Lauren Leydon-Hardy not to get a job and suffer a ‘shitstorm’? She already has faced a shitstorm. Leydon-Hardy screwed up, probably because of fear. But it’s others who should take responsibility for mistreating Ludlow and for mistreating Leydon-Hardy.
              And Lockwood did what wrong? Nothing. She submitted a confidential affadavit in a legal case involving Yoona Ha, containing claims about Ludlow that others had reported. That’s how the law of witness statements works. But fuck the easy targets, right? Get that pound of flesh in. Lets not ruffle any feathers by criticizing any real powermongers? Which of Lockwood’s ‘rumors’ was false?

              1. People criticize Lockwood and LLH because they are among those who played the most prominent roles in bringing down Ludlow. Obviously, Joan Slavin bears a huge amount of blame as well – in fact, much more. I assume there has been less discussion of her wrongdoing since she is not a part of the philosophy world.

                What other ‘powermongers’ are being ignored? Harman? What has she done other than, like dozens of prominent philosophers, quietly supported efforts to remove Ludlow? You think that’s on par with Lockwood’s officious libel against him?

                  1. Ok, bro. At the very least she filed a legal affadavit, published online, full of libelous rumors, which served to whip up anti-Ludlow fervor on campus and online. Harman clicked ‘like’ on a Facebook post. Obviously the latter is who we should be more concerned with.

                    1. The affadavit appeared in 2015, a year after the shitstorm happened to Ludlow in February 2014, a shitstorm whipped up by others, not by her. And it had no effect at all. So the claims above are not true. Lockwood thought it was confidential. How are the rumors ‘libelous’? Ludlow serially dated students.

                    2. It said a lot more than that and you know it.

                      I’m not saying that Lockwood deserves ’revenge.’ I’m saying that it is understandable why she should be a target of criticism given that she’s one of fewer than 10 people who became prominently involved in taking down Ludlow. And besides, the only criticism of her that came up recently, as far as I can see, concerned her rather unhinged responses to Kipnis in the FB thread.

                    3. But Lockwood wasn’t involved in “taking down” Ludlow. She played no role at all.
                      The people who took Ludlow down were the students, his colleagues, campus activists at NU and the administration.

      1. Not really. I mean, he was an NYU law student, she was an assistant prof at NYU philosophy.

        (Not that it’s relevant; just thought I’d try to help keep the record straight.)

        1. Elizabeth Harman has relationship with student. Then Harman complains about Ludlow having relationships with students. Got it. With this level of hypocrisy, no wonder the philosophy profession is so deeply fucked.

          1. I just explained the relevant respect in which the relationships are different. So that’s not hypocrisy. That’s like saying I’m a hypocrite because I complain about priests undressing children, even though I myself have undressed my children at bath time.
            When did Liz Harman complain about Ludlow (merely) having relationships with students?

                    1. Well, they were students in the school at which he was a professor.

                      But as a matter of fact,yes, I’m sure quite a few people did have smearing Ludlow and men in philosophy as their point. Much as you obviously have smearing women in philosophy as yours.

                      By the way, you forgot to tell us where Harman complained about Ludlow having relationships with students. I’m sure you’ll remedy that lapse of memory soon.

  2. Mr Rogers: ‘It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood’.

    Snow White: ‘Magic mirror on the wall…’

    Aqua: ‘I’m a barbie girl, in the barbie world’.

    Dirty Hairy: ‘You need to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?’


    Straight down the memory hole, and there’s nothing to see here folks…

  3. Round and round we go. I admire Hellie for the way he’s stood up against the pack in recent FB discussion. Wilson too for that matter. Certainly more than identifiable people who have joined in with the “likes” against Ludlow but were happy to back up Ketland as “a personal friend”. But the basic problem is that Ludlow and Ketland broke the two rules:

    1. don’t fuck the students.
    2. If you break rule #1, don’t come whining when it all explodes in your face.

    Simple really. Getting involved with students is massively imprudent and unprofessional. Sometimes. everyone lives happily ever after and get to show their smiling progeny on Facebook (or whatever). But often not, and if not, don’t be surprised.

    1. Where is the rule from “yesterday” that says if you have consensual sex with a student you must lose your career and become permanently unemployed?

      1. No rule that you must. But if you do, and things spin out of control, don’t go complaining about it. You engaged in something with known risks, and it turned out badly.

      1. No. It really isn’t the point, but Ketland himself says here (Feb), “there was a brief affair”.

        1. Coursier sexually assaulted him, stalked him, stalked his wife and followed him to Oxford, as she was obsessed with him. In Oxford, Coursier’s boyfriend Fardell impregnated her and persuaded her to have an abortion (she felt she had “murdered her child”), but eventually dumped her, ignored her suicide threats and she committed suicide.
          After that, Ketland was framed and witch hunted by Berndtson and Boddington. He and his family were driven out of town and Shields had him fired. Four months later, he was reinstated, when it became clear the witch hunt was based on lies.

          Simple. Keep digging a hole, mate. It makes you look extremely vindictive and stupid.

            1. The point is that Ketland suffered an extreme injustice: a victim of sexual assault and stalking was witch hunted out of his home and his job. Lockwood, who later informed others that he was entirely innocent is not a “personal friend”. He has never met her. She contacted him and defended him after reading the evidence because she, like many others, smelt a rat when reading the fabricated Daily Mail story.

              Is witch hunting victims of sexual assault out of their jobs going to be a new APA rule?

                1. I think we’ve established that Ludlow’s supporters want Leydon-Hardy to face a “shitstorm” if she ever applies for a job.

                  1. This doesn’t seem right. I’m not even sure there are Ludlow “supporters”, just people who think he shouldn’t have been run out of the profession like that.

                    1. Ludlow himself has been active on this forum; how else did the text messages leak? So yes, there is at least one Ludlow supporter around here.

                    2. To the person who keeps bringing up the ‘shitstorm’ comment: please fuck off. That was one comment and it clearly doesn’t express any wish one way or the other — it merely makes a prediction.

                    3. Prediction: Kim Jong Un is going to continue to develop a nuclear program.

                      I guess by your logic, I want that to happen. Man, I sure do hate those weather people who are always predicting rain! Like, wtf dude? Why do you want rain to happen so much.


                    1. “April Thread II, April 17 2017: 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.”

                    2. Well, it’s clear that 9:59pm is Ketland, since he talks about info, such as the fact that Lockewood isn’t a personal friend, that only Ketland or someone deeply interested in his case would know. Since no one but Ketland is deeply interested in this case of lunatics run amok in the UK, especially when there are more interesting cases with far more prominent philosophers in the news, the poster must be Ketland. Not to mention all the telltale signs from his previous postings are all there: unhinged ranting, refusal to acknowledge that he already acknowledged that he had an affair with a student, the focus on stalking and so on when no one was talking about it, the nonesense responses of “WHY DO YOU HATE VICTIMS OF ASSUALT??”, all of which are classic Ketland. This same poster also brings up how Lockewood tried to assist Ketland after there were posts defending Lockewood as irrelevant to Ludlows exile. Those earlier posts also display a disconnect from reality strikingly similar to the classic Ketland posts. Hence, it’s all Ketland (and the voices in his head).

                    3. Is Lauren Leydon-Hardy going to face an “epic shitstorm” from you if she “tries to get a job in philosophy”?

                    4. I am the author of the “shitstorm” comment yesterday. It was supposed to be a mere description of what would likely happen — a prediction — not an expression of approval. I do not approve of shitstorms reigning down shit on people who (even falsely) make allegations of sexual misconduct.

                  2. Please fuck off. You found one comment on the last thread that made a prediction that she would face a shitstorm. That is not the same as wishing that she faces a shitstorm. You’re making a fool of yourself. Drop it.

                    1. I wish a shitstorm on anyone who makes a malicious and false accusation of misconduct. Don’t you?

                    2. Right.
                      To the author of the “shitstorm” comment: yes, it was obvious at the time that you were predicting and not prescribing. Someone (maybe more than one) kept referring to it as “wishing” that she face a shitstorm, either out of stupidity or in a malicious attempt to replace the actual facts with the twisted version.

                      I agree at this point that person (or persons) is just looking like a fool, so, mission accomplished.

                  3. Well, Leyton-Hardy and her power-hungry femphil friends clearly are a danger to any department. They will use false accusations when it suits them. Who would want such a snake in their department? We need a list of these people so we never hire them.

          1. >Coursier sexually assaulted him

            How, exactly? I’ve seen Ketland repeatedly insist upon this without having any idea what he actually means by it.

            1. People who have seen Ketland’s documents have seen the description of it and the eyewitness’s account too. At his flatmate’s apartment in Edinburgh in 2010, Coursier pinned him down and tried to force him to have sex. He told her to leave. Ketland’s flatmate was outside and heard this happening. Coursier’s shouting led to the police being called. Ketland played it down but the police gave him a note of the incident and told him to contact Victim Support if he wanted more help. Ketland kept the note. Coursier was sent home. Ketland’s flatmate banned Coursier from visiting. The flatmate also recorded it his diary at the time, November 2010. The incident is briefly mentioned in The Sunday Times article in 2014 when Ketland was reinstated.

    1. Sure about that? It was later, in Oxford. The two moved in together for a time. Please get the basic facts right…

      1. You’re a lying shithead. The only thing that happened in Oxford was that Coursier stalked Ketland and his wife.

          1. Presumably, it is the plural word “students”, containing the letter “s”, which is at issue. Perhaps you can say where your “reading comprehension” showed you there was more than one? Any evidence?

          2. I wonder why “Anon”/”Are you sure you’re sure?” is making things up. There’s no evidence for the bizarre claim.

  4. Thanks to the Kipnis book, Jennifer Lackey’s Facebook post, and Leiter’s recent link to that post, there is renewed interest in the Peter Ludlow case. Readers will be especially interested in whether Lauren Leydon-Hardy was actually in a relationship with Ludlow (as Kipnis maintains and as she denied). Here is the relevant evidence: in PDF and in plain text. Decide for yourself.

  5. Has Lackey halted comments on the Facebook thread? That’s unfortunate, since it was one of the only public places where people can discuss the Ludlow case. Amber Carlson, at any rate, says this:

    “John Collins I specialize in the epistemology of rape testimony, and so I’ll add to Kathryn’s list above: your comments also overlook a variety of reasons it is epistemically (and ethically) irresponsible to take the side of the alleged perpetrator or even to remain neutral when rape is reported (at least in many cases–but including, I would say, this one).”

    This is an interesting claim. Does anyone here know what work in the epistemology of rape testimony is Carlson thinking of? Is this just standard epistemic/testimonial injustice, or is there a more specialized literature on ‘the epistemology of rape testimony’?

    1. “John Collins I specialize in the epistemology of rape testimony….”

      That comment was a joke wasn’t it? There aren’t really specialists in this are there? What department or institution provides training in that field? This was either a joke or a very odd self-proclamation of expertise.

      1. It is a very odd proclamation indeed. Unfortunate that Lackey closed down discussion before it could be probed and shown to be a joke.

    2. “the epistemology of rape testimony” = why all men accused of rape must be rapists. Journals should stop accepting this propaganda as philosophy, but they won’t, because they fear being accused of sexism.

  6. Benj Hellie is on a total fucking roll:

    The moment seems right for me to make a little speech on behalf of ‘peace, love, and understanding’ — so here goes.

    Since Sunday morning, I have received (independently, and without solicitation) PMs from philosophers at a wide range of career stages, attesting the feelings of at least half a dozen members of the field; Jess has received still more. These are all people whom I hold at a very high level of esteem: excellent, crisp philosophers from whom I have learned a great deal. None of them are ‘political’ types: instead, they busy themselves in regard to philosophical matters doing fantastic work, to all of our collective benefit. Each communication offered warm appreciation for my and Jess’s social media activities in recent days, for which we are humbly grateful.

    But a darker current pervaded the various communications. In each case, the writer wished they could offer public support for our activities, but did not do so, out of *fear*.

    Let that sink in, please: an atmosphere of *fear* pervades the internal political conversation in the field of philosophy.

    The intensity of this fear is high enough that level-headed, responsible, first-rate performers at a wide range of career stages felt unable to perform such an anodyne gesture as ‘Liking’ some remark Jess or I makes on a comment thread. In consequence of this fear, each of my communicants expressed *guilt* at their sense of inability to publicly express support; and felt moved, for this reason, to apologize for not doing so.

    Look: I don’t want anyone to feel they should apologize to me for any of this. By this I mean two things.

    To you folks who wrote in: collectively, your philosophy has for a long time been a big part of what keeps me going. You have my highest appreciation for this. Please don’t feel guilty about these second-order matters.

    And to everyone else: looking at things objectively, isn’t it unfortunate for the field to be in a position where folks A are channeled into a situation where they feel guilt in regard to folks B, even though folks A have not acted in any way maliciously toward folks B?

    But the root of this — to circle back — is the arrival on the scene of *fear* as a significant emotion driving our interactions in the field. I don’t think I am going out on a limb here if I announce that this is a pretty bad development. I bet that this is not how *anyone* wanted things to turn out.

    I am not going to get into specifics, or point fingers, or any of that — everyone who has read this far has a good enough idea what I am talking about, and anyway that would be counterproductive in regard to my message of peace — but I do want everyone to recognize that over the last decade, we have collectively created a climate of fear; and I want everyone to reflect on how very sad and unwelcome that is.

    Please don’t take me to be suggesting that various well-known events, movements, reconceptualizations, or redistributions of power should not be regarded as progress; or that the way of ten years ago was some golden age which needs to be restored; or that so-and-so (myself included) is a saint, or a ‘miscreant’; or that this team or individual does or doesn’t need to apologize to that team or individual. I am not saying any of that.

    What I am saying is that many seem to have come to experience the collective emotion of philosophy as exhibiting strongly negative aspects; that we should all be alarmed at this; and that each of us (again, myself included) should reflect on how they and/or their friends may have contributed, and then take steps to dial it back.

    1. Wow.
      And Leiter will post it tomorrow (according to the comments).

      My own sense of the profession (gleaned partly in Seattle) is that Benj and Jess are getting huge respect for what they’re doing. I know some people think they are going to pay a price, but it doesn’t seem like that to me.
      It’s interesting how different my experience of the profession is from some other people’s.

      1. Of course they’re getting respect from the profession at large, because the profession at large is closer to us metabros than to the loons on DN and FP. The important thing is to smile in front of the loons and their admin allies, and then never hire their disruptive activist students. We need to save analytic philosophy from becoming just like another politics-driven humanities discipline.

    2. Keith DeRose’s reply is right on the money: those without evidence should quit it with the weighing in. Good advice for everyone who is not either Yoona Ha, Lauren Leydon-Hardy, or Peter Ludlow.

      1. This is what DeRose says, for those who don’t like wading into the swamp of Facebook:

        “I don’t know how many people are in roughly the same boat as me, but when Jessica posted that your comment was on Brian’s blog, I decided not to “like” it, I guess out of fear, but not fear of trouble for myself (though, I suppose that could be somewhere in my soul, as well, hiding from my introspective gaze), but fear of weighing in on the wrong side of things. I also haven’t been liking posts and comments on the other side for the same reason. I just haven’t been able to judge what some of the key basic facts of the case are (just what happened), and folks whose judgment I respect, and who are much better positioned than me wrt these facts, seem to be on both sides of a split on what those facts are.”

        This is sensible.

        1. Hey, it *is* sensible. Huh.
          And, thanks: I’m one of those who won’t wade into the swamp so I appreciate the synoptic posts here.

        2. Keith DeRose was busy writing his 28th article for Nous while we were delving in the private correspondence of Ludlow and his girls.

        3. It is not sensible. It is a deliberate evasion of the context of which he is perfectly well aware: one in which feminist bigots have been willing to attempt to destroy the lives of anyone who contradicts them whilst insisting that women may not be held responsible for their own behavior.

  7. I’m afraid of conservative philosophers…

    …because they’re fucking crybaby morons who’ll stop at nothing to publicly tar and feather anyone to their left.

    1. Which conservative philosophers are you talking about? The ones I know are loony but pleasant. If this is about the cranks at Rightly Considered, I don’t take them as representative.

    2. I think this is supposed to be satire. Conservative philosophers are a tiny minority, so that would mean that they would stop at nothing to tar and feather almost all their colleagues, which doesn’t make sense.

      1. No, I was serious.

        It’s conservatives who doxx others, who get all up in arms because someone dared to warn their students about difficult content, who get angry because women and feminism are cancer, who insist on toting guns everywhere, who are impervious to evidence when it comes to climate change, gun violence, and “racial IQ”, who think free speech means nobody should disagree with them or hold them responsible for their words, etc.

        They’re the loudest and angriest and most unstable whiners around, and they clearly don’t mind fucking over anyone who isn’t like them. So I’m scared to speak against them publicly, because they’ve made it clear there will be unpleasant repercussions.

        1. Well, this is an obviously false empirical claim. Consider how angry, loud and generally obnoxious liberal student protestors have been in recent years. I can only assume you are trolling, or just that stupid…

          (Before you wrongly take this as support for Conservatives, allow me to make it clear that I consider both sides to be a complete mess in terms of how they engage with dissenters.)

            1. Well, if you’re 2:56, then all you’ve done is establish that conservatives too are simply exercising their free speech. (This isn’t even good trolling!)

        2. Well, hang in there, my guy. Maybe some day there will be sufficient representation of leftist thought on college campuses that people can feel free to express leftist ideas without fear of repurcussions. Maybe someday people will even be able to pursue advanced degrees in areas like gender studies, or critical race studies. But until that day comes, and as long as us leftists must suffer, isolated on college campuses filled to the brim with fervent, Trump-supporting ideologues, stay strong.

        3. It is left wingers who are most impervious to evidence on social/political issues. They have the power to shout down anybody who presents an opposing view, so that everyone is too intimidated to say anything. Look at the guns per capita in Wyoming, Idaho. Very high. Very low murder rates. If you look at the states as a whole there’s basically no correlation between murder rate and rate of gun ownership.

  8. If there aren’t many conservatives in academia (false, but let’s grant it for the sake of argument), isn’t that just the result of choices and market forces, and thus not a problem for them? The only ones for whom it’s a problem are the losers and bozos who weren’t good enough to do better for themselves.

    1. Not false 6:38, and absolutely not false in the Humanities. To give just one example, 183 Democrats to 6 Republicans at Berkeley and Standford according a study by Klein. Perhaps you think Democrats are still conservatives (I grudgingly supported Sanders though I am to the left of him). But I would think this is still strong evidence those faculties are less conservative than a hypothetical case where the ratios were reversed. Also, perhaps Academia is not governed by market forces, but assuming it is and the result is an intellectual monoculture, then this is a problem for everybody not just conservatives. No?

  9. Great new post by Leiter quoting Hellie, and adding this much needed comment:

    “it is disgraceful what cowards most tenured academics are. I’ve learned this the hard way–my e-mail folders are full of hundreds of e-mails of the form, “I quite agree with you, but” don’t quote me, don’t mention my name, etc. Grown a spine, people! Say what you think! If you have tenure, you really have no excuse. The “herd opinion” on any issue is never quite what you think it is, as Benj and Jess’s recent experience shows.”

    With any luck the fightback starts now. Take back philosophy.

    1. Interesting that at the bottom BL added that the Quiet Ones that Benj seems to have real sympathy for are just “cowards”. I mean, there’s something to be said for both sides on that question, but it would be *very* nice if that were the main question, rather than whether anyone was going to speak out at all.
      I can definitely see others with roughly the position/credentials of Hellie and Wilson weighing in, maybe not on this particular issue (Hellie and Wilson have a special interest, as I understand it) but on similar ones. And, Daily Snooze has just whiffed on the whole issue.
      Very interesting developments, and I agree they are hopeful ones.

      1. One amusing aspect of the Facebook conversation is that none of the “New Consensus” protagonists (Lackey, Pogin, Sobel, Lockwood, etc) show the slightest awareness that filing Title IX complaints against Kipnis, and then the head of the Northwestern Faculty Senate and the President of Northwestern (these latter subsequently withdrawn) may not have been clever tactics. Max Weber famously commented that “politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards.” For the New Consensus, politics is whatever makes you feel virtuous about yourself and your team.

        1. It’s even worse than that. They think that it’s only because of problems with the implementation and enforcement of Title IX that the frivolous complaints did not result in discipline against Kipnis and the others at Northwestern.

      1. For the kind of people who care about “philosophy of early motherhood,” well, I’d say usually an abortion is what comes before…

      2. There are three schools of thot.
        1: motherhood all the way down
        2. first motha
        3. somehow a circular causal structure

        There are also some exotic philosophies invoking a father but nobody takes that seriously.

  10. (I’d reply on facebook, but, well…)

    In the comments to Benj Hellie’s “atmosphere of fear” post, Tamler Sommers writes:

    “Part of the problem though is that too many people think “fear” – with very little basis – is an excuse not to express their convictions. This is true on both sides. What do they think will happen to them? A scathing post on facebook or some blog? Maybe, but that’s life. Getting turned down for a job? That’s paranoid (or at least there’s no evidence that it isn’t.) ”

    Sorry, but there’s nontrivial evidence that it’s not paranoid. By now, it shouldn’t need to be said that every job opening in philosophy is so glutted with really well-qualified applicants that hiring departments have a huge incentive, if not a necessity, to put substantial weight on factors that allow them to compare and/or reject applicants without carefully reading their dossiers. There’s no evidence that saying something objectionable or unpopular on social media couldn’t be such a factor for some hiring committees; as someone who’s been and will be on the market, it seems only reasonable to be cautious here. Honestly, the comment seems to betray such an insensitivity to the perversity of the current market that I can’t resist complaining about it, even though given the venue it feels more like shouting into the void.

    (Note that there MAY also be evidence that a strong social media presence among certain cliques is an advantage on the market. I for one am skeptical of this, but I could see how someone might interpret the data differently.)

    1. “What do they think will happen to them? A scathing post on facebook or some blog? Maybe, but that’s life.” Well, that’s not all, even if you’re tenured. Here are some other unpleasant possibilities: (1) a Title IX complaint about yourself; (2) suspicion among your colleagues that you’re one of “them”; (3) suspicion among your grad students and even undergrads that you’re one of “them”. Item (1) is obviously very bad. Item (2) is also quite bad: you often have to live with most of your colleagues the rest of your life. Frankly, maintaining good relations at work sometimes calls for discretion about your views. (3) Once you’re suspect among grad students, innocent stuff you do gets reinterpreted. So let’s say that tenured Professor Z defends Ludlow on Facebook, or even suggests that the facts are not all in. Suddenly, there’s a whisper campaign against Z. If Z eyes are inadvertently pointing in the direction of a over-imaginative grad student, suddenly Z is suspected of ogling. (Cf Colorado.) After all, Z defended Ludlow so Z must, y’know, be into grad students as sexual partners. Etc. Ugh.

      1. Agreed that it’s dangerous, but we must quietly make it dangerous for the new consensus crowd too: stop hiring them and their students, stop inviting them, etc.

  11. I’m one of Leiter’s cowards: tenured, good job, etc. and sympathetic to the view that Title IX overreach and incompetence is a very serious problem. Here’s my worry about speaking up: A mis-stated blog comment or email can easily lead to a lawsuit threat from an over-litigious colleague. It’s happened before! Even if the threat eventually and predictably fizzles and dies, who needs the headache?

      1. Earlier, I wrote, “A mis-stated blog comment or email can easily lead to a lawsuit threat from an over-litigious colleague. It’s happened before!”

        And anonymous asked, “wait, your colleague threatens lawsuits over emails and blog comments??”

        To clarify, I consider anyone in the philosophical profession to be a colleague, including Brian Leiter and Carrie Jenkins. So, yes, one colleague of ours threatened another over a blog post. And, frankly, I can imagine other colleagues of ours doing the same.

        1. Then yes, ‘Coward’ is a good handle for you. Don’t slander or libel someone and you won’t have a problem. That’s substantially different from a “mis-stated blog comment.”

          1. It would be great if someone could just identify the portion of Carrie’s blog that’s libelous towards Brian (or anyone else).

  12. Is the idea that a professor can go drinking with an underage student and tell her to sleep in his bed, and there should be no worry about consequences? Yes? No?
    If yes (which I gather from the Kipnis book is what friends of the professor think), people in industry are fired for far more minor things (inappropriate texts to an underling got someone with a very big title fired recently, no questions asked and he had no complaints on going), and that was a matter of texts to an adult, in an industry (F&B) notoriously tolerant of all sorts of abuse.
    I’m just having trouble understanding why professors want more freedom than the rest of us. Is there a reason? Has anyone written on this?

    1. I don’t think the sane ones do. There are some losers who can’t get anyone other than someone they impress by dint of their position to sleep with them – they may want the freedom to date undergraduates. But fuck those people. Most of us in the profession, I think, want both (a) students, especially undergraduates, to be protected from sleazy professors, and (b) everyone (students and professors) to have access to fair procedures for resolving issues, disciplining cases of harassment (which can go in either direction, of course) and so on.

        1. Liz Harman is someone who had the sheer chutzpah of getting tenure in her dad’s top department on a very thin publication record. That’s disgusting nepotism, and it’s especially galling that she then goes on and plays the part of the oppressed woman. However the whole student thing is a trumped up accusation.

      1. Thanks. Kipnis, I noticed, didn’t seem to have the slightest idea of how HR works generally, if an issue like this were brought to it. I realize Title IX is lengthy and costly, but it seems to me that’s due to this idea I’m asking about: that professors deserve to get away with a lot more than anyone in industry would.

        1. You have one example from a “notoriously tolerant field.” You might Consider as well all the examples make that field notoriously tolerant before proclaiming that professors think they deserve to get away with more than “any one in industry.” Still, I’m interested in the example. Could you provide the name and some public account(s) of what happened?

          1. This is easy enough to do. Check out this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/sex-between-superiors-and-subordinates-what-are-the-rules/239141/

            “Higher standards may apply when the superior is the head of the organization rather than a mid-level leader. Invariably, there will be an independent inquiry after credible allegations or information about superior-subordinate sex. If coercion or favoritism are found, then the head of the organization is usually terminated. In the United States corporate world, even consensual sex by a married man with a subordinate is often viewed as inconsistent with a leader’s obligation to set an example of integrity for the company, especially when accompanied by embarrassing emails. Termination often, though not always, follows. This is due, in part, to the appearance in the organization that coercion or favoritism did exist. (If peers in the same unit begin a romantic relationship, a customary response is to assign one of them to a different part of the organization.)”

              1. That stephen viscusi article is a guy promoting a book on “How to Bulletproof Your Job” that says you shouldn’t do it because it ends badly. That’s probably good advice, but I don’t see that it tells us anything about how tolerate various industries are of sleeping with subordinates. That same article cites a survey saying that 40% of American’s have had sex with someone from work. That says nothing about the kind of behavior at issue here, where there was allegedly no sex, but also a large age/power differential, but it certainly doesn’t show that such behavior results in firing as a matter of course.

                The Atlantic article is noting that different companies have different standards and that higher standards may apply. In that very article the it notes that the IMF’s rules are very different from the standards used by Boeing, which lead to opposite results in similar cases. None of this covers how often in fact these rules are enforced.

                I think this is interesting, but I’m worried it’s not worth pursuing. The poster seems to have concluded that philosophers are all insular idiots because of one comment by someone in the thread. I’ve worked both in and out of academia, I don’t think that the problems with sexual harassment are any worse in the one domain than the other. I admit that I might be wrong, but I’m not all that moved by a single anonymous story of an executive who got fired for sexting and isn’t even mad about it.

                For what little it’s worth, I see someone admits that the case in finance would likely be confidential, but justifies this difference in treatment because academics go on to teach other students, who need fair warning. However, the managers also go on to manage other employees, and don’t those employees need fair warning too? It’s not like harassment is uniquely miserable for students. So what justifies the differing treatment? Why do folks in the hard-knock real world deserve this different treatment? I personally am not all that interested in Ludlow’s firing, nor am I surprised he was fired. But I reject the claim that the aspects of his case beyond HR fires someone (perhaps after arbitration) are business as usual, especially in finance and other industries that make extensive use of confidential arbitration.

                1. Yeah, the Viscusi article doesn’t in any way support the idea that “hat professors deserve to get away with a lot more than anyone in industry would.”
                  I think Missing It was just trolling.

    2. He thought she wasn’t underage. Sure, it’s somewhat reasonable to hold him to account for that mistake, but the consequences were far out of proportion.
      I do think professors should have the freedom to date grad students, as long as they aren’t doing it while they are in a supervisory relationship with the student. Sure, it can sometimes cause problems, but all relationships can sometimes cause problems.

      1. In another profession you’d get fired immediately for what he’d admitted to (even if she “looked like a senior”.) But for philosophy professors what is reasonable? And why so much less?

        1. Can you give a reference or something to show that you’d get fired immediately?
          I know of a journalist who did approximately the same thing and there were no consequences whatsoever. (He works for a newspaper.) I mean, other than he got a reputation for being sleazy.

          My own view is that what is reasonable is: freedom. Adults ought to be free to fraternize as they wish. When one is under the supervision of another, we can raise difficult questions of whether it’s free; but if not, the proper penalty for doing something sleazy is for other people to think you’re sleazy.

          1. And the proper penalty for doing something slutty is people thinking you’re slutty. Doing something slutty (like throwing yourself at your professor) is not something for which the professor is responsible. Making false accusations against your professor when he turns down your slutty offer should be punished by expulsion.

          2. Frankly I don’t know how reporters are managed. But she’d have to have waged a complaint with the paper/ and they met at a paper event for it to be a comparable situation.

            But if F&B isn’t an example of an industry that doesn’t play by standard corporate rules, I don’t know what it is. The F&B story is about an acquaintance. He was not working for a corporation, either, and his job was also at the “executive pay” level. Being fired for inappropriate texts to a colleague is so standard there no one was surprised and he is not even complaining. He knew you can’t get away with that kind of thing in (even) F& B anymore.

            Do your own asking around: an underage girl gets her drinks from you, met you at a work-sponsored event, ends up in your bed, complains to company. What would be the HR policy on that? And yes, I’ll ask the people I’ve asked for some kind of evidence. Pick an industry and we could search for some news stories about sudden departures.

            What struck me is that Kipnis interviewed a feminist philosopher who does not think taking an undergrad “to bed” is sleazy or anything like that at all. She sung the guy’s praises. So again, philosophers going by standards completely unlike those the rest of us use.

            1. Here’s the thing: in industry there are no 18 year-olds. We get a bit more latitude because we have to put up with annoying teenagers.

            2. Hm. From one philosopher who doesn’t think it’s sleazy to take an undergrad “to bed”, you are apparently concluding that philosophers don’t think it’s sleazy to take an undergrad “to bed”. That is really, really bad reasoning.
              I’m now suspicious of the other general claims you’ve made. Until you provide a reference to show that a man who goes to a bar with a 19 year old woman is automatically fired in every other industry on earth, I think you’re kind of making it up.

            3. Fwiw, I think the wrongness most people see in the Ludlow case isn’t the firing but the Title IX and discipline induced public shaming that followed. I suspect your friend’s case wasn’t made public, otherwise you’d have links and a name. Ludlow wasn’t just fired, but effectively pushed out of the industry. Can your friend no longer work in finance?

      2. “I do think professors should have the freedom to date grad students, as long as they aren’t doing it while they are in a supervisory relationship with the student.” — get real, any senior faculty in a philosophy department is effectively in a “supervisory relationship” with every grad student in the department.

          1. I didn’t mean to dispute that (although I’m not sure it’s true — I suspect it depends on the department).
            But some commenters here seem to think it’s the same sort of breech even when the student isn’t in the prof’s department.

    3. Totally agree with 6:54. I don’t think Ludlow raped anybody but his behavior was ridiculous and it’s not surprising he got fired. A 50-something corporate executive trying to bang the teenage interns all the time would eventually get themselves in trouble, and this case is worse — students are analogous not to interns but to the children of the customers of the company. Parents don’t pay $50K a year or whatever to Northwestern so their daughters can get hit on and taken out to bars by their intro philosophy professors. As for carrying on romantic relationships with his grad students, can people really not see how this behavior contributes to the incestuous mess that philosophy has become? Sure, sometimes affairs work out, but systematically using your professional status to go after grad students in your own department is severely disruptive to the entire culture of philosophy and should stop.

      It would be a shame if Ludlow became the cause used to try to save philosophy from the clutches of the SJWs, because he’s not a good case at all.

      1. I think the reasonable view is that he should not have been having a romantic relationship with a grad student in his department, but that he shouldn’t have been fired for doing it.
        The undergrad is a different story, but the facts of that one are at issue; Kipnis’ reasonable point is that Ludlow was not afforded due process, and to me that’s more worrisome than Ludlow’s dating a grad student.
        Anyway, it’s not sticking up for Ludlow that’s important in this case. It’s sticking up for due process.

        1. Yes due process for a court room, when you risk losing your liberty you get due process. Universities have to be run like courts now? But not other industries? Why?

          When you raise liability issues for your institution, that is typically handled by HR, which might check for the veracity of someone’s report (and do that well, fairly even) but sure as hell won’t let you cross-examine the victim (or whatever you want, and when the relevant facts are not disputed). And they would drop anyone who legitimately raises issues like these like a hot potato. It’s true that the case would likely be kept confidential, but since you work with students, you run into the problem of the rest of us wanting fair warning.

          I might be repeating myself, but it is kind of *amazing* how little awareness of other industries is on display in the the comment a bit above this one, where someone suggests it is not even plausible that you’d get fired for… taking an underage intern out and buying her drinks and she complains later she wanted to go home and you didn’t let her and molested her. That is so wildly naive, so uniformed, so true to stereotypes about philosophers knowing nothing/ no one in the real world that I’m now fully uninterested. That is why people say what they do about academia, that philosophers know nothing about how the real world works. To get what is simply standard practice so backwards that you suggest with all kinds of arrogance that it doesn’t exist- it’s like a right wing state senator’s fantasy come true, philosophers: arrogant despite being demonstrably clueless (or is that flat wrong). I see their point now: who wants kids learning from such dipshits?

          (And my apologies for the “poor reasoning” if this isn’t a site full of philosophers saying another one was not treated fairly because he needs special consideration after doing things the rest of us cannot, regardless of the philosopher in the book who cries over and loves the man who takes out underage students for sleepovers, I still got to “philosophers” holding this view. In fact, I think I will stick with that way of putting it.)

          1. You speak as though Ludlow’s treatment under title ix, and the title ix complaint filed against Kipnis, was just an internal hr decision of Northwestern due to concerns of liability. That ignores the role of the federal government, and activists in academia, who are pushing to lower the standards for being found a liability while raising the costs.

          2. Missing It, I completely share your sentiments. In fact, I think that philosophers often demand special treatment across the board, not just in the domain of fraternization policies. The extraordinary and rampant unprofessionalism in the field is mind blowing. I can’t believe the number of academics who cannot even handle their email in a professional manner, despite the fact that most of working America has figured out the basics of this.

            For what it’s worth, a lot of people often make the claim, based on their anecdotal evidence, that harassment is just as bad outside of professional philosophy as within it. Based on my anecdotal evidence, that’s not right. It’s worse here. But who can say who is right without a genuine study.

            1. Setting aside questions about the propriety of Ludlow’s behavior, one might think that since academic institutions are not businesses, they should not be expected to adopt the same set of interpersonal norms. Indeed, the comparison to “industry” is facile. My question for “Missing It” is: are you an assistant to the Dean of Synergistic Strategic Stakeholding or are you an assistant to an assistant of the Dean of Synergistic Strategic Stakeholding?

              1. yes, clearly maintaining academic values and resisting the soulless, materialistic culture of business requires that professors be allowed to fuck any young woman they can get their hands on.

          3. Presumably the due process concern stems from the status of the university as a state institution and the regulations imposed by the federal government. It’s also notable that many of the folks opposed to the title nine process are not philosophers, but lawyers. But, whatever, discussion is pointless at point, You’ve got your anecdote and a single comment as evidence for a claim about philosophers that you already believed, so who gives a fuck, right? You’ve even got somebody else who feels the same way at 2:03am, so you must be right. Clearly, philosophy has a larger sexual harassment problem than any other industry in world. More than any academic discipline, more than finance, film, food serve, farming, etc. If state agencies wanna fire someone in a quasi public hearing, they should only be limited by the prevailing standards in industry, because any other standard would just be unjustified special pleading for state employees. The story of your friend, the non corporate executives who wasn’t even mad that he got fired for sexting, has established all this.

  13. This conversation is ridiculous because of the bunch of idiots here who have submitted to the anti-male sexism of the feminists. The latter take perfectly normal male sexual behavior, sexual behavior that has no coercion involved, and call it sexual harassment. At the same time they pretend that adult women are not responsible for their sexual behavior. Students are adults. Professors are adults. Young women are hypergamous and have always offered themselves to high status men. Male professors are high status men and female students offer themselves. Sometimes these relationships end in marriage and sometimes they don’t. There is nothing wrong with any of this behavior. It is not sleazy or slutty. It is just normal human sexual behavior.

    1. Haha, “perfectly normal male sexual behavior” is the problem – it’s been normal for a long time, and now it has to change. Why do so many men want to resist this? Oh right, no-one likes giving up unearned privilege.

      1. Pretty sure “normal” here means species typical. In the past, marriage, family, morals laws, and coercive social norms jointly placed constraints on male sexual behavior. I’m not sure why so many otherwise intelligent people seem to think that, after having removed these constraints to varying degrees, we’ll find male sexual behavior to be more restrained.

        To be fair, however, there are an increasing number of young men who are opting out of sex (and society) altogether, instead devoting their lives to video games and image boards. Perhaps this is the change you seek?

  14. Sexual harassment is one side of a coin. On the other side we find women sleeping their way to the top. We can’t end one without ending the other. But there too many men and too many women too invested in both.

    1. are you just talking about spousal hires? because honestly I think there are at least as many spousal male hires in philosophy as spousal female hires.

      1. Let’s make a list. Here are some spousal male hires: Richard Holton at MIT, Jonathan Ichikawa at UBC, Dale Jamieson at NYU, Baron Reed at Northwestern. Others?

            1. Female spousal hires: Sally Haslanger at MIT, Sarah McGrath at Princeton, Ishani Maitra at Michigan, Michelle Montague at Texas, Jill North at Rutgers, Graciela Pierris at Stanford, Teresa Robertson at UCSB, Cailin O’Connor at Irvine.

                1. Not really, she was already in a tenure-track job at a better department, NYU. The real nepotism here was that she was trained by Judy Thomson, who is pals with her father. That’s about it.

                  1. Elizabeth Harman’s graduate supervisor was Alex Byrne, whose supervisor was Mark Johnston.

                    Byrne dated his student Sarah McGrath, and Johnston is married to his student Sarah Jane Leslie.

                    Harman’s two best friends at Princeton are McGrath and Leslie.

          1. Siegel, a SJW holding Quine’s chair, marries her undergraduate student, gets him hired at Harvard after they rejected him, then gets him tenure.

        1. Alvin Goldman at Rutgers. His wife Holly Smith (who is a stellar philosopher) was hired originally for a high-ranking administrative position.

          1. Wait, you’re saying Goldman wouldn’t have been hired in his own right? I’m pretty sure that’s wrong.

            I have the same suspicion about a lot of the examples people have mentioned.

    2. Why are these two sides to the same coin? And of course, you could wipe out all sexual harassment and still have people sleep their way to the top – it could be entirely consensual. Likewise, you could wipe out people sleeping their way to the top, and still have sexual harassment.

  15. Can someone please explain to me how Jennifer Lackey and Heidi Howkins Lockwood can still show their faces publicly in the wake of Kipnis’s book? Have they no shame?

    Lackey’s behavior, in particular, was savagely unethical and reprehensible in the extreme. She countenanced–indeed, spearheaded–the hounding of a colleague out of a job for an offense (having an affair with a student) that her good friend, Jeremy Fantl, had also committed (with the same student!). And, when Kipnis blew the whistle on the whole shitshow, she urged her student to file a retaliation charge under Title IX and then (this is really galling) contacted the editors of the Chronicle to tell them about it and urge them to distance themselves from Kipnis. As Kipnis writes, “Were these people mad?”

    Maybe they will finally get what they deserve–which is to be publicly shamed and ostracized.

    1. These loons accused Kipnis of witchcraft for writing an essay and tried to destroy her career and her life by getting her fired.
      Standard SJW tactic. But wrong enemy. By the time Kipnis is finished with these witch hunting loons, they will be regarded much as one now thinks of the magistrates of Salem.

      1. It must be that they’re used to getting away with these witch-hunt tactics in the academic circles they usually traffic in. The problem they have now is that Kipnis is an eloquent, witty, and compelling writer whose work reaches a much wider audience than Lackey’s or Lockwood’s empty maunderings ever will. And they have stupidly given her a gigantic club to beat them over the head with, forever.

        They must have been so besotted with their own power, and so clueless about how intellectual and moral authority actually works in the wider world, that they thought they could intimidate Kipnis with their petty threats and high-school antics. They are fools as well as scoundrels.

    2. These accusations against Lackey don’t seem supported by any evidence. We don’t know that she had anything to do with the Title IX complaint against Kipnis and even Leiter said that once the student reported the allegation to Lackey, she had to report it to the Title IX enforcers.

      1. Kipnis says in her book that Lackey contacted the editors of the Chronicle to try and rat on Kipnis. Which is pathetic.

    1. It is shocking how long it takes some of these people to finish their graduate education, and puzzling that departments allow this to happen (like, 7-10 year stints in a grad program). People who finished college in ’03 and ’04 should be tenured by now, not just barely finishing their PhDs. Kids these days!

      1. I took 6.5, though it looks like 7 on my cv. It would have been 5, but I got no feedback from my supervisor for over a year.

      2. Wild speculation: some of these people delay going on the market until they have the publications to support a viable candidacy. Some departments strongly discourage students from going out even in their 6th or 7th year if they haven’t published.

  16. 1. someone has an AOS in ‘silence’; can’t decide if that is awesome or ridiculous.
    2. does anyone know who Northwestern hired (for either job)?

  17. OK, so I read as much as I could stomach of the facebook thread linked to on Leiter’s site. One thing I don’t understand. Sobel seems to think–with great swagger–that he has Kipnis dead to rights on the false claim of a relationship between the graduate student and Ludlow. EXCEPT KIPNIS WAS RIGHT. It’s so weird. Whatever else you might think about this shitshow, Kipnis was not wrong to write, nor was it anything close to a “retaliation,” that the graduate student had been in a consensual relationship with Ludlow. Is he simply saying that Kipnis didn’t have the proper evidence at the time she wrote the article? Really? And we’re supposed to be super scandalized by this? Even though (again) what Kipnis wrote was demonstrated to be true? Anyway, the swagger and contempt is really just weird, since again, Sobel’s point just seems empty.

    1. Sobel is desperate. He looks pathetic, and he knows it. So he is posturing. Kipnis has kicked his sad and sorry ass.

      1. I honestly don’t understand what Sobel is hoping to prove. I think the Pogin-approved narrative now grants that Leydon-Hardy was in a consensual relationship with Ludlow, so it’s really unclear what he even intends to argue for. If it really is just “yeah, they were in a relationship, but your evidence for that back in 2015 was flimsy”, well, that is not a very interesting point to get all het up over.

        1. There’s a little discussion of this on the first April thread. It does seem as though the big payoff of his argument is supposed to be that she did not have sufficient justification for asserting a true claim in 2015 and thus she is unreliable.

          I think good philosophers often forget that while smart non-philosophers don’t discuss things in jargon or precise formulations, they are not, in virtue of that, complete morons.

    2. +1 to this.

      Sobel is a decent philosopher, which is why it’s strange to see him going full retard over this point.

      He and his crew have obviously lost the debate over (i) whether LLH and Ludlow were in a relationship (a casual perusal of the documentary evidence demonstrates that they were). So he retreats to discussing the question (ii) whether Kipnis was warranted in making this claim at the time she wrote the article. But she obviously was. Kipnis’ evidence was Ludlow’s court filing in the case, which can be found online here:


      The grain of truth in Sobel’s position is that this document was filed by Ludlow’s legal team, and so it’s of course reasonable to be somewhat wary of any claims that have the effect of bolstering Ludlow’s case at the expense of his opponents. But there’s a difference between wariness and outright scepticism.

      In order to substantiate the claim that LLH and Ludlow were in a relationship, the filing cites (a) a complaint made by LLH to Northwestern “alleging that she and Ludlow had a romantic relationship two years before”, and (b) a report by Patricia Bobb (again, a document in the possession of Northwestern) returning a finding that “Ludlow violated Northwestern’s policy against sexual harassment because he had unequal power in the relationship” — which presumably entails that such a relationship existed.

      Even if we assess the claims made by Ludlow’s team with due wariness, it seems perfectly reasonable to take these particular claims at face value. Why? Because no minimally competent lawyer would lie about the explicit contents of *documents that were in the possession of the opposing legal team*. So Kipnis’ evidence at the time obviously warranted the claim that LLH and Ludlow were in a relationship, and frankly, Sobel ought to know better.

      1. replace “documents that were in the possession of the opposing legal team”


        “documents that they knew to be in the possession of the opposing legal team”,

        if you want to be really pedantic.

  18. Beginning in August 2017, Laura Kipnis will assume a joint appointment in the philosophy department at Northwestern University, where she will teach basic courses in critical thinking, evidence, and logic at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Professor Kipnis reports that she has already begun work on course syllabi, all of which are to include a boilerplate reply to Title IX complaints.

    In related news, Kipnis will also be co-editing the 2017/2018 Philosophical Gourmet Report (PGR). With Kipnis at the helm, the PGR will now feature a new specialty ranking — a “Spurious Title IX Proceedings” leaderboard. Early comments on the revised PGR included this remark from an Assistant to the Associate Dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (Northwestern): “We proudly stand by the world-famous efforts of our faculty and students in Philosophy, and Northwestern is rightly expected to make a strong initial showing in this new specialty ranking.”

  19. Thank you all for confirming my reading. I’m not as versed in the ins and outs of the case and assumed I must be missing something. But I guess I wasn’t.

  20. Coward, April 19, 2017 at 5:51 pm: A mis-stated blog comment or email can easily lead to a lawsuit threat from an over-litigious colleague.

    Anonymous, April 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm: wait, your colleague threatens lawsuits over emails and blog comments??

    Coward, April 20, 2017 at 3:34 am: To clarify, I consider anyone in the philosophical profession to be a colleague, including Brian Leiter and Carrie Jenkins. So, yes, one colleague of ours threatened another over a blog post.

    Anonymous, April 20, 2017 at 5:46 pm: Then yes, ‘Coward’ is a good handle for you. Don’t slander or libel someone and you won’t have a problem. That’s substantially different from a “mis-stated blog comment.”

    Three replies. (1) “Don’t slander or libel someone and you won’t have a problem” is simply false, since CIJ neither slandered nor libelled anyone and still had a huge headache to deal with. (2) It’s kind of rich for one anonymous poster to emphasize the cowardliness of another anonymous poster for being a coward. (3) It’s exactly this kind of attack-dog style back-and-forth I prefer not to fill my inbox from either side.

    1. “CIJ neither slandered nor libelled anyone…”

      Gee whiz, if only she had read this she could have avoided costly litigations!

      1. I haven’t looked into this closely, but I occasionally hear grumbling that Ernie students have done awfully well in PPR and Nous over the years. Amusingly, the line among students is that since they’re not allowed to submit there while in grad school, there’s no problem. One year out? Different story!

        1. I was an Ernie student. He specifically told me not to publish in his journals because it would be looked at with suspicion for my tenure case.
          If Ernie students publish *less* in Nous and PPR, that’s probably why; if they publish *more*, maybe he got the word that this didn’t look good.

  21. “Even if we assess the claims made by Ludlow’s team with due wariness, it seems perfectly reasonable to take these particular claims at face value. Why? Because no minimally competent lawyer would lie about the explicit contents of *documents that were in the possession of the opposing legal team*.”

    This is interesting. Thanks. But this claim has been disputed by someone saying he is an expert in law, Alex Guerrero, on Jennifer Lackey’s Facebook thread.

    “Come on. Let’s be real about this. What you say is not true. As someone who has actually studied and taught and published on legal ethics and professional responsibility… It is impossible for a lawyer to get into trouble here. You won’t find a single instance of a lawyer being sanctioned on this point. The real standard here is: things my client told me that are (a) things I don’t currently possess any evidence contradicting and (b) which I could later credibly say “well, that’s what my client told me and he seemed credible on that point.” If it’s a factual matter of this nature–was there a relationship–the lawyer would have to do nothing or almost nothing other than just rely on Ludlow’s assertion that they did. The factual allegations section is just: our version of the facts, that would (if true) best help our case, that pass the laugh test (they can be asserted without immediately causing the courtroom to burst out laughing). Lawyers only ever get sanctioned for actual willful, knowing deception and fraud, not for offering a questionable version of the facts that suit their client’s purposes.”

    Is Guerrero right? Is he a professor of law?

      1. Thanks. These people do seem to spent a lot of time in each others beds. Guerrero is the student that Harman slept with? Is Guerrero saying Ludlow did something wrong by sleeping with a student? How very odd.

    1. I don’t know if Guerrero is right (the FB thread contains some pushback). I think he has a law degree, at the very least.

      But regardless of the truth of what Guerrero says here, notice that it’s totally unresponsive to the question at hand: he is implicating, either out of ignorance or dishonesty, that the relevant claims in Ludlow’s filing are based on nothing more than “Ludlow’s assertion”. If they were, then perhaps Kipnis should have been more wary. But they aren’t; they’re based on documents that all interested parties know are in Northwestern’s possession. As I said before, no minimally competent lawyer would straight up lie about the contents of a document in this way. Not necessarily because lying would bring about professional sanction (although perhaps partly for that reason), but because it would be utterly pointless given that the other side would be in a position to effortlessly refute the lies by producing the relevant documents.

      Plus, since this whole discussion is an epistemological one — turning on questions of what Kipnis was in a position to claim on the basis of her evidence — the issue isn’t even (i) is it true that no minimally competent lawyer would straight up lie about the contents of a document in this way? It’s rather (ii) was it reasonable for Kipnis to believe that no minimally competent lawyer would straight up lie about the contents of a document in this way? And it seems pretty obviously reasonable for a non-lawyer to believe this.

      Again, Sobel has gone full retard, and he ought to know better.

      1. Again, we’re losing track of the dialectic here. The point is that Sobel et al seem to think they’ve somehow scored some big point by showing (by their lights) that Kipnis did not have the full authority to speculate on the relationship between Leydon-Hardy and Ludlow and that the fact that she turned out to have been right about that relationship doesn’t matter. Real world people think Kipnis is exonerated by being, you know, right.

        1. Sobel seems like a really odd person. What is it about this case that drives him to such intensity of engagement?

            1. Sobel is in a relationship with another philosopher which he deems to be saintly, so he must wage holy war against the sinner Ludlow.

              Same with many of the other SJW hypocrites.

            1. And that in itself proves that Kipnis is correct and that the judgmental moralism of her opponents is nothing more than outrage, moralism and often hypocritical moralism, that reasonable people reject.

  22. After what was starting to look like an endless silence, FP finally deigns to mention Kipnis, by linking to some kind of pushback attempt by Scratchy. I can’t bring myself to read it, but something tells me it’s not going to play well in the wider world (aka ‘the world’). The expression ‘taken the bait’ comes to mind…

    1. Regardless of your opinion of the Ludlow case, the passage that Ichikawa cites is not a good look for Kipnis. Kipnis suggests that the story of Ludlow’s accuser is implausible, in part, because he’s too attractive to need to rape or be coercive.

      1. That’s not what the passage actually says. And if that’s the best FP has, they’re really shooting blanks.

        1. More importantly, why are FP looking for ‘the best they have’? Why the long silence? Here’s a passage from Kipnis’s book:

          Let’s pause to note that ‘third-party complaints’ are permissible under Title IX. Here’s a working definition of ‘third-party complaint’. At the moment a legal case is pending against the Office for Civil Rights itself, by a male student charged with having nonconsensual sex with a consenting woman.The woman has said repeatedly that the sex was consensual. The problem came when a friend of hers spotted a hickey on her neck and reported it. The accused student, who was black, by the way, and attending school on an athletic scholarship, received a multiyear suspension, effectively ending his college career. That’s what ‘third-party complaint’ means.

          Now, I would call that rhetorically effective. Never mind the Ludlow case: FP have been consistently cheerleading for Title IX as such. Remember when they asked ‘Why wasn’t the Colorado site visit run more like a Title IX investigation?’? (Yeah, why not? Talk about a missed opportunity!). Remember the pushback against concerns about Title IX raised by the notoriously reactionary AAUP? Remember FP solidarity with the lawyers claiming it would be totally unfair to have anything more stringent than a preponderance of evidence standard in Title IX hearings?

          So when people at FP read something like that hickey story (and I think we can be pretty sure that quite a few of them have read it — and if not then that’s kind of even worse), and/or any number of other clusterfuck horrorshows detailed in Unwanted Advances, I’m wondering, What do they think? Why wouldn’t they think ‘Holy shit! Could that be true? Because if it is, we’ve been cheerleading for a regime that’s brought beyond-grotesque injustice and misery on all kinds of people! I mean, these aren’t just eggs broken for the sake of an omelet of sexual justice! This is a fucking calamity!‘? Or maybe they think, ‘No way, that can’t be true. I bet that’s just a bunch of gendered right-wing propaganda.’ Because if they think the latter, you’d expect them to find out the truth and denounce Kipnis for her baseless smears against Title IX. And if they think the former, you’d expect them to start posting mea-culpa retractions about how they all have to start rethinking this whole Title-IX business.

          But no. No, they don’t do either of these things. Instead, they go all quiet for a couple of weeks, and then here comes Itchy with his kind of a big-picture thoughts about Kipnis’s starting points and outlook and his I think some people would be surprised by Kipnis’s sensibilities and his fucking I found some of her thoughts about sex and sexual assault to be surprisingly retrograde. I mean WTF? People are, apparently, having their lives ruined in the name of what FP has been loudly trumpeting as a reign of sexual righteousness, and they break out the chin-stroking?

          However embarrassing Kipnis’s book is for FP and their fellow-travellers, their non-reaction reaction to it is far more embarrassing — and telling. They clearly don’t realize that they’re destroying any pretense of wanting justice in any sense other than that defined by their own agenda. People with reservations about Title IX would often say things along the lines of ‘Sexual harrassment and assault are awful and at some level we all want the same thing’ before being denounced by Drabek, Barnes or whoever as rape apologists. Well, now we know that these guys don’t want the same thing.

          1. Part of me is having this same reaction. But another part of me thinks that it’s understandable that many of the FP crowd are not speaking up. Keep in mind that most philosophers in general are still afraid to put their names on any public criticism of the Northwestern fiasco. That includes people here, and the people writing to Leiter and Hellie. Surely the pressure against doing so is even stronger for those who publicly cheered against Ludlow and others in the past. They risk expulsion from their in-group and ridicule from people here, among others, for not getting it right until now.

            So yes, lots of the FP crowd probably have just dug in and are hoping this blows over so they can get back to business. But some also probably have genuine doubts (or something stronger), and just don’t know what to do about them. Let’s try not to make it harder for people to admit they made a mistake. That seems like an important step if we’re going to reverse group polarization.

            1. 11.25 here. 12.13: When you’re right, you’re right. And you’re right! Just needed to get it off my chest. This is why I’ll never be as mature as Benj Hellie.

            2. Your last point is really good, and I hadn’t thought of that myself. Let’s make it easy for people to admit when they’re wrong, which means dialing down the rhetoric here and in other similar channels (otherwise it’s just “anonymous online harassment” and a catalyst for further polarization).

              1. Will these hypothetical mind-changers also admit that they railroaded a man out of his job based on false charges and hysteria? Seems unlikely.

                1. FWIW: I’m an actual mind-changer on Ludlow. Having read Kipnis, I am no longer convinced he’s guilty, and I wish I’d been slower to judge in 2014-2015. There may be more like me out there.

        2. kipnis doesn’t say he’s probably not a rapist because he’s attractive, she says he’s probably not a rapist because he’s famous and charming

          1. Oh geez, if these stupid slurs are the best you’ve got to take down Kipnis, then all the clowns invested in the Ludlow-is-a-monster story are in real trouble.

              1. Read the quote again. Then read it in context. Kipnis is talking about the absurdity of an allegation that a professor could somehow compel a student to drink against their will, which was part and parcel of her larger indictment of a Title IX fantasyland where omnipotent Svengalis effortlessly manipulate helpless damsels. Turning that into Ludlow couldn’t have raped any student because he’s attractive and/or charismatic shows very poor reading comprehension skills.

                1. “Not only was this forced-drinking tale rather tinny, it was a definite uptick in the already heightened tenor of sexual paranoia and accusatory mania on campus: if this kind of allegation could stick, anything would stick. It was also complete melodrama, this world of dastardly men with the nefarious power to bend passive damsels to their wills, a world out of storybooks. Let me interject a brief reality check: single non-hideous men with good jobs (or, in this case, an international reputation and not without charm) don’t have to work that hard to get women to go to bed with them in our century.”

  23. OK, since you’ve all been so helpful, another question. I understand from reading this blog and the reviews elsewhere, how Kipnis’s book discusses the second accusations against Ludlow (the Leydan-Hardey case, in which she was caught up herself). But what does her book reveal about the first set of charges involving the undergraduate? Many of you are saying that he emerges vindicated from those charges as well. How so? All I can glean is that the accusers time line was inconsistent and that she texted him a few times after the alleged incident, neither of which strike me as particularly exculpatory (that is, genuine victims do both all the time).

    1. What is the charge you have in mind? Those attacking Ludlow are unable to separate their own moral and political feelings from some specific charge. Above you can read example after example of this, where the activists expresses disapproval of private consensual relationships. It is simply their own moral disapproval. It is irrelevant to the charge.

      First, identify the charge. Then ask if the charge is justified or not.

      1. The charge I have in mind is the first accusations of sexual harassment. These were a specific set of charges, and if I’m not mistaken he was found guilty (though not punished enough for the liking of the student in question). They only became public in the context of the student’s suit against the university, after which point Ludlow’s offer from Rutgers was rescinded and he never spent another day in the classroom. People here seem understandably to believe that he was vindicated on the second set of allegations, because the relationship was consensual, not against the rules of Northwestern at the time, and the episode of non-consensual sex never proven (and only raised long after the fact). But what has Kipnis revealed that we didn’t already know about the first set? Again, a confused time line and a few friendly texts after the fact don’t strike me as particularly exculpatory.

      1. Since I don’t have the book, could you please summarize or quote? I’ve heard Leiter say the same thing “the sworn deposition was damning,” but how?

      2. Besides, the Title IX officer did not find that Ludlow sexually assaulted the undergraduate, and he was disciplined for drinking with her (she was underage). That matter was over. It was not why he was fired. He was fired because Jennifer Lackey persuaded her advisee to bring new (false) charges. Lackey should be fired.

        1. I’ve asked a real question. I’d like the courtesy of a real reply. The Title IX officer found Ludlow guilty of harassment. I never said he or she found him guilty of assault. Once that story broke, he lost the Rutgers offer and never spent another day in a Northwestern classroom. My question is just what is in the Kipnis account of these first set of accusations.

            1. Would it kill you not to be a dick? Lots of quoting and summarizing of Kipnis going on here. Is it so fucking preposterous to ask for a clarification of a basic point?

              1. The deposition discussed by Kipnis exposed the student as having lied about the suicide attempt, among other things.

        2. “he was disciplined for drinking with her (she was underage).” do tell us the name of the immoral cunt who did this. Drinking underage is a crime committed by the person underage, not by anyone drinking with them.

          1. The under age drinking thing was never explained well, imo. Do Chicago bars and restaurants not ask for ID? Did she use a fake ID? Did Ludlow order the drinks and then give them to her? If he was part of the deception, I could see how they might fault him somewhat, but if the waitstaff was lax or the student deceptive, then it’s all on her.

      1. Blerg. If you scroll up, you’ll see that I was confused in my reading of facebook because I couldn’t understand why Sobel thought it was some great skewering of Kipnis to reveal that she (on his view) didn’t have a proper basis for saying that a relationship existed that did in fact exist, as if this kind of stupid Gettier seminar point matters in the slightest when there was a fucking relationship. That might lead you to think that, hey, I’m basically on your side here. At the same time, you know the world has a lot of goddamn grey in it, and its just possible that Ludlow was out of line with the undergraduate, not with Leydan Hardey, and maybe he should have been sanctioned but not fired. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the complicated grey area of life, not the simplistic black and white in which both Ludlow’s defenders and his accusers operate. By this token, if you don’t understand that women will sometimes communicate with people who harass or even assault them afterwards, especially when these people are powerful, and if you don’t understand that everyone can botch a timeline, especially if it involves trauma, then *you* are the fucking idiot.

          1. The faculty finding on that case wanted him fired, that was then lowered to just sanctioned by the provost. Again, I think there’s a lot of grey area between sexual assault and a harmless night out drinking and passing out in someone else’s bed. When it involves an undergraduate at your university and a former student, much falls under title ix, the university’s rules, and what it means to be a decent person in a social order based on respect. These issues have been litigated in the court system and extensively on the blogs. We can let them be. My point here was twofold: 1) What new information did Kipnis have on the case? After much, grumpiness here, I think I got at least a partial answer. One which is in fact interesting and important. and 2) one or two friendly texts a day or so later along with a botched timeline doesn’t by itself exculpate Ludlow or cast doubt on the accuser. A rudimentary familiarity with rape law and, you know, what it’s like for victims of sexual assault or harassment shows that to be so. People here who want to defend Ludlow, a position to which I’m sympathetic, should be ready to grant point #2. It makes you seem less like a dick and more like a reasonable person.

            1. I’m not 7:41, but there could have been some confusion about what exculpatory meant. Your wording in the initial post wavered a bit there (“neither of which strike me as particularly exculpatory (that is, genuine victims do both all the time)”). There’s a strong and weak reading of your claim. The weak is a reasonable claim that the evidence isn’t dispositive in Ludlow’s favor; the strong says the evidence is worthless because it doesn’t license a pure logical inference. The strong version is part of what one might call the FP orthodoxy that some people are getting pretty tired of seeing cited uncritically. Anyway, I thought you were making some version of the weak reading of the claim, but that’s just me.

            2. But if you are really really so interested in this case, why don’t you read Kipnis’s book yourself? Why rely on our reports of its contents?

            3. “one or two friendly texts a day or so later along with a botched timeline doesn’t by itself exculpate Ludlow or cast doubt on the accuser.” on the contrary, it does exactly that and it is only your anti-male sexism that makes you blind to this fact.

        1. “if you don’t understand that women will sometimes communicate with people who harass or even assault them afterwards, especially when these people are powerful” you really think women are that stupid?

          1. RE: 11:08, I meant the weaker claim. RE: 2:03 and 2:01, how are things looking under that bridge? RE: 11:10, book ordered and on the way.

  24. just wanted to second the comments above about how pathetic Sobel and, frankly, Alex “excuse me i have a LAW DEGREE” Guerrero, sound on facebook.

    someone above said that philosophers treat non-philosophers like morons. here’s a related point: philosophers seem to think that everyone should give a shit about some narrow, technical, borderline pedantic point (likely because that’s what fills many a journal.)

    What smart non-philosophers lack in pedantic technicality they make up for in being able to ignore that bullshit and get to the crux of the issue. With regard to that, Kipnis is kicking ass

  25. Given how many as-yet completely uncontested, utterly appalling descriptions there are in Unwanted Advances of grotesque miscarriages of justice, massive violations of natural rights to transparency and due process, blatant morally arbitrary discrimination, manipulation of procedures to settle scores or persecute others, etc, etc under the recently instigated Title IX regime, it’s interesting to see what makes Itchy’s jaw drop: the fact that Kipnis didn’t get the latest memo on how to talk about rape. (How amazed could he have been anyway, given his presumable priors about Kipnis?) It’s about as clear a case as you could wish for of ‘Hey! Look over there!’ Good luck flipping the general perception on this one, Itch.

  26. Agreed. And so far as I know, no one has commented on Kipnis’s compelling point that Title IX investigations may be disproportionately targeting LGBT professors. From her book: “The history of sexual outlawry is one reason it’s dispiriting to find student activists, all assiduously pro-sex and genderqueer, joining arms with campus bureaucrats to demand wider prosecutorial nets for professorial sex offenders. Apparently no one has mentioned to them how many of the professors being caught in these widening nets are, in fact, queer.”

    1. Yeah, but FT, we can basically discount all her testimony. Kipnis’s ‘credibility as a trustworthy voice on these matters’ has been ‘seriously dramatically undermine[d]’ because, you know, Middle-Aged Woman Has Outmoded Ideas About Who Commits Rape, Commits Gaffe. All that research and documentation is therefore just spurious window-dressing. Onward to the broad, sunlit uplands of Title IX justice!

      (This seems to be the first anti-Kipnis talking-point to emerge after the long embarrassed silence, by the way; cf April 21 6.36 above.)

        1. Ha!

          To a philosopher, this list [of banned books] is fascinating: it points us straight to the ideas that are considered the most dangerous. So, what are they? The answer is loud and clear: threats to conservative conceptions of sex, love, and gender.

          Given the rubric, the omission of Unwanted Advances is all the more baffling.

          [Your link is down, btw]

    1. For instance: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=2750143

      We are living in a new sex bureaucracy. Saliently decriminalized in the past decades, sex has at the same time become accountable to bureaucracy. In this Article, we focus on higher education to tell the story of the sex bureaucracy. The story is about the steady expansion of regulatory concepts of sex discrimination and sexual violence to the point that the regulated area comes to encompass ordinary sex. The mark of bureaucracy is procedure and organizational form. Over time, federal prohibitions against sex discrimination and sexual violence have been interpreted to require educational institutions to adopt particular procedures to respond, prevent, research, survey, inform, investigate, adjudicate, and train. The federal bureaucracy essentially required nongovernmental institutions to create mini-bureaucracies, and to develop policies and procedures that are subject to federal oversight. That oversight is not merely, as currently assumed, of sexual harassment and sexual violence, but also of sex itself. We call this “bureaucratic sex creep” — the enlargement of bureaucratic regulation of sexual conduct that is voluntary, non-harassing, nonviolent, and does not harm others. At a moment when it is politically difficult to criticize any undertaking against sexual assault, we are writing about the bureaucratic leveraging of sexual violence and harassment policy to regulate ordinary sex. An object of our critique is the bureaucratic tendency to merge sexual violence and sexual harassment with ordinary sex, and thus to trivialize a very serious problem. We worry that the sex bureaucracy is counterproductive to the goal of actually addressing the harms of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Our purpose is to guide the reader through the landscape of the sex bureaucracy so that its development and workings can be known and debated.

    2. Alright John, here’s your chance. Will an honest look at the evidence lead you to change your stance, or will you ignore it in favor of the Part Line?

        1. I was speaking about his general political orientation in the discipline. Point taken about Ludlow and Title IX though.

  27. Was just poking around in the Lackey facebook thread and found this, from Pogin: “Sweet lord Benj, someone can believe victims to be credible and still have empathy for those accused.”

    Interesting to compare this to the recent discussion about whether presuming an accused party innocent meant one had to believe the accuser was lying. The FP line, as I recall, was that it was beyond obvious that a presumption of innocence entails considering the accuser a liar. I don’t recall the parties to that discussion though, or whether Pogin weighed in.

    1. Given her ubiquitous presence on blog comment threads, endlessly relitigating her straight-up bonehead decision to file a Title IX complaint against Kipnis,one wonders when Pogin finds the time to attend to her studies. Maybe she’s getting credit for all this agitprop this from Lackey? You can be sure she’s hiding here somewhere under an “Anonymous.”

      1. I can’t see anything bonedheaded in Pogin’s title ix complaint against kipnis. On the contrary, she was plainly perfectly in tune with the zeitgeist and had kipnis been a man she probably would have been fired too.

  28. It is often said that the two fundamental philosophical questions are “What do you mean?” and “How do you know?” It would appear, then, that as per the “epistemic exploitation” article linked above, it is unjust to engage the oppressed in philosophical discourse. We live in interesting times, people!

    1. Silencing techniques are things people say to get someone to drop out of a discussion, either by leaving or becoming and remaining silent. There are a variety of forms that this can take. This post has an illuminating taxonomy with a plethora of useful examples, all of which can be changed mutatis mutandis to philosophy contexts. Inspired by the post I offer some examples:

      Give me an example right now. [Silence.] Oh, that’s what I thought.

      What’s your proof of that? Give me a citation.

      1. You are not wrong. But sometimes silencing speech isn’t such a bad thing. For example, if the speech is harmful and without basis such responses are appropriate both as reasonable questions and ways to shut down the speech if it is indeed baseless.

        Also, wouldn’t accusations of silencing be a way of silencing those asking for sources?

        1. I think the joke was that the epistemic exploitation line is a silencing technique. “You don’t know why X is a wrong against our group? Well, if you ask why, you’re just making it worse.”

        2. So you’re saying the pair of liars, Ha and LLH, should have been silenced? Or is this silencing the usual double standard: speech for SJWs, silencing for anyone else?

          1. No… I don’t think anyone (Lysias or his respondents) is saying anything with direct implications for the LLH case etc. It’s about Rachel M’s unusually interesting response to Lysias’s critique of the (admittedly wince-inducingly au courant) idea of ‘epistemic exploitation’ as defined in the article linked to above. RM: my favorite is ‘What’s your evidence for that?’, which has become like a tic in the last ten years or so. One only has to think about eg any obvious ethical truth to see how out of place such an inquiry can be. ( is the widespread reification of ‘intuitions’ in ethics and elsewhere partly an attempt to force all cases into the ‘theory-evidence’ mold?)

            Oops sorry, almost started doing philosophy… I’ll get me coat.

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