Monday, June 1, 2015

June Bugs

208 comments:

  1. I find some of the conversation surrounding feminism pretty disappointing. In my experience philosophers break into one of four or so camps around third-wave feminism. There are those who are generally supportive and haven't given the movement much thought (call them the Weekenders), those who have taken onboard a left-leaning elitism and the narrative it sells but for which the underlying principles and socio-historical assumptions of third-wave feminism are mostly unstudied (the Privileged), those who have a more responsive conception of third-wave feminism as a political and cultural force and advocate on its behalf (the Zealots), and those who disagree with some of the underlying principles and socio-historical assumptions of third-wave feminism but don't know how to say that without pissing somebody off (the Assholes).

    The Assholes are hard to talk to sometimes. One gets the impression of someone yelling at you for no reason other than to keep yelling. It's very off-putting. Now maybe we shouldn't be too hard on the Assholes. I don't know, we've all got a little Asshole in us I suppose (that's not to deny that some Assholes are bigger than others; you know who you are!). Still, I wish the Assholes would try not to be so full of themselves. In my experience, most people are either Weekenders or Privileged. The Weekenders need to get off the couch and start doing their part. The Privileged should keep on keeping on, because they are Always and Everywhere Right about Every Judgment of Value they will Ever Make, Ever, Ever. The Zealots should take about five steps back and give a little thought to how they'd like to be coming into these discussions (look what's happening to Laura Kipnis and Janet Halley right now).

    I suspect the Asshole-to-Everybody Else ratio would go down if it were easier to disagree with the Zealots. And if someone like Janet Halley can't do what she did without fear of being subject to procedures that suspend basic principles of justice, then I'd say the Zealots of third-wave feminism have fairly well lost control of the ship at this point.

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    1. Thanks for the condescending armchair sociology. If only everyone were as calm and rational as you, then we would be able to sort this whole thing out.

      What you don't seem to understand yet is that we are dealing with irreconcilable differences in value judgments and worldviews. Look at the different reactions in our field to the Kipnis situation. It's not a gap that's going to be bridged by one side taking "about five steps back and [giving] a little thought to how they'd like to be coming into these discussions" or less yelling, or whatever. This is a culture war even if you are incapable of acknowledging it.

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    2. I love how 12:32 has never experienced anyone "who disagree[s] with some of the underlying principles and socio-historical assumptions of third-wave feminism" but who is *not* an asshole.

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    3. Lighten up, Assholes.

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    4. What is happening to Janet Halley?

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    5. For serious discussion of feminism, head over to r/femradebates

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    6. Sorry 6:39, that should be Kipnis, not Halley. I thought I read that Halley was being shouted down by other feminists.

      @2:59 I don't think the problem is irreconcilable differences in value judgments and worldviews so much as a toxic set of attitudes and a failure to use the public sphere of discourse to its proper effect. Look, at the end of the day the problem is a handful of people felt like using Title IX to censure Kipnis, and another handful of people were too cowed by the surrounding rhetoric and mattress protesting to dismiss it without running Kipnis through the tribunal system set up in support of more stringent prosecution of Title IX requirements. That's horrible, but it's not a war. It's a problem of Zealotry and the trendiness of youthful exuberance, of the Privileged getting themselves worked up into a froth because the Zealots encourage this kind of thing.

      We're not facing a culture war so much as the convoluted result of rising wealth and status-seeking in the west, American puritanism, and the left (particularly the academic left)'s descent into a totalitarian suppression of dissent. The proper response is to exercise our right to engage in public disagreement over contentious issues so as to show that the alternative is abominable (as I suspect Kipnis was self-consciously doing--kudos to her for having the courage).

      @3:45 I never said that; I'm talking about tendencies here, and certainly there's room for more taxonomical complexity. Observer points out there are SAPers and SASSers as well. But my experience has been that far too many Assholes take it upon themselves to inveigh against feminism when the subject comes up. If we're interested in creating a space for reasoned debate and conversation, we need to keep the Assholes and the Zealots alike in line.

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    7. Ain't those SAPS something? oh, me: visions of their glances to each other, their whispering and pointing, their sanctimonious frowns. I hope it's just a caricature. In any case, Observer, your categories are not meant to be exhaustive, are they? Not yet a complete taxonomy, right?

      5:53, I don't think Observer was claiming that every member of a group who speaks out against an injustice done to a member of a group with which he or she identifies is a SASS. Certainly Observer must agree that speaking from the wisdom of personal experience is different from acting selfishly.

      But Observer can speak for himself/herself.

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    8. 12:32, thanks for your efforts to clear up my unsophisticated thinking about this. Whereas I had crudely characterized the situation as one of irreconcilable differences in value judgments and worldviews, I now see, thanks to your subtle and rational assessment, that it is rather just "a toxic set of attitudes and a failure to use the public sphere of discourse to its proper effect". Boy am I relieved. All we need to do now is simply shed our "toxic attitudes" and finally use the "public sphere of discourse to its proper effect". This is going to be great!

      And there I was also thinking that the problems surrounding Title IX and the suppression of speech were deep and systemic, involving widespread attitudes in academia, our culture, and policies of the federal government as well. But, as you point out, "at the end of the day the problem is a handful of people" who are just causing some mischief within what is presumably an overall good system. Again, thank you. What a relief. I had been so upset thinking that things were getting really out of control.

      And, also, thanks for clearing up my confusion about the whole culture war thing. I definitely didn't realize that what I was thinking of as a culture war is really just " the convoluted result of rising wealth and status-seeking in the west, American puritanism, and the left (particularly the academic left)'s descent into a totalitarian suppression of dissent". That is obviously a much more compelling and accurate description of what's going on here. Thank you for clearing up so much confusion about these topics and moving us all closer to rational agreement.

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    9. Oh, sorry. My 12:47 meant for the thread below.

      But while I am here: I don't get why 2:55 is being so sarcastic towards 12:32 in the last paragraph above. If I were 12:32 I would be a bit miffed after having spent time thinking about and engagint with what 2:55 in his/her earlier comment had said.

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    10. @12:32, fair enough: I concede your point.

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    11. Hi 2:55, I'm glad I could help. But it seems like you're still missing the contrast. I may not have read you correctly though, so feel free to try again.

      Whether we call it a culture war or a convoluted result, etc., is not all that important. I only mean, at this point, to be highlighting the difference between Assholes and Everybody Else. See, the Asshole thinks it's really important always to have the upper hand in a debate, even (sometimes especially) if there is nothing of real consequence hanging on it. So when it looks like a debate is going bad the Asshole will sometimes start in with the rhetorical equivalent of slinging shit. Instead of a careful and conscientious response the Asshole begins to speak with dripping contempt, satire, etc. That's an approach toward the problem, I suppose, but I'm trying to highlight that as a problem and (maybe) suggest some alternatives.

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  2. Anon 12:32 beat me to the punch with a new Long Theoretical Comment about what the hell is going on with philosophers and social justice these days. Here's my contribution to that genre.

    Social Activism as Penance (SAP) is a performance on the part of mostly white mostly heterosexual mostly cisgendered mostly men who have, in times past, been guilty of sexual harassment and other problematic actions. Many SAPs have changed their ways and are now respectable, tenured or full-professored, married, and with children. SAPs are extremely anxious to hide or mitigate their problematic actions. So they loudly proclaim support for affirmative action in hiring, inclusive curricula, inclusive conference programs, and the gendered conference campaign. At root, though, SAPs are motivated by fear. They are terrified that the world will know what they were up to a decade ago and do their best to bury and atone for their past.

    Social Activism as Self Serving (SASS) is a performance on the part of various groups who are (or who claim to be) marginalized. The performance is motivated in part by a thirst for justice. But it is motivated in the main (whether knowingly or not) by self-interest. We see SASS in action when members of a marginalized (or allegedly marginalized) group x are among the loudest voices in the chorus calling for greater inclusion of x. We see it even more clearly when SASSers of color, for example, claim that inclusion of philosophers of color is the most important issue facing philosophy today, or when disabled SASSERs or spouses of disabled SASSERs claim that, on the contrary, inclusion of disabled philosophers is the most important issue facing philosophy today. Familiar games within the "oppression olympics" are one result of such conflict between SASSERs. And despite occasional appeals to intersectional analysis, it is the women who speak most loudly on behalf of women, transgendered philosophers who speak most loudly on behalf of transgendered philosophers, and so forth.

    SAP and SASS performances dominate discussions of social justice and inclusion in the philosophy thoughtosphere. This harms such discussions by triggering justified but unfortunate suspicion about the motives of discussants. When SAPs and SASSes are the loudest voices, it is too easy to dismiss calls for social justice or inclusion in philosophy as mere penance for past bad behavior (as in the cases of SAPs) or as mere self-interest (as in the case of SASSers).

    One of the more disgusting but common tropes is this: mostly white mostly heterosexual mostly cisgendered mostly men appropriating marginalized identities. One example of this would be a man who passes (and once identified) as white claiming identity as a person of color qua Jew as a part of his SAP performance. Another example would be a (mostly) heterosexual woman (married to a man) claiming marginalized status qua bisexual because she once kissed a girl and liked it. Yet another example would be a social conservative claiming marginalized status because his views are a minority within philosophy. This odious trope is best understood intersectionally. The intersectional performance consists of a SAP pretending to be or transitioning into SASS status. This suggests, then, that there is a higherarchy among social justice activists in philosophy, with SASSers above SAPs. SAPs aim to upgrade their status by becoming SASSes; they aim to move from being mere allies to being full-fledged members of a movement.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. You must be kidding, 1:37. Women and minorities aren't supposed to care and talk about social justice? I suppose you think it's a matter best handled "objectively" by white men? Piss off.

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    3. How did you get 'aren't supposed to care' out of that? And why is this always about women?

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    4. (New person): the long post certainly implies something like what 4:08 is worried about. The fact that "SASS dominate discusssions of social justice...harms such discussions.." seems to imply that these discussions would be better if they were dominated by the voices of those not directly affected. So, eg., if we're talking about racism against black people, it seems like 1:37 thinks we shouldn't let the voices of black people dominate the conversation, because their motives are self-interested. This seems odd - it also seems that 1:37 thinks it is a bad thing for, say, black people to care about racism for self-interested reasons rather than purely for reasons of justice. This seems really odd. If this is not what 1:37 thinks, maybe he/she could clear it up.

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    5. I actually do think that arguments about what social justice demands would be more credible if they didn't always seem to be demands for "more x" written by an x. This would apply, I hasten to add, to white men who argue that we need more white men in the academy.

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    6. For a different take on people who study their own oppression, read this blog post that's been making the rounds: "The Problem of 'Me" Studies". I think it pinpoints more precisely than Observer does what might (and in my view, does) go wrong when conversations about oppression are dominated by oppressors and the oppressed.

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    7. In terms of the quality of academic work, the results of this can be really disastrous. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met, who specialize in some form or another of “critical studies,” who are among the worst critical thinkers I’ve met. It’s because they lack the most important skill in critical thinking, which is self-criticism – the capacity to question one’s own view, and correct one’s own biases. And the reason that they’re so bad at it is that they have never had their views seriously challenged. (Just to be clear – no one starts out being good at criticizing themselves. You only get good at it by being challenged by others who disagree with you.)

      The problem is that, when you’re studying your own oppression, and you’re obviously a member of the oppressed group in question, people who are basically sympathetic to your situation, but who disagree with your specific claims, are going to be extremely hesitant to challenge you, because they don’t want to appear unsympathetic. Even a lot of people who are actually unsympathetic will say nothing, because they still don’t want to appear unsympathetic. So you are only going to hear from two types of people – those who are sympathetic but want to take a more radical stance, and those who we might label, for convenience, “jerks,” which is to say, people who are both unsympathetic and who are, for one reason or another, immune to any consideration of what others think of them.

      ...

      So basically, practitioners of “me” studies suffer from a huge handicap, when it comes to improving the quality of their work, which is that only people who are extremists of one sort or another are willing to give them honest feedback.

      As if all this weren’t bad enough, repeat occurences of the scenario described above can lead to further distortion. Since the only people willing to speak up on the right-hand side, so to speak, of the presenter are people who have views that are morally offensive to the presenter, it can easily lead to the perception that anyone who disagrees with you is, for that very reason, morally suspect. In other words, over time the “me” studies practitioner notices a strong correlation between “people who disagree with me” and “people who have moral views that I find reprehensible.” As a result, it is easy to lose sight of the possibility of reasonable disagreement – in particular, the possibility that people might broadly speaking share your moral convictions, and yet disagree with you about what should be done about them, or what justice requires in terms of redress, or even just about some entirely empirical or pragmatic question.

      ...

      After three decades now in academia, I could give dozens of specific examples of this dynamic, of individuals who suffer from this problem, or of ridiculous ideas that get bounced around, but that nobody wants to go to bat against publicly. But of course all that getting specific would do is get all sorts of people pissed off at me. As someone who usually finds himself somewhere near the middle of that line above, I usually just keep my mouth shut. I figure if people want to know what I think, they’ll have to ask me. Which they never do.


      From http://induecourse.ca/the-problem-of-me-studies/

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    8. Poor Heath gets the why-are-you-so-white-treatment by person-of-colour Audrey Yap at the Ghent Balloon's outlet. But why does Mrs Yap engage with white heterosexual men in her professional work? Is it because she is allowed to do so qua her being a person-of-colour?

      Seriously though,the central areas of philosophy (logic, metaphysics, epistemology, phil of mind and ethics) have nothing to do with race, sexuality and class whatsoever! Can someone explain what the sexual identity and experience of anyone can bring to the table when it comes to those topics? Or his race or his income? Would Hume have come to a different conclusion if he had been homosexual? Does the problem of induction change when viewed from a non-white perspective? Is "grounding" a white, cis-gendered notion?

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    9. For a specific example about how metaphysics can be done better by taking into account things like disability, gender, or race, see Elizabeth Barnes' essay in a recent volume of the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. It's worth reading and I think it provides an important corrective to some of the sillier things metaphysicians have been saying lately (though, of course, metaphysicians have always been saying silly things).

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    10. 11:57 AM,

      I don't believe that particular article helps support your point. Barnes completely misreads Sider (who is her main target), as he patiently explains here.

      But set that aside; you're misreading 11:53 AM's question anyway. The question is not whether core areas of philosophy would be better if they took disability, gender, or race into account. Rather, the question is whether metaphysics would be better if done by people of a particular disability, gender, or race. That's a completely different issue, and citing an article in a core area that adequately (or even brilliantly) deals with disability, gender, or race doesn't settle it.

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    11. Thanks for the link to Sider's reply, 12:27. I hadn't seen that and will read it now.

      After looking at 11:53's questions, I'm no longer sure I understand what they mean. I was taking 11:53's talk of "x's perspective" to be something like "taking into account facts especially known by or salient to x-people", rather than "being an x-person". So what would matter isn't whether you're non-white, for example; rather, what would matter is whether you take into account things that are especially known or salient to non-white people when doing metaphysics (or other "core" work). Doing that, I was thinking, makes for better metaphysical theorizing. If, however, 11:53 or Yap or whoever are suggesting that just by virtue of being non-white you'll do better metaphysics... I reject that as obviously false and offensive and prejudiced (though not racist, since racism = prejudice + power!).

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    12. 11:57, if you're relying on the contentions in Elizabeth Barne's paper to make your point, I think you are either mistaken or generalisation beyond what is reasonable.

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    13. "Seriously though... ethics... [has] nothing to do with race, sexuality and class whatsoever!"

      Umm... are you sure about that? A lot of ethicists would beg to differ. Actually, I don't know any ethicist who thinks that there aren't genuine philosophical problems or issues raised by race, sexuality, and class!

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    14. Here is the problem: metaphysics, classically construed, tries to gain an understanding of the most general features of the world and their relation to us as human beings. In the same way as physicists are not preoccupied with the workings of sex and gender, metaphysicians aim at something more fundamental. And that fundamental is not necessarily "the ultimate ground", "joint-carving" or some other bullshit. Debates about free will and personal identity are very much part of it as Barnes herself notes. But gender and identity politics or their metaphysics are not the things that have kept millions of people awake at night like questions about free will and personal identity. They simply are not as fundamental. Neither in the level-of-reality-sense nor what-it-means-to-be-human-sense.

      Just because you mention feminism and metaphysics in one sentence does not get you feminist metaphysics. You and Barnes make the mistake to think that just because you use certain tools from metaphysics you suddenly are engaged in real metaphysics (which is not a bad thing, because metaphysics is after all just physics for those too stupid to do the calculations). What they are doing is philosophy of gender with a bit of metaphysical jargon as topping.

      Regarding Barnes and her lame paper: What it amounts to is this: Wawah, you boys have defined metaphysics in such a way that my precious feminist philosophy cannot get the label "metaphysics" that it needs in order to get to the center of current philosophy. Which is true, they are doing something more akin to sociology which is (unfortunately) not better or worse than metaphysics. Unfortunately, this is all that it amounts to and one has to wonder about the standard of the Proceedings if such a waste of space gets published.

      Normal armchair metaphysics gains nothing by adding a feminist viewpoint just as there is no privileged female perspective on the most basic levels of reality. And I cannot see how Barnes has anything to say about why "classic" metaphysics could gain anything by incorporating a feminist perspective.

      But even if you allow for feminist metaphysics, it essentially has the same problem as normal armchair metaphysics, namely, that either noone cares or that an investigation into reality should be guided by empirical investigation.
      Barnes write that
      "Certainly feminist metaphysicians would agree that a metaphysics of gender is required to give a good explanation of the social world"

      But who else other than them also believes that? The social world can be subject to empirical investigation. Anything else including "feminist metaphysics" is nothing else than just an interpretation of society based on personal experience. And that is frankly not much. I can do that, my grandma does it all the time. Thank god she does not publish her musings. Although, the Proceedings seem interested.

      Those feminist "philosophers" know very well that their research agenda simply has not the same allure as that of classical metaphysical questions. But instead of accepting that and remembering their own way into philosophy (which was via armchair metaphysics not feminist "philosophy") they have to complain and play the oppressed victim.

      It is what it is. Feminist philosophy is just an excuse for publishing in philosophy journals what ought to be published somewhere else. And it does not have to be as superfluous and boring as Barnes' piece.

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    15. @ 12:43

      I hesitated when writing that but I think specific ethical issues involving race etc. is more part of applied ethics than classical ethics.

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    16. 1:46: I suppose I don't really care whether questions about class, race, gender, sex, and so on are part of "applied" or "classical" ethics. They are important and central philosophical questions, and they are worth pursuing. Do we agree about that, or do you mean to imply that because they're not "classical", they're less worthy of attention?

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    17. They are not central philosophical questions in the sense that historically they have played no role whatsoever whether you like it or not. I do not deny the importance of those questions but I do deny their specific philosophical fundamentality. I believe that problems arising from race, class, gender etc are only instances of something more basic and can therefore be reduced to more general problems. But complaining about my use of "ethics" is easy, the real question is whether it makes sense to speak of feminist metaphysics or feminist epistemology.

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    18. 1:40 PM,

      So you say that "investigation into reality should be guided by empirical investigation". Could you please share with us which empirical investigation(s) led you to this conclusion? Is there an issue of Science I missed that experimentally or observationally established this result? I had no idea that CERN was looking into the matter.

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    19. @ 12:27

      I meant any enquiry into reality should be guided by empirical investigation.

      Haha, funny but no empirical investigation told you that! That is so lame and undergraduate. It is just a matter of fact that armchair metaphysics has a terrible track record and has never really established anything of substance. You are talking to someone who believes that the best metaphysics is theoretical physics not modal logic.

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    20. "They are not central philosophical questions in the sense that historically they have played no role whatsoever whether you like it or not."
      Ever heard of a guy named Marx, 2:20?

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    21. Gender and sexuality are part of class war?

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    22. I always thought Marx was engaged in political philosophy...

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    23. Ever heard of Rosa Luxemburg, 4:20?
      But seriously, the presuppositions of this exchange is so asinine.

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    24. It's depressing to see Sider pander and grovel to empty nonsense from Barnes and Mikkola.

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    25. it is a bit
      also at newkrapps did kazarian make shit up about email messages to make his post sound important and as though people were riled up about it and not bored,

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    26. 1:40 PM = 2:41 PM,

      That's the point: your position is so transparently untenable that even a "lame undergraduate" could see right through it.

      As a wise man once said, Christ, you're thick.

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    27. sick brotevi reference 12:27.

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    28. Agreed that many objections to metaphysics are straightforwardly untenable and end up in contradictions; I only wish people with misgivings about metaphysics made a more concerted (perhaps joint) effort to come up with better diagnoses of the situation and more cogent arguments against some of its excesses and silliness.

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    29. To say that inquiry into reality should be guided by empirical investigation is not a metaphysical statement. It is a philosophical/methodological statement. And to those fans of armchair metaphysics out there: Name one discovery or established piece of knowledge that armchair metaphysics has given us regarding space, time, matter or even causation. That is not to say that some proposals are not better than others or do not have valuable applications but has armchair metaphysics given us or the general public any lasting insights?


      I simply have a problem with grand sweeping claims as to what there "really" is, claims about what is possible (as if we could know via conceivability), the nature of time, things we usually think of as independently existing of us when such an inquiry is guided by a wish to construe a picture of the world that is in harmony with common sense (Fine openly admits this), relies on intuitions or even worse, uses linguistic data to establish points.

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  3. Can we get daily or weekly open threads again? Discussion is picking up from recent events.

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  4. 12.32: On the basis of a quick read through your comment, the one statement I think I can identify as definitely false is 'you know who you are!' Otherwise, looks interesting.

    I might get back to it once I'm done linking to this:

    http://popehat.com/2015/05/31/leaked-northwestern-university-email-states-rules-for-title-ix-investigations/

    Obviously this latest excursion into the Absurd is something of an open goal for satirists, but this isn't bad at all.

    Oh, and has anyone read the Balloon's latest meditation, 'On the Philosophical Free Speech Warriors'? Yeah, me neither.

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    1. Thanks for the link 2:48. I actually thought this was a real e-mail from Slavin until I got to the part about leaving Harper Lee off the syllabus.

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    2. That link is excellent. Is it just me, or does philosatire need to start posting again?

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    3. You're welcome, 6.34. I was surprised by how many people I showed that post to had the same reaction as you, ie it only dawned on them pretty late in the day that it was satire. I thought '(trigger warnings for victim-blaming...)' was the first major giveaway, but maybe I'm still too sanguine about what people are capable of meaning seriously.

      6.42: A thousand times Yes. Their story on the trip to the Statue of Liberty was worth a thousand carefully-worded (to get past the gatekeepers) comments at FP.

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    4. I think this is a real fork in the road, even more than 'incredibly-complicated'-gate or the 'site visit' cheerleading post-Colorado or... name your favourite recent debacle. The po-faced sententious narcissism has become completely insufferable. The Popehat post is interesting because it confirms that once you get to a certain point ridicule is the only appropriate response. There are quite a few people I had still considered potential interlocutors who 'liked' or commented positively on the Dowell 'Extremely Important PSA!' on FB. In one way it's kind of sad; in another, liberating: keep your head down, nod and smile, don't engage.

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  5. In her first article, Kipnis claimed that Northwestern graduate student Lauren Leydon-Hardy had been in a consensual relationship with a professor, Peter Ludlow (Kipnis didn't name the parties, but that's all an open secret by now). Kipnis was heavily criticized for this claim, and the article was later amended to say that Ludlow alleges that this relationship was consensual. I looked this up today, though, and it's a little more complicated. Ludlow doesn't allege that the relationship was consensual. Rather, Ludlow attributes this claim of consensual relations to Leydon-Hardy's own complaint. In other words, Leydon-Hardy herself maintained, in her complaint, that the relationship was consensual, or Ludlow is straightforwardly lying about what that complaint said. I am unconvinced in light of this that Kipnis' claims were so wildly inaccurate or that she deserves to be censured or whatever because her article made them.

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    1. PS: page 7 of the PDF I linked to is where this allegation about Leydon-Hardy's complaint appears.

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    2. This is good information to share, but I really don't think you need to be naming the professor or student to share it (maybe next time just link to the PDF but don't use real names?). Suppose one of the parties, professor or student, turns out to be vindicated of all complaints; wouldn't it be better, in that case, if their name wasn't publicly connected to the case?

      At any rate, I care more about the more general issues at play here and about the Kipnis case, and it seems to me to be painfully clear that Kipnis said a lot of false things in her first article, and that none of those things in any way justify initiating official proceedings of any kind against her. So, boo Kipnis Article 1. Yay, Kipnis Article 2!

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    3. " it seems to me to be painfully clear that Kipnis said a lot of false things in her first article" hahahahaha. what a load of shit you talk.

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    4. 5:16 here. Kipnis seems to think that it's totally cool when professors sleep with students ("When I was in college, hooking up with professors was more or less part of the curriculum"). Those were the statements in her first article that I thought were plainly false. But still, let me add, unactionable!

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  6. That's two votes against naming names.

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    1. Nice try, 5:16.

      Just kidding. Three votes. No need to name the prof or the student.

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    2. I don't really have a view on whether names should be named, but this is fucking disingenuous. Every interested party (and plenty of non-interested ones) knows who the professor in question is.

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    3. I thought 5.16 was at least partly concerned about Googlability. But perhaps I'm wrong.

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    4. yeah, we need to keep that female privilege in place: it's all very well being able to confront your accuser and all that other due process crap, but not it if interferes with woman feels.

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  7. Is there anything else we can talk about for awhile besides SAPS and SASSES and gender and identity politics and kinds of feminism and disability and race and TITLE IX and fascism and the U.S. First Amendment and complaints and retaliation and lawsuits? It's all so ugly and sordid.

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  8. You and I both seem to agree that it would be good for academics to speak up with their unpopular views, and not be as scared about doing so. The hope behind this post was that we might discover that one source of this fear—punishment by one’s own institution—is overblown.

    Justice W, still Not Getting It. Everyone not fanatically committed to New Consensus ideology is shocked by the Kipnis case, and takes from it the blindingly obvious lesson that their fear of punishment by their own institution was, until this moment, massively underblown.

    Velleman at DN FTW, btw. W's completely blasé attitude to the kind of treatment recounted by Kipnis ('There was a complaint. It was investigated. This is not the destruction of due process... Oh, and by the way, from the perspective of Kipnis and her defenders, it appears the process worked') betrays a colossal failure of imagination.

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  9. Velleman dropped a MILL BOMB, yo

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    1. http://cdn.meme.am/instances/500x/49985.jpg

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    2. Faith in humanity, restored.

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  10. Below, two comments from

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/academic-freedom-under-si_b_7481620.html

    (1) "What Northwestern should have done... was to dismiss it as quickly and decisively as possible and to reaffirm the fundamental right of members of the university community to write, speak, argue, and complain openly and vigorously about matters of public concern."

    That's a good first step.

    But the next step should be to determine who is putting these ridiculous ideas into the students' heads? Why are students so willing to believe that bad ideas can and ought to be shut down rather than refuted...and shut down at a place where the mission is to exchange ideas that lead to growth and understanding.

    Perhaps if faculty lounges were more politically diverse then students would be better equipped to handle opposing points of view. For doubt tempers righteous zeal.

    Being ideologically frictionless serves to propel the campus censorship steamroller.

    (2) " who is putting these ridiculous ideas into the students' heads?"

    JMO, every school would be better off if they had no "Women's Studies" department.

    ___

    O.K., SASSES and moderates. Do you see what's happening?
    Watch out. It's easy to become a tool and lose what you care about in the end even though you traded away everything for it.

    (I know everyone already knows this. Just thought I'd remind you.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am reassured by the comments that articles about Kipnis are getting across cyberspace. From pretty much every venue I've seen, people are disgusted at the way these students' complaint was handled. I hope the individuals responsible for supporting these social justice warriors are catching on to how they look.

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    2. 5:57 here. Just to clarify, everything above the line was written by commenters on the Huffpost piece by Stone. What is below the line is mine.

      I'm strongly in favor of women's studies departments and 'faculty lounges' that I have been a part of are plenty diverse intellectually.

      My concern is that these events, and some of the actors, are being exploited. There's a bigger story out there.

      Delete
  11. Some Northwestern people have claimed that one should believe someone filing a harassment complaint even before one has heard both sides. Some of these same people are now saying that when one learns of a ridiculous retaliation complaint one should reach no conclusion about it until one gets both sides. I'm glad that these people are available to explain the rules about what to believe. I would be lost without them.

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    Replies
    1. Well, to be fair, when people criticize you for putting them through hell for your own political purposes, it's difficult to come to terms with that criticism. It might even be traumatic or have a chilling effect on your ability to file ridiculous complaints in the future. It's better to believe that they just don't have the full story.

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  12. Anyone know what the latest is on Thomas Pogge and the Pogettes? Will Yale let him go? Will feminists continue to devour their own?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe some famous Yale faculty member will launch a campaign that urges Pogge to widen his target audience so that it includes other minorities as well?

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People in that thread appear to be worked up about the Northwestern student's name being known. Are they taking similar care to keep the professor's name from being known?

      Delete
    2. @2:35 -- Hi Peter!

      Delete
    3. Note: The deleted comment above appeared to allege that a philosopher had a record of sexual harassment. It has been deleted at the request of that philosopher.

      As usual, we welcome feedback about the blog and pointers to specific comments that require deletion due to defamatory or otherwise illegal content. Thankfully, those have been few, and we hope they will remain that way.

      Delete
    4. Whaaa? Wasn't that comment nothing more than a link to a facebook post, referring to that philosopher as a SAP (according to some silly comment above, that means he's engaged in social activism as a form of penance for being white and heterosexual, etc.)

      Delete
    5. Not sure where anon 8:20 gets his/her reading of 'SAP' from. Calling someone a SAP as defined above seems to me to clearly involve a commitment to accusing them of sexual harassment.
      Here's how the term was introduced:
      "Social Activism as Penance (SAP) is a performance on the part of mostly white mostly heterosexual mostly cisgendered mostly men who have, in times past, been guilty of sexual harassment and other problematic actions."

      Delete
    6. OK fine. Sad-SAPs are white heterosexual cisgendered men who are making penance for their identities (not necessarily for anything else). The Sad-SAPs are all over this story. All hail the Sad-SAPs.

      Delete
    7. I think 9.43's interpretation is right, and it follows that the deleted comment is a total smear. It very likely stems from a widely misinterpreted set of comments on an ancestor of this blog, which I am in a position to know were in fact about someone else.

      Our deleted commenter therefore probably didn't know that the implication was false. But s/he can't have cared very much. Please, 2.28 et al, knock it off. I can't imagine how upsetting it must be to be the object of such completely baseless rumor and innuendo.

      Delete
    8. "I can't imagine how upsetting it must be to be the object of such completely baseless rumor and innuendo."

      For assistance in expanding your imaginative abilities, talk to a philosophy professor who's had (he maintains, false) allegations widely discussed in the philosophy blogosphere without any attempt to keep his name confidential. This whole name and shame game (precipitated most recently, I believe, with the anonymous Thought Catalog screed last year) is getting out of hand!

      Delete
    9. Well, I can't talk to him, but if the allegations are false, I can't imagine how upsetting that would be, either. The attempt doesn't expand my imaginative capacities, however, and I still find myself incapable of imagining how upsetting it would be to be the victim of 2.28's smear (whom I know to be innocent).

      When someone says 'Good morning' to you, do you angrily respond 'Good, you say? I can tell you one thing: it's not "good" for a philosophy professor who's had (he maintains, false) allegations widely discussed in the... etc'?

      (Although of course if you are the professor in question, and the allegations are false, I suppose your monomania would be understandable.)

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    10. 5:32 speaking. Fair enough, 6:07. I'm annoyed at the admonitions batting about at the moment about keeping confidentiality and being careful to not make false accusations... except when it comes to people who aren't in the "in crowd" (like the Northwestern professor). That kind of selective justice strikes me as, well, unjust.

      Delete
    11. What 6:28 said. One of the best-kept secrets at NU right now is that Kipnis is in a relationship with Ludlow.

      Delete
    12. Is that a joke?

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    13. well she is obviously too old for ludlow's taste

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    14. Ludlow's attorney probably told him not to date anyone without tenure

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  14. @2:39 -- Hi Jason!

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  15. Jason Stanley alleges, quite plausibly, that the students involved in the Kipnis debate are receiving violent hate mail. See here: https://www.facebook.com/jason.stanley1/posts/10153000862108366. If this is allegation is true, then it is horrific.

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    Replies
    1. Isn't his sanctimonious post the opposite of the "calm the hell down" that he's espousing?

      Delete
    2. Here's one of Lackey's replies to Stanley: "Yes, [redacted], she is receiving hate mail and has had to block people so that they stop harassing her on Twitter." Why doesn't she just get the fck off of Twitter?

      Delete
    3. Yes! And stop wearing short skirts.

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    4. How do people not "in the know" even know the identities of these two graduate students?

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    5. Public records, 8:21. You can't accuse someone of defamation and hide your identity.

      Delete
    6. Zara's comment at Daily Nous aptly explains what happened:

      http://dailynous.com/2015/06/04/ludlow-to-face-hearing-accuser-regrets-coming-forward/#comment-62592

      Delete
    7. Both graduate students have published articles under their own names about the issue.

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    8. It is striking that the Daily Nous article you link to, 9:14, doesn't make any effort to keep the professor's name confidential.

      Delete
    9. The CHE article also contains identifying information about the accusing graduate student (noting that she now lives abroad -- there's exactly one Northwestern graduate student who fits all the information now publicly revealed).

      Delete
  16. http://sjwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I honestly thought that it was a parody site when I first looked at it.

      Delete
    2. It is parody. It has to be, at least many parts of it.

      Delete
    3. Which parts have to be a parody 7:53? After a cursory look the only thing which seemed parody-like was the claim that pajamas are an example of cultural appropriation.

      Delete
    4. http://sjwiki.org/wiki/Brocialism

      I hadn't heard the term manarchist before.

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    5. That is what some feminists actually believe.

      Delete
  17. Leiter got it right in his new post about the barely anonymous Kipnis title IX complainant who "spoke out" at DailyNous.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed.

      Kathryn Pogin and Lauren Leydon-Hardy (graduate student who accused Peter Ludlow of rape) have now hung all debate about their entire Title IX case against an unrelated bystander (Laura Kipnis) on two matters of fact in one of Kipnis' articles. It is worth pointing out that the more important of these matters of fact is actually in dispute. Peter Ludlow maintains that he had a consensual relationship with Leydon-Hardy, and cites Leydon-Hardy's own complaint against him and text messages from her as evidence for this claim:

      "In her complaint, Defendant Leydon-Hardly alleged that she and Plaintiff had a consensual relationship two years prior during which she acknowledged they had had consensual sex. Despite that, she alleged that on one evening she drank too much and woke up the next morning believing that Plaintiff had had non-consensual sex with her. During the investigation, Defendant Leydon-Hardy admitted that she continued her consensual romantic and sexual relationship with Plaintiff after the alleged incident of non-consensual sex and even went on a vacation with him."

      The Title IX case against Kipnis was not strong, and it looks quite bad for Pogin and Leydon-Hardy. It's time that they follow Jason Stanley's injunction and "calm the hell down" and stop trying to coerce people into talking the way they want them to talk. Brian Leiter surely appears to be the only commentator who's actually doing this.

      Delete
    2. You're an asshole, 2:27.

      Delete
    3. Now that we all know who the professor and students are, what are we supposed to do when we see them at conferences or whatever? Pretend we don't know? Bring it up? Aaaaawkward!

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    4. asshole may be understating it; after all, "Their safety is in peril"

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    5. Disgusting: what the students did, and also outing them by name.

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    6. This whole situation is such a clusterfuck. How in the world did some Northwestern students get it into their heads that they could use T9 to censor professors? How in the world did they think that their names wouldn't get out if they tried to pull that off? Who was giving them such world-historically-bad advice? The mind boggles, and this isn't even to say anything about the case involving the philosophy professor more directly.

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    7. If the purpose was to have the names of everyone involved out there and not let anyone forget any of them, it was really good advice.

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    8. I was initially tempted to read 7:45 as victim-blaming, but that's not right. The blame doesn't lie with the (student) victims who took up these incredibly silly legal and procedural battles. It lies with the Northwestern faculty who advised them to do so.

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    9. I'm 7:45, and I intended to raise a question about the motives of whoever is advising the students (by which I don't necessarily mean to refer to a faculty member -- I have no idea what characters are actually driving this whole thing). Maybe their motive is to keep dragging everyone's names through the mud. As 6:01 points out, these recent events are otherwise unexplained.

      Delete
    10. I really, really think that at least one of these students is fully capable of such bull-headed foolishness all on her own. These are adults, I assume in their mid-to-late twenties. Let's not assume they were little kittens led astray by some big bad faculty person.

      Delete
    11. So you don't think there are any other actors than the students and faculty advisors?

      Delete
    12. 8:18 here, like 8:11, I don't really know, but I don't know why we have to assume that some other person is behind it. These are adults, who can (and have) familiarized themselves with title IX and legal procedures. Why think there is someone else behind it? I guess there could be, for all I know, but the statement that they are not responsible (by 7:51) seems weird to me. Even if someone is advising them, they choose who to be advised by, they choose to take that advice or to ignore it.

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    13. 8:18/8:55, here are some quotes from the lawsuit that lend credence to the thought that there is at least one person giving advice to the students involved. (Of course, that fact is consistent with many different ways of apportioning blame, if indeed there is any):



      29. After this, some students and others were upset that Defendant Northwestern had not terminated Plaintiff and Defendant Lackey began advocating for his termination.

      30. Despite that more than two years had elapsed since Plaintiff and Defendant Leydon-Hardy had stopped dating and despite knowing that their relationship had been consensual, Defendant Lackey, who by that time was Defendant Leydon-Hardy’s advisor,repeatedly encouraged Defendant Leydon-Hardy to file a complaint against Plaintiff.

      31. Then, in March of 2014, Defendant Lackey made a complaint, on behalf of Defendant Leydon-Hardy, with Defendant Northwestern’s General Counsel. It was only after Defendant Lackey took this unilateral action that Defendant Leydon Hardy proceeded with lodging her own complaint.

      Delete
    14. I'm willing to believe that the student who filed the rape complaint acted in good faith in filing the T-9 complaint against Kipnis. I think it was a clear misapplication, looking at it from the outside. But, leaving aside the actual basis of her complaint against Ludlow, I can imagine that going through the various university and legal hearings she's been party to, along with the attendant publicity, was and is extremely stressful. Given that, I can imagine that the vague references to her case and the possible characterization of it as "melodrama" felt like much more of an attack than it in fact was. That (to me, understandable) misreading, together with a misguided but non-unique desire to push the title IX retaliation clauses into new realms (cf the Barnett case), is enough to explain her filing. None of this applies to the other student, who should have been clear headed enough to at least get competent advice. What a mess.

      A few things in the wishful-thinking category:
      1) I'm completely in agreement with Kipnis' criticism of the Northwestern policy on staff-student dating, but I wish she'd written a different article. She mentions she knows of several truly consensual relationship (truly, as in, neither party is taking the other to court) - those are the kinds of cases she should have delved into. There's a lot to be said about how universities are trying to control consensual relationships. Why bring harassment cases into it? It just muddies the argument and plays into the admin view of things. Only the admin see these as connected: if they could only just stop all sex and wanting of sex, then all their headaches would go away.
      2) Of course Kipnis or anyone else has a right to write about these cases, but it still sucks for all the human beings involved: the students, Ludlow and anyone who cares about any of them. Making other people miserable, especially people who are already probably really miserable, is a pretty shitty thing, so I would hope that journalists and anyone else would be doing it for strong reasons. The last thing I would want is to silence somebody's voice, but I can still wish for a world with fewer assholes.

      Delete
    15. 9:30, 8:18/8:55 here. I stand corrected --- and like 10:19, I totally understand how, if I'd been raped by a professor, and someone published about this in a callous and (even slightly) misleading way, and my faculty advisor and good friend were saying "this is retaliation" --- how I might file a complaint. So much worse for that faculty mentor and the "friend". What a coward Lackey is. Why does she not come forward and offer a defense, implicitly accept responsibility, and take some of the heat off of these students, particularly the original complainant, who is the *only* person I feel pity for in this entire mess?

      Delete
    16. I sincerely doubt that "their safety is in peril"; at least, I'm very suspicious that such a claim is mostly just self-serving, until seeing evidence for it.

      Delete
    17. lol. How many mattress girls does it take before you can spot fake victims groomed by feminists.

      Delete
    18. Nungesser files Title IX complaint against Columbia University, et al. See: https://www.scribd.com/doc/262956362/Nungesser-Filed-Complaint

      Delete
  18. Actually, 2:32, 2:27 dropped a bomb and performed a public service.

    ReplyDelete
  19. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/good-work-laura-kipnis-critics-you-made-your-enemy-a-martyr

    Even Amanda freaking Marcotte thinks the two graduate students were being dumb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When large portions of the whole discipline are so wrong on this issue it makes you wonder whether you can trust their intuitions on more technical/philosophical issues.

      By the way, Emma Sulkowicz made a porno, you got to be kidding me. I hope her psychiatrist parents finally put her in check. This woman will go down in history as the woman who single-handedly made "feminism" a bad word like the republicans managed with "liberal". Yes and at this stage I call bullshit on her whole story. This woman is committed to herself only.

      We have reached a stage where people will do anything to get attention. It used to be trash like Kardashian or Hilton with their sex tapes, now it is pampered children of well-to-do academics with their mixture of pornography masked as art and victimhood at the expense of others.

      Actually, Kardashian and Hilton did not do anyone harm and they do not claim do be feminists as so many other infantile idiots do whose feminism consists in nothing more than not-shaving their genitalia.

      Delete
    2. A porno with a fancy French title that is.

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    3. I hope the people who encouraged this debacle are paying attention to how the rest of the world looks at it. It exemplifies what critics of feminism, as a movement that encourages infantalisation and fanaticism among young women of privilege, have been saying for decades.

      Delete
    4. Money quote from the Marcotte article:

      "I realize that the professor that Kipnis appears to be making excuses for, Peter Ludlow, is accused of doing some very serious things. Seeing people defend him is no doubt painful to many. But the best way to deal with wrongheaded opinions and arguments is to argue back.

      Instead, these anonymous graduate students reached for the censorship button."

      Delete
  20. A bunch of people in the Daily Nous comments seem to think that Lauren Leydon-Hardy has denied ever being in a relationship with Peter Ludlow. Is this true? Where does she deny this? Ludlow says that they went on a vacation together, that she told him she loved him in text messages he still has, and that they dated for some time. Ludlow also claims that she dated a faculty member at Brandeis University when she was an MA student there, iirc. If Leydon-Hardy really denies all this, then she should be able to show quite quickly that Ludlow is lying. You can't just make up a vacation and a relationship and get away with it these days, there are things like receipts and selfies that would give away the truth too easily.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just read through the proposal of Nathaniel Oh-the-burden-of-my-surname. Open challenge: what does "whiteness" actually mean? Is there any justification why "whiteness" is constantly lumped together with everything negative?


    Just for the lolz, here a couple of his best:

    "Know thy racial self!” is a imperative to which UCL’s North American competitors have long been responding with scholarly rigour, through such bold and innovative academic disciplines as Critical “Race” Theory and Critical White Studies."

    "Scientific advances have provided us with a wealth of knowledge about human beings, and one of the most important advances relates to “race” – it does not exist. Yet, despite general acceptance that “race” has no biological basis, individual societies, and much of the world, still appear to racialise human beings and to employ raciaIised categories as if they were both real and permanent."
    --> If that is true what is there to study? And does that not make "whiteness" an empty term with no real meaning or at least one with too broad a scope? Where is my MA in "Phlogiston theory"?


    My favourite: intellectual thinking skills (kind of pleonastic, isn' it?) will be gained through a "Black Lesbian Disabled Feminist approach to Critical “Race” Theory and a Critical Eugenic approach to Critical White Studies" o.O Dafuck? Will the students have to channel their inner Black Disabled Lesbian to pass this course? Also, note the ableist language!

    I get that most module descriptions especially in the humanities consist of hot air, but rarely have I seen anything this empty.

    ReplyDelete
  22. David Sobel is apparently convinced that knowing that someone who works at your institution doesn't like your complaint raises a suspicion of retaliation. I make no claim about whether that's a reasonable reading of Kipnis's article. But suppose it. Still, seasonable people would think that, in order to suspect retaliation, one must know of some harmful decision the university made as a result of the dislike. The absurdity is that we've reach a point where mere knowledge of being disliked is the harm. It's a harm (SUFFICIENT FOR FORMAL COMPLAINTS) when someone at your university dislikes you and you realize it. One can only imagine the complaints that could be raised after each faculty meeting.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bertrand RussellJune 6, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    The whole Ludlow Kipnis etc. business is starting to bore the shit out of me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. stop reading about it?

      Delete
    2. stop writing about it.

      Delete
  24. For anyone not yet bored, here's a good recent comment at DN:

    This is in response to Joe @ 46:

    You state that “the lack of empathy for alleged victims amongst the Speech Warriors is truly staggering”

    What I find baffling is the tendency of intelligent individuals, largely in contemporary academic circles, to locate their position in explicit and mocking opposition to concerns regarding free speech. Particularly in ostensible support of oppressed groups.

    This seems like the definition of a losing gambit. It is politically toxic, equating social justice causes with right-wing caricatures of progressivism. It is also astoundingly myopic in that it assumes that the hammer of speech regulation will always and only be wielded by those friendly to social justice causes, apparently in the teeth of all historical evidence.

    Why, exactly, do you feel that minimizing concerns regarding free expression is helpful to oppressed groups? Is there any historical basis whatsoever that you can indicate in which cracking down on free expression has advanced the causes of the powerless? Can you genuinely not imagine a scenario in which such a stance could backfire?


    This struck me as an excellent response, not only to the comment to which it is directed, but also to all those who have doubled down by trying to ridicule those expressing concerns about free speech, including the tweets of 'Jaded Ph D' and, of course, Justice Windbag himself.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Mr Strike through name complainy pants. Hey you didn't get a permeant job after a post-doc. Unheard of! But no... the main point is was in a de facto field of philosophy. So that's even worse! Obviously, the point of philosophy its to be reflective but that's kinda leaked into all sorts of other areas. Philosophers no doubt think about identity politics: but identity politics is ideology not philosophy. Oh, and yes we know we make assumptions± We think about that all the fucking time

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    Replies
    1. What I find baffling is that so many people assume the worst of UCL's philosophy department and their administration. Even more staggering is the fact that most responses in support of Coleman have not put forward a cogent argument in support of Coleman's work rather they just played the race card- he has to have a position because of lack of black academics - as if this was not some kind of backhanded compliment to his work.

      With all the recent cuts in UK's higher education could it not have been just the case that in order to start a new degree the demands are increasingly high?

      Delete
  26. Given recent changes in UK HE, Master's programmes are increasingly unattractive to put on. There was a moment when they were a real money-spinner and proliferated, but not any more (which is why there's more interest in direct entry to PhD programmes from the BA). Coleman's whole schtick is that other people have a moral obligation to advance his career, and that's obviously silly.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anne Jacobson is a world class nutcase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What prompts you saying so? (I am not disagreeing)

      Delete
    2. Well, she's a nutcase and if you're a nutcase, then you're a nutcase, so it's mostly just modus ponens.

      Delete
  28. Comment on the post by Kipnis on Daily Nous.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Is it just me, or is anyone else's comment not getting through at Daily Nous? I'm sure it's just, ahem, technical problems, but here's the comment for those who are interested:

    In reply to David Sobel, here are some extracts from Ludlow's lawsuit:

    32. In her complaint, Defendant [Anon graduate student] alleged that she and Plaintiff had a consensual relationship two years prior during which she acknowledged they had had consensual sex. Despite that, she alleged that on one evening she drank too much and woke up the next morning believing that Plaintiff had had non-consensual sex with her. During the investigation, Defendant [Anon graduate student] admitted that she continued her consensual romantic and sexual relationship with Plaintiff after the alleged incident of non-consensual sex and even went on a vacation with him.

    33. Following this complaint, Defendant Northwestern retained a third-party investigator, Patricia C. Bobb, to investigate these claims. Defendant Northwestern, however, refused to allow Plaintiff to have counsel present during his meeting with Ms. Bobb.

    34. When she first talked with Plaintiff, Ms. Bobb told him that she was only investigating the allegation of the one instance of non-consensual sex. Based upon that, Plaintiff provided Ms. Bobb with documentary evidence which refuted that allegation including but not limited to a hotel receipt which showed that Plaintiff had stayed at a hotel on the evening of the alleged non-consensual encounter as well as text messages from Defendant [Anon graduate student] the day after the alleged non-consensual encounter in which she told Plaintiff that she loved him. [...]

    41. Ms. Bobb concluded that Plaintiff and Defendant [Anon graduate student]’s relationship constituted sexual harassment even though she did not find that Plaintiff’s conduct was unwelcome and even though she specifically acknowledged that Defendant [Anon graduate student] admitted that she and Plaintiff had consensual sex and dated for a number of months before breaking up.


    Now it seems to me that concluding what she did on the basis of this lawsuit is very far from, as Sobel describes it, accepting "the uncorroborated characterization of the professor". Sure, given that all this information is from Ludlow's lawsuit, it's obviously expected that it will be slanted as much in his favor as is possible. Still, there are several independently corroborable claims made here: (1) that the graduate student admitted in her original complaint that the relationship had been consensual; (2) that there exist text messages from the graduate student to Ludlow saying that she loved him; (3) that the third-party investigator, Ms Bobb, concluded in her report that Ludlow and the graduate student had dated for a number of months.

    Of course, it could be that all of these claims are simply made up by Ludlow here. But I find it highly unlikely that he and his (presumably high-powered) lawyers would make claims of this kind -- claims that Northwestern and the Defendents would easily be in a position to refute, if they were false -- unless they were true.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, good luck with that. Justice Weinberg is keeping Daily Nous on comment lockdown when it comes to linking to key evidence. That includes Ludlow's complaint and Leydon-Hardy's earlier complaint. Quotes from the latter haven't been widely circulated yet and may never do so, but they would be explosive and not at all in her favor.

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    2. 7:49, do you have a link to the document in question?

      Delete
    3. One last try:

      People like David Sobel and Joe who criticize Kipnis for believing Ludlow's complaint are far too quick off the mark.

      Kipnis says that her account is based on Ludlow's legal complaint. In that complaint, Ludlow claims that (1) the graduate student in question described their relationship as consensual in an internal complaint made at Northwestern; (2) in the report from the third-party investigator hired by Northwestern to investigate that complaint, the relationship was characterized as consensual.

      Surely it is reasonable for Kipnis to have taken these claims as pretty reliable. Of course, Ludlow's complaint is going to be maximally slanted in his favor, and everything it says should be taken with a pinch of salt. But if these particular claims were false, Northwestern and the other defendants could refute them incredibly easily, simply by exhibiting the documents surrounding the initial complaint. The simplest and most plausible explanation (one that doesn't involve attributing extreme stupidity to Ludlow and his presumably high-powered team of lawyers) is that at least these claims are true, whatever you might think about the others.

      Delete
    4. *Justice Whineberg

      Delete
  30. I find the comments by "Anonymous" baffling, especially as she is friends with the graduate student who was allegedly raped by the professor --- she ("Anonymous" the *other* complainant) keeps claiming something like the following, that saying someone was in a consensual relationship implies that they were *not* raped (and so saying they were in a relationship with their rapist is deeply problematic). When certainly, and especially in this case, were not. It's the kind of thing you would expect a rapist to say, not the supposed friend of someone who was raped by someone they had been in a consensual relationship with.

    The details of her relationship are largely immaterial to whether or not she was raped by this professor. But "Anonymous" seems more concerned with proving a point than letting that point go. It is worth saying that it would certainly be better for the allegedly raped graduate student if "Anonymous" would just stop. Why give people reason to keep digging into the details of this case? I certainly never would have cared about such details if "Anonymous" wasn't an insufferable crusading little shit.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not following there closely enough to know which Anonymous comments are from the same Anonymous that wrote the guest post, filed the complaint, etc, but this may or may not be relevant:

      While you are totally right that the details of the relationship (dating or not dating, consensual sex or not0 is totally irrelevant to whether or not the other student was raped, it is, IMO opinion, very relevant to whether the case makes sense to discuss in Kipnis' article.

      Kipnis is talking about how rules banning relationships are overstepping bounds, and how, in general, there's a growing paranoia about sexual relationships. It would not make sense to bring up a case where there was significant doubt about whether the relationship was consensual.

      Like I said, I've not kept it all straight, but I agree with your impression that Anonymous is hanging on to prove a point, far beyond where it would be prudent. But I get that impression with a lot related to this case. People have every right to pursue this stuff to the ground, if they want, but I wonder if they won't live to regret it. You make things like this public enough and interesting enough, you end up being an opera or a Law and Order episode or something.

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    2. My guess is that the only explanation for why student/s would push so hard on Ludlow not dating the student he is accused of raping is because he wasn't. It is just a guess, but there is a nice comment over at Leiter Reports that explains how easily only one side could allege "dating." I would be angry if someone said I dated someone I hadn't, accused of rape or not.

      Delete
  31. oops, *were not = it implies no such thing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. From the opinion of the district court, in which Ludlow's suit was dismissed: "Ludlow and [graduate student] had a consensual, romantic relationship from approximately October 2011 to January 2012." (page 3) --- That's the full sentence, no qualifiers. I have no desire to link to the full decision. But seriously. A judge wrote this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you file a motion to dismiss all of your arguments depend on assuming that everything in the original complaint was true. This is a procedural, not evidential matter, because the point of a motion to dismiss is to say, "Look, even *if* everything in here is true, there is still no legal cause of action." So, that the judge wrote that doesn't mean anything except that, the judge was ruling on a motion to dismiss, and Ludlow had alleged that they had a consensual romantic relationship. It doesn't mean that the judge buys his line.

      Delete
    2. 9:50 here, Yes, thanks for the correction. I realized this and was about to come on to say that I was wrong, but you beat me to the punch. The opinion is basically summarizing Ludlow's account of events, and so adds nothing. But, like 6/7 8:42 above, I hardly think Kipnis can be characterized as taking Ludlow's word for it (since he cites the title ix complaint in his brief, as well as the investigator).

      Delete
  33. Weinberg is such a mendacious piece of shit. Some discussion of his censoring ways here: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2015/06/laura-kipnis-replies.html#comments

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, he is just serving his new social justice overlords. Why do you think is there no pushback against the more egregious examples like "A letter from Paris"?

      Delete
    2. Why, it's surely impossible that Justice W could be censoring anyone! Surely since he lets through the likes of this from the inimitable 'Nix 66', he'll let through anything:

      Kipnis’ basic premise is that strong, stable, Feminists should relax and enjoy sexual harassment and assault.

      Delete
    3. 6.59: Not using DN as a case study in How Propaganda Works was just quid pro quo.

      Delete
  34. I wonder who was the first philosopher to "worry about the future of the profession" because of what some other philosopher said or wrote. Does it go back to the ancients?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK .... did someone say, on Facebook or one of the blogs, something of the form, "What X wrote makes me worry about the future of the profession"?

      Delete
  35. Incompleteness WarriorJune 9, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    I’m starting a Facebook movement to force Neil Tennant to step down as editor of APQ. For too long has he abused his power! He is causing real harm to women, and other subjects of epistemic injustice.

    Who’s with me?? Who will sign the June Manifesto??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One has to give it to Leiter. He never lets anything go, the attack dog that he is. As childish as his reaction is, the review is in my opinion good and to the point.

      But it goes to show you that in order to make it in philosophy connections are far more important than quality of work. Almost all book reviews are enthusiastic and end with the phrase "no serious scholar of X can afford to overlook this important contribution...". Just by reading reviews alone, you would think that philosophy is the fastest-progressing discipline on earth. But given that so many book reviews are far too short and no real book reviews, those public endorsements are nothing other than a way to expand one's own net of connections.

      At least in this regard philosophy has long lost its bite and that is not a function of the new feminism nor have its main protagonists put this procedure to a new level.

      Delete
    2. At first I thought, "Why does this show BL's childish refusal to let things go?" Even though it's CS Jenkins, he posts these things pretty often generally speaking. Then I noticed it's a 2010 review of a 2008 book, so yeah. It's another BL attempt to slam one of his legion of enemies.

      Delete
    3. What's "childish"? The review is, like you said, good and on point, and fits with the series of nasty reviews he has run for years (though not as nasty as McGinn on Honderich).

      Delete
    4. Comments crossed in cyberspace. I suspect BL doesn't read Philosophia Mathematica, someone probably sent it to him. I'm sure he wouldn't let it pass given the target, but who can blame him?

      Delete
    5. Brian Leiter is the definition of the new infantalism

      Delete
    6. I would bet $5 that Incompleteness Warrior is BL.

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    7. damn paywall! want to read the whole review

      Delete
    8. Anyone have link to full thing? It is funny this is a book review from 5 years ago...

      Delete
    9. actually tennant and jenkins hashed this out on her blog a while ago

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    10. link please!

      Delete
    11. The Tennant review is archived here through its PhilPapers entry.

      Delete
    12. I meant the link to the blog!

      Delete
    13. i couldnt find a public link to the blog
      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:M7DryIVBi6sJ:www.slickebooks.org/pdf/long-words-bother-me_2edvw8.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

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  36. I don't get it. Why would internet commentators deny that Lauren Leydon-Hardy and Peter Ludlow were dating, when Leydon-Hardy doesn't even deny it? Why is it so important to deny that a relationship happened (with vacations, etc.)? How does that bear at all on whether Ludlow raped Leydon-Hardy? This whole "dating" vs. "allegedly dating" thing just makes no sense at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because one question leads to another: the circumstances under which the alleged rape occurred are plainly "complicated," especially in relation to the apparently consensual "dating" before and after that occasion. So a freestanding rape claim is less murky and would seem more favorable to the alleged victim, who also probably prefers not to be known as a philosophy star"dater."

      In addition, there's the effort to shift discussion away from or at least cloud the bogus "retaliation" claims -- by continuing to focus on irrelevant or minor questions of fact and language and on sympathies for victims of some kind.

      Delete
    2. I know Kipnis teased there will be more to come, but hasn't she finally admitted (to Daily Nous) that the charges really were over the questions of fact and language? You think the anonymous graduate student has been lying about this? You think they complained about Kipnis wanting students to date professors? I thought the grad/s had always clearly denied they cared at all about this.

      Delete
  37. Recent comment at DN:

    Given the threats, invasion of privacy, intense scrutiny, and general harassment that the two graduate students in question have suffered in recent weeks, who in their right mind would now ever file a Title IX complaint in this discipline?

    Relatedly, whatever happened to the site visit program? When's the next one happening?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We stopped visiting. I'm just here to pull a .pdf for the upcoming lawsuit.

      Delete
  38. Why is Ed Kazarian still white? Discuss!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is this supposed to be clever? Discuss!

      Delete
    2. Why is 10:07 not funny or witty? Dicuss!

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    3. I think it's supposed to be clever because EK comes off like a self-righteous blowhard for a cause that sees the self-righteousness of people like EK as the very problem.

      Delete
    4. EK: "Worth, in this context (which is very different from the one in which it was originally coined), invoking John Protevi’s phrase the ‘universal seminar room’ as a name for the thing we want to avoid in forgetting the concrete, specific context of the discussions we’re having and how that context can frequently function in ways that make seminar-style conventions of ‘open, unrestricted discussion,’ etc., really inappropriate. (Also worth remembering that no seminar worth attending has ever occurred in the absence of a moderator who steers the discussion.)"

      The freedom of a seminar room shouldn't extend to the real world, but the presence of a moderator to intervene and steer discussion should. Outstanding.

      Delete
    5. christ hes thick

      Delete
  39. Well, if there was any hope of the APA blog being unbiased, I think it can be put to rest. It will surely be just another, more official, Daily Nous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is that? I don't know Powell.

      Delete
    2. The comment from Elizabeth Barnes is funny: "Welcome to blogland! I'll send over the contract for you to pledge you allegiance to the Feminist Conspiracy. You'll need to sign it in blood, obviously."

      It already has 25 likes.

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    3. Magicalersatz/Barnes probably takes herself to be joking. But the implicature is chilling.

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    4. i know there should have been a trigger warning

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    5. Just stop with the linking to Facebook threads, will you?

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    6. Why? Unless you already think someone has put herself in a particularly bad light. On a public thread.

      Delete
    7. Bringing Facebook into things only seems to escalate the nastier side of the PMMB.

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    8. Can't wait too see what sort of Witty Metablog Nickname TM y'all will assign him! I'm thinking Loser Towel.

      Delete
    9. Not Lewis PowellJune 11, 2015 at 5:01 AM

      Aww, I sort of like Lewis. Give him a chance!

      Delete

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