Saturday, July 11, 2015

July Run

186 comments:

  1. Harriet Baber is the most sensible regular commenter over at FP, and I really like this paper of hers from 1990, which offers useful counters to all sorts of bad thinking across the philosophy blogs, from FP's regulars to the ARG, from NudeChapps to the DAMF...

    http://home.sandiego.edu/%7Ebaber/research/complicity.pdf

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    1. <3 Harriet Baber. Thanks for the link, 10:22!

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    2. Fascinating. Baber takes some devices I associate more with anti-feminists (mate selection as an exchange with associated markets, game theory, etc.) and applies them through a feminist/egalitarian lens. This is a really interesting. Is there more feminist scholarship like this?

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    3. I like the way she does that, yet does not assert that it is going on at the level of biological adaptation, but is rather a matter of (egoistically rational choice).

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    4. oh count the ways we entrap ourselves.

      This is a real trap for women, just as we all have entrapped ourselves in other ways where a rational collective choice is needed but is not forthcoming.

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    5. Agreed, HE Baber is a voice of reason.

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    6. While I agree with the general premise, in some cases, I think it's dumb and counterproductive to apply it to things like "snagging a man" (In which Baber asserts that women want men only for sex and money, and men pick a mate almost exclusively on account of her physical appearance). A better example of the prisoner's dilemma would be something like, demanding better family leave/flexibility in a job, etc.

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    7. The piece is from 1986 -- why was it never published?

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    8. 10:36, because women don't tend to publish their stuff. And this because (unless they're part of the old girl's feminist philosophy network) they tend not to have very good networks.

      I suppose I should post that comment on some blog where this issue is officially being discussed as a topic of professional concern, but really, I can't be bothered to do it under my real name since it is such a politically charged issue and since I would then be committed to addressing follow up questions etc.However, it's too bad that people aren't saying this in other places where they're discussing the issue. Too bad, because it's true, and is the reason.

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    9. Good grief! There's plenty of places to pubish if your stuff is any good. What subfield are you in that requires networks? And why would you be so arrogant as to presume this author's reasons for not publishing this very derivative and rough peice of work?

      Half the discussion is wasted re-explaining prisoner's dilemmas. Even in 1986 this was old news. The interesting point about female mate competition probably wasn't a novel insight back then either. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but we can do better for this fine Metametablog.

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    10. Is it necessary to call me names in order to make your point, anony 12:17? Why attribute moral vices to me? Can you really think that my comment is good grounds for attributing those vices, or that any productive purpose is served in pronouncing your judgment about them?

      Anyway, networks help people develop ideas. Lots of people teach in places where they don't have philosophically sophisticated people to talk philosophy with on a regular and informal basis. Women tend to be more isolated then men this way, because even if they teach in a department that has a lot of active researchers, for various reasons they will stand apart from the group. This is not so much the case for female graduate students but for faculty. So, yeah. Having good networks of people working on the same topics or related topics is important for setting little tasks for yourself and getting people to quickly read things as you make some headway, etc etc. etc.

      I think what is novel about her discussion of female mate competition is that she doesn't then start talking as if it were an adaptation. This is what is done in most discussions of it.

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    11. That's right! We can do as well as YouTube videos made by angry young men at PedPill!

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    12. As 10:22 who posted Baber's paper, I just want to clarify that I don't think it's publishable philosophy at all. I just like the fact that it starts from a couple of premises that too much shrill philosophy blogging these last couple of years has treated as incompatible: 1) sexist discrimination is real and sexual stereotyping has pernicious consequences. 2) sexist cultures and systems leave plenty of room for cynical members of the oppressed group to make a career out of exacerbating the problems. How much more sensible would our discussions of the Ludlow case, for example, have been (and continue to be) if both sides could just grant these?

      I also think Baber's model, properly developed, might help clarify things like the Rachel Dolezal case, discussions around which have been stymied by a refusal to acknowledge the obvious fact that oppressive systems and cultures create sinecures for those willing to perform the most outspoken identity-roles within the oppressed groups. Black scholars like Adolph Reed have been saying this for decades, but lots of the public discussion either denies the oppressiveness of the systems or denies that performing opposition to the systems can be pretty lucrative on the systems' own terms.
      Baber's paper at least makes a start on thinking through these problems without denying obvious truths.

      And careful with the dismissiveness 1:01 - that "feminism is bullshit!" "angry young man" who put the RedPill video together? That's the ARG's doktorvater you're talking about - show some respect.

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    13. 12:17 again. Not sure what 1:01's point is or what they are referring to. I am talking about this thread. It's also weird they think you can discredit somebody's opinion because of their age or gender. Please try to stay on topic and cut out the causal ageism and sexism.

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    14. What makes something publishable, 10:22/ 1:27? Have you published a lot?

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    15. You win, 1:28. Sorry. But fwiw, my point was that Baber's paper was by far more thoughtful and original than the video posted a few comments below at 11:02 PM, July 11. If you can't see it for some reason, here it is again:

      http://m.liveleak.com/view?i=719_1427973156

      I'm sure you'll agree.

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  2. Sadly, she posted something recently about how she is always ignored....and everyone promptly ignored her. I like her posts!

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    1. I am different from 10:22, 5:57 and 2:24.

      The article posted above was liberating, Harriet. (I haven't talked to you for years but I'm glad you're around doing your thing.)

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  3. Let's talk about feminism. Consider these cases:

    http://jezebel.com/294383/have-you-ever-beat-up-a-boyfriend-cause-uh-we-have

    http://m.liveleak.com/view?i=719_1427973156

    How should feminists react to them? Is it sometimes acceptable for men to hit women? Is the reverse acceptable? Discuss.

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    1. The answer to both questions is clearly yes.

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    2. Angry rage guy, find something else to make your life meaningful.

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    3. What was the point of that RedPill video? "If you want gender equality, prepare to get beaten?" Damn, ARG/ RMF, damn. Also, for the record, you're not very nice, and ladies don't like you. My boyfriend is extremely nice, and you know, I like him.... oh, and we don't hit each other. I know, crazy!

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    4. @12:49: This is 12:00 AM. I just think people have the right to defend themselves from physical violence. Why so angry?

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    5. I think self-defense theorists are interested in principles of proportionality, where we have the right to defend ourselves against violence proportionately [or something], and to quote Rachel McAdams's character from this season's True Detective, only one sex can kill the other with their bare hands. Now, that's not going to true of every pairwise combination of a man and a woman, but there's something to that as a general claim. So, while it's not cool for any of the ladies in the RedPill video to hit those guys, a lot of those guys defended themselves with disproportionate force. And you know, that's bad. At least, that's what scholars of self-defense say [I think, you can always check PhilPapers or SEP if you want,,, and I suggest that you do that 12:00 AM/ 3:40 PM].

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    6. I'm not angry at all, 12:49, 3:40. It's just that a sudden insight came into my head. I realized that ARG is (let's assume for a moment ARG is you) an older guy who once had a bad experience with a woman you loved, one which at the time made you feel humiliated though you have come to see intellectually that there was nothing to be humiliated by and that it was not your fault but her serious character flaws. Yet you are still not really OK with it; there is still hatred in you for what she did, and you cannot get over it though you don't know who to blame. You continue this day to try to make philosophical hay out of it, because you're obsessed. Only you can't really make philosophical hay out of it 'cause there's not too much philosophy in it, so instead you attempt at least to engage philosophers on an anonymous blog where one does not have to pretend to be doing philosophy, hoping that everyone will see what evil things these women are, generally out for themselves and liable to violence. Am I right?

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    7. correction: 6:03 is from 12:49 and directed to 3:40 and 12:00 a.m.

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    8. You just took this blog into some really weird places, 6:03. You too, 11:02.

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    9. Yes, but the weird places characterized by 6:03 are likely the mechanisms that underlie ARGs point of view. And don't forget, ARG is a real metablog founder. So if 6:03 is right, this blog may well have been in those weird places all along....

      And 11:02 might be the O-ARG, or just an ARG disciple who happened upon this blog as he searched for like-minded MRAs. If ARG is a philosopher, and his disciples are just rank-and-file internet MRAs, ARG might be motivated to reevaluate how his methods for thinking about feminism. But then again, maybe he has good reasons to gives folk-intuition about feminism authority over well-worked out philosophical arguments about it. Who knows?

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    10. Mad typos. Sorry.

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    11. 6:03, I know who you are, although obviously I won't reveal it here. I'm the person you think is 11:02. I'm not 11:02. I've never even commented on this blog before. Get control of yourself and e-mail me if you want to talk.

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    12. Haha. Have we ever emailed before?

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    13. By the way the person I think it is has as far as I know, never publicly posted on any blog.

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    14. I guessed wrong. Let's just say I had good reasons for guessing as I did. I hope things are going well. This is my second and last comment ever on this blog.

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    15. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!? Unless you're super-technologically advanced and you have some super-reliable method of figuring out who 6:03 is, odds are you're wrong 8:56

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    16. Y'all are creepin' me out here.

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    17. There are a bunch of people here pretending to be 6:03 and they're not! Not, I tell you. It's me who's 6:03 with the theory about who the ARG is. And my theory is WAY different from your theories. Plus someone is mimicking me.

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    18. Hi there.

      6:03, you are completely barking up the wrong tree. You're not even close.

      I haven't yet contributed to this thread. Haven't been on the metablog for days, actually. But I am the person who said ages ago that I had something to do with the founding of the metablog, which you or some other idiot claimed meant the same as saying I was a metablog founder. Because you're not, you know, someone who knows how to read or think carefully, even when it's repeatedly pointed out to you. To you, X being a founder of Y and X being somehow involved with the founding of Y are the same thing. That's why you thought it was hilarious to refer to me as Definitely A Metablog Founder, while the rest of us cringed at how asinine you were being. Again.

      As far as I know, nobody else on this blog has said anything about being involved in any way with its founding. And I have nothing to do with this red pill stuff (I actually hate it), and have never discussed the issue of equal violence being permissible on the part of either sex, and I've never to my knowledge been humiliated by a woman I was seeing.

      So your attempt to commit a psychological ad hominem/genetic fallacy by dismissing the metablog as the writings of a psychologically bitter mam fails even to rise to the level of the transparently fallacious argument you were aiming for, and for no fewer than three reasons. First, I'm not the founder of the metablog and never claimed to be. Second, even if I were, I've never said the things you've incorrectly concluded I said or undergone what you think I did. You've just overconfidently jumped to conclusions. And third, all sorts of people contribute here. It's a free and open forum, and what some people think and write has nothing to do with what other people write.

      Were it not for those three things, you'd have a viable ad hominem fallacy that any competent philosphy freshman should be smart enough to avoid.

      Honestly, 6:03. Lay off the blogging and sleuthing and work on your basic philosophy skills for awhile. When you come back after a good hiatus, you'll have more fun and won't slow down the conversation here anymore.

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    19. 8:56: did you think 6:03 was or is currently affiliated with CU Boulder? I wondered as much myself.

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    20. Oh dear. Now the sleuths are naming departments? Like I said, y'all are creepin' me out!

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    21. I couldn't be commiting an ad hominem fallacy if I wasn't attempting to express an argument, or to persuade someone of something. And indeed, as it turns out, I was not attempting to give an argument or to persuade! Rather, I was trying to work with your soul, ARG, and help it liberate itsefl from suffering.

      But good to know that the guy involved in the founding of the blog does not like the red pill stuff, and if you do not like the red pill stuff, that does indeed suggest that my hypothesis is erroneous. But I wouldn't consider it falsified yet.

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    22. 9:36, in no way is 6:03 affiliated with CU Boulder.

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    23. If the DAMF isn't the ARG, it's certainly a wild coincidence that they share a tendency to make confident statements about how "we" all feel.

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    24. The DAMF =/= the ARG!?!?

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    25. (New poster here)9:29, if you were the person who said they 'were involved with' the founding of the blog, then you were also the person who meant by 'involved with' just that 'happened to be hanging around on a blog thread when it was discussed' and also thought that this licensed you to make authoritative claims about what the blog was for, and what other people should or should not be doing on it.

      So it is hilarious to refer to you as DAMF, because those things were ridiculous things to say. And the 'rest of us' don't think the person who is mocking you for being so ridiculous is asinine.

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    26. Hi, 10:56. I don't know about you, but I'm a new poster too and I think at least most of us thought the Femtroll/person-who-coined-the-term-DAMF is a fucking moron.

      Also, the person who made the comment about being involved was also, or claimed to be, one of the people who joined in urging someone to start a new blog for us to be able to critically discuss the New Consensus. That may not be a great claim to fame, but what the Femtroll isn't getting is that that wasn't the point. The point was that this blog and the previous incarnation of it arose to facilitate this. Everyone who's been here from the beginning knows that. Just drop it already.

      It's also pretty lame that you folks have nothing better to do than show up here and make us listen to your shit over and over, since in the end the best you have to say for yourselves is that you don't think the blog arose for that purpose. Your shtick is getting old and boring, and it was never that interesting a topic to begin with, and you don't even have anything positive to contribute to the discussion anyway. When's the last time you gave your theory about what you think this blog is for?

      And who cares, anyway? If you're too thick or stubborn to figure out what this blog is, that won't change a thing. You come here and call the place a cesspool and try to police us and blah blah blah. But none of us give a damn. You lost. Fight's over. You're wasting your time and getting spanked repeatedly. That ain't gonna change here, ever. So give up or go home.

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    27. Stop being a condescending prick 9:41. I am not trying to speak for anybody else, but I find you even more annoying than ARG.

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    28. 12:08, if you're trying to convince everybody that you're not the same person as the DAMF/ARG, you're doing a really shitty job, what with your claims about what 'most of us' think, 'everyone' knows, and what 'none of us' give a damn about.

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    29. How do you know what anybody else thinks of 12:08's claim that they are a new poster?

      Clearly you are the ARG .

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    30. I didn't say that I did know what anybody else thinks, 1:57/ARG. The kinds of claims you are making (everybody knows x) require you to know or have evidence for what everybody knows. The claim that you are doing a shitty job convincing everybody of X only requires me to know that you are doing a shitty job convincing at least one person. And I know for a fact you are doing a really shitty job of that.

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    31. First of all, I am not 12:08. You have called atleast 2, possibly 3 separate people ARG.

      And secondly....I don't think so. If 12:08 convinced everybody of X apart from you, I wouldn't say they did a really shitty job.


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    32. ARG is an archetype. The hallmarks of the ARG include stupid appeals to authority by trying to make out that 'we' all think whatever the ARG happens to think, stupid over-confident editorializing about just how brilliantly he is winning every argument, and defending posts that contain this kind of stuff while being really insistent that he is a different poster, often despite the fact that he tends to go into a huge amount of detail about particular things that happened ages ago and replicates all of the above behavior. You may or may not be 12:08, but you're the ARG. Are you and 12:08 in fact the same person? It's the most charitable interpretation.

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    33. Except that my comment at 1:57 doesn't fit with any of those.

      Anyways, good luck with whatever you are trying to do.

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    34. This is 3:40 pm.

      @6:03: I genuinely don't recognise myself in your fantasies. But I like your strategy of telling stories in place of giving arguments. Have you considered moving out of philosophy and into the English department?


      @6:02: So just to be clear, your problem is not that they chose to defend themselves but that they reacted disproportionately. Which of the responses in the video was disproportionate and why?

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    35. I'm not watching the whole thing again, 6:47. Pick one, provide the time that it appears [e.g. "3:48" for 3 minutes and 48 seconds], and I'll let you know.

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    36. New poster here, we all think the femtroll and the ARG are singularly unhinged, mentally deranged morons!

      Amirite? Or amirite?

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    37. 4:12/8:13/ Femtroll,

      Remember, one of the main ways we always know it's you is that you have nothing original to say and merely mimick what you hear us say. You think it's great satire, and it could have been if the same reasoning applied in both cases and the original thing we said had something ridiculous wrong with it. But that's never the case. You just pick random things we say and mimick them, which is unintelligent and no more clever or relevant than a preschooler saying "I know you are, but what am I?" at random points in a conversation.

      I know this passes for wit in Women's Studies. But that's just because people who take WS laugh automatically at any attempted jibe that seems to criticize antifeminists. Those juvenile tricks won't work outside that limited circle. Again: you've got to up your game.

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    38. New poster. I'm with you 8:13. The Femtroll and the Femtroll Hunter seem cut from the same cloth. They're like the schizophrenic id of the metablog.

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    39. @6:02: What about 2:42 & 3:24?

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    40. You got me 8:52. You got me. Clever, clever.

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    41. This is all so Shakespearean. Here we are, arguing in the woods in a silly fashion, alternately quarreling and playfully jousting. Meanwhile, someone is about to come along and clobber us.

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    42. WHO!? I DON'T WANT TO BE CLOBBERED!

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    43. I don't know who. It's just what always happens in literature in these kinds of scenarios, I mean like the kind we are participating in.

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    44. Anonymous philosophy blogging? You mean, it seems like nothing is of any consequence because everything here is silly and meaningless, but really, our IP addresses are being stored by the real metablog founder? And we're all exposed for writing some silly comments on the internet, even though most of us probably have said sillier things on our own social media accounts? I'm not to worried.... or at least I wasn't.... *gulp*

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    45. No, I don't have in mind any specific manifestation of the clobberer, or whether the clobberer would clobber by way of having access to IP addresses. All I was saying is that this quarreling and jousting among young and old playing at being louts is a story found in literature, probably all over the place, and what always happens in the story is that a clobberer comes along. This is what the drama seems to require. However, of course the clobberer just sets the rest of the action of the story into motion, and does not have the final battle.

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    46. I can't read, so I don't know what you're talking about 1:39. But I'll take your work for it.

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    47. *word for it

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    48. I can't understand humor based in denigrating someone to others so I'll just have to take your word fer it, 1:48.

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    49. I wasn't denigrating anyone. I'm not a very strong reader! Nobody's perfect!

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    50. My apologies, then, 2:13. Assuming we follow the same Gricean implicatures, perhaps we speak different dialects of English:

      For you, "I am not a strong reader" means
      (1) I do not read well.
      (2) I do not read very much.

      Which?

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  4. http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2015/07/08/the-letters-continue-erasure-misrepresentation-and-orwellian-doublespeak/

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  5. If someone drives around in a Hummer, that's good grounds for calling him a climate change denialist (meaning someone who disbelieves in human-caused climate change). If someone votes for a party that hasn't seriously committed to shifting away from carbon intensive industries, she is a climate change denialist.
    Discuss.

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    1. Interesting use of "she".

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    2. I meant nothing by my use of pronouns. Just alternating for the hell of it.

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  6. I'm grateful that Leiter today posted most of the Philosophy Talk interview and Q&A with Snowden in 5 5-minute pieces. But you should go to the PhilosophyTalk site itself and get hold of the podcast if you can, as there is a very interesting line of thought that is left out of the 5 5-minute pieces (I think). This concerns how we should understand what is public and what is private and the relation of the two to autonomy. KT and Snowden are discussing a certain metaphor for the internet, that of the Super Highway. There is a certain important way in which the internet is dis-analogous to a highway and once you start thinking about this, you can see that our whole understanding of the public/private divide, as it is coded in the law, is offbase. You can also understand the relationship of privacy to autonomy.

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    1. Good points, 7:46.

      The nature of public/private divides underlies a number of recent disputes in the sociology of philosophy, in my opinion.

      For example: is what graduate students do on "down-time" (say, outside of the halls of their department and without formal connection to any seminar) a "private" matter or a "public" one suitable for departmental regulation? Or: is what faculty do with graduate students on "down-time" a private matter or not? Suppose they are private indeed; is this a good reason to withhold official sanction? Do public/private divides track with the boundaries of legitimate autonomy? And so on. There are difficulties with any answers to these questions; this is the hallmark of a genuine philosophical problem. The way to make progress, I suspect, is address these obvious philosophical difficulties head-on and explicitly, rather than to simply assume answers and rush to judgement about the merits of any particular case.

      I don't say this, by the way, only to suggest that, for example, what McGinn did is "private" and therefore beyond the pale of criticism or official sanction. I think, rather, that these are very difficult and distinctly philosophical questions. Their correct answers may well tell against McGinn. But we'd best not ignore them, lest administrators and their ilk use the situation to wrest yet more control over academics.

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    2. I agree it enters in to a number of recent disputes we might examine in doing sociology of philosophy.

      However, the most interesting problems about the public/private divide arise as a result of the use of new technology, and I am not sure that the McGinn case is one of those (though perhaps if all of their interaction was via email, it could count).

      When you bring up McGinn and official sanction, I would bet dollars to doughuts that you're defining the private realm question-beggingly, as that area of life into which others should not intrude. Just a guess: I'd welcome you to show me that my guess is mistaken.

      A different point about your comment is this: You say that it's possible that "what McGinn did is "private" and therefore "beyond the pale of criticism or official sanction". This is an inference I think it is very popular for people to make, but I think that one ought to be careful about defining the private in normative terms. It is quite possible to diminish someone's privacy for morally praiseworthy reasons and it is possible to think of lots of uncontroversial examples of this. I might throw open the bathroom door without knocking because I think a family member is sick.

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    3. If anyone understands why I contradicted myself in paragraphs three and four I will give you two sushis and two drinks and two icecreams.

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    4. "I would bet dollars to doughuts that you're defining the private realm question-beggingly, as that area of life into which others should not intrude."

      Oh, not at all, 9:23. Rather, I think the question of whether "the private" tracks with "the autonomous" (as we might call the realm that is beyond legitimate institutional sanction) is itself a live philosophical question. This is what I hoped to convey with these questions: "Suppose they are private indeed; is this a good reason to withhold official sanction? Do public/private divides track with the boundaries of legitimate autonomy?"

      You're right, of course, that it is common to define the private in normative terms (or, at least, that the private is beyond the pale of official sanction is a common presumption). But as you point out, there are philosophical difficulties with this presumption.

      The correct reaction to all this is to dive in and do some philosophy of privacy.

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    5. BPG? Is that you?

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    6. OK, I'm still waiting for someone to complete the extra credit assignment I gave you at 9:25. Please study paragraphs 3 and 4 of 9:23 carefully and explain (and possibly resolve) an apparent inconsistency.

      p.s. 9:32, I think of autonomy a little bit differently, but otherwise I get what you're saying I think.

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  7. I recently came across this (public) comment regarding the Colorado site visit disaster. Funny, isn't it, that a hostile environment for women (allegedly fostered by a woman) goes totally unmentioned in the report!

    Diana Brickell (PhD, Colorado at Boulder, 2009) writes:

    "I never experienced any sexual harassment or notable sexism in the department. On the whole, I was supported and encouraged by male and female faculty, and I was treated in a professional and friendly way.

    The only major exception to that was noted feminist Allison Jaggar, particularly when she was the graduate advisor. Her behavior toward me was appalling: I felt very keenly that she was trying to push me out of the department on any possible pretext. In my view, that was because I was not on board with her brand of radical leftist feminism, including plans by her and other feminists to take over the department. Alas, I was not the only non-feminist woman in the department to experience overt bias and hostility from her. Now, in light of what's happened, I wish that I'd lodged complaints at the time.

    Overall, I'm very sad -- and very angry -- that such a fabulously awesome philosophy department has had its reputation trashed in what seems to be little more than a radical feminist witch-hunt and power-grab."

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    1. That's quite the bomb to drop right before my bedtime, 10:39! I look forward to seeing Jaggar publicly address Brickell's concerns in a mature and timely manner.

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    2. It seems just a tiny bit of an understatement to say she didn't get on with Jagger because she "was not on board with her brand of radical leftist feminism..."

      http://philosophy.philosophers.org/Philosophers.html

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    3. Unfortunately Brickell is a nutty Randian. I don't know how she was able to get a PhD. Not the sort of ally we would want.

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    4. I noticed that too.

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    5. A lot of dumb people get PhDs.

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    6. Excluding someone as an ally because they hold an unpopular or even absurd view isn't something I'm comfortable with. That sounds like the sort of thing that the worst kind of party-line feminists do, in fact.

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    7. I don't think the problem is that she holds an absurd view. Rather, the fact that she holds that particular absurd view casts doubt on her version of events. I'm not surprised that someone who is a nutty Randian felt that people were hostile to her in a philosophy dept. They probably were, because most philosophers (rightly) think Rand's stuff is bullshit. (not forgetting the fact that lots of nutty Randians seem to have massive persecution complexes to boot).

      Also annoying: the stuff about it being 'fabulously awesome' and her concluding that because she didn't experience any notable sexism, everything must have been fine. It's not the case that there are only two options: that the dept was a hellhole, or it was fabulously awesome. It is entirely possible (and likely) that like almost everywhere else, it was somewhere in the middle. It's also pretty clearly bad logic to go from "I never experienced harassment" to "there was no harassment, everything was awesome" which is what she seems to be doing. Quite obviously, it wasn't 'fabulously awesome' for some people. There was at least one confirmed case of sexual harassment. There's all the Hanna stuff. This isn't to say that what ended up happening was justified, but just because we think the response was disproportionate doesn't mean we have to pretend that there were no problems whatsoever and everything was just fabulously awesome.

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    8. Does the fact that most of Rand's stuff is bullshit justify being hostile to a Randian colleague?

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    9. Yes, 1:11, but indirectly. The fact that Rand's stuff is bullshit justifies the belief that anyone who remains a Randian after getting a PhD in philosophy is stupid, intellectually irresponsible, and/or an asshole. This, in turn, justifies being hostile to them.

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    10. Now I'm no fan of Rand, but 5:45: you're something of a cunt, aren't you?

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    11. 5:45, nope. Nothing justifies being hostile to anyone. But resistance and noncooperation s sometimes justified. Also verbal objections or evidence against the claims someone makes are sometimes or often or always justified. Also placing obstacles in the path of someone bent on a course of action that is harmful to others is often justified.

      The idea of justifying hostility is just really weird, and not only because it is a little hard to make the case that emotions are the appropriate kinds of things to receive rational justification. What kind of person seeks to "justify hostility"? Are you thinking of this endeavor on the model of justifying wars? Is there a seepage of language here? What am I missing?

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    12. https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/myisha-cherrys-ted-talk/

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    13. Nothing justifies being hostile to anyone??
      Does anything justify anger at someone? Resentment? Shame?

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    14. 12:01 here. 1:26, yes, she ably defends the claim that anger can be justified and is an appropriate response to injustice. She also mentions its important role in motivation.
      She does mention Seneca at the beginning and MLK and Gandhi very briefly toward the end. Her claim about the latter two is that they were angry, good and angry, but were able to exploit it in the right sort of way, rather than to be overwhelmed by it or allowing their energies to dissipate through it or directing it in a way that is not useful. They were great in part because they knew how to direct their anger.
      Her Tedtalk all in all seems quite wise. But the comment at 5:45 does not seem wise to me as it is written. It seems like the wrong use of anger, if that is what 5:45 actually feels. The problem is that as the comment is written, it recommends directing hostility at a particular person, and also expresses hostility at a particular person. MLK and Gandhi used their anger to fight systems of oppression, and systems I am sure is what their anger was directed at. Of course they would have had to put obstacles in front of particular agents who enabled the system in order to fight the system, but that is different from hating individual people as opposed to the system which they actively (whether unconsciously or evily) enable.
      So, I guess I can stand by my comment at 12:01 while also agreeing that anger can be justified and that anger is the appropriate response to injustice. Yes? Do I sound too Christian or something? I'm a total atheist.


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    15. I don't understand what you're saying now.
      Anger can be justified but hostility cannot? You said that the idea of justifying hostility is really weird. But there's nothing weird about justifying anger, as you seem to admit.
      You may disagree with someone about whether in a particular case hostility toward some person is justified. But that's not what you said -- you said the *idea* of justifying hostility is weird.

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    16. Hey, you're not 1:26 4:49. I'm 1:26!

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    17. No. I'm not making a distinction between anger and hostility. I'm making a distinction between two different objects of anger (or hostility): persons or systems.

      But there's a further point. There's a whole story to tell here about whether or not emotions have intentional content. When we say I am angry at x, it is not at all clear that the x (or a representation of x) is part of the anger in the way that, when we say, I have a belief about x, the x (or a representation of x) is part of the belief. The so-called intentional object of our anger then would not be an intrinsic part of that particular type of anger arising in us, sufficing to distinguish it from other types of anger, but rather may be an object that we (unconsciously) choose to associate with the anger in order to interpret the feeling arising in us. Thus the association of an object with an emotion is explained in a way analogous to how certain kinds of delusions are hypothesized to arise, as attempts of the mind to explain disturbing data. If it works this way, you should consciously choose how to direct your anger, and if you are angry at injustice, you should direct your anger in a way that it will be most effective and does not in turn cause more injustice.

      That's in reply to 4:49.


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    18. Oh, I should add: if anger has no intentional content, but is rather a sensation only, that means it is not the kind of thing that can enter into justificatory relations with other mental states, such as beliefs. That's why it can't be justified. Still the fact that it arises in us is telling us something, i.e. is evidence for something going on in the world or ourselves to which we should respond. The hard part is to figure out what it is telling us.

      How's that?

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    19. First of all, Ack! I misread. I, who previously misidentified myself as 1:26, am in actuality 1:47 (and 4:49). So sorry about that.

      Second, I don't do philosophy of the emotions, but I would have thought both hostility and anger are *obviously* intentional.

      Third, what you said was that nothing justifies being hostile to anyone, and that you found the idea of justifying hostility weird. But as I now understand you, you have no problem with the idea of justifying hostility (since you have no problem with the idea of justifying anger and you are not making a distinction between anger and hostility).

      Now a separate issue is whether it might be possible to justify anger toward a system but not possible (or even weird) to justify anger toward a person. That combination of views seems completely off the wall to me, but it's a new point, in any case.

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    20. I don't think I said it was possible to justify anger against any person or anything (the reason for its not being possible is that anger is a sensation and does not have intentional content). I said it was USEFUL to direct your anger against a system of oppression rather than a person. Thus I would have to grant that you can justify a claim like "you should direct your anger at system S" in terms of its being useful to direct your anger in that way to accomplish some further purpose. But that's different from supposing that there is anything analogous to truth conditions that anger states or hostility states could have.

      I'm totally sympathetic to a reaction like yours, viz. "I would have thought both hostility and anger are 'obviously' intentional". I believed that too as an undergrad and grad and for many years, but then I had a chance to think about it more carefully. I remember actually being taught the view as an undergrad, seeing my teacher analyze e.g. fear as an attitude of a certain type with a certain content analyzable in terms of a belief and a desire directed towards propositions related to the propositional content of the fear. So that way of looking at things is very familiar. But now I think it's wrong, or at least, that any reasons that would count in favor of it are not conclusive while at the same time there are good reasons for construing those kinds of states in the way I have suggested, as sensations without intentional content, but which we "interpret" and assign an object to, in a way that helps us make sense of our world in the moment.

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    21. I don't think I said it was possible to justify anger against any person or anything

      Well, you wrote:

      So, I guess I can stand by my comment at 12:01 while also agreeing that anger can be justified

      So in fact, you did agree that it was possible.
      Of course, you are free to change your mind now.

      Here is an argument that anger has an intentional object.
      Almost all anger is anger *at* someone or something. It makes sense to ask someone, “What are you angry at?”, or “what are you angry about?”, and it would not be sensible to answer, “What do you mean, people don’t get angry *at* things.”
      What else is necessary for anger to have an intentional object? I suppose people sometimes mean that the object does not have to exist in order to be the object; I don’t see why that would be relevant, but anger fits the criterion anyway.

      It's not clear to me why being justifiable depends on having an intentional object, by the way. But it's pretty clear that anger does.

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    22. Hi 6:22. Thanks very much for pushing me on this.

      I plead guilty to using "justification" equivocally: in 4:23 in a restricted sense and in 2:05 in a broader sense.

      I appreciate your argument from the way people ordinarily talk. As you are aware, the fact that people do specify who or what they are angry "at" is totally consistent with my claims in 10:02, which I summarize and elaborate here: that anger states are not individuated in terms of their intentional content, and that it's an illusion to think that they have intentional objects, one that comes about from our needing to interpret our suddenly arising sensational experience.

      In one of the statements below I think I add a bit that addresses your important question of "what else is necessary for anger to have an intentional object". At (11) there's a suggestion of a little test one could do.

      So here are the claims I want to make:

      (1) Hostility towards persons is never justified. fn1

      (2) It is consistent to say that hostility towards X-type things is never justified, yet anger at Y-type things is sometimes justified.

      Instead of (2), let's just make this easy and work with proposition (2E) instead:

      (2E) It is consistent to say that anger towards X-type things is never justified, yet anger at Y-type things is sometimes justified.

      (3) It is possible to justify the use of a thing in terms of its effectiveness towards some valuable end.

      (4) It is possible to justify a proposition in terms of the propositions from which it can be deduced (together with arguments for the truth of the premises etc.)

      (5) It is possible to justify a belief in terms of beliefs from which it was actually deduced or could in principle be deduced (together with arguments for the truth of these beliefs etc.) (The scope of the possibility operator should be narrow.)

      (6) There is no strong reason to think that there are no other kinds of attitudes besides beliefs that can be justified in terms of their logical relations to other attitudes. However, not every mental state or state of consciousness is an attitude with propositional content.

      (7) Anger is asensation; it has no propositional content.

      (8) A mental state needs to have propositional content/intentional content/ an intentional object in order to be justifiable in terms of its logical relations to other mental states.

      (9) If anger is justifiable, it is only justifiable in terms of its effects.

      (10) No good comes out of anger directed at people.

      (11) We have the ability to direct our anger. (Compare, we do Not have the power to control what a given desire is a desire for anymore than we have the power to control what a belief is about; if we come to desire something else, it is a different desire altogether. But one and the same particular instance of anger can be redirected.)

      (12) Some good can come of directing one's anger towards e.g. systems of oppression.

      (fn1: And hostility towards someone one does not know personally, on the basis of some isolated piece of information taken out of context, especially is not justified. But leave that aside. I'm going for the general claim. If I lose on the general claim I'll retreat to this claim.)

      How's that?


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    23. Hi 6:22,

      I thought I posted a reply, but somehow it disappeared.

      Here it is again, more briefly.

      First, I think I was using "justification" equivocally in 4:23 and 2:05, once in a more restricted sense and once more broadly.

      Second, I like your argument from ordinary language, but as I am sure you are aware, that does not show that anger has intentional content.

      Third to your very important question, "what else is necessary for anger to have an intentional object?" perhaps there is a hint of an answer in my (11) below.

      Here are some claims I want to make:

      (1) Hostility towards persons is never justified.
      (2) It is consistent to say that hostility towards X-type things is never justified, yet anger at Y-type things is sometimes justified.
      Let's just make this easy and focus on the following proposition (2E) instead of (2):
      (2E) It is consistent to say that anger towards X-type things is never justified, yet anger at Y-type things is sometimes justified.
      (3) It is possible to justify the use of a thing in terms of its effectiveness towards some valuable end.
      (4) It is possible to justify a proposition in terms of the propositions from which it can be deduced (together with arguments for the truth of the premises etc.)
      (5) It is possible to justify a belief in terms of beliefs from which it was actually deduced or could in principle be deduced (together with arguments for the truth of these beliefs etc. (The scope of the possibility operator should be narrow.)
      (6) There is no strong reason to think that there are no other kinds of attitudes besides beliefs that can be justified in terms of their logical relations to other attitudes. However, not every mental state is an attitude with propositional content.
      (7) Anger and hostility are sensations; they have no propositional content.
      (8) A mental state needs to have propositional content/intentional content/ an intentional object in order to be justifiable in terms of its logical relations to other mental states.
      (9) If anger is justifiable, it is only justifiable in terms of its effects.
      (10) No good comes out of anger directed at people.
      (11) We have the ability to direct our anger. (Compare, we do not have the power to control what a given desire is a desire for; if we come to desire something else, it is a different mental altogether. But one and the same particular instance of anger can be redirected.)
      (12) Some good can come of directing one's anger towards e.g. systems of oppression.

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    24. I wasn’t giving an ordinary language argument. I was relying on common sense, not ordinary language. The premises are my claims about what it does and does not make sense to say. Do you disagree with those claims?

      You make a *lot* of claims of your own. Several seem irrelevant to me; a couple I agree with.

      (2E) It is consistent to say that anger towards X-type things is never justified, yet anger at Y-type things is sometimes justified.

      Yes, that is consistent. But you said that attitudes with no intentional object cannot be justified. Anger at X-type things has X-type things as its intentional object. I presume the X-type things you had in mind are not propositions.

      Here are two I think are wrong.

      (7) Anger and hostility are sensations; they have no propositional content.

      Anger has an intentional object. Sometimes that object is a proposition, because someone can be angry that you insulted him. Sometimes the object is a person. I’m sure there are other more exotic ontological categories of objects of anger, too.

      (8) A mental state needs to have propositional content/intentional content/ an intentional object in order to be justifiable in terms of its logical relations to other mental states.

      I doubt that states need propositional content to be justifiable. I can dimly see why they might need some kind of intentional object, but as far as I can see there is no reason whatsoever to think that object has to be a proposition.

      You said you have been using two different senses of 'justification'. Maybe you are now using the word with some special technical sense?

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    25. 6:22,. I pointed to two different senses of "justification" in propositions (3) vs. (4) and (5). A thing can be justified if it is useful for attaining some valuable end. My claim of course, is that anger can be justified if it is put to good use. But in order for it to have this kind of justification, it need not have any kind of representational content. It need not be a representation at all.

      If you don't like me to call your argument an "ordinary language argument", but rather call it an "argument from common sense", I am happy to do so. In any case, I totally agree with you that people say for example, "I am angry at so and so" or "I am angry that so and so insulted me". In an earlier comment I thought you agreed that this fact about what people say, or about what seems natural to us, or just common sense, though suggestive, does not prove that anger has representational content/intentional content/propositional content or an intentional object. For you challenged me to say what more is needed for anger to have an intentional object besides the fact that people talk as if it does. I addressed that question by pointing out that it is possible for a person to purposefully redirect her/his anger, and that this was different from states that do have objects that they are about. Of course a much fuller story needs to be told here.

      You say, "I doubt that states need propositional content to be justifiable" and here I don't know what to say in reply if you do not agree that in ONE sense of justification, a mental state must have propositional content in order to stand in justificatory relations to other mental states, and if at the same time you deny that the ONLY sense in which anger can be justified is that it may be a good tool for a valuable end. Again, if someone is angry that someone insulted him, what are the satisfaction conditions for such a state -- under what conditions is someone correctly angered? In the case where someone insulted him, you will respond. So then I ask: show me an inference where the conclusion is an anger state. Not the report of an anger state. Not a normative claim. But an anger state.

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    26. In an earlier comment I thought you agreed that this fact about what people say, or about what seems natural to us, or just common sense, though suggestive, does not prove that anger has representational content/intentional content/propositional content or an intentional object.
      A couple of things here. First, I definitely didn't think I was offering a proof! But more than 'suggestive'. I thought I was giving pretty good reasons for my conclusion.
      Second, it's not a matter of what people commonly say; it’s the fact that *it makes sense* to say that one is angry at someone, or angry that… These things wouldn’t make sense if anger had no intentional object.
      You agreed with me that these things make sense. So what do you think they mean, if they do not point to the intentional object of anger?

      For you challenged me to say what more is needed for anger to have an intentional object besides the fact that people talk as if it does. I addressed that question by pointing out that it is possible for a person to purposefully redirect her/his anger, and that this was different from states that do have objects that they are about.

      I didn’t understand that point.
      To be honest, I still don’t. Can you be more explicit?
      Suppose Saul insults Ruth at the symposium, and Ruth is angry at him for doing so. Can you say what she does to redirect her anger, and how this is supposed to show that anger has no intentional object? As I understand things, when a state is directed as something in the world, that already makes it an intentional state; the thing at which it is directed is its intentional object.

      Again, if someone is angry that someone insulted him, what are the satisfaction conditions for such a state -- under what conditions is someone correctly angered?

      Hm, well that seems to me to be a substantive ethical question, and a hard one to answer precisely. When someone insults you deliberately and maliciously, right, I think anger is an appropriate, warranted, apt response. ‘Correct’ in some extended sense, I guess – but I don’t think intentional states have to be capable of being correct, do you? (Aren’t desires paradigmatic intentional states? Preferences? Wonderings? Imaginings?)

      The anger isn’t an inference, you’re right about that. But I’m a little lost at this point. Are you claiming that only states that can be inferred have intentional objects?

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    27. New voice.

      "These things wouldn’t make sense if anger had no intentional object."

      No, they may just be the product of generations of bad education. Surely we could teach ourselves to project out into the world and label as 'object' of our mental states all manner of things that cannot perform that role. But the mere fact that some group of people might find it sensible to say 'I am tired that another Patriarch mansplained to Ruth' and 'I am breathing that Ruth summon the All-Mother to smite Saul' only shows that some groups of people are confused. It is no evidence that breathing and being tired have intentional objects.

      Also, trigger warning.

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    28. Greetings New Voice. Thank you for the examples of breathing and being tired.

      6:22, you say several things I want to respond to but for now I'll just respond to one point. When I mention satisfaction conditions I am indeed asking about something analogous to truth conditions; I am asking about something semantic, not something ethical.

      If a state has intentional content, it has to have satisfaction conditions. Desires do have semantic satisfaction conditions in my view. If I desire a sandwich, that state is semantically satisfied if and only if I have a sandwich. Of course we don't say the desire is "true" if that is what you mean by "correct". It is not the job of desire to represent the world the way the world is in fact. Rather, the desire represents the way the world would be if the desire were satisfied. Then, one hopes, the world cooperates bending itself to fit the template that Desire provided. Intentions also have satisfaction conditions: my intention to eat a sandwich is satisfied if and only if my eating a sandwich comes about through my own agency. But not every mental phenomenon you might mention has satisfaction conditions.

      Generally, while folk psychology is very useful, and a certain amount of scientific psychology can be based on it, I see no reason why we should think that every single item that folk psychology considers to be a mental state with intentional content is in fact one. It is quite possible for some of folk psychology to be a myth even if not all of it is a myth. Now a scientifically well-received view about a part of our psychology is that we like to tell ourselves stories about what is going on in our consciousness. This is discussed in connection with delusions like capgras delusion for example, if I am remembering correctly. I submit that anger is disturbing to us, and because it is disturbing to us, we interpret occurrences of it as a representational and thus treat it as an attitude towards a proposition. But states of anger are not in fact attitudes with propositional content.

      Suppose Saul does something in Ruth's presence (say, steals her idea) and Ruth feels anger immediately after. Ruth will believe that the feeling arose as a causal consequence of Saul's action. Since she believes that Saul's action caused her feeling, she will think that the feeling is about Saul's action. Ruth might say she is angry at Saul or that she is angry that Saul stole her idea. But such a state has no satisfaction conditions, which it must have in order to enter into any possible logic, which it must do if it is to stand in justificatory relations to other representational states, which it must do, if it can be justified in any way other than in terms of its usefulness. I guess we could also say that it is justified in that it is normal or healthy.

      Suppose Ruth, frustrated at being closed down and closed out by the system that supports Saul's stealing her ideas and keeping her out of the conversation, goes home and kicks a piece of furniture and then feels better. . Does this mean she is angry at the furniture? I don't think so. I think its the same anger she had earlier in the day, just directed differently. The target is not part of the intentional content of the anger. It's extrinsically attached to it by some interpretive activity of the mind.

      Thanks again for pushing me on this.

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    29. New Voice,

      Surely we could teach ourselves to project out into the world and label as 'object' of our mental states all manner of things that cannot perform that role.

      I don’t see how. Things projected into the world and labeled are paradigm cases of intentional objects. God, sea monsters, phantom limbs are intentional objects. Once we project an object, it is eo ipso performing the role of an intentional object.

      the mere fact that some group of people might find it sensible to say...

      The premise isn’t that a group of people find something sensible to say. The premise is that what they say makes sense. If people said, "I am breathing that Ruth summon the All-Mother to smite Saul", then (I take it) this would not make sense. On the other hand, “I am angry that Saul insulted me” does make sense.

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    30. Older voice:

      If a state has intentional content, it has to have satisfaction conditions.

      Desires have satisfaction conditions, because desires are the sorts of things that can be satisfied. But that is a very special case; most sorts of intentional states are not the sorts of things that can be satisfied. Wondering is an intentional state, but it doesn’t have satisfaction conditions. You cannot satisfy someone’s wondering. Yesterday I was thinking about a leprechaun. My state had no satisfaction conditions, because 'thinking about' is not the sort of thing that can be satisfied. (Its object is not a proposition.) The fact that you cannot satisfy anger (well, in the relevant sense!) does not show that anger isn’t intentional, nor does the fact that anger's object is sometimes a particular object rather than a proposition.

      I see no reason why we should think that every single item that folk psychology considers to be a mental state with intentional content is in fact one.

      Well, I think the fact that folk psychology counts something as an intentional state is a good reason to think it is in fact one. Defeasible, but a good reason.
      I don’t see that you’ve given any reason to doubt it in this case. The lack of satisfaction conditions doesn't do it, as far as I can see, since lots of paradigmatically intentional states lack satisfaction conditions.

      I cannot for the life of me remember how this started! And I'm not inclined to look back to see...

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    31. Hi 6:22.

      More later, but I would never ever say that the fact that when we report anger, we put a noun phrase rather than a that-clause in the object position after the verb means that anger's object is sometimes a particular object rather than a proposition. I wouldn't say that even if I thought that anger did have any kind of intentional content.

      There's really no such thing as representing something without representing it as having some property.

      s/Older Voice

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    32. Yes, that seems like a good point. I mean, two good points:

      First, that the grammatical category of the grammatical object might come apart from the ontological category of the intentional object. (I would say it's some evidence, though, no?)

      Second, that there is no such thing as representing something without representing it as having some property. That seems right.

      But I think some states of mind have objects, rather than propositions, as their intentional objects, nonetheless. For example, liking. You can like Olive, a particular; you can like spinach, a kind; you can like to smoke a pipe, an action. In none of these cases is the object of the liking a proposition.

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    33. Hi 6:22. My point was not that the content 'another Patriarch mansplained to Ruth' cannot be an intentional object. Of course it can. One can believe it, for instance. But it cannot be an intentional object of the feeling of being tired, for being tired is a bodily state not a mental one (I spoke of mental states above, but that was a mistake; we're talking about bodily states here). If anger, qua bodily state, is like being tired in that it is not intentional, then the fact that some community might teach its members to say things like 'I am tired that another Patriarch mansplained to Ruth', and so find it sensible to speak like this, does not show that they are anything other than confused about the relationship between bodily states and intentionality.

      And so while I understand that you want your premise to be 'it is sensible that we take anger to be intentionally directed', I am calling that premise into question. For the claim of yours that I was addressing was this one: 'These things wouldn’t make sense if anger had no intentional object'. My examples show that the fact that some group finds its sensible to say these things need tell us nothing more than that the group in question makes use of a confused manner of speaking. Surely those swept up in the confusion will find what they say sensible. But that's consistent with the fact that they are still confused. Generations of bad education can do that to people.

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    34. Hm, okay, so you are "calling into question" the premise that it makes sense to say that one is angry at someone. That's fine -- I admit my argument has premises!
      I guess my position is that this premise is common sense, and I would like to see what is supposed to count against it.

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    35. Anger, like breathing and being tired, is a bodily state, not a mental one. And only mental states have intentional objects. And so your claim that you find it sensible that anger has an intentional object is no more dispositive of whether anger does in fact have an intentional object than the fact that in some community a group of people could convince themselves to speak as if it was sensible to say that being tired or breathing was directed at mansplanation or the All Mother's wrath would show that being tired and breathing have intentional objects.

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    36. I'm not familiar with the distinction. Can you give me some help working out which states are bodily and which are mental?
      Thanks.

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    37. You aren't familiar with the distinction between bodily and mental states, or you don't know how to apply it here? Either way, your claims about 'common sense' and what seem sensible to you don't prove anything, for the reasons I've given. Lots of people convince themselves that all sorts of nonsense is sensible. You need to do more than appeal to what you find sensible.

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    38. Sorry 6:22, that was too harsh. All I mean is that the apparent sensibility of anger as intentional can be explained by social conditioning, and if it's properly classified as a bodily state rather than a mental one, the fact that you think it's common sense that anger is intentional doesn't carry the justificatory force you seem to think it does.

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    39. To my lovely internet philosophy friends, New Voice and 6:22.

      While I'm glad that New Voice seems to be making my argument more clearly and completely than I was, I am not totally enamored of a taxonomy according to which sensations are categorized as non-mental. The feel of anger is certainly for brief periods a part of consciousness even if (as I think) instances of anger are not states of mind with intentional content and anger has no functional role in cognition.

      Do things really go wrong if we say that not all mental states have intentional content? Must every event we acknowledge to be a mental event be some occurrence of a state whose intentional content is intrinsic to the type of state it is?

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    40. New commenter here. Interesting discussion.

      I doubt that social conditioning would make me think breathing or being tired are intentional. For instance, how do I know what I am tired at? A classic difficulty for associative explanations is that they fare poorly for novel outcomes. If I can only refer to objects taught to me by the crowd, then I can't have any novel intentional objects; e.g. I can't know I could be angry at my baseball team unless that has been explicitly taught to me. And yet we can surprise people about what we are angry at or about. Meanwhile if I can mistake breathing for an intentional state, then I need to have a way to decide what objects it is directed at that lets me go beyond what was explicitly taught. I would also say it is important that it can be directed at actual objects, properties, and events. I don't think these links to intentional objects are arbitrary--yet they should be if the conditioning explanation is correct. If the crowd tried to teach me that my anger at my friend for telling a lie was really about something completely different--say the Eiffel Tower, I would think they were crazy. At best I would have no idea what they were talking about.

      My apologies in advance if I have misconstrued what you are saying.

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    41. New commenter 5:17.

      I agree that links to intentional objects are not arbitrary, if a state has intentional content.

      I like your test; I think it's brilliant. But I don't think it works. If the illusion, or delusion rather, that anger has an intentional object arises from a story we tell ourselves, a narrative, of course people can know how to go on to a new case.

      I'm not so convinced by the Eiffel Tower example. Alice's anger which Alice thinks is caused by her friend and is therefore a representation of her friend, allows her anger to stablize and endure. We are better able to handle our anger if it endures a bit: treating it as if it were anger about something allows us to control it. To address your case: It would be arbitrary to extend the anger to the Eiffel Tower because typically towers have no agency and the thing about anger is that we want to blame someone else for it. It's an uncomfortable state and it seems to come from without. Maybe towers are worthy of anger in cartoons though; a little kid could be angry at the mean tower in the cartoon that purposely allowed itself to fall on the cartoon puppy, for example. This arbitrariness vs non arbitrariness about targets of our anger has to do with whole stories we tell ourselves about how the world works, and does not show that the sensational state is actually about anything or that it represents anything.

      But I don't know if this addresses your concern about the conditioning explanation.

      /Older Voice

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    42. New Voice, I have *on no occasion* used the fact that *I think* something is common sensical as a premise. The premise is that it makes sense to speak of anger *at* someone or something or some state of affairs. Obviously you are free to deny this premise, and you have (I think), but I think you have to give a reason to deny what is common sense.
      Again, it may be true that 'conditioning' explains why it's common sense (though I think 5:17 has a good point), but I think you have to give some reason to believe that it's conditioning.

      Finally, I can understand why you are unwilling to say what the difference is between bodily states and mental states, but you should understand that since you won't do it your claim that anger is a bodily and not a mental state doesn't count for much in this context.

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    43. I think I will now withdraw, because I have other things I have to do. (Not philosophy.)

      Thank you all for an interesting (and, contrary to Meta...blog rep, utterly civil) discussion.

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    44. Hi 6:22, it does seem we're talking in circles. I'm sorry I wasn't as clear as I could have been. I only meant to be giving reasons for thinking your appeal to 'common sense' doesn't carry the weight it does; of course you still may be right that it does make sense to say that anger is intentional, but you'd need to do more than appeal to common sense to justify that.

      Delete
  8. That post is over a year old, and it is extremely relevant to debates about the Colorado site visit and whether future site visits are appropriate. So why am I only hearing about it just now!?

    ReplyDelete
  9. FWIW, Ludlow is still listed as a faculty member on the Northwestern Philosophy Department webpage. As of a moment ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So what? Why shouldn't he be?

      Delete
    2. 8:15 neither said nor implicated that he shouldn't be.

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. That's a really great passage to ponder, Atticus. Thanks for posting it. I find it very hard to come to terms with what is happening now in the larger world outside of philosophy, but also in philosophy. The DN site shows everyone is too chicken or too blind to what is happening to bother weighing in on the excellent Snowden interveiw that was done by Philosophy Talk. It is left to one guy to do, who unfortunately had to bring up a conspiracy theory. How can we all be too involved in the details of ordinary life to ignore the fact that we are turning into an Orwellian society?

      Delete
    2. Actually probably a good number of us actually work for the NSA, that's why.

      Delete
    3. That is indeed a very powerful and disturbing passage, and casts light on pretty much all forms of 'fake egalitarianism' -- the NC is is but one among very many -- and much else besides. The NC version is so obviously fake though! Their tone is so consistently white- patrician.

      Delete
  11. The metablog is back. No signs that it's under Glaucon's auspices, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been back for a while. The post used to say explicitly that the current iteration of the Metablog was not sanctioned by Glaucon. I'm glad it's there, though. Many people who used to frequent the Metablog never came around to the Metametablog. Maybe now they will.

      Delete
    2. If there's no poetry by Glaucon, then it's not the metablog. Sorry. No dice.

      Delete
  12. CDJ says some more about the new placement data analysis project:

    http://www.newappsblog.com/2015/06/academic-placement-data-and-analysis-first-steps.html

    Hilariously, data on gender and race is going to be collected but not openly available (they are going to require "IRB approval", which is presumably calculated so as to discourage any off-reservation analysis a la http://genderandprestige.blogspot.com/)

    Here's a thought: why not create some kind of open source wiki that takes all of their data and allows people to add information like names and gender. It's not like it's hard to figure out what gender someone is, and if we crowd-source the effort, it shouldn't take long at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an interesting idea, 11:04. You should re-post this later if people don't pick up on it for discussion this time.

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. He gets to about 11 before he starts making things up or taking one-offs as universals. But those 11 are real problems; what can we do about them?

      Delete
    2. You can both fuck off.

      Delete
    3. I don't know what you are talking about, 6:14. The whole list looks pretty accurate.

      Delete
    4. Are they supposed to be about politics courses? They don't make sense if understood to be about a philosophy class. Or math. Or biology. Or economics. Or musicology.

      It does sort of read like a "I'm a victim too!" article, despite the disclaimer he includes.

      Delete
    5. The one 3:39 links to is a pretty plodding, unfunny satire, albeit hitting the mark pretty correctly. And the South Park style everyone-is-an-asshole relativism at the end is nauseating:

      "Sources confirmed a separate donation has also been made to provide a safe space and counseling services for straight white men at the college who won’t shut the fuck up about how they’re the real victims on campus these days"

      Delete
    6. 10:07, most people I saw who linked this said "the end made it" or "I was angry until the end" or something like that. I don't think it *ruined* the joke or anything, but the fact that they felt the need to tack on a "oh, by the way, straight white men are the WORST, huh?" at the end of an article about the excesses of identity politics and "safe space" infantilism speaks volumes.

      Delete
    7. The more I think of it, the more it seems that it really _did_ ruin the joke. I mean, here you have a pretty ham-fisted attempt at satire in the first place. But, then, at the end of an article that is supposedly mocking the PC thought control environment of campuses, the author throws in a stupid and unrealistic bit to appease the very PC folks that are the targets of the article. It's either ironically idiotic or pandering or just written by someone with a poor understanding of how things are.

      Delete
    8. So, 3:59, you are saying that a lot of people on social media were _upset_ with the article for mocking the infantilism? Are these people philosophers? Other educated people? Who are these people who support this madness? I'm not asking for names, I'm just baffled at the type of person that doesn't find the infantilism absurd and terrifying.

      Delete
    9. All the living people who have written anything you assign your students.

      Delete
    10. The Onion piece is not making fun of safe spaces for underrepresented people. It's making fun of rich people who are feeling intimidated by *any* representation of people not just like themselves. The fact that the article is about a daughter may have been confusing for some of you.

      Delete
    11. The Onion is making fun of most of the people who whine about spaces not being safe -- upper middle class, cisgendered, heterosexual, white women. They experience almost no harassment and yet try not to lump themselves in with homsexuals, trans* people, racial minorities, and poor people, but make themselves seem like *greater* victims of harassment than those groups.

      See, e.g., feministphilosophers. Every so often there's a token mention of persecuted minorities, but mostly it's about wealthy tenured hetero cis white women and their troubles.

      Delete
  14. Question: Why are professional philosophers so fucking irredeemably obnoxious?

    Discuss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because everyone is fucking irredeemably obnoxious.

      Delete
    2. Not easy to summarize the dynamics and institutions and practices that result in that. As in, takes some work; I'm not up for it atm. But it's a thing, for sure.

      Delete
    3. Sorry, 3:07. :(

      Delete
  15. Maybe the commenter at FP whose comment got reduced to a shred by the censor's knife would like to repost here? I know I'd be interested in reading it.

    (Even though it didn't address the issue AJJP wants addressed, I mean.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AJJ also recently censored another thoughtfully critical comment on this thread:

      https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/shameblameguilt-a-good-way-to-produce-nurturing-helpful-women/

      It was a follow-up comment by Anonymous (commenter #16) to AJJ's comment #17. Unfortunately, she deleted this comment #18 before it appeared in my feed reader (I only saw it when on the web site).

      She (but not only her, of course) has done this throughout the years -- deleting comments which are by no means disrespectful or off-topic, but which she simply disagrees with and presumably feels threaten her preferred spin on a matter -- and if you subscribe to the FP comments feed, you can sometimes pick up these censored comments before they remove them. Frankly, I was so surprised that comment #16 got through their defenses that I saved it, then was pleasantly surprised that AJJ responded, but then sadly unsurprised when she censored #18.

      Delete
    2. Sadly, I did not copy my comment as I usually do. It was wholly benign. I think I called in to question HBs assertion that the example she provided was really an instance of microagression. I also pointed out that HB was, in fact, committing a microagression against men by perpetuating the stereotype of absent/uninvolved father. I seem to have made the mistake of not recognizing that only overly privileged, middle age + white women are the one true victim of microagression. frankly, we'd all be better off if they could pull their eyes away from their navels once in awhile. Who has the time or energy to be so pissed off all the time? Take a walk for fuck's sake. For the record...I'm a feminist--I guess just not the "right" kind.

      Delete
  16. re: dailynous, I like how any man having an opinion on the causes of the gender gap in philosophy is accused of "mansplaining". I also like the (I would think, absurd) question (#25) of whether there is any philosophy done by women which is not feminist philosophy.

    We should just all wear bags over our heads and refer to each other by our initials, maybe disguise our voices as well. Or we could just stop focusing on this issue as if it's the only interesting thing going on in philosophy.

    -A woman, hoping for something better.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My dog lifts her leg when she pees. What do you all think about THAT!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that you spend too much time thinking about your dog's genitalia.

      Delete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  19. AJ is in fine form in the Microaggressions thread at FP. Delft is putting on a good show, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have this crazy, unbelievable, yet surprisingly straightforward hypothesis about why AJJ frequently finds herself treated as if she's a nutter.

      Delete
  20. I enjoyed the discussion about the meaning of 'sexist'. Let's make sure that it only means one thing even though it doesn't

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha. "Language is amorphous and multiple and rhizomatic. Please consult sociologists on the politically-approved meanings of all terms you employ."

      Delete
    2. Mao meets Canute.

      Delete
    3. SO I’M JUST HELPING MYSEL TO AN UNDENIABLE ATHORITY’S USAGE!!!

      Delete
  21. God, I sincerely hope Gawker gets obliterated by a lawsuit.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I <3 this blog and all the cranky bastards who post here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fuck off.

      ...I mean, thanks! Keep posting!

      Delete
  23. The most shocking and exciting news to come from daily noose in a while is that JW teaches "On Bullshit" in contemporary moral problems. Why?! How is it relevant? Aren't there a million better things to teach!? This is newsworthy indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that some people use 'Friends' in the classroom
      the on bullshit is easy -- students think you are cool
      and loads of LCK: accused sexual offender

      Delete
    2. and no closed captioning. there would be complaints if i did that where i teach

      Delete
    3. The Colbert clip making fun of conservative politicians and defending planned parenthood is a microaggression against students with a conservative or pro-life background.

      Oh shit, wait, conservatives CAN'T be the recipients of microaggressions. I forgot.

      Delete
  24. Y'know, it's hard for me to get worked up about microaggressions when my state's governor and legislators are trying to destroy my university, and making good progress in doing so. These very serious macroagressions against higher ed make a lot of the concerns I see here look like the biblical motes and beams and gnats and camels thingies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard for me to get worked about about the state destroying universities when massive invasive surveillance and militarism by my country is going unquestioned by most people.

      Delete
    2. It's hard for me to get too worried about the military industrial complex when people keep using the harmful expression 'blind review'.

      Delete
    3. It's hard for me to care about 'blind review' when content warnings are still labeled 'trigger warnings', causing trauma to people who have had bad experiences with guns.

      Delete
    4. 5:45 killed me, thank you.

      Delete
  25. 1:12, perhaps I speak for others when I say I don't care all that much about government surveillance. The benefits it yields are concrete, and the "harms" it poses are abstract. Militarism is obviously a completely different story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The harms are not abstract, just hidden. Mass surveillance supports the militarism, and the financial support for militarism supports it. The only governments that require mass surveillance to function are fascist authoritarian governments.

      It is straight out false to say that mass surveillance provides concrete benefits. That case has not been made. Perhaps you are confusing mass surveillance with surveillance of a particular individual in the case where a warrant has been gotten from a court on the basis of solid evidence that that person has committed a crime or is involved in ongoing wrongdoing.

      It's a serious mistake to think you have no reason to care. Every single thing you do on line is now tracked and recorded, and much of what you do offline, especially if you live in a city. This is not the fault of technology, but the fault of our political will, and it can be changed, but the longer we wait the worse things will be in the future. You are vulnerable to harms arising from poor handling of the information or arising from self-interested wrongdoers who use it to gain power they are not otherwise entitled to. The probability of identity theft, reputation destruction, etc. is greatly increased. If you ever one day were indiscrete, the chance of that being forgiven so that you could run for public office without being destroyed are nil -- these is a major contrast with someone from 100 years ago. Aside from these kinds of consequences, there is the matter of respect for persons. Where you have no privacy the decisions that are yours to make are taken from you. Certain duties to others arising from various social roles and professional roles cannot be discharged if you do not have the ability to keep their information confidential. There are both consequentialist and Kantian reasons to be concerned about.

      Delete
    2. 8:42 are you for real? You put the word "harms" in scare quotes, as if there were none? You dismiss them as abstract? Since when were abstract matters inconsequential to a philosopher?

      Maybe you've just never spent much time in the adult world of work and so don't know much about the psychology of people.

      Delete

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