Monday, August 24, 2015

August Bread Crust

240 comments:

  1. "Hannah Arendt was right in stating that

    'the aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any,'

    suggesting that totalitarianism was as much about the production of thoughtlessness as it was about the imposition of brute force, gaping inequality, corporatism, and the spectacle of violence.[xxi] Totalitarianism destroys everything that democracy makes possible and in doing so thrives on mass terror, manufactured stupidity, and the disappearance of politics, all the while making of human beings superfluous. Yet, power however tyrannical is never without resistance. Dark times are not ahead, they are here but that does not mean they are here to stay."

    from a piece by Henry Giroux: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/21/the-plague-of-american-authoritarianism/

    I guess he tried to end on a hopeful note. Do any of you snark-mongers care about this or think that educators have any role in inducing totalitarianism in the first place or in helping leave it behind us? Will you throw up your hands and say "oh that's political, nothing I should bother about" or will you pretend like it is not happening, will you hide behind snark even on this subject? (It's worth reading the first few paragraphs to understand his slant.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This guy (Giroux, that is) wants to impress us with his use of difficult and vague language to hide his lack of arguments. He is a typical continental holding (surprise, surprise) leftist positions. He makes some very good points worth making and stating out loud, but it's sad that he doesn't express them well and encircles them within his own ideology in an insufferable long-read. This is not the way to convince people who are not already like-minded. It's preaching to parish.

      Delete
    2. Calling the US "totalitarian" is like calling Beyonce a member of the KKK. It is paranoid conspiracism, of the kind associated with Lyndon LaRouche.

      Delete
    3. Seriously, 4:03?

      What about the prisons? What about the lack of a choice in contenders for the most important political offices? What about the massive surveillance under the rule "Collect everything"?



      Delete
    4. "... the massive surveillance ..."

      Remove your tinfoil hat and grow the fuck up, you paranoid nut.

      Delete
    5. Affix your Devo hat, and d-d-duck the fuck down, you cellu-roid butt!

      Delete
    6. Seriously, 7:30? Are you the NSA? Or are you just sheltered?

      Delete
    7. "Are you the NSA?"

      The Patriarchs are watching you.

      Delete
    8. Honestly I'm surprised that you guys (or maybe just one person has been doing the facile reactive comments) aren't looking at the arguments and distinctions Giroux makes, because they are there (contrary to what 3:41 says). It's interesting to point out that authoritarianism will take a different form than it did in the 30s and to explain why, as Giroux does. What he points out goes against the usual picture people have of what it would look like for us to be living in a totalitarian society.

      Or maybe you're just trolling?

      Delete
    9. 9:55, there are no (at least, interesting) arguments in that Giroux article, only examples of what Girous regards as indicating more or less fascism or seeds thereof or 'protean' (whatever that means) elements. Not even a description, let alone a definition, of 'fascism' is given. Given is what's common to forms of fascism, but that may not be sufficient. (You know, definition means giving the necessary AND the sufficient conditions. I doubt this Giroux guy even knows this much about basic logic.) Meanwhile the article is awash with sentences like: "What is crucial is that the mechanisms, discourse, culture, and ideologies that inform authoritarianism must become part of any analysis that now addresses and is willing to challenge the anti-democratic forces at the heart of American politics." Pffff. Coming out of nowhere. Also, I can't think up the truth conditions of that sentence no matter how hard I try. The sentence is a good example: it combines strong language ('crucial', 'any', 'willing', 'at the heart of') with a list of the vaguest of terms ('mechanisms', 'discourse', 'culture', 'ideologies', 'inform' (what?? inform?), 'forces'), terms that sound intellectual to make the author look like an intellectual. There's no checking whether he didn't forget a term in the list. There's no checking whether a term rightfully is on his list. But we should see through it. Seriously, this Giroux person comes off as yet another continental charlatan looking to immerse his expression of his own examples of things that are wrong in headache-inducing language and endless lists of intellectual sounding abstract adjectives and nouns. Also, he quotes various authors saying something without giving arguments for those claims himself. Typically continental: famous person X say so, so it must be the case.

      Now, of course we can agree that some of the examples he gives are bad, indeed horrible, things. No sane person would defend the frivolous examples of handcuffing of pupils seen in the media recently. But we don't need pompous sentences, over-the-top claims and all kinds of further claims for that. Understood?

      Delete
    10. 12:21

      Other more contemporary meanings are listed but the first two will be useful to you, perhaps:

      Full Definition of INFORM
      transitive verb
      1
      obsolete : to give material form to
      2
      a : to give character or essence to
      b : to be the characteristic quality of : animate

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inform

      For what it's worth, I think he is right to mention that not only must we look at the machinery of authoritarianism, and the way people in an authoritarian state frame their discussions through the words they choose, but also we must look at how people pass down knowledge and ritual to the next generation, and at the mantras they repeat that enable them to overlook some elements of their experience while focussing on others. In fact. I bet investigating those factors comprise a complete study in case one should want to determine whether a particular state is an authoritarian state, and also that certain kinds of mechanisms, conceptual framing, and methods of transmission to the next generation are necessary to any fascist state.

      Delete
    11. That sounds so complicated and abstract. You must be a genius to even understand what you're saying. I'm glad I don't waste my time energy and brain figuring that out because I'm not wired for the task. I'm too dumb for it, sorry. Heck, I don't even get the purpose of it. I'll go do some analytic metaphysics now, that's my cupotea.

      Delete
    12. 2:19, you're sort of mean, aren't you?

      What I wrote was straightforward.

      Delete
    13. And 2:19,

      You just don't agree with the presuppositions, but don't realize that that's the problem because you have not examined your own, due to an enlarged ego. I'm glad you're proud that you do analytic metaphysics. If you haven't advanced beyond trivial conceptual analysis, and yet have the audacity to dismiss people's work who you have not studied, then I'm sorry for you. But if you're working at getting good even at conceptual analysis, then good on you even so.

      Delete
    14. 4:14, well, to me at least, it wasn't straightforward at all. For example, how does the word 'machinery' not incorporate all those things that follow thereafter? This is the kind of the problem (or at least, one of em) with these abstract words: they can mean so many things that the audience should really be given some concrete information about where and where not they apply. Plus a justification for their stipulated meaning. Ambiguity, vagueness, context. 'Conceptual framing' is another of those terms. All this complaining about complication and abstraction is however a detour, it's (to use one of Giroux's favorite terms) dialectically relevant because it's a reply to your comment but not materially relevant to my earlier point because the topic was Giroux's endless language and lack of argument, not yours. Yours is an improvement over Giroux's, I grant you that. (See what I did there? Contrary to Giroux, I explained each use of a pompous vague intellectual sounding term. I didn't use these terms to hide my lack of argument or to exclude my audience to those few snobbish insiders who are already like-minded.) I hope this didn't make me sound even meaner to you.

      4:22, please state those presuppositions of Giroux's that I would disagree with and would invalidate the earlier criticism of his article (in clear terms and short sentences, please). For the rest of your comment, I don't even know where to start. Too many presuppositions, many irrelevant. (See what I did there? I remained civil while you mounted a personal attack.)

      Delete
    15. Well, don't think I meant that analytic metaphysics was identical with conceptual analysis; I was alluding to your earlier necessary and sufficient conditions comment. The rest, later, when I have time. /4:22

      Delete
  2. Can someone explain what is motivating the "CV fisking" of adjuncts by Jason Brennan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. reported here: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1086-no-victor-believes-in-chance

      Delete
  3. harriet baber for the win over at FP, yet again

    ReplyDelete
  4. Of course educators have a role. And while I think that most of the damage is done before the university years, university educators do contribute to overall dumbing down with insane grade inflation. (Disclaimer: I mean in the States, specifically.) I don't mean to be harsh on any particular easy grader - I know the precarious situation many are in with depending on student evaluations. Unhappy customers make for poor reviews, and low grades, even when deserved, can make for unhappy customers. The system is clearly flawed when the product the university is selling is a piece of paper, not education. (If education was still the real point, grade inflation wouldn't be nearly so widespread.)

    In any case, it's educators and parents of smaller children who need to teach how to question, because without that we're all fucked. And if you're not taught that when you're young, I'm not sure how possible it is to learn later. Accepting authority seems to become pretty ingrained. (Disclaimer 2: I am not a psychologist, and I don't know if this speculation is true. Personal observation makes me think it is.)

    Philosophy would be particularly useful if used correctly - not taught in the "I agree with person X and position Y and you're wrong if you don't" sort of way that some favor, but with an acknowledgement that correctness is absolutely irrelevant while learning to question and explain one's reasoning (whatever it is) is everything. Most children already know how to question, really. They just need encouragement to keep (and develop) that ability.

    The fewer sheep there are the harder it is for totalitarianism to survive. Right now we have a lot of sheep. But you know what's really important? Keeping everyone "safe." We're all so safe. Not just physically safe! Emotionally safe, too. We don't even have to hear difficult things anymore, and if we do - god forbid - we can hashtag protest and make the offender apologize. Whew. So glad we're protected from ISIS and political incorrectness on Twitter. We really have perfectsd society.

    Actually, screw education. We don't want to start asking questions and messing with the whole safety thing. Teaching the children will only get them into trouble, and you know the NSA is watching, so forget that first bit I wrote. (Hi NSA. If you look at the last paragraph, you'll see I'm on your side.)

    Philosophers could totally get together and change things. But please don't. Haven't all your questions only brought you greater unhappiness? Don't you wish you could be stupid and placated? Exactly.

    I'm going to go shop at Whole Foods now. When the mass execution of intellectuals comes, they'll probably just start with the troublemakers buying organic food. Commies. But give me organic or give me death, right? Right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell if you're parodying me, because this sounds like me- down to the style. Are you the NSA? Okay. Well, you know I'm cool.

      Delete
    2. I'm not the NSA, as far as I know. Are you? I'm not sure if you think I'm parodying your PMMB posts, which would be weird as they're not connected to a single identity, or if you think I'm parodying something else of yours. Either way, no. That was just me, killing time, on a my phone, in a parking lot, procrastinating.

      Delete
    3. Procrastinating makes it sound like it was not worthwhile. But it was worthwhile. 2:06, whoever that person is, and I, 6:41, now know there is someone like us.

      Delete
    4. Stop lying. There's no 6:41 here.

      Delete
    5. You're right about there being no 6:41. I meant 6:58. Apologies.

      You're wrong about me lying. Lie: falsehood with the intent to deceive. There was no intent.

      At a certain stage, it stops being cute to call people liars whenever they say something false.

      Delete
    6. Liar! Your malicious intent is evident! 6:58 = Malice Alice.

      Delete
    7. Thank you for saying so, 6:58/7:02. (Although I probably do most of my worthwhile things while procrastinating. I'm pretty much always procrastinating on something.)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for taking the time to write that, 8:41. I started to write something longer but changed my mind. For now I'll just say: I suspect some oxymoronically named foodstore just sold me some GMO peaches without telling me, they were so unflawed and preternaturally large. I wonder whether a peach tree will grow from them.

    6:58

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm, perfection is unnatural. I'd be suspicious too.

      8:41

      Delete
  6. So it looks like the Philosophical Review's executive editor Louise Silberling has caused a significant sexual scandal involving defamation, body shaming, and online posts containing ableist insults toward a child.

    Judge Rules in Tale of a Soured Love Affair as Told on Anonymous Blogs

    Why did nobody ever tell us when this was going on? Where was the outrage? Where were our moral gurus?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Louise Silberling has been sent the new Anti-Patriarch Spray, developed by Weinberg & Genital, to use in future against her oppressors.

      #protectthewimminz

      Delete
    2. The judge dismissed much of the case, noting that “Opinions cannot be proven untrue.”

      Sigh.

      Delete
    3. http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2014/2014-ny-slip-op-31770-u.html

      It was a defamation case, so https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_privilege applies.

      That said, I am scratching my head as to how some of this counts as opinion. Accusing him, for example, of being abusive, of cheating on his wife, of abusing cocaine, etc.

      Delete
  7. This was clearly a coverup by our feminist overlords! Roar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Feminism: denying the agency of women since 1991.

      Delete
    2. Skepticism: denying knowledge blatantly since before Pyrrho was eating gyros.

      Delete
    3. Solipsism: where the Caucasians be since before my parents nameded me.

      Delete
    4. Mechanism: where the explanation is, since Presocratic fragments lived.

      Delete
    5. Sophism: supporting the status quo since 1982.

      Delete
    6. Sophism has been around a lot longer than that. And "two" doesn't rhyme with "quo." F-minus, 9:58.

      Delete
    7. You're just not pronouncing it right.

      Delete
  8. What to make of Ichikawa-Jenkins posting on DN? Wonder if Justin did that just to piss off Leiter. Also, as Leiter had alleged in her lawsuit, he couldn't have broken Jenkins because she kept having a social media presence--i.e., broken people are too broken to post stuff?--but maybe now she's in hiding?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, DN is now opposed to vigilantism? How times change ... when Leiter opposed it in March 2014, the femphils supported it.

      Delete
    2. Eh, the more straightforward explanation is that he's a philosopher who is openly in a consensual non-monogamous marriage. That is not at all the same thing as the secret adultery that is Madison Ashley's main business, but maybe JW thought that he would have an interesting perspective on the issues the hack raises.

      Not everything revolves around Leiter.

      Delete
    3. (Laughing with not at) 11:29, your comment reminds me of Melanie91

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C__MxNysXrU

      Delete
    4. "... maybe JW thought that he would have an interesting perspective on the issues the hack raises."

      For example, vigilantism? Isn't that what DN/FP support?

      Delete
    5. A consensual, non-monogamous marriage? Is that really a thing?

      Delete
    6. Idk, 1216, I prolly agree with OP that this was an intentional "go eff yourself" to Leiter. CJ's tweets have been down recently, I just looked. Maybe she's still hiding for the lawsuit.

      Delete
    7. Here was the post about the open marriage:

      http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/09/two-philosophers-on-open-relationships-part-i.html

      Delete
    8. Thanks for that mental image 1:59. :(

      Delete
    9. "A consensual, non-monogamous marriage? Is that really a thing?"

      Sure, in the same way that polyamory that isn't disguised waiting to trade up and outgrown in one's twenties is a thing.

      Or in the same way that a research-oriented philosopher in committed, consensual, permanent relationship with a TT job in a lower-tier department is a thing.

      So no. Not a thing.

      I thought that whole DN thread had reached peak absurd with all the self-righteous outrage over the grave crime of hacking. But it's really outdone itself with its move toward "let's not forget the real victims, here: cheaters." I wish it were some sort of parody debate, and they'd start calling each other unhinged conspiracy theorists.

      Of course, I think they doth protest too much. All these high-minded concerns about hypothetical endangered lives in other countries is really just sour grapes from some sad, lonely, narcissistic academics who were cheating on their horrible academic spouses and are now worried that the hackers might endanger their precious careers.

      Delete
    10. It's a thing, and it's wonderful. I feel bad for you if it's so hard for you to imagine that you think other people are making it up. But I'm glad that my life is so much better than yours

      Delete
    11. Wow, Norman, that is so incredibly selfish.

      I am fairly selfish, but I don't remember *ever* being glad that my life was so much better than another person's.

      Delete
    12. Ashley Madison is not a site for people in open marriages. It's a cheating site. Adult Friend Finder is for people in open marriages.

      Delete
    13. Oh Norman, the old "I feel sorry for you" retort always sounds like someone's trying to convince themselves.

      Look, it's fun while it lasts. Good luck to you, maybe yours will last longer than most. But the reality of human psychology and the distractions and responsibilities of everyday life and aging will eventually win. Polyamory, whether in or out of marriage, is one of those fun things from youth that as time goes on and adult responsibilities multiply becomes more of a chore (like, say, bars, drugs, or frequenting concerts). You've only got so much time and energy to go around, and the scheduling alone becomes a tedious hassle.

      That it's fun at the start no more proves its a thing than the fact that marriages are great at the start proves that lifelong, faithful, romantic love is a thing. Because it's not. Not only do half end in divorce and half include infidelity, even the most successful turn into a very different kind of "love" than the romantic version they billed themselves as at the start.

      Here's the thing, though. Even though successful romantic marriage isn't a thing, successful marriage is a thing, and has been so for ages in every single culture. And there's a reason for that: because what a successful marriage turns into is much more emotionally helpful and satisfying in the long haul than romantic love.

      Lifelong polyamory doesn't exist because it doesn't turn into anything useful in the long haul. People grow up, and in doing so, grow out of it. Or eventually life has a way of forcing to grow up, whether they want to or not.

      In any case, I think polyamory's a great phase, everyone should try it. But the attempt to combine it with marriage is just sad, and I'm not surprise that philosophers and academics are the only people I've encountered who've tried it.

      Anyone who has been deeply in love knows, with hindsight, that it's a shared delusion between two people. That's what makes it so extraordinarily beautiful while the delusion lasts. The clear-eyed lack of such a delusion required by a non-monogamous marriage is the sign of a loveless marriage, a marriage of science, with no art or poetry.

      Delete
    14. Interesting discussion 7:39. And there's this: people engaged in an open or polyamorous marriage might view the marriage from the start as something like friends with benefits, but fundamentally a business partnership (putting aside entirely the traditional parenting partnership idea). Such a partnership might be useful for purposes of material well being, such as to buy a house together, or to travel, or to present a certain appearance to some segment of society that rewards married folks more highly than single folks. Come to think of it, philosophy (and academia more generally) certainly privileges married folks over single folks, for no good reason, merely prejudice and old habits.

      Delete
    15. "... philosophy (and academia more generally) certainly privileges married folks over single folks, for no good reason, merely prejudice and old habits."

      What a truly bizarre comment. Academia prejudices single folks over marriage folks by a very significant margin. If one is married, then how does a partner obtain work/job, if they have to uproot and move, say, 1000 miles? For a single person, this is almost alway doable, often easily. For a couple, it isn't. People leave academia because of the toll it places on marriage. What conceivable toll does this place on someone single?

      Delete
    16. Yes, there's that. The famous two body problem.

      Otherwise, both in terms of intangibles, e.g. what people take to be signs of stability and responsibility, and in terms of benefits and other economic systems, it favors married people.

      I think "truly bizarre" is a bit of an exaggeration, and also an attempt at silencing.

      Delete
    17. "also an attempt at silencing"

      Help! Help! I am being oppressed!

      Delete
    18. Let's try to consider the issue leaving co-parenting out of the mixture, as I think that throws off intuitions.

      If an academic couple are not parents, the problem of moving across country is not as great as when there are children (though still greater than for a single person, agreed). But even so I don't see why there should be any special consideration in offering a job to the second half of whoever got the first position. This seems grossly unfair to single people to me.

      Suppose A and B are both up for a job. A is single and B is married to another academic and in the same field. Let's say it turns out that there are two positions and both A and B get hired for the same salary. But now B is also able to negotiate that his/her spouse gets hired, while A is not able to negotiate that his/her own support system (friends and sexual partners) get benefits from the University when they come to visit. That's unfair. People have prejudices against single lifestyles: they think that it is lacking or missing, and not that it is full, but in a different way from the married lifestyle. Because of this prejudice it seems very intuitive to people that married people should get special explicit benefits such as spousal hiring. But really it is very conservative (and not justifiably conservative), except in the case where parenting is involved which brings in a whole different set of considerations.

      Delete
    19. But to get back to the topic 8:49 raised.

      Yes, I suppose a non-romantic, friends with benefits, non-monogamous marriage could work rather well.

      Frankly, it might be the future of marriage, once enough idealistic young people realize that romantic love and non-monogamy are a psychological contradiction and decide to accept non-monogamy on real terms.

      There is the practical difficulty that given the cultural assumption that marriage is about love and full of those trappings (the ceremony, the anniversaries, etc), it might get tiresome to either pretend that it's a love relationship or to constantly have to decline to play that role and explain why.

      Another psychological obstacle is that human beings just seem to have emotional needs that friendship can't satisfy. I think the reason many married couples stay together even after the romance fades is that it changes into something very close to "familial" love, much like the emotional attachment we have to parents, siblings, or our children.

      Not to get too Freudian but, frankly, I don't think that it can exist among just good friends. So the friends-with-benefits non-monogamous marriage would probably be too emotionally unsatisfying in the long run.

      I admit that I hope something like that doesn't take off, precisely because, as you say, it's "fundamentally a business partnership."

      Like many forms of polyamory, it's basic free-market ideology taking over sex and personal relationships. And I find the marketization of every aspect of life deeply unbeautiful, even though it's often convenient, practical, and pleasant.

      I'll take inconvenient, painful and difficult beauty over unbeautiful pleasantry any day.

      Delete
    20. "But even so I don't see why there should be any special consideration in offering a job to the second half of whoever got the first position."

      Eh? This is a reflection of your privileged life and experience. How often does this happen to real people, and not people in your privileged elitist circle? Most married people in academia do not have academic partners. This means their partner isn't going to be offered a job, and has to uproot. Now how do they find work, exactly?

      Delete
    21. "... it's basic free-market ideology taking over sex and personal relationships. And I find the marketization of every aspect of life deeply unbeautiful, even though it's often convenient, practical, and pleasant."

      Yes, well said, 11:00, or at least: you expressed the way I feel too. The coldness of it puts me off, though I can see why it would be rational, at least in the short term, before the effects of an impoverished emotional life set in.

      But I guess for me there is something else. I feel it exploits a system, a set of prejudices, which once served an important purpose (safeguarding children especially) and no longer really do. If they no longer serve a purpose, they should be changed. Exploiting them tends to stabilize them, keeping anachronisms around.

      But if they do serve a purpose, other than supporting children, it is very much about enabling the kind of relationship you describe by giving it protection.

      Delete
    22. 11:26 is 8:45

      Delete
    23. 11:26,

      While I think it's accurate to say such marriages would exploit a system, don't they do so for a new purpose? So by changing the institution to make it serve a new purpose, aren't they in the long term fundamentally changing the institution rather than preserving an anachronism.

      As we've described it, these non-romantic open marriages would be useful in a lot of financial ways, and they provide at least some degree of emotional wellbeing in a world that to many feels increasingly isolated, with social media serving as a substitute for, rather than an expansion of, deep social relationships.

      If they became common enough, the hassles of playing the romantic game would fall away. And why couldn't they be the basis of families? Why not have friends parent children, rather than lovers? It might even be better for the children: fewer ugly divorces, maybe less domestic violence, parents who don't have to balance each others' needs as much with the childrens', and so on.

      Like I said, I'm not anxious for such a world. But it could be a good one in many ways. It needn't be cold, it could be quite friendly and fun. But I still prefer the pre-demystified world of the life-giving lie of romantic love.

      Delete
    24. As a married female academic with children, no, I don't feel like academia favors the married. Maybe married men with sah wives. *Maybe*, I honestly don't know. But academia rewards lots of conference travel (damn near impossible with kids and a working spouse, fully impossible with a breastfeeding baby), time abroad, the willingness to move about the country for post-docs, better TT positions, etc.

      I don't think this is unjust, these are the demands of the job. I just think it's weird to say that married people are favored, when they clearly are not, especially married women, since being married with kids is a sign of NOT being committed fully to philosophy.

      Delete
  9. Everything does revolve around Leiter -and roaring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " ... and roaring"

      And shrieking.

      Delete
    2. Same photo of nerdy young white lady in tinfoil hat...... TWICE!?!?!?!? FOULBALL!!!!! FOUL!

      Delete
  10. Good article about adjuncts: http://philmagness.com/?p=1381.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh oh, paging Derek Bowman. Or Matt Drabek. Don't feed the trolls.

      Delete
  11. today at Daily Nous: MD and RM be trollin'. Imma get my popcorn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's either trolling or she's singularly unhinged...

      Delete
    2. Inclusive 'or', right?

      Delete
    3. Imma, get my popcorn!

      Delete
    4. RM is the most successful conversation-steerer I have ever seen, both here and on DN and on FP. I cannot believe how off-topic she is able to take a discussion.

      Delete
    5. How do you know which topics are hers here, 12:31? Is it by definition that she does that?

      Delete
    6. comments, I meant

      Delete
    7. I would believe that RM could be Femtroll, ARG, or some other PMMB personality

      Delete
    8. I could believe she's all of them. And the person that says nasty things about her, and the person that defends her. I could believe she's 12:31! And 12:48! And 1:16!

      Delete
    9. RM actually tweeted this, not intending irony I would guess: https://twitter.com/rachelvmckinnon/status/632918200116637696

      Delete
    10. Explains a lot about her behavior. She probably wakes up in the morning every day shaking her head and saying, "I know the problem! I haven't been LOUD enough!" That gives you what we've seen from her over the years.

      Delete
    11. Damn.
      It's like rain on your wedding day.

      Delete
    12. That's not ironic, 2:18! Neither is a free ride when you've already paid, so don't you even start!

      Delete
    13. A state-of-affairs is ironic if and only if . . .

      . . . fill in those dots, I dare you!

      Delete
    14. Surprising and subversive.

      Delete
    15. Shit, that's right.

      Delete
    16. I was wondering why RM looked so... [censored]. It turns out he is actually male. Just like Bradley Manning. You can't hide the past, coward! Once male, always male. I hate trans part of trans people. Disgusting.

      Delete
    17. Ah, 11:00. Finding literally the only form of RM-bashing that I can't quite countenance. Let's stick to calling her stupid, arrogant, shrill, and just generally unsavory and unproductive. I don't think you'll find much sympathy here for your views on trans people.

      Delete
    18. This is eerily similar, down to the Manning comparison, to an earlier post on RM that was posted at another time she was losing support on a different blog. At that time, she posted about the PMMB on facebook and garnered quite a bit of sympathy. I wouldn't be surprised if this is another attempt.

      If it's not, then fuck you, 11:00, you ignorant dumbass. There's nothing wrong with being trans*. Let people be who they are, or want to be.

      Delete
    19. 11:00, "Just like Bradley Manning"

      Knock it off, bigot.

      Delete
    20. You are just uber liberal, 11:41 and 25. You accept gay marriage also?

      Delete
    21. 11:00, no. 11:25, also no, but less no than 11:00, but still generally no.

      Delete
    22. 11:00, very no; 11:25 plausibly yes.

      Delete
    23. 11:00/11:53, "You accept gay marriage also?"

      Of course. Now fuck off.

      Delete
    24. Singularly unhinged!

      Delete
    25. If she is unhinged on the standards of 11:00 and 1:14, all the better for her. No one is going to commend the sanity of those who sound like members of ISIS or the Donald Trump of philosophy (you know who I mean).

      Delete
    26. Can you perhaps explain that again, but in English this time?

      Delete
    27. Glad to see 11:00's bigotry (sincere or not) being called out as such. Good work, PMMB.

      Delete
    28. Exactly what 11:25 AM said. Whichever one it is, fuck off. (Although given this and other pieces of evidence, my bets are on the first disjunct rather than the second.)

      Delete
    29. I don't know if I'm right to even defend her here... but RM is just not that pathetic, just as a matter of fact. What she is being accused of is simply impossible to imagine if you know her. She's busy and serious and seriously social (talks through things with friends, and is around friends all the time, etc.). There is no way and no reason she'd pretend to be some disgusting creep on the internet. She's sincere about how hurtful that kind of talk is, she'd never perpetuate it. (And I'd write better if I were her, but she'd never write a post like this, either.)
      Who is the Donald Trump of philosophy?

      Delete
    30. Hi again Rachel. She *is* a disgusting creep on the internet. The only question is whether she *only* does it under her real name.

      Delete
  12. Nina Simone was intense.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Plenty of jobs posted... what's up with Smoker?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect the Smoker is a blog for an older generation, a generation for whom it's increasingly irrelevant. That would explain why the people who posted there the most have mostly moved on (I have too; after getting a job, I hardly ever go back).

      Delete
    2. What 3:20 AM said. Plus I suspect that much of the readership has immigrated here and/or into the Cocoon.

      Delete
    3. Plus how are Zombie and Zero and those people still on the market?! Eventually they have to realize it's just over. I just hate the tone at Cocoon, though.

      Delete
    4. zombie appears to be always on the market despite TT job and who knows about Zero. what is wrong with the cocoon tone?

      Delete
    5. Isn't it just that Arvan is a complete tool?

      Delete
    6. That may be the cause. It's doesn't fully capture what's insufferable about it.
      (I'm not 12:01 PM, but I fully agree.)

      Delete
    7. Fully and publicly capturing what is insufferable about the Cocoon would be an instance of punching down -- taking the piss out of people who are low on the professional hierarchy. And that would be bad form.

      Delete
  14. At http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2015/08/one-out-of-ten-people-in-london-ontario-belonged-to-ashley-madison-adultery-site.html, Leiter writes,

    "One out of ten people in London, Ontario belonged to Ashley Madison adultery site

    Curious. No word yet on what percentage of University of Western Ontario faculty are members..."

    Oh, Brian, you just can't help yourself, can you? Every day is a day in 8th grade for Brian Leiter...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What? If you have no sense of humor, go hang out at Justice Whineberg's place.

      Delete
  15. Yeah, I laughed.
    Of course, it's quite possible that my sense of humor is an 8th grade model.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In 8th grade you were making jokes about adultery?

      Delete
    2. I was definitely laughing at them. You weren't?

      Delete
  16. from leiter; "this interesting "philosophical" contribution to the understanding of the Ashley Madison hack".
    why "philosophical" in quotes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because this issue-of-the-month in-crowd circle-jerking is not philosophy.

      Delete
    2. DN is a loon magnet.

      Delete
    3. Well, you're not a poon magnet.

      Delete
    4. There's someone who lurks here and posts sometimes who really really likes rhymes.

      Heh. Did I say something true, or what?

      Delete
    5. "Anon, please do some pity take/and I shall no more verses make"

      Delete
    6. Sometimes humor ameliorates viciousness. It's necessary, but not sufficient, that the humor be less vicious that the initial viciousness. Also, rhyming is fun. Also, "vicious" is a bit of a hyperbole. My vocabulary sux. Someone find a more appropriate word.

      Delete
    7. biting stinging cruel
      scathing spiteful cutting harsh
      mean-spiritedness

      Delete
    8. Thanks 5:23. I'll go with mean-spirited.

      Delete
  17. "Everyone loves a crown, but when it comes to power, the mob totally trumps the monarchy."

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jerks get called out/in a lot at this blog for behaving like jerks across the blogosphere. Here is a helpful taxonomy of jerkishness. It will, I trust, allow pundits here to be more precise in their call-outs.

    Carry on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (9), he academic jerk, seems like a somewhat redundant subcategory of (4), the ideological jerk.

      I'm pretty sure 4 is the only category needed for philosophy blogs, for both the called-out and the caller-outers.

      Delete
    2. A group of 4s with the same cause should have been termed a "circle jerk." What a missed opportunity.

      Delete
  19. I'm told yesterday was "not a good day for philosophy"... but funny posts on the PMMB lately, as always, make things better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, I saw that comment, I think it was an instance of myopic hyperbole. I didn't make it, but here's my defense of it: if philosophers are in business of figuring out the truth and doing the right thing, and the right thing involves pointing out overlooked injustices, then we might expect philosophers to perfectly figure out what these injustices are, and perfectly reveal them- perfectly at all times. And yeah, I like to think I do a good job of accounting for interests that aren't my own, and sticking up for the marginalized. But I don't. And that comment pointed out a specific group that I, and apparently everyone else, overlooked. So, you know, hyperbole-schmyperbole.

      Delete
    2. *Or, I don't do a perfect job of accounting for others' interests, and sticking up for the little guy (who is sometimes me, but often not).

      Delete
    3. Everything you say, at all times, must be calculated to maximally protect the interests of the least advantaged.
      That's either Rawls or Drabek, I can't remember which.

      Delete
    4. Good for Drabek. Rawls is popular.

      Delete
    5. I don't buy it. The pretense that it was about sticking up for the marginalized started to fall away as the thread became mostly about privacy, whether cheaters are really villains, and whether adultery should ever be illegal.

      As is usual with the new internet left, at the end of the day, their real concern is the tastes, values, and interests of mostly upper-middle class, over-educated, white urbanites.

      The truly marginalized are becoming for the new left exactly what they've always been for the right: suckers to put on posters and in voting booths to serve their own class interests.

      Delete
    6. I for one am interested in the privacy conversation. Ethicists should talk more about that.

      Delete
    7. What specifically, 10:02? I guess I don't mind if the NSA reads all of my emails, social media, and blog comments... I'm kinda scared of ISIS and stuff, or whatever.

      I imagine that's a really unpopular position, so what am I missing?

      Delete
    8. The problem is that you can't ever tell what's objectionable until it's already become objectionable, so it's a matter of a precaution really.

      Delete
  20. This blog is great; even the nay-sayers read it avidly, if my Facebook feed is any guide. There are lots of good comments. There are also lots of shitty comments.

    What would be nice would be a "best-of" post that collects all the best posts that have been made here over the last year or whatever. Mods, can you make this happen? Commentators, can you make this happen? Post links to posts that you found especially funny or thought-provoking, and let's find a way to give them the extra attention they deserve. If nothing else, I'll compile that list of links to posts and attach them high up in a new thread when it comes along.

    A retrospective post linking to all of these in one central place would also be a good introduction to send people to who haven't been around for long. I'd rather send my friends to a "best-of" than the blog as a whole, since you never know quite what you'll find in the latter case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not a terrible idea (which translates from philosopher-speak to, "I think that's a good idea," in non-philosopher speak). I think you'd have to figure out a way to logically force cooperation- which I think is impossible. But I guess people could volunteer to look through each post and choose their favorites. But you might have to make some rules. I vote that no comments can make the cut if they mention specific contents of private facebook posts or say mean things about people by name or definite description. And no, nobody has said anything about me or my Facebook here. People have said mean things in response to what I've said here, but that's okay because [....Too much to write and I have to get back to work].

      Delete
    2. Mod cooperation would help a lot. The mods will not cooperate though, I'm sure.

      Delete
    3. even the nay-sayers read it avidly

      QFT, 9:52. QFT.

      Delete
    4. Well, yeah. I just assume that when someone says "oh man, those anonymous philosophy blogs are a cesspool, I never go to them" that they they faithfully imbibe from the cesspool.

      Delete
    5. It's a fine line between cesspool and hot tub.

      Delete
  21. This is a fucking great idea. I'll look back and try to find good comments I remember seeing here.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's it! I'm going on a diet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stop fat shaming me 5:05!

      Delete
  23. The Dreger meltdown continues. (Remember when she was live-tweeting--i.e., trolling--from her kid's sex ed course, then being asked to leave?) Now she resigns. The resignation letter is extraordinarily narcissistic, as is the "FAQ's" regarding her resignation; the latter is riddled with typos and links to her publications. http://alicedreger.com/resignation_NU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. Just another woman living off a man while pretending she's equal.

      Delete
  24. What to make of this: http://www.dailycal.org/2015/01/20/occupy-syllabus/

    "We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory...The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color."

    I'm struck by the fact that the course was explicitly on *classical* social theory, and the article doesn't address the relevance of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When will people get over this? These tantrums have been happening for thirty years.

      Delete
    2. Who needs to get over it? The ones having the tantrums or the ones worrying about them?

      Your reply seems to fit either view:
      1. thirty years, that's enough with the tantrums already! or
      2. thirty years of these tantrums and higher education has survived, stop worrying about them!

      If 2, then I wonder:
      A. has higher education not in fact been harmed by those 30 years of tantrums?
      B. are these tantrums really the same in ideology, method, and aim as those 30 years ago, or are there changes, including changes in frequency or effect that are worth worrying about?

      Delete
    3. I was going more for view 1, although I'm interested in your thoughts about B. I tend to think the answer's "yes" (I'm a "plus ca change" sort of guy); the main difference is that what was the academic fringe thirty years ago is now the journalistic and cultural mainstream. (You can imagine the Gawker, Slate, Salon, TNR, etc. article about this course. "The 'Classics' of Social Theory Don't Include Any Women or People of Color. Really? It's 2015. I Mean, Seriously? Social Theory. All White Men. In 2015. I Can't Even. #becauseprivilege")

      Delete
  25. I have the impression (merely that) that 30-40 years ago the framing was more humanistic. The critique of old white men was from the standpoint of a shared humanity, with a sense of basic solidarity, rather than from the standpoint of identities. The critique of *a* civilization was made on behalf *of* civilization, with the hope of increasing agreement, consensus, unity. The critique of enlightenment was on behalf of the enlightenment, not a condemnation of it.

    It seemed to be more about inclusion, pointing out that we *also* need to study and understand other literatures, religions, histories, philosophical traditions, while today it seems more exclusive, condemning entire traditions as racist or sexist or whatever and relegating their study to a moralizing history of errors.

    The old tantrums were aimed at conservatism in the worst sense: the uncritical handing down of tradition, custom, authority simply because it is tradition, while the new tantrums seem seeing anything of value in the past as bad conservatism and uncritically affirm any contemporary cultural value or practice.

    The old tantrums were progressive in the authentic sense of being primarily aimed at improving the future, while the new tantrums are more focused on condemning the past.

    A rather cheap way of putting it, drawing on the offending syllabus: the old tantrums were closer to Marx, the new ones closer to Foucault (at least at he's sometimes interpreted).

    But I'm not sure about this, these are rough hunches. Honestly, I haven't thought it through that far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am inclined to agree, 3:01. It's my sense that the authors of the *original* critiques of old white guys have largely won out. Indeed, even as a conservative (relative to the prevailing values of academia, at least) I endeavor to include women and members of under-represented groups on my syllabuses. Of course, I do so only when it's appropriate to the course and not *simply* for the sake of placating the P.C. police. But, still, I think that I and many others like me got the message that "we also need to study...other traditions."

      Thus, I find it all the more surprising that the fires of identity politics continue to burn ever brighter, even in an age where you can basically tailor your undergraduate course schedule to fit your cultural priors.

      Delete
    2. Don't fall for any good-old-days fallacy. The old identity politics was always anti-enlightenment and non-cosmopolitan.

      Delete
  26. will the full UBC story and all the events re: boycott statement ever be properly revealed?

    ReplyDelete
  27. http://gizmodo.com/almost-none-of-the-women-in-the-ashley-madison-database-1725558944

    I'm a woman who created an account, talked to one guy (never met him), got a weird feeling about it, and left, so this article was kind of amusing for me. I'm probably among the listed, but I can't remember which email I used to sign up. Doesn't matter - I was single and never gave them CC info.

    (The Internet didn't seem ideal for meeting a cheater. A scandalous encounter should be with someone who has the charm and work ethic to seduce women in real life. Those who suck at seducing are the kind you should marry, most likely. Assuming you want to marry and specifically want to marry a non-cheater, that is.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the modern woman: look for casual encounters online, but scorn the available mates as "merely" marriage material, for settling for, later, once yours best years have been eaten up in flings.

      Delete
    2. Dammit, 7:33! Now this guy has to come up with an entirely new category of jerk to accommodate you:

      http://henryshevlin.com/what-kind-of-a-jerk-are-you/

      7:50, you don't have to slander all modern women just because 7:33's an asshole.

      And there's comfort in knowing that true assholes tend to be smart enough to know they are, and deep down hate themselves and cause their own misery.

      Seriously, Socrates was right: assholes are the unluckiest bastards. (Can you even imagine how awful it is to be Trump? Do you think he spends so much time telling everyone how great it is because he doesn't need convincing?)

      Delete
    3. Ah, the modern commenter: so many assumptions, so little time.

      You could use my existence on the site as evidence that I've had a lot of flings, or you could, more accurately in this case, see my quick departure from the site as evidence that I don't excel at fucking people casually. Thought I should try it. Often wish it suited me (as indeed, casual fucking does seem to suit many a modern woman). Turns out I'm not particularly modern.

      I don't know if I'll get married. (I DO know that I have no "best years" of dating behind me.) (Okay fine, I don't "know" that. I don't know anything. Maybe a demon made me forget my awesome years of dating. But if they were erased from memory then I still don't have them behind me in any meaningful way, so whatever.) I thought I'd have killed myself by now, so every new day of existence is a little surprising and planning that far ahead feels foreign. But I do think that I could overlook cheating if done with discretion and he was otherwise a good person. No one should have me as his only sexual option. Jesus. If he needed a fun party girl type every now and then, and he could avoid getting diseases and causing pregnancies, he would have my blessing. So no, there's no settling for the non-seducers. If I married at all (unlikely), I would think a seducer would suit me better for that, too.

      Quickly:
      - There was no "merely." Not even an implied "merely."
      - What people would generally think would be my best years were eaten up by a long-term relationship that didn't work out. If a girl must have the misfortune to encounter my ex, she should consider herself lucky if it's only as the other woman.
      - But I guess I can't blame you for imagining me to be the same thing I've imagined being.

      Were you hoping for more of a feminist response? Sorry. I wonder if fewer feminists kill themselves than female non-feminists. (But then they're even further from equality with men, who have higher suicide rates. I think Carlin had a joke along these lines.)

      (Also the text on this device is tiny right now. Sorry if there are typos.)

      Delete
    4. 7:50 here. Sorry, 9:17. I was way too hasty in evaluating you, and you're absolutely right that I read the "merely" in as part of imagining a tone that wasn't there. I don't know what response I was "hoping" for but it's never disappointing to see that someone is thoughtfully and earnestly trying to make sense of human relationships (and not thoughtful in the ThoughtCatalog sense or earnest in the New Sincerity sense, but - like - really so). Don't kill yourself, please.

      Delete
    5. 7:50, this is 9:40. I'm sorry, I misjudged you, too. Now someone needs to come up with a category of jerk to accommodate me: someone who acts like a jerk in response to someone they misperceive as a jerk. Maybe the "reaction-formation jerk"?

      I think our misreading was understandable, though over hasty. The comments about marrying the kind who suck at seducing sounded like a pretty cold, instrumental way to thing about human beings.

      I still don't understand why people don't just be non-monogamous or find open relationships. I really don't see why there's a need for cheating, since there's no need for monogamy.

      But if you were thinking about deceiving--which is, of course, using--people, it seems you were doing it coldly or casually, but out of pain or unhappiness, and I can sympathize with that kind of cruelty, since we're all so prone to it.

      I have many friends who have contemplated suicide. Being cerebral types (though not philosophers), they thought it was a reasoned position, and so resisted seeking help. After they got help--some by therapy, others from mediation--they all told me the same thing: that wasn't me. They felt more themselves afterward. I hope you find help!

      Delete
  28. Anybody have insight into the Stanley-MacFarlane dustup? On Facebook Stanley has announced he is pulling his PPR piece, which he has worked on all summer, on MacFarlane's book after receiving brief comments from MacFarlane. Elsewhere he says he just received a lesson in hubris and arrogance, admits to having once been like that, and vows to not be like that again. I take it MacFarlane's comments were very nasty, but I wish I knew more. Oh, Chalmers had a nice comment on Stanley's post announcing he is pulling the piece -- something like, the good news is that in other contexts of assessment, the project is full steam ahead. Relativism just got pwned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do philosophers conduct themselves like this on Facebook? This is the intellectual equivalent of a selfie stick.

      Delete
    2. sounds fascinating .. wish i knew more
      i am sure we could easily pile up a wicked set of nasty comments from reviewers and editors here

      Delete
    3. Hey there Upper Easy Siders, Gossip Girl here................. And who am I? That's one secret I'll never tell. You know you love me. Xoxo.

      Delete
    4. thanks for the report 11:14, good to hear what those high-status trolls are up to.

      Delete
    5. I don't know anything about this particular case beyond what I just heard from 11:14PM. But it sounds like *either* MacF's comments were nasty and vitriolic, *or* Stanley's reaction was hypersensitive.
      My money's on the latter.

      Delete
  29. Nice that Jason's facebook "friend" here decides to go straight from his feed to the gossip site.

    We need a semantics of "friendship" in cyberspace. Truth relativism anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, a message posted to almost 2000 people is more an announcement than a confidence. (I'm guessing that it was posted to all his "friends" rather than a small subset. If not, disregard.)

      Friendship in cyberspace, as in Facebook "friending," is meaningless and should be renamed. On the plus side, most people (I think?) realize this.

      Delete
  30. I regularly see people commenting about how interesting the MMB is and how there should be a best-of. In reality, the MMB is not even a good gossip site. At its best, I could see MMB turning into something like Polsci rumors. But it isn't that. It's a bunch of white male philosophers who can't get jobs whining about feminist takeover of the profession. Who don't have a clue about the persons or events they are discussing.

    The people commenting seem to be outsiders, ripping info from FB posts shared only with friends and abusing the trust and goodwill of philosophers willing to friend people they don't personally know. They don't have a clue about the backstories indicating they don't know the philosophers they lambast on FB personally (which is maybe a good thing).

    Say what you will about the new infantilism, I haven't seen any discussion being as sustained and vigorous as on DN or on NewApps before it collapsed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "... It's a bunch of white male philosophers who can't get jobs whining about feminist takeover of the profession."

      Help, help! The Patriarchs are chasing us.

      Delete
    2. Did you see the long thread a week or so back on race and IQ (on how science shows that black people are stupider than white people)? That and the relative lack of outrage exposed the real gutter of this site.

      Delete
    3. No one cares about that shit. "race" is not a scientific word. So one person repeating their pet rant is treated as irrelevant. Just grow up and remove the tinfoil hat. Has "feminism" actually proved that men are horrific sexual predators and women are helpless damsels? That itself is a fucking disgraceful sexist garbage - and yet where is your outrage about this sexist trash?

      Delete
    4. 6:51 AM,

      Yes, I saw that. And I didn't express my outrage not because I wasn't outraged (which I was), but rather because I decided that it wasn't worth my time to do so. Nice non sequitur, though.

      Delete
    5. There is, in actual fact, almost *no* whining about how white men can't get jobs. So the commenter who says that's what this site is about exposes the fact that s/he hasn't read it.
      Nice job.

      Delete
    6. a revealing sentence:

      "The people commenting seem to be outsiders"

      signed female prof; regular commentator

      Delete
    7. Whoa, 5:38. I agree that people say some shitty stuff here. But I'm a regular commenter, and I think MMB can and has been so much more than a gossip blog for outsiders. Saying otherwise is a bit hurtful.

      Delete
  31. How is that a non sequitur? I was adding to 5:38 AM's sense that this site is dominated by angry white (misinformed) men? Even if you disagree, as someone versed in (ahem) logic, you'd have to admit that the comment was relevant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the racism and sexism of feminism makes another showing.

      Delete
    2. really now. care to explain?

      Delete
    3. "... this site is dominated by angry white (misinformed) men?"

      What a disgusting sexist and racist comment, a nasty conspiracy theory. Modern "feminism" is merely aggressive sexist conspiracist drivel, demonizing a full half of the human population with nasty sexist lies. Where is your outrage at the sexist abuse that "feminists" have had so much fun engaging in recently?

      Delete
    4. "care to explain?"

      Why do you believe your sexist aggression is acceptable anywhere?

      Delete
    5. There's nothing to explain 8:29. Your ideology has blinded you to what is obvious.

      Signed,
      8:24

      Delete
    6. 8:07 AM,

      The non sequitur I was referring to was that of invalidly inferring, from the fact that someone here doesn't "p!", that they don't believe p (or worse, that they believe not-p).

      I'd be happy to provide you further lessons in introductory logic and critical thinking, since you seem to be struggling. But it'll cost you a little money next time.

      Delete
  32. "If you solicit a piece from a philosopher, knowing what their work is about (as was clearly the case here), you have an obligation to publish it, subject to reasonable editing." - Leiter is a joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh? Why is that wrong? It seems plausible to me.

      Delete
    2. The principle Leiter states is fine, as a rule of thumb (it's a defeasible principle).

      (There is a problem, which is that Leiter's metatheoretical position is expressivism about normative sentences. This is extremely hard to reconcile with his first-order moral claims, such as "if ...., you have an obligation to F".)

      Delete
    3. Isn't he often soliciting pieces (comments) from philosophers and then deciding not to publish those comments? I know I have spent some time responding to his requests for comments and then my comment doesn't end up being published. I don't understand how a publication has a moral obligation to publish every piece it solicits (or, maybe, this only applies when the piece is solicited from a philosopher?).

      Delete
    4. By "he", you refer to Brian Leiter or to Dylan Matthews?

      Delete
    5. Anyone else surprised by Leiter's rather sympathetic treatment of the philosophical question, rather than the publishing question?

      I take it he's sympathetic, since he assumes the reaction is only to the conclusion, and not to the reasoning. But is the repugnant conclusion obviously a plausible or well reasoned argument?

      Many think Singer's ethical altruism is plausible and well reasoned. And many of it's supporters pull the same stunt: claim the critics are emotionally rejecting the conclusion, not the argument.

      I'd have expected Leiter to be just as suspicious of the simplistic utilitarianism of the repugnant conclusion as that of ethical altruism.

      Personally, I find the reasoning of the argument ludicrous. The first premise "most people live lives that are, on net, happy" is not only indemonstrable but highly unlikely.

      The second premise, "we have a moral duty to maximize the amount of happiness in the world" has remained highly contentious for 2,000 years, and there has yet to be a single *argument* for it--it exists only thanks to "intuition" (i.e., lots of people want it to be true).

      The opposing view is a strawman: "Only actual individuals have rights. If I do not create a happy individual, even if I can do so, I do nothing wrong."

      A more plausible version:
      Non-actual individuals have the right not to be harmed.
      If they never exist, they will never be harmed.
      But if they come into existence, they may be harmed.
      Even if they are not, they will likely harm others,
      And in turn bring into existence more individuals
      (who will be harmed, harm, or bring into existence more, etc.)
      Therefore we risk no harm by not bringing them into existence.
      And greater harm by bringing them into existence.

      And this is fucking bullshit that only an academic could entertain:
      "This is is the great appeal of actualism: it means that people have total freedom in choosing whether to reproduce or not. My view suggests that we have a moral obligation to keep having children; actualism lets people do as they like."

      First, we should never accept as an argument "I'm right bcause I'm concluding against my emotional preference." It's a favorite bit of manipulative sophistry among utilitarians (and the empirical evidence suggests the contrary: utilitarians aren't more rational, they're more psychopathic.)

      He's also just wrong: in the culture at large and among ordinary people, the dominant view, passionately held, is that we *do* have a moral obligation to procreate, and we're not free to do as we choose. Christianity makes it God's first command to Adam and Eve, for crying out loud! Every other day there's an article on the Huffington post about whether or not people who don't have children are selfish. Get a fucking clue.

      And consider his implausible consequences argument: "Under the actualist view, Adam and Eve could have morally refrained from having children, even if, had they decided differently, billions of billions of happy persons would have been around!"

      Well, fuck, yes. That is, after all, precisely the issue being debated, so you can't treat it as a reductio. It's an illegitimate rhetorical game, but let's play along, shall we?

      Adam and Eve are given by God one piece of certain knowledge about the future: the details of the holocaust.

      1. Would it, as the repugnant conclusion entails, be morally wrong for Adam and Eve to decide not to have children in order to prevent the holocaust?

      2. Might they, on the contrary, have a moral obligation *not* to reproduce in order to prevent the holocaust.

      Delete
    6. Good points. The Vox editor's rejection would have been better grounded on reasons of insufficient quality. The summary of his argument at the beginning of the piece already contains multiple glaring non sequitur gaps. He could have been much more rigorous in his presentation of his arguments to the general public, but apparently chose a muddled presentation instead. And this was supposed to be the final draft?

      Delete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.