I know a lot of the posters here slag "Justice Whineberg," but I really like the comment thread he's hosting at http://dailynous.com/2015/08/26/political-bias-in-philosophy/ -- good substantial conversation where people are responding to one another and disagreeing (mostly) without being snide or dismissive.
It's a good thread. I'm a bit annoyed/amused by the number of people who say this couldn't possibly be a problem while conveniently holding the dominant view.
Agreed, and I agree with 8:28. The same people who think the lack of women's voices, the lack of black people's voices, and the lack of trans* people's voices is a huge problem don't seem to think the lack of conservative voices, the lack of poor voices, and the lack of people from non-elite institution's voices is a problem.I think it would be best to have as much diversity as possible. Some people only care about certain kinds.
Is there really a "lack of trans* people's voices"? I would guess that trans people are overrepresented in academic philosophy compared to their incidence in the population at large.As an aside, the ubiquity of the metonymy of "voice" for "person" in these conversations is as mystifying to me as the metonymy of "body" for "person" in conversations about e.g. police brutality. I understand that it is some sort of critical theory signal and I understand a bit of the rhetorical purpose, but I still find both very jarring.
Yes to 8:28. I saw the sentiment expressed in some comment that we shouldn't want conservatives to have more representation in philosophy because they're hostile to underrepresented groups. Of course, if conservatives ARE an underrepresented group, then the commenter is advocating doing to the conservatives what the conservatives would hypothetically do if welcomed into the fold. Seems like philosophy should try to attract people who are willing to have civil discussions and to question their own beliefs in addition to the beliefs of others in well-reasoned ways. Anyone from any demographic who matches that description is worth having around, even if the conclusions rub many the wrong way.
...is there really a lack of "conservative" people's voices? I would guess, from the popularity of conservative positions in applied ethics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion, that they're probably proportionately represented, especially when adjusting for the fact that most material in philosophy is kind of divorced from political leanings/issues except perhaps in some particular subfields (such as these).Maybe we should begin by establishing the premise that conservative voices are disproportionately absent. I'd be more sympathetic if this weren't just a reiteration of the claim that conservatives always make about media bias, which is blatantly false.
Just look at how willing the liberal media are to call Trump a racist, that tells you a lot about media bias.
11:26,Yes, I think that's an important observation: the claim of lack of conservative voices focuses on moral and political philosophy, which doesn't really tell us about their overall representation in the field.I'd add that in those narrower areas, there may be a very justifiable reason for their lack. Philosophy is a largely critical, skeptical, and negative practice in general orientation: it looks at fundamental claims, beliefs, and theories, then attempts to clarify and articulate their foundations.Now, in matters of value, doesn't that imply inevitably that most voices of philosophy will tend toward the non-conservative? How do you critically analyze and evaluate the given, largely accepted and unexamined, foundational beliefs in morality and politics--i.e., the conservative ones--without at least appearing like a non-conservative? Even those who critically examine them to defend them end up indirectly promoting critical reflection on them, i.e., more "non-conservative" voices.
11:47, " the claim of lack of conservative voices focuses on moral and political philosophy, which doesn't really tell us about their overall representation in the field."No it doesn't and no one asserts any such thing. It is merely a reflection of the fact that the vast majority of individuals in academia, and philosophy noticeably, are left-leaning and only a minority are conservatives, and they, and their views (having nothing whatsoever to do with "philosophy of X") are treated with disrespect.
How do we know the majority of academics are "left-leaning" (and what's the standard of measure? Cuz to my non-American eyes, even most Democrats are horrifically right-wing)? How do we know the majority of philosophers are? And how do we know that the typical way of treating those views is with disrespect?I see plenty of respectful engagement with Dershowitz on torture, with Plantinga on God's existence, with van Inwagen on his metaphysics, etc. Maybe nobody has ever respectfully engaged with Peter Harrison's "Do Animals Feel Pain," but I submit that's actually because it's a really, really, really bad paper. Then again, it's frequently anthologized, so...
"Philosophy is a largely critical, skeptical, and negative practice in general orientation: it looks at fundamental claims, beliefs, and theories, then attempts to clarify and articulate their foundations."So I guess philosophy welcomes critical and skeptical accounts of the widely held view that there are no average differences on socially important traits between genders or population groups based on biology.Please.Philosophers, like virtually all other academics, love science when it affirms their ideology, and ignore or trash it when it doesn't.Don't puff yourself up by imagining you and your friends occupy some higher level of being.
"Cuz to my non-American eyes, even most Democrats are horrifically right-wing)?"Unlike your left-wing heroes, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Honecker, Mengistu, Pol Pot, Mugabe, etc., etc? You think mass extermination of tens of millions of people is amusing? "Horrific"? Grow the fuck up."I see plenty of respectful engagement with Dershowitz on torture, with Plantinga on God's existence, with van Inwagen on his metaphysics, etc."What does that have to do with the price of cheese?
Thinking and saying views are false =/= being disrespectful, though. Have you particular instances in mind, or is it just the perception that there's widespread agreement among philosophers on those topics?
Don't be a moron, 2:13. It's unbecoming.
RoarOh, look. Tin Foil Hat is back.
Alan Dershowitz is a Democrat. The actual Pentagon/CIA policy of harsh treatment for Gitmo detainees was approved by Nancy Pelosi, Democrat and member of the House intelligence committee. Their most vocal opponent on the legitimacy of torture was an obscure Senator - John McCain - a Republican, who was tortured by the left-wing North Vietnamese Army. McCain pushed through the Detainee Treatment Act (2005). But hey, let's not let facts get in the way of the convenient myths.
Oh. So we're talking about people's political allegiances, rather than the side of the spectrum (or the governing party) with which their particular ideas are most closely associated? If so, that's a different discussion than the one it seemed we were having.
Are there philosophical positions that on the face of it don't seem political, but are particularly attractive to conservatives or liberals, or subtly help shore up their political positions? Is semantic externalism more attractive to the left than the right, for example?
THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!THE POWAH!!!THE POWAH OF FEMININE INTUITION!!!
Jason Brennan must post here, because who else would link to his adjunct-obsessed friend's blog. But for either of them, what is the motivation for fighting with adjuncts on twitter? And I mean, they are fighting. How could anyone be so interested in taking down adjuncts? For what?
I know next to nothing about Jason Brennan except that he's part of the bleeding-heart libertarians. He therefore probably believes that adjuncts are confused about what's in their own best economic and person interests. His "fighting" is probably a (bleeding-heart) attempt to convince them that they'd be better off and happier if they followed his (libertarian) advice.
He did tell them to get jobs at Geico. It seems like he wants adjuncts to make very little if they stay in academia, not very bleeding heart of him. He has countless posts, a few arguing adjuncts get an overly-high hourly wage.. wtf.... He calls out someone (by name) for making only 30,000 and says he, in contrast, "makes bank." wtf? On twitter he and the other libertarians are calling adjuncts "cat ladies" and "neckbeards" and going after the adjunct who writes for Salon ... How do "adjuncts" get in someone's crosshairs? Also, I'm either a very nervous person or Georgetown has Deans that are a lot more lax than mine.
If that's true, that's fucking mean. I'm an adjunct, and I have boyfriend, and I prefer dogs to cats.
Well, he might be "making bank," but his mother, apparently, did an incredibly poor job of raising him. Making fun of people for making less money? Really, now...
This is scandalously false. Brennan has not made fun of anyone for making less money, and he has not called adjuncts "cat ladies". I'm sure other libertarians have, but that's not his fault.He does not *want* adjuncts to make very little money. But as a libertarian he thinks the market is fair, so it is not unfair if they don't make much money.I don't agree with this, but it's a respectable view, I think, not some mean, loony view.I mean, I could be wrong. Give us a link, if it's true.
Well Jason I think you are flattering yourself by saying that "mean" is how you come off.
Well here you go. Very reasonable. "It looks like I’ll be tenured at the end of this academic year. That comes with a salary bump, and I don’t want your movement to prevent me from buying myself a BMW 335 M Sport for my birthday.”Search "Fisk CV" on twitter and there he is. There is a lot of self-congratulation involved. Does writing for non-academics give you the sense that you are the only philosopher out there? Working at an MBA program?
That sentence looks like a joke to me. Maybe in bad taste, but a joke. (And searching Twitter for "fisk cv" got me a bunch of Portuguese tweets -- but I did find the Disqus site.)(And I don't understand your question about the sense of being the only philosopher out there.)
Honestly, 3:53 I was with you until I saw that 8:44 wasn't exaggerating. Brennan seems like a smug dick wagon.
Not exaggerating at all. https://twitter.com/Madjuncts
His tenure came with a raise? Mine didn't.
Your department sux, 1:33.
Maybe 1: 33 is not working at an MBA program, among the best "management theorists" money can buy.
Exactly. It sux. 1:33 May as well be a neck beard catjunct.
Brennan threatened the Salon columnist (an adjunct) with a fisk of her CV, tweeting he'd do it on "Bleeding Heart Libertarian." Is there something more threatening about fisking *on* the libertarian blog? Is that worse than some other method of publicly fisking a CV? Not sure someone at Salon will care too much about that particular readership.
What is a fisk?
Jason- who is the audience for the joke about your car? Or about "neck beard catjuncts?" Can't figure that out.
I wrote the neckbeard catjunct comment. I'm not Brennan, I was making fun of Brennan. I always get in trouble here for doing too good a job of impersonating people. Anyway, what is a cv fisk? Google just returns CVs for people whose last name is Fisk.
It is a point by point debunking. Brennan has been doing it to adjuncts featured in news reports, "debunking" (I guess) the idea that they deserve better pay by criticizing lines on their CV.
Oh shit. That's nuts. I make much better money as a bartender than I do as an adjunct despite the fact that I put in about 40-50 hours a week as an adjunct, and 15 as a bartender. Maybe Brennan can look at my academic CV and my bartending resume to explain to me why that's a good and fair thing. I'm dying to know!
I want 3 BMWs. One for me, one for my gf, one to loan out to friends. Salary bump, plz.
There's nothing wrong with reading a journalist's CV if they put it online, and commenting on it. Grow up children.
Can you explain why I should make so much more as a bartender than as a teacher 2:51? Like I said, dying to know!
What you "make" depends on what you agree to.
Sort of. I agree to teach because I like it and it's important. I agree to bartend because I like to pay my bills and be self-sufficient. But given the fact that teaching is important, I should probably make enough to cover my bills by myself. But I don't. And I'm not exactly in a position to agree to that or not. You know, that whole choosing depends in having choices thing? Sure, I could quit. I could live out the rest of my days getting people wasted- or making a career out of hiring and managing other people to get people wasted. But I sort of think that teaching people some critical thinking skills is a better contribution to society.
My department's OK, I'm well-compensated, and get regular performance-based raises. But promotions aren't a raise
1:33: that's odd. AFAIK, promotions standardly come with *some* sort of raise that isn't just the usual annual performance-based raise. At my institution, the annual raises were nil for a long time after the economy collapsed, so the only two ways to gets raises were to get promoted or to get an offer from elsewhere and see if our place would bump up your pay to retain you.
I must be doing this wrong. I looked at the Madjuncts twitter page and I couldn't see the offensive things from Brennan.I'm going to admit that 9:46 has pretty much convinced me that I'm missing something, and that Brennan really is behaving in an obviously dickish way. But I'd like to actually see it.
He and his friend on twitter don't "fisk" the CVs of journalists, they are doing it to adjuncts (it has been a few now) to prove why they are paid so poorly. So if 3: 21's said he was paid too little for adjuncting, they would call him a neckbeard or cat lady, take his CV and go through it line by line to say how it explains his low pay. They can read appropriate pay off of CVs. It is magical.
Brennan's sneer-buddy's fisking is also completely inept. He said of Rebecca Schuman that she had only published in minor journals and was listing an unfinished book as an achievement. When she pointed out that she'd published in the flagship journal of her field and her book was forthcoming with northwestern university press, he blocked her. Libertarians like the free market of ideas until someone shows them their own errors. Then it needs regulating.For what it's worth, I think the libertarians have it right on adjuncts' poor life choices (DO SOMETHING ELSE!), but not on whether adjunct working conditions should be as shitty as they are. But B+M come across as simple fuckheads, which is basically a given when your operating principles are "current life situation = quality of human being".
If adjuncts really like teaching, and they can make it work, why should they do something else? And what if they're still in their first five years of grad school?
Brennan's "Professor Geico" memes led me to Schuman's own advice to adjuncts, which is the same idea but written earlier. If Brennan were not just interested in self-promotion (is it thin skin? Actual arrogance? About what?) he could have just pointed his readers to this: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/992-the-complete-opposite-of-tuna-on-toast
9:00 They don't really have an answer for you other than to point you to their cars. The only answer you will get from the libertarians is that if you are paid little, you suck. (They wax on and on about this.) They mock teachers for "caring" about students and Brennan just posted that teachers are dime a dozen, etc. and so deserve very low adjunct pay.I think Brennan should work at Gieco so that he can get a better car than a BMW "sport." Rich guys will be laughing at him otherwise.
That is a good point. So it's something like "in a free-market, the cream rises to the top?" When I think about how competitive the academic job market is, I'm almost willing to buy that not-sucking is (something like, but not strictly speaking) a necessary condition for getting an academic job) but, nobody thinks not-sucking is sufficient for getting a TT job. Anyway, I guess I don't care that much. I just get mad when I imagine some I know imagining that they're talking to me, telling me to do something else. And when they're someone I think is not good, I kinda get more mad. I think that's normal. But when I block out that sort of chump noise, and remember that when I started grad school, I never expected to get a job (I just really wanted to get one)! So I guess I'm doing better than I expected, and better than most- probably because I do sort of George-Costanza all over the place. So you know, it's really all good. But one more thing: do libertarians reject the moral ought/ prudential ought distinction or something? If so, do they really think we ought to get people wasted for a living if it pulls in (substantially) more than teaching philosophy? And if he thinks that, why does he teach philosophy? Why doesn't he work in finance, where he can use his genius creativity to prey on the dreams of suckers to create debt? I hear that's a pretty good racket.... Oh boy.
Brennan's point is that an employer offers a contract and the employee decides whether to accept or not. Is there something I'm missing?
9:00,I share your reactions to this bunch, but the phrase "because I do sort of George-Costanza all over the place" sounds like some sort of deeply disturbing/gross euphemism for I don't know what.2:51 who is of course not Brennan,I like how you more or less cry "it's a free country!" then follow it with "grow up." I'm perplexed by Brennan's eccentric insults. Why "cat lady"? All adjuncts are women? And that's a moral failing? All adjuncts are unmarried? And that's a moral failing? All adjuncts like cats, and that's bad? Weird.Or "neck beard"? I suppose a lot of adjuncts have beards, but that's because they're a crossover of the academic population, who have always had more beards than the general, and the post-collegiate population, where beards have been particularly trendy for 10 years.So, the insult is: "you're a relatively young aspiring academic, so there!"? Or is is the neck part that's supposed to be particularly witty? All adjuncts have alternative facial hair? All adjuncts are hipsters?I've got it: all adjuncts have unusual follicle patterns, the losers!
9:51, Yes, that's Brennan's point. And the people mocking him think it's a pretty stupid point, since he's drawing false moral inferences from that empirical claim.See, e.g., the post before yours: "do libertarians reject the moral ought/ prudential ought distinction or something?"
On the contrary, Brennan's point is an economic one, about decisions and their rationality. People attacking him are trying to make ``moral'' points, ones whose relevance has not been explained. A contract is offered by an employer; a potential employee either accepts it or rejects it. What am I missing? (I am not a ``libertarian''. Far from it, in fact.)
I don't agree, but I can see why you might read it that way. And if so, then I'd say the problem is in pretending that economic and moral claims are so easily separable.The adjunct critics are, as you say, making moral points. They're concerned about fairness of compensation. They think that given that they have the same basic credentials, do a lot of the same kinds of work, and in greater quantities than TT faculty, the substantial differences in security and compensation are unreasonable. (Note this allows that, given that TT do more research at a higher leven, some differences in compensation may be reasonable. The complaint is the degree.)So, if the complaint is about fairness, merit, and desert, about what reasonably ought to be the case, responding with "that's not how it is" is beside the point. Brennan needs to either admit his position isn't purely economic: he thinks that moral oughts ought to conform to economic rationality rather than (as all non-crazy people think) the reverse. Or he needs to argue "ought implies can", and that deserved compensation for adjuncts is economically unfeasable.
I guess the relevance of the moral point is that people think it's morally wrong for universities and CCs to pay adjuncts poorly just because they are able to. But of course there's an economic point too, but a messier one that tracks economic factors over a much longer periods of time. And that's that adjuncts with their heavy course loads and part time supplementary jobs, can't do as good of a job as full time professors who teach comparably little, and don't have zillions of (exhausting) supporting jobs. And so, if adjuncts are underpaid for a reasonable workload, they end up overworked just to make ends meet. And if teachers are overworked and less effective, students learn less, and our workforce becomes less-skilled... And output suffers significantly... And stuff like that.
10:48 who would need to be told what a contract is? Who is that audience?It is probably really important to keep in mind that Brennan is not an economist. When Leiter posted about Brennan's "insight," you got to see the quick work people made of it. And now he's posted an update: people are paid more because they work hard like he does. For you to say he is not moralizing a technical issue he has no business trying to dumb down is completely disingenuous.
George-Costanza-inn refers to ignoring advice, or convention- it's from the article 9:01 posted. Schumann tells adjuncts to do things like cold call/ email companies to get work. I do that all the time. Cold call for work, and I also don't listen to people, which is a double-edged sword...
Early on there was a criticism to Brennan's "they all suck" line that has not slowed Brennan down a bit. "the very big problem with your analysis, Jason, is that you’re assuming that the distributive shares are fixed. But it’s not the case that there’s a pre-determined amount of money with which to pay adjuncts, such that if adjuncts get paid more, fewer adjuncts can get paid at all. The size of the adjunct bucket is not fixed, and neither are size of the administrative or TT buckets. It’s possible to raise adjunct wages by making the administration smaller, reducing administrative wages, paying TT faculty less, closing TT lines, opening fewer new TT lines, raising tuition, etc. Who gets what is to a great extent a function of bargaining power. Adjunct bargaining power is extremely weak because supply exceeds demand and adjuncts accept low wages. It seems perverse, however, to criticize adjuncts for trying to increase their bargaining power and organizing to get a bigger piece of the pie. Insofar as that’s what “adjunct’s rights” people see themselves as doing, you’re just begging the question by asserting that the size of the slices is fixed."
"They think that given that they have the same basic credentials, do a lot of the same kinds of work, and in greater quantities than TT faculty, the substantial differences in security and compensation are unreasonable."I agree this is the view. However, Brennan will simply counter this by saying that the market value of one's labor is set by supply and demand and one agrees to rent one's labor by agreeing to a contract - and that is his definition of reasonableness. It isn't in any case a "libertarian" point; it's just ordinary mainstream labor economics.
Yeah, that's a basic position in labor economics, 11:16. I know that because one of the pre-made syllabi that I was required to use in some adjuncting gig included some excerpts from Wealth of Nations. But what about the long term effects of minimizing overhead and maximizing profit on your professorial product? That is, what about the worry that students are getting overworked, and so, lower-quality products, and lower returns on their investments in an education, and as a result, and end up with less capital to spread around? Unchecked capitalism can be kinda short-sighted, right?
"I guess the relevance of the moral point is that people think it's morally wrong for universities and CCs to pay adjuncts poorly just because they are able to."Some may; some may not. In any case, it is irrelevant. Is there a "moral force" which will mysteriously move the market value? No. The market value can change through two mechanisms. Government, state, federal intervention of some kind. Or workers can organize, through labor unions, and if they do so in concert, this may increase the market value of their labor. However, it may actually decrease the market value of their labor, because there will be a huge supply of others prepared to undercut the higher union-set market value.
Actually ordinary mainstream labor economists do not sound or write at all like Brennan. Am I missing their blog posts on how wrong it is to envy an MBA school professor who makes bank? They also don't make his mistakes, one of many being assuming that the product of a university is actually a series of introductory books on libertarianism. Another one (a very libertarian one)is that adjuncts "deserve" no more and should not bargain for more. You should check with a labor economist about this.
In any case, making fun of people for being poorer than you doesn't return a lot of social capital. So, do you, I guess.
I get that Brennan pretends to do empirical work, but he actually does not. A pet peeve of mine.
Someone else suggested it but I think charging libertarians whatever the market will bear to attend philosophy conferences is a fine deal. Let them impress us by paying huge amounts to attend, signalling their vast wealth and extraordinarily hard work. Also: they mocked activist adjuncts for also supporting raises for fast food workers, tweeted something like: ha ha, adjuncts are no better than fast food workers. That's a slip up, right?
The Wealth of Nations view is *a* mainstream view. But then there's also the Marxist view, which I hear is a mainstream alternative, where by mainstream, I meant "very basic position that you learn about in many intro-level courses." I was assuming that 11:32 meant something similar.
Also, I just read something by Brennan, where he clearly states his conclusion as, "there's little reason to feel sorry for adjuncts." I thought pity was a moral attitude- so it looks like he's arguing that we ought to adopt some moral attitude. That doesn't sound purely economic to me. Anyway, now I'm just talking to myself, and my dozens of cats of course. So I'm going to go back to knitting cat sweaters while I watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice- it's remarkably loyal to the book you know!
Not to be pedantic, but labor economics really has nothing to do with Adam Smith (I doubt most of them have even read him). It's a technical field with technical papers, and one of Brennan's interlocutors was a labor economist who decided that Brennan must be with "Ayn Rand" on economics. With all the CV-reading and focus on proper hourly wages for adjuncts, Brennan sure seems to be peddling an objective theory of value. Not even a good one, but Rand's.
Okay, that (the Randian egoism) might be the right interpretation of him. I don't know. Nobody's made me teach Rand yet. But I was thinking about the invisible hand principle that Smith seemed to think was so great. But pedant away. In other news, my cats are meowing loudly.
The case for not pitying adjuncts is simple: if you take a gamble in full knowledge of the bad odds, and you lose, you don't deserve pity. (Or at least, you deserve it far less than people who didn't have the choice available in the first place.) Luck egalitarians say things that aren't a million miles away from this; it's not an exclusively right wing sentiment.
Fine. But you admit the point isn't purely economic, but moral as well, right?
So it looks like by his own lights, morality is relevant after all. And it also looks like there are long term economic reasons against the Brennatarian view. Fatality. Melina wins.
*Mileena (sorry, haven't played in 20 years): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CQl_zrEpGUw
It is not like luck egalitarianism for a lot of reasons. First of all, the self-references and self-praise are part and parcel of the Brennan-style. Why ignore these features (which are probably his sole motivation) in order to compare it to something serious?Second, the Schumann article to adjuncts is far more realistic than Brennan's "you just lost the lottery" advice, she includes evidence that academics are trained out of being able to be useful in the market generally. That's just a realistic description that is pointless to leave out of some assessment of the qualities of/ morality of underpaid adjuncts. (I think it is left out because it ruins the compliments libertarians pay to themselves over their huge academic salaries.) And third, what luck egalitarian would pretend universities could not pay more for teaching? The adjuncts are making the schools money, delivering the product the schools are selling far more efficiently than the higher-paid employees. Why don't they get credit for this, especially from someone who thinks his market value is a big joke on everyone poorer?
Luck egalitarianism states that if your difficulties arise from your own choices, then your situation is your responsibility and you do not deserve moral support.
Where does Brennan say he's not making moral claims?
I don't know. But if you read up on this thread, someone was defending Brennan, by saying that his point was purely economic, and that moral considerations were irrelevant. A bunch of other people seemed to agree that Brennan's point was economic and not moral. But who cares? I'm on the bus.
Brennan has made moral claims? Where?
What to think of posters who are fascinated by Brennan but can't seem to find his blog posts? So puzzling.
Sort of: http://freedomsfloodgates.com/2015/02/24/national-adjunct-walkout-day-should-we-feel-sorry-for-adjuncts/I mean, he claims we ought to withhold the moral attitude of pity towards adjuncts.
State an example.
So, Brennan says: "Thesis: Adjuncts are victims of their own bad choices."How is that a moral claim?
"Victim" is a moral term. By definition, victims have been harmed. According to Brennan, adjuncts are their own victims, so they're blameworthy (I guess, by definition of victimizer), but not worthy of pity.
"Victim" is not a moral term. If a mass murderer goes on a rampage, and is eventually shot dead by the police, then the murderer is a victim of the gunshot wound.
Look, if you think moral philosophy is the study of things like harm, obligation, praise and blame, and victim is the term we use for people who have incurred some harm, then victim is a moral term.And believe it or not, some people think we have obligations towards everyone- even mass murderers. Why are you opposed to the idea that Brennan made a moral claim? I'm using tgar fact against him. You like that, right?
Moral philosophy is not the "study of harm": such a study is known as medicine and criminology, and concerns empirical facts. Moral philosophy is the study of obligations and oughts. The sentence "X has been harmed" does not imply "the harm to X was wrong". This is moral philosophy 101.
Thanks, 2:53. I didn't know that. Now I do. So, what are claims about the judgement we ought to make about praiseworthy and blameworthy individuals?
*judgmentsSS (plural, more than one judgment)
"... praiseworthy and blameworthy individuals?"And who decides this? You?
No, I don't decide that. I just thought that if we praise and blame, then it follows that there are individuals who are praised and blamed. I'm not why you're so upset! I didn't mean to upset you!
Don't listen to him 2: 57. Only someone who hardly ever reads moral philosophy (Does Ben Bradley not write on harm?) and wrote condescendingly for a general audience, would say moral philosophy is the study of oughts and obligations. (Missing all references to Modern Moral Philosophy I guess. Every single one. Can you imagine the articles that means he hasn't read?) What is the angle here? Trying to make Brennan out to be an economist? One using no data? No, he's just a terribly dishonest writer with narcissistic rage.
What if your professor were that big a bullshitter, that he told you moral philosophy could not be about harms? What a rip off that would be.
Suppose the professor asked you if you would pull the trigger of a gun to save ten students about to be massacred by a lone shooter. You would have to harm the shooter.
Yeah, that's just the trolley problem. If you think actions have intrinsic value, you might not pull the trigger. If you think the value of an action is the balance of its consequences, and you think harming the shooter is outweighed by saving the students, then you wouldn't. I dunno. I think a prank might be afoot. The bus ride is over. There's all sorts of TV to watch. Ttly.
Right 3:15. There is a huge philosophical literature on whether there can be posthumous harm, and 2:53 is just blowing smoke. (Particularly amusing is his pompous "this is moral philosophy 101.") Apparently, Joel Feinberg is another philosopher who idiotically didn't realize that whether a person is harmed is an empirical question, and that ethics is restricted to questions of moral obligation.
A statement such as "X harmed Y by restraining Y" or "X harmed Y's skin using a syringe" is an empirical claim. Harm does not imply wrongfulness, for X's harming Y by restraining Y, or X's harming Y's skin using a syringe, needn't be wrong.
This thread was timely, Brennan and his buddy just got put into a storify by the adjuncts they keep fisking. It is mostly about the FOB but they screenshot some of Brennan's more memorable lines. This all seems really ugly. https://storify.com/rcbatp/libertarians-put-a-muzzle-on-phil-w-magness-he-s-a?utm_campaign=website&utm_source=email&utm_medium=email
The whole point of drawing attention to the adjuncts-are-their-own-victims-and-so-don't-deserve-sympathy thing was to show that contrary to some comments above, Brennan's point isn't purely economic, but moral as well. I think he gets the moral component wrong, fwiw. But it does seem like he's making a claim about what moral attitudes we ought to adopt, and what our obligations towards towards adjuncts are not.So if you don't think that 'victim' is a moral term, that's fine, we don't need to decide that to see that Brennan is making some sort of moral judgment. But yes, the syringe example is interesting. You might think there's some sort of additive principle at work here and that while pricking skin has a negative value, the over all value of administering of medicine is positive. But in that case, we might not want to count the pricking as a harm because it's the only way to do what's right.
The neck beard is a specific reference to a left Libertarian writer named Kevin Carson. It's commonly used in right Libertarian circles, who fight with him all the time. Carson is an active proponent of the Adjuncts movement.
What is adjunct pay like these days btw?
I think we found where "Dr." Robert Craig Baum spends his weekends. And I bet you guys thought you were talking with a real philosopher!
10:57, while that may be the term's etiology (and may be how you used it, if you're the same person who did before), "neckbeard" has evolved into a very general-purpose Internet insult, along the lines of "basement-dweller", "fedora-wearer", "Reddit user", etc.
Schumann's a journalist, right? That's the only CV im seeing fisked. And she did put it online on her journalism profile for the whole world to look at.
"Neckbeard" is yet another body-shaming slur, beloved of internet social justice warriors everywhere. Why it's somehow OK to shame people for having hair on their necks but similar comments about leg hair are oppressive and evil, well, that is lost on me.
"Cat Lady" is speciesist because it implies human ownership over cats and exclusionary because it discriminates against Crazy Dog Ladies, Fish Ladies, Snake Ladies, Gerbil Ladies, and Venus Fly Trap Ladies.
They fisked before this week, 11: 34. I think all CVs are out there "for the whole world to look at." I think you are missing the point on purpose. Very Limbaughesqe indeed. My original question was how someone gets away with being so tweet-ragey and Donald Trump-like with a Dean and students and parents to worry about. I don't think I've ever seen professors be so unprofessional in public. Maybe we don't have to be, but I've just never seen it. And I always assumed at Catholic schools they were even more strict about decorum-type issues.
7:44, that page is about Phil Magness, and barely mentions Brennan. The main bit about Brennan falsely says he's a tenured professor.
It's difficult to sympathize with those attacking Brennan. He's an obscure prof, who merely wrote a couple of articles, presenting his analysis that adjuncts are victims of their own decisions. Brennan has no power in these matters and he himself states that the system adjuncts work in is a "corrupt and unfair system". What has he done to incite this puerile fury against him? He merely said that "adjuncts are people who played what they should have known, and in most cases did know, was a risky game, and lost. They are not like sweatshop workers in the third world who have no better options".
I don't really get it either, 4:09. Brennan was a bit of a dick but not *that* much of a dick. And what he said wasn't exactly implausible. In fact, it is *quite* plausible, I think; does any budding academic really not (non-culpably) know how bad things get? We make informed choices as adults, and we live with them. Sometimes those choices suck, and it's ok to talk about how they suck; but it's also ok to talk about how we made those choices knowing they probably would lead to suckage, which is precisely the plight of the perpetual adjunct. So far as I can tell, that's basically what Brennan pointed out.
Because when someone is wrong, it's fun to say why. Duh.
Nope. Brennan actually is right. He says the system is "corrupt and unfair", and that adjuncts "played a risky game and lost". Having a tantrum about it just makes you look childish.
Okay. Fine. Let's agree to disagree. I'm over this topic. It's boring. I have to go meet my new students now.
1:39 - are they fisking them at random? Or are they only going after the ones who are attacking them? Big difference between the two. Reading thru the debate now & it looks like the latter. Also the pro-adjunct side seems to be behaving far worse in this debate than the anti-adjuncts. The pro-adjuncts are very heavy on childish stuff, profanity, name-calling, threatening, & other immature debate tactics that aren't nearly as prevelent on the other side. If Brennan's worst "offense" is calling a few of them cat ladies, then the adjunct supporters need to account for their own flood of F-bombs, playground antics, & even what looks like some arguably racist remarks in the comments section of Brennan's blog.
Oh give it a rest, saying he is white is racist right? You guys are just unbelievable. Who can be a libertarian when it gets represented by total jag offs? The tag sneer team have really hurt the brand. And anyone who says he makes bank should be a joke.
It's actually the adjuncts who are overwhelmingly white. They're just unbelievable too. Who can be an adjunct crusader when the adjunct crusading brand gets represented by immature children pretending to be college professors? The crazy that hovers around that movement has really hurt the brand. And anyone who says he works a gazillion hours for a couple hundred dollars a course should be a joke.
Look, I get that it's annoying to hear self-absorbed whiny white people white about the fact that they can't make ends meet, or worse, they're not being lauded, for doing exactly and only what they want to do at all times. But it's wrong to make fun of the people who genuinely care about their students, and would like to be compensated well enough to do right by those students. I'm an adjunct of the second type. I suck it up and supplement my adjuncting income. In fact, I don't even consider it income compared to what I make as a bartender, I really just treat it like some bonus check that I can totally live without- that's how small it is by comparison. But I'd like to be able to dedicate myself to my students and my university. Why is that too much to ask for?
11:39 - What if those whiners are genuinely horrible, rude, obnoxious people? People who believe they're entitled to something they didn't earn? People who respond to critics with childish antics and violence? I just don't see how "caring about your students" bestows you with some sort of special moral status if everything else about the way you act is obnoxious and mean-spirited and vulgar.
People get crazy on the Internet. No doubt about that. But I'm not sure if you appreciate the fact that adjuncting does not pay a living wage for a job that's extremely important- namely endowing people with critical thinking skills that will help them be better doctors, nurses, engineers, cops, chefs, script writers, or whatever it is they're studying to be. That's not only morally problematic, but in the long run, economically unsound as well.
After yesterday's comments, I wrnt and looked at some of this "madjunct" stuff, and saw some silly meme with an adjunct column and a madjunct column. I guess it was nice that I fell mostly in the "adjunct" column- although, I don't have a book deal... :/. But talk about mean and childish! It's some weird stuff! But I'm sorry, paying adjuncts to teach university-level courses less than camp counselors are paid to make macaroni necklaces (which is also important! No knockin' the early childhood folks), is not going to end well. Quality people will leave academia, and universities will produce lower quality workers. Ugh... Whatever. I'm going to go write stuff now so that maybe I can improve my chances of getting a real job. Later.
To me everthing, and I mean everything about the Magness/ Brennan gang is obnoxious and mean-spirited and vulgar. And that they are now in a "rematch" with their "enemies" the "madjuncts" on a blog I am suppose to take seriously does nothing to make me think better of them. They get to act like academic rock stars because they write for the wannabe libertarian youth. They get to act like rich guys (when they are not) because the adjuncts make so little. I think this means they need adjuncts to be underpaid (they truly are a. given what they generate in income for universities, underpaid and b. it is a kind of fraud that students and parent do not realize classes get taught for 3000 a pop). The Slate writer's critique of Brennan is that he is trying to make this personal instead of face the facts of a. and b. etc. ADD to it that he is punching down and... I know it isn't a big deal of the scheme of things, but he has none of my respect. Still no big deal.
Is anyone else following RM's twitter account? It is hysterical. She is totally nuts.
Not following it, but I've read through it a few times. Basically seems like an average outraged Twitter and/or Tumblr user with no special capacity for reflection or critical thinking. If it is, in general, possible to get a PhD like that, I'd like to know how.
Seems pretty standard to me.
Agreed, pretty standard twitter nut.
Identity politics. Forget truth, evidence, human beings, human rights, universalism, tolerance. Instead, we have a bunch of ultra-privileged individuals pouting their "identity" and "victim status". Is it the stupidest political idea ever invented? It's an illiberal attack on three hundred years of science and enlightenment. And it arose amongst politically deranged US intellectuals in the last fifty years.
2:07 wins the Internet for August 29!
Congratulations, this time your choice is between our two fabulous Showcases! Would you prefer the home gym & shag carpet or the trip to Tahiti & tiki-themed snuggie?
What articles of hers have you read, 2:07?
Questions for this assembly of(mostly) likeminded asshats: Why is Twitter a thing? What do people hope to accomplish by using it?Why do preemptively literate Twitterers use the pound symbol to accentuate ungrammatical political slogans? Is it a diacritic like the Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut?Where does promoting your personal brand fit in to the political economy of Tweetering?
@7:43, I'm not 2:07, but I've read all of her published papers on norms of assertion. The papers are not bad, but not good. Except for "Irksome Assertions", which I liked a lot. I'm surprised she has a book contract, as I expect the book draws on the papers, and so is not very good. However, if the decision is purely based on how many copies will be sold, then it makes sense--she is very good at promoting her work and her friends will buy it to support her.I do think her "Trans*Formative Experiences" is really interesting.
Questions for Lysias: Do you sometimes call yourself Glaucon?
8:29,I'm not a fan of RMs online comments, but I have to say I think your assessment applies to 95% of the philosophical work I know. I find most papers, period, are "not bad but not good." I find most philosophers, period, have about one or two papers "I liked a lot" or found "really interesting," but that's it.So I find nothing surprising about about a book contract, since I think most philosophical books are "not very good" and draw on papers that are "not bad, but not good."Frankly, I find that all human endeavor in every field of human activity is, 95% of the time, "not bad, but not good."But maybe that's just in my field. Maybe other areas of philosophy of human activity are all rainbows and unicorns, and I've just missed it.
A student of Bernard Williams once told me that he once said that 99% of published philosophical work was worthless -- and he emphasized that he meant this literally, ie that the paper would be put to better use as toilet paper. I am inclined to agree with him, and so with a rather harsher version of what 10.19 says. It's a sad truth, and it's better forgotten when one's doing one's own work, since it can be cripplingly inhibiting.
11:29, I'm 10:19. I think my view is dramatically different: I don't think most work in philosophy or anything else is worthless at all. I think 99% is "not bad, not good." It's a C student world, and any teacher knows that C student work isn't worthless. I think we've all been duped by a bullshit standard of excellence, based on romanticizing a handful of exceptional cases, in much the same way people think that in the arts anything less than once-in-a-millenium-level genius has any worth. Unrealistically high standards that measure the species by freak cosmic accidents skew our sense of value. Human beings are a C-students species, and should be congratulated for doing C-student work.It's not cripplingly inhibiting, but liberating to have realistic standards and goals. Don't bother trying to be Michelangelo, much less beating yourself up for not being, no one works their way to becoming an fortuitous freak like that.
Don't listen to him 2: 57. Only someone who hardly ever reads moral philosophy (Does Ben Bradley not write on harm?) and wrote condescendingly for a general audience, would say moral philosophy is the study of oughts and obligations. (Missing all references to Modern Moral Philosophy I guess. Every single one. Can you imagine the articles that means he hasn't read?) What is the angle here? Trying to make Brennan out to be an economist? One using no data? No, he's just a terribly dishonest writer.
Oops 3: 12 here- I meant to say 1: 49 was *raised well.*
Thanks 3:12, I sort of needed that. That fury sort of came out of nowhere! Phew. Okay, no hard feelings, right?
Ha ha, scary right?
Twitter is fun, who doesn't want to make an ass of themselves on a daily basis in a way that they can't in real life?
Have you ever wanted to punch someone in face really really badly, and if so what did you do about it?
Commented on PMMB.
Am I the only one who gets a bad gut feeling about Eric Schliesser? There's a long history of anti-sexual moralists being exposed for sexual transgressions. Schliesser's demeanour and his anti-sexual zeal and his being Belgian (you know the stereotypes) make him look pretty creepy to me.
Schliesser is definitely a bit off, but this development would surprise me.
i have mentioned this ages ago on phil anon and the metametablog -- some of those that cry out the loudest about these things are among the most suspicious plus i remember a few creepy incidents being aired there and some of his own blog posts raised my eyebrows at least
Here is some evidence, the guy used "creepy" twice to try to float this. I'd hate to hear what he has to say about neckbeards.
9:17's point is that Schliesser's hysterical moralism resembles the homophobic abuse that gay men have suffered and the abuse suffered by those affected by "family values" activists. Sometimes it transpires that the most hysterical homophobes and "family values" activists were gay themselves or breached the "family values" they so loudly proclaim.
Nah, he just climbed the greasy pole by sucking up to the powerful feminists. He had to go overboard with his sanctimony to get noticed. Nothing else there.
1:44 "the guy used "creepy" twice"9:17 here. I only used it once. 10:12 is a different person.
"He had to go overboard with his sanctimony to get noticed."It's not only his sanctimony. It's this sleazy air he gives off that makes me think of a corrupted priest.
This is an idiotic thread.
Why did he leave Syracuse?
3:49 etc.: we have no evidence at all to support your vague insinuations that ES did something sleazy. But we have excellent evidence that you're a piece of shit human being.
3:49, have you ever been to Syracuse? Probably because of the snow.5:01, we have no evidence at all to support your charge that 3:49 was making vague insinuations that ES did something sleazy. But we have excellent evidence that you're into REALLY into hyperbole- which boarders on the abusive. :/
i can attest to callous and destructive actions toward low status women in the profession.
"Why did he leave Syracuse?"The question answers itself.
Not into Basketball 6:41?
"$2.1 Million for the Meaning of Life"There isn't one. Bam. Next project.
Read beyond the headline. What's described there isn't well captured by the phrase "Meaning of Life". The project actually sounds pretty interesting to me. At least is sounds a lot more interesting that a lot of the projects Templeton supports. (and the PIs are pretty awesome).
Oh, I did. I was just responding to the title. Not that I think the project sounds particularly interesting. It's too early in the day to decide if projects are interesting or not interesting. Nothing is interesting.
Does anyone familiar with the job market know roughly when the trickle of new job postings usually stops?
This doesn't really matter, but I'm curious: Wasn't there a time when comments at DN were numbered? Are they still and I just don't see the numbers on my iTimesuck? This cruelty is too much to bear.
Hi friends. What do you guys think about Jacques Lacan? Just curious.
I don't think about him at all. Nor should anyone.
By far one of the most incomprehensible things I've read, and I've read fairly widely...but that was a while ago
I read Lacan about ten years ago. Not my cup of tea.
I gave him a pretty prolonged, determined try a long time ago and decided that in the end it wasn't worth the trouble, but not a total waste of time.I often disagree with specific charges of obscurantism about continental figures, but I think the case against Lacan is pretty strong. There are some plausible and interesting ideas to be found in his work, but you can find something similar from other sources. I often feel like it's just Freud, Hegel, and Sartre translated into an eccentric and unnecessary jargon, while twisted a bit to make Lacan look more original than he is. Since life is short and philosophy is long, I'd recommend that most read the former instead--they won't miss out on that much. (And Hegel, for one, is bad enough of a writer, no need for a more inscrutable version!)Back when I was trying to make sense of him, I found the secondary literature not very helpful, but that was 10 years ago, maybe it has improved. I recall one helpful secondary source: Juliet Mitchell's introductions to "Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the ecole freudienne." They were unusually clear and to the point.Those curious about Lacan might try those nice introductory articles, and see from there if it's worth the extraordinary interpretive pain of reading Lacan himself.
This was a cool, and informative, response. Thanks for writing it. (Hi, I'm 11:25 and not only do I enjoy the phrasing of, "Since life is short and philosophy is long," but I am also glad that I'm not the only one who thought Lacan was a pain. Were my classmates back in the day pretending too? We really were all assholes.)(It's not a foreign idea to me that people would pretend to understand more, and more easily, than they really understand. I just hadn't reflected on Lacan in that light.)
Is anyone aware of treatments of Hegel's absolute idealism comparable in spirit and stature to Michael Friedman's treatment of Kant's transcendental idealism?
something about the way you put that question makes me want to put furniture through a window. not sure if anyone else will concur but i thought i'd report my experience
It reminds me of a pretzel. (To answer it: I'm not, sorry.)Don't put any furniture through a window, 2:59. Windows are only for the violent dismissal of insubordinate electronics.
I find it interesting that the latest Templeton grant was announced on Frey's colleague's website but not on Vogler's colleague's website.
Do you mean 'college'?
I think he means that Vogler is at Chicago with letter and Frey is at South Carolina with whineberg. The announcement is only on daily nous
Ah. Thanks. But Leiter isn't in the philosophy department at UC, so he's not technically a colleague of Vogler's.
He's on dissertation committees with her, so must know her.
That's defamation per se 1:28!!!!
Not defamation per se according to this:http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/what-is-defamation-per-se-.htmlBy contrast, what Jenkins said probably was defamation per se.
I notice DN took a casual swipe at anti-natalism in its Heap of Link section. I'm wondering: does that imply that many philosophers don't take it seriously? It always struck me as one of those arguments that people mainly reject because it's unpalatable, like arguments against the existence of God.So, anyone here think anti-natalist arguments are any good? If not, anyone have a quick summary of the best arguments against?
Anti-natalism just seems overly general to me. Most parents who have children in a planned manner, I think, more or less expect their children to be happy on net. So the empirical premise is just not there.
Maybe, but does the argument directly depend either on parental expectation or on just the chances of one's own children's happiness?1. I expect my children to have a medium to high degree of happiness, while allowing a small risk that I can be very wrong, and they might be moderately to severely unhappy. If I have them, there's a chance of harm, if I don't there's no harm, and no existing person deprived of possible happiness. So the better choice is not to.2. Even if I knew my children would be happy, I don't know if they will cause unhappiness to others, or to what degree, or whether their descendants will be happy. In addition, I can say with near certainty that if they have a long line of descendants, some will be unhappy. So, I can avoid happiness to others via my children by not having any, and in doing so I don't deprive them of anything, since they don't exist.
Oh, right. There's that harm/utility asymmetry. Well, I don't really buy the asymmetry.
Leiter loves to link to news items by linking first to his shitty-ass law blog and only then to the news item itself. It's like citing someone else by first citing a footnote of your own from another paper that cites the person.
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