Sunday, September 6, 2015

September Ember

234 comments:

  1. New challenge: say something positive about another philosophy blog.

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    1. I like the font on the new PMB.

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    2. I like the diverse, stimulating, and extensive comments on posts at NewAPPS.

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    3. I like Putnam's blog, Philosophy Etc., and some others. Simply good philosophical content on those.

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    4. I miss ProPhilosophy. Neither Leiter, nor the new consensus. No ideology, just news.

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    5. ProPhilosophy was great, but there was no discussion in the comments. Given the levels comments stoop to these days, that might not be such a bad thing...

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    6. "I like the font on the new PMB."

      I like *every* font on the new PMB, but especially this one:

      https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTaWWOq1HzJRqDD-ysNkFHmCje51K3Ptumf2YQ3__iSMgrUqVAS

      Something so satisfying about seeing the word "philosophy" written in the style of 1990 high school yearbook. I'm having t-shirts made for the whole department.

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    7. Maverick Philosopher has some interesting philosophy on it. (Well, if you can wade through all the right-wing bullshit that comes along with it. Which is good for a hearty laugh on occasion, but usually just demonstrably ridiculous and offensive.) So does Pruss's blog.

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    8. Wait a minute, NewAPPS still exists?!

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    9. This is kinda weird:

      http://againstprofphil.org/philosophical-rigor-as-rigor-mortis-or-how-to-write-a-publishable-paper-without-even-having-to-think/

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    10. As someone whose primary field and hiring department is not philosophy, 6:50's link does seem to explain everything I've read in generalist philosophy journals. Some of the subfield journals, on the other hand, are more useful to me than anything published in my discipline's own generalist journals. Down with generalist journals, across all fields.

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    11. Thanks for the link, 6:50. I enjoyed it greatly.

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    12. that is absolutely amazing

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    13. I liked it too. Though it's obvious who the author is, given that he quotes his published work in other posts.

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  2. Verboten philosophy anyone? How about some defenses of the verboten opinion in political correct, pathetic academic philosophy that Europe is not at all morally required to accept an invasion of Muslims? Perhaps even a defense of the idea that they are morally required to exclude them? Both seem pretty obviously to be views that could be reasonably defended and presumably would be defended by many great philosophers through history. But will any contemporary philosophers voice these opinions? No. Would non-anonymously voicing such opinions get one black-listed, despised, labeled a racist, xenophobe, etc.? Yes. But let's keep pretending that academic philosophy is place where there is free exchange of ideas.

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    1. First, Europe suffers a refugee crisis, of Muslims fleeing from IS, Assad, Taleban, Al Qaeda, AQAP, and related theocratic fascists. Yes, Europe does have a duty to protect these refugees fleeing from theocratic fascism.

      Second, Europe and the US have an ethical duty, as well as a duty under international law (Genocide Convention and R2P), to take strong military action against IS and Assad.

      Third, academic philosophers are motivated primarily by self-interest, their hyper-privileged class status and posturing narcissism. So, academics will always excuse rape and mass murder, rather than take moral responsibility to protect victims of genocidal or tyrannical regimes and groups.

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    2. 6:54,

      Who forbid you from expressing that opinion? What penalty did they threaten you with? Maybe the people who forbid you are secretly in league with the Muslim Invaders? I'd suggest you alert the authorities, but they're all controlled by the president, and he's one, too.

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    3. Yes, 7:42. I am some crazed, conspiracy nut. I'll tell you what. You write a public piece, under your own name, defending the idea that European countries have a moral right not to let their cultures be overrun by Muslims though this refugee situation. See what happens. Then we can talk. Until then, shut the fuck up.

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    4. Oh, it's "overrun" now, not an "invasion"?

      Number of refugees: 4 million.
      Population of Germany: 80 million.
      Population of Europe: 742 million.
      Percentage of European population that's Muslim: 6%.
      Number of refugees needed to raise it to 7%: 44 million.

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    5. The weirdest thing is that so many people seem to be basing their views here (but not in other areas of policy) on the premise that states are obliged to act as universalist utility maximisers. This might or might not be true (it isn't), but it's clearly the most radical political claim ever made. So strange to see it appealed to implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, as if it ain't no thang.

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    6. Yes, good point, 8:40. Why in the world should we assume from the start that states should be, as you put it, "universal" utility maximizers? People aren't morally required to be such, nor are families, or businesses. But states must be for some reason? If they aren't, then why should they take in millions of non-assimilable foreigners in order to increase the well-being of those foreigners?

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    7. 8:40,

      You're certainly right about the implicit premise among those who argue for admitting millions of new immigrants to Europe and the US. It is always assumed without question that we must consider the interests of the potential immigrants pretty much on the same level as our own. I don't know where this absurdity comes from, other than the principle of universal utility maximization.

      But virtually everyone rejects that principle -- including, even, in the extreme, those who are now assuming it. (Even they, I'm sure, would not embrace a scheme of completely open borders whereby, say, the entirety of Africa would be allowed to choose the country of their choice -- very likely most often the US -- as a place to live in permanently. Or, I should say, they would not accept it in practice, whatever they may say in hypothesis.)

      But if we are allowed as nations to hold the interests of our citizens above those of foreigners, on what grounds can it be claimed that we must admit more immigrants than we already have? Why not believe that the immigrants we have don't already exceed that limit?

      One never gets an honest answer to this question, especially among philosophers, who like to fantasize themselves as brave souls who challenge conventional thinking.

      Also, 8:13, your math is wrong. The 44 million figure should be 14.

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    8. 'Clearly the most radical political claim ever made', 8.40? I beg to differ. The practical consequences of what I take you to mean by 'states are obliged to act as universal utility maximisers' follow from a denial or radical qualification of what seems to be a glaring presupposition of 'the most radical political claim ever made', viz that the nation-state is a legitimate institution with its own rights and duties.

      If this presupposition is denied or radically qualified, what you call 'the most radical political claim ever made' comes off as false because insufficiently radical. So by your lights denial of the presupposition should be off-the-charts radical. But denying the legitimacy of the modern nation-state is not a particularly unusual position. It seems to follow from the conception of legitimacy set out in Rousseau's Social Contract, for example, and more recently has been emphatically affirmed by A J Ayer, R P Wolff and A John Simmons, among many others.

      If we refuse to accept from the start the assumption that states are basically legitimate institutions and can to a large extent do what they like -- an assumption which philosophers should not be in the business of uncritically accepting, surely? -- the burden would be on people with the sort of view implied by your comment to explain why civilians fleeing murderous, heavily-armed militias should be prevented from taking refuge wherever they can, who has the right to prevent them, and why.

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    9. I present my reply as suitable also to 9.55's comment, and in particular to

      It is always assumed without question that we must consider the interests of the potential immigrants pretty much on the same level as our own. I don't know where this absurdity comes from, other than the principle of universal utility maximization.

      This implies an absurdly low 'absurdity threshold', and a certain lack of imagination in respect of possible justifications for the assumption denounced as 'absurd'. 'Utility maximisation' need have nothing to do with it. One need merely ask some awkward questions about the purported moral significance of the distinction between 'potential immigrants' and 'us'.

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    10. " One need merely ask some awkward questions about the purported moral significance of the distinction between 'potential immigrants' and 'us'."

      What is that supposed to mean? If we say that there is no such legitimate distinction, how does that differ in any important way from saying that the US, as it is currently defined, and we as citizens of the US, must take the interests of foreigners as on the exact same par as our own? In what important practical way does that differ from demanding utility maximization decisions across both US citizens and foreigners, and not across just US citizens?

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    11. It differs in undercutting the unearned rhetorical advantage of appeal to the categories 'we', 'citizens of the US' and 'foreigners', and the unargued assumption that such categories have fundamental moral significance, thereby making available, as a response to the question 'Why should we let these people in?' the counter-question 'Why aren't we obliged to?'

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    12. 10:32,

      If the only argument you have that we have no right to exclude foreigners is that you believe that the concept of a nation state is philosophically illegitimate, then, frankly, you're not worth listening to.

      Yes, it's a very wonderfully radical view. That's why nobody gives a damn about it in seriously discussions of policy.

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    13. C'mon, 10:49.

      The concept of a nationstate, if not yet archaic, is at least weird and unstable and conducive to a warlike mentality and not ultimatelly a ncessary way to organize ourselves, 10:32 implies. Maybe you are right that that idea is not worth listening to from the point of view of figuring out what to do now, in the here and now, where the concept of a nation-state is central to how we organize ourselves and thus to our moral-political decisions. But that doesn't mean you have to diss 10:49 in the way that you do, nor that you must permit no gaze toward alternative futures with at least new political conundrums to the all too predictable ones. 10:32 is right in his/her suggestion that we are often trapped by our rhetoric, and does not deserve the abuse you gave him/her/the comment.

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    14. Diss 10:32 I meant.

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    15. 10:49 -- I agree with others in this thread that the only way to argue for some obvious duty to accept refugees is to reject the moral legitimacy of the nation state as an institution. But I don't think that's quite as far out an opinion as you do. Many of our social justice cognoscenti have in effect implicitly adapted that view, and so have many among the libertarian right. The logic of rejecting the nation-state is playing out among in certain areas of international law as well. It's a defensible view. However, as the OP at 6:54 says, the preferred way of defending it is to simply define the opposing view as morally verboten and abuse those who dare to state in in public. Why not debate that way? It's worked so far. Most philosophers don't seem to have a commitment to open and critical reasoning once ostensibly political topics come into play, so philosophers are no more resistant to that line of attack than anyone else.

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    16. Also, 7:10 is frighteningly naive about the real world, since the rise of IS and the conflict in Syria is already deeply related to the US taking strong military action against regimes like Saddam and Qaddafi based on the foolish arguments of armchair moralists.

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    17. On the contrary, 1:37. IS grew out of AQI, itself formed by al Zarqawi's Al Qaeda faction, which moved from Afghanistan, via Iran, to Iraq in 2002, and joined forces with local Islamist militias there. IS, originally only holding Mosul, grew because the US pulled out its stabilizing forces in 2011, and refused to take action against Assad in 2013 when Assad escalated.

      Contrary to your claim, the conflict in Syria began during the Arab Spring, early 2011 onwards. This has nothing to do with US military action anywhere. IS itself is, if you are unaware, fighting Assad's Syria, Turkey's Kurds and Jordan - none of whom have anything in particular to do with US. Your "blame-the-US" reflex is hopelessly naive. Assorted theocratic fascist movements are real and global. Boko Haram is not "caused" by the US. Al Ikhwan was not "caused" by the US. The Taleban was not caused by the US. Jamaat-e-Islami was not "caused" by the US. Etc.

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    18. 2:06, how naive / uninformed are you? Do you seriously think that IS would be essentially controlling the Sunni segment of Iraq without a massively destructive sectarian civil war that grew out of the chaos created by the US invasion of that country? If Saddam were still in power, would he have allowed that? And do you really think Syria's current chaos has nothing to do with the fact that it has been high on the US/Israeli regime change target list for many years? (See Syria inclusion on Bush's 'axis of evil' in 2003). Contrast the Arab Spring in Egypt, a close US ally, which led to a temporary upheaval that was quickly, brutally, and effectively suppressed by a new military dictatorship that overthrew the popularly elected government. The military shot thousands in the street with little publicity or protest in the West and restored order with no societal collapse or civil war, and continue to receive aid from us. In contrast, the US has publicly admitted that it has been working with Syrian rebels since 2012, and likely before. And let's not even get into the chaos of Libya post-Qadaffi.

      I hold no brief for the Middle Eastern system of holding back radical religious sentiment and social upheaval through repressive dictatorships. But the US efforts to target those dictatorships that don't play ball have been massively incompetent and have been a major contributor to chaos, anarchy, and death in the ME.

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    19. "... high on the US/Israeli regime change target list ..."

      Antisemitic loon.

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    20. 7:31, I'll take that as agreement to my comment at 7:19, since charges of anti-semitism in response to frank discussion of US policies in the Middle East are basically an admission that the interlocutor can't respond to the actual argument. (I'm Jewish BTW, with lots of background/connections in Israel).

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    21. You attributed the civil war in Syria to Israel. This is an example of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. The civil war in Syria has nothing to do with Israel, who have kept out of it. Israel is not concerned with Syria. It is concerned with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

      The "axis of evil" in Bush's speech did not refer to Syria. It referred to Iran, Iraq and N Korea.

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    22. 8:08, you also appear to think Israel supported regime change in Iraq. This is not true. The Israeli govt of Sharon did not, and made its reservations known. Israel is concerned with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, because every war or insurgency that Israel has fought, for more than three decades, since 1983, has been with those three. Anyway, this is all a distraction. Israel has nothing to do with any of these events, whether in Iraq, Syria or Egypt.

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    23. 10:49 from upthread here.

      I see a number of commenters on all sides defending the plausibility of the view that the nation state is philosophically illegitimate.

      I can only say that, to begin with, I have no idea what that could possibly mean in practice. Who collects the taxes? Who defends against foreign invaders? To whom are the benefits of the welfare distributed? Who is subject to which laws? Who gets elected to be in power over what? Or is the idea that none of this happens anymore, and we just embrace anarchy?

      If the sole idea is that everything else remains the same in countries except that people move freely across borders, then in what important sense is that giving up on the notion of a nation state? Beyond this point, I would say that that idea is absurd of itself. Instead of using the idea of the illegitimacy of borders to support immigration from all parts of the globe, I would turn the argument on its head and employ it as the best possible argument that rejecting borders is an unacceptable political arrangement. The clear consequence of that policy would be the massive invasion of the US from all parts of the world, perhaps in the order of a billion or more individuals. This would overwhelm and likely destroy all that is positive and productive in our society. Given the numbers involved, there would be no reasonable expectation that things would turn out otherwise. This is no more acceptable to us in our current condition than it would be to require by law that we give up virtually all our income to support others less fortunate across the world, reserving for ourselves only enough to maintain us in the same material state as the least fortunate.

      I just don't see how the suggestion that our borders be effectively eliminated is anything other than crackpot.

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  3. Yes, 7:42. I am some crazed, conspiracy nut. I'll tell you what. You write a public piece, under your own name, defending the idea that European countries have a moral right not to let their cultures be overrun by Muslims though this refugee situation. See what happens. Then we can talk. Until then, shut the fuck up.

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    1. Especially American commentators need to shut the fuck up. You caused it, you should take them in. I don't want them, all those rural gaotfuckers with their archaic religion.

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    2. The irony is that good portion of the current crisis is due to the idiotic overthrow of Quaddafi in Libya pushed by Hillary Clinton and her crackpot goody two shoes colleague Samantha Power. The stupidity of the so-called liberal do gooders, and their utter inability to see what's coming next should keep them from power for all time. (Not that the right wing isn't equally stupid in its own right -- see the overthrow of Saddam. Both sides imagine they can do great good by interfering in the affairs of others, despite the fact that that has almost never worked.)

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    3. "I don't want them, all those rural gaotfuckers with their archaic religion."

      You mean these guys?

      http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1406760/druids-perfoming-pagan-samhain-blessing-ceremony-stonehenge-during-month-october.jpg?w=720

      Totally agree. We should build a wall their backward-ass island and not let any of them out.

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  4. 9:55 is, curiously, not also interested in correcting the math implied by 10:20's claim that European countries will be "overrun." 4 million refugees still doesn't move the percentage to 7%, and 7% isn't remotely "overrun."

    9:33,

    "People aren't morally required to be such, nor are families, or businesses. But states must be for some reason?"

    Is that so surprising? Isn't one of the useful functions of states, one that many people could at least argue is part of the moral legitimacy of state authority, precisely its use for balancing out the group selfishness of non-state organizations like families, businesses, communities, and so on?

    So there's nothing prima facie absurd about thinking that an enlightened state carries this basic premise of moral universalism further, by limiting its own group interest on moral grounds.

    Obviously, a state can't be absolutely universalist, completely disregarding its own interests. But, frankly, I'd argue that any state that thinks it has no moral obligations to humanity in general is illegitimate.

    There's a lot of ground for positions between "states must be absolute utility maximizers" and "who give a shit about you, you're not from our country." Namely, states should universalize maximize utility wherever doing so doesn't require a greater moral sacrifice to their own citizens.

    So, what's the reason this case would be too onerous, justifying an exception to the basic moral position of universality when possible and reasonable?

    Anyone have more plausible reasons besides 10:20's suggestion that too many Muslims is a threat to European culture?

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    1. 10:16,

      You have obviously failed to notice that you haven't given ANY argument that we in the developed world have not already met or even exceeded the limit of what we are obliged to do for foreigners. You take it as obvious that we have not done so -- but it is not obvious, once you admit that there is some such limit.

      If one admits there's such a limit, then one at least has to have an honest discussion as to what the burdens imposed by immigrants really are. For example, I don't see any serious argument that if one admits large numbers of Muslims from these lands, there won't be a proportional rise in terrorism. Don't our societies have a real interest in preventing such terrorism? Why believe that our obligation to those refugees is so great that we should endure greater terrorism?

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    2. 10:27, but this ignores my suggestion was the principle that "states should universally maximize utility wherever doing so doesn't require a greater moral sacrifice to their own citizens." So, there is no pre-given limit to meet and then be freed from obligation. In each case we have to ask if there's some onerous sacrifice that exempts us in the case.

      The issue you raise about burdens is the relevant one. I suspect everyone agrees we have an interest in preventing terrorism. But "you have obviously failed to notice that you haven't given ANY argument" that Muslim refugees will create a proportional rise in terrorism.

      But why is it obvious it would create a rise at all, much less a proportional one? It's not that hard for potential terrorists to enter Europe unless they're already on the radar. And why wouldn't the same security measures that we use for visitors work just as well when admitting refugees?

      Of course, apart from strong isolationism, any country takes some risk of terrorism in letting people cross its borders. But why should we believe this is an exceptionally high risk? Because they're Muslim, like 1 and a half billion other people in the world?

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    3. ""states should universally maximize utility wherever doing so doesn't require a greater moral sacrifice to their own citizens."

      What does this even mean? On the most natural interpretation, it hardly differs in any important way from the principle of maximizing utility in its original form. There are 6 billion people in the world, let's say 2 billion truly destitute in their own countries. If we allow those 2 billion to choose the country they'd like to live in, they'd most likely choose the US. So how do you weigh the interests and utility of those 2 billion vs the "moral sacrifice" of 300 million US citizens?

      Your principle gives no answer that doesn't reduce us to the same absurd consequences that render the original principle of maximizing utility absurd.

      Your principle is completely useless in determining what we need to know.

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    4. "Your principle is completely useless in determining what we need to know."

      Look, you can reject the principle, but if for argument's sake you're granting it, the burden of proof is on the person declaring an exception. Universally maximize utility *except* if it's too burdensome on your own population.

      So, if you think letting 4 million refugees into Europe is too burdensome, it's up to you to make the case. Your criticism of the position in favor of letting them in *presupposes* what you claim we need help in determining to know. Only *if* you know with some reasonable probability that it's going to cause a problem do we have a reason for denying them entrance.

      Again, you can reject the principle on independent grounds--that's a separate debate--but don't pretend the burden of proof is on anyone but the one claiming they have a reason to disregard the wellbeing of a large number of people with bad moral luck.

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    5. 11:38,

      You just don't get the fundamental problem with your principle. Namely, how do we measure "moral sacrifice of citizens", and how we determine whether, on that measure, it exceeds the higher utility of potential immigrants?

      If, say, we have a 1% rise in crime, or 1% rise in taxes due to allowing a group of 100,000 to immigrate, is that too great a moral sacrifice of our citizens? Does the increased utility of those 100,000 exceed the measure of "moral sacrifice"?

      You haven't provided a single thing to make out that calculation. And acting as if either side has the burden of proof here is beside the point. Both sides have to establish, as best they can, what the real consequences of immigration might be, and the best decision made in the light of the evidence.

      But your principle as stated does nothing to clarify how the balance in the ultimate decision should be determined.

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  5. 10:54,

    How much of the terrorism in France, for example, has been perpetrated by its Muslim population -- especially given the proportion of Muslims in their population?

    Are we really going to have to pretend that some populations don't have higher rates of terrorism than others? This is true why exactly? Because Magic?

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    1. Of course not, 11:13. The question isn't whether European terrorism is predominantly committed by Muslims, but whether an influx of refugees will likely raise the incidents of terrorism, and the latter simply doesn't follow from the former. The question concerns the probability of members of that specific population of refugees being terrorists, not how many terrorists share their religion (how many y's are x's, not how many x's are y's).

      At best it raises the risk, but the relevant question is how much risk? And I haven't seen any arguments that it's a substantial risk.

      But there are reasons to think it's insubstantial:
      1. the percentage of Muslims who are terrorists is minuscule, so there's no reason to think there will be a high number in this group.
      2. it's already easy for terrorists without a prior record of suspicious activity to visit Europe and the US and most terrorists have been in countries by ordinary means like visas, so there's no reason to think allowing refugees in will increase the rate.
      3. despite relatively open borders and far from strict immigration policies, there have not been that many large scale terrorist attacks since 9/11, suggesting the tactics in place work, and there's no reason the same tactics should fail when processing refugees.

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    2. For Christ's sake, 11:31, try to apply some common sense and math here.

      Here's an article that discusses the issue of "home grown" vs Muslim terrorism in the US, trumpeting the conclusion that more people are killed by "home grown" terrorists than by Muslims in the US:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html

      But, as pointed out in the comments, this result is skewed by the fact that it deliberately left out the killings on Sept 11, and utterly failed to consider the very small population of Muslims in the US.

      Here's part of one such comment:

      "Even granting that in absolute numbers "homegrown radicals" have killed more than jihadists in the US (conveniently not counting the 9/11 terrorists -- "Apart from that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"), in terms of rates of terrorism, American Muslims have been vastly more dangerous than "homegrown" elements. About 1% of Americans are Muslims, but over 70% are of Christian background. So if the absolute numbers of those killed by both sides is roughly the same, the relative numbers must be enormously different. This is especially relevant because the number of seriously disturbed people will be mostly dependent on the size of the population. One would expect that among the majority Christian population, those numbers would be proportional to the size. And there is likely little that can be done to prevent seriously disturbed people from acting out.

      But the Muslim population obviously has rates almost two orders of magnitude higher than that of the Christian population. Point is: there's something wrong with Islam as a religion in this respect."

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    3. Dude, what the hell are you talking about?

      Nobody questioned your claim that there's a higher incident of terrorism by Muslims, whether in Europe or the US.

      The relevant question is what that proves about the probable rates of terrorists in any given population of Muslims. Answer: nothing. "Most x's (US/European terrorists) belong to population y (Muslims)" won't get you to "most populations y will have higher rates of x."

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    4. 11:56,

      Look, the best evidence we might encounter as to the rate of terrorism in a population we might admit to the US or Europe is the rate of terrorism in that group in the US or Europe in the past. Sure, it's not perfect evidence, but one would certainly expect that it would be in the same ballpark.

      And what is that ballpark in the US? Well, according to statistics quoted in the very article in the Times that is defending American Muslims, and the known proportion of the US population which is Muslim, the rate of Muslim terrorism is 30 times greater than for the Christian/secular population.

      On what possible assumptions might we imagine that a rate of 50 times as much would turn into a rate basically equal to that of the Christian/secular population?

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    5. I'm 12:09,

      I meant, 50 times greater, not 30 times greater.

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    6. I honestly don't think it's evidence at all, not even the best. It only counts as evidence if you think it's telling us something about the religion as such, independent of context, so it would also tell us about practitioners of that religion anywhere. And there's no clear reason to think that.

      On the contrary, it's telling us about terrorists *in the US and Europe*--specifically: it's telling us about people who specifically traveled to the US and Europe to commit acts of terrorism. There's nothing astonishing that that narrow population is primarily people of a different religion of the people they traveled to attack.

      Just as, for example, the rates of IRA terrorism in the 70s-90s tell us nothing meaningful about Catholic populations in other places and contexts, not even at that time.

      Just as, for example, the fact that most domestic terrorists are Christian doesn't tell us anything informative about any Christian populations' propensity for terrorism.

      The history is pretty clear: terrorism is always a response to specific forms of foreign policy perceived, correctly or not, as violations of a weaker population's sovereignty or rights. Religion is just a banner used for these power and territory conflicts. That's why terrorism is so enormously flexible ideologically: the French Revolution, anti-Czarism, the IRA, the Red Brigades, and so on.

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    7. 12:25.

      Really, you're just making this counter evidence up at this point.

      Most of the terrorists who are Muslim in the US in the cases mentioned were born and raised here, and were radicalized here. Confining the cases just to such examples, the rate of terrorism would hardly differ in order of magnitude from the 50 times greater figure I had offered.

      Why imagine that if we had a still larger segment of Muslims, that it wouldn't be as bad? In fact, it may well be worse, since a larger number of radical elements will be around to "convert" others, and because of the sheer numbers, fewer will be caught in advance by the authorities.

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    8. 12:25, you appear to have forgotten UDA, UFF, Baader-Meinhof, Combat 18, etc. You have forgotten the Freikorps and Sturmabteilung. In particular, you have forgotten Al Ikhwan and Jamaat-e-Islami. The former's creation under al Banna and Qutb, and the latter's, under Maududi in Pakistan, had nothing to do with a "weaker population" or with any territorial conflict. That is Islamist propaganda. They were internal. Rather, it specifically concerns the political, cultural and social freedoms that the ideological founders hated and despised.

      Furthermore, the claim that something happens because of a "conflict" is a truism, having no explanatory significance. To make an empirically significant claim, you need to explain why, usually, people do not resort to violence, murder, torture, and so on.

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    9. "12:25, you appear to have forgotten UDA, UFF, Baader-Meinhof, Combat 18, etc. You have forgotten the Freikorps and Sturmabteilung. In particular, you have forgotten Al Ikhwan and Jamaat-e-Islami. The former's creation under al Banna and Qutb, and the latter's, under Maududi in Pakistan...."

      Who ARE you people? Stay away from those video games. Take a walk in the forest.

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    10. Or a meadow or through the desert. Or along a sandy beach.

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  6. But 1.5 billion muslims are not all terrorists blah blah. A few bad apples suffice. Look at what those idiots do in Iran. It might not be polite, but Muslims who live their "culture" are a danger to a democratic society. The fact that Tariq Ramadan has a chair at Oxford tells you everything you need to know about Oxford. A guy that openly supports Sharia, wow.

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    1. Reply to sincere argument: "blah blah."
      Retort: cliché about bad apples.

      I think crappy arguments like this post are a greater danger to society than Sharia monsters under the bed.

      But if it's got to be a battle of clichés, then I summon the power of Osmond:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvuK9BZWojE

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    2. That burned out two of my five senses. I needed something stronger than a trigger warning on that.

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    3. Dear Libtard (11:48),

      please visit such beatiful places as Malmo, the banlieues of Paris or certain areas in Koln.
      The argument is a really good one. If few Muslims are enough for rising rapes, hate crimes on gays, Jews, Christians or domestic terrorism, then one has good reasons to reject mass immigration into one's own society.

      I suggest you go back to FP where the fight the might of white male cis-gendered oppressors. But please, fuck off.

      Delete
    4. Do people in professional academic philosophy even say "libtard"? That's like, a ridiculous term whose significance is not in its intended descriptive content but rather in its reflection of a democracy warped by a sickness of some kind Who is running this blog?

      Delete
    5. 3:15, i think it's likely that people who aren't in philosophy, or are only tangentially "in" philosophy", or who are in philosophy but really bad at it, come here simply because it is unmoderated. 4chan types with a veneer of whatever. or maybe it's false flag run by someone trying to make the anti-refugee look bad, who knows.

      Delete
    6. Who cares what "people in professional academic philosophy" say? The poster was responding to your stupid, bury-your-head-in-the-sand attitude, displayed at 11:48. People who live in cities that have been overrun with Muslim immigrants will be happy to explain why Muslim immigration isn't a good idea.

      Delete
    7. "... maybe it's false flag ..."

      Tinfoil hat.

      Delete
    8. 1:25 here. As if people who are "in" philosophy contribute much to any important public debate. Isn't that one of the problems of philosophy, that it is always late to the party?

      When it comes to hot topics such as immigration academic philosophy, if it actually engages with such a topic, is nothing but an echo chamber for left leaning views. You can have your views, but don't expect others who actually have to live with the real life consequences of the politics you advocate to agree with them.

      You strike me as the same kind of person that argues once public opinion has shifted from no-holds-barred-immigration to one that can be observed now in Scandinavia that people have "regressed" and need to be better "educated". The problem is that reality is a lot messier than you can account for in your neat little argument for immigration. People like you usually do not have children that e.g. go to school where the majority has a Muslim background. If you actually had to live the martyr life you want the rest of us to live, your standpoint might at least have some kind of appeal. But since you don't and on top of that ignore easily available data, you are nothing but a hypocrite.

      Delete
    9. 3:58 (1:25), 3:51, 3:33,

      You call me a hypocrite and attribute views about immigration to me.

      Sorry, but in this conversation I expressed no views about immigration, pro or con. All I did was remark on the usage of the word "libtard". I asked the question whether anyone in professional academic philosophy would ever use that word. I have never seen any such person use that word.

      That was my sole contribution to the discussion. And very weirdly, y'all jumped on me, assuming I held views that I did not express.

      Evidently, you don't know how to hold a conversation. How can you expect to persuade anyone of anything if instead of addressing what they actually say, you attribute all kinds of views to them that they did not assert, and further suppose that there are only TWO sides to some as yet poorly understood issue, when in fact there are likely MANY sides.

      Ridiculous.

      Signed, 3:15

      Delete
    10. For the libtard crowd (caution, you might choke on your shawarma):

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340599/WikiLeaks-1-3-British-Muslim-students-killing-Islam-40-want-Sharia-law.html

      https://www.wzb.eu/sites/default/files/u252/s21-25_koopmans.pdf

      http://www.taz.de/!5168760/ (German lefty paper).

      Just the stat that 1/3 of Muslim students see killing as proper means to propagate their religion and and almost half of them want sharia law, shows that a large number of Muslims are not ready for Western civilisation.

      But once reality strikes back, the silence of the ideologues on the left is deafening.

      Delete
    11. Libtard.
      Holy shit. I don't think even ARG is this big a moron.

      Delete
    12. clue someone might not want sharia law: they're risking their life trying to escape it.

      Delete
  7. Terrorism isn't the main cost of mass immigration. Here is the main cost: lots of people derive lots of utility from being part of a community, both locally and nationally, which is largely homogeneous in culture and which has a long history of occupying that place. The fact that most people strongly dislike mass immigration is strong evidence that the previous sentence is true. So, even if you don't personally attach disvalue to the disruption of homogeneity and historical continuity that mass immigration entails, you should still count it as a major cost.

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    Replies
    1. This seems like a more interesting and more plausible case.

      But it seems a bit anachronistic, especially since we're talking about Europe. Is Europe, or are European nations, really very homogeneous at all? European culture is western culture, and western culture is money, if with a smattering of Greco-Judeo-Christian decoration. Everybody now speaks the same language and worships the same God.

      So, I don't think there's much of the utility at issue left to endanger. After a century of mass immigration in Europe, Canada, and the US, what is this last drop in the bucket going to do?

      And I'd add that even to that it's not clear there's a danger to what little locality is left. Why should a (relative to overall population) a handful of people doing there own think destroy the majority population's culture? Has 100 years of immigration made the US less Judeo-Christian in its outlook? No, capitalism has.

      Why think such a cost would be a major one, rather than trivial, a tiny increment of what immigration already does a little, and global capitalism does mostly?

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    2. 12:07,

      You are missing the rather obvious point that even the purely secular portion of European and US cultures -- and probably especially that portion -- is completely at odds with even the most mainstream segments of Islam.

      How many Muslims of any stripe are on board with equal treatment of women in all contexts? Or of gays?

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    3. That's an interesting question 12:07. Do you think you know the answer? I'm not sure.

      Indeed, "in all contexts" is a high bar. How many Christians or even non-religious Americans are on board with those "in all contexts"? Hell, how many on this blog?

      I don't think it matters that much. All the Muslims I know do exactly what all the conservative Christians I know do when they disagree with the mainstream: their own thing.

      You don't have to "be on board" with a culture's values to live peacefully in it.

      And non-Muslims really shouldn't be patting ourselves too hard on the back about that gay equality thing, given that we've only had a majority on board for less than a decade.

      But that, too, is a case in point. In practice, when people live together they find out that a lot of the stuff they disagree about doesn't affect them. And then they chill.

      For example, Christians in general, not just Americans, are increasingly become more tolerant toward LGBT people. Many are giving up their objections altogether, and many who object are starting to see it as a milder objection.

      That will happen to any population that lives together over time. It's a reason to increase the dehomogenization of cultures, not resist it.

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    4. 12:07,

      Most of your points are good ones, but surely the fact that popular European opposition to immigration is stronger than ever (despite decades of suppression by elites) indicates that there is plenty of utility left to lose?

      Delete
    5. 12:37,

      If you really think that the attitudes of most Muslims toward women and gays are going to turn around anytime soon because they live a more secular nation, it might be nice if you'd point to a nation in which this has actually happened, rather than go off into some la la rainbow land where such fine things occur real soon, because it makes for such an uplifting story.

      Even the far right Christians in areas where they've dominated will into the past don't exactly seem to be going away or moderating entirely. Why expect that Muslims -- who are, even in "mainstream" form, even more rejecting of secular attitudes toward women and gays -- will go away or moderate in short order? Isn't it only more likely they won't change if we introduce still larger numbers into our society?

      And why should we, as a society, put up for any significant amount of time with the many, many problems such a cultural dissension will introduce?

      Delete
  8. Once again, the metametablog is the only place where honest, good philosophy about subjects like the one discussed today occurs. Three cheers for the metametablog. And three cheers for the serious, capable participants in these conversations. These things truly do give me some glimmer of hope in a dark sea of political correctness, cowardice, and moral stupidity.

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  9. So, the instances of the new infantilism just seem to keep coming. It's not looking for good for those who downplay the cases as few and far between and not worth worrying about.

    Here's the latest: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/09/06/history-professor-denies-native-genocide-native-student-disagrees-gets-expelled-course

    Personally, I'd call it genocide, but the professor's comments are a perfectly reasonable argumentative point of view, he let her give her views and offered to continue the discussion with her later. And it does look like she hijacked the class.

    Debating the teacher is fine, but ordering him or her to agree with you and refusing to move on--thus interrupting the class for everyone else--is a different matter:

    "He paused and said ‘I don't like to use that word because I think it is too strong for what happened’ and ‘Genocide implies that it was on purpose and most native people were wiped out by European diseases'.”



    I stood up and started reading from an article by the United Nations that said: Genocide is the deliberate killing of another people, a sterilization of people and/or a kidnapping of their children,” and he said, ‘That is enough.’

    I said, ‘no. you have to tell the truth.’

    He said, ‘if you want to come talk to me after class, now is not the time, you are hijacking my class.”



    I stood up and started reading from an article by the United Nations that said: Genocide is the deliberate killing of another people, a sterilization of people and/or a kidnapping of their children,” and he said, ‘That is enough.’

    I said, ‘no. you have to tell the truth.’

    He said, ‘if you want to come talk to me after class, now is not the time, you are hijacking my class.”



    I stood up and started reading from an article by the United Nations that said: Genocide is the deliberate killing of another people, a sterilization of people and/or a kidnapping of their children,” and he said, ‘That is enough.’

    I said, ‘no. you have to tell the truth.’

    He said, ‘if you want to come talk to me after class, now is not the time, you are hijacking my class.”

    "I stood up and started reading from an article by the United Nations that said: Genocide is the deliberate killing of another people, a sterilization of people and/or a kidnapping of their children,” and he said, ‘That is enough.’ I said, ‘no. you have to tell the truth.’ He said, ‘if you want to come talk to me after class, now is not the time, you are hijacking my class.”

    I'd have the student pretty admirable if she'd made a real argument instead of a lame, righteous, dogmatic appeal to the authority of a UN definition. Maybe if she'd pointed out that it failing to be genocide on the narrow definition doesn't make it morally more excusable, or made a case for the broader definition.

    Instead she had a tantrum and demanded that her service worker get her order right.

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    Replies
    1. Plus the UN definition is not helping her. Does she understand the meaning of the words 'deliberate' and 'purposeful'?

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    2. It will be interesting/possibly horrifying to watch how the administration and fellow faculty respond to this SJW's bullying tactics.

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    3. The professor is a 2011 PhD and listed as part time. Being an adjunct of sorts will surely make this case more difficult for him.

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    4. in the new infantilism, students can just disagree with professors' assessments, and everyone is equally right. unless of course the course is in critical race or gender theory, in which case the professors are EDUCATING their difficult white students, who are "resistant" to social justice dogma.

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    5. Sorry, you blew it, guy. No one will ever read your blog again.

      "Libtard" you say? hahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahhaha
      With a dot ca extension? hahahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahaha

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    6. "in the new infantilism, students can just disagree with professors' assessments, and everyone is equally right."

      Uh. In this case, the student is right and the professor is wrong.

      It's hard to tell whether she was really being disruptive or "hijacking the class"; she definitely should not have done that. But the professor sounds like a dirtbag too:

      "Johnson says that when she asked why the professor did not talk about any sort of Iroquoian technological advances or spirituality and then asked about her professor's stance on genocide, the professor grew volatile and rolled his eyes several times."

      There's also no evidence that the student "had a tantrum", unless that's what you call it whenever a woman disagrees with a man.


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    7. lmao okay. yeah this guy is probably not just racist, but sexist. what a DIRTBAG for not highlighting the independent Iroquois development of calculus or whatever

      Delete
    8. She was pointing out that his presentation was biased, and his response was to roll his eyes at her. Pretty dirtbaggy.
      It wasn't the professor who said the student "had a tantrum", though, so he's absolved of that particular bit of dirtbaggery.

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    9. biased in what way? how did she "point it out"? if somebody stood up and said "you have to tell the truth" in a class i was teaching, i would want them expelled from the school, not just the class. give me a break

      Delete
    10. Look, 6:47. It seems to me that it was the student who was biased. For the concept of "bias" is based on facts and evidence, i.e., scholarly work, and not social justice politics. And it seems to me that it is inappropriate for a student to behave childishly, driven by their politics.

      The function of a university is an institution where scholars may conduct research in conditions of academic freedom; and where students, who are adults, may learn from those scholars and be free to discuss those ideas.

      It is not the function of the university to be a social or political indoctrination center. It is not the function of the university to promote political campaigns; to coddle students; to shield prejudiced students from views that conflict with their political opinions. A university is not a high school and is not a hospital. It is an institution, for adults, of inquiry and learning.

      Delete
    11. the professor behaved childishly too, why wasn't he in control of his class? "interesting point, send me an email about it" would have kept the student from blowing up at him.

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    12. Grow up, 8:01. And please write your sentences in mature grammatically correct English, rather than babytalk.

      Delete
    13. Hi 3:53, no, "tantrum" isn't what I call it when a woman disagrees with a man, but thanks for casually implying I'm a sexist. That's not dirtbaggy at all.

      I call it a tantrum when someone who encounters disagreement refuses to allow the other person to disagree, and either commands them to tow the line or appeals to an authority to make them tow the line. I call it a tantrum when someone treats another human being like an unequal, like a servant or employee.

      As I already explained, not only would her behavior have been acceptable, but positively admirable, if she'd actually *argued* the point. But she didn't argue, she took the role of an authority figure, treating both her classmates and the professor as children for her to lecture.

      It starts with an innocuous, plausible position: it's not genocide because not intentional. Debatable, but a fair position to have.

      Notice how it develops. She responds to a fair disagreement with righteous indignation: "Johnson, who was offended, did not at first respond to the professor’s comments. I wrote it down. I was enraged for what I felt were obvious reasons."

      Then, instead of engaging in an immediate, equal discussion, she says nothing, and actually *prepares* for a surprise attack the next class: "I didn't say anything [on Wednesday] because I knew that if I didn't have anything specific to back it up in terms of tangible or solid evidence that he would not take my comments into consideration.”

      Notice she *assumed* he wouldn't consider her comments, and then used that imagined excuse as a reason to derail the next class, returning to an old topic for the sole purpose of showing up her professor.

      So far: prof has done NOTHING wrong. She disagrees but fails to take the reasonable and appropriate opportunity to challenge him while the class is currently on that material and while his comment is fresh. She spends days preparing a confrontation, so she can have a big public showdown. This is the stuff of "God's Not Dead," people. Left or right, infantilism is the same.

      Then in another class, she challenges NOT THE MATERIAL but his teaching: "On Friday, I raised my hand and I said, ‘I understand why we're talking about the Portuguese people because it explains how they got to America. But I do not think it is fair to talk about Portuguese people as if they were only poor and brave."

      It would be admirable, again, if she'd DISAGREE, and argue that it's not brave to loot other people's lands. Instead of disagreeing with the CLAIM, however, she disagrees with his right to make the claim. He should not "talk about it." She's complaining not that he won't allow free and open disagreement, but that he expressed the view she wants to disagree with at all.

      Then she makes the very weirdly specific complaint that he has failed to Iroquoian technological advances or spirituality.

      So, keeping score:
      1. He did nothing wrong
      2. She didn't originally express disagreement
      3. She waited and prepared to derail the next class returning to the previous topic.
      4. She didn't disagree with his view, but disagreed with his presenting it.
      5. She complains not about what he's said but what he hasn't said, again, focusing on his right to decide how and what he teaches, rather than disagreeing with the content.
      6. THE BASTARD HAS THE GALL TO ROLL HIS EYES!

      Now, after all that, STANDS UP and recites the UN definition of genocide in some sort of godawful O Captain My Captain, slow clap bullshit theatre.

      Be fair. If someone did all of that to you, and the details were different, say, a male student makes a big fricking deal because you won't agree to call the inheritance tax a "death tax" or something. Wouldn't you then recognize the guy as a major league asshole?

      Delete
    14. Isn't it rather telling that no other student came to her defense at any point, presumably not even in private, and that all who said anything about it supported the professor?

      Doesn't that suggest who was really out of control in the class?

      Delete
    15. Boy, I wonder why a guy named MAURY WISEMAN would be cautious about advancing the claim that a complex centuries long pattern of interactions between Europeans and Native Americans should be described as an instance of genocide?????

      Delete
    16. 8:45, that's a good point, and I completely failed to notice that.

      I think it's worth thinking about further. Many use cases like this to divide reactions into a simple dichotomy of left vs anti-left.

      But I think the left should be just as worried about these things. First, because as we've seen in the Salaita case and in the recent news about a conservative student who made a big production about a non-required summer reading of Fun Home, the right will use the new infantilism too. When you weaponise the near-adolescents' melodramatic feelings, anyone who wants a weapon will avail themselves.

      Second, the rise of this kind of behavior goes hand in hand with an excessively identity focused left. And we see here, as we see in other cases, the excesses of identity politics are self-destructive. Here the student's demand to make the injustice experienced by her own group involves failing to consider the relevance of an injustice to another group: one reason he might be hesitant to call it genocide--and to get a bit upset when repeatedly goaded about it--is the worry of diminishing the unique moral severity of the holocaust.

      P.S., I don't think anti-leftists should be took quick to claim these cases as ammunition for their worries about "indoctrination."

      First, complaints about indoctrination are inevitably complaints about faculty controlling what and how they teach, which makes them in many ways complementary to the new infantile movement's desire to reduce faculty control over their teaching.

      Second, complaints about indoctrination are paternalistic, treating college students as incapable of independent thinking or having the courage to make reasoned arguments against the biases of professors. And so it promotes infantilism rather than resists it.

      Delete
    17. Just a side note, but I'm kind of surprised that the prof, the student and the UN all consider intent a necessary part of the concept of "genocide". Maybe it's just me, but I always thought of it as parallel to homicide, ie, intent figures in many types and cases, but there is also room for careless action that unintentionally results in the homicide/genocide.

      As far as the case goes, IMO, the student was totally off-base in hijacking, but I think the prof ought to have handled differently - maybe made room in the class to talk about the impact on native populations. Maybe it escalated into rudeness too fast to make that a reasonable option.

      I don't think I'd put this in with New Infantilism , though- students have hijacked classes like this for decades to get classes to focus on their point of view. That's different than wanting certain works or topics not to be covered because students aren't emotionally fit to handle them.

      This seems more a species of the really common student who wants to totally dominate the discussion with their own point of view, with the difference that she's being rude directly to the prof instead of to the other students (thought, of course, it is also rude to them to take over the class, but she isn't directly shouting down or talking over them). I guess I'd call this the Same Old Infantilism.

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    18. No, partly because "genocide" (and "homicide", in fact) do not refer to the outcome, but to the action(s). Genocide is always a form of murder: i.e., intentional or deliberate killing of large numbers of people, targeted for their ethnic identity. That is the accepted definition, at the UN, the ICC and by scholars. There couldn't be an unintentional genocide. The American term "homicide" is broadly, for both murder and manslaughter, hence the possibility of conflation.

      What you are thinking of - culpable action leading to an outcome in which large numbers are killed (e.g., by others) - does occur. However, those actions are not classified as genocide, even if the actions of the killers are themselves genocidal. The best known case is the Srebrenica Massacre, conducted by Mladic's Serbian paramilitaries in July 1995, against around 8000 Bosnian Muslims. Classified as a genocidal act by the UN, Dutch peacekeeping forces who failed to protect the Bosnian victims were later held partly responsible.

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    19. I think that the accusation of "genocide", if it applies to the native American population, does so in virtue of the idea that Europeans had a major effect on the precipitous decline in the Native American population.

      But the best evidence is that the vast majority of that decline, in the period after Europeans came on the scene, stemmed from the introduction of diseases, such as smallpox, that devastated the NA population. There are perhaps one or two cases in which there's some documented evidence that Europeans might have done so (Amherst was involved in one such), but the fact is that that contagion and its consequences were inevitable. It would have happened no matter what the Europeans did.

      If there was no real case that these diseases were, on a systematic basis, introduced deliberately, I don't see how one makes out the case of "genocide" under those circumstances.

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    20. I meant,

      ...that the Europeans might have done so *deliberately*....

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    21. No serious scholar asserts a genocide against the Native American tribes. On the other hand, a few serious scholars did, briefly, assert this in relation to the smallish aboriginal population of Tasmania, numbering a few thousands when British colonialists arrived in 1803, which reduced to zero around 70 years later. However, this claim has been debunked; for example, by Keith Windschuttle, whose 2002 book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, accounted for more or less every death in the intervening period.

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    22. I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to claim genocide in the case of the Native Americans. There was lots of mass enslavement (by the Spanish), there was ethnic cleansing of areas, there were bounties for Indian scalps, etc. There wasn't a single centralized and deliberate attempt to butcher the entire population, but there were lots of actions that could be reasonably foreseen to cause mass death. (Of course NAs were doing a lot of massacring of Europeans invading their territory when they had the ability to, but they simply weren't capable of wiping out their opponents). But it seems like the professor's view is reasonable too. Certainly it is a different case from the Holocaust. But what happened to the NAs might be closer to the historical norm of how an entire population gets wiped out. Seems like a good topic for a class conversation if people could actually discuss something so sensitive.

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    23. 9:58 you're very clearly right and i point this out whenever i can. identity politics is NOT the sole province of the left; "support our troops", "war on christianity", and other right-wing slogans follow exactly the same formula. in an incredible show of intellectual bankruptcy, the left often tries to rule out these slogans while keeping their own by mumbling about "power". no; everyone must give up their toys if we are to be serious, and they are, at base, the same toys.

      Delete
    24. On the contrary, "support our troops" is a left-wing slogan.

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    25. Man, ARG's all over this thread. Now I understand why he kept insisting that other people were having 'tantrums' the other day - he doesn't know what 'tantrum' means.

      "I call it a tantrum when someone treats another human being like an unequal, like a servant or employee."

      You can *call* it a tantrum of you want, ARG, but that's really clearly not what the word means.

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    26. 4:11, the anti-ARG (femtroll), is as out of place here as ARG. i wish you guys would just let normal people (actual philosophers) talk here. it's impossible for you guys to enter a conversation without polarizing it and insulting at least one of the participants, and i have never seen either of you talk about real academic philosophy.

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    27. 4:11,

      Get a clue. I'm the original poster, and I don't know what ARG means or who it is. I was actually one of the posters criticizing the person accusing people of tantrums the other day.

      Shocking, huh, someone could be on your side on one issue and not on your side on another? What a crazy mixed up world!

      This ain't rocket science people: just because someone disagrees with you, it doesn't mean they're your personal nemesis and must inhabit the opposite side of the philosophical or political spectrum.

      You'll notice, for example, that I went out of my way to say I agreed with the students' view that it's genocide on a broader sense of the term. Do you really think your ARG person, whoever that is, would have taken that view?

      But you live in a narrow world of good people and evil people, where there are only two choices and views for any question.

      I notice that you're reply is just a complaint about semantics. A lot of people in the thread have argued seriously about the substantive issue, engaging the arguments charitably and thoughtfully. And all you have to say at the end of the thread is you don't like my definition of tantrum--which you reduce to the last line of a clearly more involved take?

      That's a little bit better than calling people "libtards" like the idiot on a previous thread, but not much. No wonder you like that student. You've got the same understanding of what constitutes reasoned disagreement and fruitful discussion.

      Delete
    28. "Hi 3:53, no, "tantrum" isn't what I call it when a woman disagrees with a man, but thanks for casually implying I'm a sexist. That's not dirtbaggy at all. "

      Oh, sorry to hurt your feelings.
      But as someone else noted, you've simply invented a special private definition of 'tantrum' now. That's not what it means in English.

      "As I already explained, not only would her behavior have been acceptable, but positively admirable, if she'd actually *argued* the point. But she didn't argue, she took the role of an authority figure, treating both her classmates and the professor as children for her to lecture."

      But, according to the article:

      On Friday, Johnson presented her research to the professor after his discussion on the Iroquois Confederacy and the Portuguese expeditions.

      So I think you're just making shit up.

      Delete
  10. these posts about migration and whatever are boring. bring back the griping about silly things philosophers say at other blogs, plz.

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    1. The magical thing about the PMMB is that you can post about that yourself and no one will stop you. It's complete anarchy here.

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    2. A boring week on the PMMB means philosophers haven't been idiots and trolls like Drabek and McKinnon have been quiet or unusually well-behaved. A boring week on the PMMB is a good week for philosophy.

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    3. so what i hear you saying is that i should troll blogs to fix my boredom.

      Delete
    4. Justice of the PeaceSeptember 7, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      I've got my eye on you, 2:26.

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    5. @ 6:31 PM, the relevant part of the UN definition is "and/or a kidnapping of their children," i.e. Indian boarding schools.

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  11. I'm a graduate student who works, on average, maybe four or five hours a day. And the work is very inefficient, e.g. I check fb, news websites, and whatnot a lot. I'm progressing through my program fine and so I haven't been deterred yet. Am I lazy?

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    1. Of those four or five hours, how much is spent reading or writing philosophy with full concentration?

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    2. I think you could work harder to good effect.

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    3. OP here. If I lined up all the minutes with concentrated reading or writing, I'd say two or three hours a day. It was more when I wasn't ABD.

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    4. Sounds very similar to my work habits, and no one I've talked to thinks I'm lazy. Indeed, many tell me the exact opposite. If only they knew...

      Of course, though, a lot depends on what you're actually producing with those work habits. I know lots of graduate students who spend hours and hours painstakingly striking through books and articles with highlighters and write outline after outline, with nothing at all to show for it. Not impressive.

      So, here's what you do. Look at the C.V.s of recent Ph.Ds who have gotten decent tenure-track jobs and that a similar profile to you: similarly ranked department, similar demographic category, similar research interests, etc. If you're publishing and presenting at roughly the same level, then hooray! There's no need to worry. Otherwise, you might try kicking it up a notch.

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  12. i think that is OK as long as you are progressing. I can't concentrate on that much philosophy every day myself. The difference with having a job is that you are so busy with other things like committees, dept. stuff and so on. This fills up the time I had on my hands as a grad student. I wish I had enjoyed my grad years a bit more...

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    1. OP here. Thanks. I have published twice, in "Leiter-ranked" journals. Some of it may have been luck--I'm not a prodigy--and so I realize I should probably start changing my habits. It's just that I like doing other things and I'm easily distracted.

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    2. I'm an assistant professor at a middling school with a small doctoral program (not in the PGR). I have published a few times in Leiter-ranked journals and a lot in specialist journals, I've also got a monograph with a top publisher. And like you, I don't work more than 5 hours/day, with lots of FB and blog procrastination (I would think about 3-4 hours per day are really focused work). Teaching days are different. I teach about 2-3 times a week, 2-3 hours per teaching day. I try to minimize teaching preps by doing lots of in-class activities. Students like it and the evals are better: win-win. I also referee about 10 papers a year, and do a lot of service work for the profession. I submit 2-3 grant applications per year.

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  13. Here is something that annoys me: young philosophers, just out of graduate school, who referee for journals despite never having published a word in a peer-reviewed venue. Is it wise or fair to let young philosophers who have yet to traverse that gate to act as gatekeepers?

    It is not.

    And yet it happens more than you might think.

    I am not opposed to young philosophers refereeing for journals, even top journals. Graduate students who have already published in those journals, for example, can make excellent referees; I often recommend them to journal editors for the office. But I'd never recommend a graduate student who hasn't published (much less published in an anonymous and peer-reviewed venue of similar quality).

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    1. A recent post on the Philosopher's Cocoon is relevant: http://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2015/09/on-servicing-the-profession-as-a-grad-student.html

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    2. Tell him he is not allowed to referee any more papers as long as he uses the word "servicing". Servicing is what your stud horse does when you truck 'im in the trailer over to your neighbor's place, the guy with the Thoroughbred mare in heat. Under "Service" on your CV, you want to list those occasions on which you have served the profession and the university by activities other than teaching, and these usually do not include servicing anyone, so far as I am aware.

      A certain bank I know promises that it will "service" me every time I call and get the message machine. I want to say, "Yeah, I know you did already. I feel well and truly serviced by your low interest rates and secret charges."

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    3. I genuinely don't see the problem. (In principle, that is. There are plenty of graduate students/fresh-off-the-Ph.D. people that I would never recommend to referee. But that's true of plenty of more established philosophers as well.)

      Perhaps it would be a problem if publishing in a top journal were the only reliable way to develop the skills needed to evaluate whether a submission makes an interesting, well-argued contribution, cites all the relevant literature, and is professionally written.

      But why believe that? I would have thought that, you know...doing all the right stuff in graduate school would be another reliable way to develop these skills. Moreover, it's not true in general that one can only reliably come to possess the ability to judge whether someone else has F-ed by first F-ing oneself. Why believe otherwise in this case?

      Perhaps the worry is that less established people will be more likely to misbehave if allowed to referee. Even if that were the case (who knows?), I don't see why having published in a top journal would make one less likely to misbehave as a referee.

      Plus, you have to remember that it's not the referees who ultimately decide which verdicts to deliver; it's the editors. If an editor isn't taking into account who the referee is and the intrinsic quality of that referee's report, then you should really be complaining about the editor, not about the referee.

      So, yeah...I don't understand what the fuss is about.

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    4. The best evidence that someone can reliably judge philosophical work for a journal of a certain caliber is solid published work in that area and at that level. And ordinarily, this is the only kind of evidence that could be convincing, I'd think. I don't care how famous your advisor was or how many people have crowned the next Prince or Princess Kripke: I'd want to read your work in a good journal and see that it's good before I'd entrust you with a professional gatekeeping function.

      As 10:30 says, though, referees aren't gatekeepers in the strict sense. Editors can and do override their advice. But their advice is, one hopes, a very important input in the sausage-making that is journal article selection.

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    5. "The best evidence that someone can reliably judge philosophical work for a journal of a certain caliber is solid published work in that area and at that level. And ordinarily, this is the only kind of evidence that could be convincing, I'd think."

      Yes, I suspected that's what you think. But that's not what I think. Usually, these are the circumstances in which an argument would have been provided by you in order to convince me to change my mind. So, let's hear one.

      "I don't care how famous your advisor was or how many people have crowned the next Prince or Princess Kripke..."

      This attitude is absurd. Do you normally completely discount the testimony of experts when they weigh in on the expertise of others? I hope not.

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    6. It is very very hard to recruit journal referees. Without unpublished graduate students or junior faculty in the pool, it would take even longer to get papers through the journal process.

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    7. Prediction: opinions here will closely track opinions about hiring graduate students without a track record of publishing.

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    8. Nonsense. People name unpublished grad students because they know that said grad students have the network that will eventually enable to publish in those journals. In fact their being named by more senior people is also a way of telling editors to look out for their work.

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    9. Which post is nonsense, 2:11?

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    10. 11:11 PM ≠ 2:11 AMSeptember 8, 2015 at 10:58 AM

      Good points, 1:14. I overstated things. Here's a qualification to what you say about testimony. Expert testimony should be given lesser weight when the testimony is informed by self-interest. Good advisors have a very strong interest in seeing their students succeed (it makes them look good). So, yeah, take their testimony with a huge rock of kosher salt. Then go ahead and actually read someone's published work. If they don't have any, raise an eyebrow and ask why the hell not.

      Not sure what 2:11 is on about.

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    11. You don't know how the identity symbol is supposed to work, do you?

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    12. In my limited editorial experience, there isn't much difference in the quality of reports from well-published young philosophers and young philosophers who have yet to prove their mettle. They tend to all be pretty good. It's the old famous guys who don't reply to requests that are the real problem. Refereeing is an unpaid, thankless job, and we're lucky to have careful reports from anyone, publishing superstar or not.

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    13. 2:58 AM = 11:11 PM ≠ 2:11 AM,

      Sorry for the mistaken identity!

      To address your point: let's suppose that this testimony is informed by self-interest. That bolsters my case, I think. Here's an admittedly simplistic argument. Suppose that the advisor can do reasonably well at tracking how good the student is (bear with me...); then there are two scenarios.

      Scenario #1: The advisor tells the journal editor that the student is good, even though (s)he isn't. Wouldn't this act against the advisor's self-interest, once the journal editor receives the shitty referee report? For now the journal editor--who is likely a fairly well known figure in the profession--knows how bad the student is, will appraise the advisor less highly, and won't listen as intently to the advisor's recommendations in the future. So if the advisor is looking out for his self-interest, promoting a bad student for refereeing work would be self-defeating.

      Scenario #2: The advisor told the journal editor that the student is good, which the student in fact is. Now, perhaps the advisor did this out of self-interest. But so what? I suspect the journal editor will care less, since he received all he cared to have: a non-shitty referee report. Everyone's happy!

      Of course, the situation will be a lot more complicated than this. Nonetheless, even looking at the matter purely from the perspective of the self-interested advisor, it would seem that generally speaking one should expect good students to be promoted for refereeing work by their advisors and the bad ones screened out.

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    14. Once upon a time, in another editorial life, when par for the course was two readers for refereed papers, I used often to send out papers to one established and one junior (often very junior, still grad student) reader. Guess who more often did the careful reading, chase up references, provide the judicious detailed comments, make helpful suggestions? And did it more promptly too.

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    15. I know! It was the junior person, right?

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  14. 2:07 AM,

    Not necessarily. I routinely recommend unpublished graduate students for refereeing duties, but I'm militantly against hiring them (at least at the tenure-track level).

    11:11 PM = 2:11 AM,

    Look, this is becoming ridiculous. At first you were asserting that the best (and only!) evidence that a graduate student can be allowed to referee is that they were able to publish in a top journal, since that's the best (and only!) test of their philosophical skills.

    But now you're suggesting that a graduate student can get published in a top journal (somehow!) simply because "they have the network that will eventually enable [them] to publish in those journals".

    The second bit seems to undermine the first bit, don't ya think?

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    1. Fuck! Accidentally derailed the thread. Sorry about that.

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    2. I'm not sure what annoys me more: people who attribute various invisible, omnipresent, malicious superpowers to 'the patriarchy', or people who attribute various invisible, omnipresent, malicious superpowers to 'the network' that such-and-such type of a philosopher happens.

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    3. ...to have.

      Okay, I'll shut up now.

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    4. When someone's been in graduate school for a while, and a fortiori, out of graduate school for a while, without publishing blind-reviewed articles in very good journals, it's natural to worry about their professional phronesis. This has ramifications for conference/colloquium invitations, jobs, and yes, referee work, no? When someone who should be publishing doesn't do so, it's not _all_ due to bad luck, is it?

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    5. Let me guess, 9:29; do you also fisk the CVs of adjuncts, looking for evidence of poor professional judgement and unproductivity?

      The enthusiasm on this blog for publications as a criterion of quality is beginning to look like a cover for racist or sexist views, since it is almost always the white men who publish early and often. You guys need to change your tune before people hear it for the dog whistle it is.

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    6. 10:06 PM,

      I assume that your post is meant to be a joke, right? Right...?

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    7. Sadly, I somehow doubt that 10:06 is joking, 11:09. As many have observed before, social justice discourse has extended into that weird zone where satire and serious advocacy are indiscernible.

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  15. "people who attribute various invisible, omnipresent, malicious superpowers to 'the network' that such-and-such type of a philosopher happens. "

    Oh, I know. So crazy, right?! When we know everything in the universe is caused by the totally not magical, invisible, mysterious, and only intuitively measurable properties called merit and raw talent.

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    1. I'm sorry you've met with so little success on the philosophy job market, ye of laughably poor non sequitur reasoning, and feel the need to find grand conspiracies to blame for your failures. Perhaps you just suck at this, and should consider a new career?

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    2. I've done fine on the market, you presumptious shitwad. I just happen to have two human qualities in poor supply in this profession: a degree of humility and sympathy with those who haven't been as lucky as I have.

      I realize your sense of self worth depends on your deep conviction that your success is purely do to grit or determination or your inner starlight or unicorns or whatever, and I do really sympathize. It must be hard to have such a fragile ego. But sorry dude, it ain't so.

      If it makes you feel better, each night I'll say a little prayer to the merit gods, and maybe they'll make you feel better as you as hug your single, almost-top journal publication to your chest sobbing, "I'm a real philosopher, aren't I daddy?"

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    3. I never thought of adjuncting as doing 'fine on the market', but at least you're setting your self-expectations where they belong. Hope you get another one next year!

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    4. Did 7:35 say he was an adjunct? And why are you guys being so mean? Is this another case of mistaken identity? Or are do you guys always call strangers "shitwads" or tell them that they ought to have low expectations for themselves?

      I'm the person who said the terrible thing to someone because I thought I knew who they were the other day. So I feel partly responsible for making that an okay thing to do. It's not. I was wrong, and so are you guys. If you have grievances with real life people, then I suggest figuring out ways to resolve those irl. If you want to debate strangers, fine. But can you try and do so without calling each other names or putting each other down? Most of us fall short from time to time, but can we aim for better please?

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    5. I hope the young men leaving the profession will find success in other areas and use their influence to strike back against academic philosophy in 5-10 years from now.

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    6. Did I see that the average publication number of someone hired for a TT job is ONE? Please tell me all of this is about more than that.

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  16. Mildsalsa says at DN:

    "To avoid this distraction, I like to imagine my professors as asexual beings, who are partnered out of some sort of asexual devotion to their BFF or have children because of storks.

    And when professors admit to having heard of sex, I have to lose my illusion."

    Mildsalsa, because you're probably reading this, here's what I think about your issues:

    1. Professors are not youth pastors.

    2. Professors are not eunuchs.

    3. If you want to suppress people's sexuality, then you must go back to church, or to harem, or wherever they taught you your selfish and bigoted attitudes.

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    1. Why don't you just make that comment on DN?

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    2. 3:14, I did, but it needs the approval of none other but JW.

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    3. Yeah. Well, I'm 3:14, and the person who commented at DN as "Mild"DescribesSalsa. I already explained myself and apologized for misusing the term "asexual". I'm sorry you think I'm a bigot. I was never part of a harem or even a church, I don't know what youth pastors do, but I'm not against religious folk.

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    4. i think mildsalsa is cute and we shouldn't be so hard on her. she spoke about something that was frustrating to her and she did it in an imperfect way. surely oversensitivity to such verbal imperfection is exactly what PMMB is supposed to be against.

      personally i'm curious about mildsalsa's research. i'd love to see a short description of what she's been working on recently, with a thumbnail picture of her attached.

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    5. http://replygif.net/971

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    6. 3:14 "I'm sorry you think I'm a bigot."

      When I say you're a bigot I mean you are unable and/or unwilling to appreciate the perspectives of other persons.

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    7. Why do you think that, 5:07?

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    8. personally i'm curious about mildsalsa's research. i'd love to see a short description of what she's been working on recently, with a thumbnail picture of her attached.

      My god, I'd hate to be a woman in a department full of asshats like many of the folks replying to mildSalsa in this thread. It's like Beavis and Butthead, but not as funny, and with a load of intellectual pretension to boot.

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    9. i wasn't trying to be funny. i'm curious both about what she's working on (now that i know a lot about her story, having read her posts there and here) and what she looks like (because she says she's hot). neither of those should be remotely surprising or offensive to anybody.

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    10. I think she does critical race theory.

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  17. I'm really struggling about whether to rank philosopher's imprint 12th or 13th.
    All hail the Ordinalizer.

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    1. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LRJ-RsxVvuA

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  18. Oh no. White male poets are doing terribly. This can't stand. What is next?

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    1. 5:23, your intellectual bankruptcy is showing. the contortions people are going to in that article to get offended, to dispute what's actually going on, and to miss the point are incredible. the fact that someone would say the writer was coming "from a position of entitlement" when he was unable to get published when white, and would call him racist (when his experiment offers a prima facie case that they are racist), means there is likely no reason to be had with these people.

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    2. Privilege and entitlement attach to victim status.

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    3. 5: 23 here. You misunderstand, I agree. People are racist against white people. That is my concern, too. No one understands how difficult it is to get published as a white male poet. I do not know how to stress the difficulty enough.

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    4. keep this shit on jezebel please, your "snark" is downright dumb

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    5. I thought 6:59 was funny. I laughed.

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    6. 6:59 is right to be frightened of whitey. Whitey is horrid.

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    7. 5:23,

      But here's the part you seem incapable of getting: it IS harder to get something published as a white male poet. It's easier to get a poem published if you're identified as an Asian poet -- or at least that's the assumption of even those attacking this guy for doing what he did. If, objectively, it was widely accepted that it was harder to get published as an identified Asian poet, no one would be outraged by what he did. The attitude would be instead, Oh, now this guy will finally see how easy he's had it as a white male poet. What they all know instead is that of course it's easier to be a "diverse" poet, and the guy is cheating by making it easier for his stuff to get published -- those slots were meant for the Affirmatively Acted Upon.

      It's because all those very embarrassing assumptions lie behind the outrage that his critics can't come up with an attack on him that comes to coherent.

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    8. I meant,

      ...comes *close* to coherent.

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    9. 5:23,

      Of course, the question arises: if it's harder to get poems published as a white male poet, why are there so very many poems by white male poets?

      Answer: because, however it gets explained, they happen to be better at it.

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    10. Yes, white males are better at nearly everything. History attests. Except, I take exception at there being "so very many" poems published by white male poets. Chinese poets have three times the chances of being published, and though there are very few of them, this is of devastating consequence. No one understands. The standards for poetry today and completely unlike anything a white male can pull off. It is a serious issue that is likely to cause severe harm to white males, who are truly at risk in this climate.

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    11. 7:45,

      Except you're not adding up all the ways of scoring diversity points, especially as it applies to an area like poetry.

      Hispanics are diverse; blacks are diverse; East and South Asians are diverse; even women are diverse. That could add up to well over half of all the available slots in poetry and in other literary contexts.

      But what if it's white males who are the best at these things? Well, what you're going to get if you do diversity the way its mostly done these days is make it a lot harder for the good poetry of white males to be published, and very easy for the diverse to get their stuff published, even if it's hugely inferior in quality.

      So who loses? Well, poetry and literature for one, but also any number of the better poets around, who happen to be white males.

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    12. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=z6NRTSc_8bk

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NK2FqPNIT_U

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    13. Lol: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/living/don-lemon-cnn-tonight-n-word-exchange-feat/

      No fair! No fair!

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    14. Someone did exactly the same kind of experiment, but it was a woman submitting short stories under a male pseudonym. She had way more success in getting acceptances as a man with an anglo-sounding name.
      Either we conclude that for some reason, poetry selection is biased against white males and short story selection is biased in favor, or we conclude that we can't really tell much at all from these one-off cases.

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    15. "Chinese poets have three times the chances of being published, and though there are very few of them,"

      Do you have any evidence for this, 7:45?

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    16. You're not really taking this diversity points issue seriously.

      In literature, women may or may not get many diversity points, because there are a bunch of them in literature. But anyone non-white (or "Hispanic", even if descended from the Conquistadors) gets big diversity points, and, of course, especially blacks, because they show up so rarely. Asians seem pretty non-white to people, (except when their doing math or science, when they seem plenty white enough not to get diversity points), so get pretty good diversity points in literary settings.

      So is it possible that in some settings a white woman might have a hard time publishing something? It wouldn't be surprising, because the force of Diversity is not strong in them.

      Act like you know how the game is played -- because we all know how the game is played.

      Why did Maya Angelou win the Nobel Prize?

      Just add up her points. She didn't need to be Shakespeare!

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  19. LOL at all the graduate students voting up Philosophical Studies on the Leiter journal poll just because they've published there.

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  20. http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article34096314.html

    lol

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    1. This piece is either a Rorschach test of the reader's assumptions about these issues, and thus is brilliant, or it is the most ham-fisted-toed-line-quasi-feminism ever written. I vote for the former over the latter given the repeated "identified-as-x" lingo. No one with the slightest breath of self-reflection could use that phraseology without her tongue almost completely thrust through her cheek.

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  21. "Atticus." said Jem bleakly.
    He turned in the doorway. "What, son?"
    "How could they do it, how could they?"
    "I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they
    did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it seems
    that only children weep. Good night."
    - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

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    1. I see you've taken 7th grade English, 8:01....?

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    2. 8th, actually!

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    3. I guess your school district wasn't as good as mine then.... But I skipped class a lot, so I didn't learn the significance of that quote.... Only children care about injustice? :/

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  22. WOMEN ARE MISSING. From the missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada, to the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, to the women who are missing from the Chinese population due to the One Child policy, the vulnerability and expendability of women is an international scandal. Less tragic but just as ubiquitous is the absence of women internationally from political leadership and from full participation in economic life. Within academe too, women are starkly underrepresented in the STEM disciplines and in senior academic administration.

    This has to be a joke, right?

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    1. also missing from my face

      seriously, though, anyone who thinks there is a real link among these things has to get their theoretical virtues in order

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