Friday, September 11, 2015

September Slumber

195 comments:

  1. From the previous thread: "the right has never put any sort of central focus on the victim/oppressor conceptual structure."

    Come off it. The republican party since the mid-70s has offered no other conceptual structure but this. "war on christianity", "they're coming for our guns", "welfare queens exploiting hard-working tax-payers." There's a huge amount to contemn in current pseudo-liberal identity politics, but let's not pretend that the stupidity on that side makes "the right" any less of a self-pitying clown-show.

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    1. Well, 12:47, I'd put it differently: there are identity politicians on both left and right, and a good diagnosis of what's wrong with one will capture what's wrong with the other. Unsurprisingly, both sides have diagnoses available that only capture what's wrong with the other side, or that differentiate based upon questionable theoretical constructs internal to identity politics itself ("this instance is okay because of power/privilege/structure etc.").

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    2. Fine, but let's compare apples to apples. The right-wing tropes you mention are strictly prolefeed, whereas identity politics idiocy is the bread and butter of the 'cognitive elite' of the liberal tribe. In my experience, smart educated conservatives are generally smarter and less cuntish about politics than smart educated liberals.Think Ross Douthat rather than Rush Limbaugh.

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    3. Yes, there's something to that right now. When Bush was president, not so much - then it was the "serious" conservatives who were completely off the wall.

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    4. Ross Douthat is smart?

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    5. Interesting criticism, 12:47. (I'm the person you are criticizing.) You comments really got me thinking. While I suspect that there are some important distinctions here, I admit that I'm not sure what to say immediately about this. But I'm glad you raised this point and hope that there are more discussions on the blog about this. (I was hoping that more people would respond to you.)

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  2. People outside the US are not interested in any of this obsessive drivel about "Christianity" and "guns".

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  3. Don't want this to get lost from the last thread. It's good to see more mainstream outlets calling 'shenanigans' on this bullshit, and that it's getting serious academic treatment. From:

    www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/the-rise-of-victimhood-culture/404794/

    Victimhood cultures emerge in settings, like today’s college campuses, “that increasingly lack the intimacy and cultural homogeneity that once characterized towns and suburbs, but in which organized authority and public opinion remain as powerful sanctions,” they argue. “Under such conditions complaint to third parties has supplanted both toleration and negotiation. People increasingly demand help from others, and advertise their oppression as evidence that they deserve respect and assistance. Thus we might call this moral culture a culture of victimhood ... the moral status of the victim, at its nadir in honor cultures, has risen to new heights.”

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    1. There is absolutely no evidence of a terrifying change in the culture- it's the same panic older people always have at the younger generation, each time. Haidt has really lost it. http://leviathanandyou.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-coddling-of-american-think-pieces.html

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    2. Bull. Shit. In the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, young people wanted to get drunk and fuck every one around them, and this was kind of scary - because it was kind-of libertine. Now young people want to be "protected", as they're "victims". If you say, "why not just go and get laid?", they'll call the police.

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    3. 8:33, of you know that, you're probably old. :/

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    4. Also, I kind of do think that what don't kill you makes you stronger, but two things to keep in mind: 1- anything that manages to kill you can't do anything for you, 2- perhaps there are challenges that can't hurt you, but are just as effective as those which can.

      But how is that connected, you want to know! Maybe later. G2g.

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  4. Which philosopher do you admire most as a person, and why?

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    1. Me! Me! Me!

      But then, I'm a solipsist.

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    2. Are we only allowed one? I have three in mind. They have the following qualities.

      All three have made great contributions to philosophy, in published work and in supporting philosophical exchanges among academics and/or among non-philosophers. Two are modest to a fault, while the third is a slight bit artistically flamboyant (but not over the top). All three give you the sense of facing reality head-on, without egoistic delusion even though they would have been ambitious at one point. They are (or in one case, were, prior to death) innovative in their work, and highly focused in their arguments. They are/were all three of them respectful to persons (e.g. don't gossip much, don't act on unverified assumptions about people, don't decide things for other people, etc.), inclusive, and generally open.

      I guess I'm interweaving the intellectual virtues in with the personal virtues. Is that OK?

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    3. Why is it impressive to not act on unverified assumptions? That's what normal people do.

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    4. Hi 7:50, I mean Klaatu. Welcome to Earth!

      Do tell us more about your fascinating home planet, but please don't incinerate us. Give us another chance!

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    5. It's a compliment! :) Klaatu's awesome. Normal people on this planet, less so.

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    6. Philosophy has too much cult of personality shenanigans as it is. Instead of naming names, let's see if we can capture the spirit of 1:54 in other ways. Maybe we could tell stories about a time when a philosopher did something really awesome for someone else, or we could share various attributes/virtues we might not have yet, but aspire to have or cultivate.

      Don't make fun of me. Well, I guess that's okay, but write something nice too.

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  5. Thanks 1:43. And, to be clear, the victimhood loons are not socialists and they are not liberals. For a start, they are rich. This ideology is most pronounced amongst a generation, aged 18-30, of wealthy millennials - and many of them actually vote conservative (simply ask them). A generation that coddled, narcissistic, and self-obsessed.

    What is happening is not a particularly left-right thing. You can find opposition to it from many prominent left-wing intellectuals - Laura Kipnis, Marxists and socialists, Jon Haidt, Steven Pinker, and many others.

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    1. I will eat my own balls if there is one Republican-voting SJW in America.

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    2. The US Republicans are liberals.

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    3. Yeah, I'm thinking that not all leftists are SJWs, but all SJWs are leftists.

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    4. So why do some SJWs vote conservative? I know several; many in fact.

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    5. 2:16,

      If such people exist, presumably there are some in the public sphere.

      Can you name a few, so we get a sense of what you're talking about?

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    6. I don't know any SJWs who vote conservative, and I'm skeptical that there are that many, but then most SJWs are much younger than me, so I can't say I know for sure how they vote.

      And I can imagine one reason they might: they might be socially liberal but economically conservative. Think, for example, about feminist articles about women having equal representation in positions of economic power.

      The reasoning is: "I want me and mine, my identity group, to get our piece of the pie." So it wouldn't be surprising that they'd want economic policies that let them hoard their pie once they get it.

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    7. To repeat, I know many SJWs who vote conservative - usually women or belong to ethnic minorities. Many.

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    8. "they might be socially liberal but economically conservative."

      No, they are socially illiberal and economically liberal. Like Sayeeda Warsi. You are using words with upside-down meanings.

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    9. Warsi seems like she might be an interesting case, but, being American, I don't quite know how well she translates into someone in American politics.

      Certainly the obvious examples of women and minorities who identify as right wing in the US don't fall in with the SJW ideology. All the cases I can think of seem to reject that ideology, though perhaps Carly Fiorina is trying to play the gender card,.

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    10. Warsi is a socially conservative Muslim. The fact that SJWs like Muslims (in some very abstract sense) doesn't mean that Muslims are SJWs.

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    11. No one has said "Muslims are SJWs". But modern gender feminism is socially conservative, and this is why it is attractive.

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    12. 2:37, "liberal" has a pretty wide variety of meanings, and in some specific regional contexts, even incompatible ones.

      I was using it in the sense it has in American politics, since the post was (I presumed) about American SJWs voting "conservative." But sure, your sense is more accurate in its historical narrow usage.

      The point is the same: they don't want bans on abortion or gay marriage, they don't want discrimination or violence against minorities. But they do want wealth, status, and power. And so it might be in their long-term interest to vote for economic policies that preserve class inequality.

      (Though I'd quibble that conservatives aren't truly "economically liberal"--they really favor a system regulated in their interests. In practice, it's always a question of whether wealth will be distributed up or down, a "free" market is never really on the table.)

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    13. "Modern gender feminism is socially conservative."

      So slutwalks are socially conservative? To be fair there is a lot to be said for the idea that current feminism is about rejecting traditional social norms where these impose burdens on women, and keeping them where they benefit women by imposing burdens on men. (So, when a man and a woman are drunk, it's the man's responsibility not to 'take advantage' of the woman.)

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    14. Pogin and her allies slut-shamed Laura Kipnis.

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    15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    17. I love the metablog, and I think it's good for the profession. I understand there's going to be a certain amount of venting that gets done around here. But the calling out of individuals by name, when they have not put themselves in the public sphere, is one of the ugliest things about this place. When those individuals are non-tenured members of the profession, that calling out is even uglier. And shame on you for calling out grad students.

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    18. Whoa 3:22 and 3:50! Not cool! I've been out of the loop at SU for a while, but I can say that no matter what, B Bradley isn't going to talk random smack about random grad students to random inquiring emailers. Duh.

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    19. Yeah, knock it off.

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    20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    21. All right you convinced me. I will wait until they graduate and I will come back with details then.

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    22. I think you need to put yourself on time-out, 10:01.

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    23. I'm not judging you, 10:01. I'm speaking from experience. You'll feel better about yourself and the world if you don't contribute to garbage shenanigans here. At least I hope you will- that is, I hope you don't genuinely feed of causing other people pain.... That would be kinda scary, right? Right. Goodnight. Sleep tight. If you have bed bugs, I hope they don't bite.

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    24. Don't be such a grumpy grape, 9:21!!!

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    25. 10:16, I'd feel better about myself and the world if I thought the world is a just place.

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    26. Well it's just not.

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    27. I think most philosophers are in favor of whistleblowing. Anyway I won't continue this project. But there ought to be better ways to deal with it.

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    28. It sounds like philosophers are too into whistleblowing and whistleblowers are whistleblowing on whistleblowers are whistleblowing on whistleblowers.... Anyway, maybe instead of whining about how unfair everything is all the time, people should make sure they're being kind and supportive of each other, and asking for help when they need it. That's just my two cents- hope I'm not a nuisance (rhymes).

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    29. Philosophers are into bullying and harassing people, on the basis on rumors and allegations, for which they have no evidence; and which are easily falsified when scrutinized. Indeed, they should be kind and supportive. But they, particularly the FP, social justice warrior crowd, are not: they bully and harass.

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    30. Yeah, I dunno. But I'm dumb, so who cares.

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  6. Replies
    1. An interesting bit:

      "The New England Journal of Medicine published a study of a Canadian program that cut the risk of rape by nearly half, and the rate of attempted rape by even more. In four three-hour sessions, the program trained female students on assessing risk among male acquaintances, overcoming obstacles to resisting coercion, practicing verbal and physical resistance and focusing on their own desires and relationship values...Yet student activists argue that the burden should be almost entirely on men to stop sexually assaulting women, not on women to keep themselves out of danger."

      Notice the way an abstract moral principle takes priority over real concrete consequences. They'll oppose a program that reduces sexual assaults because the *moral* burden should be on men. And that's true: the moral burden is on men. But their moral decisions aren't under your control, so why criticize effective measures that are?

      I'm reminded of anti-abortionists who could dramatically reduce the number of abortions by supporting better sex education and contraception, but won't do it on principle.

      To my mind, this is one of the features of the SJW crowd that goes very much against the historical spirit of the left, especially the Marxist tradition. That leftist tradition is anti-moralistic, it's about concrete changes, not purity of soul, about actions not opinions and feelings, about social and political structures and conditions, not good intentions.

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    2. Putting the moral burden on men does not prevent women from learning self defense or other skills. If women can protect themselves better, I don't hear anyone making calls for them *not* to do that.

      This is not an either-or issue. We can do both.

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    3. Then women need to stop crying 'victim-blaming' when these points are made.

      Incidentally, I saw a group of people fighting tonite, and when I approached them to see whether they wanted the police involved, it was clear the woman was the aggressor. Like, throwing punches without anyone laying her out for it. I went around the block and she was still the only violent one. Due to the patriarchy, I'm sure.

      #whatitsliketobeawoman

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    4. Geez.
      Women.
      They complain about victim-blaming, then they go around punching people.
      Am I right?

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    5. Well, women tend to do less damage when they fight, so they don't learn to reel it in as much.

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  7. This is either the most-commented-on philosophy blog, or some sockpuppet-master has waaaaay too much time on their hands.

    Either way, I like reading.

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    1. The difference between the active, highly polarized discussions here and the nit-picking, we-all-agree-but-maybe-only-99% style at basically every other philosophy blog is probably why most of us come here.

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    2. True, but that also tells you something dire about the state of the profession.

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    3. Things are much better now than when NewAPPS was in its heday. One thing the metablogs have done is help the sanctimonious blowhards in the profession realize how they come off to some of the rest of us.

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    4. Thumbs up for 7:22 pm! Exactly right. Though the Ghent Balloon still floats.

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    5. Justice Whineberg and BL are slower to use the banhammer than ever before, and it's probably because they know that whatever comments they censor will just end up here anyways. yay for positive externalities

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    6. Little old for them to be learning object permanence but I'm proud.

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  8. The Metametamanifesto

    "Free expression. No idea is too dangerous for cultural libertarians, who want total artistic and intellectual freedom. They often indulge in deliberately outrageous jokes and wacky opinions to test the boundaries of acceptability. Little wonder that the movement’s leaders often attract large followings from the the chaotic, politically incorrect world of anonymous imageboards like 4chan.

    Resisting identity politics and public shaming. The movement can also be seen criticising modern methods of cultural control and the neo-puritanism they say has infected modern cultural criticism. The newest of these is a rash of social justice-inspired online vigilantism where professional offence-takers use the power of social media to destroy the reputations and careers of their targets. Justine Sacco, who faced global outrage and the loss of her job over a single politically-incorrect joke, is one well-known victim. Astrophysicist Dr. Matt Taylor and biochemist Sir Tim Hunt were also victims of this modern form of thuggery.

    A sense of humour. Cultural libertarians combat anger with ridicule. There is a certain preposterousness to bloggers and social media addicts setting themselves up as a new priesthood, which makes them easy targets for comedy. As MIT Technology Review editor Jason Pontin puts it: “Tyrants, authoritarians and activists all hate the sound of laughter.” Cultural libertarians understand this instinctively.

    An end to nannying and “safe space” culture. Arrayed against the cultural libertarians is the control freakery of the establishment, left and right, and the second coming of political correctness as embodied in campus safe space movements. This latter movement claims that students are too fragile to be exposed to dangerous ideas, and that even mildly offensive speech can cause permanent emotional damage. On the internet, these activists enjoy the support of outlets like Vox and Buzzfeed.

    Defending personal freedom. Cultural libertarians may have their own opinions about how people should live their lives, or have low tolerance for offensive speech. But what distinguishes them from their opponents is their rejection of attempts to impose personal standards on others.

    Defending spaces for uncomfortable opinions. Reason columnist Cathy Young is a critic of the “misogynistic rhetoric” of masculinist bloggers like Daryush Valizadeh, but nonetheless defended Valizadeh’s right to speak after activists launched a campaign to ban him from Canada. Cultural libertarians are serious about protecting the the freedoms of people they despise.

    Fact over feelings. Hand in hand with their commitment to free speech goes a loathing for narrative-led journalism. Cultural libertarians are highly critical of “feelings over facts” in general, but particularly where it gives rise to failures in reporting such as the Duke Lacrosse case, the Rolling Stone debacle, “Mattress Girl” Emma Sulkowicz and GamerGate.

    Standing up for consumers and producers over hand-wringing middle-class panic merchants. Cultural libertarians are the natural allies of consumers and want fandoms to have access to a wide variety of culture and ideas. They also stand up for the right of publishers and content creators to experiment wildly with art and believe that nothing should be “off-limits” however uncomfortable it may make some people.

    Celebrating culture in all its forms. Cultural libertarians can be divided into three broad categories: vanguard hell-raisers who generate headlines by provoking social justice warriors, followed by a loose coalition of academics, journalists and social commentators who provide intellectual substance to the movement. Finally, comedians, directors and movie stars who recognise the threat to creative freedom posed by cultural scolds bring up the rear, cautiously interjecting when authoritarian critiques overreach."

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    1. Nah. Facts suck. Feelings rule.

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    2. I am microaggressed by 12:29's disdain for facts.

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  9. Anyone want to do some verboten philosophy on the scientific merit of psychiatry?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-disorder.html?pagewanted=all

    "Like most psychiatric conditions, A.D.H.D. has no definitive test, and most experts in the field agree that its symptoms are open to interpretation by patients, parents and doctors. The American Psychiatric Association, which receives significant financing from drug companies, has gradually loosened the official criteria for the disorder to include common childhood behavior like “makes careless mistakes” or “often has difficulty waiting his or her turn.”

    I thought psychological behaviorism was dead, but apparently not.

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    1. So what's verboten, the idea that psychiatry has no scientific merit, or that it does?

      Full disclosure: I think that sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

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    2. That it doesn't have any merit. Indeed, that it is pseudo-scientific; that it has just as much scientific merit as psychoanalysis.

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    3. I don't really know what you mean here 1:59.

      Certainly some kinds of psychotropic drugs are effective. Some kinds of psychotherapy -- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example -- are effective.

      Not every diagnostic category and not every diagnosis is correct, but I don't see why that renders psychiatry generally without scientific merit.

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    4. A less provocative claim--one that 1:59 probably intended--is that psychiatry might have started off as scientifically valuable, but the categories have become so broadly defined that they no longer track anything reliable.

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    5. Here's one thing that bothers me about psychiatry and abnormal psychology sometimes: Certain disorders are just lists of symptoms and explanations are circular. Why did you do action A? Because you have disorder D. What does it mean to have disorder D? Well, the diagnostic criteria for disorder D are doing actions A, B, and/or C. Nothing additional seems to be provided by the diagnosis.

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    6. Being a particular metal is a "list of symptoms". Why does it have this color, A? Because it is copper. Why does it have this conductivity, B? Because it is copper. What is it to be copper? Well, the criteria for being copper are having color A, conductivity B, and so on.

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    7. What? No, the criteria for copper is being copper. Surely you think the Periodic Table and gives lower-level explanations for higher-level phenomena in a non-circular way? In particular, it predicted properties of then-unknown elements, which were later borne out when those elements were discovered or created.

      I just want an account of how the DSM, for example, would be able to provide actual insight into a person's behavior, and I'm simply curious and not looking to nitpick anything offered. But I'm not interested in sophomoric tu quoque attempts to change the subject.

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    8. The observable criteria for being copper are precisely what I said they were. These correlate, and lead to phenomenological laws. The same is true in psychiatry. If I know X has, e.g., three symptoms typical of schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, then I can predict the occurrence of others. There are indeed some "lower-level explanations" for psychiatric conditions, but they're more speculative - involving neurotransmitters, functioning of the amygdala, and all kinds of things if you make an effort to investigate.

      Expecting psychiatry to have the same degree of scientific maturity as physics or chemistry is itself intellectually immature, a kind of black-and-white thinking.

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    9. 4:54,

      I guess I don't really see the situation you're describing as much of indictment of psychiatry as a science. The same situation often occurred in ordinary medicine in the past, in which a syndrome or a disease was essentially defined by a set of symptoms often occurring together, and certain symptoms in turn being explained by that syndrome or disease. Until medicine became more based on microbiology, this may have largely exhausted the explanatory nature of the syndrome or disease.

      But the fact remains that many of these syndromes and diseases and their associated symptoms do characterize a group of individuals who suffer from them. The diagnostic categories can be quite accurate, even if we have no real knowledge or what goes on underneath. It is typically correct to see these individuals as exhibiting the syndrome or disease on the basis of the symptoms. Even if we can't cure the syndrome or disease, the diagnosis can often give a clear sense of prognosis. We know what we might expect in the future for those who suffer from the syndrome or disease, based on what has been observed in the past.

      In general, it's doesn't make sense to deny the legitimacy of the knowledge we do have, be it quite sketchy and probabilistic, because it lacks some fullness and clarity we would like to have.

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    10. But it isn't clear that psychiatry is tracking anything *causal* at all. For a science that is giving children strong drugs, ths is nothing less than a scandal. Relevant SEP entry: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/psychiatry/

      "Other philosophers, though, will tell you that the job of science is to discover the causal structure of the world. Furthermore, there are plenty of students of psychopathology who argue that the neglect of causal structure in psychopathology is getting in the way of science (Poland, Von Eckardt and Spaulding 1994, Murphy 2006, Gerrans 2014). They worry that we are lumping together different groups of people based on behavioral evidence alone, when in fact their observable similarities mask important underlying differences, including differences between normal people who are troubled but basically healthy, and their pathological counterparts. From this philosophical-cum-clinical perspective it looks like dereliction of duty when any scientific discipline, but especially psychiatry, decides to isolate itself from inquiry into causes. "

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    11. 10:24,

      I find that characterization of what psychiatry attempts to do off base.

      It's not that psychiatry isn't seeking out causes whereever they can be found. It's just that the state of understanding of how behavior is related to brain chemistry and structures is generally too primitive to understand determine cause, except in fairly unusual cases. So long as those causes remain elusive, the question is: what should psychiatry do? Simply ignore many of the diseases/syndromes that seem both quite distinctive and important in their consequences for those affected -- such as schizophrenia -- or identify them as best they can, and try to find treatments that may work?

      We may often in medicine in general and in psychiatry in particular be faced with syndromes/diseases in which our knowledge of causes is absent. But it is perverse to pretend that such things aren't real phenomena worthy of knowing whatever we can figure out about them. The real dereliction of duty is to ignore what we can determine about such things, and treat them as best we can.

      And I think that it's also a mistake to think in any case that psychiatric diseases, such as depression, can always be sharply distinguished from similar, but milder expressions of similar patterns of behavior in "normal" individuals. Almost certainly, such diseases are part of a continuum of modes of behavior/affect, simply at the more extreme end.

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    12. 7:05 here. That Stanford Encyclopedia article is good. Section 3.4 and others around there get at some of the sorts of worries I've had (which I may have expressed poorly), although I think good responses were made here.

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    13. How is it that the lower-level explanations are more speculative than the higher level ones? Aren't the higher-level explanantions supposed to be based on the lower level ones? And if they aren't supposed to be based on the lower-level explanantions, then it is hard to see how psychiatry is scientific.

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    14. 11:40, I see your point. But given that we have such little knowledge of how behavior is related to brain chemistry, why think that we should be trying to solve the problem by altering brain chemistry, given what little we know? We *do* know that amphetamines have highly addictitive properties (like a closely related substance, cocaine). If a mouse could inject amphetamines all day, it would. Studies show this.

      Why not try to change the enviroment to fit the person instead of changing the person to fit the (highly unnatural) environment? Oh right, because we would have to spend money instead of raking in billions of dollars of profits. I take it this was a major point of the NYT article.

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    15. Your error is to assume that a reductionist mechanism needs to be specified in order for a theory to be scientific. This is dramatically incorrect. Did Isaac Newton "reduce" gravitational attraction to a mechanism? No. Newton's law of gravitation says that bodies attract each other with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to their distance apart squared. Newton was then asked what the "lower-level explanation" was. His answer was that he didn't have a clue ("non fingo hypotheses").

      Newton's law of gravitation is amongst the three or four most significant contributions to science ever. But you are saying it is not science, because it did not provide a "lower-level explanation"?

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    16. I am not a reductionist, at all. An identification of the lower-level with the higher-level is sufficient; psychiatry has no such identification. Newton had math, psychiatry does not.

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    17. Please state what "lower-level explanation" Newton gave for gravitation.

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    18. 7:05 again. I'm not a reductionist; that's not what I meant by "lower-level" when I said it, at least (other people may want to mean that). All I meant was something reasonably non-circular, and I think some of the responses gave something that is prima facie non-circular.

      My objection is really to explanations of behavior that take the following form:
      Q: "Why is he doing that?"
      A: "Well, he's depressed."
      where "depressed" means, among other things, "is doing that". That's what I have a problem with. The disanalogy to normal physical medicine would come if there are disorders for which there is nothing more to diagnosis than symptom matching. In medicine generally, for example, you can have all the symptoms of a fever, but it might turn out that what you have is some completely different disease that didn't enter into the analysis because it's rare or unheard of, or for some other reason. It's not clear that a disorder or syndrome without something lower-level admits of a similar possibility of error. Maybe I need to go into more detail about why that would be a problem.

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    19. Perhaps 8:43, you could also state what "lower-level explanation" Darwin gave for inheritance? What "lower-level explanation" did Maxwell give for the behavior of the electric and magnetic fields? The absence of "lower-level explanations" does not imply that Newtonian gravitation, Darwinian biology and Maxwell's electrodynamics are not scientific.

      I've read your "objection" and dealt with it already. It is the normal situation in science. You are objecting to science. Why is this physical object mutually attracted to this one? Because of gravitation - where "gravitation" means, among other things, "is mutually attracted". Or maybe you think there is a "lower-level explanation"? If so, what is it?

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    20. Fuckin' magnets!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvmvxAcT_Yc

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    21. I don't quite get what you are suggesting. (General relativity, by the way, as I understand it, is a lower-level explanation of gravitation, but that's beside the point. Some scientists also hope to give explanations of gravity in quantum terms, I think. But I'm no expert on any of that.)

      Let me make sure we're clear. Do you think a phenomenon like gravitation is primitive similarly to a phenomenon like, say, histrionic personality disorder? I understand that there is an explanatory and/or justificatory "rock bottom". You can't just keep asking "why" like a child would; explanation gives out. My question is: do you think a mishmash of symptoms is the right place? It seems intuitively not to be. If you don't share that intuition, well, okay, but it seems a little stubborn to me if you're claiming not to feel its pull at all.

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    22. 5:51 here.

      I guess I find the insistence that psychiatry must first locate underlying causes before it can be deemed a "science" just strange.

      It may be that for the longest time, we will not be able to come up with a set of underlying causes for psychiatric conditions -- or at least none that have any particularly useful explanatory/predictive value. Many of these conditions may be massively multifactorial, and each of the factors themselves exceedingly difficult to pin down. Why should the complexity of the phenomena count against the legitimacy of the science investigating them?

      Even if we were never able to get beyond seeing psychiatric diseases and syndromes as being defined by clusters of symptoms, why does that mean we can't have a science of these things? Certainly the detection of such clusters constitutes knowledge. Why refuse the honorific "science" to such knowledge? From my point of view, science is as science does, and in the case of psychiatry -- and earlier, in medicine more generally -- that what science is doing.

      It's especially critical that psychiatry be granted legitimacy as a branch of knowledge, no matter whether one refuses it the term "science", because the alternative would deny patients what remedies are available. How do we determine whether these remedies work? By painstaking studies to investigate their efficacy -- studies whose results will be probabilistic, not deterministic. These remedies and studies need not themselves be based on any certain, or even speculated, underlying cause. They need only show a probabilistic tendency.

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    23. 7:05 etc. here. 9:59, let me be clear - I'm specifically interested in the question of whether psychiatry is providing good explanations. But there are many ways to provide knowledge without providing a good explanation, so that shouldn't count against its knowledge claims. I'm not interested in cordoning off psychiatry by calling it a "non-science" or anything like that either; maybe someone else was.

      Delete
    24. 5:51 again.

      One thing that is certainly NOT true is that detecting clusters of symptoms and designating those clusters as representing a disease or syndrome is empty or circular. In principle, vast numbers of sets of symptoms might appear in individuals if each symptom was to crop up essentially at random. But, in fact, only a very small number of these sets of symptoms actually crop up. The fact that they turn up regularly in psychiatric practice is a strong sign that they represent a particular phenomenon, with, very likely, a set of causes, even if those causes are unknown.

      If a psychiatrist diagnoses a patient as having that disease/syndrome on the basis of the patient's symptoms, it may not provide any further illumination to say that the patient has those symptoms because of the disease/syndrome, if nothing further is known about the disease/syndrome than the set of symptoms.

      But it is rare that that is so with such diseases/syndromes. Typically, its progress will be known, at least probabilistically. The tendency to develop other symptoms will be known. The tendency for others in the family to develop the same disease/syndrome will be known.

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    25. I agree that at the current state of psychiatry, we will need to look for probablilistic effects rather than causal/deterministic effects. But it is impossible to get clear, unbiased data when the people doing the research are being funded by the same people that have financial interest in *making sure* that the results come out a certain way.

      So, while it may be that psychiatry simpliciter is not 'unscientific,' the way it is currently practiced certainly is.

      Delete
    26. 5:51 again.

      10:27,

      Certainly the skew introduced into psychiatric studies by funding via corporations is a serious problem. But is not a problem peculiar to psychiatry.

      Delete
    27. Hi guys, just my two $ here as someone with no expertise in philosophy of psychiatry nor in psychiatry itself: first, psychiatry may largely act like a science and actually be a science on the descriptive level of symptoms and treatments, but what about the prescriptive level? What if a psychiatrist says: you have a mental disorder and need treatment? How is that scientific rather than a reflection of the psychiatrist's own or the psychiatry community's normative framework? Not only do psychiatrists make such claims, they also force treatment on some patients without their consent. What kind of authority does a background in psychiatry confer on one to make such judgments?

      Second, psychiatry's focus on childish low-hanging-fruit symptoms and diseases. Why is there no focus on the mental disorder of fallacious reasoning, the ignorance of militant atheists, the spirituality of politicians, repressed sexuality, the consequences of oppression, the meaning of life, experiental life, and so on. The field of psychiatry looks so shallow, so devoid of not only philosophy but also humanness.

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    28. There's been a bunch of work done in evolutionary psychology on the Wason Selection Card Task, but psychiatrists haven't heard of it. It is perhaps one of the most insular medical professions in terms of paying attention to academic psychology, philosophy, ethics, etc. They do pay attention to biology and chemistry, but these areas do not get much attention in philosophy (well biology does, to an extent).

      Delete
    29. "they also force treatment on some patients without their consent"

      Actually, this is legally forbidden, except in a tiny range of circumstances - the patient is severely ill, and represents a risk either to themself or to others.

      Delete
    30. minors as well, if the guardian says so

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    31. Why should psychiatrists have any interest in the Wason selection task? Most symptoms of interest (anxiety, paranoia, depression, suicidal thoughts, phobia) are emotional, and not cognitive. Cognitive distortions have to be way off the scale to count. A psychiatrist is not going to be interested in fallacies: fallacies are cognitively normal, just as visual illusions are.

      Delete
    32. 5:01 again.

      I do think that one of the key reasons most philosophers don't appreciate the science that lies at the heart of psychiatry -- and psychology, and indeed all of the social sciences -- is that they are never really taught statistical methods. If one learns such things, one develops a very different perspective as to what is legitimate scientific knowledge, what explanation might consist in, and what prediction might mean.

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    33. So - what might explanation consist in, that you glean from learning statistical methods?

      Delete
    34. I'm not 11:41. Here's an example of a faulty understanding of statistical reasoning. Philippe Lemoine, who is on the side of the angels in the discussion of the CDJ data and anti-male gender bias in hiring, said during the recent DN comments, that he had analysed the significance using a t-test. However, a (two-sample) t-test should only be used to test the significance between two normally distributed populations. And, in this case, the publication distributions of male and female candidates are not normally distributed. It seems to be a Poisson process.

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    35. I googled it. Here's Newton's reduction of gravitational force:

      The gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the sum of their masses divided by the distance between their centers.

      Gravitational force is reduced to distance and mass. Kill your sons.

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    36. 12:45, "The gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the sum of their masses divided by the distance between their centers."

      Millennitard idiot. Did you not graduate high school? The correct statement is above (8:10), "Newton's law of gravitation says that bodies attract each other with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to their distance apart squared."

      This is not a reduction. It is a law. An example of a reduction is: "Temperature = mean kinetic energy". A reduction says what something is, and is true in all worlds, you idiot.

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    37. Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks 1:17.

      Delete
    38. Now I know that laws can never be reductions! Yay! Everything is so clear now!

      Delete
    39. Ugh, fine: No, high school wasn't my jam- I was too busy being way awesome.

      That's why I had to google the law, which is what I said I did. Maybe I looked at the wrong equation. Whoops. Sorry. I'm not a physicist, and if I were writing a paper which for some reason just had to use that law (perhaps a response to someone else?) as an example, I'd be more careful. Duh.

      But look, reductions don't have to be only from macrolevel structures to their microlevel realizes. Duh.

      Reductions are often explanations of observations or analyses of concepts. Laws are sort of both, right? They predict and explain natural phenomena in terms of component parts. Again, the parts don't have to be concrete particular physical things out there on the world. If we're reducing something abstract or universal (like a law), it's fine to reduce it to components which are also abstract and universal.

      You were so rude to me, and the only thing you had on me was going the class in high school and remembering what your teacher said. Well, good for you. Jerk.

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    40. 11:41, 5:51 again.

      I don't have in mind a particularly well thought out concept of explanation based on statistical methods. But what I'm getting at is the sense one develops over time in using such methods in the social sciences and elsewhere as to what a good explanation amounts to. For example, in those domains, a model of a phenomenon in which the dependent output variable has, say, 80% of its variance explained by a set of independent variables, and there's a sensible account on which those independent variables stand in a causal relation to the independent variable, is a very good explanation indeed. It may, in some situations, really be all we might ever expect as an explanation, and so it better be deemed a good explanation.

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    41. Dayyum, 5:57. I thought you was gonna in the opposite direction, laying out some case where some explanations considered good by philosophers are debunked by statistics. But you give an example in which (at least, you claim) stats make us realize that some explanations we think are bad, are really good. Why could that be?

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    42. 7:05 etc. here. I know, right, 1:49? It's kind of intriguing. But a lot seems to be riding on "sensible account [of a] causal relation". I don't agree with this: "It may, in some situations, really be all we might ever expect as an explanation, and so it better be deemed a good explanation." No; "all we might ever expect" is not necessarily "good", as ugly people with high standards will tell you. For example, a true-blue Humean doesn't think we can do much in the way of explanation because s/he is a skeptic about causation. "It's all we've got" doesn't mean it's enough.

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    43. 5:57 here again.

      Well, look, as I said further upthread, my view is that science is as science does; a corollary is that explanation is as explanation does. Again, in many of the social and other sciences, explanations are typically to be found in statistical models, and nowhere else. Moreover, and quite importantly, there is simply no reason to believe that the phenomena of interest in the science in question have a description that can be cast in any other more precise or basic way than in a statistical model. (My guess is that indeed this will apply to various kinds of mental states as well -- for example, the ultimate mapping of such states onto brain states will have to be cast out in a statistical model; there will be nothing more basic, and the expectation that there might be will prove a chimera.) One may say, but I just don't consider that an explanation. But, again, what gets to decide whether the concept of explanation should be applied here? Our frankly rather poorly grounded intuitions about the matter, or the science in question? I go with the science, especially when the science must otherwise be said to produce virtually no explanations at all, and to be talking about things that never explain nor get explained nor have any more basic meaning than a statistical one.

      And it's certainly true that it is no easy thing to explicate what counts as a plausible causal account in situation in which, say, the independent variables of a statistical model may be said to be causes of the dependent variable. To begin with, it should be observed that there are statistical techniques that can make out that relation in a number of cases - Judea Pearl described some approaches, though others had developed other approaches before he did. Beyond this, it would be a significant task to try to generalize how such causal accounts can be generated and justified. It may be that we must often do so on a case by case basis, in which we can see, in a particular case, that the causal account simply works, and does so better than other causal accounts.

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    44. 5:57 here again. For the sake of clarity, I'll try henceforth to go by the handle Lexington, which I've used elsewhere. (On the other hand, I'm going away for a few days so may not have an opportunity to respond on this thread.)

      Let me explain a little bit what I have in mind about how statistical models are likely to be all we'll get when it comes to mapping various kinds of mental states onto brain states.

      Take the example of pain (or perhaps levels of pain). We may well be able some day to come up with a statistical model whereby pain experiences (or their levels) are established to correspond to a set of brain states -- let's say, the stimulation of C-fibers, the activation of synapses in the X region, the Y region, and the Z region. But this statistical model will not explain such pain experiences perfectly; perhaps it will explain (or predict) only, say, 70% of them or some portion of the variance of the levels of pain. My expectation, based on how neural networks and the brain actually seem to behave, is that some such model as this is likely to be the very best account we will ever have of pain experiences -- some portion will never be further explained or predicted. If indeed it proves that that's all we'll ever get, we should adjust our conceptual frameworks accordingly.

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  10. Anyone want to do some verboten philosophy on the scientific merit of psychiatry?"

    Yes. I take it that you have never met someone who is schizophrenic? Psychiatry is a branch of medicine which treats illnesses connected to physiological dysfunction in the human brain. These are primarily
    - either cognitive dysfunctions (e.g., hallucinations, delusions, voices)
    - or affective/emotional ones (e.g., anxiety, emotional disturbance, obsessive thinking).

    The human brain is not the mystical "blank slate" beloved of left-wing ideology. A brain is a highly complicated, functionally differentiated organ; parts of it may dysfunction and break, just as one's eyes or one's kidneys may dysfunction. It is true that, unlike, say, physics or molecular biology, psychiatry is not a mature science and there is confusion about how to identify dysfunctions. It is, however - and for all its immaturity and proneness to some conceptual errors - a science.

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    1. John Locke, noted left-wing ideologist.

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    2. John Locke was indeed a left-wing ideologist. The "left" - i.e., those who sat on the left in the National Assembly at Versailles, opposing the Ancien Regime - were followers of Locke, Montesquieu and others. Subsequently, blank-slate ideology was the defining feature of the political left in the 20th century, as explained in detail by Pinker, in The Blank Slate.

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    3. Exactly. By 'left wing', we mean people who share John Locke's ideology. Private property, capitalism, all of classical liberalism. That's what counts as 'left wing ideology'.
      The ideology was exposed as pernicious when it opposed the Ancien Regime and all that is valuable in Western Culture.

      A good contemporary example is Noam Chomsky, notorious leftist (and classical liberal) whose crypto-Blank-Slate doctrine hoodwinked linguists and philosophers for decades.

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    4. Chomsky is about as far from a blank-slate view as one can be.

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    5. 5:10, I have explained to you what the word "left" actually meant in the 18th century. I'll do it once more, and then I'm done. In the French National Assembly of 1789, the liberals (who indeed supported capitalism) sat on the left; while the monarchists, defenders of the Ancien Regime, sat on the right. You are ignorant of the history of the French Revolution.

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    6. I lolled, 5:10.

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    7. I have met someone who was an unmedicated severe schizophrenic. Without an intensive conversation with them (and remember, schizophrenics tend to speak incoherently) here were their behaviors:

      - hands clutching over head
      - incoherent rambling and screaming
      - writhing as if in pain

      From an outsiders' perspective he could have just been having an incredibly intense migrane.

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    8. Psychiatry has a lot to answer for and could use some intensive philosophical investigation since it's kind of a mess intellectually. Just because the brain is an organ (thanks for that penetrating insight!) doesn't mean that psychiatry is a science, or a successful one at any rate. Philosophy should stand against the unexamined scientism in everyday discourse (typified by sprinkling sentences with references to 'the brain' when you want them to sound like an objective verified truth). I recommend checking out Robert Whitaker's 'Mad in America' site for a huge bibliography documenting the various failures of psychiatry, including some documentation of superior impacts from treating schizophrenia by non-pharmaceutical means.

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    9. Nah, philosophy has a lot to answer for and could use some intensive psychiatric investigation, since it's kind of a mess, politically and morally.

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    10. Nah, psychiatry has a lot to answer for and could use some intensive philosophical investigation, since it's kind of a mess, politically and morally.

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    11. 6:26 (Yes. Irony. Sarcasm.)

      6:40:

      I have explained to you what the word "left" actually meant in the 18th century.

      And I have snarked at you that this is completely irrelevant. I will not do it again.

      7:22: then it has not all been in vain.

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    12. Ok. Not to barge in here, but what about the worry that the very real and very powerful financial interests of corporate pharma, combined with the social pressure of normative "best practices" or whatever in practicing psychiatrists, ends up producing a culture that is contrary to the kind of culture in which wissenschaft actually flourishes. My worry about psychiatry is not at the level of theory, it's that the actual practices of the discipline are so linked to the structures of powerful corporate capitalism they run the risk of becoming ideological props.

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    13. Who doesn't love drugs?

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  11. These wanna-be-big-shots make sure that only their buddies get published in the top journals, but since the peer review system for journals is still often double blind, there is still a chance of getting published, as a little shot, in a top journal — although of course, if I do not conform to a certain standard of writing or don’t write about a certain topic in a certain standardly accepted way (i.e., according to a certain perception of rigor), my paper will be flagged for rejection, which is a way of keeping the network closed (also, buddies make sure that their papers are widely read before submission, so that everyone knows who’s who, when you get to review a certain paper, while pretending to keep the blind peer review intact).

    Also, these wanna-be-big-shots will only cite work from among their own, so as to make sure that no one else gets recognition, even if that someone else has made a similar point before, and so should by the standards of scholarship get some recognition. This is often not something that is done on purpose, intentionally, but is a nasty effect of the politics of being a professional philosopher, who needs to work the system.

    But I think it’s still a sign of professional cowardice, if one, even if implicitly, as an atomized non-reflexive subject in a totally administered academic community, values the system more than proper and honest scholarship. One should be aware of this and try to avoid it. Especially as a philosopher, whose business it is to be self-reflexive!

    But for book publishing, the situation is even worse, given that the reviewing is only single blind—which immediately invites bias!: if I don’t belong to the big-shots or the wanna-be-big-shots with top-university-affiliations or from top-PhD-programs (and I don’t, as a matter of fact, although I do have a PhD from University U, which in Country C belongs to the top programs), I won’t get published by the publishers that these wanna-be-bigshots make sure won’t publish my work, just because I’m not a big-shot or a wanna-be-big-shot with a top-university-affiliation (I’m talking about Cambridge and Oxford UPs). So if you ARE not a big-shot or a wanna-be-big-shot, you should also not BECOME one, since you don’t have a right to. The elite book publishing business for philosophy (i.e. Cambridge and Oxford UPs) is fundamentally biased against you, simply because you don’t belong to the elite.


    Discuss.

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    1. 12:10 poured their heart out. That's all you got 12:21!?

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    2. It's an excerpt from the 'against professional phil' blog. She might be exaggerating a bit but she's not wrong. Remember Ross Cameron defending things like his "philosophizing with friends" on FB? That's the sort of network they tacitly or even not-entirely-intentionally use to make sure their papers are treated well at top journals.

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    3. Yeah... People do that all the time. :/

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    4. After reading those four paragraphs, I'm glad no press was filling to publish a whole book of his or her writing. Even poorly functioning systems sometimes produce beneficial results.

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    5. I'm at Oxford, and it mostly sucks. Plenty of image, but little substance.

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    6. 10:24, please elaborate. Did you not mean to say: "I'm reading some continental philosophy, and it mostly sucks. Plenty of image, but little substance."?

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    7. No, I mean Oxford itself mostly sucks.

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  12. naomi dershowitz and nicole dular are... awesome... #noslander

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I met Nicole at a conference. She was really nice.

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  13. OK, someone out there clearly has a story they're dying to tell. If it's going to be told though there should be no names and no departments.

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    1. Trust me, it won't do anyone any good to read the story you're probably talking about. Some dirty laundry should be incinerated, not aired out on an anonymous blog.

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    2. With respect, that does in fact depend on how much damage SJWs have caused to people.

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    3. I'd like to agree with you 9:40. I have little taste for gossip or rumor-mongering. Nevertheless, there's a part of me that would like (perhaps shamefully) as much information as I can get (despite being the potential for being misled) about new consensus membership. Why? Because I don't want any of them to end up working in--and poisoning the culture of--my department.

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    4. If the story is related to academic feminist overreach, social justice mantras, New Consensus, etc., I'm interested to hear it. If it is a melodramatic story of personal weakness or betrayal, I'm still interested, but my considered view is that this would be an improper forum for it. The sense I got from 9:40 is that it was the latter, though I could be wrong.

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    5. And perhaps it's a melodramatic story of harassment by SJWs, as was rather strongly hinted at earlier?

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    6. The people who posted names should be ashamed if themselves. It is not OK to anonymously spread vague rumors trashing peoples reputations. I see all the posts with names have been removed, but givethe number of people who would have read them before being removed a significant amount of damage has already been done. Is, as I hope everyone can see, is deeply unfair. As it would be deeply unfair to anonymously accuse a male philosopher by name of harassment, however vaguely, on this blog.

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    7. I agree with 12:37, but I would also like to point out just how inconsistently this standard gets applied.

      Exhibit A: Someone anonymously accuses an Ivy League philosopher (by definite description, not by proper name), and is widely acclaimed for her bravery.

      Exhibit B: Others leak the name of the Northwestern philosopher accused of assault (it wasn't always public, nor did initial news reports include the name), and then all the FP-types jump on board in denouncing that philosopher by name.

      These cases are really galling. I hope they upset you (12:37, and those who agree) as much as other anonymous accusations do. If they don't, then protests against anonymous slurs will seem to be much more a matter of their target than any principle of justice or fairness.

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    8. Isn't "trashing people's reputations" what SJWs do, with no evidence? And how much damage do you think that leads to?

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    9. "with no evidence" is a misnomer. Testimony, especially from the oppressed, is evidence, and any suggestion otherwise is an instance of epistemic justice.

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    10. The point, 12:48, is that its not OK to anonymously trash peoples reputations, no matter who does it. I really hope you didn't mean to imply thus, but surely it is also clear thatits not OK to do this to people simply because some other people loosely associated to them by political stance have behaved badly in the past.

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    11. Agreed - but note that it is the public, collective method, not the anonymity that matters. The SJWs who exploded in public outrage against the "straight white man" Justine Sacco were not anonymous.

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    12. "Testimony, especially from the oppressed, is evidence, and any suggestion otherwise is an instance of epistemic justice."

      dixit 12:52

      LOL. Got ya!

      12:37 would you argue the same w/r/t Hitler? No? Counterexample!

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    13. Can't we have the stories without names and too many identifying details, "what it's like"-style? We need to establish a counter-narrative. Specifically:

      - Opportunists jumping on the New Consensus bandwagon for self-promotion purposes.

      - Women deliberately seeking attention via their looks and then complaining about not knowing whether they are taken seriously as philosophers.

      - Hypocrisy and double-standards among the NC crowd.

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  14. Over and over again, as the article linked above notes, the modus operandi of SJW activism is "online vigilantism", using "the power of social media to destroy the reputations and careers of their targets", a "modern form of thuggery".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I find striking is people who get upset at "online vigilantism" and "thuggery" only when it is directed at straight white men. Not saying you're one of these people, 1:06, but it is something I've observed a lot.

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    2. And that is because Justine Sacco is a "straight white man", 1:08? Bigot.

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    3. I would find that striking if it ever were to happen, 1:08. But I'm quite skeptical that it happens often. I've never observed it myself. I've observed a lot of general concern about online mobbing and the desperate search for stuff to get offended at, and the people who seem concerned about it are generally concerned whether the mob victim is Justine Sacco, Trevor Noah, John Green, or whoever. Now this concern may be misplaced, but I've never observed it to be unequally distributed along racial or gender lines. In fact, assertions like that are exactly the sort that the social-justice crowd of mobsters (there are other such crowds) love to make without evidence, as someone else noted above.

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    4. I thought a lot of people (including commenters here) were very upset at the attack on Laura Kipnis. No?
      Maybe 1:16 could tell us which women victims they're thinking of.

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  15. fuck do you guys ever sleep

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh... Ever heard of timezones, 1:53?

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    2. 1:53 -- like Donald Trump -- doesn't recognize time zones beyond EST.

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    3. other time zones are for LOSERS

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  16. Brian Leiter definitely starting to get on board with the PMMB rejection of identity politics:

    Of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for President, one is a white woman, one is African-American, and two are Cuban-American; only two are white men (three if one's feeling generous about the poll numbers). Of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for President, one is a white woman and two are white men (one of whom isn't even officially running!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a quasi-Marxist of some kind, he always seemed to be quite skeptical of that stuff, remember his attacks on Judith Butler going way back.

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  17. Something Justice Whineberg won't allow on his 'new PGR leader' thread:

    I'm curious to see whether there will be a New Consensus dividend in the new PGR.

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    Replies
    1. If the PGR rankings changed dramatically from editor to editor, this would do a lot to undermine their credibility (and thus, one hopes, their influence). Whether that loss in credibility and influence is a price worth paying for whatever benefits accrue from a dramatically different new ranking is an important choice BB faces. I'm curious to see what she does.

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  18. Greetings metablobbers! I could use a little help here. From the SEP:

    "Leibniz held that there is only one type of substance in the world, and thus that mind and body are ultimately composed of the same kind of substance (a version of monism), he also held that mind and body are metaphysically distinct...on any plausible interpretation it is safe to assume (as Leibniz seems to have done) that for any person P, P‘s mind is a distinct substance (a soul) from P‘s body."

    "..one type of substance...mind and body"

    "mind is a distinct substance..."

    WTF?

    Maybe there's some "mind-warp" I'm a fool for not noticing, but if something this obviously bad can be published, it calls into question our trust in the SEP.

    Asshole comment: This fits with my general impression that the SEP has become a sandbox for pets to shit in.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/leibniz-mind/#DenMinBodIntAssPreEstHar



    ReplyDelete
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    1. As the old saying goes, history of philosophy takes philosophy back hundreds of years ...

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    2. Twerkingbutt.org

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    3. I accept your oracular comment with a big gulp of pinot. I don't accept your failure to absorb my outrage.

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    4. And twerkingbutt, for F-sake, go back to the kiddie pool.

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    5. F's have sakes and butts twerk: http://twerkingbutt.com

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    6. "... butts twerk ..."

      Tinny's back. Tinny has made earlier scatological appearances.

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    7. Wait: I'm not 'scatofem,' or whatever you were calling that person. But you have called me 'tinfoil hat' before.

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    8. 10:30 PM,

      There isn't an inconsistency here; there's just an ambiguity in the phrase "x is a distinct substance from y". What the author means to say, I'm assuming, is that for Leibniz, a person's mind and body are numerically distinct substances - which is compatible with them being numerically distinct substances of the same kind.

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    9. 11:10, that seems very clearly to be what's going on (now that you've pointed it out, that is).

      Delete
    10. Thanks for your reply, 11:10, and sorry about the insane ranting.

      Delete
  19. Greetings metablobbers! I could use a little help here. From the SEP:

    "Leibniz held that there is only one type of substance in the world, and thus that mind and body are ultimately composed of the same kind of substance (a version of monism), he also held that mind and body are metaphysically distinct...on any plausible interpretation it is safe to assume (as Leibniz seems to have done) that for any person P, P‘s mind is a distinct substance (a soul) from P‘s body."

    "..one type of substance...mind and body"

    "mind is a distinct substance..."

    WTF?

    Maybe there's some "mind-warp" I'm a fool for not noticing, but if something this obviously bad can be published, it calls into question our trust in the SEP.

    Asshole comment: This fits with my general impression that the SEP has become a sandbox for pets to shit in.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/leibniz-mind/#DenMinBodIntAssPreEstHar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://twerkingbutt.com

      Delete
  20. Also: bad things suck and I'm against them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? I hate bad things too! Awesome!

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    2. That's why I hate continental philosophy.

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  21. Magidor the new Waynflete Professor, second female, first (?) non-British philosopher to fill this position. Pretty young (under 40?) to get to this position.

    Your thoughts? Worthy successor of Hawthorne? Probably not yet as accomplished, but her cv is very impressive with already a couple of books.

    I would have expected Oxford to raid another British department to get someone similarly famous as Hawthorne or go for an American big shot.

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    1. It's a reasonable bet they couldn't get someone more established, but as investments in the future go, this is probably a sound one.

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    2. After they appointed Edgington milliseconds before mandatory retirement age, and in the present climate, they had to shore up their 'feminist' credentials.

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    3. re "It's a reasonable bet they couldn't get someone more established", how about only fulfilling such a position if you can find someone worthy of it?

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    4. OP here. They have waited before, so I think they are happy with their choice. And if they appoint I-cannot-write-one-clear-sentence-Peacocke, they can very well appoint Magidor as Waynflete Professor.


      But why do so many philosophers who generally pride themselves as being socially conscious have no problem switching to a private university if they could teach at a public one, especially one like Oxford? Are Oxford professors starving?

      And where would Oxford be in terms of star power (something the entire profession cares deeply about) if it wasn't for Williamson?

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    5. As someone who works in metaphysics and philosophy of language, and for what it's worth, I can vouch for the fact that Ofra Magidor truly kicks fucking ass.

      Seriously, from one Metabro to another: don't make a complete fool of yourself by insinuating that this had anything to do with anything else other than that.

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  22. http://heterodoxacademy.org/

    This has been needed for a while.

    ReplyDelete

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