Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September Timbre

236 comments:

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    1. First Look Media:

      https://theintercept.com/2015/09/25/gchq-radio-porn-spies-track-web-users-online-identities/?comments=1#comments

      This is actually happening. Your democracies are actually gone.

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  2. It's very interesting to look at the websites/publication records of Leiter's "rising stars" from 2008. Just sayin...

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    1. Is the fact of interest that none of the male stars know how to restrict their google scholar profiles to papers that they actually wrote?

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    2. Yalcin's profile doesn't list any papers he didn't write.

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    3. It is striking how little the two female "rising stars" of 2008 have published since then.

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    4. Goodness, what possible explanation could there be for women in their late 20s or early 30s, who've just secured stable employment, to have a gap in their publication record?

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    5. 1:09,

      Lack of drive? Lack of interesting ideas to write about? Knowledge that, as women, all kinds of slack will be granted them?

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    6. The whole motherhood thing as an excuse not to publish is a classic entitled upper middle class twit argument.

      Do these women who can't seem to get around to getting things published because they are mothers have any idea what it's like to be a middle or working class mother in a (necessarily) two income family these days? These mothers put their kids in day care from an early age so that they can put in a 40 hour a week job and manage to do a decent job both bringing up their kids and and performing their duties as employees.

      But not the upper middle class twits who complain they can't -- just can't! -- manage to put together their ideas into a publishable paper because Motherhood.

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    7. The US's shockingly minimal level of maternity leave ought not to be a source of pride.

      (1:09 is me, incidentally; I messed up the "reply as" field.)

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    8. I don't think 2:06 was trying to express pride.

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    9. I don't really get your point, 2:06. (Caveat: I'm not from the US, so this part might be different, but). Imagine that the academic woman gets 1 year's maternity leave. And has two children in the 6 years we're talking about (So, pretty average number and spacing).

      Obviously she is very fortunate in both getting maternity leave and being able to take it, when there are very many working class people who don't and can't. She also, has you say, probably has no idea what it's like to be in that position - but surely this is luck, rather than a moral failing. (I have no idea what it is like to be a refugee, for example -and I consider myself very lucky because of it).

      Are you saying that either a: the academic woman should not take her maternity leave because other people unfortunately don't have access to it? This seems weird. It is absolutely unfair, or course, that some parents get great benefits and others don't. But those who do not taking theirs doesn't seem to help.
      Or do you think b. that a woman should take the maternity leave, but continue to try and publish at the same rate anyway? (And if she doesn't, she's somehow failed)> I don't see why we should think this: caring for young children is a difficult job, and if you have taken leave specifically to do that job, I don't see why you should be expected to do other work - which people are ordinarily paid for, so you're also doing it for free - as well.

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    10. Is my point so hard to get?

      What I'm pointing out is that if a mother in academe (and especially if she has an appointment at an outstanding research university) has any significant desire or felt need to publish while she has young children, then, for God's sake, she can make it happen. To argue this, I point to the circumstances of other mothers of young children to demonstrate how it is possible -- and indeed quite common -- for them to do good and hard work both as employees and as mothers.

      I infer from the example of such mothers that the time can be made available for women with small children to publish -- again, if they have the drive and the ideas to write about. Acting overwhelmed -- as young mothers in academe seem to encourage themselves and each other to do -- is, at base, an indulgence of the entitled.

      And, finally, it is of course true that if such a mother actually is granted extensive parental leave, then that should afford them even greater opportunity to get things published, since their other academic responsibilities are removed.

      But where are those publications? Nowhere to be found, obviously. Because, it seems, they are Mommies, and nothing can be expected of Mommies -- at least the upper middle class Mommies.

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    11. Lots of women do publish while they have small children. Their publication rate is lower, for sure, but just look at the many successful women philosophers who have children. (They probably wouldn't mind if I named them, but I guess I won't since, I dunno, it's not my call to make.) They did publish at that age.

      I agree a with a bit of 5:14. When women get maternity leave, their teaching responsibilities go away, and their advising and administrative duties do too. Research really is something you can do at home while you're responsible for a baby or a small child. I know this first hand.

      Anyway, in short: it's probably reasonable to reduce research expectations for women with small children, but it's not reasonable to reduce them to practically nothing.

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    12. Sure. A mother (or a father, for that matter, if he were the lead carer) could put their child in day care part time so they could continue doing the research half of their job while on parental leave.

      But why should they? What's wrong with taking leave if you have young children if you would prefer not to put them in daycare and your employer has provisions in place?

      And as for publishing while on maternity leave: ave you ever spent much time looking after young children? Because you seem to think that someone looking after a small child full-time has *more* time to work on publications than someone employed full time with both teaching and research responsibilities.

      Also, the mother (or father) who is on leave presumably has a job, which they are on leave from. Breakdowns differ, depending n our school, but let's assume that you are 50/50 research/teaching. The person on leave then, according t you, should still try and do 50% of the job they are paid to do while they are on (most likely unpaid) leave from that job. I know academia is different from other jobs with set hours etc, but being expected to keep doing half your job while not being paid for it seems ridiculous.

      And it's not that 'nothing can be expected of Mommies'. That's a ridiculous way to describe what's happening. It's that it's a reasonable choice to decide to look after your own child full time while it is very young, especially if you have the financial resources and the option to do so career-wise (which most academics do). It is not reasonable to expect someone on leave to keep doing half their job for free. So, 'expect' away, but your expectations that academics put their children in daycare full time from the time they are very young so they can keep doing their jobs - even if they don't want to do this - simply because this is what other people *have* to do is unreasonable. And your expectation that caring for a young child gives you way more time to work on publications than someone teaching classes is unreasonable. And your expectation that people on parental leave do 50% of their jobs for free is unreasonable.

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    13. Hang on. I'm 5:22. I have not used the word 'mommies' at all. Just to be clear. I'll use this pseudonym from now on.

      And as for publishing while on maternity leave: ave you ever spent much time looking after young children? Because you seem to think that someone looking after a small child full-time has *more* time to work on publications than someone employed full time with both teaching and research responsibilities.

      Yes, I have spent quite a lot of time raising small children. And no, I do not think (nor did I say anything that implied) that a parent at home with a small child has more time to publish than someone who has no leave and is doing their regular job full time. I wonder why you say I "seem to think" that.

      I know academia is different from other jobs with set hours etc, but being expected to keep doing half your job while not being paid for it seems ridiculous.

      At my university we get paid while on maternity leave, so that's irrelevant for us. (The same is true at the University of Chicago, by the way.)
      Our maternity leave is not officially "leave", in fact, but "relief". We are relieved from all teaching and administrative duties. We are expected to do research. It is definitely not ridiculous to expect us to do so, and in fact we manage to do it pretty well.

      Hang on, I now think you (5:34) were not responding to me. Still, what I wrote doesn't seem completely irrelevant, so I'll just post it anyway.

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    14. Do you expect other people on extended leave to keep doing half their jobs, too, 5:14? For example if you found out that someone took a year's leave because they had cancer treatment, would you explain the fact that they hadn't published in that time by saying that they clearly have no interesting ideas or drive?

      It's really straightforward. No one is saying that 'mommies' have reduced expectations because they are 'mommies'. It's that people on extended leave aren't expected to keep doing their jobs. A big reason why people take extended leave when they are in their late 20's and 30's and have now got a stable employment situation is to have children, and to spend time looking after that child in the first year of it's life. Sometimes men take extended paternity leave - and if a particular man takes such leave, then he is also not expected to publish during that time, and the tenure clock stops for him too. But it's just the case that women are more likely than men to take extended parental leave. So if you look at a group of philosophers on he tenure track, all appointed three years ago, and all you do is look at publications, then it would not be surprising if, as a group, the women had fewer publications on average than the men. It's not some vast conspiracy. It's just that a woman of that age and career stage is more likely to have taken extended leave during that time. And it's not reasonable to expect people to keep doing large parts of their job while they're on extended leave, no matter what the reason for that leave is.

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    15. 5:34 here - yeah, sorry, 5:22: my comment was actually a response to the post immediately above yours.

      But if your leave is not leave, and you are still being paid to do part of your duties, then of course it is not ridiculous to expect you to do so.
      My point was just that if someone is on extended leave, for whatever reason (and also whether it is unpaid or not) it's unreasonable to expect them to keep doing a large part of their job. It's not unreasonable to expect them to keep doing a large part of their job if they are essentially working half-time and getting paid for it (which sounds like the situation at your university).

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    16. @5:49 - Just curious:

      When you say "At my university ...... We are relieved from all teaching and administrative duties. We are expected to do research."

      Is that expectation across the board at your university for professors? If so, that seems weird. I can see it if one's research is basically reading, discussing, working things out themself, ie, things you can do at home and/or on your own schedule, as is typical in philosophy. But in a lot of science fields, your research would be in a lab with a schedule highly influenced by colleagues and, sometimes, research subjects. In those cases, it seems kind of arbitrary to relieve someone of teaching and committee work, but not of research. If the point of parental leave is to give new babies significant access to their parents.

      Also, in general (not just to 5:49), I think people are different in terms of what aspects of their work would or would not mesh well with new parenthood. I'm not a parent, but during my dissertation writing period, I could do all manner of hard grunt work on days when I couldn't get my head into writing. The cleanest my house has ever been was when I was writing my dissertation, because when I wouldn't otherwise let my self procrastinate, I'd find some excuse to clean for an hour before sitting down to write.

      So I can certainly imagine that, during a time when you're up at all hours with feedings, or even just enjoyably spending time with the new kid, you might find that you can focus on mentally difficult tasks but that you can, say, easily teach that intro class you've taught a dozen times.

      If places want parental leave to be part-time, I'd hope they could work it out with the parent which part of their job they do in that part time.

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    17. Lots of countries have paid parental leave, and in many of those countries it's paid for from social security - most European countries for example. In that case it's probably illegal to require someone to do part of the job you would otherwise be paying them to do.

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    18. Canada has paid parental leave paid from social security (actually, employment insurance). It's substantially less than a professorial salary, but many university top the salary up all or part of the way. At at least one institution I know of, research scientists are strictly warned to stay away from their labs if they're on parental leave: if you show up for work at all, the government requires you to report it, and they'll consider you not on leave for that day, and pull the money for that day. If you show up for work and don't report it, then you're committing fraud. It's not only the case that you're not expected to work: you are expected not to work.

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    19. 6:04, right, okay, my mistake.

      6:37, Yes, most lab scientists do continue their research while on maternity release. I’m surprised to read 10:00’s report on how it works in Canada. I know a lot of lab scientists, though only one who took maternity leave. If she had been banned from her lab for six months, the project would have ground to a halt, and probably would have been ruined (she works with animals). I wonder what happens in Canada. Do all of the grad students working in the lab go find another project? Are the terms of grants extended by six months? Are the PIs dispensable, so the work can continue without them?
      I think scientists have a somewhat different attitude, though. The ones I know don’t think, “Oh, good, the university isn’t requiring me to do my research for the next year, so I’ll stop.” They think, “If I don’t keep doing my research at top speed, I’m going to get left behind and the scientific world will leave me in the dust.” I think some philosophers also feel that way, but it’s a much deeper part of the culture in lab sciences. (I guess I’m mainly thinking of life scientists.)

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    20. The UK has a similar framework to Canada (you're allowed a small number of "keeping in touch" days where you can come back into work). You get 9 months' leave paid from the government at a lowish statutory rate; most white-collar employers will top it up to full salary for some period, half for the rest (or similar). I think most of continental Europe is similar; the US is an outlier here. (Hence my earlier comment, though probably "pride" wasn't the right word to use.)

      I don't know what lab-based scientists do here.

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  3. 3:28, can you summarize?
    I know a lot about Yelcin (I'm in his area), but not the others.

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    1. Why do so many people care about epistemic modals? As someone who doesn't work in the area and who has never read beyond an abstract of any paper on them, the topic feels like an intellectual circle-jerk to me. What's the source of interest? I'm genuinely curious. (Yes, I could look this up on SEP, but I'm lazy.)

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    2. Oh, well, they are very puzzling. There are good reasons to think they could not have an ordinary semantic value. And for that reason they are a tempting subject for people who are trying to work out new approaches to semantic theory (Yelcin's expressivism, dynamic semantics, relativistic semantics...).
      But if you aren't interested in language (specifically in meaning), it's not likely you'd find epistemic modals interesting.

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    3. To echo 5:49's point, epistemic modals are not interesting as such, but rather as a possible to counterexample to various entrenched semantic theories.

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    4. Epistemic modals do all sorts of funny things when, for example, embedded. These will intrigue anyone with a bent for linguistics or that kind of philosophy of language. And, as it turns out, some of the tools that have used with stunning success elsewhere are not up to the task when it comes to epistemic modals (e.g., Kripke semantics). That's an interesting result, especially if you consider getting a grip on metaphysical modality to be one of the major items of progress in late 20th century philosophy.

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    5. Is there anything there that isn't in Veltman?

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  4. How could anyone know who got the most offers from "top" departments? Isn't that kind of information confidential?

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    1. If you know a lot of people at top departments, it's not hard to figure this kind of stuff out. There are votes and meetings and more before offers get made. And people talk. They always have, and they always will.

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    2. It's not confidential if you're BL it appears.

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    3. Not anymore. Quite a few philosophers I know who once would have been eager to be the first to share news with Leiter no longer do so. The reasons are various (support for DN over LR, September Statement, getting tired of the professional gossip racket, getting old).

      I agree with 5:38. Most of these kinds of things are open secrets, or not even secrets at all -- if you happen to be at a well-ranked department. One of the main functions of the LR over the years has been to disseminate open secrets like this, which is a laudable and democratic goal. LR has been to professional gossip as PGR has been to graduate admissions. Problematic, sure, but also a great force for equality.

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    4. Quite a few philosophers I know still send BL information. He had the Waynflete appointment first. Just one example. Supporing DN over LR seems to be mostly generational, "friends of Carrie." But it's the senior people who have the most inside dope.

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    5. One of my favorite Leiter habits is when he denies that LR is at all a gossip blog. It'd be a lot more fun if he just owned it.

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    6. He thinks gossip is limited to rumors about the sex lives of people, that kind of thing.

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    7. Everyone even reasonably well connected already knew about the Waynflete appointment even before BL posted it. It was all over facebook.

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    8. Then why didn't any other blog note it? Good try Justice Whineberg!

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    9. to give just one example, Stanley posted about it on facebook before leiter had it up. Whineberg is friends with him. He new. Everyone knew.

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    10. He knew. Everyone new. Someone old. Nobody know.

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  5. "What made you think he was white? This program excludes men of color as well as white men, right?"

    "Because no one who had even the most shallow understanding of how oppression works would write a comment like that."

    ......

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  6. Yes, just what philosophy blogosphere needs: more snark...

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  7. That wasn't snark. That was the crystalline expression of something that really needed to be said---and taken seriously. If you find yourself offended by it, then you probably need to think about it more.

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    1. How is that something that "needed to be said"? Everyone has been hearing that for almost two decades. It's not brave, it's not innovative, it's not interesting. It may be correct, but there is no reason to think that people who feel it isn't have not thought hard about it.

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    2. I'm not 5:48, but I agree that it needed to be said (or at least pointed out) to the person it was referring to.

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    3. It needed to be pointed out that all men of color support feminist initiatives because they understand oppression?

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    4. I was the one who quoted it here (12:33). I am a 'man of color' and i thought the reply was laughable. I seriously cannot wrap my head around the fact that people don't think that was a stupid comment.


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  8. Sorry, forgot that women at top research universities are "oppressed". Now stand corrected...

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    1. Yeah, I think the long comment on DN did do a pretty good job of explaining how people who are privileged on some (or even many) dimensions may still experience sexism (so, gender-based oppression).

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    2. No, it didn't. People not liking you isn't gender-based oppression. Creating an actual institution that confers privileges based on gender is...institutionalizing gender-based privileges.

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    3. Maybe you need to read it again if you think the only problem was people 'not liking' the poster.

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    4. No, I don't. And I didn't say it was the "only" problem. You need to learn the strawman fallacy.

      It's not a good explanation to confuse matters by mixing actual problems, such as sexual harassment, with people not liking you. It's also not a good explanation to ignore official and sanctioned gender-based discrimination.

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    5. 7:01, but heaven forbid a straight white male who's dirt-poor claim any sort of oppression!

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    6. No, you didn't "say" that it was the only problem. But your comment certainly implied it.

      In any case, I take it you agree, then, that the person in question experienced gender-based oppression (sexism), even though she is clearly privileged in many other respects.

      10:19: I don't think (and didn't say) anything at all like that.

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    7. No, it didn't imply that "certainly" or even less so. In any case, since you wish to change the conversation, I'm satisfied you appear to concede my point.

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  9. I see Brotevi is being an obstinate dick over at DN

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  10. I'm generally more sympathetic to the "New Consensus" crowd than I am to its opponents. But wtf is this call by the APA for ways to reach under-represented job candidates? I'm pretty sure that everyone on the market has heard of philjobs.org. Why do there need to be other ways to reach under-represented candidates? It's not like candidates are hiding under rocks, afraid to apply to jobs. Right?

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    1. The departments may be looking for ways to provide sufficient evidence to their university's human resources officers that they have complied with equal opportunity regulations.

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    2. Perhaps that's all it is, 2:28. On the other hand, it might be evidence that some portions of the New Consensus would like us to start advertising to and hiring folks who HAVEN'T heard of philjobs; namely, those who were "trained" in the various truth-opposed disciplines. After all, it's not the content of a work that matters, but the complexion of its author. This fundamental commitment of the tweetering class would appear to apply equally well to the distinctions between between the various disciplines.

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    3. I thought the New Consensus "crowd" had just one member, Justice Whineberg.

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    4. I don't want to live in a world where 2:41's speculation was accurate. I initially though that the APA's call was a relatively benign instance of run-of-the-mill bureaucratic mission creep, but I hadn't considered this dark and hopefully distant possibility.

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    5. Lucky for you, then, 4:36.

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  11. Apparently, the Pope just visited Little Italy. Here is the video of how it went down.

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    1. What's interesting about this sketch is how derogatory it is towards Italians, and how utterly unlikely it is that anything will be made of it. Imagine if it were portraying some protected group, such as Hispanics -- or even Asians, for that matter, despite their success in so many areas in contemporary society.

      Somehow, it's fine to mock certain groups, with their manners and accents, mercilessly, but not others. Somehow the whole "protecting human dignity" thing just isn't important when it comes to groups, even ethnic groups, no one on the left has any respect for.

      I wonder what, say, Protevi would make of it? Probably nothing, I'd guess -- his chosen ethnicity seems to be SJW at this point.

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  12. Professor Plum, at DN:
    "Some writing on this issue seem to think that if white men are disadvantaged in the current market, then this disadvantage is the fault of programs like this (or maybe “feminists” more generally). I wish these philosophers would step back and take a wider point of view: if there is some “disadvantage” attached to being a white male on the job market today, then you should be blaming the white men who actively excluded women, minorities, and poor from philosophy for years and years."

    This is standard 'feminist' propaganda. There is no objective evidence to support it. Professor Plum should pay attention to the relevant evidence. Ee.g.,
    - detailed survey by Sesardic & de Clerc (2014)
    - CDJ data on hiring in 2012 and 2013, where men just hired have outperformed women just hired, on publication average, by a factor of about 2.

    No objective evidence is given for the propaganda at the end. Men have been discriminated against in philosophy for at least two decades. I've been involved in multiple hiring decisions for more than a decade, and I have witnessed it repeatedly. Many other experienced academics have reported it here too from their own experience.

    The fact is that gender discriminatjon against men is normal in academic philosophy. It is well-known, systemic and widespread, and has been the norm for decades.

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    1. " I wish these philosophers would step back and take a wider point of view: if there is some “disadvantage” attached to being a white male on the job market today, then you should be blaming the white men who actively excluded women, minorities, and poor from philosophy for years and years. This program and other, race-focused affirmative action programs are simply trying rectify an unjust situation that was caused by white men. Moreover, you might want to think about whether your perception of disadvantage is actually disadvantage; perhaps it is actually an experience of having an unfair advantage removed. Simply pointing to the latest hiring statistics will not settle this issue."


      Such unique points!


      I wish philosophers would atlest aim to be more insightful than an above average feminist blogger. Especially when their comments are supposedly directed at other philosophers.

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    2. The stench of class-hatred drips from each word Professor Plum writes.

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    3. Mind yer metaphors, pal! A dripping stench? I think we want something along the lines of 'emanates' here.

      You might be right about Plum though.

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    4. Easily fixed. 12:58 can just change it to "a stenchy class-hatred drips..."

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    5. Well. I think what we are seeing here is a failure of charity in interpretation.

      I think that when 12:58 talks about a dripping stench, he/she has the idea that the stench is so very thick it might be said to go into phase transition and become liquid.

      In other words, he/she is employing an hyperbole within a metaphor.

      I'm sure there's an important paper in the philosophy of meaning in that concept, and I have dibs.

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  13. Isn't it hilarious how Justice Whineberg always has to editorialize after allowing a comment that strays too far from the approved New Consensus message? He's worried that his overlords, the Jenkins, Barnes and Schliessers of this world, will think he isn't being sufficiently supportive of their power grab. Life is tough for Whineberg: he has to strike the right balance to prevent too many people from becoming full PMMB converts.

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    1. Leiter does this all the time too. I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with having overlords.

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    2. No there is a conspiracy and it goes right to the top and if your not with us your argainst us.

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    3. Apparently, blogs are high in conspirational thinking (retracted article - retracted on legal, not on academic or ethical grounds, says so) http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf2015.html12 - "naïve participants were presented with a sample of anonymized blogosphere content and rated it on various attributes that are typical of conspiracist discourse. This final study found that blogosphere content was judged extremely high on all those attributes. For comparison, the study also included material written by junior scholars who were instructed to be as critical as possible of LOG12 [a climate science paper]. This comparison material was rated lower on all conspiracist attributes than the blogosphere content, but it was rated higher on an item that related to “reasonable scholarly critique”—in a nutshell, the blogosphere discourse was identified by blind and naïve participants as being high on conspiracism but low on scholarship." Now PMMB is not about science, but still, conspirational thinking is present here too.

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    4. An example of a conspiracy theory is the 'feminist' conspiracy theory, promoted at FP, DN and other blogs, that academic philosophy involves an epidemic of evil Patriarchs, subjecting poor helpless damsels to oppression, with all of this "oppression" hidden by a secret network of Patriarchs ensuring "institutional betrayal" - when every single piece of objective evidence shows the opposite is true (i.e., that women in philosophy are, and have been for decades, recipients of special privileges and preferential treatment).

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  14. Interesting article by Alison Gopnik. I am no Hume scholar, so I ask: Is she right in attributing to Hume a strict denial of the self, and how is that not in conflict with her own view that even newborns have a personality?

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    1. I'm not that well versed in Hume, but it doesn't sound like an unusual interpretation of Hume. I've often heard it suggested that his bundle theory of the self amounts to a denial of a strong conception of selfhood altogether.

      However, if the "self" understood as my sense of self or my self-awareness is just a bundle of impressions, this could still be compatible with a different sense of "self" of the kind implied by a newborn personality.

      The way I'd put it: the newborn can have strong distinctive dispositions, desires, or capacities that give it a "personality." But this "self" is different from "the self" as a self-conscious awareness--the baby doesn't need to be aware of this personality.

      And even if it has a self in the latter sense, they may be causally independent of each other, so that the conscious self that develops from bundled perceptions is mistaken in thinking it's identical to the personality-self that consists in innate dispositions and abilities.

      If so, I think it's fair to say that the personality-self isn't a substantial self in the sense important to philosophers, since it may not be sufficient ground for moral agency, personhood, and moral responsibility.

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  15. I think of this as the only place on the internet where you can reliably find philosophers suggesting that woman on man violence is the real, larger social issue, so I thought of you when I read the commentators on this thread. Thanks for that. https://www.reddit.com/r/sports/comments/3m6xyk/tank_abbott_offers_ronda_rousey_100000_if_she_can/

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    1. The trial of a woman (feminist Rutgers philosopher) accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a disabled man is being described here. Apparently, it's "incredibly complicated due to the disability issues involved" (Jenny Saul).

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    2. I don't know the case, but I'm assuming a man is of age. Isn't it the case that disability rights activists fight for the right for sexual lives? I can see that being a complication.
      And what does this have to do with the MRA-based push (supported by philosophers her) to claim that women are the main domestic abusers?

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    1. Is it supposed to be funny?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. The self outing is here

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  17. So this comment on the market boost for women DN thread seems to hit the nail on the head:

    Enzo Rossi on September 24, 2015 at 11:25 am
    This is crude, but some of the talking past each other that one sees on these threads could be due to people ignoring the distinction between specific kinds of oppression (gender, race, class, etc.), and all-things-considered disadvantage.

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    1. Another brilliant comment that "needed to be said". Some real geniuses commenting in the philosophy blogosphere these days.

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    2. Yeah it's kind of an obvious point but what else could explain people saying "but some women are privileged" and others replying "but even privileged people experience sexism"?

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  18. Find the Easter egg: http://truesciphi.org/phi_fav.html

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    1. Best I could do was the ShitPhilosophersSay info's synchrony with Rebecca Bamford's info.

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    2. Convicted consumer of child pornography Peter Smith?

      http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/news/0014746-cambridge-university-silent-over-pervert-don.html

      Delete
    3. LeiterReports fake twitter feed?

      Delete
    4. I miss that twitter feed. I assume that BL had it shut down, though of course I may be wrong.

      Delete
    5. That twitter feed is still there, just moribund. It was never very funny unfortunately, not surprised it died.

      Delete
    6. It has more followers than the real Leiter feed. heh.

      Delete
    7. philosopher followers

      Delete
    8. It has more followers [sic] than the real [sic] Leiter feed. heh. [sic]

      Delete
    9. Huh? It has only about 1,000 followers, even though it follows 600! Real Leiter feed has over 2,000 followers and follows about 20.

      Delete
  19. From "What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?"

    I was very interested in enrolling in a particular philosophy course but getting a spot was competitive because the class also fulfilled some requirement for the business majors. The chair of the philosophy department told me that I would be given priority because I was one among only a handful of philosophy majors. I emailed the professor that was teaching the course in advance. He said it would be great to have me and all I had to do was approach him on the first day of class.

    First day of class. I introduce myself to him (as instructed) and remind him of the email. He says nothing, emotes nothing, and just takes a long look at me (up and down). His face had absolutely no expression but his voice was loud and cold. He ordered me to follow him outside. I did. (At the time, I remember thinking that he was making a bit of a scene. I was perfectly aware that the class was watching this little drama but I didn’t care. I just thought he was another eccentric professor.)

    As soon as we get outside, he tells me that there is no way I can take his course and that it is very clear to him that I don’t have what it takes to do well in philosophy. He believed these things only on the basis of looking at me.

    I left his class and never looked back. I told the chair of the philosophy department and she couldn’t believe it. And by that, I mean-she literally did not believe it. She dismissed the incident as my own confused interpretation of his "wonderful personality".


    ...This story needs more information to make any sense. I don't know why I occasionally read that site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, cool. It's all coming back to me now -- I hadn't thought of this for a long time: I remember something like this happening when I wanted to take a graduate level course in computer science for which I had the pre-requisites, but to which I was denied. this was in about 1983. I do appreciate the What it is Like blog sort of ... usually it makes me have flashbacks to bad trips, but it is also a way of doing therapy.

      Delete
    2. https://theintercept.com/2015/09/25/gchq-radio-porn-spies-track-web-users-online-identities/?comments=1#comments

      Delete
    3. Oh God, I recall a story just like that myself.

      I remember going to a philosophy professor to get into an advanced class in modal and temporal logic -- he too had told me that I'd be welcome, because I told him my grades in previous philosophy and logic classes, which were all A++s, except for an errant A+. But my name was gender ambiguous. When I walked into his class, he too immediately looked me up and down. At first, I thought it was because he found me attractive (I'm a strikingly beautiful young woman -- I have been told by scouts who have approached me on the street that I could easily be the next big supermodel if I so chose -- as if I could ever engage in my own objectification!) But there was a coldness in his voice that told me otherwise. He didn't even have the courtesy to take me aside and talk to me privately. In front of the entire class, he dressed me down, telling me that he could tell that I didn't have what it takes for philosophy and logic, and either I could not register, or I could collect my F for the course in a few days, because he would be submitting that grade immediately if I persisted in registering. The others in the class -- who were all males -- just snickered as he told me this, and it was obvious that they would never support me against this horrendous professor. And they looked me up and down, and I could tell from their leers what they were thinking--put a breathtakingly beautiful young woman in front of just about any guy and watch them turn into filthy dogs! (I later found out my professor was gay -- hardly a surprise!)

      I walked out in a daze, not knowing what to do next. That night, I just couldn't sleep. I got out of bed, put on some clothes, and walked out of my dorm into the woods nearby.

      And here's where it gets really ugly. I saw a bright light overhead. I couldn't figure out what it could possibly be -- especially because it seemed to move in jerks, but without making a sound. And then I was somehow sucked up into the light by some powerful force! I got woozy, and seemed to lose consciousness, and when I came to, I was on a table -- and I realized it was some kind of operating table. The aliens -- every single one of them -- looked me up and down, and snickered, and leered (yes, they were all disgusting males!) and told me, in cold alien voices (or were those voices, in alien talk, actually cold? I will never know), that I was going to be examined; that they couldn't believe that a woman would even think of taking a course in modal and temporal logic, and they had to diagnose the problem.

      Oh, the anal probes! I will never forget those for the rest of my life -- who could?

      I've tried to do philosophy after that, but it's never been the same -- every time I am just about to discover a major result in logic or philosophy (which happens on a nearly daily basis), I experience trauma like nobody's business, and my quite brilliant and original insight recedes from me as if it was never there. As a result, I've published nothing -- not a single thing.

      If only men, human and alien, were not such disgusting creatures!

      Delete
    4. 10:41, Were the aliens psychologists working for the CIA?

      Delete
    5. "That morning I dressed casually as I always do in a T-shirt, jeans, and tin-foil hat. I can't help wondering if my "Can't Stump the Trump" facial tattoo might have played some role (most professors are libtards)."

      Delete
    6. 7:52, I get that you're trying to shut someone up who you imagine to have characteristics X,Y,Z, but at a deeper level I don't get the psychology of your kind.

      Delete
    7. Right back at you, 8:41.

      Delete
    8. Watch out, 10:41,

      They're back!

      https://www.facebook.com/mike.pittaro.9/videos/719146591563086/

      Delete
    9. Gaslighter.

      Worse than that actually.

      Delete
    10. 11:28,

      You couldn't be more right:

      IT'S NOT FUNNY.

      Delete
    11. You spew hatred, while thinking that you are clever and superior. How weird.

      Delete
    12. Those comments are unhinged, perhaps singularly!

      Delete
    13. I don't know about the rest of the comments, but it actually did happen to me (a woman) that a computer science professor discouraged me from joining a seminar and for no good reason that I could understand at the time. In retrospect, 30 years later, I think it was probably sexism/misogyny, a disbelief that there could be an enterprising woman taking an alternative path into the field. I had done things on my own, not through coursework, that prepared me for the course. As a PhD with a tenured position in philosophy, of course I've seen my share of students who think they are more prepared for a course than they actually are. However, like I say, I am suspicious that this was true in my case. So, yes, my story is similar to the first one that opened the thread. I was not taken outside of a class in the way the narrator of that story was, but that's a sort of insignificant detail from my point of view.

      How my remark at 9:45 merited the sarcastic, put-downy, remarks bringing up tinfoil hats I do not know. But they are oozing hate, not comedic brilliance.

      Delete
    14. 12:23,

      "spew hatred"?

      I'd say you're losing it here, but the real question is: did you ever have it?

      Delete
    15. Amended 12:58:
      I mean: suspicious about _the claim_ that this was probably true in my case. I.e. I think it was not true in my case

      Delete
    16. 1:23 (etc) I was responding to the OP and didn't read your comment until now. Sorry for the confusion. Meanwhile the WIL aka "Confirmation Bias" blog is doing far more harm than good. The nutso comments above are a case in point.

      Delete
    17. i.e. had not read 9:45.

      Delete
    18. I'm the OP. To be clear: I don't doubt that women have been discouraged from taking classes just for being women. Certainly in previous decades this happened plenty, and I'm sure it still happens today, too.

      This particular story just needed more. Was she the only woman in the class? Was she wearing a "Fuck Bertrand Russell" t-shirt? Does she have obscene tattoos? Does she smell like weed?* I need more motive for that level of rejection in 2015, or else some statement eliminating other possibilities.**

      If nothing else, she's guilty of poor storytelling.

      * I'm a woman with nothing against tattoos or weed, though I do like Russell. Just listing things that could cause negative judgment.
      ** It doesn't say how recent the story is, but it involves email and doesn't specify that it's not recent, so I'm guessing the story is less than a decade old.

      Delete
  20. A minor rant from an established professor in the UK. Why the fuck isn't there more concern about economic justice in the discussion? There was a good thread about the fact that in the USA you are supposed to give birth on a Friday and come to work on a Monday, but that's about it. The so-called 'feminists' are concerned about identity politics and not remotely interested in people have a descent standard of living. Let's focus on paying the bills

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you are proposing that we pay everyone in the discipline big money? That would attract even more noxious mediocrities looking to make a quick buck and we already have too many wannabe philosophers in this world. Just look at a thread on Daily Wuss and you'll find a bunch there.

      Here is my proposal instead. I say we limit the number of philosophy departments in the world to 10, give or take. Nice and simple and only the bigshots get tenure, but since so few get tenure we can then pay them like the millionnaires they deserve to be. Sounds nice, huh? It would also cut down on the insane amount of irrelevant bullshit published.

      Delete
    2. Holy shit, 1:57, you sure know how to construct a false dilemma. My hat goes off to you.

      Delete
    3. "The so-called 'feminists' are concerned about identity politics and not remotely interested in people have a descent standard of living."

      Because that is the point of identity politics, to destroy the genuine left wing and to ensure the supremacy of the rich. Look e.g. at affirmative action. Affirmative action doesn't hurt the rich. If you're rich and you want a job, you can have it anyway. If you're rich and you want to go to college, you can do that anway.

      Delete
  21. The New Consensus tells us that philosophers must stop being weird (because allegedly that is frightening to women...)

    But recent psychological research confirms what many have always suspected, namely, that creative insight is intrinsically associated with weirdness.

    For example:

    Creativity and psychopathology: a shared vulnerability model

    Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals

    It's not clear whether they know it or not, but the New Consensus is in effect a movement not just for 'diversity,' but for conformity and against philosophy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The New Consensus tells us that philosophers must stop being weird (because allegedly that is frightening to women...)

      But recent psychological research confirms what many have always suspected, namely, that creative insight is intrinsically associated with weirdness."

      Do you have a citation or quote to support the first part? Because otherwise your argument looks to be equivocating on "weird". You can do better.

      Delete
    2. Come off it, 11.52. It's obvious that the NC want to enforce corporate conformism.

      Delete
    3. On some super-loose sense of "conformism," maybe. But in a sense that precludes any weirdness whatsoever? Citation, please.

      Delete
    4. 3:06, you might be interested in some accounts of the "professionalization" of the academy and the link between that and critical theory, identity politics, etc. The one I'm most familiar with is Politics by Other Means by David Bromwich, although I've heard good things about his Yale colleague Ian Shapiro's The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences.

      Delete
    5. 8:46, corporate conformism is just weird.

      Delete
    6. Why is it weird? They want us to be little corporate drones chasing advantage in a tightly regulated bureaucracy where economic advantage still rules the day but is made to yield a superficially diverse elite group. They want R1 academia to resemble the headquarters of any Wall Street bank.

      Delete
    7. Well, I guess I think it's weird because it's so out of touch with the pulse of life and with anything that makes life worth living. They are guarded, not open; they use force and do not dance; they admire deceit as the epitome of reason; they choose short term gain over long term well being; they think Kant is cold and utilitarianism the bees knees. What can I say?

      I realize that most of those caught up in the system you are describing will just laugh at what I say (not just the mode, which is sort of silly, that's how I write, but at the content), rather as a sociopath would. I'm not quite sure how to respond to their laughter.

      Delete
  22. Has anybody yet received an acceptance or rejection from the Pacific APA? (I know, I'm pathetic.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 10:55 you are pathetic. I'm glad you know it.

      LOL. Just kiddin'.

      Delete
    2. I haven't, but know multiple people who have received acceptances.

      Delete
    3. I received an acceptance on September 26.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the information! (Even though it means I'm probably SOL.)

      Delete
    5. I would not give up hope just yet. From the receipt of submission email: "Our Program Committee referees submissions on a rolling basis, with the result that some decisions are made very quickly while some may take until November. Please be patient. Once again, the Division has more than seven hundred and fifty submissions to referee."

      Based on this, I would not read anything into not having heard back yet.

      Delete
  23. According to DN's "Heap of Links" section, this post by "Regina Rini (NYU) blows the idea of a 'culture of victimhood' out of the water":

    http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2015/09/microaggression-and-culture-of.html

    Although I think there really is a problematic culture of victimhood, I'm actually happy to see reasonable, thoughtful debate about the topic, and I think some who complain about it exagerrate it.

    Nonetheless, I think Justin's "blown out of the water" comment is both ridiculous and juvenile, and not fitting for reasonable debate.

    I haven't had time to read the post carefully, just skim it, but I'm immediately bothered by the claim "The new so-called ‘culture of victimhood’ is not new, and it is not about victimhood. It is a culture of solidarity."

    That strikes me as both question-begging and dishonest, since most on the opposite side will support a culture of solidarity in relation to serious oppression, but their claim is precisely that the culture of victimhood goes beyond that to sham oppression and even to the protection of the priveleged, rather than the oppressed.

    In any case, I continue to be disappointed by DN. I used to like it much more than people around here seem to, but it just gets worse and worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks 2:33. On a cursory reading I completely agree, and I also think that "blow[ing an] idea . . . out of the water" is not really an appropriate tone to take if the debate is actually meant to be reasonable and thoughtful.

      Delete
    2. Wait, wait, Justice Whineberg did something "ridiculous and juvenile"? It can't be!

      Delete
    3. I didn't look at the above comments carefully but on a cursory reading you guys are hilariously avoiding the content of Rini's post to complain about tone.

      Delete
    4. 4:47, I think this point is also about content:

      "I'm immediately bothered by the claim 'The new so-called ‘culture of victimhood’ is not new, and it is not about victimhood. It is a culture of solidarity.' That strikes me as both question-begging and dishonest, since most on the opposite side will support a culture of solidarity in relation to serious oppression, but their claim is precisely that the culture of victimhood goes beyond that to sham oppression and even to the protection of the priveleged, rather than the oppressed."

      It's a bad argument:
      1. When you complain about victim culture, you mean solidarity.
      2. Solidarity's good.
      3. So stop complaining.

      Premise one is outrageously (and "hilariously") false.

      Delete
    5. I didn't look at 4.47's comment carefully but on a cursory reading it seemed hilariously to miss the point completely.

      An excellent comment by 'Langdon' to the recent DN post on K Manne's NYT op-ed on 'trigger warnings' seems à propos here:

      Without the broader context of “safe spaces”, etc., no one would ever object to trigger warnings as Manne describes them. When someone goes to great lengths to defend something that is clearly completely innocuous and has been done, in one form or another, by professors for decades, they should stop and reflect on what their opponents are actually objecting to.

      The Rini/Manne 'What's all the fuss about?' line on this kind of thing is basically an irresponsible waste of the time of any reader who doesn't already agree with them. It's just a transparent redescription in question-beggingly innocuous terms of the practices being objected to. Anyone who accepts such a glaringly tendentious redescription was on board with the program in the first place. No-one who has concerns about it will recognize what they're worried about in the redescription. It's just a disingenuous way of avoiding any of the work involved in justifying what a lot of non-insane people have legitimate worries about and so reasonably regard as standing in need of justification. As is usual with these things, the main, entirely predictable effect is to alienate the don't-knows, further polarize debate and give the zealots fresh opportunities to denounce those who disagree with them as evil. Whineberg's being either stupid or dishonest.

      Delete
    6. I have to disagree, 8:27. I thought Rini had a good point about how the Campbell-Manning moral history only makes sense, if it does, if you focus on the privileged. I also thought the point about the role of social media in bringing smaller problems to a broader audience than they've in the past been shared with seemed reasonable--and not implausible as part of the explanation for why it seems like there's more whining going on.

      Delete
    7. Reading Rini's apology for the victim culture, I'm struck most by its philosophical obtuseness and irrationality. Even the most mediocre lawyers will make an attempt to answer the most obvious arguments of their opponents. Rini makes not even the slightest attempt to do so.

      Can the thing with microaggressions ever be overdone? Is there a perceived insult so trivial or off the mark that it should not be a matter for complaint? Not by anything Rini ever concedes. But how can one be a philosopher worthy of the name and not engage such an obvious question?

      And how can a philosopher worthy of the name read Rini's account and fail to notice these deficits?

      Delete
    8. She discusses people lying about mistreatment, says it is "reasonable" to worry about " accusations and counter-accusations of bad faith, rather than critical thinking," and talks about "genuine accidents, with no ill intent." So, 11:16, it does seem that she takes up some of the concerns of her "opponents."

      Delete
    9. 11:45,

      Yes, these highly indirect statements are all Rini has to say about the matter -- which is essentially nothing. It fails to address the issue of whether a so-called microaggression can actually be unworthy of a complaint. Again, is it possible for a complainer about a microaggression to be overly sensitive?

      These questions couldn't be more obvious. Everybody who has ever thought about the issue will have thought about them.

      Rini writes as if they simply don't exist. A philosopher worthy of the name will notice the omission.

      Delete
    10. So because Rini didn't take up in sufficient detail the question *you're* interested in, she (or someone who thinks she has written something worthwhile here) is not "a philosopher worthy of the name"? That sounds like an overreaction, and the kind of rhetorical stunt that no "philosopher worthy of the name" should pull.

      Delete
    11. Rini makes various empirical claims. These claims are not justified by evidence. These unjustified, exaggerated empirical claims are then used to justify conduct, demands and rules which are toxic and abusive.

      Delete
    12. Ahhhhh, the retreat to generalities and unexplained and exaggerated criticisms, with a touch of the buzzwords of those you oppose -- you play your part well, Internet Commenter 3.

      Delete
    13. 12:22,

      Why do I bother to make a point when commenters like you make a point of talking around it?

      Look, the questions which Rini fails to address are the most basic questions any sensible person asks when they seek to evaluate the culture of victimhood. Are the claims of being victimized always fair or not? If not always fair, how does one draw the line?

      This is hard? How can one get away with a defense of the culture of victimhood without addressing this most basic question? Really, is there a more basic question?

      One of the things I most detest about feminism (and identity politics more generally) is its retreat into stupidity. Everything it affects seems to be dumber for its presence. While it claims to enhance knowledge and science because of all the "new voices", by the evidence it seems instead to push bodies of knowledge to falsehood and corruption. Thus, by far the most likely explanation for the corruption of social psychology and the replication crisis therein is that the most corrupted studies are those which have a political interpretation supporting feminism or identity politics. Science, knowledge, and philosophy are all worse off for the baleful influence of feminism and identity politics.

      Delete
    14. 9:29 - yup. It's incredible how banal and shallow the 'theorizing' becomes when the shibboleths of political correctness are in play. Is there anything in the various op-ed type pieces on hot political issues by left-wing philosophers that rises above the level of an random editorial writer? Actually it's often worse because the basically simplistic points are blown up with hot air and philosophy jargon. It's especially irritating because there are often interesting philosophical questions that could be asked if you were really interested in analyzing a belief system rather than defending an ideology.

      Delete
    15. Recall Roy Baumeister's comment to the recent BBS target article on the lack of political diversity in social psychology:

      "Feminism is the single strongest and most powerful bias."

      http://bit.ly/1iZAkS8

      Delete
    16. Alert, Justin Weinberg! Please let us know as soon as someone writes a blog post "blowing" this article "out of the water." Can't wait to read it! Dumb psychologists. What do they know?

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201509/declining-student-resilience-serious-problem-colleges

      Delete
  24. Ta-Nehisi Coates winning a MacArthur: how bad?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not bad at all. in fact, great, you dipshit

      Delete
    2. lol. A weak writer and poor thinker sees the specter of racism in completely mundane events, authors two memoirs about it. In the age of the New Consensus that's what passes for Genius, I guess.

      Delete
    3. yes, the specter of racism in having one's close friend murdered by the police. damn that New Consensus!

      Delete
    4. Ah yes, the horrible racism of the black officer who killed Prince Jones, and the black people Coates was scared of growing up. Makes sense when black people are killing your friends that you write an entire memoir to your child explaining why he should hate and fear white people.

      Delete
    5. your inability to understand contemporary racial dynamics is proof of the vital role Coates plays in public discourse.

      ah PMMB. what one hand giveth, some total fucking idiot taketh away

      Delete
    6. ah PMMB. what one hand giveth, some total fucking idiot taketh away

      WORD.

      Delete
    7. "your inability to understand contemporary racial dynamics is proof of the vital role Coates plays in public discourse."

      Yes, the "vital role" Coates seems to play in public discourse is to confuse every important distinction to be made in the realm of race, so as to assure that white people are to blame for every real or imagined damage or offense.

      And of course it's easy to confuse distinctions when one starts out as utterly confused as Coates.

      Delete
    8. Every year, the MacArthur awards are the worst of the worst in going full PC.

      Coates' award was foreordained.

      Delete
    9. Some entertaining reactions to TNC (I know, I know, I'm linking to terrible people etc... but so entertaining):

      http://www.city-journal.org/2015/bc0802sj.html

      http://www.amren.com/features/2015/07/ta-nehesi-coates-the-new-messiah/

      Delete
    10. The City Journal review is hilarious.

      Delete
    11. Is it possible that his work is neither genius nor bad, but okay?

      I haven't read him but plan to out of curiosity. I've read many glowing reviews, and none of them has made a good case that he's saying anything particularly brave, novel, or provocative. So my expectations are low.

      But just because he's not the next James Baldwin doesn't mean we have to lap to the opposite conclusion that his writing is awful or his views reprehensible. A lot of reactionary instincts on this website, even if they're right to be critical of the middlebrow internet left.

      Delete
    12. That's possible, 1:25. Certainly most people fall into the "okay" pool, and it's possible that some of us are too quick to suggest Coates is outright bad because others are so quick to suggest that he is so extraordinarily good.

      Delete
    13. Jesus, people.

      Here's the thing about Coates, which I don't think anybody on either side of the question disputes: Coates makes extraordinary, extreme accusations of racism and racist harm in our contemporary culture, attributing all such damage entirely to white people.

      Now some may love this sort of accusation as getting at an essential truth of our society, and some may despise it as a grotesque distortion.

      But I don't see how anyone would view writing with such a purpose as "okay". It either succeeds spectacularly, or fails spectacularly. I don't see a middle available for mediocrity.

      Delete
    14. I would say a lot of his Atlantic writing fell into the 'OK' bracket -- some good, some not so good -- but his latest book is actively bad. It's weird, I thought he was a better writer, more thoughtful, a couple of years ago.

      Delete
    15. Jesus, 1:52.

      I don't see how any purpose one has in writing guarantees the impossibility of mediocrity.

      Are you evaluating its truth or its literary quality and power? To be sure, falsehoods and poor arguments can harm the overall power of a literary work, but it's surly not reducible to that.

      After all, there are some pretty brilliant works of art that promote falsehoods and demonstrate poor reasoning. (Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will comes to mind.)

      Don't mistake disliking his opinions for flaws in his abilities as a writer.

      Delete
    16. I Jesus you right back, 3:24.

      What you are forgetting is that Coates is writing NON-FICTION, and arguing a political case. "Literary quality" means just about nothing in such a context if you get things massively wrong -- nor if you get them massively right, for that matter.

      The ability to think, and develop a rational case, has a real application in such a context. If you can't do that, who cares if you write prose as good as, say, the early James Joyce, or as bad as Theodore Dreiser?

      Delete
    17. This is odd, because I (too?) think Coates is a very good writer even though I don't think he is (or would make) a good philosopher.
      As far as I can see, pointing out that he's writing non-fiction is just a non sequitur.

      Delete
    18. Literature includes non-fiction (just as the art of film includes documentary, as in my example of Riefenstahl), and literary non-fiction ought to be judged primarily, though not exclusively, by aesthetic criterion.

      Again, that doesn't exclude consideration of ability to think and reason, but, again, it doesn't reduce to it. Jesus, if we held wonderful non-fiction writers to the standard that they must always have superb reasoning and speak only the truth, what a loss! To be sure, reason and truth in the mix is still better, but there's more to life than philosophy, dude.

      And early Joyce is, of course, overrated.

      And let's leave Jesus out of this, you started that. (Hey, speaking of supposed non-fiction that's great literature yet full of falsehoods and bad reasoning, have you ever read the Bible?)

      Delete
  25. 6:58, that may be true, but if you respond by turning it into a discussion about each side's standard rhetorical ploys, the discussion with only stray further from substance.

    I'm the OP. I've already twice mentioned a substantial issue, which 8:27 very insightfully drew out further: the starting point and framing of Rini's article takes for granted positions that only those who agree can grant. So from the very beginning the argument's a non-starter.

    9:59 may be right that there are other points Rini makes worth repsonding to, but 9:59 is mistaken to think those points (the potted history and social media) are in any way a reply to my and 8:27's criticism about the question-begging nature of its claim that the culture of victimhood is entirely reducible to a mischaracterized culture of solidarity. Rini simply asserts that, offering no reason to accept it.

    Indeed, the article is self-contradictory on this point, since it later admits that there are mistakes, as 11:45 points out in its defense. The problem is that if there are such mistakes, we have good reason to question the starting assumption that all perceived culture of victimhood is reducible to misperceived culture of solidarity.

    It gets worse when, after starting with a question-begging assumption that she later gives us reason to doubt, Rini ends with an egregious straw man: "Nothing is accomplished by ignoring the phenomenon or demanding its dismissal from polite conversation."

    Those worried about the culture of victimhood haven't endorsed ignoring microaggression or dismissing it from polite conversation. (And notice the sophistry of the "polite conversation", which is supposed to give us an image of Rini's opponent as old, upper crust WASPs)

    This drives me nuts--the constant attempt to portray this as a denial of injustice, inequality, and oppression on the part of the advantaged, when the real complaint is that the culture of victimhood (COV) is practiced precisely BY THE ADVANTAGED and minimizes the truly disadvantaged. It is the COV that banishes real economic and cultural inequality and oppression from the conversation by focusing on identities that are not only compatible with on balance greater advantages (such as an upper middle class, highly educated white woman, who though a real victim of injustice in the form of sexism is still more advantaged than many others), but often voiced PRIMARILY by people of such advantage--i.e., by highly educated upper middle class professionals of diverse races, sexualities, and genders.

    The problem is that COV is a way that the oppressors coopt the culture of solidarity. The problem isn't just that people who aren't victims don't deserve our sympathy, but that they steal our sympathy AWAY from real victims. It's the COV that promotes ignoring real microaggressions against truly oppressed people.

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  26. What's tiresome about the Rini piece is that she writes as if those of us interested in promoting dignity for all individuals and groups are somehow blind to the importance of solidarity with the marginalized.

    We're not. Solidarity is *obviously* very important. We are, however, suspicious of this particular instantiation of solidarity, because it is bound up with a variety of ills that conflict with other important values. Trigger warnings, overzealous speech codes, changes to syllabi, and the need for "safe spaces," are all outgrowths of this instantiation of solidarity, all cause real intellectual harm, and all cater to a childish mentality.

    Moreover, there is a performative aspect to all of this, amplified by social media, that is simply off-putting. And the performative element feels increasingly 'mandatory' in some quarters; one's denunciation of the most recent outrage must be swift, harsh, and public.

    Rini is of course under no intellectual obligation to address all of this. But then, to whom is she really talking? Does she really believe that those of us who object to 'call out' culture are uninterested in solidarity, or do not recognize it when we see it? We recognize it, but at the same time we also recognize other characteristics that ought to be kept at arms' length. This latter insight doesn't disqualify one from upholding the value of solidarity, and claiming that it does is simply another feature of this increasingly ridiculous debate.

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    1. ^^^ Excellent comment

      By the way, where do you (does anybody) think "call out" culture came from?

      Possible answer: It's what we've learned to do through our confessional-'status'update-bullying culture that has arisen as a result of the way we interact with new technology (= here, www, social media). Now that it has developed as a thing, we don't need the web for it; we do it everywhere.

      Isn't it funny that the fb-y thing is called a 'status' update?

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  27. 8:26, I'd think the opposite. I've read a number of Coates pieces and still don't "understand" (which I think means "buy into your theoretical framework") what's going on. If that's "proof" of anything (it's not), it's that Coates is ineffective at convincing people who haven't already "bought in", and thus not "vital" at all (unless you take preaching to the choir to be a vital activity).

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  28. What's up with these Leiter polls about the top journals? Isn't this really the kind of gossip he is so keen to avoid being identified with? If he was serious, instead of just asking people for their opinions, he could just spend a few hours seeing which journals get cited most. All his polls do is tell us about the views of those who read his blog, are sad enough to answer polls, . . . and which journals they remember reading articles from lately, or not so lately. There are many ways of playing with citation statistics to get good answers to the question "what are the top journals?" Taking a silly poll doesn't tell us which is really considered good by the profession. It merely makes sure that shoddy methodology is promulgated.

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    1. Everyone's masturbatory preferences are unique.

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  29. Re: Rini I just can't get past the arguer and get to the argument (I freely admit that makes me a bad reasoner). I think most of us can't: that's one reason why the culture of victimhood remains at an impasse.

    Even if you had sound arguments (and that is not the case here, as many have pointed) you cannot possibly be a well-to-do college professor in the United States, paid by this wealthy country to study philosophy (!), and then convince people of your thesis which depends critically upon you being more clear about oppression than some other well-to-do person. How can you possibly expect that to be well-received by your audience of also-well-to-do people?

    You must give some acknowledgment there is no moral high ground here. You are comfortably employed as a philosophy professor while women in Syria are tearing their hair out after they are raped all day (only a slight change in their life from two years ago when they were only being stoned and enslaved to their husbands...oh and btw, social justice warriors would count this inconvenient fact as me "diverting" the real issue...from the oppression of philosophy professors and American college students!)...and you are sitting there telling ME why a recent article by two (yet more!) well-to-do professors did not have the correct picture of marginalization!!!!

    So my point is regardless of the quality of the argument the fact of who you are seems inescapable. Nobody on here or any philosophy blog is criticizing Malcolm X or Yezidi Freedom Fighters or impoverished women who are fucked over by government policies. We're criticizing you, you ivory tower, zero skin-in-the-game, wealthy American. At least I am criticizing you because you are explaining oppression to me like you have some insight that I don't.











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    1. You have a sympathetic ear, 5:51.

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  30. So what would Rini make of this?

    A ‘Mad Scientist’ Theme Party Was Too Offensive for Some Students

    https://reason.com/blog/2015/09/28/a-mad-scientist-theme-party-was-too-offe

    No culture of victimhood here! It's solidarity all the way down!

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    1. God the language is awful. Who comes up with this?

      "Your disregard of the concerns of the mental health community and their allies trivializes issues that we deem extremely important to our community."

      Yes, you poor '''''allies''''' of the mental health community had your extremely important outrage du jour trivialized. However will you survive? And that's from the student government at Pomona.

      But at least some people kept their perspective:

      "Another student told the Claremont Independent, which first reported the story, that: “I am actually bipolar and I am offended that people infantilize the whole issue of mental illness by suggesting we should be protected from anything that could damage our ‘fragile’ psyches.”"

      Looks like people are waking up to the infantilisation caused by victimhood culture. I wonder how pieces like Rini's and Manne's will be categorized in a decade.

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  31. Jennifer Freyd at Huffington Post argues that the low response rate for the recent campus survey of sexual assault is more likely to underrepresent than overrepresent the numbers of sexual assault. (Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-j-freyd/examining-denial-tactics-were-victims-overrepresented-in-the-aau-survey-of-sexual-violence-on-college-campuses_b_8216008.html )

    This argument, though, is very poorly grounded.

    Basically, she says that if the women who answered the survey were more likely to have been sexually assaulted than those who didn't, one would expect that in those institutions in which the response rates were higher, the reported assault rates would go down. Instead, if anything, they go up.

    But this is just a totally unwarranted assumption. If it were the case that essentially the ONLY difference between the institutions with higher rates of response and those of lower response was that, somehow, more or less randomly, more students chose to respond, then that might make sense. But of course there is no reason to believe that. Especially when the rates of response were so dramatically different -- from a low of 9.2% to a high of 63.2% -- it's abundantly clear that something highly non-random was taking place to explain the difference in response rates.

    In particular, one obvious explanation for such differences is that on some campuses, a much bigger deal has been made of the sexual assault issue in general, and perhaps in particular with respect to the importance of responding to the survey. Now one reason might be that in a given campus the rate is in fact much higher than on other campuses -- which would, of course, explain why the reported rates are higher on those campuses. Another potential reason is that there is much more attention being paid to "rape culture" on the campuses with higher response rates, and -- even though the actual rate of sexual assault is no higher than at other campuses -- respondents want to provide the "right" answers to support the anti-rape-culture agenda.

    This sort of distortion -- and, frankly, outright lying -- by the respondents is really one the basic points that Stuart Taylor at the Washington Post is driving at when he points out that the proportion of women who report penetration AND who claim they have reported it to the college authorities is about 2.2%. (Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/09/23/the-latest-big-sexual-assault-survey-is-like-others-more-hype-than-science/?postshare=1671443033589920 ) Projected across the entire college female population, this would entail that there were 9 times as many such reports to the authorities as there were actual Cleary reports. There's really no way to square these results. Indeed, to the extent to which one wishes to argue that the numbers for sexual assaults were most likely generally underreported, as does Freyd, then it becomes even harder to square. By far the most plausible account of this discrepancy is that a good number of these respondents are simply lying, presumably in service of some ideological agenda. If a number of respondents will lie about this, why not about many other questions in the survey?

    In any case, Freyd certainly is obliged to explain in some way or another why it is that the response rates were so very different. Until she has some account of this, she is certainly not entitled to assume that differences in those response rates do not themselves reflect factors that might change the reported rates of sexual assault.

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  32. Emily Yoffe, writing in Slate, "The Problem with Campus Sexual Assault Surveys" replies, using empirical evidence and clear critical reasoning, to the latest hyperbolic exaggerations. As Yoffe points out:

    "This is illustrated dramatically by the release last December of a special report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics titled “Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013.” It found that contrary to frequent assertions, including by some elected officials, about the particular dangers female college students face, they are less likely to be victims of sexual assault than their peers who are not enrolled in college. The report found that among women aged 18 to 24, those not in college were 1.2 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than those in college. The good news was that incidence for both groups was far lower than anything approaching 1 in 5: 0.76 percent for nonstudents and 0.61 percent for students."

    That's a rate of about 6 in 1000.

    Jennifer Freyd, on the other hand, is a propagandist, recklessly contributing to a socially toxic, educationally harmful and factually misleading hysteria.

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    1. If you read the BoJ report, it actually talks quite a bit about why statistics vary on this issue - it's worth reading. I think the mistake, though, is assuming that this report shows that other reports with different statistics are flawed (and vice versa) when the explanation is instead that they are asking different questions.

      It sounds like you're pretty closed-minded about this, but I would encourage you to read Freyd's Oregon survey, too. There is a large section on limiting self-selection bias (given the effort put into this, I would hardly call her 'reckless'). The report also makes it clear how the numbers were reached. The numbers on sexual assault were a result of responses to three questions:

      1. Someone performed oral sex on me or made me have oral sex with
      them without my consent
      2. Someone inserted their penis, fingers, or objects into my vagina
      without my consent
      3. Someone inserted their penis, fingers, or objects into my anus without my consent

      These questions seem clear and straightforward - they don't appear 'propagandist' in any way. The activities described are all clearly sexual assault. And according to the report, slightly less than 20% of women gave 'yes' answers to at least one of those questions.

      Unless you have evidence that Freyd is falsifying the data, you don't have grounds for calling her reckless, a propogandist, or factually misleading. The report clearly explains the methodology.

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    2. The propaganda involves redefining the meanings of "assault" and "consent". In particular, when consensual sexual encounters involve drinking or drugs. Analogously, one could try to redefine "planet" to include asteroids, and then claim to have "discovered" thousands of "planets" - but there aren't in fact thousands of planets; they're asteroids, not planets. If a scientist claims to have "discovered" thousands of plants orbiting the Sun then, yes, I would say the scientist has falsified the data. Because that is not what "planet" means, and this remains so even when the definitions adopted are still somewhat vague.

      The central factor in these misleading surveys is probably not the self-selection response factor. The problems are much simpler:

      1. Consensual penetrative sex while drunk is consensual. A high proportion of the actions being misdescribed are consensual, based on choices.
      2. Young people are being encouraged - by misleading wordings and misleading methodology - to later misdescribe consensual sexual encounters, and not to take responsibility for their own actions and choices (they may regret them or not want them to be disclosed).

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    3. Could you point to the parts of Freyd's survey in which you think the wording is misleading, or the methodology is misleading?

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  33. I wouldn't rely on the Clery statistics to make your case. They are notoriously misleading. See for example: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/09/30/campus-insecurity.html (or just google it - I've read lots and lots of stuff about problems with those statistics. That's just one of the articles that came up when I googled it this time to give you an example).

    So it's not just the case that we have reason to question the motives of the people reporting Clery statistics, but we have actual evidence that they are misleading.

    We don't, however, have any actual evidence for your hypothesis that large numbers of women are deliberately lying on anonymous surveys. It's certainly possible, in the same way that it is possible of any survey that large numbers of people are lying. But unless we have actual evidence of this, we shouldn't presuppose that any given survey is wildly inaccurate until we have actual evidence that large numbers of people lie on surveys of that kind. It would be odd to be so skeptical of surveys simply because of the mere possibility that large numbers of people could be lying.

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    1. Look, let me repeat the basic point I had made earlier: based on the numbers in the survey, there would have been 9 times as many sexual assaults involving penetration that were reported to the authorities as there were Clery reports of such assaults. Again, 9 times as many. And if, as Freyd strongly implies, the numbers in the survey were very likely underestimates, then it would be well over 9 times as many.

      The fact that sometimes, or even fairly often, the Clery numbers underrepresent the actual number of sexual assaults reported does not come close to covering the 9 times (or far more) as many reports that the survey would indicate. Unless one can see how such underreporting under Clery could possibly reach such proportions, so that essentially all universities (or something approaching 80-90% of them don't report their numbers, or only a bare fraction of them) then it is mindless to dismiss the Clery statistics as irrelevant. Obviously, they should be relevant as a sanity check on the numbers in the survey. It is simply too easy for students to lie in such surveys, especially when there is a political agenda at stake. Institutions may lie too, of course, in their reports under Clery, but they have a very strong incentive not to do so, namely the penalties that can be exacted upon them if they are found not to be in compliance. What is to stop a student from lying for a political point in an anonymous survey? Not a single thing, of course. Why shouldn't we expect a good deal of lying? Consider the now infamous case of Jackie at UVA, who clearly lied about a sexual assault to make a political point among other reasons. She had an enormous amount to lose by making up such a lie, yet chose to do so. Why wouldn't any number of students lie for political reasons in an anonymous survey, when there would be no possible risk in doing so?

      And lying is of course the most natural explanation for the numbers we see. As Taylor also points out in his article:

      "More astonishing still, 75 percent of respondents who told researchers that they had been “penetrated using physical force” said they had never reported this to authorities — and 58.6 percent of that 75 percent said they “did not consider it serious enough” to report"

      What does it say about these women who report sexual assault involving penetration and using physical force that they did not consider it serious enough to report? Isn't by far the most likely explanation that they are lying about the nature of the purported assault? What other account is there for such an absurd explanation as to why they didn't report it?

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    2. I should also mention something Taylor pointed out in his article: the 9 times as many figure is based on comparing a Clery report of a sexual assault to a purported report (as projected from the survey numbers) of a sexual assault involving penetration. Obviously, not all sexual assaults involve penetration, so that the Clery numbers should be even more out of line with the survey numbers than the 9 times as many figure would suggest.

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    3. One further point.

      I just don't see why it is in any way considered extraordinary to assert that people are lying in a survey like this. People lie all the time. They particularly lie when they have something they think can be gained by doing so, and when the risk of being caught is non-existent.

      Sometimes when I read how credulous people are regarding survey results like this I am reminded as to how much of religion has been supported by claims of miracles. But as some philosopher some time ago pointed out, which is more likely, that miracles occur, or that people lie in their testimony about the miracles? Well, which is more likely, that all of the relatively hard statistics we come by regarding sexual assaults are off by an order of magnitude, or that people lie in surveys?

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    4. Perhaps you didn't read the article, but the very first example is an example of a university which reported no sexual assaults at all over an 11-year-period. Nearly 20% of schools surveyed have never reported any sexual assaults over the 12 year period. In the last year, one half of schools reported 0 sexual assaults.That, combined with the fact that schools are only required to report crimes on or near campus (and have latitude to define near) and the fact that, contrary to what you have stated, a school has an obvious motive to under-report statistics (because these can affect rankings) and a fairly weak incentive to accurately report them (contrary to what you state, penalties for not being in compliance are unlikely to work as a strong incentive given the lack of oversight.

      And of course sometimes people lie about sexual assault. No-one is denying that. And we should expect that some people will lie on surveys. But you haven't given any actual evidence that in this particular kind of survey, we would expect women, in particular, to lie in such numbers that the statistics will be hugely skewed. Pointing to one case in which a person lied publicly is not a reason to believe large numbers of people are lying anonymously.

      What we have is lots of actual evidence that the Clery reports are wildly inaccurate. You have presented hypothetical scenarios under which the statistics you are doubtful of are wildly inaccurate, that presuppose that vast numbers of women are lying anonymously on surveys. But you haven't given any actual evidence that this is what is going on. It is always possible, when presented with any survey whatsoever, to hypothesize that the numbers are inaccurate because it is possible that large numbers of people are lying.

      And I don't understand your last claim - it seems to be internally inconsistent. Your claim is that large numbers of women are lying about having been raped to further their ideological goals. But then these same women also say, on the same survey, that they did not consider their rapes 'serious enough to report.' That seems a very odd thing for a person who has lied about having been raped in order to further the 'agenda' you seem to think they have. So that not only doesn't seem like 'by far the most likely' explanation, it doesn't even look like an internally consistent explanation.

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    5. "Perhaps you didn't read the article, but the very first example is an example of a university which reported no sexual assaults at all over an 11-year-period. Nearly 20% of schools surveyed have never reported any sexual assaults over the 12 year period. In the last year, one half of schools reported 0 sexual assaults."

      How does any of this impact 6:48's argument? What makes you suggest that they perhaps didn't read the article?

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    6. This part, 7:57:
      " Unless one can see how such underreporting under Clery could possibly reach such proportions, so that essentially all universities (or something approaching 80-90% of them don't report their numbers, or only a bare fraction of them)"

      It is pretty clear from reading the article that it is entirely plausible that 80-90% of universities either don't report, or report only a bare fraction of, the actual number assaults.

      It impacts on 6:48's argument, because their argument seems to be that the discrepancy in numbers between Clery reports and the other surveys gives us reason to doubt the surveys. But given that we have actual evidence that the Clery numbers are inaccurate, and we only have speculation (but no actual evidence) that the surveys are inaccurate, the discrepancy in numbers between the Clery reports and the other surveys is not as conclusive as 6:48 takes it to be.

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    7. Your argument regarding the Clery reports is exceedingly weak. It may be that 20% didn't report a sexual assault over a 12 year period, and that half of all schools didn't report one in a given year. What you haven't done is to demonstrate that those numbers simply must be "wildly inaccurate". Most importantly, you haven't come even close to demonstrating that the accurate statistics might be off by a factor of 9.

      And while institutions have an incentive to underreport sexual assaults, they also have a large incentive not to do so as well, which includes not only the penalties exacted if they are not in compliance, which I have mentioned, but also the exposure of being caught out in underreporting them. This would be especially damaging in today's environment, because such underreporting will be regarded as an unforgivable betrayal of women students, and a great stain on the reputation of the institution.

      Look, again, the basic question is: which are more credible, the harder statistics we get from actual reports to authorities, or the numbers we get from surveys, in which there is no risk whatever in telling a politically expedient lie? It's worthwhile to remember that the number of women who would actually have to tell such lies does not have to be large by any means to produce very large numbers of supposed sexual assaults. Roughly 10% of women reported sexual assault by penetration in the survey, but the survey itself included only roughly 20% of women students. This means that the proportion of women in these colleges who reported such sexual assaults is only 2%. How unlikely is it that a substantial proportion of that small number of women -- 1 in 50 -- might be lying?

      You write as if I need to produce nearly indisputable evidence that women are lying before this possibility is taken seriously. That's of course not true. I need only produce evidence and an argument that that is the most plausible account of what we are seeing. And that I have done, and you have not undone.

      Finally, my last claim is that it is the women who are reporting rape, but didn't consider it serious enough to report, are lying about the nature of the assault. Yes, there's inconsistency there alright, but it is in the women's answers to the survey. I simply point out that there's no plausible account on which all of the things they answer are true. The "internal inconsistency" is theirs, not mine. This is why I conclude they are playing fast and loose with the truth. Why might they say it wasn't serious enough? Well, one reason would be that they wanted to beef up the sexual assault statistics, but couldn't quite bring themselves to lie about having reported it, and needed to have some explanation as to why they didn't do so. Another might be that they felt that, in retrospect and in regret, the penetration was "unwanted", but realized that that wasn't enough actually to turn it into rape or sexual assault, and so said they didn't report it because it wasn't serious enough. In any case, whatever the reason might be, I don't see how the various answers they gave on the point can be squared in a way that an objective outside observer might see as a consistent account.

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  34. A new philosophy blog:

    http://justmorephilosophy.blogspot.com

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    1. Seems like Reddit-style anti-philosophy. "No evidence for any philosophical claims" and so on. Probably a fan of Carnap and experimental phil.

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