Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October Slur

329 comments:

  1. http://chronicle.com/article/Women-s-Groups-Urge-Colleges/233864

    this is fucking insane. The worst part:

    The civil-rights complaint filed against the University of Mary Washington initially argued that the university had violated Title IX, which bars sex-based discrimination by education institutions, by deeming the harassment of students on Yik Yak as protected by the First Amendment. The complaint was subsequently amended to accuse the university’s president, Richard V. Hurley, of illegal retaliation for issuing a letter criticizing the initial complaint and denying many of its claims.

    (the link to the supposedly retaliatory letter is here: http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/education/umw-president-richard-hurley-s-letter-to-feminist-majority-foundation/article_91ad966c-0e14-11e5-b5b2-e3469289a8dd.html)

    How is Title IX consistent with the First Amendment?

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    1. Here are the examples of things that the "women’s and civil-rights groups" want to ban:

      "We don't want no feminazis"
      "Femicunts"
      "Careful they'll write an article about your anonymous post"
      "Guys by careful they might use yuk yak as a reliable news source again"
      "Can we get Fuc off this campus"?"
      "Let's send FUC to sweet briar. No men, no other opinions to tolerate -- perfect for them"
      "tired of being #FUCed over"
      "Well now I hate everything"
      "So FUC can hate on men all they want but the second some students do a harmless chant shit hits the fan... ok"
      "FUC needs to be suspended indefinitely, it's only fair"
      "How about that Jezebel article?"

      These are all very good examples, I'd say, of protected speech -- things that, however stupid or offensive they might be -- you can't ban. It is honestly baffling to me that anyone could look at these yaks and think otherwise. I feel like I live on another planet from these "civil rights" activists who look at things like this and say "yeah, that should be banned". What kind of civil rights activists thinks that way? That is, like, transparently the opposite of caring about civil rights!

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    2. "She said she also has requested a meeting with Yik Yak’s founders, Tyler Droll and Stephen Brooks Buffington, to discuss steps their company can take to end harassment, and that she plans to push lawmakers to regulate Yik Yak if the company fails to tackle the issue on its own."

      If you give the government power to regulate apps, you better realize that they are not going to use that power for feminist ends.

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    3. Well, the charitable interpretation of the complaint isn't that it regards any given slur as unacceptable, but that Yik Yak is facilitating sustained campaigns of abusive comments. The Supreme Court does recognise harassment as unprotected speech; it just has a much narrower construal of harassment than many campuses seem to have. (FIRE's website has a good discussion of this, iirc.)

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    4. Here's a FIRE blog post about the situation: https://www.thefire.org/ocrs-investigation-of-u-of-mary-washington-raises-free-speech-concerns/

      The abuse of retaliation provisions seems like it's going to be a typical component of these kinds of complaints in future. From the FIRE post:

      Another issue of concern is the fact that, in their OCR complaint, the UMW students are seeking recourse not only for the university’s alleged failure to respond to harassment on social media, but also for the university’s efforts to defend itself against that allegation. According to Inside Higher Ed,

      "[a]fter the Mary Washington president, Richard Hurley, vociferously refuted those allegations in a letter to the campus community, the two groups amended their complaint, accusing Hurley of retaliating against the students with a “disparaging” letter. In addition to discrimination and sexual harassment, Title IX laws prohibit “retaliation” against anyone who files a complaint."

      The idea that any speech critical of the way Title IX is administered on campus is itself cause for a Title IX claim is deeply concerning from a free-speech perspective. We saw this in the case of Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis, who found herself on the receiving end of a university Title IX investigation after she penned an essay for The Chronicle of Higher Education about what she called the “sexual panic” of the “post-Title IX landscape.” According to Kipnis, not only was she subjected to a university Title IX investigation, but a Title IX retaliation claim was even filed against the faculty support person who accompanied Kipnis to that investigation because he expressed concerns about that process to the faculty senate. If simply speaking up in defense of oneself or others on matters pertaining to sex discrimination constitutes retaliation under Title IX, then the law amounts to nothing less than a gag order on students and faculty.

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  2. That latest Deas post on Leiter ('The Lucky Ones') is just weird. It ends with an Amazon link to a coffeemaker, and doesn't really say anything of interest along the way. Is it a sponsored post? If so, then it really should say - it's pretty bad form not to note when something is really an advertorial.

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    1. Darlene Daes says sensible things at LR and gets knuckled by femphil tantrum - to which she replies sensibly. A few days later, Daes writes an amusing post at LR about getting a job in some obscure place.

      In response, one of our local femphil conspiracy theorists says, "is it a sponsored post?".

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    2. It's not an affiliate link.

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    3. Why are the femphils always so lame?

      No wit. No insight. Don't they just bore each other to tears?

      Well, I guess they do make up for it by ginning up lots of drama. They get to star as heroines in their own plays, which everybody is forced to watch.

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    4. This stuff from femphils is what psychiatrists and psychologists call "crazy-making", the generation of drama; it's an abuse/manipulation mechanism associated with mentally disturbed individuals, usually narcissists.

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    5. fixed it for you, 7:59:

      Darlene Daes says sensible things at LR and gets knuckled by femphil tantrum - to which she replies sensibly. A few days later, Daes writes a pretty lame post at LR, and when someone expresses this opinion on PMMB, they get accused of being a 'femphil conspiracy theorist' because apparently she is now forever immune from any criticism.

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    6. 8:46,

      Lame again.

      I found your insult so boring I couldn't get to the end of it.

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    7. Uh, there wasn't an insult, 8:56. And if it was boring, well - it was mostly your own words.

      Seriously, I can't believe anyone thought that post was good. I guess the old PMMB was the place for slighty snarky, not -so-serious poking fun at other blogs. Shame, because it's fun to do that sometimes.

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    8. 8:46, you stated that Darlene Deas is a secret plant for a corporation Amazon, and had written something at LR as "advertorial" for that corporation, which is "pretty bad form".

      This is unhinged conspiracist lunacy. The further femphils push these puerile conspiracy theories, and tantrums insulting Darlene Deas, the worse and worse they look.

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    9. Jeez, 9:12: as I said, I was poking fun, not so seriously, at something I thought was pretty lame. There's no need to push your own conspiracy that I am somehow part of some weird femphil plot (which I'm not, by the way).

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    10. One thing is for sure: she has a good taste in coffee makers.

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    11. I thought it was hilarious how the NC crowd reacted to her post on women in philosophy. Yet, I think most of her posts are inane. The supposedly funny one on the APA was just as stupid as this more recent one. It's almost as bad as the "poetry" Leiter used to post. Still better than anything on Daily Douche.

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    12. It's pretty hilarious how the metabros reacted above, as well.

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    13. Do you mean 3:53, who feels persecuted by a coffee pot?

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    14. in @reply @10:56: She merely said it was "bad form" to include a coffee pot in posts about philosophy. That is lacking in persecution. Charity?

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    15. Yes, solidarity with the victims! Smash the coffee pot oppressors!

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  3. A commenter on the previous thread asked for a non-paywalled version of the 4 June 2013 Chronicle of Higher Education article by Seth Zweifler that made public allegations against McGinn. It is here at Sally Haslanger's webpage. As seems obvious, confidentiality was broken by others publicly (McGinn says it was the graduate student and her "representative"). Then McGinn responded publicly.

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    1. Not sure how it's obvious that "confidentiality was broken by others publicly." Both McGinn and the student are quoted in that article.

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    2. According to McGinn, "If a student makes a confidential allegation against a professor, this can be handled within the confines of the institution. There is no need to get into the public realm. But in the present case the student and her representative voluntarily went to the national press some nine months after the initial confidential allegation, for reasons that elude me."

      And this seems to be very likely true - it is absurd to suggest McGinn would publicly accuse himself of being a harasser. So given that this extremely damaging story appeared, it is highly likely McGinn is telling the truth - CHE was approached by "the graduate student and her representative", who therefore broke confidentiality by bringing this into the public domain; the journalist then made inquiries and it then appeared on 4 June 2013.

      Are you disputing the factual accuracy of that? If so, what evidence do you have?

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    3. I'm not 8:29, but I'm not sure how McGinn could know who went to the press, or what motivation the student would have for going to the press. I think an equally likely story is that the journalist got a tip from someone, and then went and asked the main players for comment ( as all good journalists should). Things like that get in the paper all the time for reasons other than that the accused or the accuser went to a journalist themselves. For a start, the fact that he was resigning would have been public knowledge, and any decent journalist probably would have sniffed out that there was a story there.

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    4. "From someone"

      Who, precisely? And, with great respect, 8:52, no rational human being publicly accuses themself of being a sexual harasser. It is therefore not "equally likely", depending on the "someone".

      What is epistemically likely is that McGinn is simply telling the truth: opponents of McGinn (perhaps Morrison, Yelle or Thomason) approached CHE to publicly demonize him after he had been forced out of his post and his career ended. Following this breach, the journalist Seth Zweifler contacted McGinn, Erwin and others for comment. And McGinn's comment is minimal, referring only to a "dispute".

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    5. Has anyone noticed the ad on Leiter Reports for the McGinn hand fetish book? LOL.

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    6. 9:03, It being equally likely that someone other than A did it is not the same claim as it being equally likely that either A or a particular person B did it. I'm not saying that it is equally likely that McGinn or the student tipped off the press. I'm saying that it is equally likely that either the student or: some other faculty member (not at her behest) tipped off a journalist, or a journalist spotted a potential story, and followed up. Especially seeing as it came out in the CHE - any journalist working for that publication, upon finding out either officially or through gossip just that a big name like McGinn was resigning, would probably do some digging as to why.

      And given McGinn is hardly unbiased in all of this - there is good reason for thinking he has his own motivations for pinning the leak on the student, whom (as he points out himself) would have no obvious reason for leaking the story.

      McGinn's comment is minimal, as is the student's herself - but Erwin's and her boyfriend's were not. So if we're taking that as evidence, perhaps Erwin leaked the story, mistakenly believing he was doing McGinn a favor because he was bringing to light what he saw as a great injustice. Following this, the journalist contacted the student and others for comment.

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    7. Give up, 9:16. It is not epistemically controversial who put this into the public domain on 4 June 2013. It was the grad student and her supporters. And, very probably, McGinn and Erwin are not 100% sure who. The rest of your comment is pure speculation and irrational, and does not merit a response.

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    8. It is speculation, just as it is pure speculation that "opponents of McGinn (perhaps Morrison, Yelle or Thomason) approached CHE to publicly demonize him after he had been forced out of his post and his career ended. Following this breach, the journalist Seth Zweifler contacted McGinn, Erwin and others for comment. And McGinn's comment is minimal, referring only to a "dispute"."

      It's epistemically controversial that the grad student did it, because the only evidence we have for this is from a clearly biased source (McGinn himself) who is also unlikely to have any direct knowledge who leaked the story, and there is no clear motivation for the student to leak the story. You can keep on just flat out stating "it is not epistemically controversial" but stating doesn't make it so.

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    9. Imagine 9:03 in court:

      Defense: "Your honor, the prosecution is arguing that my client committed the murder. But given the evidence, it is equally likely that he is innocent - that someone other than him did it."
      9:03, for the Prosecution: "Aha! The lawyer for the defense is arguing that it is equally likely that someone other than his client committed the murder. But he is wrong, because no rational man would argue in court that he himself committed the murder. So it is not equally likely that "someone else" did it, when that "someone else" refers to the lawyer for the defense himself! So his client must have done it. You must therefore find him guilty."

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    10. "There is no clear motivation for the student to leak the story"?

      Please. The obvious motivation is to name and shame McGinn, in the service of Social Justice, currently defined.

      As if feminutsies don't do these things all the bloody time.

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    11. It is extremely likely - to the level of being not controversial - that the leak came from grad student and her supporters, who put the story in the public domain. They are of course free to deny it if they so wish. The journalist Seth Zweifler would be able to confirm one way or the other.

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    12. Name and shame McGinn - at huge personal cost to herself.

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    13. "At huge personal cost to herself."

      Like being hailed as a hero by people who will be sure you get a job regardless of your merits.

      I lot of grad students would kill for such a cost.

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    14. I would hope very much that the journalist wouldn't confirm one way or another, seeing as journalists are supposed to keep their sources controversial. And it is extremely likely that McGinn wants to pin the leak on the student. This is not the same thing as it being extremely likely that she did leak it, given that McGinn could have no special knowledge of the leak. You are free to keep claiming that is is extremely likely that the student did it, but in the absence of evidence, it is just speculation.

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    15. Are you serious, 9:54 - are you really claiming that she leaked the story in order to get a job in philosophy???

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    16. The aim was to name and shame McGinn. There was no "cost to herself", as her she was not named. The motivation for the leakers was obvious - to inflict as much suffering and harm on McGinn as possible, revenge to some degree, and to make some major social justice point.

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    17. But here's what you said: "Like being hailed as a hero by people who will be sure you get a job regardless of your merits."

      So you think that she leaked the story in order to get a job in philosophy? And that she suffered *no personal cost whatsoever* as a result of the story? Just to be clear.

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    18. What I think is that when she leaked the story -- as almost certainly she and her representative did -- she knew perfectly well that she would immediate garner powerful allies across the profession of philosophy, which would work tremendously to her favor. Though this is speculation, it wouldn't in the least surprise me that she had consulted with any number of prominent activists about her situation, having been put in contact with them by her "representative" -- after all, what's the old girls network for, if not that?

      I'm sure that she knew, and had been assured, that her prospects were good, and that she would have reasonably inferred that they were only better than before, as a student at a less prestigious department.

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    19. But if there was no cost to herself, as she was not named (as you put it) - how could there be the benefits that you list, given that she was not named? Why do the 'costs' depend on whether she was named or not, but the benefits don't?

      "I'm sure that she knew, and had been assured, that her prospects were good, and that she would have reasonably inferred that they were only better than before, as a student at a less prestigious department."

      So, just to be clear - maybe just say yes or no, or tell me if you hold (say) a weaker version of this view: are you saying that she leaked the story in order to get a job in philosophy?

      For example, are you saying that before leaking the story, she consulted with people, and they told her that leaking a story but remaining anonymous would improve her job prospects in philosophy? Do you have any evidence whatsoever for this claim?

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    20. I am not 10:10.

      But, 10:20, you need to give up. The motivation the grad student and her supporters had to leak to CHE was to name and shame McGinn. This is why they leaked the story to CHE. Confidentiality was broken by those who wished to inflict major, serious, harm against McGinn.

      This is obvious. It is not controversial. It is the method routinely used by femphils/SJWs.

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    21. The person who needs to give up is 10:10, who needs to stop pushing the ridiculous claim that someone leaked a story anonymously in order to get a job in philosophy. Especially someone who, by all accounts, has dropped out of grad school as a result of the situation. Or do you think that seeing, as you claim, she'll get a job regardless of her merits, that the secret feminist cabal will get her a great job as a t-t professor somewhere prestigious anyway, 10:10?

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    22. 10:20,

      You are addressing at least two people in this thread as if they are one.

      Let me identify myself as the first one to call you a dense drama queen, which I do hereby.

      Look, to begin with, act like you have a brain, and recognize that I did not say that the single reason she leaked the story was to increase her chances of getting a job. I'm sure that it was also in no small part motivated by the pursuit of Social Justice, fashionably defined. It's called overdetermination -- maybe you've heard of it? Oh, I forgot --you're dense.

      What I am saying is that doing so came at no perceived cost to herself in terms of her job prospects, but rather at a clear benefit. And I don't see how anyone can seriously dispute that it will be as a benefit, given how she has been hailed as a hero, and will almost certainly receive a big boost from every feminist philosopher in the Western World -- and they are everywhere.

      And it hardly mattered that, at the beginning, she didn't identify herself when she went to CHE. It's pretty obvious that all kinds of people in the old girls club knew who she was, and that she could count on them for support. And when she identified herself by name in the recent suit, only more feminists would know of her and support her. And who is going to oppose her appointment? Some guy who's just itching for a suit over "retaliation"?

      Again, she was a student at a department with a middling reputation. As such, she has little to make her stand out from the crowd. Well, she sure stands out now. Explain to me please why it wouldn't be a perfectly rational calculation for her think that, all in all, her prospects would be improved by taking her complaint to a more public level?

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    23. And when she identified herself by name in the recent suit, only more feminists would know of her and support her. And who is going to oppose her appointment? Some guy who's just itching for a suit over "retaliation"?

      OK. So why didn't she just name herself from the start?

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    24. Why didn't she just name herself from the start?

      Wanted to test the waters.

      They were outstanding.

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    25. But why did she need to test the waters? Hadn't the old girls club already assured her that her she would immediately garner powerful allies and give her career a massive boost?

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    26. 11:09. I'm pretty sure you can't claim in a lawsuit that you've been retaliated against by an institution that you don't even work at yet, for something that happened at another institution. You certainly can't claim it against an individual faculty member who opposes a certain appointment, because there is no way that you should have knowledge of whether individual faculty members opposed your appointment or not.

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    27. Thanks Jesus that 10:10 and 10:57 are here to banish "irrational" "speculation" from the thread with their well-argued, high-evidence hypotheses.

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    28. "But why did she need to test the waters?"

      Hey, you do these things in stages, seeing how well they work out. She started by getting support from a little cabal who knew who she was, knowing she could always fall back on that, then, seeing how beautifully that was working out, went global.

      This is hard to figure out?

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    29. "I'm pretty sure you can't claim in a lawsuit that you've been retaliated against by an institution that you don't even work at yet, for something that happened at another institution."

      I'm pretty sure that these days you can sue for retaliation on any goddamn pretext you want. What guy in any department is going to be able to say to himself, I know she and her supporters in the department can't sue me for retaliation if I oppose her appointment, because that would just be too crazy? Nothing but nothing is too crazy these days.

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    30. I hear you, 11.29.

      10.10, 10.57, 2.46 etc are either FP agents provocateurs or utter boneheads. Either way, this place is really going to the dogs.

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    31. "FP agents provocateurs"

      Hello Tinny. Commenters are merely expressing their opinion, something you appear to find upsetting. You and other femphils may wish to propose a bonkers conspiracy theory. That's up to you. Much the same as the loony who feels oppressed by Darlene Daes's coffee pot.

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    32. oh the irony of 5:00 accusing someone else of proposing a 'bonkers conspiracy theory'.

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    33. Believing that your interlocutors are "FP agents provocateurs" has a name. Deal with it and grow up.

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    34. My God. Do your parents know you're here?

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    35. Thanks, OP. I'm the commenter who asked for the link in the previous thread, so I appreciate your digging it up. Funny, my memory of the article was that it was much longer and fact filled - I was probably filling my memory in a lot from subsequent articles.

      A couple of things strike me at this remove: the article begins by referring to this as a case that was being talked about in departments across the country. Was there earlier press about this case? If not, that lends some to the plausibility that the reporter caught wind of it independently of any of the prime players.

      It's also quite plausible, of course, that MM went to the press. But if so, it is interesting that she didn't give the reporter direct access to any of the email. Her suit mentions several letters that McGinn mailed to various philosophers by this time. Perhaps, instead of being motivated to "name and shame", she was trying to counteract the possible effect of that.

      This also makes me wonder about the McGinn quote about confidentiality mentioned by 8:43am. Obviously, writing letters to allies isn't going public in the same way as publishing in CHE, but it's also not keeping it in the confines of the institution. Neither was bound to confidentiality in any formal sense, but if the timeline of the suit is right, it may be McGinn who first got the case out into the philosophy world. Personally, I don't have a big problem with either of them publicizing the case, so long as what they put out there is truthful and not misleading or self-serving.

      I'm also curious how the timeline of the development of the article interacts with the timeline of the various Erwin conversations/emails that spring, as laid out in the suit. Going back and reading the article has me thinking that some of Erwin's actions might be explained by the fact that he knew this article was in the works and about to come out.

      Finally, I'm wondering what McGinn is referring to when he says that there is a dispute with University in which he is right and they are wrong. The University charged him with having an unreported amorous affair. If that is wrong, then what is he claiming is right? Maybe he's referring to the sanctions.

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    36. These details are common knowledge. MM made the complaintsto the university, the university dealt with it by getting rid of McGinn quickly rather than reading things out, then MM's boyfriend leaked some of the email exchange to CHE, where it was published, bringing all this to light. McGinn had previously agreed to leave his position quietly and not making a scene, seeing that it was after all in his best interest to keep the reasons for his departure from Miami quiet if he wanted a future in the profession. But when the whole affair became publicized, he had absolutely nothing to lose any longer by giving his side of the story, however lame it was.

      Very, very obviously, McGinn wasn't the one who started the public discussion. You can see this for yourself if you follow the timeline, or if you have a brain in your head.

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    37. (not 8:59): I'm confused about a couple of things you say, 10:54: first that it is 'common knowledge' that the boyfriend leaked the emails to the CHE...bringing this all to light." Why is this 'common knowledge"? Nothing we've seen so far confirms the claim that the reason the CHE journalist got hold of the story in the first place is that the boyfriend leaked it.

      "Very, very obviously, McGinn wasn't the one who started the public discussion."
      I take it no-one is claiming that he leaked the story to the CHE journalist. I take it the question is whether McGinn and/or Erwin were sending emails about the case to people at other institutions before the article was published. Do you have inside knowledge about whether this was the case?

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    38. MM and boyfriend contacted CHE with the intention to publicly name and shame McGinn. It was published by Seth Zweifler, 4 June 2013.

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    39. The sequence was this. First, there were the private emails sent by McGinn to MM during academic year 2011-12. Then, the student made a complaint and initiated a process, bound by confidentiality as usual, within the university. The process naturally involved various people at the university seeing some of the email correspondence. Shalala then made clear to McGinn that his career at Miami was over and that he had better pack his bags. After a process lasting from September 2012 until the winter of 2012-13, he signed an agreement that winter to resign.

      There was no public discussion of the case then, and McGinn didn't say anything about it on his blog. Actually, he didn't post anything on his blog for the next few months other than a jokingly blank entry about Descartes.

      But at the time, there had never been a case of a professor actually being fired for merely writing suggestive or explicit emails to a student. These acts would have previously merited some serious punishment, but firing someone is the most extreme punishment within academia, as Leiter noted later on. Because of this, McGinn felt there was a chance he could be reinstated at Miami. He contacted a few professors at other universities to tell them about what had happened in the hope that they would write letters of support to Miami and prompt Shalala to reverse the decision and lessen the response so that he could stay in Miami. But for obvious reasons, McGinn sent these people the information he did under conditions of strict confidentiality. The student and her boyfriend also discussed the case in private settings. None of this ever got into the blogosphere.

      The story came to general public attention via Seth Zweffler's Chronicle of Higher Education piece published June 4, 2013. In that piece, Zweffler makes clear that McGinn and the student declined to supply him with any emails (it's generally part of these agreements for both parties to agree not to do this), but the student's boyfriend leaked a few to him. After the article, more and more became public. So the boyfriend, Yelle, was the source of the emails and inside information that started the process of turning this from a private to a very public matter.

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    40. Thanks, 5:28. Very helpful.

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    41. Yeah, it's obvious from the piece that the boyfriend provided info about the emails. But the thing people are wondering about is how the journalist got hold of the story in the first place, and it's not obvious from the piece that the reason that the journalist got hold of the story is that he was contacted by the student or her boyfriend.

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  4. There's a hot post at the Philosophy Metablog tonight.

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  5. 9:07, I also noticed the advertisement and had trouble keeping it together afterwards. Too funny!

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    1. I guess you're a fellow femphil conspiracy theorist, then, 9:45!

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    2. If you become emotionally upset at the mention of a coffee pot, then you're a loony. End of.

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    3. So you think that finding something funny = being emotionally upset? Because that is the only thing close to an emotion anyone's mentioned.

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    4. Darlene Daes's reference to a coffee pot was "pretty bad form", according to 3:53. And this is true! Can I propose a new norm for PMMB? No one - no one at all, ever - must mention a coffee pot. This is "pretty bad form". It triggers hurt feelings.

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    5. It seems we do have a problem with someone deliberately misrepresenting others, or at least being able to understand fairly simple English. You're doing one or the other if you think that the person's feelings were hurt because it was a coffee pot.

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    6. "It seems ..."

      You are being mocked. You poor little thing - all coiled up by Darlene's oppressive coffee pot.

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    7. Alright you two, let's dial the psychodrama back a bit.

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    8. Hi.
      I have no idea what's going on in this thread.
      But I find the idea of "coffee pot" being a taboo word strangely evocative. I like it.

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    9. Darlene's coffee pot. Please.

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  6. 9:45 here.

    I'm no fan of FP.

    I found the book itself hilarious ("keeping it together") because of the timing. It was through the advert that I learned of the book. You get the picture.

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  7. Is anyone else part of this 'Academic Philosophers' group on Facebook? (I take it that I'm a member. I didn't really seek it out, in my defense: someone invited me, so I said "Why not?".) And I'm watching the social media controversy du jour unfold before my eyes there. But I, quite literally, have no fucking idea why people are getting so bent out of shape about it.

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    1. Why do people want to conduct their professional lives on Facebook? I don't get that at all. Facebook is creepy enough as it is.

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    2. I completely agree. And unfortunately, it seems to have become exponentially worse recently.

      For instance: apparently the trendy thing to do now is to post quotes from confidential referee reports, both positive and negative. The results (and motivations behind it) seem rather pathetic, I'd say.

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    3. Not everyone belongs to this tiny clique, 3:21, so are in the dark. The issue being discussed is the contents of confidential referee reports?

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    4. Surreal. All mixed in with aunt's holiday recipes, PETA activists videos of animal cruelty and cute quizzes showing you what kind of fighter plane you would have if you were a WW II fighter plane pilot.

      And that, all mixed in with the software's comments reminding you that you need to add more to your profile or that you might be interested in this or that product for purchase, or that you are a member of 7 groups or that a photograph was taken of such and such event and posted to FB last year.

      Mentioning what is "trendy" is apt, I guess, 3:41. Maybe FB will soon start to notice and help out, making suggestions every time it sees someone say "article" in their FB posts or IMs that the Facebooker should now post a referee quote.

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    5. I'm a member of the group (apparently) and I have no idea what's going on. There are threads where people are insinuating that other people (united by departmental affiliation or something more mysterious) are being kicked out the group, but there's not really enough information to figure out the reasons behind the drama. Can anyone clarify?

      Delete
    6. Some of the major SJW types have been unfriending lots of people lately. Not sure if this is connected, but it seems as though they're circling the wagons and kicking out the unwashed from their clique.

      Delete
    7. Is this a secret group? I can't even find it by searching on FB, and I'm an academic philosopher alright.

      Delete
    8. It's most important to get to the bottom of this. Who are these groups? Why are they? When people get made in them, why? Why does someone post one thing on social media, and not another??

      Delete
    9. It's a closed group on FB.

      -- Rob Gressis

      Delete
    10. Why is there something rather than nothing? What are love?

      Delete
    11. Who's asking?

      Delete
    12. One thing love is NOT: Defending a massive multi-billion dollar weapons industry on the grounds that any country that has the means to produce extremely efficient weapons of war must be a good country. Why? Because producing such weapons requires great efficiency, and likewise a fair distribution of benefits to citizens also requires efficiency. I saw a paper written by a philosophy PhD making this argument. I kid you not. I wonder who was in his audience.

      Delete
    13. 8:28,

      https://www.law.upenn.edu/institutes/cerl/conferences/ethicaldilemmas/required-readings.php

      Delete
  8. There used to be a secret group. It's gone now. People complained that the admin was abusing the power, and Jonathan Ichikawa set up a new replacement group. The old one seems to have been shut down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Ichty and Scratchy. Is there any news about Leiter's legal claim against these two?

      Delete
    2. Good. With Jonathan Ichikawa running it, there's no danger of abuse of power.

      Delete
    3. New group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/190591887943528/

      Delete
    4. I think a guy named "Nikolay Sokolov" was largely behind the demise of the old group, which was run by someone named "Irina Derevko."

      Delete
    5. That was such a terrible show. Why did I watch that show?

      Delete
    6. Ron Rifkin is on Gotham now. Just fyi.

      Delete
    7. Two comments have already been deleted from the new group and duckface is an admin again. Nothing new here.

      Delete
    8. Who is "duckface"? Jonathan Itchy? Kathryn Killkipnis? Elizabeth Einsatz?

      Delete
    9. That's mean, 9:05.

      Delete
  9. Here's a more serious question: why do we gadflies in philosophy not get the attention we deserve? Is it because of the metabro conspiracy? Or the FemPhil conspiracy? Discuss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dunno. But you've concocted many other crackpot theories before; perhaps you could concoct another one 'explaining' this!

      Delete
    2. Why is "explaining" within quotation markers?

      Best,
      NS

      Delete
  10. How to attract more women to philosophy: make philosophy pay

    Christopher Pynes says we can attract more women to philosophy if we 'grow' philosophy by sending people to teach it at women's colleges etc.

    I think this idea might help at schools with primarily minority students, but it won't work for women. Women and men go to the same schools (except for women's colleges). The reason why women don't want philosophy is not because they have less exposure to it in school than men.

    The real problem seems to be that philosophy doesn't pay. We dedicate our lives to the selfless pursuit of knowledge, and in exchange it's very hard even to find a job. Even with a job, most of us are awkward and weird (both the men and the women). Being awkward, weird, and underemployed is not a recipe for social success. Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge. That's why women go for medicine or law and not for philosophy.

    Many women also go for 'soft' fields like English or Sociology. These fields won't make you money, but they will give you a college degree for very little effort. Philosophy is a lot more effort.

    We don't want to make philosophy easier (let's hope). So what's the solution? Make it pay! Increase the social status of philosophy, and more women will finally accept it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And this is why some metabros are sometimes rightly accused of misogyny:

      "Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge."

      Delete
    2. How is that a misogynistic statement? The same could be said, accurately, of men.

      Delete
    3. That's not misogyny. It says nothing hateful about women. It's a claim about gendered preferences that you find offensive. Get over yourself.

      Delete
    4. Comments like 5:55 are why the accusations of feminists must at times be taken with a heavy dose of salt. Some of these people are not clear thinkers.

      Delete
    5. Don't you people think that saying that women like social success more than knowledge *in a forum for academics* is a bit derogatory?

      Delete
    6. Note especially the word 'selfless' in the quote above: it suggests that women are more selfish.

      Delete
    7. Maybe you should direct your ire at the social scientists who have studied gender differences in altruism, 7:16.

      Delete
    8. A simple Google search shows that it's been studied. If you think the claim is false, why not peruse the literature? If you don't think it is false, why would you think it's misogynistic?

      Delete
    9. Exactly.
      There is no problem saying misogynistic things without evidence. If somebody thinks they're false, just go read all of the literature and summarize the results here.

      Delete
    10. Didn't you realize, 8:11: it's not misogynistic unless you say "I hate women" three times while clicking your heels together.

      Delete
    11. 7:56, If you've done a simple google search and are aware of the relevant literature as a result, could you provide at least one link so we know the particular relevant literature that you are referring to rather than guessing about it?

      Delete
    12. "Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge."

      What I don't like about this statement is its key imprecision: at most it is true that, on average, or in some aspect of distribution, women more often prefer social success to the selfless pursuit of knowledge (of course these latter terms need clarification as well).

      If you're going to claim science on your side, state these things as science would have them. It there is really no excuse for using terminology that suggests great and unfair over-generalization.

      Delete
    13. Sure, this is the first thing I came up with: http://www.pitt.edu/~vester/QJE2001.pdf It has over nine hundred citations, including papers like http://eml.berkeley.edu/~ulrike/Papers/GenderGenerosityAERPP2013v9.pdf and https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/19372/. The findings do not seem univocal but I am not trained in any of the relevant fields. Various abstracts seem to suggest there is a consensus around one or more of the following propositions: (a) men are more altruistic than women; (b) women are more altruistic than men; (c) the most altruistic men are more altruistic than the most altruistic women; (d) fewer women than men are completely selfish; (e) female altruism seems more conditioned on social expectations, which experiments then try to prime or void. All of these researchers - men and women - seem to feel that the research question is valid, and I have no reason to think that they went into their research "expecting" it to turn out one way or another. Hopefully someone who knows these fields better can weigh in, because I have very little faith in my ability to summarize them.

      Delete
    14. 8:49, surely we are all adults here and can feel safe in each other's intention to be speaking about averages and distributions rather than "essences", whatever those would be. Complaints like yours arise whenever topics like this are discussed and they almost never speak to the real intent of the people being criticized.

      Delete
    15. 8:49 again.

      One of things philosophers should have done is to offer up effective and fair ways to talk about scientific issues that bear on delicate aspects of human groups. They are in a good position to weigh the scientific, rational concerns with the moral concerns of doing so.

      Of course, instead, in almost every case, they've acted like the worst sort of ideological hacks on these issues, basically denying that the science might even possibly deliver some unwelcome results.

      Delete
    16. 9:00,

      I understand what the real intentions of the OP were. But it really shouldn't be hard to be consistently precise on these matters when speaking on them. They are delicate. Look at the works of those who actually contribute to the study of gender differences, such as Simon Baron Cohen. He is very careful to observe the real phenomena involving distributions when making his comparisons between genders.

      It takes very little effort to stick in an "on average" when making one's points. It is, a minimum, a matter of diplomacy and politeness.

      Delete
    17. It's ridiculous to say that men are more 'selfless' than women, and yes the initial statement was derogatory. However I do think it's true that gendered preferences are related to the reasons why women are less likely to enter analytic philosophy. How about something like "women put less value on becoming an officially certified blowhard in the field of abstract reasoning than on pursuing a profession that will allow them to both help others in a concrete manner and provide more assured security for themselves and their family". Somewhat derogatory to men and philosophers but I think there is some truth to it. Men really like to be blowhards. Some but fewer women do too, the field of 'feminist philosophy' accomodates them nicely.

      Delete
    18. I don't much like the use of the term "selfless" in this context, but it can certainly be intended in a fashion in which selfishness is not its opposite.

      Ordinarily, when I think of "selfless pursuit of knowledge" I think of someone who gets so wrapped up in the matter of pursuing the truth that they simply don't think about themselves (or indeed any human consideration).

      This corresponds pretty well to the characterization Baron Cohen has in mind when he talks about the "systemizing" tendency of men.

      Delete
    19. agreed, 9:26, at least about this point: it wasn't the fact that the OP was talking about gendered preferences that was the problem, but the value judgment - contrasting 'social success' with 'the selfless pursuit of knowledge' implies that the thing women value is somehow selfish. But there is no reason to think this. (There is also no reason to think there is anything particularly 'selfless' about pursuing philosophy).

      Delete
    20. It is obvious that a statistical statement is a statement about what is the case "on average". The statement

      "As are more likely than Bs to do F",

      for example, does not imply, as feminists keep claiming, that all As do F and no Bs do F, or that it somehow indicates "misogyny" or some malicious intent. Such accusations are inflammatory. It implies merely that there is a significant difference of means, or there is a significant difference of variances. The deliberate misrepresentation of this by others is what is extremely unhelpful. This is not a question of "politeness". It is a point about avoiding inflammatory accusations, such as that made by 5:55, which are unacceptable in an academic setting.

      Delete
    21. You're being deliberately misleading, 9:41. The original statement wasn't 'Women are more likely than men to want social success" but rather "Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge." as I'm sure you know. And to make a post that is both deliberately misleading in this way, and pins a mistake that it is not even being made on feminists, is doing exactly hat you yourself object to - making an inflammatory accusation in an academic setting (if that's what you're calling this place now).

      The claim "X's want A more than B" is ambiguous: it may mean that all X's want A more than B, or that in general, X's want A more than B." So there is no problem, or fault, in asking for an author of such a statement to clarify their intention.

      Delete
    22. 8:58/9:00, not 9:41 - I agree, 10:05, that there is no problem or fault in asking for that. One interesting thing you may note is that nobody did so.

      Delete
    23. I suggest you try and read the factual claim and not misrepresent it, 10:05. The statement you quote,

      "Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge"

      is logically equivalent to

      "Women are more likely than men are to do F"

      where the predicate "F" means "prefer social success over the selfless pursuit of knowledge".

      This is a statistical claim and the misrepresentation of this is yours.

      Delete
    24. 9:15 seems pretty clearly to be doing so. " But it really shouldn't be hard to be consistently precise on these matters when speaking on them...It takes very little effort to stick in an "on average" when making one's points."

      Delete
    25. Not at all, 10:13. 9:15 writes: "I understand what the real intentions of the OP were." They don't even need to ask because they already know what was intended. They don't think the statement was ambiguous at all. And yet they are still offended by what was not meant. That, to me, is odd.

      Regardless, I would love to see someone explain the empirical literature to me. I am beginning to tire of every thread here devolving into close readings of posts.

      Delete
    26. Having now pointed out that OP made a statistical claim, which was then followed by repeated misrepresentations and inflammatory accusations, I hope the matter is now clear.

      Delete
    27. 10:13, the problem is with what those statements imply in English. The statement "X's are more likely to" is unambiguously a general claim. The statement "X's do/want P" is not unambiguously a generalization. It's very easy to make it unambiguously a generalization by adding "on average" which does not take very long to type.

      Delete
    28. 10:16, the reason the post was misogynistic was not because it was a generalization, but because of the content of that generalization, as is clear from the comments above. So merely pointing out that the original claim was a statistical claim does not achieve what you seem to think it does.

      Delete
    29. Oh my God, people. The original sentence is the following: "Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge." This is unambiguously a GENERIC. If any of you knew anything, you would understand the we are dealing neither with universal quantification nor some covert adverb of quantification corresponding to something like "Most." There are various ways of going when it comes to the TCs of a Generic, and one of the big mysteries is what defines the "normality relation" that corresponds to the accessibility relation under the first box operator.

      You all just failed phil lang, congratulations.

      Delete
    30. "Not at all, 10:13. 9:15 writes: "I understand what the real intentions of the OP were." They don't even need to ask because they already know what was intended."

      Stating that you know what someone intended but pointing out that they should make it explicit is asking for someone to clarify their intention.

      Delete
    31. 8:49 again.

      As I've said in a couple of comments, I don't like the original statement,

      "Women want social success more than they want the selfless pursuit of knowledge."

      for two reasons: it fails to make clear that the statement is meant to express a statistical tendency, and the use of the term "selfless" is (presumably) not meant in this context to mean the same thing as "altruistic". (Is trying to prove Fermat's Last Theorem "altruistic"?)

      If you want to avoid accusations of misogyny or racism, clarity on sensitive points is where you should start.

      Delete
    32. 10:18, you make assertions about what implies what, and about what is, or is not, "ambiguous". These claims are your own subjective opinion. There is no need for anyone to add anything. A statistical claim was made, which you find upsetting. A rational response is to inquire as to the truth of the claim, and the evidence bearing on it. And not to make inflammatory accusations based on misrepresentation.

      10:20, the semantic content of the statistical generalization has been explained to you. It is,

      "As are more likely than Bs to do F",

      where "F" has been explained to you. This is not misogynistic, irrespective of your misrepresentations and inflammatory accusations.

      Delete
    33. 10:39, as has been repeatedly pointed out, the problem with the claim is the value judgment. So the evidence is neither here not there, given that the evidence is about empirical rather than normative claims. There is nothing irrational about pointing out that value judgments are not supported by empirical evidence.

      Delete
    34. 10:47, there is no "value judgment" in a statistical claim.

      Delete
    35. "10:18, you make assertions about what implies what, and about what is, or is not, "ambiguous". These claims are your own subjective opinion."

      So what? Either you agree with me - if so, great. Or if you disagree, then your claim would also be your own subjective opinion.

      Delete
    36. "10:47, there is no "value judgment" in a statistical claim." Do you mean that by definition there is no value judgement in a statistical claim? It's hard to see how you could mean this, because it is incredibly easy to come up with a counter-example. Give me a value judgment and I'll stick it into a statistical claim for you if you like.

      Delete
    37. 10:29 here again.

      10:47, you say that the original statement is, apparently on any interpretation, a "value judgment".

      I truly have no idea what you are even talking about,

      Delete
    38. 10:53, as has been carefully explained, "Men are more likely than women to do F" is a statistical claim. It not a value judgement. A value judgement has the form "X is (morally, normatively, etc.) preferable to Y", "As are bad", etc.

      The statistical claim here does not imply a normative conclusjon, for the kind of reason that goes back to Hume.

      Delete
    39. For fuck's sake, 11:09. It's the 'F' that is the value judgment. Normally it's seen as a good thing to be 'selfless.' Contrasting a "selfless X' with a 'Y' implies that Y is not selfless.

      Consider:
      Women selflessly spend there time caring for others, whereas men pursue their own professional success.

      Or:
      Anne selflessy gave up her seat on the bus, whereas Bob stayed sitting for his own comfort.

      The implication of this last one, for example, is clearly that Anne is morally better than Bob. It's really not difficult. Explicitly pointing out that one person/group is selfless and contrasting them with another implies that the other person/group is relatively selfish. It's better to be thought selfless than selfish. People never use 'selfish' as a compliment. People often use 'selfless' as a compliment.

      Delete
    40. "Normally it's seen as a good thing to be 'selfless.'"

      No it isn't. Grow up.

      Delete
    41. 11:30, it's hard to believe you're even serious. Ask any competent speaker of English if, when someone calls them 'selfless' they take it as a compliment.

      If you're going to deny something as obvious as the claim that it is better to be considered selfless than selfish, then there's just no point.

      Delete
    42. 11:19,

      As I said, and then reiterated, the meaning of "selfless", especially in that context, does not necessarily mean "altruistic". It can also mean simply not paying attention to oneself when engaged in intellectual activities. Indeed, that is the natural interpretation of the term in that context, because it is very hard to see how, say, spending almost all of one's waking existence trying to prove Fermat's Last Theorem is something done for the sake of other people.

      As I had also said, I don't like the term in that context because of its ambiguity on this point.

      Delete
    43. 11:19,

      The fact that something is a compliment does not immediately turn it into a moral statement.

      If I say that someone is intelligent, I don't see how anyone could take it as other than a compliment. But it is obviously not a moral statement.

      Delete
    44. 11:42, you're reading doesn't seem a particularly natural one to me, given that 'selflessly' doing something in this case is being contrasted with pursuing something for their 'own' reasons. The implication is clearly that the people behaving selflessly are not doing so for their own reasons, but rather for other-directed reasons, which makes the 'altruistic' reading of the term more likely. But if the OP actually meant altruistic in the sense that can be supported by evidence, rather than the moral term 'selfless' they should have said so, given that the term 'altruism' has a specific meaning in that literature.

      Delete
    45. 11:19,

      The other point to make is that,even if we are talking about genuinely moral traits, there's no reason in all the world to believe that both genders and all human groups display them in equal measure.

      We may very well have to reckon with these possibilities in the near future, as science goes about its business.

      Sorry, of course, to disturb your safe place.

      Delete
    46. "The fact that something is a compliment does not immediately turn it into a moral statement."

      Well, good. No-one disagrees with you about this.

      Delete
    47. OP made some statistical remarks (whether true or not I have no idea) and discussed a strategy relative to a mentioned teleological aim. There was no "value judgment". If there was, it was an implicit value judgment suggesting it is morally preferable to attract more women - and therefore the exact opposite of the misrepresentations later. The later comments above attacking this are misrepresentations, fallacious, and inflammatory. Perhaps this, in miniature, is indicative of the kinds of serious failures of critical thinking in our profession.

      Delete
    48. "there's no reason in all the world to believe that both genders and all human groups display them in equal measure."

      Sure. And there is also no reason to make completely unsupported generalizations implying that one group is more likely to have a moral trait than another. In fact, making completely unsupported general claims that one gender is 'better' than another, morally speaking, or that one race is better than another, morally speaking is really clearly saying something sexist or racist. You're being dismissive of 'safe places' - something which no-one has mentioned - but I'm going to be charitable and assume that what you don't mean is that it's totally cool just to be a flat-out racist, for example, and that people who object to that are somehow being overly sensitive.

      Delete
    49. Sorry, I'm 11:53 and I retract that. I just re-read the OP and I was wrong about the word 'own' being used.

      Delete
    50. 11:53,

      Look, I don't much want to spend a lot more time debating what the OP may or may not have meant himself. I was merely pointing out the ambiguity in the expression "selfless" in the particular context of talking about about the "selfless pursuit of knowledge". I don't think it necessarily means anything of moral significance, which my example of Fermat's Last Theorem was intended to convey.

      On the other hand, if we do insist that "selfless" as it is meant in this context must be of moral significance on either interpretation, so what? If the pursuit of knowledge, mostly for its own sake, is considered "selfless", and that is a moral judgment, and indeed the evidence shows that men are more inclined to do this than women, then that is a way in which, on average, men are better morally than women.

      No doubt there are other ways in which women are, on average better on a moral trait than men.

      We had better figure out a way to accept this sort of fact, because one or another of them is almost certainly going to be settled on by science in the fullness of time.

      Delete
    51. 12:06, it may well be true that one gender is more likely to have trait A and the other is more likely to have trait B. But what the evidence can't tell us is whether it is, morally speaking, better to have A than B. And to just assert that it is, morally speaking, better to have a trait that men tend to have rather than one that women tend to have *for no good reason* is to say something sexist. And there is no good reason to think that pursuing knowledge is selfless, but that pursuing social success is not.

      Delete
    52. "And there is also no reason to make completely unsupported generalizations implying that one group is more likely to have a moral trait than another."

      Look, I don't know what the OP had in mind here, and don't much care. I have better things to do with my time than devote to the exegesis of an internet commenter.

      But what is certainly NOT an "unsupported generalization" is the claim that men are, on average, more devoted to systemizing sorts of activities than women. The claim that men tend more than women to devote themselves to the pursuit of pure knowledge, especially of a technical sort, seems likewise quite well grounded.

      If we condemn any talk about these things, and label it as morally unacceptable, then we can't pretend to be open to the findings of science.

      Delete
    53. 12:02, "one group is more likely to have a moral trait than another"

      To be clear, you are asserting that "selfish" is a "moral trait". Correct?

      How it that minimally compatible with fairly obvious considerations?

      1. A selfish mother, highly protective to her child, might be a better mother than an altruistic one who spends all day with orphans.
      2. More generally, an altruist might very well engage in morally poor actions and decisions.
      3. A society where self-protection is valued might be morally preferable to one which demands self-sacrifice.
      4. Recall that Nazism and Communism both demand self-sacrifice.

      Why must such trivial and obvious points be explained?

      Delete
    54. I suppose the OP also didn't mean it as an insult when he said that women were more likely to go into soft fields that required little effort.

      Delete
    55. 12:06 again.

      Just as a particularly obvious example of a moral trait in which women tend to be better than men, consider violent crime. I don't think there's any serious dispute that that is a fact. I don't think any knowledgeable and honest person will dispute that it, with great likelihood, based on biological differences.

      So it's a well supported statistical (and even biological) claim about a moral trait on which the genders differ.

      Delete
    56. 12:21, there are actually feminists who believe that the difference in violent crime is due to acculturation - who think that parents systematically keep their male children at an emotional distance and leave them violent and stunted. I am not one, but you should be aware of their existence.

      Delete
    57. 12:15, I'm 12:02 and I was responding to a poster who used the term 'moral trait' rather than asserting myself that selfish was a moral trait. Given that the entire conversation has been about selfishness and selflessness in particular, I was taking it as read that both of us were operating under the assumption that selfishness was a moral trait. Operating under shared assumptions for the purpose of a discussion is not the same thing as asserting that thing.

      But in any case:
      1. An example in which it is all things considered morally better to do something selfish does not show that being selfish is not, in general, a morally bad trait
      2. The fact that someone who is an altruist might engage in morally bad actions or decisions does not show that being selfish is not, in general, a morally bad trait. It doesn't even show this if we assume that the person is engaging in all-things-considered morally bad actions/decisions *because* they are an altruist.
      3. It's not clear why the mere possibility that a society where self-protection is valued *might* be morally preferable to one which demands self-sacrifice shows anything.
      4. The fact that any particular terrible ideology required self-sacrifice does not show that it is a bad thing in general to be self-sacrificing.

      Delete
    58. This endless nitpicking of anonymous commenters' statements is making this blog unreadable. Is anybody interested in the actual research on gender differences in selflessness? How can a group of purported academics be so argumentative and yet so uncurious? I'm not sure I can keep coming here. Diving into these threads with the constant accusations of incivility, misinterpretation, etc. and picking over throwaway comments on an anonymous blog with a fine-tooth comb - how can this possibly be a good use of anyone's time? I beg of you, on both sides of this issue and the other recent exegetical debates, try and figure out what it is in your psychology that makes this a compelling pastime. I can't be the only one who thinks these blowups over wording are awful.

      Delete
    59. "But what is certainly NOT an "unsupported generalization" is the claim that men are, on average, more devoted to systemizing sorts of activities than women. The claim that men tend more than women to devote themselves to the pursuit of pure knowledge, especially of a technical sort, seems likewise quite well grounded.

      If we condemn any talk about these things, and label it as morally unacceptable, then we can't pretend to be open to the findings of science."

      I don't see what anyone has said here that would give you a reason to suppose they would object to the claims you describe.

      Delete
    60. "12:21, there are actually feminists who believe that the difference in violent crime is due to acculturation"

      I'm sure there are.

      Mary Daly apparently believed in parthogenesis for human beings.

      Delete
    61. 12:32, we can't be patient forever with the feminidiots/femtrolls/New Consensus sheeple.

      Delete
    62. Apparently parthenogenesis in human beings is technically possible, but very, very unlikely:
      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/12/can_a_virgin_give_birth.html

      Delete
    63. "Apparently parthenogenesis in human beings is technically possible..."

      Mary Daly, there's no longer any need to be dead and bitter!

      All is forgiven!

      Delete
    64. 12:32,

      12:06 again.

      I can't claim to know the literature on gender differences with respect to altruism in particular, but I have some familiarity with the overall findings and theories regarding these differences.

      My guess would be that men and women would tend to differ with respect to altruism depending on the situation. I'd expect that women would tend to be more likely to sacrifice themselves for their children, and men would tend to be more likely to sacrifice their interests in the context of coalitions, because, for men, forming coalitions is something very basic they have done across the great majority of evolutionarily relevant situations.

      In any case, I don't recall seeing any hard findings yet on altruistic differences between the sexes, even if I'd expect that they might fall along the lines I suggested above.

      Delete
  11. Can we have a student shtupping contest? More student shtupping, more fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you a cute female professor? If so, I can give you "a leg up" in this contest, so to speak.

      Delete
  12. So it turns out the mentors for the mentorless program is a very valuable addition to the profession. And yet, we all remember the daily nous post that spawned it, that as constantly shouted down by "why do we have to have this conversation again", and "why, when we do something for women, does this have to come up?" I'm hoping those commentators now realise that, had they had their way, they would have silenced a very valuable discussion. But I doubt they have the self-awareness...

    ReplyDelete
  13. No Fem-Phil comment on: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/germaine-greer-will-not-give-cardiff-university-lecture-because-of-abuse-over-views-on-transgender-a6707236.html

    Another one of those let's see before committing ourselves...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love what she -- Germaine Greer, one of the most noted feminists of a couple of decades ago -- says about the feminist IDIOTS whose views are accepted by most (stupid and spineless) members of the philosophy profession today. It's just above the picture toward the end:

      " “I’m getting fed up with this,” she said. “I’ve had things thrown at me, I’ve been accused of things I’ve never done or said.

      “People seem to have no concern about evidence or indeed even about libel.”

      Once again, that's Germaine Greer, talking about today's academic feminists, AKA feminidiots.

      The tide is turning. Only the most hopelessly stupid members of the profession will fail to take notice and will end up with more and more egg all over their face. I suspect it will be many of them. I gleefully await the day when these academic charlatans and bullies are finally revealed for the horrid human beings they are.

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    2. The tide doesn't turn until it turns.

      Never underestimate the swing of the pendulum.

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    3. Now I'm curious about her reasons for thinking that about trans people. Maybe we can apply these reasons to Rachel, too. MAYBE.

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    4. Another shameful incident:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3287191/Oxford-University-censorship-row-police-seize-copies-offensive-student-magazine.html

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  14. So Leiter is going on again about Effective Altruism.

    On the one hand, he's right that its advocates seem always to be idiots. On the other hand, it's not clear why that is an inherent problem.

    But, returning to the first hand, the one thing I really don't get about the schemes these advocates set up is why they don't seem to address in any way population control. Sub-Saharan Africa is in the midst of a population explosion. Any life saved and made less miserable today would seem very likely to turn into several lives either lost or made more miserable tomorrow. I don't see any convincing argument that Africa has escaped the Malthusian trap.

    How can these advocates, with all their supposedly rational calculations, fail to do the easy math behind a population explosion?

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    Replies
    1. 1:51, the argument is that greater prosperity, education and access to birth control would lead to manageable birthrates.

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    2. The point is that "altruism", in practice, means feeling good, and, crucially, signalling that to others, as a form of social bonding.

      The countries where wellbeing flourishes are, with one exception, advanced liberal democracies. (The exception is China since the liberal economic reforms of the early 80s.) Population control is extremely difficult, for obvious reasons. The single most effective tools for increasing human wellbeing are democracy and economic growth.

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    3. 1:51,

      Well, if that's the argument, it's not much of an argument. If it takes many generations to get to a stage of enlightenment in the populace such that the population actually stops exploding, then the game is lost. They'd already be in a Malthusian trap before they'd reach the enlightenment, and so would likely never reach the enlightened stage.

      Or at least there's no reason to believe otherwise -- and one would think they'd do careful "calculations" rather than engage in handwaving, good feeling sorts of arguments that everything will just turn out wonderfully well because our good intentions can never backfire.

      The whole argument sounds too much like the argument that Iraq was going to embrace democracy straight off if only we could get rid of that storybook meanie Saddam.

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    4. 1:51, assumptions is where your fuck-up is.

      With all the attacks Leiter mounts at EA, we have to acknowledge that Singer et al. most likely have done far more to increase the well-being of both humans and animals than Leiter's liberal thinking, and his unfair borrowed attacks on EA -- irrelevant and/or strawmen -- will ever accomplish in the real world.

      If this sounds resentful, well, it has to be said. This is not just an academic disagreement, this is about people's and animals' lives and well-being. Leiter is on the wrong side. And I say this as someone who doesn't identify themselves as a consequentialist and who is generally sympathetic to Leiter.

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    5. OP here.

      I'd say that one reason Leiter may very well be right, is if his guiding principle is: First, do no harm.

      I truly just can't see how the particular crackpots behind EA can possibly be said to be adhering to that principle.

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    6. OP again.

      I was actually 2:22 as well, and meant to be addressing there the argument of 2:06, and obviously not my own original post at 11:51.

      Damn Internet.

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    7. No, Leiter is right. "Effective Altruism" appeals to fools who want to feel good about themselves, signal it to others; but there's no objective evidence it actually works.

      In contrast, consider the effect of government-funded multi-lateral programmes: for example, greatest increase in wellbeing related to AIDS deaths in Africa, for example, occurred as a result of George Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), as has been confirmed by aid agencies and studies. E.g., from the Wikipedia page on this plan, "According to a 2009 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, the program had averted about 1.1 million deaths in Africa and reduced the death rate due to AIDS in the countries involved by 10%".
      In 2013, John Kerry commented that the number of lives saved might be 5 million: "PEPFAR, the program that we engage in to try to prevent the spread of AIDS, has saved maybe 5 million lives of children, and equally importantly has helped us build the healthcare infrastructure across Africa and in other parts of the world where we’re now able to foresee a generation of children who will not have any transmission of AIDS from their mothers. It’s amazing gains. Or the things we’ve done to help people to be educated somewhere so they can aspire, like you do, to be able to live in a democracy, understand what it means to be free, and be able to make a difference in the lives of other people."

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    8. Leiter's probably right about effective altruism. But who else remembers what started the kick of posts about it?

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    9. OP again.

      Through the fine services of Google, I scrounged up a graph of the 2013 UN projections of continental population growth through 2100. Bottom line is that Africa is projected to grow by a factor of 4 by 2100. Scroll down a bit for the graph:

      http://www.politicsforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=158373

      How is this not the biggest potential problem for Africa? How can we reasonably expect that this is just going to go away if it is not addressed head on?

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  15. Since I don't want to say it anywhere else but want to say it, I'm gonna say it here.

    I endorse a strong pro tanto norm against rape jokes, and so approve in principle of the implicit claim in the last What is it Like To Be a Woman in Philosophy post. The senior faculty member shouldn't have sent the comic.

    That said, the comic is hilarious and I am glad the person was offended because otherwise I probably wouldn't have seen it.

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  16. Darlene Deas fires a shot across the bow! And she's left comments open.

    I'm making popcorn, this is going to be fun.

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    Replies
    1. Not that I disagree with her on the substantive issues, but I find Deas' tone kind of...off...for someone who is...not actually in the field.

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    2. Not OP - I actually sort of agree, 5:06. I think it's really good she's saying what she's saying, but something about how she's writing is making me uneasy. Of course, a lot of that could just be group conventions, and certain of those conventions are things she's writing against. I definitely don't think the response of "You're not in philosophy, so you just don't know" is sufficient, and I was rather miffed to see it crop up in basically that form on LR.

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    3. Femphils here at PMMB are great fun. Last week it was Darlene's oppressive coffee pot. Now it's her "tone" and how Darlene makes you upset ("uneasy").

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    4. I think what is 'off' about it is that it she is speaking to an audience of people largely in the profession, as an outsider, and attempting to tell us what the general attitude in our profession is based on a poke around a website.

      Take comments like this: "Surely, the information contained on that site is more or less indicative of the general attitude towards these issues, no?" She's assuming an answer to this question - but the majority of her audience is actually much more likely to have an informed opinion about whether the APA site is in fact indicative of general attitudes or not than she is.

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    5. I still can't tell if 5:06/5:08 = just the feminist troll who won't go away and has been caught many times talking to herself to pathetically try to rally support for her view by pretending there's more than one of her, or whether there really is more than one moron who keeps saying these things.

      Still, this 'tone' nonsense really shows the feminist side is down to its last trumps. And who the fuck cares about Deas not being in the field? Where were these shitheads/was this shithead when Amy Ferrer, who is also not in the field, started spouting her bullshit and transforming the APA into the crybabyfest it now is?

      Nowhere, of course. Because this supposedly principled opposition to Deas is nothing of the sort. It's thinly covered hostility against any aspect of their idiotic agenda being questioned, and a blatant attempt to disarm serious criticism where they have absolutely no plausible argument to offer.

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    6. 5:33, I'm 5:08 and an anti-feminist, and definitely anti-Amy Ferrer. People are right about you: you jump at shadows on here.

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    7. 5:37, really? And yet you complain about Daes's "tone" and how you feel "uneasy". Perhaps you can explain how your disagreement with "feminism" is compatible with insulting Daes for no reason? Why do you attack Deas? Can you think of any reason, except to express hostility to someone who was publicly abused by femphils?

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