philosophy meta-forum

Study on gender and prestige effects

Michèle

119 day(s) ago

It doesn't. It's yet another injustice. You can't make up for a past harm by benefiting an unrelated person. It doesn't work the other way either. I can't punish a stranger to get back at someone else for something they did decades ago. It's absurd to think otherwise. (Even primitive vengeance cultures require some kind of connection stronger than race or gender.)

SJWs have this confused. The students at Evergreen (and the awful BLM movement) make this problem clear. They think that evil white men must be punished to make up for the sins of some of their ancestors.

They'll give you the reply that contemporary evil white men have benefited from the sins of their ancestors, as if this make it appropriate to punish them now. It doesn't.

Peg

This seems like a rather uncharitable understanding of the putative justification of affirmative action, which isn't about punishment so much as leveling the playing field or changing institutional culture.

Gemistus

119 day(s) ago

Curt: not justice.

But your appeals to "hard work" and the like make me wonder if you share with some of your opponents an excessively moralistic conception of academic hiring norms. The point of academic hiring is neither to reward hard work nor, directly, to advance social justice. It's simply to hire the most qualified person for a position.

However, what anti- affirmative-action people evidently miss is that given the current state of the discipline, being female in itself probably makes one better for lots of jobs. The reason for this is boring and, I would have thought, obvious. The considerations that bear on whether someone is qualified for a philosophy position clearly do not exclusively consist in their professional achievements and intellectual promise; among other things, they also typically include the candidate's service and outreach potential, social desirability as a colleague, and ability to meet the students' pedagogical needs. This last consideration is key: women students, especially women undergraduate students, may reasonably prefer for professors who are also women to be available to them as role models, potential mentors, and potential confidantes or advocates in the event of problems. (Mutatis mutandis for minorities, of course.) Because many departments do not adequately meet this preference, they have pro tanto reason to hire women.

For white men like me, it sucks to be in this position (seriously; I speak from experience). But whatever; the burdens of past injustice fall on all sorts of people who didn't do anything wrong. In other words (and to recapitulate), the reason it's okay to hire somewhat-less-promising-and-accomplished women and minorities over me isn't that "that evil white men must be punished to make up for the sins of some of their ancestors." Such moralism is stupid and childish. It's rather that past injustices have made it the case that in order now to enable good pedagogy and advance the long-term health of the discipline, it's necessary to hire on the basis of considerations that would be irrelevant in a more just world. Desert has nothing to do with it.

Panaetius

119 day(s) ago

It doesn't. It's yet another injustice. You can't make up for a past harm by benefiting an unrelated person. It doesn't work the other way either. I can't punish a stranger to get back at someone else for something they did decades ago. It's absurd to think otherwise. (Even primitive vengeance cultures require some kind of connection stronger than race or gender.)

SJWs have this confused. The students at Evergreen (and the awful BLM movement) make this problem clear. They think that evil white men must be punished to make up for the sins of some of their ancestors.

They'll give you the reply that contemporary evil white men have benefited from the sins of their ancestors, as if this make it appropriate to punish them now. It doesn't.

Peg

This seems like a rather uncharitable understanding of the putative justification of affirmative action, which isn't about punishment so much as leveling the playing field or changing institutional culture.

Michèle

Yes, the forward looking justifications are more compelling (though not convincing, since AA does an injustice to current white men). But we are seeing more of the angry punitive side in practice. This seems to be what the angry mobs at Evergreen, the nutters in the dean's office at Brown, and the BLM terrorists want. They want to punish evil white people for the sins of their ancestors.

Whether the same kind of thing is driving AA based hiring is not as clear. But I suspect that it is. And much of it is self-inflicted. Liberal guilt. White people are now starting to think of themselves as demons. I can't account for the president of Evergreen's behavior otherwise.

Gemistus

119 day(s) ago

Yes, the forward looking justifications are more compelling (though not convincing, since AA does an injustice to current white men).

How? Presumably for this to be the case it would have to be the case that either:

(a) women and minority students may not reasonably prefer to have professors who are, respectively, women or minorities themselves; or

(b) though reasonable in themselves, meeting such preferences is not a legitimate institutional aim for philosophy departments; or

(c) there are some legitimate institutional aims for philosophy departments that nevertheless should not bear on whom they hire.

I see no promising arguments for any of these, though I suppose from a conservative perspective the case for (a) may come close to being strongest.

Panaetius

119 day(s) ago

(a) seems right.

I don't see why it is reasonable to prefer to have a professor who is the same race or sex (or disability or gender dysphoria or . . .) . Sounds like racism and sexism. Meeting these kinds of preferences isn't a legitimate aim. These kinds of preferences should not be indulged. . . .

We are talking about hiring professors, not rape counselors (a job for which trannies should not apply).

I worry that (a) might backfire. There are way more male philosophy majors. Is it reasonable for them to prefer to be taught be men? . . .

Muro

119 day(s) ago

What's the evidence that women and minority students prefer to have women or minority professors? The Thompson et al. study of Georgia State University students says

"The lack of women philosophy instructors may discourage women students from feeling they belong in philosophy. We find it plausible that increasing the proportion of women teaching philosophy will increase the proportion of women majoring in philosophy (see below). However, we did not find evidence that the gender of instructor impacts women’s intentions to enroll in future philosophy courses (Section 4.6), which may be explained by the small number of women instructors in our sample. However, Cheryan et al. (2013) also found that (at least in computer science) the gender of peer role models did not influence the recruitment of women computer science majors."

And there was recently that study showing that both women and men rated professors they thought were women lower than professors they thought were men. Obviously neither of these things entails that women wouldn't e.g. agree with the sentence "all things equal, I prefer women professors," but they do seem to suggest that it at least isn't a strong preference. Is there other evidence to the contrary? Or is your claim just that, if women and minority students *did* prefer to have women or minority professors, that would be a reasonable preference?

T'an

119 day(s) ago

(a) seems right.

I don't see why it is reasonable to prefer to have a professor who is the same race or sex (or disability or gender dysphoria or . . .) . Sounds like racism and sexism. Meeting these kinds of preferences isn't a legitimate aim. These kinds of preferences should not be indulged. . . .

Panaetius

Good. This would be the point where I rehearse standard progessive arguments (which include claiming that the corresponding preferences on the part of white or male students would not be similarly reasonable), and you rehearse standard conservative ones; perhaps we would both do so heatedly, and maybe we each get to feel a bit righteous. Let's skip it.

But goddamn you're not doing anyone any favors with the aside about rape counselors or the slur after it.

What's the evidence that women and minority students prefer to have women or minority professors?

Muro

For me, testimonial, if not anecdotal. If pressed on whether a substantial amount of women and minority students would actually report having this preference, I suppose I would fall back on something more objective, like the claim that they have a legitimate interest in having women or minority professors. But my evidence for that is mostly testimonial if not anecdotal too.

(I'm still "Gemistus," though it's not clear that the name hasn't expired.)

Otto

119 day(s) ago

It is amazing to see the lengths that people will go to in order to defend gender discrimination in the currently popular direction. Remember the good old days when "the standard progressive arguments" were confined to non-philosophy humanities departments thanks to the powers of critical thinking? Halcyon days!

Panaetius

119 day(s) ago

The point was that there are reasonable preferences for the sex of people playing some roles, such as that of rape counselor. And despite their delusions, trannies are not women. Hence, it's legitimate to not hire them to counsel female rape victims.

https://thetyee.ca/News/2007/02/03/Nixon/

I guess tranny is now a slur. I can't keep up with this shit. I think I'll go listen to "Tranny Chaser" . . ."we got a tranny chaser up in here . . ."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQOu2d0L1qE

Daniel

117 day(s) ago

What do you make of CDJ's attempt to analyse the findings in her DN guest post?

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