philosophy meta-forum

Fighting fire with fire, babies and bath water

Domingo

9 day(s) ago

Meta-folks:

Recurring through your posts is this common theme that diversity concerns are ruining philosophy, which is becoming a power game rather than the giving and taking of reasons.

My worry is that most of these posts just trade one form of bad behavior for another. I think there is truth to the social justice side of things- for example, I find it eminently plausible that the representation of women in philosophy is lower than it would otherwise be due to sexual harassment by senior philosophers, a history of sexism in the profession, etc. Yet I also think there are many bad actors in the game of making philosophy more inclusive (things like the Tuvel incident should chill everyone) and that some of the complaints lodged here are legitimate. My question is: Assuming that social justice critique is important, but can be abused, how do we proceed? Because much of what I see on this site throws the baby of critique out with the bath water of abuses. To say things like “perverted trans people and sodomites are making a mockery of the western tradition of philosophy as Reason” is fighting fire with fire- it is seeking an equally irrational and reactionary view of the world. My question is: how do you go about carving a reasonable space where making the academy “heterodox” doesn’t mean sprinkling radical irrational leftists with radical irrational righties?

Emil

9 day(s) ago

One solution would be for the more moderate and tenured members of the profession to speak up. Bonus points if at a top-10 department. In my experience, however, those with moderate views tend to be cowards. Mere correlation? I don't know.

Maine

9 day(s) ago

There is also a recurrent feces.theme...

Domingo

9 day(s) ago

I am extremely liberal and have sympathies for concerns about free speech on campuses and journals such as those raised here. I also largely only feel comfortable discussing said concerns with close friends or anonymously here. That alone is worrisome. It also doesn’t mean that all efforts to hire more women in philosophy are deluded or ill-founded. See the quandary I’m in?

Edward

9 day(s) ago

Oh shit, someone's being reasonable on the internet. Five more posts after this one until that effort is shat upon.

Also, more or less agree with the original post.

Emil

9 day(s) ago

To Domingo:

Not really, no. Are you tenured? Then talk openly about it. I've started doing so (I'm junior) and I've found more people that agree with me about certain things than I would have expected. Just don't do it by saying, "you know, I was on the metaforum the other day and..."

David

9 day(s) ago

"To say things like “perverted trans people and sodomites are making a mockery of the western tradition of philosophy as Reason” is fighting fire with fire- it is seeking an equally irrational and reactionary view of the world."

In fairness, it's unclear how many of these kinds of posts on the metaforum are by trolls seeking to discredit the forum.

Domingo

9 day(s) ago

To Domingo:

Not really, no. Are you tenured? Then talk openly about it. I've started doing so (I'm junior) and I've found more people that agree with me about certain things than I would have expected. Just don't do it by saying, "you know, I was on the metaforum the other day and..."

Emil

Far from it! Tenured that is. Yes- I’ve been more outspoken of late. The Christakis thing was a wake up call for me.

Terry

9 day(s) ago

Emil here. If that's true then I don't know what you, specifically, are worried about. Keep doing what you're doing but more often, and maybe it will catch on. Maybe publish an article about some topic that seems off limits to you. Brace for a backlash.

Genevieve

9 day(s) ago

To say things like “perverted trans people and sodomites are making a mockery of the western tradition of philosophy as Reason” is fighting fire with fire- it is seeking an equally irrational and reactionary view of the world. My question is: how do you go about carving a reasonable space where making the academy “heterodox” doesn’t mean sprinkling radical irrational leftists with radical irrational righties?

Domingo

You thought there was a rational and non-self-interested view of the world? How gullible of you.

Genevieve

9 day(s) ago

"To say things like “perverted trans people and sodomites are making a mockery of the western tradition of philosophy as Reason” is fighting fire with fire- it is seeking an equally irrational and reactionary view of the world."

In fairness, it's unclear how many of these kinds of posts on the metaforum are by trolls seeking to discredit the forum.

David

Respectability involves granting every concession to the people who want your way of life destroyed and your children transformed into sodomites.

You're going to lose, because you refuse to stand up for yourself. But hey you were civil, that will get you a medal and a pat on the back, right?

Pasquale

9 day(s) ago

"To say things like “perverted trans people and sodomites are making a mockery of the western tradition of philosophy as Reason” is fighting fire with fire- it is seeking an equally irrational and reactionary view of the world."

In fairness, it's unclear how many of these kinds of posts on the metaforum are by trolls seeking to discredit the forum.

David

Respectability involves granting every concession to the people who want your way of life destroyed and your children transformed into sodomites.

You're going to lose, because you refuse to stand up for yourself. But hey you were civil, that will get you a medal and a pat on the back, right?

Genevieve

I think that’s a pretty distorted way of viewing the world.

Norman

9 day(s) ago

Edward here: my prediction was right on the money, in which I take no satisfaction.

Sir

9 day(s) ago

Domingo,

In general, I sympathize with efforts like yours. But the truth is not always in the middle. Perhaps I'm violating the rules of the discussion by rejecting your proposed presupposition...but I don't think that there's any appreciable truth in the "social justice" side of things. I think that the valuable content of political correctness / "social justice" (insofar as it goes beyond that of ordinary liberalism) is negligible. On the other hand, it's done an extraordinary amount of harm to the discipline (and academia generally, and the country, and also Europe) and has the potential to destroy it.

Ordinary, rational, liberal remedies were already addressing the relevant problems--e.g. lowering barriers to entry for women and non-whites. And the discipline has been addressing sexual harassment the entire time I've been in it. And, in all honesty, so far as I can tell, the forces of political correctness / "social justice" have done absolutely nothing whatsoever that's been an improvement over liberalism. All they've done is make things worse for men, and worse in the discipline overall.

At a national level, they managed to implement a grotesque, intrusive sexual totalitarianism that dictates how even long-time sex-partners must have sex. They've reclassified ordinary sex as rape at universities and elsewhere and weakened due process protections for men accused of rape. They now actively and successfully suppress open discussion and inquiry, even in academia...and even in philosophy.

Look, I've got no sympathy for all these posts about the evils of sodomy and "trannies" and whatnot. But, honestly, those bits of nuttiness and assholery seem like pretty small potatoes in the current context. It's now become the apparent orthodoxy in philosophy that men can become women, basically, by just dressing and acting in traditionally feminine ways. The arguments offered in support of this position are laughably weak. And they're the kinds of arguments that philosophers understand well--and overwhelmingly reject in every other context. And nobody's saying a word about how ridiculous it all is. Either everybody in philosophy suddenly stopped understanding some pretty simple arguments, or everybody's afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes. Those things are both terrifying. I'm not sure which is worse, actually. Are philosophers so easily bullied into paying lip service to obvious falsehoods? Or are they that easily brainwashed?

Honestly, I agree with those who think that this is a very visible aspect of a horrible crisis for the discipline. It's part of an attempt by an openly and passionately anti-rational political movement to transform universities and society at large. It's the kind of thing that philosophers should--and usually would--be *all over.* It's our best chance at doing something good for society--and we're cowering in the corner. I'm not saying that nobody could possibly agree with, for example, the transgender stuff. I'm saying: the holes in the arguments are gigantic and obvious. And we're all pretending that they don't exist.

But, again, that's just one (prominent) issue. The bigger problem is that "social justice" ideology is basically right out of 1984. It's not wrong about absolutely *everything*...what political movement is? But its horrible, and its anti-philosophical. The things it gets right it basically gets right accidentally. And there's nothing good about it that wasn't already being done better by liberalism.

Well, IMO, anyway.

Jean-Paul

9 day(s) ago

1. "... an extraordinary amount of harm to the discipline (and academia generally, and the country, and also Europe) and has the potential to destroy it..."

2. "At a national level, they managed to implement a grotesque, intrusive sexual totalitarianism that dictates how even long-time sex-partners must have sex. They've reclassified ordinary sex as rape at universities and elsewhere and weakened due process protections for men accused of rape. They now actively and successfully suppress open discussion and inquiry, even in academia...and even in philosophy."

3. "And nobody's saying a word about how ridiculous it all is. Either everybody in philosophy suddenly stopped understanding some pretty simple arguments, or everybody's afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes. Those things are both terrifying. I'm not sure which is worse, actually. Are philosophers so easily bullied into paying lip service to obvious falsehoods? Or are they that easily brainwashed?"

Paging Richard Hofstadter! We've got a live one!

Hippocrates

9 day(s) ago

We are creeping toward the edge. And there will be a reckoning. That is why we started this project. Because we know what happens next. They will come. They will try to take from us. Take our arguments. Take our freedom... Take our analytic philosophy!

But we will not _let_ them. We will not let their greed, or their immorality, or their depravity hurt us anymore. There will be no more suffering!

Here they are... the Locusts in our garden... You see they've come for us. They've come to take our best away from us. They've come to destroy all that we built!

We knew this moment would come. We have prepared for it.

Terry

9 day(s) ago

We are creeping toward the edge. And there will be a reckoning. That is why we started this project. Because we know what happens next. They will come. They will try to take from us. Take our arguments. Take our freedom... Take our analytic philosophy!

But we will not _let_ them. We will not let their greed, or their immorality, or their depravity hurt us anymore. There will be no more suffering!

Here they are... the Locusts in our garden... You see they've come for us. They've come to take our best away from us. They've come to destroy all that we built!

We knew this moment would come. We have prepared for it.

Hippocrates

Yeah whatever, keyboard warrior.

Terry

Zhuang

9 day(s) ago

I started reading this forum because it offered a fresh (and gloriously dank) perspective on many issues in analytic philosophy.

However, I'm starting to think it's dominated by Christians.

"At a national level, they managed to implement a grotesque, intrusive sexual totalitarianism that dictates how even long-time sex-partners must have sex. They've reclassified ordinary sex as rape at universities and elsewhere"

That kind of comment is as transparent as muck.

Why is this a problem? Because 'conservative' political/meta-political position, when originating from people with drastic metaphysical commitments that feed into their normative comments, are about as objective (and so as endearing, intellectually) as SJWs themselves.

I want my conservative politics to come from people who are motivated by what is best for the whole, not what is best according to book(s) written by Semites who hated romans 2000 years ago.

Zhuang

9 day(s) ago

At the very least, please prove me wrong.

Are there any/many 'secular' (in the non-pozzed sense of this word) people on here who aren't leftists?

If not, you can all go and get farked.

Zhuang

9 day(s) ago

Chenqui.

Menasseh

9 day(s) ago

I'm a leftist. Doesn't mean I support the nonsense currently going on in academia. This stuff is postmodernist, not leftist.

Emerich

9 day(s) ago

Secularity is leftism, pal. Sorry you missed that memo, or as everyone else calls it, European history since 1789.

Emerich

9 day(s) ago

I think that’s a pretty distorted way of viewing the world.

Pasquale

Distortion implies either an error in reasoning or an error in establishing the facts. Maybe there's a hidden logical mistake in there that the experts can tease out with a refereed exchange in the journals that nobody will read.

As far as the facts go, if you want to contest that playing nice with your would-be murderers is a great way to get stabbed, I suggest you pay more attention to history and (real) sociology, or just get out of the house more.

There's optimism and then there is gullibility and you are not on the right side of that line, friend.

Pasquale

9 day(s) ago

I think that’s a pretty distorted way of viewing the world.

Pasquale

Distortion implies either an error in reasoning or an error in establishing the facts. Maybe there's a hidden logical mistake in there that the experts can tease out with a refereed exchange in the journals that nobody will read.

As far as the facts go, if you want to contest that playing nice with your would-be murderers is a great way to get stabbed, I suggest you pay more attention to history and (real) sociology, or just get out of the house more.

There's optimism and then there is gullibility and you are not on the right side of that line, friend.

Emerich

The “distortion” here involves the mixing together separate issues and weaving conspiracy theories out of them. Sir’s post has this flavor too. It helps no one.

Hans

8 day(s) ago

I started reading this forum because it offered a fresh (and gloriously dank) perspective on many issues in analytic philosophy.

However, I'm starting to think it's dominated by Christians.

"At a national level, they managed to implement a grotesque, intrusive sexual totalitarianism that dictates how even long-time sex-partners must have sex. They've reclassified ordinary sex as rape at universities and elsewhere"

That kind of comment is as transparent as muck.

Why is this a problem? Because 'conservative' political/meta-political position, when originating from people with drastic metaphysical commitments that feed into their normative comments, are about as objective (and so as endearing, intellectually) as SJWs themselves.

Zhuang

But that quote isn't either Christian or conservative, it voices a perfectly liberal complaint. Have we gone so far that liberalism now looks like conservatism to you leftists?

Hans

8 day(s) ago

At the very least, please prove me wrong.

Are there any/many 'secular' (in the non-pozzed sense of this word) people on here who aren't leftists?

Zhuang

BTW I am an atheist who thinks all religious beliefs are at best dumb and likely destructive. If you think only the Christian fundies would oppose the redefinition of sex as rape, then you're an SJW.

Hans

8 day(s) ago

The “distortion” here involves the mixing together separate issues and weaving conspiracy theories out of them. Sir’s post has this flavor too. It helps no one.

Pasquale

Is it a conspiracy theory to notice the obvious fact that the postmodern left is amassing power in our social institutions and appears hell-bent to acquire complete control and to destroy anyone who gets in their way? Or is it a conspiracy theory to notice that the postmodern left is anti-rationalist, anti-science, anti- male, anti-Western, and anti-philosophical?

Pasquale

8 day(s) ago

The “distortion” here involves the mixing together separate issues and weaving conspiracy theories out of them. Sir’s post has this flavor too. It helps no one.

Pasquale

Is it a conspiracy theory to notice the obvious fact that the postmodern left is amassing power in our social institutions and appears hell-bent to acquire complete control and to destroy anyone who gets in their way? Or is it a conspiracy theory to notice that the postmodern left is anti-rationalist, anti- science, anti-male, anti-Western, and anti-philosophical?

Hans

Yes

Philippa

8 day(s) ago

The “distortion” here involves the mixing together separate issues and weaving conspiracy theories out of them. Sir’s post has this flavor too. It helps no one.

Pasquale

Is it a conspiracy theory to notice the obvious fact that the postmodern left is amassing power in our social institutions and appears hell-bent to acquire complete control and to destroy anyone who gets in their way? Or is it a conspiracy theory to notice that the postmodern left is anti-rationalist, anti- science, anti-male, anti-Western, and anti-philosophical?

Hans

The "postmodern left" is a shifting and rhetorical pseudo- concept that functions mainly emotively: a term of abuse, an object for two-minutes hate, something to simultaneously look down on (especially as effeminate) and fear (as pervasive and powerful).

Paracelsus

8 day(s) ago

Thanks to the OP!!

I don’t want to be in a culture war. Some posters here try to convince us that if we run of the mill professors don’t fight the New Consensus - or whatever it’s called now, the postmodern left - then we’re welcoming the destruction of something valuable. I don’t see it, perhaps because o don’t want to.

Trans people do not bother me. I’m too liberal in the classical sense to worry about that sort of thing. Philosophically the rhetoric does not make much sense to me, partly because I tend towards an opacity position on self-knowledge. And I take self-deception seriously. Many things that people believe about themselves are false, and something as slippery as gender identity can surely, on my view, be one of them.

But imagine much of what the righty metabros say is true: people can suddenly transition, people can get Little professional benefits from sudden transitions, etc. Why should I care about any of this? Because my next colleague will be a trans woman interested in SJW topics instead of someone more like my senior colleagues who had a narrow sense of what philosophy is and how to do it?

This is not an important decision for me. And I think I’m not alone, as a mid career run of the mill philosopher who wants to enjoy teaching and writing without making everyday into some battle in a confusing war between religious zealots or people who mourn the downfall of analytic philosophy and SJWs. Not everyone needs to have a side in this. Some of us might just get away with sitting quietly in the middle, and I don’t think this has anything to do with cowardice

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