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Jon Cogburn
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I actually think it's pretty wonderful on its own merits. The only way it could possibly be better is if Morrison had somehow included reference to the last batch of insane letters to Cosima Wagner, Jacob Burkhardt, Peter Gast, etc, all signed by Nietzsche as "The Crucified." But it's nearly perfect as is.
Yeah, it's probably a normal part of psychological maturation to become sensitized to the persona. If you take out GoM and TBoT all that's left is marketplace Schopenhauer with that kind of Ayn Rand condescending affectation thrown in (she actually got it from him).
I'm sorry Anon, nobody mentioned disability in the anonymous posts that you are talking about, and the his OP makes no sense if it is supposed to be about shunning anonymous people. Wallace called him out and he backtracked. This isn't some paranoid thing on my part. From e-mails I know that lots of people interpreted them the same way that I did and during this last week friends have tried to get me to read comments about me on public facebook threads made during the same time he posted the shunning thing. I do agree with you that I've made too big a deal about this. One, if he was at all successful people would have commented on the original execrable post. Two, Schliesser's original post was much more problematic if only because it was actually clear what he was saying.
She's four years old.
Thanks for this. On the second point- The passive aggressive attack on me is not in the actual post, but in the post to which he links and whose moral he reiterates in yesterday's post. Again, it's at where Kazarian endorses Schliesser's recommendation of shunning philosophers, but extends the proposal from people who sue colleagues or students to bloggers whose posts Kazarian determines to involve retaliation against members of groups of people who are discriminated against. It's not even possible that he means to be talking about the majority of philosophers in that post because if only a minority of philosophers shunned the majority in the way Schliesser describes (not inviting to talks, not accepting papers, etc.) it wouldn't make any difference. In the original post he gives the example of people who retaliate against disabled people, but doesn't name any names. Many, many people reading that took it to refer to me and Brian Leiter because we are the only people he's ever attacked by name (on newapps and facebook). His criticisms of me referred to a post I did about people who hector those they disagree with because of supposed ableist speech. On the first part- The "Policing the borders in philosophy" in Kazarian's title is meant to refer to differentiating philosophy from non-philosophy as well as holding that certain figures in Western philosophy are justly canonical. This is a big debate in SPEP that Steinbock discusses in his recent presidential address in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Steinbock argues that SPEP should not be considered as essentially involved with preserving a neglected part of the canon (German Idealism, Phenomenology, Critical Theory, Post-Structuralism) but should rather be identified with a sort of Levinasian attitude of openness to the other and the new. People who reject Steinbock's conclusion are border policers. This is a fine debate to have, though I disagree with Steinbock et. al. Steinbock's article is very good, and does not confuse the attack on the canon with attempts to make the set of philosophers more ethnically diverse. This confusion is what Henry Louis Gates attacks in his book with respect to African and African American Studies. First, it's a risible claim on its own merits. As if the reason we teach the Greeks and Germans is because it will increase the number of Greek and German students in the field. Second, it involves an unfair, subtle moral criticism of defenders of the canon as upholders of ethnic and gender superiority. To be clear, I think the canon should be expanded to include the philosophical traditions of non-Western and gender excluded thinkers. The Japanese philosophers into Heidegger don't study him in support of affirmative action, but because his thought is worth attending to. I also strongly support affirmative action with respect to faculty, and think that success there will remediate the gender and ethnic disparity among our students. But I still think there should be a canon and that there are good reasons that certain figures are canonical. To conflate attacking or even extending the canon with making academic philosophy more diverse is bad in all sorts of ways. Among other things, it's condescendingly racist and sexist. But it's also only defensible with respect to a crappy kind of relativism that can't recognize the objective import of the mighty dead.
Let me apologize profusely for this. In the future I'll do revisions *before* I post the thing. I think (as usual) your comments are interesting and worth thinking about, so I'd rather leave them. As far as I can tell from looking at cached versions (, the only major difference was that I took out the paragraph I cut and pasted into comment 2.
I have struggled about how to write about the difficulties I've had with my son Thomas, really since he was born. Mostly, I just haven't, even on Facebook. Part of the reason is because most people simply don't understand. As a result, I knew that I'd invite a lot of... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
Anonym, Thank you. This is a very fair request, and I think an attempted explanation would be really helpful as well as philosophically interesting. I'm absolutely crushed for time this next week, but if anyone else wants to have a go, please take a stab at it and I can maybe post the comment as a guest post. If not I'll do a post the week after.
I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond, and for doing so in a way that will be helpful to anyone reading this.
Thank you. That's a great idea. I've added an update and mea culpa at the top.
Wow, thanks. That's oddly moving. . . I love how it ends in a Ric Flair woo. Sonically, much of it sounds like when musicians put the guitar track on backwards like in Hendrix's "Are You Experienced" or the Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping."
Cool beans. If you ever want to do a guest post about anything, just shoot me an e-mail. I could add a brief footnote saying you aren't Meena Krishnamurthy or you could use a different nom de plume if you want. But if you don't want to do that, that's great too.
Thanks. These are really helpful points. I think you are right that the analogy to the anti-Apartheid movement in the United States is strained at best. As far as I can tell, the biggest part of our disagreement comes down to judgments about how the utilitarian calculus goes. I still can't help but think the following: (1) I'm not at all convinced that these two cases are going to have any kind of chilling effect (though I think this is something that reasonable people of good will can disagree about) over and above the awful state of affairs already facing victims. (2) I think there are a lot of other things we could be doing that are more likely to help this state of affairs (for example, please see today's post about what some of us are trying to do with respect to toxic aspects of Greek culture at LSU). (3) The culture of shunning that Eric and I helped promulgate at oldnewapps and that is ascendent in newnewapps seems to me to be on the whole a very bad thing for philosophy (again, I think that reasonable people of good will can disagree about this). (4) The harm that Ludlow and Barnett have already suffered is not hypothetical and thus should have more weight in the utilitarian considerations. Barnett faces losing his job and to the extent that the shunning is successful he will not be able to get another one. Again, I don't intend to be making any judgment about the case because none of us are in any position to know. (5) I think the campaign is self-defeating. This kind of shunning makes up a non-trivial amount of the damage relevant to establishing defamation in the United States. Two brief things beyond the weighing of utils. Even though the civil rights analogy was strained, I do think that to ruin someone's livelihood for exercising their legal rights is to abrogate those rights. I realize that we might disagree about this, or disagree about whether that even really describes what is being proposed. I'm not sure this is significant though. As long as one takes act utilitarian concerns to trump concerns about rights in *some* cases (as they surely do), it would still be possible to defend the shunning campaign while saying it involves an abrogation of the shunned's rights. This being said, I think the bar is very high in these kinds of cases. It must be very clear how the utils pan out with respect to each course of action, and the difference should pass a high thresh-hold. For the reasons given above, I just don't think they do here. Anyhow, if you have time, please have the last word as far as this exchange with me on this issue. I look forward to reading it.
Anon, Thanks tons for the clarification. It makes a lot more sense now.
Are you the philosop-her whose comment I put as a guest post at ? That was great stuff.
Please, please forgive me if I'm being obtuse, but wouldn't that reasoning apply to any victim of any crime whatsoever thinking about bringing charges against a perpetrator? Would it be justifiable to have a policy that the accused can never bring defamation charges against accusers? I think your point about our specific obligations to the communities that we find ourselves in, and how these obligations can trump general rules, is both plausible and relevant to this worry. Maybe I'm too pessimistic about the possibility of the blogosphere bringing about positive change, but I feel like I'm being asked to trade a clear injustice to Ludlow and Barnett* for the possibility (the realization of which is not clear to me) that this injustice might be optimal in the long run utilitarian calculus. Maybe the main difference then is that this doesn't seem like a clear injustice to Ludlow and Barnett to you? Is the argument that we're not abrogating their right to sue just by jointly punishing them in legal ways for exercising that right? This seems fishy to me though, too similar to Ron Paul type arguments against civil rights laws, where they attempt to argue that private citizens refusing to publicly accommodate minorities is not an abrogation of minority's ability to exercise her rights.
What you write seems to articulate to me pretty well the more general utilitarian considerations as well as considerations involving rights (which should not be dismissed with respect to footwear or lawsuits). To be fair on the latter, a libertarian might argue that it's no violation of rights to refuse to hire someone, refuse to publish their papers, etc. if they own shoes (GradStudent is correct that no one is defending a law against defamation suits), but that still doesn't seem very plausible.
That seems right to me as far as it goes from a rule utilitarian perspective. Of course there are two responses. (1) The conclusion only follows if the bad consequences are clearly worse than the consequences of not allowing the people to sue. (2) There are problems with rule utilitarianism that might be relevant to this case. Generally, I find act utilitarianism and Kantian ethics both to be more plausible than rule utilitarianism, and I think the case is much less clearer on either way. I don't know.
Thank you. I agree with everything you write, but it still seems to me that much of this is a reason to let courts (with experienced judges, rules of evidence, and neutral adjudicators) sort this stuff out. If I were Ludlow or Barnett I couldn't help but feel that I'd already been tried and found guilty by the internet. The shunning that Schliesser calls for seem to me to already be in full effect. Without making any judgment whatsoever of the facts of the case, I think it's understandable that they'd want to legally clear their names. I think that your points that the cost of reporting is already high and there are far more cases that go unreported than there are cases of false reports need to be shouted to the heavens over and over again, especially when something like this comes up. High profile, visible cases effect what people take to be typical.
Oh dear Jesus. You're being way too charitable to me. I didn't see the "feminasts" section and surrounding awfulness. You are absolutely right, stating the complaints in the language of three wave histories of feminism isn't going to make that stuff any less risible. "Real feminism" according to the authors apparently includes coming up with gendered demeaning names for people who disagree with you. No thanks.
philodaria, I think it's some weird technical thing (please, see my response to Justin above, if you have time). I've had this discussion with Terrence Blake about his blog and the missing comments aren't in his spam folder either. My thought is that some if not most of the people whose comments are not getting through at feminist philosophers and elsewhere are experiencing the same thing I am. Again, as far as I can tell, this happened after one of my comments was not approved by one of my cobloggers at newapps a few months ago. It's just been this last couple of weeks that I don't have to fish my own comments out of my own spam box here, so I'll try again at feminist philosophers and/or daily nous soon and see what happens. As philosop-her notes above, mentioning this issue in the above post was confusing. Sorry about that, but thanks profusely for checking up on this.
philosop-her, Thanks for commenting. Let me say that I think your blog (linked to at right in the list) is the coolest new thing to happen in the philosophical blogosphere right now. As to your questions- No. I don't know any of that. From your comment and Justin's it's clear I completely miscommunicated in the earlier post. Please if you have time read what I wrote to Justin above, where I explain what I tried to say. I will go this far though. As far as I can tell, some of the people making reasonable comments at metablog claim that their comments are not showing up at feminist philosophers. I tried to explain two things from my experience at newapps. First, it's impossible to get it perfectly right in moderating a blog. Second, all of your posts might not show up at a given blog just because one of them was blocked, and it may have been blocked at a different blog. So you can't infer too much about commenting policy from the fact that your comments aren't showing up. Moderating is clearly necessary, but the extraordinary difficulty of doing it well, and the technological issues, can lead to a soft censorship. When you add this to the way people are shunned/ attacked with ad hominems for having unpopular views, I think it does lead to a kind of soft censorship. There's a canard that it's O.K. to to be uncivil to people with tenure because it won't hurt them. I think that this is wrong for a couple of reasons. First, it can hurt them. Second, getting away with being uncivil to tenured people sends a clear message to the untenured that they better not associate with the person who is being shunned. Newapps and Leiter Reports strike me as the worst well-read blogs in these regards,* and I did it as bad as anyone else at newapps during various controversies/moral panics. Anyhow, it was a mistake to combine all of that with reasons it might be nice to have a blog by people who feel strongly that so-called second wave feminism is problematic. The people putting out that blog clearly feel that their arguments are not getting a fair shake at other blogs. O.K. Let's see what they have to say. [*I should note that in this blog I've linked to a number of excellent feminist philosopher posts about civility.]
Justin, Thanks tons for taking the time to explain all of this. I should have been clearer about two things above. First, there's a whole panoply of blogs where I enter a comment and nothing happens now. This can't be for ideological reasons, as these blogs include those at The American Conservative. This started happening while I was still at newapps about a month or so before I left and one of my co-bloggers (for perfectly fine reasons) didn't approve a comment of mine. At the same time, all of my own comments at newapps started going directly to the spam folder, even if they were comments on my own posts. So I think it's actually quite probable that people rejected *at other blogs* are no longer able to leave comments at Daily Nous or feminist philosophers, independent of your own policies about moderation, which seem very good to me. The stuff I wrote above about the sorites series from trolling to stuff one just disagrees with was just offered up to try to explain to people why it can be difficult to moderate even if your intentions are really good and you have good policies. We spent I don't know how many tens of hours at newapps going over this time and time again. Second, I should have noted that I think Daily Nous is wonderful and that your labors have been great for the discipline. I've said this before, but it bears repeating especially as no good deed goes entirely unpunished. I feel ungrateful that I don't like the new layout, but I still love the blog, read it every day and have it in my blog roll at right. I'm bummed that my comments don't appear. Again, I suspect that being put on the typepad spam list at newapps somehow messed up my ability to comment on a lot of blogs. I'm still able to at the Smoker for some reason. Anyhow, thanks again for sharing this stuff.
Because trial by social media (with convictions based on no evidence at all) is so clearly superior to one involving experienced judges, rules of evidence, and neutral parties deciding. It's an awful Catch 22. Someone defamed in the way Ludlow and Barnett allegedly have been who doesn't seek redress will be shunned just because of the stink of the accusations, as Ludlow and Barnett clearly already have been. But now if the person does seek redress, they are to be shunned for doing that as well.