The reaction to the Colorado site report

If one needed evidence of the impending philosophy apocalypse, and why so much of the intellectual world thinks of philosophers with (at best) a bemusement reserved for naughty but lovable children and (at worst) downright contempt. In light of the findings and recommendations of the APA site report on the department at Colorado University what are (too many) philosophers upset about? That they won’t be allowed to be rude to philosophers from another tribe .

Does it occur to people who engage in these sorts of “worries” that from the outside it just looks like changing the subject so as to avoid making any real changes. Does it occur to them that this looks just like the tactics conservatives use to attack anything that might make society a little better? “Expanding health insurance would be good for people. Death Panels!!” “Making it harder to buy guns would reduce gun deaths. Tyranny!!” “Not cutting food stamps would prevent hunger, even starvation for millions. Greece!!” “A civil philosophical climate would help prevent such a bad climate for women. Re-education!!”

It would be interesting to find out what parallells there are between the demographics of those expressing these concerns and the demographics of the Tea Party — it’s probably a safe bet that they are predominantly older white men. But then in a profession that is almost all men and all white that probably does not mean much…

A brief note on Peter Ludlow’s denial of sexual assault allegations

Peter Ludlow has, via his lawyer, released a denial of sexual assault allegations made by a student at Northwestern. It is worth noting that there is no denial that he was at an art event with this student, or that she ended up at his house that night.  Even if the sexual assault allegations are false, such socializing with students (if it happened) is still highly questionable. This kind of thing (whether or not Ludlow did do such a thing) happens far too often, and is a manifestation of a power imbalance in our profession which really must be addressed — not just for the sake of gender equality but for the sake of preventing philosophy from becoming even more of the intellectual ghetto it has become.