Something Stinks in the Philosophy Blogosphere

Our goal in starting this blog was to add some diversity to the philosophy blogosphere by offering the right perspective on current events and political topics. It’s no secret that the profession of philosophy is extraordinarily leftist, and all the popular philosophy blogs reflect that. Leiter Reports is left. So is Daily Nous. So is NewApps. So is Philosopher’s Coccoon. So is the APA blog. So is PhilPercs. So is PEASoup.* Boiler plate leftism has even deeply infected the once respectable Prosblogion, which has now become a news feed for Helen de Cruz’s silly sociological projects.

You’d think that leftist philosophers, cherishing diversity and inclusiveness as much as they do, would welcome our perspectives. Heck, conservatives are so underrepresented in academia today, especially in philosophy, that we half expected to be benefiting from affirmative action measures by now with shout outs, blogroll listings, and offers to guest post.

Except leftists don’t actually value real diversity and inclusiveness, and the idea of affirmative action benefiting conservatives would, I’m sure, be sufficient reason for leftist philosophers to suddenly start writing moral treatises against affirmative action.

So when I saw leftist philosophers deigning to mention our blog on Facebook, it wasn’t surprising to see comments like these:

ss1

Yes, we’re real. In just a month, we’ve written substantive posts on trigger warnings, labor unions, transgenderism, the academy, identity politics, blacks in philosophy, and more. So yes, we’re serious. And I’m curious to know what Jack Lyons thinks is “trolly satire” in our about page. Perhaps the bit about all human life being intrinsically valuable?

And though now our site has hosted original source material on the Swinburne controversy that the American Conservative, the Washington Times, the Federalist, and other national news media outlets have cited and run with, the philosophy blogosophere—our original target audience—has pretended we don’t exist.

I thought I smelled something fishy when, in Helen de Cruz’s link-fest on the Swinburne controversy, there was no mention of not just our post on that (a post that received so much traffic that our fledgling blog temporarily crashed), or the heartfelt open letter we posted on behalf of a concerned gay Christian, or any number of other non-leftist takes on the controversy (such as Feser’s and Spiegel’s—note that Spiegel was present at Swinburne’s keynote). But the fish stinks from the head down, as they say, and the rotten head in this case is Daily Nous. Surprised to see a trickle of traffic coming our way from Daily Nous, I went over to check out the reference. Under their post about the incomprehensible idea that people much smarter than them, such as Scott Soames, Daniel Bonevac, and Robert Koons, would support Trump, one of our contributors (Ideal Observer) left a lengthy and characteristically thoughtful comment. It was his name hyperlinking to our blog, much like how other commenter’s names there link to their associated websites. But shortly thereafter, his comment disappeared. Had it been deleted? No. As it turns out, an administrator at Daily Nous temporarily took the comment down to scrub the hyperlink to our blog from Ideal Observer’s name!**

Are leftist philosophers afraid to read and engage conservative ideas? Are they afraid that more open-minded, intellectually honest people will see that we’re right? I don’t know, but I suspect so. What I do know is that, for whatever reason, leftists would much rather simply dismiss conservatives as insane or evil or bigoted and their arguments as stupid than engage them.***

“Swinburne, meanwhile, was explicitly expressing a really stupid view, held by some Christians (and others), that gays and lesbians are defective humans. Knowing how comment threads go on matters like this, it would probably be best if we didn’t assess the substance of these views here.” (DailyNous)
ss2
“Swinburne offered the usual awful arguments for anti-gay bigotry that ‘natural law’ theorists and Christian philosophers usually trot out.  No one outside the sect takes the arguments seriously, because they aren’t serious arguments, but put that to one side. … Professor Swinburne’s views really are a philosophical embarrassment.” (Leiter Reports)

Or perhaps they’d rather just ignore us until we die:

ss3Sadly for them, we have many more years ahead of us (God willing). I hope they’re not holding their breath. In the mean time, we’ll be holding our noses.


*I am not criticizing these blogs for being left; I’m merely pointing out that the philosophy blogosphere is a leftist echo chamber. Many of the posts on these blogs are quite thoughtful, to be sure.
**Ideal Observer, classy guy that he is, let me know he doesn’t mind.
***This is not to say they never engage. Like a cornered dog, they’ll bite if barking proves insufficient. But their bite is always just as pathetic as their bark.

Federal Philosopher

Federal Philosopher is a philosophy graduate student in New Jersey. She was awakened from her political slumbers after reading biographies of Margaret Thatcher—one of her heroes. She loves philosophy, but thinks the profession has been hijacked by a bunch of leftist bullies who are little more than partisan journalists that happen to know philosophical jargon. She carries a recurve bow and quiver full of arrows at all times, so as not to trigger leftists by saying she packs a .380 in her purse.

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64 Comments

  1. Leiter: “Swinburne offered the usual awful arguments for anti-gay bigotry that ‘natural law’ theorists and Christian philosophers usually trot out. No one outside the sect takes the arguments seriously …”

    Re: “anti-gay bigotry”: That is just silly. There need be no bigotry in thinking that a certain sort of sexual activity is immoral. The leftist failure to distinguish between *actual* bigotry (see here: http://wapo.st/1ZLAP1n) which leads to the *actual* killing of people, and the mere moral disapproval of certain acts (which disapproval extends to all sorts of common sexual acts by *heterosexuals* too) has effectively gained the status of a law of nature.

    Re: (scare-quote) ‘natural law’ theorists: It seems that Joseph Raz, John Gardner, Roger Crisp, Jeremy Waldron, and Nigel Simmonds (just to name a few) do take (scare-quote) ‘natural law’ theorists “seriously.” Just look at this group of contributors: http://amzn.to/2dBWhIY I would hardly call these people “no one.”

    Re: The “usual awful arguments”: Calling an argument awful does not refute it. And Leiter has nowhere demonstrated an actual understanding of Swinburne’s argument nor an attempt to refute it. The most reasonable conclusion I can draw from the evidence is that he either doesn’t understand the argument or he does not know how to refute it.

    This is supported by the fact that he *doesn’t actually know* what Swinburne’s argument *is* because *most* people don’t. (There is no actual transcript of the talk, nor is there a publicly available video, so far as I’m aware.) Evidently, Leiter’s powers of a priori judgment extend even to arguments he has not heard yet!

    Also, the fact that leftists do not engage with Christian ethical thinking is much more a sign of leftist ignorance, which ignorance extends to topics concerning Christian religion and politics more generally. Here is an accurate quote from atheist philosopher Quentin Smith’s paper, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism”:

    “… the great majority of naturalist philosophers react by publicly ignoring the increasing desecularizing of philosophy (while privately disparaging theism, without really knowing anything about contemporary analytic philosophy of religion) and proceeding to work in their own area of specialization as if theism, the view of approximately one-quarter or one-third of their field, did not exist.

    … the vast majority of naturalist philosophers have come to hold (since the late 1960s) an unjustified belief in naturalism. Their justifications have been defeated by arguments developed by theistic philosophers, and now naturalist philosophers, for the most part, live in darkness about the justification for naturalism. They may have a true belief in naturalism, but they have no knowledge that naturalism is true since they do not have an undefeated justification for their belief. If naturalism is true, then their belief in naturalism is accidentally true.”

    The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to philosophers who are liberal about politics and ethics.

  2. FWIW – I for one am deeply appreciative of the yeoman’s work being done here, and hope the blog might live long and prosper.

  3. Federal philosopher,
    Thankfully not all philosophy blogs are scribing your links. Some are excitedly linking to your content. I found you through Bill Vallicella’s blog (maverick philosopher). He has linked several times to various posts here. I am extremely greatful that you guys have started this blog and given a voice to many of the ideas that achedimia wishes they could scrub from the minds of conservatives.

    • Thanks very much. We’re glad that you’ve enjoyed the blog so far. Please spread the word and subscribe!

  4. Just found your blog. Quite interesting and well done. Will you do a post (or have you done a post) responding to Littlejohn’s post against Swinburne?

      • I tried to post earlier was blocked. Maybe a glitch.

        SoCal,
        I would not expect them to offer a response on Swimburne’s behalf because this isn’t a philosophy blog (not if you mean by that a blog for doing philosophy). It’s a place for people to show solidarity and play the victim card. I don’t expect that the authors will ever engage in any substantive philosophy on this blog.

        If Conservatrarian is who I think, we had a chat on Facebook where it was pretty clear that he did not think that a rational defence of Swinburne’s position was possible. The view he offers was that you really couldn’t defend the view without some religious assumptions that he seemed to grant couldn’t be defended on independent grounds. (If I’m wrong about Conservatrarian’s view he can correct me. One possible point of agreement (that I expect many natural law theorists would accept) is that Swinburne’s arguments I this area don’t hold up terribly well to criticism.)

      • We’ve done substantive, philosophical posts here. So if you mean by “it’s not a blog for *solely* doing philosophy, you’re right. But what of interest follows from that?

        Now by “it’s a blog for playing the victim card,” you seem to be unable to comprehend what “beating you at your own game and by your own rules means.” As soon as you leftists stop doing this, we will.

        But we won’t, because you won’t. And *you* won’t because you’re working on that thigh gap and trying to collect a refund on that enlargement pump.

        Lastly, sorry to burst your bubble, but I know conservatarian and I know he thinks there are rational grounds for holding such a position.

  5. Federal Philosopher,

    While I’m not among your target audience (I’m not a philosopher), and I’m not a leftist, I do agree with usual left-wing views on a good number of issues (I’m not a leftist because I also disagree with other usual left-wing views on a number of issues, and because there are issues in which I neither agree nor disagree, but believe that their view is epistemically unwarranted at this point), and I’d like to offer a partial reply to your post (I also offer to discuss Swinburne’s argument if you can produce it, or any other argument to the conclusion that same-sex sex is immoral, if you post the argument of your choice or a link to it. I understand if you prefer to engage leftist philosophers rather than random people on the internet, though).

    In re: Your question and suggestion: “Are they afraid that more open-minded, intellectually honest people will see that we’re right? I don’t know, but I suspect so.”, in my assessment, this is not so, at least in most cases. They seem to be pretty sure of their views on the subject. And most don’t consider the right-wing views either intellectually honest or open-minded. I would like offer alternative reasons for their behavior, which in my view, when combined (I don’t think all of them have a single or the same reason, of course) provide a more probable explanation for the reaction of most of your original intended audience.

    1. Some might not be afraid that more open-minded, intellectually honest people will see that we’re right, but rather, that moral beliefs that they are sure are false will spread among the public (and perhaps, even among philosophers) by means of bad arguments. They probably know that false beliefs (moral or otherwise) have spread in the past, even among philosophers, because views that contradict each other are defended by many people, even over time and sometimes for centuries. Some of those beliefs seem to have spread by means of bad arguments, at least partially and among philosophers.

    2. Some might not be inclined to reply since they prefer to use their time to explore more promising areas of research, given that they consider that your type of views is clearly wrong, or because of that and because they don’t think there is a significant chance that your views will spread a lot if left unanswered.

    3. 1. + 2. In fact, some might both be inclined to address other arguments they find more interesting, and also think that answering yours will likely draw more traffic to your site, increasing the risk that others (perhaps, non-philosophers that read philosophy blogs; there are such animals, like me) will be persuaded by bad arguments.

    4. Some (many) simply have not read your arguments, and they won’t. They have only a little time to read on line arguments; they can’t read nearly as many as they would want to, and so they have to pick them somehow. Maybe they leave aside anything posted anonymously, unless they have some specific reason to think they’re good or interesting. Maybe they will not read arguments defending views they have already looked at and eventually rejected – such as Christianity, or a belief that same-sex sex is always immoral, or Thomism, etc. -, unless again they have good reason to think there is something radically new and worth reading. Even after making that exclusion, they can’t read – let alone address – nearly as many arguments as they would like to.

    5. Some might be inclined to avoid a behavior that will perhaps result in criticism from their own left-wing side, since they might be accused of giving clearly immoral views an aura of legitimacy by engaging them in equal terms. Now, I don’t think that they will explicitly take that into consideration, but implicitly, they may very well do so. That would be normal human behavior, and philosophers are not immune even if they might be able to avoid it sometimes.
    Moreover, on that note, they might also be afraid (even if this wouldn’t be an explicit consideration) that in the context of engaging right-wing views, they might say something that will trigger massive on-line condemnation from other left-wingers (not necessarily philosophers, though it might include some).

    6. Some might have concluded that philosophers who still believe that same-sex sex is immoral (or some other common right-wing belief) are beyond their capability of persuasion, and furthermore, that if they promote such belief, they don’t deserve their attention, but only their negative public moral judgment at best (e.g., compare with how they will react to someone trying to promote racist views).

    I think the hypothesis that most left-wing philosophers fall into at least one of those categories is more probable than the hypothesis that they are afraid that you’re right.

    In Re: diversity and inclusiveness. “Except leftists don’t actually value real diversity and inclusiveness, and the idea of affirmative action benefiting conservatives would, I’m sure, be sufficient reason for leftist philosophers to suddenly start writing moral treatises against affirmative action.”
    I’m not sure what you mean by “real” value and inclusiveness. Could you clarify that, please?
    In any case, as far as I can tell (from reading blogs, papers, etc. most leftist philosophers seem to (positively) value having people with different cultural backgrounds, which might bring their attention to, say, issues most people (even most philosophers) aren’t aware of.
    What many leftist philosophers do not seem to value is moral diversity, in the sense advocating moral beliefs that are false, and especially if they’re not just false but far away from the truth.
    Of course, leftist philosophers, like everyone else, make their own assessments about what is true or false.
    Many (most?) right-wing philosophers also do not (positively) value views promoting, say, legal abortion, or same-sex marriage (and Catholic universities worldwide refrain from inviting guests who hold those views, in some cases after pressure from bishops, etc.), or other moral views (or other views) they considered far from the truth.
    Generally, the promotion of false moral beliefs is all other relevant things equal a bad thing, and so is moral disagreement. Of course, often not all relevant things are equal, but a relevant question is when it’s a good idea to have moral diversity over the available alternative. For instance, most philosophers would not value having people promoting openly racist views. Leftist philosophers usually extend that to those who promote the view that all sorts of sexual activities that are not immoral (including prominently same-sex activities, in current settings) are immoral.

    As for affirmative action, I don’t think they would (generally) argue against it, but rather, argue that it’s meant to help people who are in a disadvantage not through their own fault and/or allow to new perspectives to be heard (or heard more often), which would hopefully draw attention to bad situations, injustices, etc., suffered by people who are members of some minorities. They might point out that affirmative action is not meant to help people behave unethically, in particular promoting false moral beliefs that those people should not have (e.g., in that context, they reckon it’s Swinburne’s fault that he has the beliefs he has).

    Regarding the “25 years” comment, it was in poor taste at least, but the trend seems to be that moral views such as Swinburne’s are on the decline, at least in America (or so it seems from a distance, anyway), in terms of legal influence and number of people adherent to them, etc. In particular, same-sex relations are becoming increasingly socially accepted. In philosophy too, such views are becoming less and less influential. Granted, there are young philosophers who also express views like Swinburne’s. But in general, they are less frequent than they used to be and not nearly as influential.

    • First, I think this is a great comment. I think your explanation is far more plausible than the alternative proffered by Federal Philosopher. That said, I would think that the vast majority of reactions to traditional views on sexuality are visceral, and so are not thoughtful (that doesn’t mean they’re wrong!). Consequently, I think it’s rare that “they don’t want to give these views legitimacy” plays a role in people’s dismissing traditional positions (when people offer such reasons, I think it’s almost always an after-the-fact reason, not one that actually plays a motivating role). I think the likeliest explanation for the vituperation traditional positions receive are causal, namely, that most secular philosophers find such views offensive, obviously wrong, and feel a great deal of social pressure to find them offensive and obviously wrong.

      Second, I think it’s possible that attitudes will change on this front; if we got a lot more non-white Muslims and Hispanics from traditionally Catholic countries involved in the academy, I wouldn’t be shocked if you see a shift in how such issues are treated. My guess, though, is that the treatment will be dichotomous: if a white Christian defends the view, it will continue to meet with vituperation; if a non-white Muslim or a traditionalist Hispanic defends the view, then the reaction will be negative, but much more muted (unless the Muslim or Hispanic is a Republican, in which case the reaction will be vituperative, perhaps even more vituperative than if a white male Christian defends the view).

      • SoCal Philosopher,

        Thanks, and good points as well.

        On your first point, I think you are right that the negative response to views such as Swinburne results (often, and at least to a considerable extent) from the fact that they find such views obviously wrong and they also feel social pressure to do so, though I’m not sure the social pressure is so important: most philosophers simply haven’t addressed the Swinburne incident (even if they know about it), and an even greater number haven’t addressed any of the arguments on your blog. They don’t seem pressured to address either. There is pressure to conform to the social standards (which I considered in point 5.), but I think that takes mostly the form of condemning specific posts/speeches/papers/etc. only if asked about them (or otherwise a specific case comes up in a conversation, and avoiding saying something that goes against prevalent views on the matter. But most of them probably are okay socially just not bothering with right-wing arguments on sexuality, at least usually.

        That said, I think there is a distinction between the reasons they pass negative moral judgment on people promoting views that same-sex relations, sex outside marriage, etc., are immoral (or other right-wing views), and the reasons they do not engage your arguments (either after passing such condemnation, or without even doing so). Those who react viscerally passing moral condemnation might later refrain from engaging them for something like point 2, or a combination of other reasons. Others might have other reasons. Overall, given that the hypothesis I presented is a non-exclusive disjuntion, I think that adding your reply as another disjunct would improve its plausibility considerably, so we might add:

        7. Some just immediately find the expression and/or promotion of right-wing sexual moral views (or some other right-wing views) morally outrageous, and they condemn them immediately.

        After further consideration, though, I think it would be better to consider hypotheses for two different (though clearly related) phenomena, namely the reactions expressing moral outrage, and the lack of engagement of right-wing arguments in support of right-wing views.

        Regarding your second point, you might be correct. I’m not in America. But the impression I get is that while Muslim immigration might change Europe in that respect, it’s going to have a much lower impact on America, and while in some parts of Latin America overall views about same-sex relations are more negative than in the US, in other parts they’re more positive, or roughly the same (e.g., http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-global-divide-on-homosexuality/ ); that is the case in particular in Mexico. Moreover, attitudes in Latin America are also changing in the direction of greater acceptability. The rise of Evangelical Christianity in Brazil might change that, but it’s unclear, and Brazilian immigrants are probably not going to make a big difference in the US. Also, universities in Latin America are overall considerably father to the Left than American ones, and the Latin-American left-wing has mostly come to accept same-sex relationships, so I wouldn’t expect much impact in that particular regard.

        The matter of abortion might be different, though not so much among philosophers – but it’s much more likely in my view that there will be anti-abortion activism in America resulting from Latin American immigration than activism against same-sex marriage.

      • Hi Angra,

        First, I’m not a member of this blog. I don’t really have any thoughtful arguments for or against the permissibility of same-sex relations.

        Second, yeah, I suppose you’re probably right that Muslims and traditionally religious Hispanics won’t make much of a dent in the USA academy. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked if Muslims made a dent in the European academy (as you suggested), and to the extent that there’s interaction between European and American scholars, this may make a difference. But the more I think about it, the more I think it probably won’t.

        Third, and almost completely unrelatedly, I wonder what the effect of a further solidification of leftism will be; for instance, why hasn’t the Roman Catholic Church and the Republican party haven’t been characterized, on account of their sexual attitudes, as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center? Is it just that the SPLC worries that, if they did that, that they would lose credibility? I suspect such a move would start an interesting debate, and I’m not sure how it would end.

      • SoCal Philosopher,

        I’m not very familiar with the SPLA, but maybe they just don’t consider either organization extremist enough, or – given the numbers of supporters – fringe.
        In the case of the Catholic Church, it’s the largest Christian denomination in America by number of adherents, and in Latin America, it’s larger than all of the rest put together.
        On that note, the Catholic Church is the church of the vast majority of Latin American immigrants. Maybe because of that, they see Catholicism as a respectable religion, despite their differences with it on many issues – sort of like Islam -, and in that context, they would not be inclined to classify the whole church as a hate group, even if they might criticize some of its members. They do classify a “radical traditional catholicism” as a hate group, but they are very clear to distinguish it from the Catholic Church (source: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/radical-traditional-catholicism ).
        As for the Republican Party, given the variety of ideas within it, it would not seem to be in line with their policy to classify it as a hate group, at least based on the groups they do include.
        But this is all very speculative. I’m afraid don’t know them enough to tell.

    • Hi Angra,

      There’s a lot in your comment nor I do I presume to respond on behalf of Federal Philosopher, but here goes nothing.

      Your other explanations as to Leftist refusal to deal or even acknowledge the conservative intellectual criticisms of their own positions seem a bit naive. Perhaps some of them play a part, but they don’t address the likely root cause: Namely, most of your alternatives presuppose the notion that Leftists are so conceited about the rightness of their views that contrary views don’t even deserve the time of day. Not only is this attitude unjustified on an intellectual basis, it’s inimical to the philosopher, the lover of wisdom, who tries to pursue the truth. And the only way to get closer to it is to explore and assay various propositions purporting it, i.e. heterodoxy not orthodoxy. Leftist dogmatism is not becoming of the philosopher.

      So, no, the more likely explanation for this irrationality is not largely your posited rationalizations appealing to prudence but actual bigotry. Leiter’s attempt, for example to dismiss moral objections to homosexuality on the grounds they’re antiquated, eccentric and laughably poor without refuting them reeks of someone who does not know what he’s talking about. This is a pattern among the Left, treating conservatives views as beneath the toil of refutation. So how much willful ignorance like Leiter’s does it take before we can conclude, Angra, that there exists an institutional prejudice against conservativism qua conservatism in the academy and media?

      “Real diversity” — moving on to your question about it — is only good if it is directed toward a unified end or good. For instance, a diversity of views is good insofar it is directed to a unified end of learning the truth. But this is not the “diversity” the Left extols. Rather, the Left believes diversity for the sake of diversity is good in it of itself and ought to be maximized. Belying this position is a moral or cultural relativism, e.g., that there is no moral difference between the Christian baker who refuses to violate his conscience by baking a cake for a same-sex “wedding” and the Muslim who throws a homosexuals off of a building for their indiscretions. And that’s why, a fortiori, many Leftists, believe importing a bunch of theocratic Muslims is good, with their introduction not a recipe for social strife even though our secular civilization has underwent centuries of the separation of church and state. This, of course, is absurd.

      Also absurd is the notion that a just institution is one that has an accurate representation of varied demographic groups and is thereby “diverse.” Why this is just or good is never established and just assumed as true by the Left, even though people since the beginning of time have varied in strengths, specialties, weaknesses both morally and materially. Empirically, we’ve never been equal in all these aspects. This inequality is natural and not induced de facto by some type of oppression or exploitation. To level the playing field, to be for “equality,” so construed, is utopian, deluded and totalitarian in theory and practice.

      “Diversity” and “inclusiveness” are also terms that exist to to spin Leftist doctrines positively. They smuggle Leftist values and obscure that affirmative action, for example, is to discriminate on the basis of race or some other identifier the Left happens to favor. Rather, under Leftist Orwellian parlance, it’s being “diverse” and “inclusive.” Federalist Philosopher is right to point out the hypocrisy of this self-serving “diversity.” The Left is nothing but a framework of double standards which serve as scaffolding for its agents’ clamber to the top from whence they can impose their dogmas down upon the rest of us.

      You assert affirmative action exists to help the “disadvantaged,” — another Leftist spin word. This assumes that the person benefiting from affirmative action is indeed a victim of some oppression. But this is to merely assume what is at issue, namely that a country with so much common wealth and freedom like the United States can be truly “institutionally” predisposed against blacks, Hispanics and other minorities. Conservatives dispute that this country is oppressive, so policy based on this claims isn’t good and establishes a norm that impugns meritocratic equality before the law and defeats the primary lesson of the civil rights movement — to judge someone by the content of their character, not the color of their skin or some other superficial characteristic that’s not pertinent.

      Lastly, you mention the acceptance of homosexuality in the West. Conservatives recognize this sociological fact, but many of us think homosexuality is not morally permissible. So, wide-scale affirmation of a moral falsehood will and is corrupting civilization. Moreover, not only is it unjust to treat unlike things as the same but also to base public policy on it too. There are both moral and non-moral differences as to why societies are heteronormative. Specifically, heterosexual relations produce the next generation, homosexual relations, out of metaphysical necessity, don’t. This truth best explains the rise of the institution of marriage and its history of norms and traditions that was nearly universally accepted up until basically yesterday.

      Speaking of which, it’s also interesting to consider how fast social conservatives are treated as hostis humani generis for holding to this view which was considered true since time immemorial. The speed and vitriol involved in this occurring social change, I would contend, suggests that this acceptance is less the outgrowth of a society that openly debated in a marketplace of ideas over time but a consequence of social engineering and concentrated public defamation and stigma. In other words, Obergefell’s decision is not indicative of democratic development, an increase of freedom, but a step backward, a diminishing of a free society in which demagoguery, for now, won the day. The evidence is the means of soft totalitarianism by which this sociological change came about and is now being consolidated.

      Additionally, does the popularity of a belief make it more or less true? Peter Singer believes eating meat is speciesism and is equivalent to racism, a view not commonly held. Does its lack of common acceptance make it more or less true? Mind you, he isn’t ostracized for mere eccentricity in the academy, having a nice gig at Princeton. So a view’s popularity is irrelevant to its truth or falsity. Philosophers are supposed to be concerned with truth and falsity, not popularity.

    • Though Angra,

      I appreciate your comment and participation in this discussion. I realize my above response is bit hastily scribbled, all over the place and probably could have used a bit more proofreading. But I hope it makes sense.

      • Hi Jan Sobieski IV,

        First, and just to clarify a point: The alternatives I proposed are not mutually exclusive: people may have multiple motivations. And I’m saying that probably at least one of them plays a significant role, or the combination of them does.
        Second, my alternatives do not presuppose that Leftists are so conceited about the rightness of their views that contrary views don’t even deserve the time of day. The “conceited” part is a negative judgment that I would definitely left aside. But in any rate, I don’t think that’s at all naive, but a very plausible explanation.

        As for your point, I would say “So, no, the more likely explanation for this irrationality is not largely your posited rationalizations appealing to prudence but actual bigotry. ”
        Ideal observer said that “The leftist failure to distinguish between *actual* bigotry (see here: http://wapo.st/1ZLAP1n) which leads to the *actual* killing of people, and the mere moral disapproval of certain acts (which disapproval extends to all sorts of common sexual acts by *heterosexuals* too) has effectively gained the status of a law of nature.”. Are you accusing them of bigotry in the sense in which Ideal Observer uses the term, apparently? Or are you accusing them of something else?
        Regardless, they’re almost certainly not afraid that you might be right.

        As for “real diversity”, my question was what Federal Philosopher means by “real diversity”, when she claims that leftists do not value it. I wasn’t suggesting it was good or bad.

        By the way, I’ve not seen any evidence that most leftist philosophers consider the Christian baker and the IS fanatic (they’re the only ones doing the building thing, as far as I know; other fanatics kill in other ways) to be on a moral equal footing. If they do believe that, that would not look like moral relativism to me, but like a a very mistaken moral assessment.

        Also, I don’t think they often believe that importing Muslims who would throw gay people off buildings is good, but rather, they believe most Muslims wouldn’t – and they probably are right, though most Muslims in some countries do support policies involving the use of force against gay people, and perhaps also lethal force. Most Christians in some African countries do support imprisonment and/or death as well.
        I do agree that massive immigration of Muslims into Europe will obviously result in social strife, and the left is usually wrong about this. After all, people do bring their cultures with them, usually, and if they come en masse, they’re very unlikely to adapt and change. But those are matters not related to what I posted or intended to discuss when I originally replied, so I’ll leave it at that.

        In re, your claim: “You assert affirmative action exists to help the “disadvantaged,” — another Leftist spin word.”
        No, I don’t assert that. I didn’t say “the disadvantaged”, but more importantly, it was not my assertion. Rather, I said they would generally argue that it’s meant to help people who are in a disadvantage not through their own fault and/or allow to new perspectives to be heard (or heard more often), which would hopefully draw attention to bad situations, injustices, etc., suffered by people who are members of some minorities, instead of arguing against it.
        I did say it’s not meant to help people behave unethically, but surely it’s not meant to do so.

        “This assumes that the person benefiting from affirmative action is indeed a victim of some oppression.”
        It doesn’t. Even if I had asserted (which I have not) that affirmative action exists in order to “help people who are in a disadvantage not through their own fault” (part of what they would probably argue), that does not in any way imply that the person benefiting from it is the victim of any sort of oppression. They might be at at disadvantage not through their own fault and not through anyone’s fault, either.
        That said, left-wingers usually do think there is some sort of oppression going on, when they propose affirmative action. As far as I can tell, sometimes they’re right; sometimes, they’re not.

        “But this is to merely assume what is at issue, namely that a country with so much common wealth and freedom like the United States can be truly “institutionally” predisposed against blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.”
        Let me be clear: Federal Philosopher made a point about what left-wing philosophers would counterfactually do. I disagreed, and said that generally, they would probably respond in a different manner. There is nothing in my post defending affirmative action.

        “Lastly, you mention the acceptance of homosexuality in the West. Conservatives recognize this sociological fact, but many of us think homosexuality is not morally permissible. ”
        Yes, I’m aware. Many others (myself including) think that the promotion of the false belief that homosexuality is not morally permissible, is itself not morally permissible (as usual, there is an “all other things equal” condition here; I’m not suggesting it’s necessary (in the modal sense) that it’s not morally permissible).

        “So, wide-scale affirmation of a moral falsehood will and is corrupting civilization.”
        I think the moral falsehood is the other one, in this case.

        “Specifically, heterosexual relations produce the next generation, homosexual relations, out of metaphysical necessity, don’t. This truth best explains the rise of the institution of marriage and its history of norms and traditions that was nearly universally accepted up until basically yesterday. ”
        I do not agree about metaphysical necessity, but regardless, I also don’t think that that morally justifies excluding same-sex couples, just as reproduction wouldn’t justify excluding other infertile couples. That, however, is a matter different from the issue of whether same-sex relations are immoral.

        “Speaking of which, it’s also interesting to consider how fast social conservatives are treated as hostis humani generis for holding to this view which was considered true since time immemorial. ”
        Which one do you claim was considered true since time immemorial? That same-sex relations are immoral? Or that marriage is between opposite sex couples?
        In the case of the first one, what was or is considered true depends on the society. There is plenty of disagreement. As for the second case, you would have to argue that marriage is a natural kind or something along those lines, despite the very different sort of relationships adopted by different societies. Even if that argument succeeded, that would not imply that marriage today is between opposite-sex couples (natural kind or not, the meaning of the words can change and I think it has at least among a substantial percentage of the population; if it is a natural kind, maybe you’ll need another name for it).

        “The speed and vitriol involved in this occurring social change, I would contend, suggests that this acceptance is less the outgrowth of a society that openly debated in a marketplace of ideas over time but a consequence of social engineering and concentrated public defamation and stigma.”
        Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s because the belief was the result of public defamation and stigma, and those were removed. Maybe it’s because so many people came out, and others realized the vilification and demonization of gay people was not reasonable. But stigma and public condemnations have put pressure on people to accept the change. Maybe it’s a combination of those factors. Or more likely, those and others.

        “Additionally, does the popularity of a belief make it more or less true? ”
        Of course not. Neither does its popularity since “time immemorial”, assuming such popularity. And neither would the involvement of social pressure to make people conform, in one direction or another.
        However, that is not related to my argument. I was talking about the implicit strategy behind the point about Richard Swinburne, made by someone who is convinced that Swinburne is wrong.

        “So a view’s popularity is irrelevant to its truth or falsity.”
        Of course.

        “Philosophers are supposed to be concerned with truth and falsity, not popularity.”
        But a philosopher may properly also be concerned different strategies to prevent the spread of false moral beliefs, even if they disagree with your about which beliefs are false. Moreover, philosophers – like everyone else – have a limited amount of time available, so it makes sense if (say) they choose to engage false beliefs that they deem more dangerous due to popularity; of course, that’s just one of many motivations involved, like what they really are interested in.

        In fact, you do seem concerned about the popularity of some beliefs you consider false, and you are trying to prevent them from spreading. I agree with some of your views and disagree with others. But you surely don’t engage all the beliefs you disagree, since you’re human too and you don’t have the means to do so if you want to make any substantive arguments.

  6. The Philosophers’ Cocoon is not a leftist blog, nor is the job-market mentoring program we run a leftist program.

    First, our blog is not political. It is intended to be a fully voluntary *respite* from political provincialism: a place for early-career philosophers of any background or persuasion to respectfully discuss their research and early-career issues. Yes, the blog does have a mission of being a “safe and supportive forum” for early career philosophers. But this is not for any political reason, or to force a “safe space” on anyone. I created the blog because I was personally sick of online hostility, and because I wanted to do something positive and helpful–namely, creating a *non-political* forum where people interested in helping each other can voluntarily do so. Is being positive and helpful not conservative? How? I would hope that conservatives such as yourselves would not be opposed to the creation and existence of a forum where people can *freely* organize in a spirit of mutual support and helpfulness. If the freedom to create and maintain forums to serve as an *alternative* to political provincialism is somehow opposed to conservatism, then frankly I’m not sure what conservatism is supposed to be. What conservative value is the right to create and maintain one’s own voluntary website opposed to?

    Second, our job mentoring program is not political. Although we do mention groups of people in our call for sign-ups, the program is open to *all* in need of mentoring. That includes conservatives–and indeed, I have personally mentored a politically conservative individual who signed up.

    • Thanks Marcus, these are fair points.

      I would not presume to speak for the author of the post, but I assume she is criticizing the fact that the Cocoon accepts the same sort of political correctness/”diversity” concerns as the rest of the profession (and probably would not run a post in response to, say, De Cruz’s “Diversity in philosophy courses” post, querying about the importance of diverse syllabi — though I’d be happy to be proven wrong).

      (As an aside: I’d note that conservatives are not beholden to the idea that diversity is intrinsically good — quite the contrary — and so when we criticize the leftist establishment for its lack of *intellectual* diversity, as here, it is a charge of hypocrisy and intellectual vice rather than a cry for more diversity for its own sake.)

      Now, this isn’t to say that the Cocoon should not do what it does to promote what it considers important ethical values, or that it is at fault for doing so: Of course one should act on one’s comprehensive ethical doctrines! (As you can imagine, we’re not very sympathetic to any sort of “public reason” or “overlapping consensus” idea.)

      But in the context of the wider philosophy blogosphere’s being almost exclusively leftist, and given the status of the Cocoon as basically *the* place to go when it comes to philosophy job market information, its generally politically correct orientation only helps to solidify the silencing of conservative views and the reinforcement of liberal ones.

      But again, that is not to say that this was *intended*, or even that the Cocoon *should have done something different* — in some social contexts, it just so happens that no particular, individual decision could fix the problem, and also that no particular, individual decision is directly responsible for the larger problem. (Though I will say that I do not think this alibi exonerates, say, Leiter or Daily Nous, who sometimes make posts that are more directly problematic.)

      Your comment is appreciated though, and your willingness to mentor others of a different political persuasion is admirable. Thanks for that.

      • And of course, any full resolution of the disagreement will be impossible pending assessment of the value and meaning of “diversity” and “political correctness.” So I don’t expect you to concede that there is any real problem. (But hang in there. The future holds in store plenty of posts on these and kindred topics that will convince you our way. 😉

  7. Wow. So let me get this straight: when encountering an outrageous view, having an outrageous reaction is indicative of the outrageousness of the reactor rather than the thing being reacted to. Thanks. I’ll remember that. Holy shit. I’m gonna start using this blog in my critical thinking class. I will admit this, however. The leftists guilty of public shaming are pretty fucking annoying, about as annoying as a blog attempting to defend the rights of people to suppress, or at least try to “swindle” people into suppressing the rights of others. I believe this warrants a new entry into the philosophers’ lexicon for ‘Swinburne’. Swinburne: to come to controversial conclusions about the rightness or wrongness of certain acts by relying heavily on violating the is-ought gap (nevermind the modal fallacies), e.g., “Jeepers. I really thought Quine was onto something until I realized he had just been swinburning us all along.”

    • Just one response to this rambling comment:

      It’s controversial whether Swinburne’s view is ‘outrageous’ (especially from a *Christian* perspective, which is surely the relevant context of a talk during a meeting of the Society of *Christian* Philosophers) and that’s exactly what’s being disputed, so your comment flagrantly begs the question. You might consider using your comment in your critical thinking class as a good example of this fallacy.

    • I have read neither Swinburne’s paper nor his remarks on the issue in the second edition of Revelation. From what I do know about his moral stance from the first edition of Revelation, I doubt he committed an Is-Ought fallacy (viz., deriving a normative conclusion from premises all of which are non-normative). If I recall, he thinks that many moral norms follow from divine commands, prohibition against homosexual sex being one example. He thinks the scope of teleology is much more restricted than typical natural law positions hold. Thus, if my recollections are correct, one of his premises is “Necessarily, God should be obeyed.” No Is-Ought fallacy (though of course that premise is open to counterarguments as are other premises about God’s actual commands, God’s existence, and so on).

    • I haven’t heard that Swinburne was trying to defend the rights of others to suppress anyone. He’s never advocated that homosexual sex should be illegal, for instance. Do you have any evidence for this claim?

  8. I am not a sociologist, nor do I aspire to be one, and I do not know why the prosblogion blogging has decreased. Some fellow prosblogion bloggers have told me they had less time because they were on the job market, for example. I’m not preventing them from blogging there, in any case. If you want to engage with my work, I would appreciate it if you could sign your name.

    • “In spite of the goods of having friends you can morally disagree with, this strikes me as a bridge too far. You cannot have your Brexit cake and still expect to dine with your EU friends.”

      Helen De Cruz, I could be mistaken, but did you not write the above? Additionally, did you not endorse Rebecca Roache’s shameful article, ‘If you’re a conservative, I’m not your friend?’

      Colour me skeptical!

  9. As an FYI (which, if I’m being honest, I suspect isn’t really an FYI, because I’d be shocked if you haven’t already figured this out on your own before writing the post): Folks on the left don’t think this blog in particular is not deserving of engagement because the folks here are conservative (the overwhelming majority of philosophers, even those active online, hadn’t even heard of it before the Swinburne post!) but rather because you’re posting screenshots of people’s facebook comments on posts, the privacy settings for which, are non-public. So, yeah, you got original material cited in the Washington Times, but you violated someone’s trust in making it public. You’re not operating from the moral high ground here.

    • That’s a pretty poor defence. When philosophers rejoice at the thought of Swinburne’s death or direct utterly hateful remarks in his direction for defending a view to which billions of people subscribe (are they all evil bigots?), their behaviour should be exposed. I doubt very seriously that if prominent conservative philosophers were caught making racist/sexist/homophobic/bigoted/hateful comments about another philosopher, leftist philosophers would object to the people who exposed him. More likely: They’d praise those who did. Rightly so.

      • Conservatrarian, two independent persons have told me that they have a suspicion about your identity. Both of them gave me the same name. Suppose for a moment that they’re right, and I now know who you are. How would you feel about me publicizing that identity? You’re posting here pseudononymously for a reason. I think taking people’s comments on private facebook threads out of context, and publicizing them like you have is immoral, and frankly, I do think rationalizing it is likely to involve at least some prejudice. But that someone has behave unjustly does not thereby legitimate treating them unjustly in return.

        I have een both sexist and homophobic comments on private threads from defenders of Swinburne. There’s a reason screenshots of those comments are not circulating on blogs too. And it’s not because those who have seen them don’t know how to use the internet.

      • Kathryn, the screen shots in the recent post on van Dyke are from a public posting. So I assume that post will be addressed.

      • How, in any way, is this a response to me? “We did this one thing, that wasn’t bad on the grounds you’re saying this other thing was bad.” …Ok?

      • Oh, it was pointing out that the excuse for not engaging here didn’t apply to that post. Or, perhaps the leftling thought is this: “Those scumbags screwed up ONCE, so we won’t engage them EVER. We will make them perpetually pay.” Ok, fine. I hope that holds for Van Dyke’s “single infelicitous moment of indiscretion.”

      • “I have een both sexist and homophobic comments on private threads from defenders of Swinburne. There’s a reason screenshots of those comments are not circulating on blogs too.”

        I’d have to see them, but, like I suggested, these screenshots aren’t from, say, undergraduates. And if a noteworthy figure posted comments such as wanting to see a gay philosopher die on Facebook, I’d want to see an argument why it’s immoral not to circulate that comment more widely.

      • I’m afraid your case isn’t at all analogous. Let’s make it more analogous. Suppose that Bob was using a sockpuppet to personally insult and attack other people with hate on the internet. Suppose, furthermore, that Sally discovers Bob’s true identity. Would it be wrong for Sally to release Bob’s identity? Certainly not. But I haven’t used this blog or my account on it to personally attack other people with hate, including wishes that they die. So releasing my identity would be flagrantly gratuitous. I’m more like Sally in the analogy and the philosophers this blog has exposed are more like Bob.

        And your point about context is, with respect, a bit silly. I could be mistaken, but there is no context in which ‘Fuck those assholes’ and hoping for Swinburne’s death are permissible, so how could those comments have possibly been taken out of context in a way that is deceptive or uncharitable? Is there a context in which those comments are not objectionable?

        You’ve seen prominent philosophers and editors of prominent philosophy journals making hateful comments in defence of Swinburne? That’s surprising and I’m skeptical of this. But if you have, then I would have no objection whatever to someone pointing out that a prominent philosopher has used sexist and homophobic language. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you have an incredibly liberal definition of those terms such that practically anything that goes against contemporary leftist orthodoxy about sex and orientation counts as ‘sexist’ and ‘homophobic.’

        But you avoided the case I put to you entirely. If a prominent philosopher used his private Facebook page to smear others and use racist or sexist language, would it be impermissible for others within the profession to expose his behaviour publicly? If not, then our disagreement isn’t about the general (and obviously false) principle that if a comment on Facebook is meant to be private, then it’s impermissible to expose it to the public. In that case, the disagreement is only about whether it was appropriate in *this* case. I certainly think that the kind of hate directed at Richard Swinburne by prominent philosophers is worth exposing and I can’t see a relevant difference between the actual case and the one I’ve now put to you twice.

      • I cannot believe you would be naive enough to suppose that Facebook comments written “privately” to a group of Facebook “friends” (dozens of whom the average FB user has never met) is hardly private in any relevant sense.

    • Kathryn,

      Though everyone on the blog is broadly conservative, there are varying views on what the correct ethical theory is (and bloggers don’t even know who everyone else is). Speaking for myself, I’m unsure about the morality of sharing what someone has said in a private setting on Facebook. It depends on the nature of the statement, the circumstances, etc. Since I don’t know who most of my Facebook “friends” are, I never say anything I’m not prepared to defend if what I say is made more public. Facebook friends should not be thought of as friends wherein there is a genuine “circle of trust”, especially by philosophers who are notable or public figures. I doubt anyone would raise a moral objection if Trump or H.Clinton said something in their “Friends” setting and it went public.
      At any rate, if you have a good argument that putting the screenshots up was immoral, I’d wager the authors of the post would consider them, and, if compelling, remove them and offer an apology.

      • Right Pokin. The right to privacy is NOT absolute. And certainly not guaranteed simply by the intentions of the speaker. So AK-47 managed to get something right this time. But I’ll bet they fuck it up in their defense of Swinburne at some point i.e., he is not violating a homosexual’s right not to be scrutinized because it endangers the survival of the species. JC. Jeepers Creepers.

      • I don’t even think we need to get into which ethical framework is right to see that it was the wrong call. (Though I also do think it’s ethically wrong — you’ve opened people up to online harassment, not all of whom are public figures, and pretty predictably so. If you think it’s wrong to be a jerk to Swinburne, isn’t it wrong to be a jerk to those who disagree with him too?) I think it’s practically harmful to yourselves. I posted this on my facebook wall, but I’ll just repeat it here:

        Since the role of social media in professional networking has taken on a life of its own in philosophy, I have a general policy of accepting friend requests from almost anyone. If I get a request from a philosopher, and I can confirm they are a real person, I will almost certainly accept. Being facebook friends with me is, I’m sure, no particular advantage, but in recognition of the fact that social exclusion can translate into professional exclusion in ways that are unjust, whether you are a progressive or a conservative, a feminist or an MRA, work in analytic or continental, I don’t want to participate in excluding you on the grounds that we might share differing belief systems.
        However, since the new “Rightly Considered” philosophy blog from conservative philosophers has popped up, and published several posts which contain screen shots from facebook threads, the privacy settings on which were not set to public, I’ve been rethinking my policy. On the one hand, if you are the sort of person who contributes there, you are likely more irritated by seeing me in your newsfeed than I would be by having you share whatever I say with others. On the other, I don’t want to expose my friends to having their privacy violated. And it’s definitely possible that whoever took those screen shots was able to because they are friends with me, and I was tagged in one of the posts.
        For the same reasons being facebook friends with me is no real advantage, me declining your friend request or unfriending you is no real dishonor either. But while I’m merely considering changing my policy (and I don’t really matter much), several philosophers are actively attempting to narrow their social media networks to only those they know well enough to be sure this won’t keep happening. To whoever is doing this; Maybe you don’t think it’s immoral. Maybe you think violating people’s privacy is legitimate when it serves a larger purported good. But while your posts might seem to serve your political agenda, you’re doing real practical harm to your own political friends by making it such that the political divisiveness you claim to be concerned about is further entrenched, and the social division it causes, exacerbated.

      • “you’ve opened people up to online harassment”

        Well, I haven’t. At any rate, if you say vile things, you open yourself up to harassment when people repeat those vile things. You could narrow your Facebook friends to real friends; or you could change your behavior.

        Given the nature of the remarks–including rejoicing in another philosopher’s DEATH–I need to an argument for the conclusion that sharing those remarks is immoral.

      • Not all remarks shared were equal in their hostility. How would you feel if I put together a collage of all the remarks from Swinburne supports I’ve seen and thought were vile, and then poster them online? How would you feel if I found out who you were, and publicly shared your identity (you didn’t post them, but you are associated with those who did)? Suppose sharing the remarks themselves were justified–what justifies taking them out of context and sharing people’s name attached to them?

        But again, I don’t think we even need to have the ethical argument. If you want people to think either a. you’re not creepy, or b. to be willing to seriously engage with conservstives, posting them has created conditions that will undermine both of these things. And without knowing who did it, people are going to be wary of not just who actually did it, but those who share conservative views because that’s the only clearly identifying feature of who did.

        (I’m on my phone, if there’s a ton of typos, that’s why)

      • Kathryn,

        How would I feel if you publically identified me? That seems to me irrelevant. (And if you want to know, I don’t care what the profession thinks of me–I don’t think much of the profession already given treatment I’ve received– and I’ll publically defend anything I’ve personally said/done here none of which is immoral similar to the anonymous feminists people tried to out). I assume most on this blog are using this pseudonymous forum because they know that being a conservative in the current hostile environment is often a career death sentence. The remarks that were posted were by people not in that situation at all.

        As far as the pragmatic argument goes, I think there is something to that. But as far as I can tell, there’s a diverse body of folks here who are broadly conservative. So even if it were true that a few are creepy (and I haven’t seen evidence of that), it’s a hasty generalization to think that most or all are.

        But I don’t expect that people like Stanley are going to take this blog seriously anyhow, now or in the future regardless of the recent screenshot posts. He’s shown the world where he stands, and he’s quite proud.

      • “you’ve opened people up to online harassment”

        This stops when leftists stop doing this to conservatives, bakers, pizza shop owners, dentists, etc. Since leftists social justice warriors are the biggest violators, I suggest you focus on them. Oh by the way, can you please post screen shots here of all the times you corrected progressives for doing this? Thanks!

      • If you want, pick the screenshot that was private that you thought was the most egregious (as far as NOT being included is concerned) and give an argument that that particular one should not have been posted.

      • No. Because for the same reasons I think it’s most egregious to share it, neither do I think it would be appropriate for me to discuss why publicly here. If you want to talk about it,feel free to email me.

      • I honestly have no strong opinion on that matter so I am open to argument if you care to give one here to the general wrongness of sharing what a professor or other public figure says on Facebook in a friends setting (i.e. leaving out details of the of the particular parties involved). I believe I saw that you imply that the Romney comment should not have been shared so presumably you can put forth an argument for the more general wrongness.

      • I wonder of Kathryn was outraged over the left’s exposing Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comment. It was, after all, said in a private setting!

      • This is funny actually because for one, at the time it happened, I did actually argue to friends that focus should be directed on what he said publicly, and two, Romney was a public figure in the way that the people you’re taking screen shots of are not.

        I don’t actually think giving you arguments would be productive, and that’s why I’m not investing my time in laying it out in detail for you. There’s a post here complaining about leftists not engaging with you. I’m telling you why. If you want to keep doing what you’re doing, so be it.

      • No, Kathryn, the persons we’re discussing here are, in fact, public figures. At least, they are public figures inasmuch as they hold official positions within a philosophical association, and intend to speak on its behalf. Your failure to provide an argument (for some reason, it would not be “productive”) is rather telling…holding the moral, self-righteous high ground in the debate makes it such that you need not dirty your hands? I too would rather not invest my time in this nonsense…Please do us all a favor and go elsewhere…I’m sure there are a plethora of issues on Leiter’s blog, perhaps even Daily Nous, on which you can express faux outrage and, in righteous self-congratulation, pat yourself on the back.

  10. Ok. Ok. AR-15 or AK-47 whatever your handle is. I hereby amend my Swinburne entry to: to engage in valid, albeit circular reasoning, e.g., “Jeepers. I really thought Quine was onto something until I realized he had just been swinburning us all along.”

    • Well, as I said, I haven’t read the paper Swinburne gave, so it’s hard to comment. I doubt you have either, but if so, please sketch the question begging argument.

      • Ummm…AK-47? Did you not just write the following?

        “If I recall, he thinks that many moral norms follow from divine commands, prohibition against homosexual sex being one example. Thus, if my recollections are correct, one of his premises is “Necessarily, God should be obeyed.” No Is-Ought fallacy (though of course that premise is open to counterarguments as are other premises about God’s actual commands, God’s existence, and so on).”

        Why should God be obeyed? I sure hope it’s not because the Bible said so and what the Bible says is true. But, never you mind poor soul, since you don’t know what Swinburne said anyway. So, the argument really asserts that it’s purely hypothetical that homosexuality is wrong. It’s contingent upon proof of the existence of the God of the old testament, and the consistency of that text, and that it is the word of God. Alright. I’m OK with that I guess. Who wouldn’t be? 😀

      • It’s clear from your comment that you have never grappled with Swinburne’s work. It’s also clear that you’re not interested in the reasonable exchange of arguments. If I were an administrator, I’d henceforth delete any further comments, though I might think about leting you continue to embarrass yourself by displaying your ignorance for the common good.

      • Sorry I thought you were the one who was admitting to partial ignorance earlier. I thought therefore that conjecture was fair game. Were you being facetious? At any rate, since Swinburne is preaching to the choir, I’m not too too worried about being embarrassed. I had supposed that he had offered some reasons for believing that homosexuality was wrong, besides the, let’s suppose, uncontroversial fact that God had said that homosexuality was wrong consistently — some reasons for God’s having said so. I was not aware that we were assuming that “The Euthyphro” had not yet occurred, and that the argument was intended only to be persuading Christians/theologians to believe that this was the case. My mistake. I assume, then, that the argument was about the interpretation of the Bible itself then. Something I willingly admit not having spent an enormous amount of time doing, save for my one year stint as a seven year old self-taught evangelist.

      • Except Aspasia, every moral position has presuppositions which are controversial. For example, Peter Singer’s charge of speciesism for vegetarianism and advocacy for animal rights assumes there’s no ontological difference between human and animals — that’s controversial too.

        In order to have any real dialectic, certain assumptions are granted out of charity. That way an argument or position is evaluated at its strongest formulation. This is considered just being courteous, something you clearly know nothing about when engaging with an opposing position or argument.

        Moreover, Swinburne has argued for the existence of God — fine, you reject theism — but as Conservatrarian previously noted, Swinburne was presenting in the context of Christian philosophers who are already theists. So he wouldn’t have to justify the existence of God for his version of divine command theory, though others there might object to it on other grounds.

        Specifically, not all theists are divine command theorists. Some are natural law theorists like Edward Feser, who argues one doesn’t need to explicitly appeal to theism to learn the content of morality but natural law based on Aristotelian formal and final causes and still should find homosexual actions morally wrong.

        So the question of whether homosexuality is either wrong or right need not rise or fall with the truth of theism or revealed religion.

  11. Oh and AK-47, my thought in denying rights was the right to fucking privacy from the judgment of social conservatives. Yes, fellow white males, you have a right to be/fuck an asshole, just don’t fart in my face while you do it? Is that the gist of Swinburne’s complaint then, or was it meant to be more substantive than a plea for “politeness”?

    • See my remarks above where I ask KP for an argument for the conclusion that privacy has been violated (in the immoral sense of a privacy violation). Otherwise you’re just begging the question.

    • Putting aside the crassness, where does this “right” come from? It’s amazing how “rights” just appear whenever someone wants something. It makes a nice veneer with rhetorical cache when a person only has snark and no reasoning, doesn’t it?

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