Why Not Colonialism?

September 17, 2017 Bob le flambeur 8

  In 2009, Princeton University Press posthumously published the Oxford philosopher G. A. Cohen’s (little pink book) Why Not Socialism? Cohen develops an argument for retaining socialism as an ideal that we do not yet fully know how to realize. Interestingly, he does not mention any of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of this ideal during the 20th century; for example, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the Killing Fields, [Continue reading]

How Our Profession Rewards Ignorance

August 18, 2017 Bob le flambeur 0

What fills my mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more I reflect on it, is how the philosophy profession can continue to pretend that all is well with research on stereotype threat and implicit bias. The latest instance that caught my attention is Luc Bovens’s article on affirmative action, which was published recently in the top journal Mind. The article makes substantial empirical assumptions about the uncertainty afflicting the selection of [Continue reading]

The Google Gulag

August 10, 2017 Bob le flambeur 23

A lot has been written on Google’s firing of James Damore, the author of an internal memo about the assumptions underlying his former employer’s “diversity” program. Whether or not one agrees with the memo, it certainly is in line with mainstream scientific research concerning differences in interests, abilities, and mental illnesses between men and women. Others have pointed this out here, here, and here. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) accepts that women are more strongly disposed [Continue reading]

Why a “Philosopher of Color” Declines to Contribute

July 26, 2017 Bob le flambeur 16

Georgetown professor Rebecca–“suck my giant queer cock”–Kukla recently encouraged “scholars of color” to contribute to a special issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal on Trump and the 2016 election. Of course, in her editorial, Kukla makes no secret of what her own take is on this event. For example, she warns of the harmful impact Trump’s policies will have on the environment, and on “socially vulnerable and stigmatized Americans”. In any case, it [Continue reading]

The American Philosophical Association’s Explicit Bias about Implicit Bias

July 20, 2017 Bob le flambeur 0

“As philosophers, we are professionally involved in unearthing assumptions and values underlying ordinary thought and practice, and subjecting them to critical examination”: this is the opening line of the chapter on “countering implicit bias” in the American Philosophical Association (APA)’s just-released draft Good Practices Guide. What follows this opening line is an uncritical, and one-sided, presentation of implicit bias, leaving lots of “assumptions and values” to be unearthed by unmentionable websites such as this one; [Continue reading]

The Central European University Saga

May 31, 2017 Bob le flambeur 51

Today, if one wants to know what philosophers think about a political or social issue, there is no need to delve into any of the professional journals. It is enough to simply read the editorials or headlines of The Guardian, Vox, The New York Times or The Huffington Post. Not because they have been written by philosophers, but because philosophers simply repeat them. The days when philosophers expressed a variety of views, and did not [Continue reading]

Live and Let Live, or Let the Left Live?

March 31, 2017 Bob le flambeur 21

When historians of philosophy look back on our age they may be surprised by the tolerance analytic philosophers have displayed toward cultural studies, queer studies, postcolonial studies, LGBT studies, women’s studies, gender studies, African-American/black studies, disability studies, and those sections of slightly more traditional disciplines (for example, anthropology, sociology, and English) that have also been dominated by Theory. After all, it is well-known that these disciplines—henceforth, I shall refer to them as studies—exhibit only an [Continue reading]

Philosophy’s Culture of Silence

March 1, 2017 Bob le flambeur 4

Neven Sesardic’s recent book, When Reason Goes on Holiday, provides a detailed account of the morally questionable actions undertaken in the interest of political causes by some of the most important philosophers in the analytic tradition: Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, Imre Lakatos, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, among several others. Some of their actions were not just questionable from a moral point of view, but outright reprehensible. Yet, as Sesardic points out in the conclusion to [Continue reading]

Against Open Borders

February 8, 2017 Bob le flambeur 24

While our left-wing colleagues are up in arms over an executive order that is unlikely to have a significant impact on immigration to the US, it may be worth reflecting on the philosophical case for open borders. From a right-wing perspective, the best case probably has been made by libertarians such as Michael Huemer and Jason Brennan. Below I respond to five arguments against restrictions on immigration that the latter has provided in a recorded [Continue reading]

Implicit Bias: From Early Death to Failed Resurrection

January 17, 2017 Bob le flambeur 6

For the past 10 years, feminist philosophers have tried to place feminism on a scientific footing. In pursuit of that goal, they have turned to social psychology, and in particular, to research on implicit bias and stereotype threat. Among the two, the hypothesis of implicit bias seems to enjoy slightly greater credibility. Even a philosopher as capable as David Papineau wrote, in a review for the Times Literary Supplement, that …as Jennifer Saul stresses in [Continue reading]