Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Um. . . February 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — magicalersatz @ 4:54 pm

Wow. Just. . .wow.

This (Update: see a screenshot of the original here – thanks Kieran!) is apparently the webpage for Vincent Hendricks’ logic course. Not that we’re trying to reinforce stereotypes of logic being for men or anything.

Now go put on your schoolgirl outfit and hand your manly logic teacher an apple. You are a sexy accessory to his awesomeness.

*Update*: The content of the page linked above has now been altered. But there are links to screenshots of the original page in the comments, one of which I’ve added above. Brian Leiter has provided similar material on his post.

*Update*: Comments now closed, as they were becoming difficult to moderate. The trolls were too hungry.

*Update (23 Feb)*:  Leiter Reports has published this message from Vincent Hendricks. A similar statement from Hendricks appears toward the end of our comment thread.

 

108 Responses to “Um. . .”

  1. Well, finally someone heard your constant cry for more women.
    Here, the women make up 80 % of the panel.

  2. s. wallerstein Says:

    I congratulate this blog on its sense of humor.

    Imagine trying to make a joke like Andreas makes above on a new atheist blog or on most leftwing political blogs. He would have been virtually lynched.

    Really, such a sense of humor is a sign of, well, philosophical wisdom.

  3. Kathryn Says:

    I think this is one of those things, where you see it… and suddenly you think the interesting question is not, why are there so few women in philosophy, but rather, why are there so many of you still here?

  4. Michel X. Says:

    Mind. Boggled. Speechless.

  5. K Says:

    This is the editor in chief of Synthese. I rest my case.

  6. Slacktivist Says:

    Y’know, when I saw this post, I thought, ‘now, now, let’s not hold things against individuals,’ but after navigating over there… I stand corrected.

    Heh heh, 80% of the panel! Our calls have been answered!

    Sigh.

  7. profbigk Says:

    Wait, this is the editor in chief of Synthese??

    Huh. Insert Malcolm Reynold’s blank expression here.

  8. Bijan Parsia Says:

    I’m really struggling to understand why anyone would have ever thought this was a good idea. “I want to make logic seem more attractive…to men”?!? “I really love logic but not as much as myself”? What?

  9. B Says:

    I think we can all agree that this is shameful. Let’s not waste space talking about that. What can we do about it? How can we turn it into an opportunity to educate men and make the profession more appealing to women? People who have so far denied that there is a problem are *compelled* to say that, in at least this case, there is a huge problem. This seems like a great opportunity to educate. Let’s not waste it.

  10. CP Says:

    Without some context, I don’t know what to make of this. I searched the name of the photo credits and found this: http://www.christiangruner.com/

    Perhaps the photos were the result of a student project or some such thing. Ought the professor to provide some context to the photos? I would think so, but he’s in Europe with sexy commercials all over the place. This is to say that I looked at his Columbia page, and there is nothing like this on it. I need more context before I judge this too harshly.

  11. K Says:

    You need some context for this, CP? As in, Danes are so terribly sexist that you cannot blame the poor logician for reflecting that on his professional website?

  12. It seems that at this rate of decline we may expect that a year from now Synthese will be operated entirely by the cast of Jersey Shore.

  13. Nh Says:

    Holy moly. I’m often torn on the lines of arguments presented on this site, but those photos are transparently unacceptable. No reasonable member of the profession can tolerate this.

  14. Modalist Says:

    D’YE THINK HE’S COMPENSATING FOR SOMETHING? /Shrek

  15. Anon. Grad Student Says:

    Just FYI, what was probably the most objectionable photo in the set has already disappeared. The others are sure to follow. Would be good for someone to use the wayback machine to grab this travesty for posterity.

  16. Rebecca Kukla Says:

    Yes I am not by a proper computer but can someone please screenshot it before it is too late?

  17. K Says:

    It looks like the webpage has been edited significantly. Pictures are gone and an explanatory text has appeared at the bottom, “Pictures for “Man of the Month”, Connery Magazine, february 2012″. Man of the Month? Indeed.

  18. CP Says:

    Well, I got my more context:

    Billeder til “Månedens mand”, Connery Magazine, februar 2012
    Pictures for “Man of the Month”, Connery Magazine, february 2012

    And it looks like he has taken down two of the more offensive images. I should also defend myself. I wrote, “too harshly” and I think that was fair to not judge too harshly without more context and information. But that doesn’t mean I don’t judge it.

  19. Bijan Parsia Says:

    I archived the page:

    http://backupurl.com/j53jhk

    (post edits)

    I missed the files…

  20. At no. 11: Yes, we in Europe have some “sexy commercials”. But NOT for universities, NOT for education, NOT for logic.

  21. sh Says:

    I think this is the most objectionable (unless there’s another I haven’t seen yet). It’s still at his site, at another location. (So he apparently removed it only from the one place.)

    I cannot imagine what additional context would excuse this, excepting extremely implausible context. (A gun to the head; children held for ransom.) However, this does provide more context for the arrogant and bull-headed behavior exhibited during the Synthese debacle.

    By the way, when I originally clicked the link, I was wondering what this guy was thinking, putting photos like that up on his site. It was only afterwards that I realized these were in fact pictures of himself. Truly astonishing.

  22. Maybe the people who say that a PhD and a Professorship don’t make you smarter than the rest of us have a point.

  23. drcateh Says:

    I’ve got screen shots.

  24. M. Says:

    Some (all?) of the images taken down can still be found elsewhere on his site:

    http://www.vince-inc.com/vincent/?page_id=24

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Google’s cache still shows the earlier version of the logic course page, with more photos. Here are the images that were taken down from the logic course page, as earlier commenters noted:

  26. fdugugug Says:

    If you go through the rest of the images posted of him on that site (navigable from http://www.vince-inc.com/vincent/wp-content/uploads/), you can see just how narcissistic he is!

  27. Kieran Says:

    Here’s a screenshot of the page as it was, before Vince noticed that he might just possibly have made an error of judgment:

    https://skitch.com/kjhealy/8d7uk/vincent-hendricks-makes-an-ass-of-himself

  28. Knowing that these images appeared on that website somehow in connection with any kind of magazine piece related to anything called anything like “Man of the Month” is just as morally objectionable and offensive as knowledge of these images appearing on that website without this context. How could the context provided in comments 18 and 19 make the matter seem any less morally outrageous/objectionable/offensive? (I now see that someone already made this claim/point in comment #22.)

    By the way, when Synthese and this EiC accepted one of my papers in August of 2010 and asked me to sign copyright over to Springer at that time, I did so. This was long before I had any knowledge of the scandal (and, I believe, long before news of the scandal broke). Synthese has finally published that paper two months ago in a February 2012 issue. Should I have fought for copyright of my paper? (Synthese published the paper online on 10/01/10, besides having copyright as of August 2010. Does this make a difference?) In any case, I now really wish that I did (fight for copyright over my paper and resubmitted elsewhere).

  29. K Says:

    Notice that the pictures are posted on a web site for an intro to logic class. This is, as it were, the gateway drug into our profession. Now imagine that you are a young woman studying at the University of Copenhagen wondering whether to major in philosophy.

  30. post-doc Says:

    What I love his his literalism in response to criticism. “Oh, they don’t like the shot with the apple? I’ll take that one down. The one with me in front of a bevy of scantily clad schoolgirls? Well, there aren’t any apples…” Why on earth wouldn’t any sane person take everything down at once? This guy is clearly suffering from a level of narcissism that borders on dysfunctional – I’m curious to see how far the concern amongst the more sane members of the profession goes…

  31. Bijan Parsia Says:

    Now imagine that you are a young woman studying at the University of Copenhagen wondering whether to major in philosophy.

    “I came for the logic but left because of the uniforms.”

  32. Rita Says:

    The pictures are absurd, and looking at the other stuff on his website, the whole persona he developed there seems rather absurd. But is moral outrage the right reaction …? How about, like, perspective …? Isn’t this just ridiculous, rather than anything else …?

  33. drcateh Says:

    My screen shots and a little commentary are on the RAIL blog: http://railct.com/2012/02/22/women-in-logic/

  34. K Says:

    Or imagine that you are a young man studying at the University of Copenhagen wondering whether to major in philosophy. Hey, who knew! You can be a blatant sexist with a diploma in logic and critical thinking. You can even get a PhD and a professorship.

  35. Anon Junior Faculty Says:

    And now I’m going to click on the “why stay?” tab.

  36. Modalist Says:

    Rita, I think many of us are indeed rolling our eyes, not to say laughing our asses off, at poor old Vinnie and his assiduously cultivated self-image as some kind of hard-driving sharp-dressing super-genius philosophical badass. He’s trying so very hard, the poor boy. If you’re reading this, Vincent—and based on your extensive collection of uploaded photos of yourself, I am reasonably confident that you’ll find your way here sooner rather than later—I want to say that I think your agenthood is surely very active indeed, and would also like to assure you that everyone is very impressed by your nice shirts. They are 100 percent not laughing at you behind your back.

  37. I think I see Rita’s point in comment 36. However, I still think moral outrage and/or related sentiments are appropriate reactions. It is precisely these kinds of images (as well as many others) that help socially condition so many people into consciously and/or unconsciously forming/accepting various forms of very harmful sexism and very harmful gender stereotypes. It is also precisely these kinds of images that owners of magazines, television, and film very often use to sell audiences to advertisers. These daily sales have non-linear causal relationships with the aforementioned social conditioning involved in forming/accepting conscious or unconsious sexist beliefs/attitudes and gender stereotypes. Also – if it is not obvious, unfortunately, many masses of people do not react to such images in the ways that (most?) people do on this blog…

  38. [...] by the Leiter Report, when he shut down criticisms of creationism.  Leiter  credits the  feminist philosophers blog for breaking the cheesecake story, (I thank them for my first joke,) and you can find more [...]

  39. Bijan Parsia Says:

    Hi K,

    Well, I like to think that my thought as a young male student considering the course would be something like, “Wow, I can study logic and end up colleagues with THAT GUY?! Never mind, interpretative dance beckons…”

  40. Michel X. Says:

    I’d like to congratulate FP on a very fine example of modus pWnz.

  41. Michelle Says:

    Or, building from K, suppose you are a young man studying at the University of Copenhagen. You’re young, you’re still trying to understand your own identity, and you’re easily influenced. (That’s what it’s like to be young, after all.) You take some logic, and you realize that you really love it. You want to be a logician. You want to be the sort of person who does logic for a living. So, you look to your professor for guidance. Your professor is blatantly sexist. You take from this that, in order to emulate those you respect, you too should take on blatantly sexist attitudes and behaviors.

    We don’t want to police the private lives of professors just so we can all be good role models to students. But there is a difference between private activities one might engage in (which we may not think students should emulate, should they learn of those private activities), and public expressions of one’s identity as a member of this profession. We don’t want women thinking this is what philosophers think of women, and we don’t want men thinking this is what it means to be a philosopher.

  42. Well said Michelle! (in comment 45). Could my comment #41 be related? Am I missing something? In any case, we need more explanations and comments like #45!

  43. profbigk Says:

    And it’s Bijan Persia at #35 for the win!

    “I came for the logic but left because of the uniforms.”

    Awesome. Please try not to violate policies while having fun here, though, folks. Also, please don’t take comment editing amiss if you’ve already engaged in some willy-nilly violations.

  44. profbigk Says:

    I followed the link to the coverage of the Synthese controversy at Leiter Reports, and reading through the linked story, nodded at this sentence at the end: “Many philosophers have affirmed to me that van Benthem and Hendricks are accomplished scholars in their field, which I believe. They have, alas, betrayed a catastrophic failure of professional judgment, which has damaged the Guest Editors and all the contributors to their Special Issue; the cause of serious science education in the United States; as well as the integrity of Synthese.”

    Although I feel these foolish photos are minor in comparison to the mismanagement of a journal, I must say, “failure of professional judgment” seems to capture my sentiments about this nicely.

  45. Brit Says:

    I used to be a young woman taking logic courses at University of Copenhagen. Had this happened back then, I probably would not have been a philosopher today.

  46. Jozef Says:

    This is so wrong and so hilarious/ridiculous at the same time that I am not even sure what the proper emotional reaction to it should be – pity? moral outrage/anger? laughter? envy (those shirts!)? sheer amazement? is he just awesome at being awesome? is he the man of the year? an adult icon? formal iconoclast? future star of the “hot implications and modus sexiens” vivid entertainment series? vin hendricksian? the real house-philosopher of Denmark? A real-life reductio ad absurdum? Aristotelian phronimos? Or is he shooting for a appearing on O’Reilly factor to promote our profession? But, the most importan question is – who will now submit something to Synthese and be serious?

  47. wuthrich Says:

    Wow indeed. To follow up on Michelle’s comment (#45), we wouldn’t want *anyone*, woman or man, to think that this is what philosophers think of women!

    Given this grave lack of professional judgment, I start to worry about *all* his editorships, at the Stanford Encyclopedia in Philosophy, the series New Waves in Philosophy, etc…

  48. profbigk Says:

    Jozef’s comment is now featured in the update on the Leiter Reports coverage of this, which makes me happy, as Jozef sums up the reactions of so many, so well:

    http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2012/02/vincent-hendricks-of-synthese-scandal-fame-has-a-course-webpage.html

    (I still think Bijan’s comment the most hilarious.)

  49. profbigk Says:

    Wuthrich, avoid too much uncharitable visiting of the global competence of living philosophers (see Our Policies). As Brian Leiter noted in his post of old on Synthese (linked in an earlier comment), Hendricks is considered by knowledgeable peers to be quite adept in his subfields.

    But yes, even as I issue this caution, it’s professional judgment that is our mutual worry, is it not? Yes.

  50. As many have already noted, this only confirms how abysmal Professor Hendrick’s lack of judgement is and how acceptable rampant sexism still seems to be in (some sectors of) the profession. Depressing.

  51. wuthrich Says:

    profbigk, yes, professional judgment is our mutual worry. I would hate to be considered unfairly uncharitable, but think that worries about his editorship at Synthese based on this new evidence would equally apply to all other editorships. And such worries have been expressed above by others.

  52. Bijan Parsia Says:

    profbigk, I think we can avoid impugning his, e.g., competence at logic or epistemology while questioning whether he’s a good editor.

    Competence in the field can cover up a number of editorial failures (which the Synthese scandal shows). The hard question from the Synthese scandal was whether the editorial fail was confined to bending to political pressure (which probably is a rare, if important, event across his editorships). The photokefluffle (not just participating in the photoshoot, but putting the photos on a *course page!*) suggests (but doesn’t, of course, prove) that his judgement is compromised in other ways.

    In particular, it seems unlikely (though, again, not impossible) that he would be active in trying to improve the gender balance of things he edits. (It suggests other things, but I think that this is the most straightforward one.)

    So, presuming his subject matter competence, it’s reasonable that “mostly good stuff” gets into e.g., Synthese. The problem is in what doesn’t get in. A big big problem!

  53. [...] pouty women in slutty schoolgirl costumes.   It was worse, actually. Before the utterly wonderful Feminist Philosophers blog broke the story and a shitload of angry people began barraging Hendricks and his colleagues with emails, this is [...]

  54. Ludwig Keebals Says:

    There must be some explanation. My guess is that there is a money trail that leads from Francis Beckwith and his cronies directly to the editor at the Connery Magazine “Man of the Month” section.

  55. Friday Dark Says:

    I imagine that behaviour this egregiously inappropriate is highly unrepresentative of logic as a field, but none the less I think this is an opportunity to sit back and reflect on the underrepresentation of women in that discipline: http://kieranhealy.org/files/misc/phil-all-disciplines.pdf

    Like many (most? all?) readers of this blog, I strongly suspect that the underrepresentation of women in logic is related to a hostile environment for women therein. The question is, what can be done to change this? Making it clear that incidents like this are unprofessional (and unethical) is a step, but a lot more must be done. I would be very interested to hear what people think should be done – in particular, is there anything specifically about this discipline which can be identified as in need of change?

    I am going into a PhD programme this autumn (or “fall”, as I shall now have to get used to calling it!) and it is highly likely that I will specialise in logic. Although I have no illusions about being personally capable of bringing about great change, I none the less hope that I will head into the programme with at least some concrete ideas about working towards logic being a more representative field – any and all suggestions are welcome.

  56. Bijan Parsia Says:

    Hmm. Sorry for stating the obvious like that!

  57. s. wallerstein Says:

    It is hard to believe that posting such photos on one’s website in 2012 is a completely “innocent” gesture, as it might have been in 1958.

    That is, everyone in a university position today can be assumed to be aware of the existence of feminism and of the general principles animating feminism.

    So posting those photos seems to be spitting in the face of the woman’s movement and of its principles. It’s backlash. It’s more than a sign of immaturity or lack of judgment.

  58. Reidar Says:

    To the man’s defence it should be noted that despite the vulgar etc. nature of this and his other webpages, the content of the course as described in Danish here: http://sis.ku.dk/kurser/viskursus.aspx?knr=133990 is quite decent; and that is certainly relevant if the question is whether one as a student at Copenhagen would or would not follow this course. It could also be that most students will not even bother going to vince-inc.com to find out what courses to take, but instead go directly to the list of courses given at this StudieInformationsSystem page

  59. profbigk Says:

    s.wallerstein, I wouldn’t go that far. Well, okay, I would agree that it’s backlashinine. But I don’t interpret it as a spit in the eye, because I imagine that these photos would not have been on his site if they had not been in a magazine featuring him as Dude of the Day or whathaveyou.

    In other words, if they were not featured elsewhere, I speculate that they would never have been posted on the website. This is why I describe it as poor judgment instead of willful eye-spitting. If I were featured in magazine photos that others would find transparently insulting, but that made me out to be Ethicist of the Internet or Yacker of the Year, I’d be tempted, I admit, to say, “Get a load of me, everyone, I’m the Yacker of the Year!” It would be a head-turner. It would be unethical and unwise to actually post such photos, if it featured photos of people my students’ ages in alienating depictions promoting their subordinate status relative to me. But … well, heck, after typing that last sentence, I just can’t believe anyone would do that.

  60. Roger Says:

    As much as I think this whole thing says something about Vincent Hendricks’s performance as EiC at Synthese, I think it’s also easy to go overboard in that direction. In particular, this question from Jozef worries me:

    “But, the most important question is – who will now submit something to Synthese and be serious?”

    I think the short answer is: lots of people. For one thing, the philosophy blogosphere is not coextensive with the philosophy profession. For another, Synthese has an excellent reputation in its field, and lots of people doing good work submit there. My impression is that the scandal last year did a lot more damage to Synthese’s reputation in North America than in Europe, for one thing, so European philosophers are still pretty likely to be submitting their good stuff to Synthese.

    In short: yes, let’s think dimly of Vincent Hendricks, but let’s not think too dimly of people who publish in Synthese just yet.

    [Full disclosure: I've published in Synthese.]

  61. Bijan Parsia Says:

    let’s not think too dimly of people who publish in Synthese just yet.

    There are also other constraints. Journal rep is a lagging indicator esp. in things like tenure decisions and REF assessments. In other words, power supports the powerful.

    (I’m struggling right now with whether to join the boycott of Elsevier. They are beyond loathsome, but several key journals in my area are Elsevier’s. Even if I get school support (which seems likely), a lot of decisions happen at the faculty level where nuance (e.g., at promotion time) is not at a premium. Also, I co-author with students, so I have to consider the affect on them. Plus I’m a wimp!)

  62. drcateh Says:

    While previously I might have submitted to Synthese, I will not now; this seals it.
    To Reidar, I suggest that students are quite exploratory of professors on-line. Students certainly look up my pages, meagre as they are. If I were studying with a hotshot then I’d be keeping an eye on his web presence, although I’m not otherwise much for celebrity watching.

  63. I was wondering how long it would take for the pseudonymous trolls to come in Hendrick’s defense and (surprise! surprise!) along comes a “Ludwig Keebals” (#60 above)!
    “Ludwig”, when are you going to start telling us that this is actually all a conspiracy against “formal philosophy” and that it was actually Brian Leiter who, having hacked into Hendrick’s website, posted the pictures? Or that it’s actually a move to attract young men to logic?

  64. John Collins Says:

    I apologize in advance for this off-topic post, but I’d like to say how delighted I was today to learn that the very talented logician Tamar Lando has just accepted our offer, and will be joining the Columbia-Barnard Philosophy Department this Fall. Lando’s (2010) proof of the completeness of the modal logic S4 for the Lebesgue measure semantics is an extraordinarily original, important, and potentially fruitful piece of work. I am very happy indeed that she is going to be my colleague.

  65. profbigk Says:

    Good for Columbia-Barnard, and good for Tamar Lando!

    I can’t believe I didn’t notice a “Keebals” had posted, ha ha! I assume it’s the same IP that Brian Leiter posted about, what fun, will have to check.

    Updated to add: Nope, different IP. Ah, well. I’m surprised he didn’t dispense with the “Lud.”

  66. I’m sorry bigk but I’m afraid that the Keebals don’t use their real IP address when posting comments.

  67. Chris Menzel Says:

    Bear in mind there are three other editors-in-chief at Synthese all of whom have stellar reputations — Otávio Bueno, Wiebe van der Hoek, and Gila Sher. That said, I am gobsmacked by VH’s web site.

  68. Profbigk @65: But surely, the existence of the dude of day pics is not exactly an accidental occurrence, as you acknowledge at the end of your comment. It’s not as if the pictures appeared out of nowhere and VFH then thought “well, I might as well post them on my website and link to my logic course”. Being willing to pose like this and depict one’s profession in this manner, with all the associated implications about female philosophy students in general, or about male philosophy professors, seems to me quite sufficient to make him guilty of spitting in the feminist eye. Maybe linking these pictures to a specific course, thereby causing insults to the specific students enrolled in the course, is like adding some poking to the spitting, or going out of one’s way to make sure that the spit reached its intended goal.

  69. Brit Says:

    The main problem is that it appears on a university website. But even if it appeared on a personal website, I think it would be problematic. As editors and professors we are responsible for what we say, implicitly or explicitly, on the Internet.

  70. drcateh Says:

    A causal but — let me emphasize — *not justificatory* explanation may be that photographers saw the video of VHF with a student in a sharp outfit, and noted how disproportionately underdressed he is. The video is the first on his media page: http://www.vince-inc.com/vincent/?page_id=24. I note that elsewhere on the page he is dressed in a similar style as in the cheesecake shots.

    I suspect a magazine editor tried to combine what seemed the best of VHFs images, and exaggerate them for comic effect. The joke is on them both.

  71. Alan Says:

    One postive benefit of all this might be (as Brit says above) to shock us as professional philosophers to understand the subtleties of non-anonymous net exposure. There might even be instances where similar pictures featuring real philosophers could have some positive value–if they were explicitly sarcastic and satirically critical, for example, as in an Onion context. Clearly this isn’t that, though the attempt to “rebrand” them as just a throwaway photo essay is a transparent ad hoc attempt to portray them in a similar light. Nope. Character still counts, and we should be very careful of how we present ourselves in this medium, and make sure of the context of that presentation.

  72. Charles Pigden Says:

    Friday Dark writes: Like many (most? all?) readers of this blog, I strongly suspect that the underrepresentation of women in logic is related to a hostile environment for women therein.

    Well, I’m not a woman and only (at most!) a quarter of a logician, so I can’t comment on this from personal experience. However, I recently attended a meeting of the Australasian Association for Logic and got into conversation with a well-known woman logician from Australia. She told me that although Logic in Australasia is pretty obviously a male-dominated discipline, one of the things she really liked about it was that it WASN’T sexist. She had never felt that she wasn’t being taken seriously because she was a woman, and in about twenty years could only remember one instance of sexual harassment (and the guy involved was very very drunk a the time). So whatever it’s like in Hendrick’s neck of the woods, it seems that in Australasia, at least, the explanation for the underrepresentation of women in logic, is NOT that the environment is overtly sexist, though I suppose it could be ‘hostile’ in some more subtle way.

  73. anon "sr" philosopher Says:

    @ 78: After a moment’s reflection, let’s hope that the logician you talked with would not draw the strong conclusion you have about the lack of sexism in the Australasian logic world, namely, on the basis of a conversation with a single woman logician from Australia.

  74. Anonymous Says:

    If these were part of his personal art project it would be nobody else’s business – he is allowed to have a sex and an art life, and he has no obligation to keep it secret, regardless of his professional role. The fact that he is an editor means fuck all when it comes to his art and sex life.

    Now certainly it is very strange to find these photos associated with his course but I do not think it is reasonable to treat him in this way unless there is evidence of actual discrimination against women. For that we should turn to his female students and colleagues. So far there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed or discriminated against.

    At the very least he should be given a chance to explain the artistic vision behind the photos – assuming he was part of the creative process. I am shocked and discouraged to see my colleagues so quickly move to censor art and sexuality – Mr. Hendricks has no obligation to explain himself to you, though you could have at least given him the opportunity to do so before attacking him.

  75. Rebecca Kukla Says:

    @80: Art? Seriously?

    “At the very least he should be given a chance to explain the artistic vision [sic] behind the photos”. I’ll stop laughing long enough to say: Who is denying him such a chance? Explain away, Dr. Hendricks. Here is a very public blog thread that would be a perfect forum for you. I’m all ears (eyes?).

  76. Nemo Says:

    @Anonymous, Mr. Hendricks may have no obligation to explain himself to anyone, but no one has any obligation to refrain from forming and expressing a negative opinion about these pictures and his decision-making. I’m with Rebecca in waiting with bated breath for the artistic defense though!

  77. Anonymous Says:

    Professor Kukla, I am sorry that you find my opinion laughable. I guess Mr. Hendricks is not the only one willing to demean his colleagues.

    I look at those photos and I see artistic merit. Apparently you do not. Many people say that work they disagree with is not “artistic enough” – that is the template for all obscenity charges.

    My point wasn’t that Mr. Hendricks could not respond now, but that you should have given him a chance to do so before attacking him. Because you have all judged the work there is little point in his replying now.

  78. Maureen Eckert Says:

    To add to the great news about Tamar Lando, I thought I would add some much smaller scale good news about some young women logic students. For the first time, three undergraduate women students make up our team of Logic Tutors at UMASS Dartmouth. Our department has an advanced logic reading group in Non-Classical Logic (known as the DLP: Deviant Logic Posse). Outstanding students from this group take responsibility for tutoring new logic students (and they may do so for experiential learning credits). This is a special year for us, as women students are not only present, but taking charge. It is not impossible to build better undergraduate logic curricula and environments that support women students. In short, we have found increasing the philosophical relevance of logic education and building a student-based social support system has had good outcomes for women’s participation in logic at advanced levels.

  79. Nh Says:

    Re: #84

    1) Artistic merit and sexism-based objectionability are not mutually exclusive.
    2) We’re not saying it’s obscene, we’re saying it’s sexist. Think of sexist advertisements for kitchenware from the 50’s: sexist but not obscene.

  80. Anonymous Says:

    @David, I agree the photos are ridiculous. But I don’t think moral outrage is appropriate unless there is evidence of actual sexism (for example: his female students report that he treats them poorly). I agree that, based on the photos, we can conclude that he is a fool. Big deal. The internet is full of fools, and they do not deserve to be publicly and professionally shamed. I post anonymously because the profession disagrees.

  81. mm Says:

    I guess I don’t see the point in making nasty comments about all the other photos on his website in which only he appears. I think we diminish ourselves if we stoop to comments like in #83. So what if he dresses flashily or whatnot? He’s a good looking man, and the camera seems to like him. If he wants to pose in those ways on his website, that is his business.

    And it is completely immaterial to why the pictures on the logic course page are so bad.

    We don’t need to speculate on whether VH is vain or whatnot. That will lead to an unproductive and highly speculative conversation about *who* he is, about whether *he* is a sexist, etc.

    I’d rather us focus on (i) *what* he did — namely put offensive material on a course webpage — and (ii) why what he did is so problematic, rather than (iii) *why* he did it. The photos on the logic page are offensive, and for the most part the discussion about why they are offensive has been productive, with Michelle’s comment at #45 really getting to the heart of the matter, or so it seems to me.

    —-

    Incidentally, I am curious if VH has violated any policy at his home university by putting this stuff up on an official webpage. I am certain that if I were to do something like this, I would be in violation of our university policy, and I would be getting some very unhappy emails from the chair, and maybe even the dean, telling me to clean up my act.

  82. Charles Pigden Says:

    Well, 78 I thought I was being properly tentative, hedging my comments with ‘it seems’ etc. However, the logic scene in Australasia is pretty small, comprising, at most, about forty persons. I think you could get a pretty good idea of what those people were like after twenty years’ exposure. If you have hung around with a bunch forty or so guys (and it is mostly guys) for twenty years, and if you have found them not to be sexist, then that seems a pretty good reason to think that they are NOT sexist, at least in the contexts in which you have hung around with them. And those are the contexts – the contexts of teaching, mentoring and being a colleague – that are at issue here. If there were were hundreds of Australasian logicians my inference would indeed have been hasty. But though Australasian logicians make a considerable splash on the international scene, there are not that many of of them, and it is not that hard to get to know them all.

    My informant was pretty clear. She wasn’t saying that she had NOT experienced the Australasian Logic scene as sexist she was saying that she HAD experienced it as NON-sexist, a friendly and supportive, if excessively male, environment. I thought this worth reporting since
    since, in so far as I had thought about the matter before last December, I suppose that I shared Friday Dark’s suspicions.

  83. mm Says:

    87, VH isn’t some random dude on the internet. He’s not even some random philosopher. He’s the editor in chief of a major journal in our profession. He’s a very well-known figure in our field and outside of it. It’s news when someone like that behaves foolishly, and it is important to hold the leaders of our field to higher standards than we would to some random internet fool.

    I’m also baffled as to why you think we need to wait for evidence of actual sexism. The pictures themselves are actually sexist.

  84. Modalist Says:

    > Professor Kukla, I am sorry that you find my opinion laughable.
    > I guess Mr. Hendricks is not the only one willing to demean
    > his colleagues.

    [Slow hand clap.] Well played, sir. Well played. Listen, can you email me a photograph of yourself in a plaid micro-mini and tied-off shirttails? I think I would look at that photo see artistic merit. I won’t judge you, though, I promise.

    > I agree the photos are ridiculous.

    Wait, I thought you said they had artistic merit? Perhaps your intentions are not entirely honorable here. In which case definitely email me that photo, you little minx.

  85. Top ten explanations Hendricks might use:

    10. In the pics I’m dressed just as slutty as the girls/wenches. So it’s really quite equal.

    9. The men’s magazine wanted pics of the girls giving me a group blowjob, but I refused (the pics, that is) on feminist grounds.

    8. They (the girls? the magazine?) forced me into it. It’s reverse rape, in effect. So why aren’t you coming to my aid??

    7. As you can see from the pics, I was looking at the camera the whole time. I had no idea how the bitches were dressed.

    6. Like many others, I’ve worked for many years to get girls interested in logic. Let’s face facts: the project has failed miserably and there is no reason to think it’s ever going to succeed to any significant measure. So, now I’m just trying to get more hormonally challenged heterosexual men into logic. At least we stand a chance there.

    5. I don’t approve of any of this. I’m just like you, really! But clearly, there is legitimate controversy surrounding the relevant feminist issues. I agreed to post the pics in the spirit of “teaching the controversy”. I’ve done things like this before (cf. the bogus Synthese “scandal”).

    4. Any female member of my faculty (or of any other philosophy faculty) is perfectly free to teach logic and have pics of beefcake on her course webpage. I encourage them to do so in order to move us closer to gender equity. (In fact, if any of these female professors would be interested in team teaching such a course with me … think of the possibilities!).

    3. I’m happy to do some pics with beefcake as well as cheesecake. (Or…umm…maybe we could just photoshop them in.) That should make my many friends in the LGBT community happy.

    2. This is a course in FORMAL logic, not INFORMAL logic. As such, it focuses on form. But we investigate all sorts of forms in the course: logical, platonic, and, crucially HUMAN. By putting pics of particularly interesting human forms on the course webpage I am merely illustrating part of the course content. Hence, it’s CONTENT DRIVEN, as is entirely appropriate.

    1. it’s just a joke for god’s sake! Have you no sense of humor? And you’re just jealous! And if you’d just get laid once in a while you wouldn’t react that way!… (Insert other standard responses men have given over the centuries.)

    I realize that the above mockery is awfully mean. I wouldn’t stoop so low if I thought Hendricks was just ignorant; in that case diplomacy would be called for. But surely he can’t be so ignorant! Not as someone who is a philosophy professor in 2012!

    If you think this mockery goes too far, which strikes me as entirely possible, please speak up and set me straight. I can take it.

  86. Maureen Eckert Says:

    @bryan frances Go on with your bad self. I can’t really summon any quality mockery, which the Henricks’ pics deserve. Thanks from me. I just got home late this evening, after spending my time, time outside classroom time and office hours, with our logic students. I was feeling, well, pretty damn good, and I’m, like, “let me see what’s going on on the philosophy blogs.” Lo and behold: This Hendricks crap. It is the last sorta thing we need–“we” being a lot of people working hard. Teaching. Yeah, teaching. And there’s this HOPE, you know, when teaching. This, well, INTENTION. Not posing for fantasy pictures fantasy teaching. Not insulting all the people actually teaching students. Real students. Yeah, real ones. Worthy of respect in every freakin’ way. Please, do feel free to make a mockery of these pictures. Do it for me and my colleagues. I am too tired tonight. Okay?

  87. Anonymous Says:

    @91, artistic merit and ridiculousness are not mutually exclusive. I can (with good intentions) defend something as being artistic without thinking that it is important or even good art.

    @90 (mm), can’t one be aroused by schoolgirls or have a student-teacher fetish without being sexist? Can’t someone be aroused by the photos or related fantasies without thinking that all/most women are such-and-such? Some art (or pornography) is not sexist merely because it depicts submissive women and a dominant man – one can depict a submissive woman without suggesting that all or most women are submissive. The fact that such attitudes are prevalent in some quarters might be a good reason not to post the pictures. So maybe Hendricks made an oopsy-doodle, but not a moral error. Morality does not demand that one’s artistic and fantasy life be so grounded. Mine certainly isn’t :(

  88. @#94 and several previous comments:

    The guy’s job (among other things) is to teach logic classes to students at his university in such a way that members of groups that have often been subject to various forms of discrimination (and non-members of such groups as well) have just as much chance of taking and benefiting from the course as anyone else. How could he not think posting these photos did not interfere with doing that job? I can’t see any explanation beyond a kind of moral blindness.

    And, you put stuff on your website you open yourself up to criticism. You’re welcome to come back with a response.

  89. To the Philosophical Community

    A recent picture on my website has caused some debate. The intention was that the picture, as cover on a forthcoming magazine, might be used to view logic from a somewhat humorous and untraditional perspective appealing to larger audience which the magazine covers. However it had the opposite effect offending various parties in the philosophical community. I truly apologize for this and I stand completely corrected. I have removed the pictures from the website.

    Vincent F. Hendricks

    http://www.vince-inc.com/vincent/?p=1175

  90. It looks like Hendricks removed all of the pictures and posted an apology on his website.

    http://www.vince-inc.com/vincent/?p=1175

  91. Rebecca Kukla Says:

    @96 – It is interesting that he removed ALL the pictures, as you said Gabriele, and then issued an apology for having posted “a picture”. Like maybe no one noticed the all others. Dude, I CAN SEE YOU!

    I am also curious how he thought that the slutty schoolgirl pics would help us ” view logic [sic] from a somewhat humorous and untraditional perspective”.

  92. I know, Rebecca, I found those two aspects of the statement perplexing too. Also, I do appreciate the fact that he offered some sort of apology but I’m still not sure he is clear about what was wrong with the pictures and with his posting them on a course-related website. He seems to be apologizing to “the philosophical community” for the fact that “[the picture(s)] had the opposite effect offending various parties in the philosophical community.” However, as far as I can see, he should have apologized first and foremost to his own students and he should have apologized for contributing to reinforce sexist stereotypes about logic and philosophy not for “offending” any of us.

  93. Rebecca Kukla Says:

    Gabriele: Word!

  94. @100: Please, Rebecca, don’t feed the trolls!

  95. Logoskaieros Says:

    I like how the apology makes it sound like no reasonable person could have guessed that people would find it unprofessional for a professor to portray a group of their students (and potential future colleagues!) as sexified school girls.
    It’s not that it’s “offensive.” It’s disrespectful and entirely unprofessional.

    Oh, I also like how a cry of public outrage = “debate”

  96. I’m not sure if #104 is a comment or a repository of examples of fallacies for an informal logic course.

    [MODERATOR INTERJECTION - comment 104 removed as things getting out of hand.]

  97. [...] on a Web page using photos of himself surrounded by women dressed as sexy schoolgirls. The Web site Feminist Philosophers reported the incident, as did Jezebel, and the philosophy blog Leiter Reports. Mr. Hendricks [...]

  98. [...] = [];}You probably thought this was about some other sexist academic, but it’s actually about Vincent Hendricks, a philosopher who posted this on his website. Unlike that other sexist academic, Hendricks at [...]

  99. [...] philosophy blogosphere erupted in protest last week over photographs posted by Boston University philosophy professor Ken Siegel [...]

  100. [...] who have not followed this, information and discussion can be found here, here, here, here and here). And so I’ve been thinking a bit about gender and the profession. In the USA and UK there [...]

  101. [...] by posting some photos of him with young some women dressed as school girls. In case you missed it, Feminist Philosophers broke the story that was all over the academic wires. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  102. [...] Web site Feminist Philosophers reported the incident, as did Jezebel and the philosophy blog Leiter Reports. Hendricks [...]


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