Yes, this is a philosophy blog. We’re really serious here. It is NOT a cat blog. That’s really true.
But then cats can illustrate pretty nifty concepts, ones philosophers find really interesting. Thus:
There’s Brian Leiter over on his blog treating philosophers’ rudeness as a joke. Or, equally, as something you should experience as proof you are being treated as an insider. AND I CAN’T SEEM TO COMMENT ON IT. Goodness knows where the comment box is, or isn’t.
The post is called “Funny–On Academic Bad Manners.” Notice that though he and those acting like him apparently think they’d never, ever treat students with crushing rudeness, everyone else is fair game. Interesting view of social interaction and one’s place in it.
Is the priority given to one’s feelings and thoughts in an academic debate – and the obvious sense of entitlement to nastily dump on people- narcissistic? Is there really any justification for comments that are nasty and bitter enough that, when made by a powerful figure, they can lead to one’s being ostracized? What do you think?
UPDATE: You might want to look at our earlier discussion of philosophy as a blood sport.
So a 66 year old New Orleans grandmother is quoted as saying in Women in the Wake of the Storm, a report issued last week by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (An accompanying press release can be found here.)
The extent of the forgetting, described in Ms online, is shameful:
based on interviews with 38 women from ages 19 to 66 and from diverse ethnicities who lived through Katrina. The study showed women’s lack of access to housing, health care, and child care, putting women and children at risk for abuse and exploitation.
Equally troubling is the reason why women’s needs are left out of consideration in the planning being done. NO ONE IS ASKING THEM.
The report states that many women’s voices have gone unheard throughout the recovery process, so women’s needs are not being addressed. There is limited availability of housing, only one domestic violence shelter that survived the storm, and communities have been shattered. The report calls for a gender-informed relief strategy to end the economic and health problems women face. (MY STRESS)
The situation bring out another facet of feminist standpoint theory that Jender referred to in discussing another, but not entirely dissimilar situation. (And, most recently, here.) Standpoint theory draws our attention to the fact that the relatively underprivileged can have important knowledge that the privileged have difficulty discovering themselves. The current situation brings out why it can be hard to discover the knowledge that the other has. The problem is not just that those in charge forget to ask, or don’t think to ask. Rather, underneath that is the fact that disadvantaged women will not be seen as part of the group that possesses knowledge.
Lt Colonel Diane Beaver was a staff judge advocate at Guantanamo Bay. She describes discussions about what “interrogation techniques” to use, in which colleagues took ideas from the TV show 24:
The younger men would get particularly agitated, excited even: “You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas.” A wan smile crossed Beaver’s face. “And I said to myself, you know what, I don’t have a dick to get hard. I can stay detached.”
Then she gave her approval to waterboarding.
[Standpoint theorists have argued for the claim that women or members of other marginalised groups may be able to attain superior positions for acquiring knowledge, at least of particular subject matters. But none of them would ever have endorsed the claim that female anatomy makes one automatically superior in judgments about torture techniques. The privileged standpoint(s) are not meant to be due simply to anatomy, and– most importantly, but most commonly overlooked by critics– they’re meant to be the product of a lot of hard intellectual work, rather than automatic. For more on standpoint theory, go here.]