A new attitude puzzle

Come on, all you philosophers of language who love the substitution puzzle cases! What do you make of this?

CBS just found that if you ask Americans how they feel about “gay men and lesbians” serving in the military, a large majority support it. But if you ask people whether “homosexuals” should be allowed to serve in the military, support drops.


It never rains but it pours…the future of philosophy of science

Well, readers of this blog know in advance what they’ll see; readers who are not familiar with our discussions of all-male conferences, might  look here.

Sydney-Tilburg conference on

The Future of Philosophy of Science

Wednesday 14 – Friday 16 April 2010

Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS)



… In particular, we are interested in how the different methods philosophers of science use relate to each other, whether they can fruitfully complement each other, and whether current trends allow predictions about the development of our field. 

The program of the conference is now online. Please visit:


The invited speakers are Michael Friedman, Chris Hitchcock, Hannes Leitgeb and Samir Okasha. Contributed speakers include William Bechtel, Ronald Giere, Alfred Nordmann, Michael Stoeltzner, and Paul Teller.

The registration deadline is 15 March 2010.

Addition:  EB has pointed out that there are women among the contributed speakers, though not mentioned in the notices we’re getting.

Addition:  Women on the program include:  Chiara Lisciandra, Anna Leuschner, Carla Fehr, Kathryn Plaisance, Kristina Liefke, Katya Tentori, Catarina Dutilh Novaes.

Violence against women OK, say children

This horrified me.

The 11 and 12-year-olds were questioned in depth about their attitudes and aspirations towards gender roles and behaviour.

They were asked to consider whether or not a man was justified in punching his partner when he found out she had had an affair.

Nearly all of the children thought that the woman deserved to be hit.

In another scenario, about 80% of the children said a man had cause to slap his partner because she did not have the dinner ready on time.

I hope that perhaps there’s some ambiguity or misunderstanding responsible for these results. The following suggests there might be, since I don’t know how you could not agree with violence and yet say the things above:

[The lead researcher] said: “The children didn’t agree with violence, but gave reasons to try to justify it if the woman had done something ‘wrong’.

The study also showed quite strong gendered expectations, including this one:

One of the girls said: “I want to be a dancer or a doctor.”

But she added: “When I grow up I’m going to have two babies and work part-time in the shop down the road.”

You’ve seen the behavior, now know its name: Academic Mobbing

In looking at a Chronicle of Higher Education discussion of the Huntville tragedy, I discovered a URL for a site about mobbing, with lots of interesting articles.

Have you ever seen a flock of birds turn on one of its own?  Apparently that’s the source of a common label for a sort of group bullying that can go on in academia and elsewhere.  It’s Mobbing.  In its full-fledged  form, it involves  a wide-range of harrassing behaviors, including very explicit public rudeness, negative letter-writing, refusal of ordinary requests, denial of  standard opportunities, and so on.

One site takes Ward Churchill to be one of mobbing’s victim, as did the jury, apparently:

Colorado professor wins wrongful-termination suit

Ward Churchill’s ‘little Eichmanns’ reference to victims of 9/11 started a storm that led to his firing.

April 03, 2009|DeeDee Correll,BOULDER, COLO. — The University of Colorado professor who likened 9/11 victims to a Nazi leader was fired in retaliation for his controversial remarks, a Denver jury ruled Thursday.

Jurors in the wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Ward L. Churchill agreed with the embattled professor’s contention that he was the victim of a “howling mob,” not the perpetrator of academic misconduct.

It’s effects can be severe, and include  post-traumatic stress disorder.  One letter writer to CHE raised the question of whether the Huntsville perpetrator had been the victim of  mobbing.  We certainly don’t know now, but it is a  reasonable question, I should think.

I’m afraid that the recurring standard advice I keep seeing is to leave, to get out.  It really is toxic.  Of course, that’s the sort of situation where one might be tempted to say “But if you go, then they win.”  But the point is that it is already a lose-lose situation, though the target may be the only one to realize it.  Other advice includes staying away from it as much as possible.

Here’s a useful set of links to sites on mobbing, including school bullying.  Some of these are meant to help victims, while others are about the research being done on the  phenomenon.  Since legal issues can be involved, there are  links to sites  in several different English speaking countries.

Want to hear men discuss deontology?

If yes, then you may be glad to see this  post  from pea soup:

Ratio Conference: DeontologyHere is another great looking conference, this time organised by Brad Hooker. The topic is deontology and this is at the University of Reading on the Saturday 17th of April. The programme is:
10.00 David Owens (Univ. of Sheffield)
11.45 Peter Vallentyne (Univ. of Missouri-Columbia)
2.15 Philip Stratton-Lake (Univ. of Reading)
4.00 Michael Smith (Princeton)
For more info, contact Ms. Jacqui Lorraine Fletcher at J.L.Fletcher@Reading.ac.uk

Any readers who are unfamiliar with our “gendered conference campaign” can find out about it by looking at the top  right hand link on this page.