New: In our gendered conference campaign we try to recognize that the absence of women on a program may have from any of a variety of causes. We do not think that an underrepresentation of women philosophers shows anything at all about its cause. In particular, we do not think it shows any general hostility to women or any conscious denial of women’s contributions. Given that the following post has been read to contain very negative allegations about SPP, I deeply regret I did not address this issue earlier.
Further, Rob Wilson, in a comment on a later post on the topic, argues that including women philosophers invited to speak at the preceding workshop shows that positive progress has been made since 2008. I agree, though note that the workshop is organized by different people. I also cited the workshop numbers for this year in a comment, but here are the figures for women speakers, with the first figure for the workshop and the second for the conference: (a) 2008: 0, 0; (b) 2009: 1, 3; (c) 2010: 2 (or 3?), 1.
Let me stress again this point: It would be completely in error to come away from this reading this post thinking it in any way addresses issues about the climate for women. And however it is read, it is wrong and unfair to infer that members of SPP are somehow people of ill-will toward women.
NEAT TRICK! But a philosopher can do it.
The Society for Philosophy and Psychology has a way to go with gender. The opening address of this years’ conference is problematic; here the description is, followed by a few relevant facts:
4:20-4:30 SPP 2010 Conference Welcome Council Chambers4:30-5:45 Invited Speaker Council ChambersChair: Ron Mallon, University of UtahSpeakers: Stephen Stich, Rutgers University, & Wesley Buckwalter, CUNY Graduate Center,Gender and Philosophical Intuitions: Why Are There So Few Women in Philosophy?
1. Some of the material referred to in the title is interesting work on the question of whether so-called ‘philosophical intuitions’ are actually gendered. (We discussed this a bit here. There are links to some of the work.)
2. But Stich and Buckwalter are to relate this material to the very vexed question of why there are so few women in philosophy.
3. The society’s conference have a dismal record of women philosophers as invited speakers; in two out of the last three conferences, no women philosophers were invited speakers.** Accordingly, no women are asked to join Stich and Buchwalter in addressing the question of why there are so few women in philosophy.
4. Hence, the session enacts the exclusion it seeks to explain.
5. It is just possible that the systemic exclusion of women is at least as relevant as gendered intuitions in explaining why there are so few women in philosophy.
Perhaps there just aren’t any senior women philosophers to ask to respond to the talk? [groan, groan.]
Here’s the list of the SPP’s officers; Jen Cole Wright and Ron Mallon are this years program chairs. I expect comments made here will find their way to the executive committee.
**Correction: thanks to RW in comments for pointing out that Adina Roskies, a philosopher, was an invited speaker.