Query from a reader

Hi Feminist Philosophers,

I’m hoping that you can help. I belong to various academic committees concerned with equity (including, but not limited to, gender equity). In this capacity, I’ve been doing some work lately on diversity in academic hiring. I note that most guides on best practices for diverse hiring in academe recommend (inter alia) that broader AOS descriptions tend to produce a more diverse blend of candidates. On the strength of these guides, I have even found myself saying things like “Evidence suggests that broader AOS descriptions in academic job ads tend to result in a more diverse blend of candidates.” However, I realize that I’ve never actually seen the evidence for this claim. I’ve started digging around and am sad to report that I can’t find any evidence for the claim; the best practices guides I mention certainly don’t cite any.

Feminist Philosophers, I really want this claim to be true; I really hope that there is evidence for it. But I don’t know where to look for it. I wonder if you could post about this on the blog and solicit help from readers. Maybe they’ve seen the evidence. If so, I’d love them to share it with me.

Philippa Foot RIP

With great sadness we note the death of Philippa Foot (1920-2010) on Oct 3, her 90th birthday.  She died peacefully after a series of illnesses.

Philippa’s thought was important in recent developments of ethics, perhaps most especially her views on virtue ethics. “One of the towering figures of post-WWII Anglophone moral philosophy, Brian Leiter reminds us.   She will be particularly deeply missed by her many students and friends.

Sometimes someone might be inclined to treat her arguments as allowing easy refutation.  I have always wished for them the sort of interchange many of her students may remember well.  One version, familiar at least among some,  started as a response to some view one proposed:   “O, you think that, do you?  Hmmm.  Now let me see.  I don’t think I’ve ever thought that could be right.  But let’s think.  I could just be quite wrong.”  Her voice light but quite firm, eyes sparkling.

We will put up links to obituaries as they appear.

Lesley Brown sent the guardian obit.

More about Foot here.

Conference: Under-represented Groups in Philosophy

Under-Represented Groups in Philosophy
A SWIP-UK / BPA Conference
Supported By: The Mind Association, The Aristotelian Society

Venue: Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Dates: November 26th & 27th 2010
Organisers: Dr Jules Holroyd, Dr Alessandra Tanesini, Professor Jennifer Saul

*Louise Antony (UMass, Amherst) Title TBC

*Helen Beebee (Birmingham University) ‘Women and deviance in philosophy’.

*Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, (Gallaudet University, Washington DC) ‘Triple Threat: Brown, Female, and Deaf’.

*Samantha Brennan, (University of Western Ontario) ‘Rethinking the Moral Significance of Micro-Inequities: The Case of Women in Philosophy’

*Pamela Hood (San Francisco State University) ‘Socrates and King: An Invitation to Philosophy’

*Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield) ‘Unconscious Influences and Women in Philosophy’

*Mahlet Zimeta (Roehampton University) ‘Philosophy and the Social Good’

*Roundtable discussion, chaired by Komarine Romdenh-Romluc (Nottingham University)

*SWIP-UK AGM meeting.

The conference will start at 10.30 on Friday 26th (first paper at 11am), and end on Saturday 27th at approximately 3.30pm. A detailed programme will later be available on the conference website.

Read More »

Sexist Jabs Harm Female Political Candidates (shocked?)

A new voter survey, put on by Women’s Media Center, the WCF Foundation and Political Parity, found that

Calling a female candidate such sexist names as “ice queen” and “mean girl” significantly undercuts her political standing and does more harm than criticism based solely on her policy positions [.]


The survey concludes that the advice often given to women — to ignore the attacks rather than risk giving them more attention — is wrong. Responding directly helped the female candidate regain lost ground and cost her opponent support.

The sponsoring groups have gone on to set up a joint initiative ‘called “Name It. Change It” designed to monitor and respond to sexism against female candidates in the media.’ Read more about the voter survey here, and check out Name it. Change it here.