“Why We Should Care About Women and Philosophy”

An excellent post from Mr Zero at the Smoker— brave, too, considering the kind of folks who comment around there.

If you care about justice–if you care about whether people are being treated the way they ought to be treated–you care about this.

But you should also care about this if you care about philosophy in itself; if you care about discovering philosophical truth; if you care about reading insightful philosophy papers; if you care about being made aware of novel philosophical ideas; if you care about solving philosophical puzzles. We should want as many smart people as possible working in philosophy. But a prominent group of people are being systematically edged out. This is bad for the people who are being edged out–it’s a serious injustice that I don’t mean to minimize–but it’s also bad for us men. It is as bad for us as the Negro-League era was for Major League Baseball. Think of it: in 1945, Jackie Robinson tried out for the Boston Red Sox, and the Red Sox did not sign him. So in 1946, when the Red Sox were losing the World Series in 7 games to the Cardinals, Jackie Robinson was playing for the Montreal Royals. This situation was, obviously, extraordinarily bad for black people who wanted to be professional baseball players. It was bad for Cool Papa Bell; it was bad for Josh Gibson; it was bad for Buck O’Neil. These players were victims of a profound injustice. But it was also bad for Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr, who were, to a lesser extent, also victims of this injustice. Women and minorities have actual philosophical contributions to make. Many of these contributions are going unmade because the people who would make them are being edged out of the profession before they have a chance to do it. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not good for us. It’s bad for everyone.

Gendered Conferences: A suggestion

Caterina Dutlih Novaes makes this suggestion:

So my suggestion is that these people, when invited to be keynote speakers at conferences, could inquire as to whether the organizers intend to invite a significant number of female speakers for the same event as well. I’m not suggesting that they should outright decline the invitation if that’s not the case, but simply suggest that the presence of female keynotes is an important element for a variety of reasons etc etc., and perhaps suggest some names themselves. In other words, my idea is that, upon an invitation to be a keynote speaker, male philosophers should (or could) politely inquire into the gender proportion of the speakers’ line-up, and suggest that it would be important to have a significant number of women.

For more of her thoughts, go here.http://www.newappsblog.com/2010/10/a-suggestion-for-the-gendered-conference-campaign.html

I think it’s a great idea– for both make and female invitees. Though I think she’s right to insist on the particular importance of men doing this– that helps to make it clear that this isn’t just something for the women to worry about.

Speaker needed on social epistemology, at short notice

The Copenhagen Lund Workshops on Social Epistemology need a speaker for Nov 25, at quite short notice; abstracts requested by Nov 5. See the CFP copied below for the topics in which they’re interested. Seems an excellent opportunity for someone engaged with this sort of thing (N.B. the speaker need not be a philosopher).


We have an unexpected opening on Thursday NOV 25, 2010, during the
first of four Copenhagen Lund Workshops on Social Epistemology (2010-11).

If you have (informal or formal) results on one or more of the following:

– Pluralistic Ignorance
– Belief Polarization
– Echo Chambers
– Informational Cascades

please send a max 500 word abstract to frank.zenker@fil.lu.se on or
before Friday Nov 5th (this week!).
Expect decision within one day, be ready to travel to Copenhagen
between NOV 24/25 and 26 from European locations.

Expenses covered. Kindly pass on the message, the speaker need not
come from a philosophy department.

For the aims of the first workshop, please see

Frank Zenker
Department of Philosophy & Cognitive Science
Kungshuset, Lundagård
222 22 Lund
Tel. 0046 73 89 55 228