Two philosophy meetings, no women.

Conference 1:

PhysPhil Conference 2012 : A Brief Look At The Big Picture

Beginnings can be delicate times.  This is the first The Physics & Philosophy Society conference.  The organizers describe the program this way:

The day has been divided into talks and discussions on the subject of space and time, the strange world of quantum mechanics, and the relationship between metaphysics and the physical sciences. Spanning the worlds of physics, philosophy, and philosophical theology, this promises to be a very stimulating interdisciplinary conference.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were also some gender diversity among the speakers?

Conference 2:

Carnap and Kuhn: A Reappraisal

Here we have an all-male program committee, and a line up of speakers and panelists, all of whom, yep, are guys.

Information about the Gendered Conference Campaign

If you are new to the Gendered Conference Campaign please take a look at this post that describes why we bring gendered conferences to your attention.  Especially important is the part about us focusing on the harmful effects of gendered conferences, rather than the intentions of the conference organizers.

Also, here is a link to FAQ‘s about the Gendered Conference Campaign.  It would be great if you took a look at them so that we don’t have to cover old ground in the comments.

Reader query: AOS by gender?

I seem to remember seeing some data about the most common AOSes in Philosophy broken down by gender, and now I can’t seem to find it. I’m working on a piece about the relationship between the climate for women in philosophy, and the reception of feminist philosophy, and would love to be able to cite this data. In my recollection, “Feminist Philosophy” was one of the largest listed AOSes for women. Do you know where I might find this?

The Logic of Who Deserves Respect

I came across an article on the Consumerist which got my attention.  The article is here and you can read the original news story here.

Potty Training Your Kids At The Restaurant Table Might Possibly Upset Nearby Diners

“I noticed that this lady was having her two — she had two twins, two little girls about 2-and-a-half years old, sitting on what I thought were booster seats,” one witness to a public potty training tells KSL-TV in Utah.

But she soon discovered that those booster seats were actually kiddie toilets. “She had to undo the jumpsuits, and take them all the way down so they were completely nude, with the jumpsuits down to their ankles just eating their chicken nuggets, sitting on little toddler potties,” the diner recalls. “I was like this is not ok, we’re eating, there was a business meeting with about five or six businessmen going on right next to me. The place was packed.” So she did what lots of people would probably do in the same situation: Take a photo with her phone and post it on Facebook.

What is going on with the reasoning in this paragraph?:  “It is inappropriate to have your children exposed and naked in public.  THEREFORE, I am going to take a picture of your naked children and display it in public.”  It’s not a good enough answer to simply say, “Stupid people are stupid” because we see the same weirdly-contradictory logic in other situations:

–When people talk about women, self-respect, and sex.   The narrative I’ve seen played out numerous times goes something like this:  Dude is upset that woman is not protecting herself properly against inappropriate sexual advances; so, he starts making inappropriate sexual advances towards her.  The idea is something like, in not ‘respecting’ herself enough, she is no longer worthy of respect from him.

–When someone is harassing a person on the street and they yell out,  “You’re beautiful!” but if ignored they will tack on, “F*** you, you Ugly B****!”

–When we talk about how innocent and asexual kids are but if one of them gets raped (but not also murdered) or has sex all of a sudden it’s completely plausible that they are mature, worldly, experienced, and sexual beings.

–When, “Black women are only seen in a barely positive light FOR sex. It’s an awkward turn to this stereotype – everyone wants to f[***] me, but I’m the ugliest thing walking, huh?” (From here.)

This incident with the potty training kids highlights the weird part of this madonna/whore logic where the meaning of “inappropriate” shifts.  It starts out as, “These children are being inappropriately exposed and need to have their bodies protected” but then changes into, “the other diners are being inappropriately exposed to these bodies and thus (the diners) have a right to ridicule and display them (the bodies).”  It begins as an impulse to protect but ends as a desire to punish.


What are other instances of this sudden flip from respect to disrespect or from protection to exploitation?  And what are the unspoken premises here?


Bonus Rant:

The whole, “Please stop, I’m unable to partake of food in the presence of grossness and/or social inappropriateness,”  screams of #firstworldproblems.
If something is upsetting your sensibilities, please just be quiet and eat your damn dinner instead of proceeding to tell other people how gross and inappropriate their bodies are.  (And I’ll admit, I still catch myself wanting to do this sort of thing because it’s a cheap and easy joke to deride someone for being gross and unseemly.  But really it’s just spiteful judgement and petty hierarchy-climbing.)

Special Issue on Philosophy, Gender, and Implicit Bias

The Journal of Social Philosophy has just published a special issue on “Gender, Implicit Bias, and Philosophical Methodology,” co-edited by Margaret Crouch and Lisa Schwartzman. It’s the September 2012 issue (Vol. 43, Issue 3), and is now available online:

Special Issue of the Journal of Social Philosophy (ed. Margaret A. Crouch and Lisa H. Schwartzman)
Vol 43, Issue 3 (September 2012)

This volume brings work on women in philosophy together with recent scholarship on subtle forms of discrimination, especially implicit bias. The articles address the ways that implicit bias might explain the low numbers of women in the profession, as well as the possible implications of implicit bias for philosophical methodology. Questions are raised about the possibility of gendered “intuitions” in experimental philosophy, and about the socio-political effects of certain styles of philosophical argumentation. Focusing on implicit bias and other subtle forms of sexism, several authors examine the profession of philosophy, including the systems of ranking and evaluating one another’s work, and the roles that philosophy plays within increasingly corporatized universities. Questions about possible routes for change and about moral responsibility for implicit bias are also discussed. The volume is edited by Margaret A. Crouch and Lisa H. Schwartzman and includes essays by Margaret A. Crouch, Louise Antony, Jennifer Saul, Jules Holroyd, Lisa H. Schwartzman, Phyllis Rooney, Peggy DesAutels, and Kathryn Norlock.

Table of Contents

Margaret A. Crouch and Lisa H. Schwartzman, “Introduction”
Margaret A. Crouch, “Implicit Bias and Gender (and other sorts of) Diversity in Philosophy and the Academy in the Context of the Corporatized University”
Louise Antony, “Different Voices or Perfect Storm: Why Are There So Few Women in Philosophy?”
Jennifer Saul, “Ranking Exercises in Philosophy and Implicit Bias”
Jules Holroyd, “Responsibility for Implicit Bias”
Lisa H. Schwartzman, “Intuition, Thought Experiments, and Philosophical Method: Feminism and Experimental Philosophy”
Phyllis Rooney, “When Philosophical Argumentation Impedes Social and Political Progress”
Peggy DesAutels, “Moral Perception and Responsiveness”
Kathryn Norlock, “Gender Perception as a Habit of Moral Perception: Implications for Philosophical Methodology and Introductory Curriculum”