Petition for a Professional Code of Conduct

There’s a petition up calling for the APA to write a professional code of conduct for philosophers. This will hopefully lend support to all the excellent recent efforts from the APA.

A Petition to the APA through its Board of Officers

As teachers, mentors and colleagues, we, professional philosophers, take our tasks of teaching, research, and service to the profession very seriously. We want to create a supportive environment where fellow faculty members and students feel safe and where their concerns are heard and addressed.

In light of recent events at more than one university, we the undersigned hereby petition the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association to produce, by one means or another, a code of conduct and a statement of professional ethics for the academic discipline of philosophy. We particularly urge past presidents of each division of the APA to sign this petition.

To sign, go here.

Conference: Feminism, Embodiment and Technology

Feminism, Embodiment and Technology
UWE Graduate Philosophy Conference 2014 – Sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy
4 April 2014, UWE, Bristol

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Margrit Shildrick, Linköping University, Sweden.

The aim of this conference to explore, through feminist perspectives, the philosophical, political and sociological impact of technology’s relationship to the body.

Some of the most innovative and interesting work on technology’s relationship to the body has emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, through feminist discourses. We therefore want to address questions such as but not exclusive to: is technology gendered? Is our technological age underpinned by biopolitics? And can technology have an emancipatory affect vis-à-vis sexual and gender relations, or is the contemporary structure of technology complicit in forms and systems of domination?

We hope to bring together scholars and postgraduate students working in the contemporary domains of feminism, philosophy of embodiment and the philosophy of science & technology. Possible topics for presentation include but are not limited to:

• Feminist confrontation with technology
• Technologies of gender and sexuality
• Feminism and cognitive science
• Phenomenological critiques of technology
• Technology, nature and art
• Biotechnological politics

Please register (registration is free) by emailing uwegraduateconference2014 AT

Statement from Northwestern Grad Students

The graduate students of the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University, have by a majority vote, adopted the following statement:

We find the alleged behavior of gross professional misconduct recently leveled against a faculty member in our department to be deplorable. Further, we judge that the university has failed our community in the way that they have handled these allegations of gross professional misconduct. In addition, we stand in solidarity with the victim of the aforementioned misconduct, with victims of sexual harassment and violence globally, as well as with their advocates (whom we do not consider to be vigilantes). As students, and educators, we take seriously the wellness of every member of our community. The members of our philosophy department have been genuinely dedicated to promoting inclusiveness at Northwestern, as well as within the broader philosophical community. It is among our highest priorities that we create and sustain a safe environment for all members of our community. In the spirit of these affirmations, we are deeply saddened that a member of our department has been found to be in violation of these moral and professional obligations.

We feel, however, that it bears saying that the behavior outlined in the recent lawsuit leveled against Northwestern is not representative of our sense of the prevailing culture in our department. The overwhelming majority of our community — both professors and graduate students, male and female — are engaged jointly in a project of inclusiveness and mutual support.

Since 2011 our department has maintained a committee to promote and sustain inclusiveness among the graduate student community. Among their duties, the Climate Committee hosts the Annual Inclusiveness Lecture on implicit bias and other issues affecting underrepresented and marginalized groups in the discipline. That same year we also founded an initiative geared towards fostering female undergraduate majors: WiPhi is a female-only group of members of the philosophical community at Northwestern at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, and professors) who regularly meet. WiPhi also hosts the Annual Gertrude Bussey Lecture, in honor of the first woman to receive a PhD in philosophy from Northwestern. Additionally, our course listings represent our shared commitment to exploring issues of diversity and underrepresentation in the field, and in the broader community at large: Our department makes it a priority to regularly teach courses with substantial feminist philosophy content, as well as substantial focus on issues of race. We, the graduate students, feel that our community is home to several upstanding, vocally feminist, junior and senior faculty members. Our community is committed to fighting the sexism that has long been rampant in the broader philosophical community. And while we jointly feel compelled to express our deep sadness in response to the alleged behavior of a faculty member in our department, we also feel compelled to express our commitment to our community.

Eric Schliesser replies to Current Student: Don’t be Demoralised

This blog post is a response to comment 36 here.

Please, don’t be demoralized, ‘current student’. Please don’t let threats of lawsuits (even if not directed at you personally) intimidate you. Don’t let the cowardly silence emanating from the distinguished named Chairs in the field scare you away from professional philosophy. Don’t let any ‘representative of the elite’ give you a false image of your possible contribution to philosophy.

Let me explain.

By speaking up, you are, in fact, developing, in part, your philosophical voice and contributing to the development of philosophy. We exist — as a community — to develop concepts that make experiences visible and by these (concepts) to improve the possible experiences of others and ourselves. Our shared practice can only develop faithfully and with integrity if we hear the voices that call us to our weaknesses and expose the norms by which we force a flattening conformity or rule of power, however petty, on each other.
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