The Case for Diversity

See Diversity is good. Why doesn’t everyone agree? in the Washington Post.

“Scientific research is of a higher quality when done by a diverse research group. People work harder, are more creative, and are more diligent when they work with or around a diverse group of people, according to Katherine W. Phillips, professor and senior vice dean at Columbia Business School, in an article published in Scientific American.

Academic papers written by diverse groups have a higher impact than papers written by people from the same ethnic group. Diversity in authors, whether by ethnicity, location, or references, leads to greater contributions to science, according to researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

Why don’t people value diversity? It’s more work for some.

“This preparation is painful, which may be one reason why so many people don’t seem to value diversity. They have to work harder to make themselves understood. They have to consider alternatives. They might even have to change their mind.

Doing this takes a lot of work.”

A case for state-school only Oxbridge colleges

Philosopher Lorna Finlayson argues in this Guardian article that Oxford and Cambridge should establish colleges that only admit state-school pupils, who are woefully under-represented at these universities. The main thrust of her argument is that all of the considerations in favour of colleges exclusively for women (of which Cambridge has three; Oxford opened its last women-only college to men in 2008) also apply to the case of state-educated pupils. Well worth a read!

RIP: PD James

I well remember the delight of her early novels that featured Cordela Grey, a character who might have been one of one’s friends. Could there be any Western reader who likes mystery stories and doesn’t know her work? (No doubt a naive question.)

From the NY Times:

Ms. James was one of those rare authors whose work stood up to the inevitable and usually invidious comparisons with classic authors of the detective genre, like Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. A consummate stylist, she accumulated numerous awards for the 13 crime novels produced during a writing career spanning a half century. Seven of her mysteries were adapted for the public television program “Mystery!” and were broadcast in Britain and the United States….
Many critics and many of her peers have said that by virtue of the complexity of her plots, the psychological density of her characters and the moral context in which she viewed criminal violence, Ms. James even surpassed her classic models and elevated the literary status of the modern detective novel. She is often cited, in particular, for the cerebral depth and emotional sensibilities of Adam Dalgliesh, the introspective Scotland Yard detective and published poet who functions as the hero of virtually all of her novels.
…  Her readers found this brooding, morally conflicted character profoundly romantic. Even Ms. James thought he was sexy. “I could never fall in love with a man who was handsome but stupid,” she said. Still, Commander Dalgliesh (pronounced DAWL-gleesh) remained a self-contained, even aloof figure. “There’s a splinter of ice in his character,” she said.

In “An Unsuitable Job for a Woman” (1972), Ms. James introduced Cordelia Gray, a young private investigator whose professional competence and independent spirit put her in the vanguard of an emerging generation of female sleuths. These included Liza Cody’s Anna Lee in Britain, and Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone in the United States.


Philosophical issues about Gender Schema

We have had a request for biblio resources for a student.  She has done some experimental work on gender schema and is now some more theoretical resources dealing with gender schema.
I sent her three suggestions (see below).  The second is very recent and contains interesting thoughts on inferences that vary with stereotypes.  It’s by Susanna Siegel.  The third may look more applied than she wants, but as I remember it contains enlightening work on self-assessment, motivations and stereotypes.
In any case, she’s like some more suggestions!!

Ferguson: Demand Justice

Today, a St. Louis Grand Jury refused to indict Mike Brown’s killer — Police Officer Darren Wilson. On August 9th, the nation was horrified to learn that Mike Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was targeted and killed by police as he walked down the street with a friend.

Now, Mike’s killer may never be held accountable — unless President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder take action. The Department of Justice is investigating Mike Brown’s death and has the power and responsibility to arrest and prosecute Officer Wilson under federal criminal charges.

Go here.

In Praise of Damns

Dear Professor Manners,
Some days the state of the profession gets me down. I know it’s Live Like a Stoic Week, but I just can’t seem to get my apatheia on, especially when I read the blogs.

Philosophus Feministus (who doesn’t know Latin and it’s a shame since that might help with the whole Stoic thing)

Dear Philosophus Feministus,
Alas, the profession does too often resemble a Roman spectacle. One goes to the blogs, as Seneca might say, in quest of “some fun, wit, and relaxation” only to find “pure murder” (in the strictly figurative bloggy sense only of course). Indeed, Professor Manners herself is often obliged to retire to her Roman couch, if not in despair, then in something like it. Still, she recommends (in addition to referring to oneself in the third person for kicks) borrowing from the regrettably obscure writer Mary McClain’s technique and giving oneself a therapeutic damn a day. To wit, McClain:

“I say on Monday, Damn the ache in my left foot; on Tuesday, Damn that rattling window – I hate it; on Wednesday, Damn this yellow garter – it’s too tight; on Thursday, Damn my futile life; on Friday, Damn the solitude; on Saturday, Damn these thoughts; on Sunday, Damn my two dresses… [T]he morale of my Damns remains perfunctory. But they are apt and useful… I begin each day with a Damn of sorts. I end each day with a Damn of sorts… Let my Damns be always brave, always contemptuous of disaster to me, and they will be first-water value though their kind alter never-so.”

Yours in damning the spectacle,
Professor Manners

And meanwhile back in Turkey…

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is arguing, once again, that women are not equal to men, and that their delicate nature precludes them being granted equal rights and opportunitites. Feminists, he says, ‘do not accept the concept of motherhood’.

This is terribly deppressing, of course – one more thing for Turkey to worry about. My redeeming hope is that Erdoğan is in fact doing under cover work for Sacha Baron Cohen, in preparation for a second installment of Borat.