Edited to include a response from the editorial board at Synthese.
Thanks to one of my graduate school friends for pointing me to this article in Synthese, written by Jean-Yves Beziau, the logic subject editor of the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The article title is “The relativity and universality of logic” and is intended, I believe, to argue in favour of the author’s universal logic project.
I find the article worth criticizing on several philosophical grounds, but a more egregious problem is its inclusion of this rant against political correctness that manages to compare homosexuality to dictatorship, and logical pluralism to a sexy young woman whose attractiveness will eventually fade. Really.
“Logical pluralism” is linked in another way to sexuality: it is connected to homosexuality. The flag of homosexuality is the rainbow seen as a general symbol of pluralism opposed to the black and white dichotomy. It is a bit weird to promote plurality through a sexual activity between people of the same sex. It would be similar to promote democracy through dictatorship saying that democrats are open to every politicians including dictators. However supporting homosexuality is politically correct.To be pluralist is a politically correct way of being. The expression politically correct has progressively flourished during the last 30 years. It is now being used to characterize what is correct or not in the same sense than morally correct was used before. Moralism now looks quite old-fashion, but politically correct is just a new skin for the old ceremony. What is correct or not has changed but the correctness mood is the same: political correctness shares with the old-fashioned moralism the same blind normative aspect. One has to think or behave in a way without really understanding why and if one disobeys she (to use a politically correct way of speaking, contrasting somewhat with the sexism of using “sexy expressions”) is considered as an eccentric or/and a dangerous female. And political correctness like the old moralism is full of absurdity and hypocrisy: for example, it is not politically correct to eat dogs; at the same time it is politically correct to eat cows; although it is politically correct to recognize the plurality of religions, the fact that for Hindus eating cows is not good.Logical pluralism is fashionable and fashion is ephemeral and superficial, like a sexy young woman that 1 day will be a not so attractive old lady. To claim that logical pluralism is a fashionable nonsense would be more aggressive in the line of Sokal and Bricmont, and it is not necessary to go on up to this point. Nevertheless logical pluralism can be said to lack of meaning because it is not an articulated theory of logical systems.
It seems fairly inexplicable that this was published in a journal as prestigious as Synthese, though as was pointed out in a recent pronoun tantrum post, there may be some real problems with editorial processes these days that they allow these rants such a forum.
Updated Jan 21st – The editorial board at Synthese has written to us with the following message:
We are truly sorry about any offense caused by the special issue article published in Synthese. We are strongly committed to feminist and LTGB values. We take full responsibility for every article of published in Synthese, and are committed to learning lessons from every problem that arises. We are now looking into the problem, and although we would like to react as soon as possible, we also want to do a thorough investigation and discuss this with all concerned.
Thank you very much for your concern and patience.
Gila, Otavio, and Wiebe