Louise Antony (Guest Post) on Hilde Lindemann’s comments

Louise Antony writes:

In light of the discussion on Brian Leiter’s blog, I want to say something in support of Hilde Lindemann’s comments in the recent Chronicle of Higher Education article on the East Carolina U/Colin McGinn incident. Many commenters are incensed that Prof. Lindemann seemed to endorse the use of “unofficial information” (as Daily Nous put it) in decisions such as the ECU Phil. Department’s vote to offer a distinguished visiting position to Colin McGinn. I’m baffled by this. Is there anyone out there in Bloggo-land who wants to say that scholarly achievement is the only consideration that should count in deciding whether or not to offer someone a position? (Anyone who says that it is the only thing that counts is simply wrong.) Every department I’ve ever been affiliated with has always – and quite rightly — taken into account both the candidate’s likely collegiality and his or her potential as a teacher and mentor. So now the question is: what kind of evidence can one use in assessing a candidate’s collegiality and potential as a teacher and mentor? Postings on a public blog can provide evidence. Disciplinary actions taken by a candidate’s previous employer can also provide evidence. What about the appropriate standard? Bearing in mind that a hiring meeting is not a criminal trial, that there is no “presumption of innocence” to be overcome, and that an individual’s being brought up for consideration does not engender any presumptive right to the position, it’s clear that the appropriate standard is the one typically used in normal hiring deliberations: what, given the evidence, is it reasonable to believe about how this colleague will behave toward his or her colleagues and students? An official finding that a person has engaged in sexual harassment is certainly very strong evidence that that person is untrustworthy – but it’s not the only evidence that can support that conclusion.
I understand that there’s tremendous concern about false accusation and innuendo – at least when the case at hand involves men and sex. So yes, the evidence needs to be looked at carefully in any particular instance. But are hiring committees supposed to ignore the evidence that exists? Are they supposed to disregard the fact of disciplinary actions taken by a previous employer? Are they supposed to ignore what the candidate has to say about the matter on a public blog? A decision not to offer a position to someone because there’s good reason to think the person is a danger to students is not a violation of anyone’s rights. A decision to go ahead and appoint such a person despite the evidence is reprehensible.

Hilde Lindemann: Guest Post

What follows is a guest post from Hilde Lindeman, Chair of the APA’s Committee on the Status of Women. She was interviewed for by Inside Higher Ed regarding sexual harassment in philosophy, and her remarks were taken so far out of context that their meaning was seriously distorted. Here she sets out her views regarding sexual harassment in philosophy.

Let me be clear. It seems I was not, in the interview I gave Colleeen Flaherty for the article that was published in the May 19 issue of Inside Higher Ed. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/19/unofficial-internet-campaign-outs-professor-alleged-sexual-harassment-attempted#ixzz32C3gVxms All sexual predators should be prosecuted and, if the evidence warrants, punished for their crimes (and yes, sexual harassment is actionable, as is attempted rape and sexual molestation). Within philosophy, sexual harassment, sexual predation, and bullying have been and are all too common, and I agree with Eric Schliesser that because too many decent philosophers keep looking the other way and refusing to speak up, lawsuits and “the harsh light of publicity” are needed to break the culture of silence.

While Schliesser calls the discipline a “train wreck” that is “incapable of self-reform,” I have not given up on self-reform. I believe philosophy’s climate of hostility to women must be tackled on many fronts, both from without and from within. Each of us in the profession is obliged to do what we can from where we stand. Departments must do their part, as must the APA, as must the APA’s Committee on the Status of Women, which I chair. Neither the APA nor the CSW are in the business of policing individuals’ behavior. That responsibility falls to the universities where the crimes occur, and to courts of law. The allegations against specific philsophers are so serious that due process is and ought to be required before they are stripped of tenure and made to pay criminal penalities, yet because universities seemingly fail pretty frequently in their duties to investigate these allgeations and punish the offenders, we are too often left with nothing but rumors and inuendoes, so that while many people “know” so-and-so is a sexual predator, nothing concrete is done about it.

In any case, when the focus is solely on individual bad apples, and whether their victims consented, and whether the balance of power is so great between a graduate student and big-ticket philosophers in her area of specialization who might be able to advance her professional interests that consent isn’t really possible, attention is diverted from the systemic problem of a culture in which bad behavior flourishes. That is why I say philosophy’s climate of hostility to women must be tackled on many fronts. Some of us have given to the Protecting Lisbeth campaign—a worthy way of helping victims hire the attorneys they need to prosecute their harassers. (In my interview with Ms. Flaherty, I was not asked to comment on the Protecting Lisbeth campaign and did not do so. Nor did I suggest that a site visit to the Yale philosophy department would be a better strategy. In fact, such a suggestion would have been ridiculously naïve. Site visits are for any department, including good ones that want to become better, and are made at the request of the department.) Some of us have called out colleagues in our own departments who have made disparaging remarks about women or engaged in bullying behavior. Some department chairs among us have asked the CSW for a site visit to assess their department’s climate and make suggestions for improvements. Some of us—in fact, quite a lot of us, and I’m personally grateful to you all—have given money to the CSW for its Site Visit Training Program and the Diversity Conference to be held in May 2015 at Villanova University.

We need all these strategies and more if we are to succeed in making the profession of philosophy a hospitable one for women and other underrepresented groups. Philosophy as a discipline is better off when talented people from many different social positions contribute to its body of knowledge and understanding. And in any case, discrimination for irrelevant reasons is just plain wrong.

I am actually quite heartened by the well-publicized scandals that have made the headlines this past year. I take it as a sign that something is shifting, that the old culture of sexual predation, coverup, and contempt for the relatively powerless is beginning to give way to a culture in which such behavior is no longer tolerated. But we are going to have to keep applying steady pressure here, in all the ways I’ve mentioned and in many others as well. Philosophy deserves no less.

Updates on Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for Underrepresented Philosophers

This Saturday (10/8) from 1:30PM PST onward, we’ll be hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to improve the coverage of underrepresented philosophers and philosophy, in honor of Kevin Gorman.  (See our earlier post here.)  The editathon will be in the San Diego Central Library as part of Wikiconference North America, but you may also join us remotely from wherever you are, or send me (alexmadva@gmail.com) content, references, or ideas in advance.  We will have Wikipedia-savvy folks on hand to help newbies learn how to edit, but if you are intimidated by the prospects of editing, you can also just email me stuff, e.g., in a Word doc, to hand off to the seasoned editors.  Below is a working list of folks about whom we’ll try to write pages (see also here).  (Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!  I’m sure there are still tons of names being left out, of course, so keep those suggestions coming.)  In the next day or two, I will also post a list of content pages that we’d like to improve or create.

This is a classic scenario in which a lot of people doing a little bit will go a long way.  So, for example, if you know of any awards that one of these people has won, or if you know of an article (perhaps an article you’ve written!) that references one of these people as being influential (e.g., by explaining how a person has made a significant contribution to a debate), please let me know.  Also feel free to post more suggestions, etc., here.

  • Kathryn Pine Addelson of Smith College
  • Sybol Cook Anderson
  • Susan Babbitt
  • Bat-Ami Bar on
  • Dorit Bar-on
  • Elizabeth Barnes
  • Margaret Batton
  • Elizabeth Lane Beardsleyof Temple U
  • Karen Bennett
  • Samantha Brennan
  • Rachael Briggs
  • Sarah Broadie
  • Sarah Buss
  • Helen Cartwright
  • Leigh Cauman of Columbia University
  • Tina Chanter
  • Gertrude Ezorsky
  • Elizabeth Flowers of U of Penn
  • Hide Ishiguro
  • Ann Jaap Jacobson
  • Agnieszka Jaworska
  • Karen Jones
  • Rebecca Kukla
  • Maggie Little
  • Kate Lindemann
  • Sabina Lovibond
  • Mary Beth Mader
  • Linda López McAlister of U of South Florida
  • Susan Sauve Meyer
  • Sarah Moss
  • Mary Beth Mader
  • Susan Sauve Meyer
  • Sarah Moss
  • Jennifer Nagel
  • Catarina Dutilh Noaves
  • Dorothea Olkowski
  • Phyllis Belle Parun
  • Diana Raffman
  • Deborah Satz
  • Susan Sherwin
  • Sharon Street
  • Connie Rosati
  • Carol Rovane
  • Nancy Tuana
  • Moira Gatens
  • Catriona Mackenzie
  • Jeanette Kennett
  • Rachael Briggs
  • Katherine Hawley
  • Janice Dowell
  • Rosemarie Tong
  • Jean Grimshaw
  • Janice Moulton
  • Leslie McCall
  • Rita Manning
  • Ellen Feder
  • Alison Watson
  • Nadine Puechguirbal
  • Mary Ann Weathers
  • Patricia Bell Scott
  • Cellestine Ware
  • Alma M. Garcia
  • Michelle Habell-Pallan
  • Ziba Mir Hosseynni
  • Oumayma Abu Bakr
  • Irene d’Almeida
  • Carole Boyce-Davies
  • Anne Adams
  • Talia Mae Bettcher
  • Esa Diaz-Leon
  • Kristie Dotson
  • Ishani Maitra
  • Helena de Preester
  • Mari Mikkola
  • Helen de Cruz
  • Margaret (Peggy) Battin
  • Leslie P. Francis
  • Catharine MacKinnon improve
  • Suzanne Pharr expand from stub
  • Jane English improve
  • Luce Irigaray improve
  • Manuel Vargas
  • Eduardo Mendieta
  • José Medina
  • Lucius Outlaw
  • Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
  • Dwayne Tunstall
  • Neil Roberts
  • Tommy J. Curry
  • Robert E. Birt


Colorado: out of context quotes

Some day soon I will not be spending so much time on this, I tell myself that.  But for now, I need to tell you about some ways that the site visit team and the APA CSW have been presented a little bit misleadingly in the media.  This is important, because the site visit program is important, and it’s vital not to misunderstand.

First, there’s an Inside Higher Ed story which includes an interview with Peggy DesAutels, one of the organisers of both the site visit program and the Colorado visit.  IHE writes:

“At the same time, DesAutels said that the situation at Colorado was so bad that she saw a positive side to the report’s release. “In this particular case, for Colorado, the profession is better off knowing about this,” she said.

This may give the misleading impression that DesAutels supports the release of the report, and that she commented on the specifics of the Colorado case.  Both of these are false. The fuller context is that she refused to comment on any specifics of the situation at Colorado.  She was then asked to comment on what the negative and positive effects of this particular public release might be.  She said that it might be beneficial simply because it documents a problematic environment and steps that might be taken to improve it.

Then there’s the Chronicle story, behind a firewall.  Here Hilde Lindemann, chair of the APA’s Committee on the Status of Women, is quoted simply as saying “It is absolutely breathtaking that they did this,” leaving the reader to speculate about what took her breath away.  I asked, and she explained that she was referring to was the fact that “the administration is taking steps to change the institutional structures to make the climate more hospitable to women, rather than targeting specific people who are seen to be bad actors. I would like to think that they are taking these steps as a matter of course, but in the current climate, it’s remarkable that they are seeing it as a problem of climate that affects everyone, victims, innocent bystanders, and bad actors alike.”

Letter From Concerned Philosophers

I have been asked to post this letter on behalf of the signatories.  It is not a project of this blog—the blog is just the venue for posting.  Two things to note: (1) Affiliations of signatories are listed for identification purposes only, and not to indicate representation of the institution; (2) The organisers want to emphasize that they are making no claims about the adequacy of the university’s actions with respect to the original complaint or efforts that have been made to protect the student, as most of the signers do not have inside information about the details of the process or any legal limits to the university’s response.  Instead they are calling on those in a position to act to ensure that they are doing all they can to support and protect the student from de facto retaliation.

UPDATE July 19, 2013: Philosophers can read How to Add Signatures here, and an Open Letter of Support from faculty and students at Miami here.

July 18, 2013

Dr. David Birnbach

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL 33124


cc: President Donna E. Shalala, University of Miami, dshalala@miami.edu

We are members of the philosophy profession concerned for the graduate student at the University of Miami who filed a complaint about the conduct of Dr. Colin McGinn. We are also concerned for other graduate students who may conclude from this case that, although a student pursues a complaint against a professor through the proper channels while purportedly retaining anonymity, she may have her scholarship, work performance, or conduct negatively characterized in a public forum by a powerful professor with no response or defense from her university.

We write to urge the University of Miami to protect this student from negative public assessments of her work or character by or on behalf of Dr. McGinn. Whether or not Dr. McGinn’s observations on his blog are intended to be retaliatory, they have some of the same deleterious effects as intended retaliation. We recognize Dr. McGinn’s right to free speech and his right to criticize whatever treatment he may have received by his employer, and we appreciate his stated desire to defend himself. However, the student is not in a position to defend herself publicly. We ask that her university discharge its duty to protect its students from acts that amount to de facto retaliation from professors about whom they have complained.


Elizabeth Anderson

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies

University of Michigan

David Archard

Queen’s University Belfast

Elizabeth Barnes

Leeds University

Nancy Bauer

Tufts University

Anat Biletzki

Albert Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy

Quinnipiac University

Martha Bolton

Rutgers University

Samantha Brennan

University of Western Ontario

Susan Brison

Chair, Department of Philosophy

Dartmouth College

Jim Brown, FRSC

University of Toronto

Otávio Bueno

Chair, Department of Philosophy

University of Miami

Ross Cameron

Leeds University

Cheshire Calhoun

Arizona State University

Ruth Chang

Member, APA Committee on the Status of Women

Rutgers University

Patricia Churchland

Past President, Pacific APA

University of California, San Diego

Lorraine Code, FRSC

Distinguished Research Professor

York University

Shannon Dea

University of Waterloo

Peggy DesAutels

Director, APA Site Visit Program

University of Dayton

David DeVidi

Professor and Chair, Philosophy

University of Waterloo

Stephen M. Downes

Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy,

University of Utah

Professor John Dupre

Director, Egenis, Centre for the Study of Life Sciences

University of Exeter

President, British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Andy Egan

Rutgers University

Frances Egan

Rutgers University

Catherine Elgin

Harvard University

Simon Evnine

University of Miami

Carla Fehr

Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy

Associate Director, APA Site Visit Program

University of Waterloo

Carrie Figdor

Member, APA Committee on the Status of Women

University of Iowa

Kit Fine

University and Silver Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics

New York University

Branden Fitelson

Rutgers University

Juliet Floyd

Boston University

Don Garrett

Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy


Ann Garry

California State University, Los Angeles

Ronald N. Giere

Professor Emeritus

University of Minnesota

Fellow of the AAAS

Philosophy of Science Association, Past president

Robert Gooding-Williams

University of Chicago

Lori Gruen

Wesleyan University

Kim Q. Hall

Appalachian State University

Sandra Harding

University of California, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Harman

Princeton University

Gilbert Harman

Princeton University

Sally Haslanger

President, Eastern APA


Barbara Herman

Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law


Alison Jaggar

University of Colorado A&S College Professor of Distinction

Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies

University of Oslo Professor Two

Andrew Janiak

Creed C. Black Associate Professor of Philosophy

Duke University

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins

Canada Research Chair

University of British Columbia, Northern Institute of Philosophy

Tim Kenyon

University of Waterloo

Jeff King

Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy

Rutgers University

Martin Kusch

University of Vienna

Hilde Lindeman

Michigan State University

Kate Lindemann

Mt. St. Mary College

Dominic Lopes

Distinguished University Scholar & Professor of Philosophy, Secretary-Treasurer of Pacific APA

University of British Columbia

Ron Mallon

Washington University in St Louis

Ned Markosian

Western Washington University

Ishani Maitra

University of Michigan

Kris McDaniel

Syracuse University

Mary Kate McGowan

Luella LaMer Professor Women’s Studies and Professor of Philosophy

Wellesley College

Christia Mercer

Columbia University

Charles Mills

Northwestern University

Tim Maudlin

New York University

Kathryn Norlock

Kenneth Mark Drain Endowed Chair in Ethics

Trent University

Kathleen Okruhlik

University of Western Ontario

John Protevi

Louisiana State University

Mark Richard

Harvard University

Alan Richardson

University of British Columbia

Robert Richardson

Charles Phelps Taft Professor of Philosophy, University Distinguished Research Professor

University of Cincinnati

Joe Rouse

Wesleyan University

Debra Satz

Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society

Stanford University

Jennifer Saul

Director, SWIP-UK, Co-Chair BPA Women in Philosophy Committee

University of Sheffield

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord

Morehead-Cain Alumni Distinguished Professor

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jonathan Schaffer

Rutgers University

Susanna Schellenberg

Rutgers University

Eric Schliesser

BOF Research Professor

Ghent University

Naomi Scheman

University of Minnesota

Sally Scholz

Villanova University

Laurie Shrage

Florida International University

Ted Sider

Cornell University

Susanna Siegel

Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy

Harvard University

Holly Smith

Distinguished Professor

Rutgers University

Michael Smith

McCosh Professor of Philosophy and Chair, Department of Philosophy

Princeton University

Miriam Solomon

Chair, Department of Philosophy

Temple University

Jason Stanley

Yale University

James P. Sterba

Past President, Central APA

University of Notre Dame

Natalie Stoljar

McGill University

Ronald Sundstrom

University of San Francisco

Anita Superson

University of Kentucky

Ásta Sveinsdóttir

San Francisco State University

Amie Thomasson

University of Miami

Julie C. Van Camp

California State University, Long Beach

Manuel Vargas

University of San Francisco

C. Kenneth Waters

Samuel Russell Chair of Humanities

University of Minnesota

Brian Weatherson

Marshall M. Weinberg Professor

University of Michigan

Cynthia Willett

Emory University

Charlotte Witt

University of New Hampshire

Alison Wylie

Past President, Pacific APA

University of Washington

Stephen Yablo

David W. Skinner Chair of Philosophy


Naomi Zack

University of Oregon

Dean Zimmerman

Rutgers University

Christopher Zurn

University of Massachusetts, Boston

comments closed

Needed: Information on Women Philosophers Who Have Died Since 2000

Kate Lindemann writes:

A few weeks ago Noelle McAfee who hosts the Contemporary Women Philosophers wiki contacted me to point out a growing lacuna in the online presence of women philosophers. Her site provides information about living women philosophers ; mine provides information about women who lived and died before 2001.

But in these last years there are a number of women philosophers born in the 20th century who died since 2001. They are falling through the cracks since up til now there has been no place for them on either site.

One of the reasons I set a limit of 2000 is that I knew I could never do the necessary research to include ALL the women philosophers after that. I am one person, have no institutional support, clerical assistance or funding. But like Noelle I am concerned about women philosophers who are ‘ falling through the cracks’ of on line research tools.

Soooooo – I have decided to add a button: 2001 – to the website. I will add women who die or have died since 2000 IF I RECEIVE information in usable form.

Right now the site provides both a Chronology [not a biography] and a Bibliography for each woman. If submitted I would add these to the site. If that seems like too much work, I would add an Obituary or an eulogy or another statement submitted by a SWIP member or college/university department. (I would add one of these, not all). For these I ask that folks consult one another so that only one item is
submitted in a form suitable for posting If you want to include a photo, I can upload thumbnail gif or .jpg. The size must be as small as other photos on the site since I do not do photo editing.

I want to include these women. They deserve to be listed among the women philosophers ……. but I have limited energy and no institutional support for this work.

Thank you. I trust that this will work out….though I fear I may be inundated with posts of ‘why don’t you have xxxxx’ on your site. I can not do the research…nor will I check accuracy of materials submitted.
(My own research concerns a whole group of Renaissance Italian women and a new list of ancients I have found.)

Please, if there is a woman philosopher who deserves recognition, I hope you will take it upon yourself to submit the information. I DO credit those who submit so include your name….. and your affiliation if you want that added.

Kate’s site is here.

Statement about the Pluralists’ Guide

We have been asked by Nancy Tuana to post the following statement from a group of feminist philosophers. Readers may wonder whether this blog takes a position in the debates over the Pluralists’ Guide. The answer is that the blog takes no position on this debate: this is a group blog and the individuals who blog here take a wide variety of positions as individuals. The blog, however, is strongly committed to respectful and collegial discussion of issues like this, so we welcome the call for constructive and civil discussion. To that end, we are opening the blog for comments for the next 24 hours, but during that period *all* comments will be moderated. (WordPress does not allow us to moderate comments from just one post.) Please bear in mind that all of us are unpaid and doing this in our spare time. Our moderating is therefore likely to be occasionally slow and, due to different moderators, may be inconsistent. We will be trying our best, and we ask you to do so as well. To that end, we remind you of our comments policy, and in particular our Be Nice rule, which will be strictly enforced. In addition, we will not allow speculation about intentions; discussion of particular philosophers’ private lives, whether by name or by description; discussion of particular departments, whether by name or by description. In addition, we ask commenters to refrain from inflammatory language. We also want to call attention to the fact that this statement is not about Brian Leiter. Discussion of Brian Leiter is off-topic and will be deleted as such.

We ask that commenters make every effort not to conflate issues about the climate for women with other issues that have been raised, such as questions about the methodologies permissible in philosophy or those concerned with the factual accuracy of claims that have been made.

Statement of Feminist Philosophers concerning the Pluralist’s Guide to Philosophy

We, the undersigned, publicly support the efforts of the new Pluralist’s Guide to Philosophy in both of its endeavors: to provide new sources of information on areas of philosophy that are still underrepresented in major doctoral programs and to provide information on the conditions for women and minorities in those programs. Philosophy has lagged behind the humanities and social sciences in its level of inclusiveness and diversity, a problem that adversely affects the caliber of all philosophical work. For decades now, feminist philosophers have been at the forefront of efforts to address sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and the general climate for women and other minority groups in philosophy, and to develop new and innovative areas of philosophical work. We know from many years of experience how difficult these efforts can be, and how often those who engage in these efforts are attacked, mis-characterized, and preemptively dismissed. In light of this experience, we have been dismayed at the level of vitriol and misinformation being perpetrated against some named and some unnamed feminists. We welcome constructive input about how to strengthen these efforts to provide more information on areas of philosophy that are underrepresented in major doctoral programs and urge all who work in these important areas of philosophy to contribute. And we call on the philosophical community to support initiatives, such as the Pluralist’s Guide, to make our profession more hospitable to women, and to women and men from underrepresented social sectors.
Debra Bergoffen
Susan Bordo
Joan Callahan
Claudia Card
Linda Fisher
Nancy Fraser
Sandra Harding
Nancy J. Holland
Eva Kittay
Hilde Lindemann
Ladelle McWhorter
Sharon M. Meagher
Phyllis Rooney
Ofelia Schutte
Laurie Shrage
Nancy Tuana
Georgia Warnke
Alison Wylie

Comments now closed, a bit later than promised. I think we’ve managed an extremely cordial discussion, but I don’t want to push our luck.

Feminist philosophers, fetaldex and AJOB

As readers of Inside Higher Ed and the Leiter Reports know, Hilde Lindemann has resigned from the editorial board of the American Journal of Bioethics, citing a number of concerns. Chief among them is the editors’ decision to accept and run a “Target Article” describing a Letter of Concern (both at the hotlink), signed by 32 scholars including Hilde Lindemann, as a case study in unethical bioethics. The ensuing coverage has considered many interesting questions, including the accuracy of Lindemann’s comments in her resignation letter, the accuracy of the editors and authors of the Target Article who have defended their choices and their various online posts since, the standards of evidence in bioethics and so on. Potentially lost in this otherwise quite gripping discussion is the actual subject of the initial Letter of Concern, which is of interest to so many feminist philosophers: fetaldex.org:

Purpose: This website seeks to raise ethical concerns about the prenatal use of dexamethasone (a Class C steroid) when it is given to pregnant women to attempt to prevent female fetuses from developing genitals that are atypical, and when it is given by clinicians to also prevent females from being psychologically “masculnized,” i.e., tomboyish, more aggressive than average girls, and ultimately lesbian of bisexual in sexual orientation.

An excellent plain-language introduction to this topic is provided via this article at Time magazine.

So if you’re wondering why so many of your friendly neighbourhood feminist philosophers are signatories on the LOC taking so much criticism, that’s why!

So that’s how it’s done!

Prof. Hilde Lindemann’s recent review of Chris Meyers’ The Fetal Position: A Rational Approach to the Abortion Issue (Prometheus, 2010) exhibits a breathtaking plain-spoken approach to the concern feminists philosophers sometimes raise, as to how to go about writing a review of a book which omits notice of feminist contributions to a field:

It is written, he says, neither for good ole Mississippi boys who equate abortion with baby-killing, nor for “my left-wing feminist pals in my old college neighborhood of North Chicago. In short, fanatics on either side are not likely to find this book tolerable” (p. 13). His left-wing feminist pals would seem to include feminist philosophers of any stripe, as none of their arguments appear anywhere in the book. Work on abortion that dismisses thirty years’ worth of feminist scholarship as fanaticism, however, cannot be taken seriously.