Collecting stones

That absurd “the TERFs have FORCED me to quit philosophy” piece is, somewhat to my surprise, getting a lot of attention today, especially (it seems) from philosophers. I was thinking yesterday it would be just another rant that few people would notice, if only because the quality is so dire. But Brian Leiter shares information that indicates otherwise:

A number of philosophers have written me about this noxious, and I suspect fraudulent, display, and I apologize that I can’t respond to everyone as I’m participating in an intellectual event, and so trying to avoid engaging with the usual social media grandstanding and narcissism as much as possible. But I will share one set of comments from a philosopher elsewhere, since it makes clear the absurdity of this essay:

In what amounts to an AI-driven performative contradiction of its thesis, I’ve seen numerous philosophers on my Facebook feed share the article as something with immense moral import, with exactly zero of my hundreds of philosopher Fb friends offering even the mildest criticism. (One friend of a friend tried to do so, and was promptly told to take it elsewhere.)

I’m staggered by that. The piece is not even credible as being written by a grad student in philosophy. It reads like a typical social media-style rant. It has no trace of argument. It shows no sign of any philosophy training at all.

It’s too invasion of the body snatchers for me. Have they all lost their minds? Have they all been replaced by pods?

The note to Brian continues:

All this praise is for an article that,

(i) Frames as a “hateful” and “phobic” practice of “debating my existence” any philosophical discussion of gender which “does not proceed from [the] initial assumption … that trans people are the gender they say they are” (though NB many gender-critical types insist that they are concerned with sex, not gender, and are happy to let people be what they say in the latter respect as long as this doesn’t mean that they can share prisons and rape shelters with people of the opposite sex) — including under this umbrella not only the infamous Kathleen Stock (and Becky Tuvel I think??), but also yourself and Justin Weinberg, i.e. he of “moral resisters” fame; and further

(ii) Calls for a total no-platforming of gender-critical philosophers and philosophical arguments in journals, at conferences, and on blogs and social media.

Striking, isn’t it. And philosophers themselves are cheering this on? What is wrong with them?

Philosophers sharing this article, which in my feed have included several who were on hiring committees for departments I interviewed at in the past, have made it quite clear to everyone in the audience that it is people like me who are not welcome in the profession — that my existence as a non-hateful or -phobic scholar who thinks that “gender identity” might be a pseudo-concept, or that biological sex isn’t a matter of inner feeling, is very much up for debate — and that even the mildest refusal to toe the party line on gender means being framed as the moral equivalent of a white supremacist.

One such philosopher, on Twitter as opposed to Facebook:

A “heartbreaking personal essay”? A self-obsessed hyperbolic attack on feminist philosophers by someone with no philosophical training is more like it. But Ichikawa isn’t some random woke bro, he teaches philosophy at UBC (BC=British Columbia).

And apparently there are many more like him, adding to the pile of stones to throw at Kathleen Stock.

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