They would do well to repudiate this embarrassment from the UK chapter

Yet another lying bullying “statement,” this one from Minorities and Philosophy UK. Brian Leiter flags it up:

I don’t want to make more of this disgraceful statement than it deserves; many MAP chapters are doing constructive work, and they would do well to repudiate this embarrassment from the UK chapter.  One can support equal opportunity for and dignified treatment of trans philosophers, as Professor Stock explicitly does, and still disagree with how some trans philosophers understand gender.

Note that this statement is the work of a handful of individuals, including the already notorious Keyvan Shafei and the equally benighted spouse of Nathan Oseroff, among others.  It was apparently prompted by the fact that the Aristotelian Society, much to its credit, permitted a professional philosopher, Kathleen Stock, to present a philosophical paper on sex and gender, and even defended her right to do so.  For the Red Guard wannabes at MAP UK that was too much to bear, hence the statement, complete with the usual make-believe allegations of “harm” (that someone finds someone else’s philosophical views offensive and upsetting isn’t a harm:  please read John Gardner’s earlier comments on this subject).

So let’s read the statement.

In line with the missions of Minorities and Philosophy (MAP), MAP UK aims to support and celebrate the work of members of under-represented and marginalised groups in philosophy. This includes, for example, (but is not limited to) women, trans and non-binary people, people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, working class people, immigrants, and practitioners for whom English is not a first language, among other historically underrepresented groups.

The presence of these voices in academic philosophy improves academic philosophy for everyone. Not only do members of these communities make our discipline fairer, but their contributions also make ongoing conversations richer and better.

Fine so far; no problem.

The discipline of philosophy, as it stands, has much work to do for each of these groups. But one particular area that we must focus on is the increasing professional hostility towards trans people, with trans women and trans feminine philosophers regularly experiencing intensified and aggravated forms of hostility and abuse. In recent years and months, attacks on the trans community have been led by a number of prominent philosophers and are made to seem legitimate due to the unwillingness of the wider community to speak up and protect its most vulnerable members.

Bzzzzzzzt. No. The lies have begun.

  • increasing professional hostility towards trans people
  • with trans women and trans feminine philosophers regularly experiencing intensified and aggravated forms of hostility and abuse
  • attacks on the trans community have been led by a number of prominent philosophers

They’re calling disagreement over the ontological status of the trans version of gender “hostility”, “abuse”, and “attacks”. That’s not legitimate. They’re interpreting analysis of trans ideology and activism as “attacks on the trans community.” How can anybody ever get at the truth about anything if all attempts are translated into “attacks on the ____ community”?

A number of trans people have spoken out about their experiences in philosophy, especially on the painful topic of how recent events in philosophy have impacted (and continue to seriously threaten) their wellbeing, their professional careers, and their personal lives. We list some of these invaluable and heartbreaking testimonies below.

At the top of the list of those “invaluable and heartbreaking testimonies” is of course the one we read last week, by “t philosopher” – the one that I couldn’t be sure wasn’t a parody. How can these philosophers be so sure that anonymous post is both sincere and truthful? How is it that they can’t take even a single step back to ask a question or two? How is it that the stunningly banal formulaic prose of that post doesn’t pip their radar? Why are philosophers, of all people, rushing to embrace this kind of maudlin self-obsessed whine-accusation, and using it to justify vilifying a thoughtful philosopher like Kathleen Stock? What was in that Kool-aid?

Back to the MAP denunciation.

In continuation of such harmful trends, today (3rd June 2019) the Aristotelian Society hosted a talk by Professor Kathleen Stock, entitled ‘What is Sexual Orientation?’. We have composed this statement for two reasons: firstly, we are disappointed that a prominent philosophical organisation has hosted a talk by someone who has so aggressively and routinely spoken out against the trans community.

Another lie, a worse lie, a venomous malicious personal lie. Stock doesn’t “speak out against the trans community.” Stock presents arguments about the ontological status of women and lesbians. Philosophers of all people really ought to know the difference.

We have composed this statement for two reasons: firstly, we are disappointed that a prominent philosophical organisation has hosted a talk by someone who has so aggressively and routinely spoken out against the trans community. Secondly, we are deeply concerned by the fact that the Aristotelian Society is offering its valued intellectual platform to a paper that, itself, targets the trans community. We believe this talk brings into stark relief the current situation for trans and non-binary people in philosophy.

Two more lies marked.

In defence of their decision, the Aristotelian Society recently released a statement of support for Professor Stock’s right to engage in philosophical debate. We believe a right to engage in legitimate philosophical debate does not absolve a person of responsibility for the harms they inflict on vulnerable persons, nor should philosophical institutions encourage such forms of moral evasion.

Hyperbolic bullshit marked. Trans people aren’t the only vulnerable persons in the world. What about the harms these fools are inflicting on feminist women who don’t agree that men can be women, and who by the way also don’t think men are “vulnerable” in the same sense that women are, much less more so than women are?

We believe that by remaining ‘neutral’ and referring to ‘philosophical debates’ in this way, the Aristotelian Society has demonstrated its detachment from trans and non-binary people and their embodied and continually endangered lives.

Hyperbolic bullshit marked. Since when are men more endangered than women? The violence stats for trans people are lower than those for women, not higher.

In effect, their statement of ‘neutrality’ amounts to an explicit indifference to the harassment of trans people and their allies.

Stock’s paper is not harassment of trans people, or their sanctimonious “allies.”

In this context, we have to tell it like it is and acknowledge that purported neutrality in the face of bigotry is complicity.

It’s not “bigotry.”

We believe that by hosting this talk, and also by not issuing a clear and unequivocal statement of support for trans people within the profession and outside, the Aristotelian Society has contributed to the wider harms being done against trans people.

What wider harms?

Unlike the Aristotelian Society, we want our trans colleagues to know that we are here for them, and that we stand wholeheartedly with our trans and non-binary siblings everywhere.

They sound like some bozo at Everyday Feminism, not grown-up philosophers.

Unlike the Aristotelian Society, we refuse to be ‘neutral’. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Oh just stop with that shit. This isn’t Mississippi 1964.

Unlike our colleagues at the Aristotelian Society, we refuse to remain silent in the face of injustices inside and outside the academe.

What injustices? How is it that these goons even have colleagues? They should be in a sandbox with Trump.

The right to promote hateful ideas is not covered under the right to free speech.

Saying men are not women is not “promoting hateful ideas.”

Thus, we resist the charge that this is simply an attempt to silence and stifle philosophical debate. Nobody is entitled to unlimited and unopposed speech in academic philosophy – and we need to identify and call out forms of speech that target, oppress, and silence marginalised groups.

They say, proudly and boastfully (they are Martin Luther King!) trying to silence feminist women and lesbians.

Not every item of personal and ideological obsession is worthy of philosophical debate. In particular, scepticism about the rights of marginalised groups and individuals, where issues of life and death are at stake, are not up for debate. The existence and validity of transgender and non-binary people, and the right of trans and non-binary people to identify their own genders and sexualities, fall within the range of such indisputable topics.

Why? Why is it “indisputable” that there is a “right” for trans and non-binary people to identify their own genders (which in this context clearly includes sexes)? There is no general right for people to “identify” their own ______, so why is there such a right when it comes to what gender and sex one is? Why is there a “right” for a person with a penis to insist that he is a woman and that the entire world has to agree and act accordingly? Why is such a right indisputable? It seems to me there’s a lot to dispute, and by way of reminder let me say yet again that women are marginalized too.

The thing is signed by eight people.

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