This one was quite funny, from longtime reader Michael Bramley in the U.K.:
As a longtime reader of your philosophy blog (10+ years) I wanted to write a note of thanks for your tireless coverage of these permanently furious, bloodthirsty dogmatists on the Left that give the rest of us (on the same side!) such a bad name. I referring to all this crap about diversity and New Infantilism and of course the nonsense on stilts regarding Tuvel and Stock.
One wonders what bile these True Believers would produce if you *weren't* shining a light on these specimens of slave revolt! Despite my love for medical statistics, here is one situation where I am truly glad there is no control group!
2 350 years ago, Aristotle wrote that, 'To entertain a thought without accepting it is the mark of an educated mind.' In 2018, even entertaining a hypothetical (that is contrary to the party line) is the mark of the devil . This is how the world ends, then: not with a bang, but with a hashtag. (And this is what we're trying to send to Mars?!)
I suspect the item last week on Professor Trott's hypocrisy prompted this, but he raises a good question: namely, if someone were not shining a very public light on their misconduct, their hypocrisy, their mobbing, their attempts to suppress ideas and speech, would they be doing even worse? It's hard to imagine what that would be, but maybe vocal opposition does slow them down a bit. It is at least, as I know from much correspondence, helpful to the targets of the thought police to know they have much support.
The out-going editors, Franz Huber and Jonathan Weisberg, asked me to share the following, which I'm happy to do in support of open-acess publishing:
We are looking for qualified candidates to become managing editors of Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy, effective July 1, 2019. Ben Bradley (Syracuse) and Alastair Wilson (Birmingham) have generously volunteered to serve. We welcome applications that propose to complete this team, but also applications that propose their own, distinct team (e.g. for logistical or funding reasons).
Responsibilities include handling the day-to-day editorial business including the recruitment of area editors; managing copy-editing and production and publication; securing funding; and maintaining the editorial management system. Information about the journal, including its mission and policies, as well as statistics, can be found here:
Given that the Twitter Red Guard continue to dissemble and moan about Professor Stock's and my expose of the APA blog scandal, perhaps a reality check is in order.
Nathan Oseroff, a man in his late 20s, who has a prominent on-line position with the American Philosophical Association (that he continuously advertises), took it upon himself to launch a jihad against feminist philosophers, especially philosopher Kathleen Stock (Sussex) who held what he, in his superior wisdom, deemed to be a "morally unacceptable" opinion about the proposed gender self-ID law in the United Kingdom (this law would permit anyone to redesignate their gender for all legal purposes without any medical or other oversight, evaluation or waiting periods). This man used his role at the APA blog to post a comment attacking Prof. Stock on the APA's blog that violated blog guidelines (the editor in charge of the blog apologized to Prof. Stock, removed the comment and briefly suspended the offender--remarkably, he has not been removed entirely).
This adult male also took to social media to defame Prof. Stock as someone who directed "hate" at her students and colleagues. Doing so would be grossly unprofessional conduct, but this man's only evidence for his libelous charge was that Prof. Stock had a different view about the gender self-ID Law in the UK than he did. In addition, it turns out that this man also abused his role at the APA to "police" the conference practices of a philosophy society that had actually accepted one of his papers, even though the APA, let alone its blog or its editors, has no authority about how professional societies referee papers.
This adult man, who is almost 30 years old, objected that no one should criticize him since he is a PhD student in philosophy. Some of his fellow Twitteratti, endorsed this view (unsurprisingly, they are all similarly situated: adults in school engaged in stupid on-line conduct!).
I suggest that Donald Trump should enroll in a PhD program soon, since some segment of the population apparently believes that misconduct is entitled to a free pass if the perpetrator is an adult PhD student. (Unfortunately for Trump, that segment may consist only of the Twitter Red Guard.)
Here. I do not ultimately find it persuasive (see this comment by philosopher Sophie Allen [Keele] which identifies a key weakness of the response), but it is mostly serious and substantive (unlike most of the responses to Professor Stock from Nathan Oseroff & the Twitter Red Guard, I. Pohl, Talia Mae Bettcher, L. Mollica, Asia Ferrin et al.) and worth reading for anyone who has been following this debate. (It goes off the rails towards the end, however, in trying to rationalize the idiotic rhetoric of those who would silence debate--speaking of which, this reaction is representative of the totalitarian mindset in parts of academic philosophy.)
ADDENDUM: The last link no longer works, but Professor Stock caught a screen shot of this disgraceful performance by philosopher Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown).
I put "harassment" in quotes for the obvious reason: Trott conflates actual harassment, such as death threats, with on-line "trolling" and no doubt any criticism, at least of her friends and tastes. Her essay really isn't about harassment, but another tired attempt to whitewash suppression of the views she doesn't like--hence this bit of self-serving blather: "Only such community projects [like the APA Blog!] can resist posts that draw in traffic and do real [sic] harm by discussing experiences and identities of marginalized groups in philosophically abstract and distant tones as if people’s lives are puzzles." In her world, the 'harassment' of Professor Tuvel is, no doubt, a model of good community behavior!
(Thanks to several readers who sent this nonsense along.)
UPDATE: Just to drive home the point that the word 'harassment' doesn't mean anything, we have (who else?) Nathan Oseroff tweeting this morning as follows:
We are also concerned about the suppression of proper academic analysis and discussion of the social phenomenon of transgenderism, and its multiple causes and effects. Members of our group have experienced campus protests, calls for dismissal in the press, harassment, foiled plots to bring about dismissal, no-platforming, and attempts to censor academic research and publications. Such attacks are out of line with the ordinary reception of critical ideas in the academy, where it is normally accepted that disagreement is reasonable and even productive.
Many of our universities have close links with trans advocacy organisations who provide “training” of academics and management, and who, it is reasonable to suppose, influence university policy through these links. Definitions used by these organisations of what counts as “transphobic” can be dangerously all-encompassing and go well beyond what a reasonable law would describe. They would not withstand academic analysis, and yet their effect is to curtail academic freedom and facilitate the censoring of academic work. We also worry about the effect of such definitions on the success rates of journal submissions and research grant applications from governmental bodies such as the AHRC and ESRC.
Here. The story of her early life, "upbringing" (you'll see why I put it in quotes if you read the interview), and time in graduate school and just after makes for gripping reading. Her comment on the University of Oregon department was also funny: "I needed to get out of Oregon, which was a hostile cesspool of a department, riddled by sexual harassment scandals, fractured by ideological battles, bitterly resentful of anything they counted as ‘mainstream’ philosophy, and marked by mean-girl pissing contests over what counted as ‘proper’ feminism. It was awful."
MOVING TO FRONT (ORIGINALLY POSTED SEPTEMBER 19)--UPDATED
A longtime member of the MIT faculty, Professor Bromberger wrote widely in philosophy of linguistics and epistemology (more details here). There is a brief announcement from the MIT Facebook page here. I will add links to memorial notices when they appear.
UPDATE: Philosopher of science Brad Wray (Aarhus) writes:
I just saw on your site that Sylvain B. died. He was a wonderful person. I was at MIT for a term in 2015 for a sabbatical leave.
He was already very old – in his 90s. But he was still coming in for talks, and was involved in a reading group with Chomsky.
He had a very interesting life. The family escaped Belgium when the Nazis came in, and ended up in America via France (I believe with help from a Portuguese embassy worker). You can find the details of that on the web. But then he went and fought in the war. He returned to do a PhD at Harvard, on a topic inspired by Duhem. People were not reading Duhem in the USA – even Quine had to have Duhem drawn to his attention when he was presenting his own underdetermination paper.
Incidentally, Sylvain was the one who gave Hempel the shadow and the flag pole counter example (Hempel acknowledges this), but Sylvain said it was a tower in his own example.
Sylvain also brought Kuhn to MIT, when Kuhn was looking to leave Princeton.
Sensible and balanced analysis of some of the issues by philosopher Leslie Green (Oxford). Because it is sensible and balanced, he will surely be vilified by the usual brainless automatons in cyberspace!
It seems that I’ve been blacklisted by Springer for having the temerity to ask if I might be paid for reviewing an article submitted to one of their journals. This past Wednesday, I received an email requesting that I review an article for Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. I replied that, before considering it, I’d like to know if the journal is published by a non-profit company and, if not, how much I would be paid for doing the review. Yesterday, an associate editor of the journal wrote to say that she was asked to uninvite me as a potential reviewer.
Requesting to be paid when the publisher isn’t a non-profit has been a longstanding policy of mine. I’ve never understood why we professors, who are supposed to be so smart, are so willing to be exploited.
...at 3AM. This is a very interesting interview, although I should note that it is implausible that Nietzsche was positively influenced by Rousseau; the similarities Neuhouser points to--"Both genealogies have 'de-naturalizing' ambitions—they reveal the human-made character of phenomena normally taken to be natural or merely given—and...both emphasize the contingent nature of the developments in question"--reflect ideas and themes important in German philosophy and culture, starting with Herder. There was no need for Nietzsche to look to Rousseau for such an approach, and no evidence he did so.
A moral philosopher, perhaps best-known for her work on animal ethics, Professor Midgley spent most of her teaching career at Newcastle University. I will add links to memorial notices as they appear. (Thanks to several readers for sending along news of her passing.)
UPDATE: An obituary from The Guardian written by philosopher Jane Heal (Cambridge).
Below the fold, some comments from Ian Ground at Newcastle about Professor Midgley:
So here are the results of Monday's poll to see who might prefer a less politicized organization meeting the needs of philosophers:
Would you leave the APA and join a new dues-charging professional philosophy association that does much of what the APA does, but without the current political agends/projects?
There's no reason to think this sample is representative of the population of philosophers at large, but that's OK: what the poll does suggest is that there's at least nearly 800 philosophy faculty and students out there who are quite open to an alternative, and another 200+ who might be persuadable if a new organization did the right things.
So questions for discussion here: (1) what would you want from a new philosophy organization to make it worth joining and paying dues? and (2) would you be willing to invest time and effort in creating it? For the latter, it would obviously help if you post under your actual name; for the former, that's not necessary. Please submit comments only once; they may take awhile to appear. Only comments responding to one or both of these two questions will appear.
An untenured philosopher, who asked that I not use her name, writes:
I just participated in your recent poll about the APA and voted "Definitely"; this may be of little interest but I'm writing because I belong to a group that the identity politics folks describe as a 'triple minority’: 'queer'; 'person of colour'; woman (scare quotes because I dislike those labels). I should, then, be all for these measures designed to include and promote people like me. I'm not, though, because I feel quite included and promoted enough qua the only identity I care to adopt: philosopher. And if I don’t, it’s as someone whose primary interests lie in ancient Greek philosophy and not as a ‘WOC’ (or ‘QWOC’ or whatever absurd acronym best captures my demographic).
I'm not even sure what it means to "Publish more papers of interest to under-represented groups in philosophy" -- do 'under-represented groups' have special philosophical interests? Will it be assumed that people like me are more interested in, say, standpoint epistemology than in Platonic metaphysics?
While I wouldn't dare put my name to any of these thoughts (since I don't have tenure and the times are what they are) I'm truly disturbed by these proposals formulated to help groups under-represented along the lines of sex/orientation/race/etc. I find the suggestions in the most recent APA blog post scary and, frankly, stupid as a philosopher and condescending as a member of various ‘under-represented’ groups.
Sorry for this rather rambling email, but I also just wanted to write and thank you -- I've been reading your blog since I was a first-year undergrad a dozen years ago and I'm always grateful to read (the ever-decreasing) voices of sanity in this profession.
...require ensuring that members of under-represented groups can publish at least in proportion to their presence as faculty in the discipline or in proportion to their presence as researchers with a particular AOS. Targets even higher than proportional representation might be desirable to restore balance after a period of inequity or due to the special value of perspectives of members from some under-represented groups on some issues.
There are, of course, groups under-represented in the major Anglophone philosophy journals: Marxists, for example, or Nietzscheans. But these are not the groups meant: the groups at issue appear to be racial and ethnic minorities, women, and perhaps LGBT philosophers. In the absence of evidence that journal editorial practices explicitly or implicitly aim to exclude philosophers from these groups (I am not aware of such evidence, perhaps it exists), what problem are we trying to solve with the proposed reserved journal slots for members of these groups? There is a nod to the Millian idea about a diversity of views, but there's no evidence for thinking this proposal, as opposed to actually encouraging a diversity of philosophical viewsand approaches, would realize the Millian aim. There's also a little bit of identity politics "standpoint" epistemology, so unlike the Marxist kind. (What about journal editors who find identity politics standpoint epistemology implausible? Will the APA really be declaring this the official epistemology of the organization?) These thin, putatively philosophical rationales to one side, what this really seems to be is just another case of the corporate personnel "diversity" agenda, this time in the service of undermining the scholarly integrity of academic publishing. (On the history of the "diversity" mantra, see this. There are compelling reasons for affirmative action for African-Americans and perhaps some other groups, but "diversity" is not one of them.)
So I share the shock of many readers I've heard from about this proposal; the question is what to do. A philosopher elsewhere, who wrote to me about this proposal, put it this way:
It [the proposal, above] seems to recommend some version of eliminating blind review in philosophy journals. I’ve been hearing about it all day from colleagues and friends. I’m kind of in disbelief; this is such a tremendously bad idea for some many different reasons! I’m writing you because you’ve been critical of the APA before, and maybe you can provide advice (and maybe this would be worth a post) on what one can do if (a) one doesn’t want to support, with one’s money and energy, these aspect of the APA that seem to be detrimental to our discipline (at least according to the values of many philosophers), but (b) really benefits from and appreciates other aspects of the APA, such as the conferences and the journal (which I do think is a pretty good journal, and we do need more good journals…). Is there a way to disentangle (a) and (b)? Is there a way to suggest, as a large group, that the APA move their membership to “APA lite” that funds (b) but not (a), thereby avoiding having their work and money going to things like the APA blog and the “diversity” group?
I can't imagine the APA would set up such a fees structure, certainly not given the capture of the organization by the Diversity-Uber-Alles crowd. One possibility, which more than one person has raised with me over the last couple of years, is the need for an alternative organization that performs something like the (b) functions mentioned, above, by my correspondent. So here's a poll; I'll open the results for discussion later in the week. Absolute numbers matter more here than percentages, so do vote if you have any view on the matter. Those interested in alternatives to the APA need to know whether there's some significant number of philosophers out there interested in an alternative.
UPDATE: So after about 12 hours, here are the results; I will keep the poll open for another day since, as I noted this morning, the absolute numbers are more important than the proportions.
Would you leave the APA and join a new dues-charging professional philosophy association that does much of what the APA does, but without the current political agends/projects?
Philosopher John Haldane (Baylor & St Andrews) writes:
The Royal Institute of Philosophy, of which I am Chair, is in an ongoing process of development and renewal. In connection with this we have just elected (Lady) Onora O’Neill as President in succession to the late (Lord) Stewart Sutherland and we are now looking to appoint a new Director, and a new editor of Philosophy, to succeed Anthony O’Hear who has occupied both positions since 1994. Details of the Institute and of these positions can be got through the Institute’s website https://royalinstitutephilosophy.org/recruitment-for-the-positions-of-academic-director-and-of-editors-of-philosophy/
The authors submitted seven "fake" papers to journals, which passed peer review and were accepted for publication, including Hypatia (more on that, below). They frame this, unhelpfully, as about "grievance studies," but that several of the papers did get accepted indicates that the journals in question have seriously flawed standards, to the point where one might wonder whether there is a Wissenschaft there at all.
Here is the fake paper that Hypatia accepted after two referee reports!
Title: When the Joke Is on You: A Feminist Perspective on How Positionality Influences Satire
Thesis: That academic hoaxes or other forms of satirical or ironic critique of social justice scholarship are unethical, characterized by ignorance and rooted in a desire to preserve privilege.
Purpose: To see if journals will accept an argument that shuts down critiques of social justice scholarship as a lack of engagement and understanding, even if one engages fully and knowledgeably with the ideas to the extent of having a paper on them published in a leading academic journal. (This paper is also to anticipate and show understanding of the feminist epistemological arguments against our project and demonstrate their high estimation in the field by having them accepted in the leading academic journal of feminist philosophy. That is, to criticize our work that way, they have to cite us.)
Selected Reviewer Comments:
“This is a very promising essay and so revisions will be very helpful.” -Reviewer 1, Hypatia
“The paper is well written, accessible and clear, and engages in important scholarship in relevant ways. Given the emphasis on positionality, the argument clearly takes power structures into consideration and emphasizes the voice of marginalized groups, and in this sense can make a contribution to feminist philosophy especially around the topic of social justice pedagogy.” -Reviewer 2, Hypatia
“The topic is an excellent one and would make an excellent contribution to feminist philosophy and be of interest to Hypatia readers.” -Reviewer 2, Hypatia
“Excellent and very timely article! Especially nice connection with pedagogy and activism.” -Reviewer 1, Hypatia (second review)
“I have a couple of personal, very minor comments that I’ll put in below the referee’s praise. I hasten to add that I like your paper very much as well!” -Editor of Hypatia, acceptance letter
Philosopher Adam Swift (Warwick) discusses. It's tricky, however, to design a successful confiscatory estate tax, but one leading wills & estates scholar (my former Texas Law colleague, Mark Ascher) took a stab at it some thirty years ago. (By the way, Ascher votes Republican, but his impetus in writing the paper was the same egalitarian thoughts expressed by Swift: Ascher always referred to himself [truly] as "a farmboy from Kansas": the idea of inherited fortunes rubbed him the wrong way.)
Lucas Thorpe, a philosopher in Turkey at Bogazici University, writes:
As grad school application time is coming up, I was wondering whether it would be possible to run a post on "fee-waiver", and 'GRE' policies for grad school applications in philosophy. I know some grad-schools are willing to offer waivers for in the case of financial hardship. But I cannot find any online list of which departments are able to do this. Perhaps if you did a post on this faculty from schools that offer such a possibility could mention this in comments.
I think this is important for increasing diversity in the profession, as applying to a broad range of schools is now extremely expensive, and means that only the well-off are really able to do this.
In addition the cost of sending GRE reports to schools is also very expensive, and some schools are willing to consider application without official GRE scores (even if they may require official scores on acceptance).
This year is especially hard for my students here in Turkey given the collapse of the Turkish lira. The application fees for many schools in the US now equivalent to a months living expenses for poorer students. And if schools do offer fee waivers this may encourage some (very good) students to apply.
A longtime professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University, where he held the rank of Distinguished Professor and the Glasscock Chair in the Humanities, he was best-known for his work on classical American philosophy, including James and Dewey. I will add links to memorial notices when they appear.
I'm told the department will be making an announcement today regarding the issues noted in this earlier post. Already, philosopher Trenty Dougherty is no longer listed on the department's faculty page. I will add a link to Baylor's public statement later today.
Stock’s essay was recently signal-boosted by a cis male blogger [i.e., Leiter, who is not a cis male though is a blogger] who is hostile to feminism in the philosophy profession, and who has been linking to essays by cis people (mostly cis men) that debate whether trans women are women. While it is logically possible for something to be both liked by this blogger and helpful to the feminist cause, I am categorically distrustful of anything he endorses.
Let's review some of the ways I've harmed "the feminist cause" over the years:
1. I was the first senior male figure in the profession to call attention (on this blog) to the sexual harassment problem in philosophy, way back in 2009 (I "signal-boosted" the problem, shall we say), and I've given extensive coverage to these issues over the years.
2. I also "signal-boosted" the movement for the APA to really enforce its existing policies against anti-gay discrimination--it started with this post in 2007, but really took off after this post and the subsequent petition. See also here and here .
3. I exposed the "Climate for Women" hoax perpetrated by Linda Alcoff and colleagues, who were trying to recommend to female students graduate programs with documented sexual harassment problems.
This announcement suggests that Mr. Oseroff's suspension for his professional misconduct may only be temporary. APA members need to contact their divisional representatives about this. I know folks have strong feelings about this--as one philosopher wrote me the other day, "I think Oseroff’s work at the APA is a disgrace, and he has attacked friends of mine." Contact your divisional representatives.
UPDATE: Several readers asked about my exchange with Dr. Skye Cleary, the Lead Editor of the APA Blog, prior to my posting about the suspension on Monday. Everyone I've showed it to read it exactly as I did. Here it is. I wrote her as follows:
Dear Dr. Cleary, Someone else involved with the APA Blog told me that you did suspend Mr. Oseroff this past Friday, which I had expected you would after Prof. Piggliucci vouched for your integrity and good judgment. I am going to post about this later today. If there is anything you want to say for the record, I am happy to quote you. If you would rather not say anything, that's fine, I of course would understand. Thank you for your attention to this. Yours, Brian Leiter • • [Dr Skye Cleary]<https://twitter.com/Skye_Cleary>
Dear Professor Leiter, Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I appreciate it. However, at the moment I do not have anything to add to the matter. Very best wishes, Skye Cleary • Sep 24 •
A temporary suspension isn't sufficient under the circumstances in any case. Thanks to those who have written that they have or will contact their APA representatives. Dr. Cleary, like all the other editors, works without pay and without ultimate authority over the blog; that authority rests with officers of the APA I am told.
I’m soon about to receive a book contract proposal from a prestigious university press. I was wondering if you or the readers of Leiter Reports might be able to offer any advice on this: what to watch out for; what might I regret in the future; are the terms actually negotiable in the case of a junior academic etc.
I'll open this for comments, though please post them only once, comment moderation may be slow today given my other obligations.
A few comments of my own. First, many book contracts include a clause that gives the press the right of first refusal on your next book. That might be great if it's a great press, that you'd love to work with again, but otherwise, you should ask that clause be stricken. You aren't signing up for a lifetime contract just because a good press is publishing your first book. Second, you ought to be clear going in about whether a paperback edition will appear: as a junior scholar, you don't have much leverage, but it may depend on your topic. Simultaneous publication in cloth and paper is more common for established scholars, but sometimes a press will commit to a paperback edition after one or two years, perhaps if certain sales goals are met. It's fair to raise the issue but don't be surprised if the press says no to including that in the contract. Third, junior scholars can't really negotiate about royalty rates, at least not in my experience. I wouldn't worry about it, since this is an academic philosophy book! Fourth, and this is more idiosyncratic to me since as a lawyer I actually read these contracts carefully, the contracts usually ask you to warranty that there is no libel or copyright violation and to agree to indemnify the press otherwise. That's not unreasonable if it means that the author must indemnify the press against a successful claim of libel or copyright violation, but not if it means the author must indemnify the press against frivolous lawsuits. Whether that's a significant distinction may depend on your topic!
Those with experience in these matters are invited to comment. I would prefer real names, but at least include a valid e-mail address (which wont' appear).
This is an informative review by philosopher Manuel Vargas (UC San Diego). Many of the debates he describes will be familiar to those knowledgeable about other philosophical traditions and places at roughly the same time, suggesting the extent to which philosophical questions both transcend culture and place even as they reflect them.
This occurred last April, and I'm surprised it didn't result in his termination then (the APA Blog must be desperate for people to do the work). The philosopher who wrote me about this asked that I not name the organization, so I will refer to it simply as XXX.
The latest news of Nathan Oseroff reminds me that I had a strange interaction with him recently. I suspect a number of other people have had similar experiences; I don’t know if they have passed them on. If you post about this, please keep it anonymous, since I am no longer on the executive committee of XXX, and don’t want to speak for them.
In 2014, we hosted the annual meeting of the XXX at [name omitted]. Interestingly, Nathan Oseroff submitted a paper, which was accepted for a poster presentation but not as a talk. He then asked to present his poster remotely. He mailed the poster, and had a friend attend the session with a Skype link to Nathan. I thought it very accommodating on our part to let him do this. (We had one other paper that was presented remotely; but the author, from Australia, uses a motorized wheelchair, making air travel impossible.)
Last April, I got the following e-mail:
> Dear [name omitted],
> I am an Associate Editor at the American Philosophical Association
> blog. I want to be upfront that this email concerns serious
> allegations about XXX that have been relayed to me. Due to the
> nature of this topic and the fact that I am not attempting to
> undermine or impugn the reputation of XXX or any of its past
> organizers, institutions, affiliated groups or people, I want to make
> it clear that I have decided to keep the identity of XXX anonymous
> and mask any identifying information in published material out of
> respect to XXX. My concern here is only for raising awareness of
> the issues and institutional reform.
> I have been informed by anonymous sources that a number of
> highly-regarded, yearly philosophy conferences in North America do not
> undergo a standard review of anonymized abstracts or papers.
> Furthermore, I have been informed that there have been allegations
> that there has been minimal review of past XXX conferences; other
> allegations include the claim that abstracts at past XXX conferences
> have been intentionally de-anonymized before reviewing them. I
> understand that these allegations are shocking; however, they have
> both come from reputable sources. Out of a desire for transparency, I
> can only ask an incredibly blunt question: Can you confirm or deny any
> of these allegations?
> Nathan Oseroff
> Associate Editor, APA blog
I just referred him to the present executive board of XXX and left it that. But this is bizarre in all sorts of ways. It is not the place of APA or anyone acting in the name of the APA to be policing other organizations. The accusation is also weird: Most conferences will have invited speakers, who are obviously not invited blindly. Many conferences do not use blind review, and it is understandable if conferences give priority to, e.g. dues-paying members of the organization. If we did not wish to do blind review, it would be really strange for us to ask for blinded submissions and then unblind them. The accusation is also strange because in practice, XXX accepts almost everything. The year we hosted [at my institution], every submission was accepted either as a paper or a poster.
I know that the executive committee sent a letter to the members of the APA governing board, but I do not know if they received any response.
If Mr. Oseroff has been abusing his position at the APA Blog to harass other professional organizations, please let me know.
Someone using the name of an editor at the APA Blog wrote to inform me that Nathan Oseroff was suspended as an editor of the APA Blog last Friday by Lead Editor Skye Cleary for his misconduct. Recall that this misconduct included:
1. Abusing his moderator privileges to post a comment on the APA Blog attacking philosopher Kathleen Stock, even though the comment violated blog guidelines; Dr. Cleary apologized to Professor Stock and removed the comment.
4. Defaming Professor Stock on twitter by accusing her, falsely, of directing "hate" at her students and faculty colleagues, behavior which would be manifestly unprofessional if it had actually occurred.
I commend Dr. Cleary for taking this step. Mr. Oseroff is in his late 20s; he is an adult, who is legally and morally responsible for his conduct. The integrity of the APA Blog requires that he be held to account.
[I have removed the lengthy comments of the blog editor I had originally posted, which I now have some reason to doubt the reliability of. My apologies--more soon.]
UPDATE: My reason for doubt: the Korean contained in the original letter from the purported blog editor did not say what its author claimed it said; instead it referred to "TERF scum" among other unpleasantness. On the other hand, prior to posting the above, I did write to Dr. Cleary as follows: " Someone else involved with the APA Blog told me that you did suspend Mr. Oseroff this past Friday, which I had expected you would after Prof. Piggliucci vouched for your integrity and good judgment. I am going to post about this later today. If there is anything you want to say for the record, I am happy to quote you. If you would rather not say anything, that's fine, I of course would understand. Thank you for your attention to this." Dr. Cleary replied that she had nothing further to say about the suspension at this time.
A FURTHER UPDATE: The alleged APA blog editor who wrote me yesterday and with whom I corresponded at length over the last 24 hours was in fact impersonating one of the other female editors of the blog (using her name in the e-mail, as well as identifying details). As it happens, this is a crime in Illinois--https://codes.findlaw.com/il/chapter-720-criminal-offenses/il-st-sect-720-5-17-2.html--and the matter will be turned over to law enforcement tomorrow (and I will personally reach out to some folks I know at the prosecutor's office about it, though tracing the criminal actor may be difficult--I will offer a $500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator). My best guess as to what transpired is the following: Oseroff was, as noted, suspended for his misconduct towards Professor Stock and those the maniacs call "TERFs," and so one crazed trans activist decided to get revenge by posing as an editor of the APA blog, writing a lengthy account of (alleged) recent events at the APA Blog involving Oseroff, sneaking in a bit of Korean (under the guise of a Korean "proverb" relevant to the matter) that in reality insulted me and "TERFs", and asking me to post it while protecting their anonymity. I suggested the imposter cut the last paragraph, which had the Korean, but the imposter resisted, though proposing a slight revision. The imposter accepted some other editing suggestions, clearly eager to get this posted (if only for a few minutes, as an astute Korean reader almost immediately alerted me to the possible fraud). In the process, the imposter has injured me, the actual APA Blog editor, and maybe Oseroff. Let this be a warning to Professor Stock and her other supporters in academic philosophy that some of these people are really nuts and will go to great lengths to make mischief.
Trained and working in the Frankfurt School tradition, Professor Wellmer (who taugh at the Free University in Berlin) was especially interested in issues of aesthetic theory, and was also a critic of postmodernism. A memorial in German is here.
(Thanks to Alexander Stingl for the pointer.)
UPDATE: A remembrance from philosopher Joseph Shieber (Lafayette).
Whatever its proximate sources, the picture shaping Harman’s thinking only needs to be plainly articulated for its peculiarity to become apparent. His conviction about the inherent inaccessibility of reality seems ultimately to rest on assuming that genuine knowledge of an object would have to take the form of becoming wholly and fully identical with that object: fusing with it, actually realising the theatrical method-acting aspiration that he claims is internal to the experience of metaphor (but also claims is not truly realisable). This is a strangely idealist assumption for a putatively realist ontology, and one which would abolish the independent reality of both subject and object if it were realised. But of course, knowledge cannot rest on any such assumption, because it is a sheer fantasy. It evacuates the idea of knowledge of any content, since neither we nor Harman have any idea what it would mean for a subject to become the object of her knowledge.
A longtime member of the philosophy faculties at Lehman College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, Professor Baumrin was a well-known contributor to medical ethics and philosophy of law. There is a brief memorial notice here.