Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

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Science Fan
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Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by Science Fan » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:50 pm

Recently, the philosophy department at Oxford University has instructed its professors to make sure that 40% of the authors referenced on any reading list are women. So, regardless of the quality of their work, the idea is to promote ideas based on gender. In philosophy, an argument is supposed to be evaluated based on its own merits, and not on the gender of the person making the argument. This means that Oxford's Philosophy Dept., one of the greatest in the world, has now abandoned one of the major principles of philosophy in order to be PC when it comes to gender.

This certainly goes a long way in undermining the usefulness of philosophy --- after all, if such a prestigious philosophy department rejects reason in favor of PC, thenwhy should we think philosophy will ever support reason over PC?

fooloso4
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by fooloso4 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:48 pm

Science Fan:
In philosophy, an argument is supposed to be evaluated based on its own merits, and not on the gender of the person making the argument. This means that Oxford's Philosophy Dept., one of the greatest in the world, has now abandoned one of the major principles of philosophy in order to be PC when it comes to gender.
I have mixed feelings about this. It seems heavy handed but there are many women philosophers who remain unknown and I think that should be remedied. If one is to judge them on their merit they must first be read.

Mari Mikkola, the first feminist philosophy appointment at Oxford said:
Theory-internally, I hope that philosophers will come to understand how political sensitivities can helpfully shape our philosophical theorising. There is a traditional tendency to think of philosophy as being value-free, objective inquiry about the way the world is. I think that this view of philosophy is mistaken and that all philosophising starts from some or other perspective undergirded by normative commitments. This does not make philosophy subjective or anything goes discipline, where “everything is relative”. Rather, I think that viewing the world through certain lenses can give us a clearer idea about what the facts of the matter are. (http://cherwell.org/2018/03/13/undergra ... ntroduced/)
Thomas Nagel called philosophy "the view from nowhere". While this is a popular view of philosophy it is not the only one.

I think philosophers, including Nietzsche, who advocate perspectivism would agree Mikkola.

Plato did not write dialogues for stylistic purposes. The character of the interlocutors is integral to the discussion. William James said:
The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments. (Pragmatism, Lecture 1)
Wittgenstein said:
If it is said on occasion that (someone's) philosophy is a matter of temperament, there is some truth in this. A preference for certain comparisons is something we call a matter of temperament & far more disagreements rest on this than appears at first sight(Culture and Value, 17e)

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by Science Fan » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:01 pm

Ok, so I'm trying to clarify your position. When you state that women philosophers should be known more than they are now, on what basis? Is it because they are women? Or is it because they are good philosophers? If it is because they are women, wouldn't that undermine philosophy, because now reason becomes irrelevant to philosophy and instead what is relevant is political correctness regarding gender issues? If, on the other hand, it is because they are good philosophers, then why make any reference to them being women? In such a case, doesn't that undermine their value as thinkers, because they are being promoted for being women, regardless of the quality of their arguments? Either way, I don't see how philosophy is served by such a policy as requiring 40% of the reading material be from women authors.

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:08 pm

The only female 'philosophers' I can think of are Ayn Rand and Simone Weil, and they are both dreadful.

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by uwot » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:49 am

Science Fan wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:50 pm
Recently, the philosophy department at Oxford University has instructed its professors to make sure that 40% of the authors referenced on any reading list are women.
I've been trying to find the source of this information and so far have only found a reference to the Daily Mail. Do you have it on better authority than that?
(Note to non-Brits: the most accurate information in the Daily Mail is the horoscopes.)

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:25 am

uwot wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:49 am
Science Fan wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:50 pm
Recently, the philosophy department at Oxford University has instructed its professors to make sure that 40% of the authors referenced on any reading list are women.
I've been trying to find the source of this information and so far have only found a reference to the Daily Mail. Do you have it on better authority than that?
(Note to non-Brits: the most accurate information in the Daily Mail is the horoscopes.)
Is the Telegraph any better?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2 ... inclusion/

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by uwot » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:38 am

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:25 am
Is the Telegraph any better?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2 ... inclusion/
No.

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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:23 am

uwot wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:38 am
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:25 am
Is the Telegraph any better?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2 ... inclusion/
No.
What about Breitbart? (joke). I'm sure it's probably true though. It's not exactly unusual these days.

fooloso4
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by fooloso4 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:57 am

Science Fan:
When you state that women philosophers should be known more than they are now, on what basis? Is it because they are women? Or is it because they are good philosophers?
One of the reasons cited is that they bring a different perspective. Another reason is that I think we have not heard of them because they are women, and this has nothing to do with their abilities. This seems to be changing, but it is changing in large part because women have been writing about gender issues since the seventies. It should be kept in mind that it was not all that long ago that they had to fight to win the right to vote.
If it is because they are women, wouldn't that undermine philosophy, because now reason becomes irrelevant to philosophy and instead what is relevant is political correctness regarding gender issues?


My impression from reading the Cherwell article is that there is considerable demand from students. If you think that this is not a good measure of what Oxford should be doing don’t blame PC. Responsibility seems to rest with Margaret Thatcher:
From the mid-1980s, however, ministers behaved as though education were an ailing, near-bankrupt industry. Their role was to challenge, even denigrate, the views of "insiders", to demand value for money, to impose performance management, to root out endemic "failure" and to insist on what they saw as customer satisfaction. (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2 ... egacy-gove)
I really know nothing about this other than what I found today poking around trying to find out more on this new policy.

In any case, I don’t think that giving women a voice means that reason becomes irrelevant. Simply being a woman is not sufficient. The work has to have merit, which of course is subjective. There are still analytic philosophers who think continental philosophers are without merit and visa versa.
If, on the other hand, it is because they are good philosophers, then why make any reference to them being women?
Because most of us know nothing about them. And this, I think is the best reason for including them.
In such a case, doesn't that undermine their value as thinkers, because they are being promoted for being women, regardless of the quality of their arguments?
I assume it is not regardless of the quality of their work, but rather because most remain unaware of the excellent quality of their work.
Either way, I don't see how philosophy is served by such a policy as requiring 40% of the reading material be from women authors.
As I said, I have mixed feelings about it. Historically, being a woman has been an impediment since many males have been dismissive of them. Things are changing but until recently both departments and reading lists have been almost exclusively male and this is not because women have done inferior work.

Walker
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by Walker » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:01 am

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:23 am
uwot wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:38 am
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:25 am
Is the Telegraph any better?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2 ... inclusion/
No.
What about Breitbart? (joke). I'm sure it's probably true though. It's not exactly unusual these days.
Pee –yew on the virtue sniffing tête-à-tête .

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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:31 am

Eh?

Walker
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by Walker » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:36 am

What are the PC news sources these days?

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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:46 am

Walker wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:36 am
What are the PC news sources these days?
I don't know, but an impartial one is the only kind worth bothering about (sites that publish facts rather than what agenda-driven readers want to read, written by actual journalists who can actually write). I doubt if that would include any sites that you frequent.
Of course, dodgy websites frequently publish decent articles when it suits them.

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by Walker » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:24 am

Then, ignoring factual content of a topic in favor of voicing personal prejudices about the news outlet that reports the facts of the topic is a curious path for such pristine intellectual integrity.

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Re: Oxford's Philosophy Dept. has Caved into Gender PC

Post by tbieter » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:52 pm

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:08 pm
The only female 'philosophers' I can think of are Ayn Rand and Simone Weil, and they are both dreadful.
How do you justify calling a particular philosopher "dreadful"? What standard have you used?

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