Sunday, May 28, 2017

This week, the prestigious Journal of Political Philosophy published a series of articles under the heading “Black Lives Matter.” One problem: All the authors published in the series are white. 
I need a new tag for Shark Jumping.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A pop star, not a PhD.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cognitive dissonance or change over time?

Banality, Boredom, Brian Leiter, Culture, Determinism, Make it Idiot-Proof, Mannerism and The Gothic, Naturalism, Pedants and Children, Philosophy, Politics, Utopia and Intentional Communities,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Feminist Philosophers"
Retroactive withdrawal of consent? 
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa continues his excellent, thoughtful series on the new Kipnis book with a discussion of nonconsensual sex.
Kipnis often describes sexual assault allegations in these terms. She says that there was a consensual sexual encounter, and then, months or years later, someone “retroactively withdraws” consent, converting what had previously been a permissible sexual encounter into an assault. Her language suggests a kind of “backwards causation”—one can reach back into history and create rapes that weren’t there by removing the consent. The implication: this absurd metaphysics is being embraced by campus activists, demonstrating both their intellectual depravity and their danger.
But why is Kipnis so confident that, in these cases, there was consent in the first place? After all, there is such a thing as a nonconsensual sexual encounter where the victim doesn’t think of it as such at the time, or doesn’t decide to report it at the time. There is such a thing as being coerced, manipulated, or bullied into a sexual relationship. When this happens, one is quite likely to keep quiet about it at first, either for fear of repercussions, or out of failure to understand what has happened.
Read on! [link to Ichikawa]
My comment on Ichikawa's post. I'm surprised it made it.
You either have agency or you don't. You either accept the responsibilities of citizenship in the community governed by laws, or you don't.

That's the simple way to describe it. The complex way to describe it is to accept that democracy and self-government are based on illusions, that people are rulers and ruled, dom and sub, slave and master, that love takes many forms and "moral responsibility" deserves to be subject of mockery.
That's the logic of De Sade and the sexual political underground.

"The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death."

If politics is a discussion of shared public life, this is anti-politics, nihilism in the name of moral honesty, against the moralism of lies. But beware: if no one is responsible for anything it's left for the strong to rule as they will. The strong may be puritan- "No one is responsible for anything, with the exception of myself and my equally enlightened friends" - or fascist.

It's amusingly perverse how the philosophy of the anti-bourgeois underground, reactionary, individualist, decadent, sexually wild, emotionally hot and cold, denying anything beyond intimate experience, and therefore opposed to political reforms- Genet opposed prison reforms because prison made him the man he was- has found a home in the academy, made vanilla: non-contradictory.

The best answer to the Dolezal absurdity is an absurd film by a comedian, a man who is exactly the mixed race person Dolezal fantasized of becoming. Get Out [etc.] is the honest answer to Tuvel, just as De Sade and Candy Dar... [etc.]

Wanting to be something is not being it. [etc....  etc.]

Wanting people to see you as you see yourself is one thing. Demanding that people see you as you see yourself and the state putting your demands as law, is fascism.

Tell me about transgirls and Title IX, about transwomen feminists opposed to abortion (if you don't know any you will soon enough).
...You've undermined Enlightenment humanism in the name of what you imagine is your own enlightenment.

In the war between philosophers and comedians, comedians always win. Idealists become fascists. Comedians are empiricists.
Two more made it

The second. "If people aren't responsible what's the result?"
With a link.
“Extraordinarily talented”: the remarks of a judge about an Oxford University student on trial for stabbing her boyfriend with a bread knife. Perhaps more extraordinary is the fact that Lavinia Woodward, the aspiring surgeon turned assailant, is likely to avoid a prison sentence because of this academic prowess.
She is not the first elite student whose abilities in the school room have atoned for their crimes: last year, Ivy League educated Brock Turner served just three months for sexually assaulting a woman. As a promising university swimmer, the judge expressed concern that a long sentence would have a “severe impact” on his life. It should hardly need pointing out that sexual assault and knife attacks have a tendency of doing that to their victims – regardless of their past and future merits.

So is this the rise of punishment by merit? Only those with the least talent and potential should suffer the inconvenience of paying for their crimes. Perhaps the black man from Bromley, recently sentenced to ten years in prison for a brutal stabbing, and another man in Whitehaven, sentenced to an indefinite hospital order for a stabbing in a pub, have far less going for them than the talented Lavinia Woodward.
Repeats from 2013. "Beyond Blame"
Moral responsibility and drug dealers, bankers, politicians, and college professors: if we remove it from one group we remove it from all.  But as usual in arguments such as the one above, the free will of the managerial class of philosophers and technocrats is somehow beyond biology: "Determinism for thee but not for me" is still the rule. 
Equality under law, but some are more equal than others.
I said it more than once: "Law is a blunt instrument", a necessary crudity for times of crisis.

The dangers of "subjectivism". etc. etc.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

"Comment removed" Responding to Leiter's.
Academic philosophers want to have polite conversations according to polite rules, while discussing as often as not, unfortunately, issues that affect the lives of human beings. Brian Leiter once touted David Enoch as a "leading legal philosopher" in his country. And that may be true. But outside academic philosophy, where ideas are judged [only] for internal consistency, it becomes worth asking what other reasons Enoch, an Israeli Jew and Zionist, would choose to promote what he himself refers to as a "robust moral realism", that serves to defend a state built on conquest. Should a Palestinian follow Enoch's own formal criteria, or is s/he permitted just to laugh?

Hypothetical: A philosopher publishes a paper arguing that Jewish immigrants to Palestine should be able to be counted as Palestinian. The essay is an act of erasure. Should the responses be polite?
I repeat myself in these discussions because no one responds. I'll do it again:

"Transracialism": Will a white person who wants to become black be eligible for support under affirmative action policies? And how do you imagine "actual" minorities would respond?
Transgenderism: Will transgirls now be able to sue under title IX? Will the anti-abortion opinions of a transwoman with a penis hold equal weight with those of a woman with a uterus?
The article being debated here is absurd. Like most philosophy that claims to deal in worldly issues, it deals in fantasy.

Leiter makes a habit of mocking references to "the other", but his mockery deserves mockery in return. All that's clear in the debate up to now is that blacks as a group get the benefit of knee-jerk sympathy from (mostly white) liberals that women as a group do not. The thought that black people should have a role in their own self-definition, that Eminem had to show respect to get it, while Dolezal used bronzer and lied, seems clear to many. But somehow the same does not apply to women. Having a uterus, bleeding once a month, the experience of the female body, means nothing. There the rule seems to be "I am what I claim to be", and all other opinion and observation is irrelevant. Self-reporting is all! So this is not a discussion of the biologically intersex or children of mixed parentage. I'll end with some history. History after all, is another form of context deemed irrelevant by much "serious" philosophy

De Sade:
"...if only you knew this fantasy's charms, if only you could understand what one experiences from the sweet illusion of being no more than a woman! incredible inconsistency I one abhors that sex, yet one wishes to imitate it! Ah! how sweet it is to succeed, ... 
Candy Darling:
"I've been up all night alone, wondering about my identity. Trying to look for an explanation for living this strange, stylized sexuality. Realization cuts feeling off. I try to explain my identity as being a male who has assumed the attitudes and somewhat the emotions of a female. I don't know what role to play." 
The end result of claiming “to see the other in myself” is the denial of the existence of the other. Leiter's universalism and the universalism of right-thinking liberals end the same way.
I'm wondering if I linked to Daniel Harris' piece before, or to the response.

The fetish for happiness, for demand for resolution of all conflicts, external and internal, the denial of the possibility of tragedy, the liberal institutionalization of narcissism, while denying the possibility that it could exist. Cafe revolutionaries, liberal Zionists, transsexuals, the popular triumph of wishful thinking. The absolute triumph of course is fascism.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

record keeping.
posted elsewhere
1- Transsexuals are accepted, abortion is not. I’m waiting for the transwoman who come out as an anti-abortion as a woman and a feminist.

“In the last decade, movements for transgender equality appear to have advanced with astonishing speed, while other issues of concern to women’s movements have largely stalled, either making little progress (equal pay) or suffering real setbacks (abortion access). From policy reforms to public opinion trends, it seems that the situation has changed faster, and in a more positive direction, for trans people than for women.”

2-A transman with a plastic cock and the TSA
“Hustling to grab my carry-on and shoes, two TSA agents escorted me to a private room with fogged glass walls and a small table. Once inside the room, the agents started speaking quietly to themselves. I stood awkwardly, adjusted my shirt, opened and closed my fists.
“Sir, we need to know what’s in your pants,” said the male agent, not at all hiding his lingering gaze at my crotch.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.” I said, trying (and failing) to hold back my rage.
“Actually, it is our business, because we know it’s not a penis,” said the female agent, smugly, like she’d just discovered an important secret.
Before I could think about what to say or how to say it, I reached into my jeans and pulled out my packer (a small prosthesis) and threw it on the table. “There! Is that what you’re worried about?””

3- A hypothetical: A high school football player decides he identifies as a transgender male identified lesbian. He, now she, changes nothing about her dress or behavior, and sues under title IX because there are no urinals in the girls bathroom.

4-A woman who demands the state designate her a man, but who also wants to become pregnant.

5- There’s no logical difference between transgender and transracial
“Their contention is that one kind of claim to an identity at odds with culturally constructed understandings of the identity appropriate to one’s biology is okay but that the other is not – that it’s OK to feel like a woman when you don’t have the body of a woman and to act like (and even get yourself the body of) a woman but that it’s wrong to feel like a black person when you’re actually white and that acting like you’re black and doing your best to get yourself the body of a black person is just lying.”

[Reed is so opposed to identity politics he can't see racism and misogyny in the fetish for blackness and femininity. And race may not exist but female is a biological category.]

6-Candy Darling:

“I’ve been up all night alone, wondering about my identity. Trying to look for an explanation for living this strange, stylized sexuality. Realization cuts feeling off. I try to explain my identity as being a male who has assumed the attitudes and somewhat the emotions of a female. I don’t know what role to play.”

The defense of trans anything is a defense of the moral equivalent of orientalist romance. Eminem doesn’t call himself black. Neither did my brother, and he had just as much right.

Desire is not reality. Wanting to force the world to see you as you want to see yourself is to put yourself beyond criticism. It’s the argument for neoliberal narcissism.

“Some of my best friends are Jews”

The topsy turvy world of Zionism: “I’m a liberal!” Without the need to ask a Palestinian.

“Of course I’m a feminist!! Honey, get me a beer.”

It’s the politics of Chalmers’ “Extended Mind”

Philosopher dude and angry girlfriend:
“No baby… please… I understand you… you’re a part of me! I have an extended mind!”
“In your dreams, asshole. Goodbye.”

The end result of claiming “to see the other in myself” is the denial of the existence of the other.
Get that through your head. It’s obvious.

All that’s left is the self and the community of soi disant enlightened agreement. The politics is obscene.
updated twice.

I googled to to see how many had made the obvious connection. Not many.
see the ratio of likes to retweets. And previous

The source of my comment below...

De Sade
"Ah, Therese!" he exclaimed one day, full of enthusiasm, "if only you knew this fantasy's charms, if only you could understand what one experiences from the sweet illusion of being no more than a woman! incredible inconsistency I one abhors that sex, yet one wishes to imitate it! Ah! how sweet it is to succeed, ... 
and Candy Darling
"I've been up all night alone, wondering about my identity. Trying to look for an explanation for living this strange, stylized sexuality. Realization cuts feeling off. I try to explain my identity as being a male who has assumed the attitudes and somewhat the emotions of a female. I don't know what role to play."
Two lines I wrote elsewhere that are worth keeping.
-Blacks as a group get the benefit of knee-jerk sympathy from liberals that women as a group do not.
-The end result of claiming “to see the other in myself” is the denial of the existence of the other.
Never take anybody at their word. That's called "self-reporting".

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

35 years shouting into the void. I'm so tired of predicting the future, or describing the present before everyone else begins to figure it out.

Princeton University Press: Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy
In today’s new economy—in which “good” jobs are typically knowledge or technology based—many well-educated and culturally savvy young men are instead choosing to pursue traditionally low-status manual labor occupations as careers. Masters of Craft looks at the renaissance of four such trades: bartending, distilling, barbering, and butchering.
so bored
It’s called post-humanism, or pre-humanism redux....the boy at Starbucks with a coffee bean tattooed on his forearm, a member of the "Barista tribe." 
It’s the public proclamation of loyalty to a subculture; documenting the need to belong; atomization and the rise of pathologically over-determined imagined communities etc.
 etc. etc. It’s the sociality of baroque individualism.

We now have food geeks as well as science geeks, all with the moral philosophy of Asperger’s patients: so fixated on their mania for [tube amps/Pouilly-Fuissé/Ducati two-stroke engines] that you’d be a fool not to hire them for your [high-end audio store/restaurant/Soho motorcycle salon]. Why be a well rounded adult when you can be an eternal [pre]adolescent and expert, and a happy cog and servant?
 Lawyers are craftsmen
I'm probably going to have to spend some time with The Craftsman, if only at the bookstore, but I get the sense that Sennett doesn't quite get the point.

Craft isn't a value. It's simply how we communicate with each other. You can either accept that, as practicing lawyers, screenwriters for HBO, and the girl you didn't go home with last night do, or like Brian Leiter, John Rawls, Brad DeLong, and the vast majority of the Anglo-American academic intellectual apparat, you can pretend. From the blurb:
Sennett expands previous notions of crafts and craftsmen and apprises us of the surprising extent to which we can learn about ourselves through the labor of making physical things.
Making physical things is not the point. Understanding that we are physical beings is the point.
If the intellectual model of fine art remains intellectual design (and the logic of original intent) the popular model is now theatrical design. There’s a relation: the children of conceptualists have returned to an art-making process the only way they could, as furniture makers. There’s a similar culture of “crafting” in academia, of grad school knitting circles, economist coffee connoisseurs, philosopher illustrators and wood carvers. None of this amounts to much, or won’t until the preoccupations outpace the ideas. The best example, going back to the beginnings of conceptual art, is Adrian Piper, who's had careers both as an artist and an academic philosopher. But her best, most tortured, work documents the sleep of reason, undermining all of her ideological pretensions. Her work is the poetry of confused rage. The new culture of crafting by comparison is another form of naïve decadence. For crafters, knitting circles are the closest they’ll come to hammering out scenarios for The Wire.
Recently, again, experts have become critical of expertise, philosophers critical of philosophy, but they miss the point. They’re unwilling to see themselves as part of a process that preceded their “discovery’ of the flaws in past assumptions. 
Philosophers who recognize themselves as orators become no more than sad ex-priests. The “postmodern” defense of bad writing and of theory as art doesn’t work as a defense of poetry or of lawyers, whose role hasn’t changed that much over the last 2000 years. Social scientists refuse to see themselves as tradespeople even as historians have never quibbled over whether their field can be called an art. The members of the Frankfurt School were exemplars of bureaucratic reason, the most famous of them so horrified of the implications that he called desperately and pathetically for unreason as the only possible response. Adorno was either unwilling or incapable of the empiricism, directed inwardly and outwardly, that might have allowed him see just how much both he and his “old institute” were products of the same forces that made the things he claimed to oppose. The rise of a self-conscious geek culture, the proud celebration of the preadolescent imagination in adulthood, came in earnest ten years after the publication of One Dimensional Man and the release of Dr. Strangelove, the title character an amalgam of Werner von Braun and the ur-geek von Neumann. “If you say why not bomb tomorrow, I say, why not today? If you say today at 5 o’clock, I say why not one o’clock?
The discovery of experience
The difference between Law and lawyers, philosophers and comedians
Change is slow but inevitable. Academics are the last to know.

Monday, May 01, 2017

From Leiter
Open letter to Hypatia
To Hypatia Editor, Sally Scholz, and the broader Hypatia community:
As scholars who have long viewed Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy as a valuable resource for our communities, we write to request the retraction of a recent article, entitled, “In Defense of Transracialism.” Its continued availability causes further harm, as does an initial post by the journal admitting only that the article “sparks dialogue.” Our concerns reach beyond mere scholarly disagreement; we can only conclude that there has been a failure in the review process, and one that painfully reflects a lack of engagement beyond white and cisgender privilege. ...
To our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy,
We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused. ...
repeats, and...
Modernism was the fantasy of writing with the assumption that from then on there would be only reading with and no reading against. To read tale against teller or to read against the grain would be gross error. Rebellion against this has always taken the form of the rebellion of youth against their parents, with the more sympathetic elders caught in the middle, trying to justify the revolt while trying to make it fit with what they know and what they are. So we get the obscurantist poeticizing of Derrida -the philosopher magistrate as wise old fool- and the blandness of Rorty and Nussbaum, struggling to find a way beyond technocracy while being mocked for the attempt by professional technocrats and lionized by amateur enthusiasts. The model of the Continental philosopher was as Pope and Antipope combined, a philosophical self that could contain an other, in a sense obviating the need for actual democracy. And now that Continental and Anglo-American philosophy are joining out of necessity and the need for survival, we see parallels in Bruno Latour's Collective and David Chalmers' Extended Mind
The logical moralizing of Oxbridge critics of freedom of speech dovetails with the emotional moralizing of politically correct liberalism, all predicated on the same assumptions of one's own enlightenment.
I'll try again. Why no defense of Dolezal? If she hadn't tried to hide her background but still made the same claims, would anyone take her seriously? Eminem doesn't claim to be black. Why should a man be accepted as "being" a woman?
earlier in the same run.

"Maybe it's time to bring back the binary"