APA Committee Issues Statement on Swinburne’s SCP Keynote (Updated)


The Committee on the Status of LGBTQ Philosophers in the Profession, one of the committees of the American Philosophical Association, has issued a statement in light of the controversy regarding Richard Swinburne’s keynote address at the 2016 Midwest Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP) meeting.

The statement first emphasizes that Swinburne’s talk was a keynote address:

The APA Committee on the Status of LGBTQ Philosophers in the Profession laments that a keynote speaker at the Midwest meetings of the Society for Christian Philosophers, Professor Richard Swinburne, argued that homosexuals are disabled and have an incurable condition. While the argument betrayed ignorance of both empirical research and humanistic scholarship on homosexuality as well as disability, the fact that this argument was put forward as a keynote address by a prominent philosopher at meetings of a respected philosophical society that regularly holds meetings at the annual meetings of the APA, contributes to the stigmatization and alienation of LGBTQ philosophers and philosophers with disabilities. 

It then remarks on the announcements made by officers of the SCP following the talk:

The Committee also applauds the President of the Society for Christian Philosophers, Professor Michael Rea, for issuing a public statement making clear that Professor Swinburne’s views are not that of the SCP and expressing regret for the hurt caused, and Professor Christina Van Dyke, executive Director of SCP, for reiterating that SCP is not committed to any doctrinal views and expressing the desire that the Society be one where any Christian not only is welcome, but feels welcome.

In response to a query of mine, APA Executive Director Amy Ferrer confirmed that this is a statement by the committee, and that it is not thereby a statement from the APA as a whole or the APA’s Board.

I think this raises interesting questions about the relationship between the APA and its committees, as well as those committees and other philosophical societies. Discussion welcome, but please abide by the comments policy.

UPDATE (10/3/16): The text of Swinburne’s talk is here.

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