Three Philosophers Received Feces in the Mail (Update: Four Philosophers)

Sally Haslanger (MIT), Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins (UBC), and David Velleman (NYU) each received envelopes in the mail this past summer containing feces, according to an article at Buzzfeed by Katie J.M. Baker. As the article notes, “All three philosophy professors were embroiled in a 2014 academic brawl over what they perceived as an abuse of power within their field,” and which culminated in philosopher, legal scholar, and blogger Brian Leiter (Chicago) agreeing to step down from his role as editor-in-chief of a controversial ranking of graduate programs in philosophy.

Was Leiter the culprit? I doubt it and he denies it “emphatically” in the article. However, the actual sender attempted to suggest as much: “The return address is one digit off from Leiter’s office at the University of Chicago, and the sender is listed as ‘Peter Aduren,’ a pseudonym that some believe is used by Leiter.”

At his blog, Leiter himself hypothesizes that it is some member of a group of people with whom he has disagreed over whether “law school is a scam.”

Feces does not contain DNA, so that route to determining whose feces it is (and, presumably, who sent it) will not work. Perhaps there is another way to figure out which asshole is responsible for this.

UPDATE: Carolyn Dicey Jennings (UC Merced) reports that she, too, was a recipient of the same kind of package this summer.

UPDATE 2: The New York Times reports on the story here.



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