Suppose that instead of one shepherd boy, there are a few dozen. They are tired of the villagers dismissing their complaints about less threatening creatures like stray dogs and coyotes. One of them proposes a plan: they will start using the word “wolf” to refer to all menacing animals. They agree and the new usage catches on. For a while, the villagers are indeed m..
As philosophy comes to occupy more and more of the public’s attention—which is good news—it is not surprising that a lot of that attention is directed at ideas and examples that are dramatic and easy to describe. Chief among these, it seems, is the trolley problem (it it has even shown up on a network sitcom). The trolley problem is so popular, though, that disc..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week’s question is a sensitive one, indeed. A professor writes that s/he’s struggling to reach a grad student who apparently interprets any criticism of her work as evidence of gender discrimination:
I’m hoping you can help me with a tricky teaching situation. There’s a student in my department who has, in the..
“If you agree with me that we have an ethical responsibility to support our colleagues who are harassed for their public scholarship, and you also agree that it is extremely difficult for those colleagues to respond in an appropriate manner to reasoned critique, how do we protect our ability to critique each other?” (more…)
Philosophy has what could best be described as an adversarial disciplinary culture, something that manifests itself most clearly in how the Q&A goes after a research talk. Basically, after people present their philosophical views, the audience members try to tear them apart. Every question is a variation on “here’s why I think you’re wrong…” It is not supportive. Al..
Patricia Marino is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo. She works in ethics, epistemology, the philosophy of sex and love, and the philosophy of economics. She also has a blog, The Kramer is Now, full of amusing and insightful thoughts about philosophy, culture, economics, politics, and various aspects of life. Below is a guest post* by h..
Joseph Heath (Toronto) describes an obstacle to inquiry:
The problem is that, when you’re studying your own oppression, and you’re obviously a member of the oppressed group in question, people who are basically sympathetic to your situation, but who disagree with your specific claims, are going to be extremely hesitant to challenge you, because they don’t want to..