Update from Leiter


In a post at his blog, Brian Leiter responds to the September Statement calling for him to relinquish control of the Philosophical Gourmet Report (PGR) by saying that “there may be a lot more to the story.” He also says that he and the Board of the PGR have made “considerable progress the last few days” toward “a plan for the future in which I step down as editor after the 2014 PGR.”

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Noelle McAfee
6 years ago

More thinly veiled threats and innuendo: “there may be a lot more to the story. I expect it will come out in time.” The rhetorical effect of such language is damaging: it is meant to deflect criticism and raise suspicion. He is suggesting that he has or knows of some information which he is too circumspect to divulge. But I know from personal experience that this is utter nonsense. Please readers do not fall for it.Report

tybalt
tybalt
Reply to  Noelle McAfee
6 years ago

I wouldn’t worry; I think at this point nobody believes his innuendo anymore, if they ever did. You are correct to identify that kind of behavior as a way to deflect criticism and raise suspicion.Report

well well
Reply to  tybalt
6 years ago

I think that’s a bit quick. If you look at the unmoderated blogs you’ll find plenty of people who are skeptical of the motives and/or judgment of the Septemberites. There’s a widespread view that it’s a squabble between different powerful and privileged factions dressed up as a grassroots campaign.Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
6 years ago

Leiter doesn’t understand that his own version of the “background” is incoherent — for example, his claim that Carrie Jenkins threatened him. His own email to Jenkins contained rhetorical questions demonstrating that her blog post cannot plausibly be interpreted as a threat. He wrote, “Are you going to spit at me if I see you at the APA or chase me from the room with a bat? That would be bad. Does this mean I can’t list you as a reference? That’s OK. Does it mean you will defame me whenever the opportunity presents itself? That would also be bad.” In other words, any interpretation of her blog post as a threat would be patently absurd.

Leiter also doesn’t understand that his emails are unacceptable on their face. There is no possible back-story that would justify or excuse them. The post you have linked to on Leiter Reports thus shows how far he is from understanding the true nature of his behavior.Report

Jean
Jean
6 years ago

I just noticed BL quotes me by name at his blog, so I’ll comment here. I don’t think (as David Velleman says) BL’s questions in the email mean CJ’s post can’t be interpreted as a threat. What else could it be but a threat when she says she “will not treat norm violators as normal or representative members of my profession”? She’s threatening to do something or other, and in his ire, Brian is lampooning the threat. He’s mocking her by asking how exactly you go about not treating someone as a normal or representative member of your profession. In fact, this might have a good answer that doesn’t involve spit or bats. What is happening now with the September statement is what it looks like to carry out this threat.

In trying to make his email explicable, I don’t think he’s trying to justify or excuse it. He’s already said it was intemperate and that he regrets sending it. Later he sends her an apology (possibly too little too late, but still an apology). What he’s addressing is the size of his transgression. Were it totally unprovoked, the size would be greater than if it was provoked. He’s saying given the true size, he doesn’t deserve the massive drubbing that he’s getting. That may or may not be a fair assessment, but I think that’s what he’s saying, not trying to excuse or justify his email. Basically, he’s pleading for a lighter sentence!Report

Elizabeth Barnes
Elizabeth Barnes
Reply to  Jean
6 years ago

Jean, the language of Carrie’s post draws heavily from bystander training. Part of the emphasis in bystander training is on speaking out when you see bad behavior, but a further part of it is on not viewing bad behavior as normal or representative. So, e.g., for bystander training on sexual aggression and misogyny, people are cautioned against saying “well, boys will be boys” or thinking that certain kinds of sexual aggressiveness are normal or representative of men’s behavior. So, in a similar vein, Carrie is saying that she won’t dismiss aggressive or condescending behavior from philosophers as normal for her discipline. She won’t say “yeah, that was rude, but philosophers are just like that” or “yeah, that was really aggressive, but that’s par for the course in a seminar.” Her point is that part of taking a stand on these issues involves setting your expectations for what’s normal.

You suggest her claim has to be read as a threat because “she’s threatening to do something or other.” But that doesn’t seem right at all. Setting expectations isn’t threatening anyone. And something isn’t a threat just because its a declaration to do something. If I say “I’m going to put on my shoes now” I’m not threatening you with putting on my shoes. I’m just telling you I’m about to put my shoes on.Report

Anonymous
Anonymous
Reply to  Elizabeth Barnes
6 years ago

I don’t think that analogy holds. Putting your shoes on is not a threat because it would not harm anyone for you to do that. But ceasing to treat a person as a normal member of a profession would, presumably, be harmful to that person. That’s what makes it a threat. I think the point one would want to make is this: it’s not always wrong to make threats. To say to someone ‘If you do X, I will do Y’, where Y is a punitive, but appropriate, response to X, is to make a threat. But it is to make a legitimate threat.Report

Elizabeth Barnes
Elizabeth Barnes
Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

Anonymous, I didn’t mean the shoe thing as a general analogy. I meant it as a specific response to Jean’s claim that Carrie’s post was a threat because it was ‘threatening to do something or other’.

But I disagree that ceasing to treat x as ‘a normal member of the profession’ in Carrie’s intended sense would obviously involve harming x. In fact, if anything I think the opposite is true. It’s better for everyone – x included – if we stop treating this stuff as normal. Carrie isn’t making any claims about shunning or shaming or or anything like that. She isn’t saying anything punitive. (And the fact that people read her post as though she is is kind of weird, really. Remember all the stuff she said about being nice? I think she meant that.) She’s making claims about what her expectations are for normalcy in philosophical interaction. That needn’t involve harming anyone who is engaging in the kind of behavior she objects to. In fact, it might even help them, since they might be engaging in that sort of behavior subconsciously, or because they’ve internalized it as a norm for philosophical interaction.Report

perplexed
perplexed
Reply to  Elizabeth Barnes
6 years ago

Another edited repost from something I saw at PMB might be in order, if Justin will allow it:

A bunch of people are now claiming that CIJ wasn’t threatening Leiter when she said “I will not treat X as a normal member of the profession” because some […] has stipulated that this phrase will mean “I will not make excuses for X”. How […].Report

Jean
Jean
Reply to  Elizabeth Barnes
6 years ago

Your construal hadn’t occurred to me, as I have had no bystander training. Isn’t it quite likely that it didn’t occur to Leiter either? Or does everyone now have bystander training, so most of us know that “I will not treat X as a normal or typical member” means “I won’t make excuses for X”? I would say lots of us don’t know that, and furthermore, lots of us move quickly from reading that someone “Will not treat X as a normal or typical member …” to inferring that someone “Will treat X as an abnormal or atypical member” and that does sound somewhat menacing, whether (if we parse this extremely carefully) it’s a threat, a warning, a promise, a statement, a prediction, or what have you.

The relevant question, to my mind, is not “What precisely did she mean–what was in her mind at the time?” but “What could Leiter have reasonably construed her as meaning?” because that’s what sheds light on how bad it was for him to react as he did. I’d say it was bad no matter what, but better if there was some fairly decent reason for him to feel he was being threatened, and worse if that interpretation was out of the question.Report

P2
P2
Reply to  Jean
6 years ago

There’s something here I’m not understanding. How does the fact that Professor Leiter was able to identify his own conduct as representative of the kind of conduct to which Professor Jenkins was referring make his response any less inappropriate?

If anything, this strikes me as more, rather than less, damning, insofar as it suggests that he *knows* what he’s doing.Report

Anon Grad
Anon Grad
Reply to  P2
6 years ago

This. I had the same reaction to the Crane/Jenkins/Leiter twitter exchange as well — BL’s response only makes sense if he thinks of himself as the foremost frivolous name-caller in professional philosophy, which is only more damning.Report

Anon Grad
Anon Grad
Reply to  Jean
6 years ago

Honestly, even without the bystander training context, I have a hard time believing that anyone familiar with the history of moral philosophy wouldn’t recognize this kind of move. It looks to me like an attempt to affirm / shore up the norms that we think are (or should be?) important to our moral community by not treating breakers of those norms as proper members of said community. It’s a “threat” in loosely the same way something like “If you are extremely rude to my family, I will probably stop talking to you” is a “threat.” Sure, there might be bad consequences to the person being “threatened” with this in some way or another, but characterizing the situation as some sort of “attack” on that person is clearly not an accurate description of what’s going on.Report

Mike
Mike
Reply to  Elizabeth Barnes
6 years ago

Isn’t something a threat if someone takes it as a threat, just as something is offensive if someone is offended by it? I don’t think it is feigned or pretense or being deliberately obtuse or anything like that when BL takes the posting as threatening. I think he genuinely believes it is a veiled threat. It might be that he’s way too sensitive on this score, perceiving threats where none (that would be my amateur diagnosis), but that’s another question isn’t it?Report

linsantu
linsantu
Reply to  Mike
6 years ago

I doubt that something is a threat if someone takes it as a threat, just as I doubt that something is offensive if someone is offended by it. An example: recently a Chinese student in Boston University claimed that he was offended by some student-designed posters on campus supporting the current Hong Kong democratic protest and asked the university to remove them. Does this mean that those posters were offensive? I don’t think so. (I saw this news in a Chinese social network website where the Chinese student posted photos of those posters as well as his letter to the dean. He later deleted all those and I couldn’t find them now. But the dean’s reply can be seen here: http://card.weibo.com/article/h5/s#cid=1001603763543576053879 )Report

Rachel McKinnon
Rachel McKinnon
Reply to  Mike
6 years ago

In a *very* loose sense, something is a threat if someone perceives it as such (and I don’t think it’s a tight analogy with whether something is offensive). But what’s important here is whether something is taken as a threat *to* a particular person, and *to do* a particular thing. If Leiter, say, interpreted Jenkins’s post as a threat to hit him with a bat, then that’s just absurd in the highest degree. It would be false. But he may have taken her post as a threat not to treat him as a normal/representative member of the profession. But was the post a threat *to* him in particular? Of course not. Is he included in the wide set of people that would fall under her post? Of course. Heck, he’s probably the poster boy. So Leiter seems to be failing at interpreting this on every level.Report

Mike
Mike
Reply to  Rachel McKinnon
6 years ago

In a *very* loose sense, something is a threat if someone perceives it as such (and I don’t think it’s a tight analogy with whether something is offensive). But what’s important here is whether something is taken as a threat *to* a particular person, and *to do* a particular thing. If Leiter, say, interpreted Jenkins’s post as a threat to hit him with a bat, then that’s just absurd in the highest degree. It would be false.

The analogy is pretty tight, as far as I can see. The offense/threat occurs so long as S perceives it as such. I think they’re both false, frankly, and badly so, but that is not crucial here. The question is whether BL perceived a threat, and I am claiming that he probably did (where ‘perceive’ is not a success verb here). That’s the simplest explanation, and there’s confirmation from his responses to others (esp. other bloggers) whom he’s (probably wrongly) perceived as threats. I don’t see how the distinction between a threat to S v. a threat to do x to S is useful to the question of whether BL actually took the posting as a threat. Incidentally, I don’t think it’s absurd that someone might badly misinterpret a clear non-threat as a threat and so, in the sense I’m taking about, take it as a genuine threat.Report

grad student
grad student
Reply to  Mike
6 years ago

In a sense though, even if we think that Leiter is culpable of no more here than excessive sensitivity (which I don’t think is the case), the fact that he is so exquisitely sensitive to perceived threats against him, and yet fails to be sensitive to how his words can affect other people, raises questions about his character. It’s one thing to be sensitive across the board. It’s another to be sensitive only when it comes to yourself, while being a jerk to others.Report

Rachel McKinnon
Rachel McKinnon
Reply to  Elizabeth Barnes
6 years ago

As someone who advocates strongly for bystander training (and, indeed, replacing the whole concept of an “ally” with “active bystander”), I think that this interpretation is exactly right, Elizabeth.Report

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Jean
6 years ago

I don’t understand how CJ’s words can possibly be interpreted as a threat. She’s merely drawing attention on shifting standards and also saying that, fortunately, not all philosohers are like that. Saying: “I will not treat Leiter’s stance as representative of the state of the profession” doesn’t strike me as potentially harmful or threatening.Report

Pseudoanonym
Pseudoanonym
6 years ago

It’s kind of fascinating how he seems to have zero ability for self-reflection; that lack might be beneficial for the career success of a CEO or investment banker, but you’d think it’s the last thing you’d want in a philosopher. The conflict with Jenkins is so striking in this regard. Her statement on professionalism was good philosophy; she was self-reflective, analytical, she looked at how her experiences fit into the field as a whole and took responsibility for what her own duty to fixing the problems were. His response had zero philosophical value, other than as an example how not to approach problems.

He’s so convinced of the narrative — that he’s the victim of a cabal of long-time enemies taking advantage of the fact that the rest of the profession doesn’t know “the whole story” — that there seems to be literally nothing you can say to him that will ever get through. The fact that the vast majority of people who do know “the whole story” still think he’s in the wrong will seemingly never register with him, and his anger over the humiliation he’s experienced makes him dig himself deeper and deeper. I know some people think that if he remains at the head of the PGR he will somehow “get away” with his behavior, but I think his reputation at this point is pretty much in tatters. Do you think any private threats or attempts at intimidation will remain private from now on? Do you think that any website he threatens with a frivolous lawsuit if they don’t remove material critical of him will keep that threat quiet? Report

ProPhilosophy
Reply to  Pseudoanonym
6 years ago

Brian Leiter also threatened ProPhilosophy when we started posting news of tenured hires.

>To the Proprietor of “Prophilosophy” Blog:

>…what you are doing presently looks to be a case of tortious misappropriation of what’s known as “hot news.” (Here’s a fairly clear explanation of the legal doctrine: http://copymarkblog.com/2011/07/18/the-huffington-post-and-hot-news-misappropriation-law/; I am advised by my attorney that Illinois recognizes this tort). Since you are freeriding on my gathering of professional information, and in a way that has the potential to damage my commercial interests in my own blog, I must ask you to cease and desist immediately…Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  ProPhilosophy
6 years ago

What’s actually wrong with that?

(That’s not a rhetorical question; maybe something is. But just noting that someone claimed that your behaviour was legally liable and said that they’d take legal action unless you stopped doing it does not – in of itself – establish anything inappropriate.)Report

Anon Grad
Anon Grad
Reply to  David Wallace
6 years ago

It looks to me like BL’s implying that he actually has some kind of proprietary control over news about tenured hires.Report

Different Anon Grad
Different Anon Grad
Reply to  Anon Grad
6 years ago

I don’t get that at all from that statement. Rather, BL is protecting his investment (his blog) which prospers in part because of the information that is given to him, from various sources. If those sources are specifically his, he’s totally in the right to note that the other blog (ProPhilosophy) cannot use them without citing him.Report

vap
vap
Reply to  David Wallace
6 years ago

It seems to me that there may be nothing wrong with it, but it still provides a great reason for people to not post that information through his blog. That freely-contributed information shouldn’t be anyone’s commercial interest.Report

esquirey
esquirey
Reply to  David Wallace
6 years ago

Like his defamation threats, it’s completely frivolous. The “hot news” doctrine is a severely depreciated, possibly obsolete tort doctrine which wouldn’t last past that first motion to dismiss in this situation. It’s meant to prevent one commercial enterprise from taking the work product of another into which substantial effort has been made to collect that information. Leiter’s legal skills are shockingly poor based on the threats I’ve seen; Michigan ain’t exactly Yale, but you’d think their law school would teach their students a little better. It is noteworthy that he doesn’t launch these litigation threats at his enemies in legal academia because he knows they’d rightly laugh in his face.Report

Nick
Nick
Reply to  esquirey
6 years ago

I don’t know much about US common law but BL should definitely refrain from threatening every opponent with legal action. It strikes me as very typical of privileged people, who enjoy permanent legal counseling and defense, using weapons that only the wealthy can use, against those who can’t afford them. His weapons are well-worn and rusty, if the above comment is correct, which makes BL’s tactic both unfair and laughable.

BL is, weirdly, much more obedient to the prestige of law than Marx was and advised one to be (I’m aware this is ad hominem argument; it is not intended to be a sound argument).

Also, the reason why he can claim ownership of “hot news” is mainly due to the monopolistic status of his blog in the first place. Unless new hires object to public information being widely shared, in which case they would not post, or to it being posted elsewhere than on Leiter Reports, I can’t see what sort of “hot news” this is. BTW, has BL ever threatened Justin of legal action for posting news here after or meanwhile he was posting them there too?Report

esquirey
esquirey
Reply to  esquirey
6 years ago

Obviously, I understand that if law is not your profession what he says can be threatening, but as a practicing civil litigator I have been continuously astounded at the emptiness of his legal threats that I’ve seen. As I note above, he doesn’t pull this on people in the legal field because I suspect he knows full well how frivolous they are. Even his threat above is pretty weak;
“I am advised by my attorney that Illinois recognizes this tort”? Uhhh, 5 seconds of google can tell you that. Notice he doesn’t say “I am advised by my attorney that this is covered by the tort.”

As an example of his frivolity, nothing that Jenkins or Heck or anyone in the philosophy field has said even remotely comes close to the outright explicit scorn and mockery heaped on Leiter by the Lawyers, Guns and Money blog (google leiter slow motion car crash if you’re interested), and that blogger is as yet unsued. Personally, I think Leiter is terrified about what could come up in discovery.

If Leiter threatens anybody reading this with litigation, I would recommend the following (and feel free to research anything I say):

1. Relax. Opinion is almost always protected. (http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news-media-law/news-media-and-law-summer-2011/opinion-defense-remains-str)

2. Be proud. It means you’re doing something right.

3. Of course, truth is an absolute defense to defamation claims. And remember, you’d get discovery during any lawsuit so you can compel him to produce any information, including his emails and other communications, that are relevant to the case. You also will have the ability to subpoena the records of third parties, including websites. During his deposition your lawyer can confront him on his behavior, sockpuppets, etc., and he has to answer under oath (“Mr. Leiter, do you edit your own wikipedia page?”). Depositions are interesting because you can ask him pretty much anything that’s not attorney-client privileged; you have wide latitude in terms of topics, even those that seem irrelevant to the action. How many skeletons do you think he has in his closet?

4. Leiter himself has wimped out previously in following through with defamation threats, ostensibly because he feels that as a professor at an elite school, the peasants who serve as judges in Illinois state court would be jealous of him. Really. (http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2014/07/ludlows-defamation-lawsuit-against-newspapers-that-falsely-accused-him-of-rape-dismissed.html)

5. Even if what you say is not protected as opinion, because he’s a public figure, even if you make an inaccurate FACTUAL assertion about him, Leiter would still have to prove that you either knew it was false or that you exhibited “reckless disregard” for the truth. So if you even had a slightly reasonable belief in what you said, you are protected. (http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/proving-fault-actual-malice-and-negligence).

6. Publicize the threat. It embarrasses him and if the law bloggers hear about it they will likely publicize a good analysis of its merits. Even if you take what was said down in an abundance of caution, just say something like “Temporarily taken down while I consult a lawyer.”

7. Contact an organization like the ACLU or FIRE to see if they’ll help.

8. If need be, hire a lawyer. Start a kickstarter. People will donate in glee.Report

Anon Grad Student
Anon Grad Student
Reply to  Pseudoanonym
6 years ago

Pseudoanonym:

I think it’s true that he acts like he has no ability for self reflection. But it’s also true that he read Carrie Jenkins’ blog post (that didn’t mention him) and saw his conduct as the sort of thing she describes. From this, he seems to have at least a rough awareness of his own behavioral patterns… It seems like he knows exactly how he acts, but something about his attitude prevents him from being able to reflectively conclude that it is mean, exclusionary and not cool. Which appears, in my (admittedly limited) experience, to be obvious to *almost any decent person* outside of the discipline, who hasn’t drank the PGR punch. (Ask a non-philosopher, you’ll see!)

I, for one, am glad he made the connection between her blog post and his actions explicit. He did us all a service. We really couldn’t have done it without him. (……….) It also makes me wonder if he’s going to sue himself for libel. Since he saw the connection and pointed it out first, the notion that this is a threat cannot be serious, especially coming from the sort of person who insults people *directly* and then brushes off the resulting criticism as politically-correct hysteria.Report

Zachary Ernst
Zachary Ernst
6 years ago

Leiter’s response just shows that he either has no appreciation of how inappropriate his behavior has been, or he just doesn’t care. There is no remotely plausible back story that could possibly justify his bullying behavior. And it’s also important to bear in mind that — despite the fact that Leiter wants to focus on a small number of incidents — this has been a pattern of his for many years. He picks on people who (he thinks) are vulnerable, like any schoolyard bully. And also like any schoolyard bully, he makes ridiculous excuses for himself on the rare occasions that someone hits back.Report

AnonFac
AnonFac
6 years ago

Saying that abuse victims have “provoked” their abusers into abusing them is a form of victim-blaming.Report

dissenter
6 years ago

I would just like to point out that at the blog one is not allowed to mention here, the largely unmoderated one, a very different narrative is emerging.Report

dissenter
Reply to  dissenter
6 years ago

P.S. Can I also post something that just appeared there, edited for tone?

“I actually really like Schliesser’s post.”

“It’s worth reiterating that so many people who signed the September Statement have witnessed way worse stuff than Leiter’s. But because the victims weren’t as “politically desirable” and the [expletive] weren’t already on the way out, they didn’t (and don’t) say anything.”

“I’d really like it if some of those people (who I guess sometimes read these comments?) actually went out of their way for people who were less privileged than Jenkins or called out people who were more popular than Leiter. Then I’d take their righteous indignation seriously.”Report

Rachel McKinnon
Rachel McKinnon
Reply to  dissenter
6 years ago

People did speak out when Leiter attacked me (Matt Drabek, and Current Student). Here are a couple examples:
http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/we-need-to-make-room-for-breaking-the-silence/
http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/if-not-allied-at-least-attending/
http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/please-do-not-revise-your-tone.html

There were more but I don’t feel like trying to find them. Other things were said when he went after Carolyn Dicey Jennings.Report

harrumph
harrumph
Reply to  Rachel McKinnon
6 years ago

That reaction doesn’t even begin to compare to the reaction prompted prompted by the non-even-public attack on Jenkins. The numbers, the prominence of those involved, the coordinated effort of several prominent blogs… It’s on a different scale. That’s why many doubt the “hair that broke the camel’s back” explanation.Report

Rachel McKinnon
Rachel McKinnon
Reply to  harrumph
6 years ago

I didn’t claim that the reaction was the same. The claim I’m offering evidence against is that no one reacted to earlier bad behavior from Leiter. That claim is false.

Things have been building up for a while. It became clear that things made a marked change after he went after me, picked up more steam when he went after Carolyn, and reached a breaking point when he went after Carrie and Noelle.Report

Bill
Bill
Reply to  harrumph
6 years ago

The way you’ve put this makes it sound as though you think that the fact that the legal threats against Professor Jenkins weren’t made in public makes them less serious than they would be otherwise.

Why would you think that?Report

flummox
flummox
Reply to  harrumph
6 years ago

Justin, admittedly it’s hard to speculate about the counterfactual of Leiter writing that same email to someone less well-connected than CIJ. There are two main views about that, and let’s not belabor them further. Anyway, a positive result of this whole (sometimes nasty) discussion of privilege and in-crowds has been the fact that suddenly a large number of the rank and file of the profession are venting their frustration at the modus operandi of the elite, even when the elite pursue a good cause. The September Statement has brought to light the enormous power of some networks. People are now thinking that this must have repercussions on all sorts of aspects of our professional lives (publications, hiring, speaking invitations…). This is a good topic to discuss.Report

flummox
flummox
Reply to  harrumph
6 years ago

Do you think all the people at Philanon and Metablog are just a couple of sock puppets? I think there’s reason to assume they’re a fairly representative sample. Also, since people now are more afraid of the Septemberites than of Leiter, we have to assume a lot of self-censorship.Report

Anon
Anon
Reply to  dissenter
6 years ago

Tu quoque.Report

johnny
johnny
Reply to  dissenter
6 years ago

You mean Leiter’s blog? “Largely unmoderated”? Are you kidding me? In any event, the “other narrative” — very few people are buying it. First, because his attacks on others were criticized, and there’s nothing unusual about his abuse of Jenkins; it was just the last straw. It’s irrational to think that because abhorrent behavior X was tolerated before there is some imperative to tolerate it forever. Leiter should thank his lucky stars he got away with so much before rather than complain that he’s not getting away with it now.Report

well well
Reply to  johnny
6 years ago

No, the Philosophy Metablog and Philosophers Anonymous.Report

Fritz J. McDonald
Reply to  well well
6 years ago

I think the Philosophy Metablog was created to quarantine the trolls away from the rest of the population.Report

Rachel McKinnon
Rachel McKinnon
Reply to  johnny
6 years ago

No, I suspect they mean another blog.Report

TalkSalaitaToMe
TalkSalaitaToMe
6 years ago

Okay, this endless hashing and rehashing of the wording of Brian Leiter’s emails is getting tedious now. We all know he is melodramatic. (Is this defamatory per se in any country?) We all know. But the slew of posts about this protracted non-event is starting to seem less high-minded than doggedly retaliatory. Can’t we just agree he should stop making comical litigation threats, and go back to talking about interesting things, or must we really whip up and harness communal indignation to shore up the insignificant patch of moral high ground this blog has been defending for weeks? By which I mean, yes, you’re in the right. Big deal.Report

Anonymous
Anonymous
Reply to  TalkSalaitaToMe
6 years ago

“Can’t we just agree he should stop making comical litigation threats” is too restrictive in the subject of the agreement and its object. The subject: if the “we” covers the September Statement signers and others that approve of it, it’s too restrictive, as the problem is that the “we” doesn’t include Leiter. The object: “comical litigation threats” is also too restrictive: such threats are not the only objectionable action Leiter has undertaken: an email or blogpost of inordinate hostility (often but not always directed at those proposing other guides, rankings, and the like) is also objectionable, and grounds, according to the SS people, for refusing to contribute one’s labor to the PGR.

In other words, your comment amounts to proposing unilateral surrender on our part; it reminds me of the old joke about liberals: they won’t even take their own side in a fight.Report

harrumph
harrumph
Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

Surrender? Leiter has already more or less agreed to surrender the PGR after this edition. This is a major victory for the September organizers. Major tectonic shifts in the discipline are under way. Expect a new category for continental-continental philosophy in the new PGR, and the marginalization of X-phi and other forms of rebellion to the Lewis-Kripke orthodoxy.Report

TalkSalaitaToMe
TalkSalaitaToMe
Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

“Unilateral surrender”? In what? This petty spat? I don’t care if you ‘surrender’ to Brian Leiter or not, to be honest. I don’t think this issue is half as important to most philosophers as it may seem to you. In any case, what I would advise is a dignified and articulate expression of disapproval, withdrawal from Leiter’s rankings and refusal to give his blog traffic. I guarantee you that if everyone ignored him, he’d be sapped of his influence far more effectively than if people continue to mythologize him here while at the same time trying to take control over the pernicious, silly website he created. As it stands now, every subsequent post analysing his words to this or that PGR reviewer makes the two Statements’ moral high ground seem more precarious.Report

Bill
Bill
6 years ago

‘Leiter has already more or less agreed to surrender the PGR after this edition’.

I think I’d wait till I have a clearer idea as to whether the trousers:talk ratio of this statement is greater or less than 1 before advising others to declare victory. (Americans may know this value as the cattle:hat ratio rather than the trousers:talk ratio.)Report

grad
grad
Reply to  Bill
6 years ago

I had to look up both ratios.Report