Saturday, April 18, 2015

Slavoj Zizek: PC As Totalitarianism

link
I think this guy's full of it...but my enemy's enemy and all that...
He's got a point here, I'd say...but it's not like one of the most important 100 or so criticisms one might make of the neo-PC/SJWs...
Also: this video made me sneeze. And I got really tired of watching the guy rub snot on himself.

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band Of Siblings

   So I pointed to that Economist thing...
   But, honestly, I disagree with a lot in that. I don't mind 'he/she', 's/he' or whatever... I kind a think it's bad to always use the masculine as neutral/non-sex-specific. It seems to me to send/reinforce the message that males are the normal/regular humans, and females are...you know...that other kind. The second sex. Humanity's little sister...
   This is a point that was made long before the PCs and SJWs...but also: those folks, loony as they are, aren't wrong about everything. It's really hard to be wrong about everything...
   I've long wished for more non-sex-specific pronouns in English. I actually find it hard to write philosophy without them. I'd use one...if only someone could think some up that don't sound incredibly stupid... But, as yet, no luck. So I continue to do what the Economist admonishes us to avoid--I mix the singular and the plural and so forth.
   As for the title of this post...I use it just because I thought of it only after I'd posted the other one, and I like this one better...

Friday, April 17, 2015

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band Of Brothers And/Or Sisters

Politically correct language
At the Economist

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The "Cheryl's Birthday" Problem

link
Well, I ran across some stuff that made this sound like some amazing problem...like the next Monty Hall problem or something.
Seems like just an ordinary little logic puzzle to me...takes about three minutes to figure out. Kinda fun, but IMO completely unremarkable. Nowhere near as hard as your average Smullyan-esque knights and knaves problem...
Which isn't to say that it's not fun. It's just not some big deal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Northwestern Graduate Students: Professors Falsely Accused Of Sexual Harassment Should Not Sue Their Accusers

   This really is nearly beyond belief.
   Since everyone already agrees that someone guilty of sexual assault should not sue their accuser, that assertion isn't worth making; and since no philosopher is so incompetent as to fail to recognize that the claims in this letter entail that falsely-accused professors should not sue their accusers, there can be no real doubt that that is the real point of the missive: to assert that those who are falsely accused should not sue those who accuse them. Even though sexual harassment is a very serious crime... (And even though the kinds of people who write such letters typically think that it is an even worse offense than it actually is...)
  This is madness. Utter, unmitigated, madness.
   I'm seeing signs all over that make me worry that philosophy is in danger of becoming the steaming pile of politically-motivated, dogmatic, fuzzy-headed horseshit that so many other humanities and social sciences have become.
   The letter itself is bad enough, but the nauseatingly enthusiastic expressions of support in the comments are almost worse. Fortunately, many comments call bullshit on this bullshit...but are then dogpiled by people trying every interpretive ploy they can think of to block the obvious criticisms of this obvious nonsense. And then there are the many expressions of dismay that some commenters are concerned about the rights of the falsely-accused! I mean...the very idea!
   This is extremely dangerous stuff. And it's really disheartening to see so many comments from apparently competent philosophers--people who ought to be able to see how irrational and misguided this position is--defending it. An unreasonable philosophers is a very dangerous thing...they know all the tricks...
   Just for the record: if I am every accused of sexual harassment, I will, of course, be innocent. And I will sue the accuser into outer space.
   This kind of SJW/neo-PC nonsense needs to be combated at every turn. The very idea that crackpot appeals to power differentials trump appeals to rights is just astonishing. I don't care how much more power I have than Smith--if Smith is a lunatic who falsely accuses me of doing something morally repulsive, I am going to sue the living hell out of said Smith.
   PC madness made inroads into philosophy back in the '80's and '90's...so I suppose I really shouldn't be that surprised by this, especially when its recent incarnation is assisted by the internet, that megaphone for lunatics. But, still, there's part of me that just can't help expecting better from my people...
[Oh, and don't miss this bit: some commenters are forced to resort to pointing out that the falsely-accused might be black...because, y'know...injustice against white guys....I mean...who cares, amirite?]

Monday, April 13, 2015

False, Politically-Motivated Accusations Of Racism Against Connecticut College Philosophy Professor Andrew Pessin

   I've remained silent on this blog about this incident because Andy Pessin is a good friend of mine, and I didn't want to inadvertently do anything that might make matters worse. One must tread carefully when dealing with the extremist academic left.  But here's something by David Bernstein in the Washington Post that's too important to pass up. Bernstein is right on the money.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Move UNC Forward

   Finally, some faculty strike back against the anti-Carolina forces that are trying to use the AFAM scandal to attack the university.
   It was bad--really, really bad. But Carolina was extremely aggressive and transparent in responding to it. That doesn't make it go away, but it's the best an institution can do when it uncovers something like that.
   Currently, what we have is (a) a really, really rotten state of affairs that turned up a few years back, and (b) a rabid, concerted effort by certain individuals and groups to exaggerate an already bad situation for various reasons. Dan Kane and the N&O are angling for a Pulitzer...and acting as the catspaw of the NCSU fan base concentrated in Raleigh. The national media (CNN, Sports Illustrated, etc.) are obviously looking for the most sensationalized interpretations they can turn up or think up. Jay Smith and Mary Willingham are angling to make money. Rival fan bases are angling to maximally harm UNC athletics.
   I admire how forthright the university has been in dealing with this scandal. However, instead of getting any credit for being open, honest and transparent about what happened, the university is being attacked that much more aggressively. The basic argumentative strategy being employed by the ABCers is:
* For any extremely damning conclusion in the Wainstein report, accept it at face value.
* For any conclusion that is exonerating, or even less-than-extremely-damning: assert without argument that the report must be wrong on that score, and that the real facts must be maximally damning.
   Case in point: the Wainstein report largely exonerated men's basketball. Roy thought he smelled a rat, and told the advisers not to encourage players to major in AFAM. But men's basketball is the trophy that the ABCers are really after. That's the dog. The rest is tail...
   I don't want Carolina to descend to the level of its enemies...but I do think that it's time to strike back against the most egregious of the attacks and misrepresentations.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Amanda Marcotte Finally Admits That "Jackie" Lied About The Rolling Stone / UVA Gang Rape That Wasn't

   Well...actually she merely refers in passing to Jackie's "apparent lying" [my emphasis]...in the course of trying another bizarre line of attack against mythical "rape deniers"...
   But, hey, on the bright side, at least she seems to have grown...I mean...she never did admit that the Duke lacrosse rape hoax was a lie, did she?
  Marcotte is a nut. It's an embarrassment to liberalism that she's still taken at all seriously, and publishing in places like TalkingPointsMemo...which...well...I dunno...didn't used to be crazy, anyway... [Note: the comments are largely critical of Marcotte...so maybe TPM is still ok...]

Rolling Stone To Retract Fabricated UVA Rape Story

link
   Though everybody is bending over backwards to avoid speaking the obvious truth--that the story was a lie. In fact, they are falling all over themselves to say that they can't prove that it is false, and that something may have happened...i.e. that it might still be approximately true... Which, I suppose, means that if you're ever accused of rape and you can't conclusively prove your innocence...well, you're screwed...
   This whole thing has been a tangle of insanity and reality-denial from beginning to end...
   Somehow we as a culture seem to have been convinced that there is no middle ground between dogmatically disbelieving alleged victims/accusers and dogmatically believing them...