Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Some Anti-Firearm Nonsense By A UW Philosopher

Here
   Endorsed by that frequent endorser of nonsense, Leiter.
   Leiter is mostly on the side of the angels when it comes to political correctness run amok in philosophy, though. Don't get me wrong--I'm grateful for that. He's paid a price and deserves credit on that score.
   I don't really know what to think about campus carry. I suppose I don't see why it should be a special case. If its legal in the state, then I don't see why it shouldn't be legal on campuses.
   Campuses are full of lefties, and lefties hate/fear firearms--so it's easy to explain anti-firearm attitudes there, of course. Justifying them is a different story.
   I don't see that philosophy elicits stronger emotions than any number of other things in life. Am I wrong? Shapiro may have an exaggerated view of how profoundly his courses affect people...
   Also, people with CCWs tend to commit fewer gun crimes than average people.
   I suppose this just seems like political coercion to me--acquiesce to my not-terribly-well-justified political beliefs or I will bore you more than I normally would! If Shapiro really believed this nonsense, I suppose I'd predict that he'd just teach the allegedly more boring course rather than risk the gunplay he allegedly fears.
   And does he actually fear actual violence? Or is this merely posturing? I mean...it's obviously posturing to some degree... But there might possibly be some genuine fear in there as well. It's rather difficult to separate those things. There do tend to be a lot of genuine bed-wetters on the academic left...but they also like to use professions of fear as rhetorical tactics... So who can tell?
   And: how often has philosophy elicited violence in a university classroom in the last, oh, 50 years? When was the last time people, say, came to blows? If we can find the answer to that, and then find out the rough proportion of shooting incidents to fistfights among the relevant demographic (1 in 1000? 1 in 10000?), then we ought to be able to pull off a rough risk analysis here.
   This seems to me like a fairly good example of philosophy gone bad. Bad, motivated reasoning in the service of an unjustified political view...no effort to be objective/dispassionate...moral posturing... All bad.

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