Sunday, May 07, 2017

According to the PoMo-PC Axis Of Emo, What Other Philosophical Views Should It Be Impermissible To Argue For?

   Briefly/quickly, provoked by the Hypatia/Tuvel dust-up, something I've wondered for years:
   The Axis of Emo alleges that it's impermissible to argue for certain views because they cause harm to certain groups. And, of course, the only groups that matter are the "vulnerable" or "historically disadvantaged ones. There's disagreement about the reasons, but it's fairly common to appeal to the alleged fact that such argument "dehumanize" such people, making discrimination and violence against them more likely.
   But this seems to support the conclusion that it's impermissible to argue for any philosophical view that "dehumanizes" people...and/or any view that might bring about the alleged bad effects (dehumanization, discrimination, violence). And that seems to include, just for starters: moral nihilism, moral skepticism, some versions of moral relativism, external world skepticism, ethical egoism, any view that denies the reality of the self, solipsism...and undoubtedly a lot more.

   Two other quick points:
   First, it rather seems that such left-wing philosophical views really only think that things are bad if they cause different degrees of harm to the different types of groups--only if it's the disadvantaged groups that are harmed more. Harming everyone to the same degree--or dehumanizing everyone to the same degree--may be, in their eyes, preferable to harming only a few people...if the few people are clustered into the relevant groups. Aside from the intrinsic interest of this possibility, it might form the basis of their response to the point above. Not a good response...but a response.
   Second, questions about causing harm are empirical, incidentally. But the advocates of the relevant types of views don't seem to have any interest in doing the empirical work to support their multitudinous and indiscriminate claims about harm.
   Third, will it really cause harm to e.g. Caitlyn Jenner to argue that he's a man? My own guess is that the kinds of people who are inclined to harm people like Jenner might be more provoked by the thought that e.g. Jenner is a strange kind of woman than that he's a feminine man. That might not be true if it were not usually possible to discern someone's actual sex by just looking...but that's not only possible, it's usually the way things are. (And, again, for the record, I use masculine pronouns in such cases because they're linguistically correct, not in order to express any kind of contempt for Jenner. Insisting that feminine pronouns must be used in such cases presupposes the correctness of the main view in dispute.)


Blogger Pete Mack said...

So a quick once-over-lightly of the anthropology surrounding gender suggests that in fact two genders really isn't enough, but three is. "Third Gender" comes a lot, not just in analysis, but in first person quotes. Western thought really does suffer a vulnerability towards over-classification: witness the long fruitless discussions of what, precisely is a genus or species.

More commonly where minority sexual practices are even reasonably tolerated, 'third gender' or even 'shaman gender' is a common element. Further formal breakdown fails because (a) sample size is small and (b) it quickly leads to classification explosion. Instead, various descriptions are used in addition to the basic classification of third gender.
It seems worthwhile to have a proper philosophical analysis *systematically informed by anthropological studies.* Basing any classification on the particular case of the US is doomed to failure--and I argue that holds for purely binary gender as well as a large multiplicity.

3:46 AM  

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