Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Study: In Papers, Grants And Hiring, Conservatives Face Discrimination In Philosophy Departments

It doesn't surprise me, though I never experience such a thing in my department. My colleagues are all very reasonable, and tolerant of my weirdness. Of course, until pretty recently I wasn't as far right of the mean in philosophy as I am now.
   The study, published April 16 in Philosophical Psychology, is one of many which reveal ideological bias is one of the central means of discrimination in colleges and universities.
   The new study was conducted by a “politically diverse” team of social psychologists and philosophers on 794 participants composed of philosophy professors, post-graduate researchers and graduate students mostly from North America and Europe.
   The study’s participants were 74.8 percent left-leaning, 14.2 percent right-leaning, and 11 percent moderate.
   Results found a majority, 56 percent, of the left-leaning philosophers expressed a willingness to discriminate against their right-leaning peers in hiring decisions at least occasionally.
   Left-leaning participants were also more likely to be willing to discriminate against their conservative colleagues in all four categories researchers studied: the review of papers, the assessment of grant applications, symposia invitations, and hiring decisions.
   Researchers wrote that 32 percent of the left-leaning participants indicated willingness to discriminate against right-leaning papers, 42 percent against right-leaning grants, and 38 percent against right-leaning symposia speakers.
   In contrast, right-leaning participants expressed a willingness to discriminate against their liberal peers in hiring decisions 46 percent of the time, and only 20 percent indicated willingness to discriminate against left-leaning papers, 23 percent against left-leaning grants, and 12 percent against left-leaning symposia.
   Here's the really weird part:
Some liberal philosophers were explicit in this section about their willingness to discriminate against right-leaning peers, the researchers said.
   “I would loathe to hire a colleague who had views that had classist, racist, sexist, or nationalist implications, due to workplace issues,” said a left-leaning respondent.
   The researchers also reported that “a number of respondents” claimed right-wing ideas could not stand up to philosophical scrutiny.
   “Conservative ideas tend to lose in fair competition in the marketplace of ideas. They are given their chance, and are generally shown to be bad. People who accept many of them tend to be bad philosophers,” said one participant.
   Another said: “I’d be inclined to negatively review a right-leaning paper for the simple fact that I believe, given the arguments, that the political right get things wrong. We’re talking about matters of objective truth here.”
   Another respondent said “the widespread rejection of conservative positions” in philosophy is similar to “bias against Creationists among biologists.”
   The researchers said there were no similar claims by right-leaning philosophers that left-leaning philosophy is “wrong” or “bad” philosophy.
Guess I'll have to read the paper to find out what lefty ideas they think are more well-justified than righty ideas. Certainly, say, Rawls's ideas and arguments aren't notably better than Nozick's. If God counts as a righty belief--well, arguments for that thesis are notably weak. It's really weird given the terrible--and obviously terrible--arguments promulgated by lefty philosophers for the "trans" stuff recently. That's a really prominent case of a recent, politically non-neutral view that's being pushed hard, and tolerated virtually without objection...even though the arguments for it are laughably awful. I guess I might have thought that case would have chagrined the lefties a bit. Maybe made them less likely to say something so dopey. I mean, we do tend to incline to think that we're asking about objective truth...but who is clueless enough to think that philosophers are much good at discerning it? If we're so good at telling the reasonable views from the unreasonable ones, how is it that we've made so little meaningful progress in 2500 years? I mean, we can often identify ostentatiously bad arguments--as in the case of the trans stuff. But even when we can, we're so controlled by the left that most people won't say out loud what we can all see to be true--that the arguments are the utterest shit...
   Anyway. Something that finally hit me over the head  couple of years back: a shit-ton of philosophers just aren't that good at philosophy.


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