Comments [Addendum March 27]

In light of some increasingly strange comments, I’m somewhat reluctantly changing my comments policy. All comments must now be approved before they appear. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I’m afraid I cannot approve any comments whose intention is simply to satirize or otherwise poke fun at people. Philosophers Anonymous and Philosatire do a good job covering that, if that’s the sort of forum you’re looking for. If a comment appears wilfully obscure, I’ll eliminate it.

Finally, at the risk of repeating what should be obvious to anyone who has spent some time here, I in no way endorse many of the views presented by our commentators. Anyone who knows me will know that I find some of the views aired by others here not only incorrect but even obviously and disturbingly incorrect. That will be no big surprise to those who have read through my exchanges in these threads. However, for reasons I clarified in my post on Feb. 6th, I try to follow Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s dictum “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” I feel confident that, given enough time, intelligence, information, rigor and patience, rational people will in the end be forced to agree that the earth is round, that we are the result of evolution, that climate change is real and largely human-caused, and that women are under absolutely no innate philosophical disadvantage in comparison with men. Yes, it still makes me somewhat uncomfortable to listen and respond to these alternative views; but as I made clear on Feb. 6th, I think it is worth doing.

P.S. While the commenter who has chosen the moniker ‘JS’ apparently shares my initials, he(?) is non-identical with me.

Addendum: Some readers have expressed unhappiness with my changing the comments policy. I certainly have my own regrets about that. But some of the cryptic comments coming in, which I have now deleted, seemed aimed at disclosing the identity of one of our commenters who chose a moniker rather than using his name. I don’t know whether or how this commenter knew anything about the other commenter’s identity, but I didn’t want to run the risk of permitting that.

While I champion free discussion on topics of public interest, I fail to see how that end is furthered by attempts to guess at or reveal the identities of those who have chosen to be anonymous and have, in a very real sense, trusted me to preserve their anonymity here. As for satire and mockery, I agree that they have their place in a free society. However, it has never been my intention to host that sort of discourse here.

A few people have suggested to me that there is a social need for a forum in which current developments can be discussed freely and anonymously, without censorship or moderation. I heartily agree that that such a forum should exist, but the fact is that I am too busy to run such a forum here. The constant need to check comments for ‘outings’ of other commenters is not a duty I can take on. I hope someone who has the time and inclination might take that hint from my readers and start up such a forum. I’m closing comments for the time being. I apologize again for this.

2 thoughts on “Comments [Addendum March 27]

  1. I really hope you’ll reconsider. There’s a lot to be said for the existence of a genuinely uncensored forum for discussion of the discipline. I thought this blog was such a forum; it’d be a shame if that wasn’t the case.

    (Did you also make it harder to post anonymously? It now seems that a name and email address are required).

  2. I can understand not wanting to have people simply satirize or make fun of others, and it’s your blog so at any rate you can do as you will. But allow me to recommend that you not edit comments; either post them or don’t. You’ve edited a couple of my comments in the Ferrer/APA thread, and that’s fine as far as I’m concerned, but I think it’s best if you either let people speak for themselves or don’t let them speak at all.

    And on that note, I would also encourage you to be more liberal in tolerating comments like Willard’s. I don’t know that he/she was sincere in conversing, but I think it’s important that we give people the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, it will help make clear that views like Willard’s can’t hold up under serious examination. Like you, I am confident that good faith and a willingness to continue conversing with an interlocutor can overcome barriers of understanding and sympathy. And I think it is a virtue of this forum you’ve created that there are people here who do not agree with each other–my hope is that in this space we can create a conversation where disagreement is allowed to run its course, and where people in the conversation can expect to be questioned and have their position examined for its cogency. That, too, is part of what will help us get to somewhere epistemically and (one hopes) socially more productive. I’ll finish with something I said to Willard in an earlier comment:

    “And I’m sorry you’re still not getting what’s at issue in ‘us’ versus ‘them’ Willard, but think of it this way. There are some people who think that casting aspersions on a graduate program and its students, based on shoestring associations concerning IP addresses and conversations that are occurring elsewhere, are, in doing so, fighting against the malevolent forces of anonymous patriarchy. But that’s just silly, and it’s important to point out that these people are being silly. At the same time we need to be sure that in doing so we are not ourselves supposing that this is ‘us’ versus ‘them’. So, when talking to these silly people, we need to be able to keep conversing with them rather than casting them outside the bounds of intercourse. And so I continue to converse with you Willard, for I am acting in the confidence that at the end of the day we’ll find that we’re not so far apart in our views. Does that help you see what’s going on?”

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