Goodbye [Updated May 29]

Update, May 29th:

For those who haven’t noticed, all the good stuff is now happening at the Philosophy Metablog. Have a visit!


[Update, April 5: after many requests, I have agreed to post the addresses here of any new blogs readers might wish to open that address the topic of alternative views on sex and gender issues in philosophy. Please send these addresses to me at]

At least one impostor has begun signing off on comments on other blogs using my name and that of my wife. These people are non-identical with either of us.

This is the latest in a series of developments over the past while that has led to my present decision to stop blogging or contributing to blogs. I have also come to doubt the appropriateness of any widely read blog as a forum for the discussion of genuinely controversial topics. If anonymity is not permitted, then those whose views are politically acceptable are greatly overrepresented in the discussion. If anonymity is allowed, then moderation becomes necessary to avoid violations of basic moral protocols, and that moderation becomes both time consuming and liable to abuse through bias. Anyone using my name hereafter to comment on blogs is non-identical with me.

I was at first pleasantly surprised by the positive response this blog received and have enjoyed interacting with most of the people who were drawn into our discussions. But recently, the project appeared on the radar of the wrong sorts of people. I began the blog with some reservations, since I am and always have been a private person: I prefer using my initials to my Christian name, I avoid broadcasting my affiliations, and I keep my name out of whatever directories and registers I can. I certainly had reservations about stepping into the world of blogging but I thought it would be worth it. I prepared for what I thought was the worst: dealing with people who would be opposed to my raising the topics I intended to raise, and who would have to be argued into accepting that discussion as legitimate. How wrong I was. There are many things I might say about the characters of certain people who unfortunately came to take an interest in this blog recently (and if there’s anything my life in philosophy has focused my attention on, it’s character); but I trust their actions speak for themselves. Let it suffice to say that, at this point, I must choose between allowing people and groups that are totally unrelated to me to be smeared on an ongoing basis by the speculations of those who seem intent on preventing conversations rather than contributing to them, or being more public about my personal details, or calling it quits. I’m choosing option three.

Recent developments have made clear to many of us that there is a very strong and present need for free and sincere discussions on the direction our profession is taking. I previously, and naively, hoped that this blog might be a good forum for such a discussion, with feminists, other contingents, and (most of all) the unaffiliated hammering things out with one another. I continue to believe that all these contingents have valuable contributions to make to discussions about the direction of our profession, and that the important thing is that no contingent, ideology or limited set of ideologies be permitted to dominate the discussion and rule out alternatives through social shaming and censorship. Some steps were taken toward that goal when Daniel Nagase (prominently among others) joined our discussions in a constructive spirit. However, this progress was overshadowed by darker developments. The important need for such a forum remains. The question now is who will lead it, and what form it will take. I wish the person or persons who takes on that task the best of luck, but anyone taking on such a task should be alive to the wild and obsessive hostility that will be directed at him or her by those whose only move in such discussions is to direct attention to discrediting the sources of the opinions they refuse to accept or even consider seriously. Again, I wish all such people the best of luck.

I also wish to thank my wife for her support and encouragement over these past two months, my young relative who inadvertently became tangentially involved in this affair (my apologies again to her), Professors Leiter and Tooley, who offered encouragement in the early stages when the blog was still taking the form it came to have; all the people who contributed to our discussions, and to all those in whom good character speaks more loudly than ideology. It’s been an interesting and, for the most part, enjoyable two months. Thank you again to everyone who made it possible.

Finally, I wish to emphasize that my views are absolutely not remotely identical with those of my interlocutors and that I do not for a minute believe that there is any difference in innate psychological abilities between men and women. While one(!) of our commenters here once held that view, it is very clearly not my own, as anyone who took a little time to read the discussions here would know at once. Anyone wishing to know my own views on any such matters should read what I have written here, all of which is under my own name (and remember, again, that the commenter JS is non-identical with me as well).

  • JW