philosophy meta-forum

Cambridge

Dorion

9 day(s) ago

What do people know about the environment there for a PhD? I saw some hate for Rae Langton, what's that about? And how's the rest of the faculty, anyone doing particularly interesting stuff?

...asking for a friend.

Norwood

8 day(s) ago

What do people know about the environment there for a PhD? I saw some hate for Rae Langton, what's that about? And how's the rest of the faculty, anyone doing particularly interesting stuff?

...asking for a friend.

Dorion

Rae Langton is a woman. ‘Nuff said.

Thierry

8 day(s) ago

Yeah, I met Rae Langton once and she was nothing but kind. People on here like to pontificate about people and things they know nothing about. It's mostly noise.

Akos

8 day(s) ago

Who was the MIT colleague whose wandering hands Langton covered up? Name slips my mind.

Mohammed

8 day(s) ago

I seem to remember that it was more than wandering hands...Of course, if one's primary concern is protecting MIT's reputation as a "feminist" department...

Shah

8 day(s) ago

Is this another one of those MIT stories where the details are secretly encoded in a paper about Godel's proof?

Alexandra

8 day(s) ago

Covering up sexual abuse of a female graduate student is form of Kantian humility.

Justinian

8 day(s) ago

Rae Langton looking the other way is just standard policy, which is to go public against people very selectively. That allows such accusations to be weaponized to undermine enemies while at the same time protecting departments that need to be protected and protecting friends of the movement. MIT needed to be protected for obvious reasons. It is also useful to have an inventory of unreported acts of harassment, as these generate outrage and make accusations seem more credible when they do come and they make the accused the focus of maximum rage. This isn't complicated. Whether it is consistent with Kantian humility is another question.

Sidney

8 day(s) ago

I think you are all lying, and that you are doing it because Langton is a feminist and a woman.

Musonius

8 day(s) ago

I bet it's worse than that Sidney. My guess is it's one person posting with different user names. Let's see how many reply with the same id...

Monroe

8 day(s) ago

I bet it's worse than that Sidney. My guess is it's one person posting with different user names. Let's see how many reply with the same id...

Musonius

Good point

Justinian

8 day(s) ago

I think you are all lying, and that you are doing it because Langton is a feminist and a woman.

Translation: Langton is a feminist and a woman therefore she cannot be accused of enabling sexual harassment. It's the same logic that says de Beauvoir can't be held accountable for the molestation of children and Stubblefield cannot be held accountable for sexually abusing her research subject. Fact: it is the great moral shame of the feminist philosophers in our profession that they use the accusations selectively for political purposes. Even Heidi Lockwood does this, as she is happy to throw around third hand accusations against political enemies but does not say one word about the fact that she herself was recently sexually harassed by a philosopher of logic. Why? Because he was a political ally. The hypocrisy makes one want to weep.

Philippe

8 day(s) ago

I think you are all lying, and that you are doing it because Langton is a feminist and a woman.

Translation: Langton is a feminist and a woman therefore she cannot be accused of enabling sexual harassment. It's the same logic that says de Beauvoir can't be held accountable for the molestation of children and Stubblefield cannot be held accountable for sexually abusing her research subject. Fact: it is the great moral shame of the feminist philosophers in our profession that they use the accusations selectively for political purposes. Even Heidi Lockwood does this, as she is happy to throw around third hand accusations against political enemies but does not say one word about the fact that she herself was recently sexually harassed by a philosopher of logic. Why? Because he was a political ally. The hypocrisy makes one want to weep.

Justinian

Interesting fabrication there. Lockwood was sexually harassed by an MIT logician nearly three decades ago.

Justinian

8 day(s) ago

It happened again.

Justinian

8 day(s) ago

Plus she was not silent about the first case.

Sidney

8 day(s) ago

I think you are all lying, and that you are doing it because Langton is a feminist and a woman.

Translation: Langton is a feminist and a woman therefore she cannot be accused of enabling sexual harassment. It's the same logic that says de Beauvoir can't be held accountable for the molestation of children and Stubblefield cannot be held accountable for sexually abusing her research subject. Fact: it is the great moral shame of the feminist philosophers in our profession that they use the accusations selectively for political purposes. Even Heidi Lockwood does this, as she is happy to throw around third hand accusations against political enemies but does not say one word about the fact that she herself was recently sexually harassed by a philosopher of logic. Why? Because he was a political ally. The hypocrisy makes one want to weep.

Justinian

More unsubstantiated accusations: red herrings.

My reasoning is that as no evidence has been proffered against Langton, and in the context of a blog with many anti-feminist and even misogynist commenters, that the accusations against Langton are most plausibly explained as anti-feminist misogyny. Show me some good evidence against Langton (including first personal testimony from accusers) and I'll change my view. And yes, the burden of proof is on you.

Othmar

8 day(s) ago

Even Heidi Lockwood does this, as she is happy to throw around third hand accusations against political enemies but does not say one word about the fact that she herself was recently sexually harassed by a philosopher of logic. Why? Because he was a political ally. The hypocrisy makes one want to weep.

Justinian

Pro- tip. You're not doing yourself any favors making up this stuff. It looks like your personal vendetta against Heidi Lockwood for some reason. You're entitled to do that, of course. But what you're saying is a fabrication.

Justinian

8 day(s) ago

ask her

Yen

8 day(s) ago

So anything besides the stuff about Rae? I'm not convinced, based on the above comments, that there's anything to be gleaned here from any of that...

Yen

8 day(s) ago

*Yen = Dorion = OP.

Sidney

8 day(s) ago

I think Cambridge has Huw Price and I don't know anything about him other than he's meant to be smart and entertaining.

Huai

8 day(s) ago

Oh FFS. "Justinian." This is Heidi Lockwood. There aren't many people I've told about the more recent incidents of harassment -- and only a few of those would be hanging out in this dank corner of the internet.

I hate sites where cowards sling allegations from behind the veil of a pseudonym, and am not keeping anything quiet for "political" reasons, so here goes:

The philosopher of logic Justinian is referring to is Richard Heck, and the isolated incident of harassment occurred when I was a graduate student. Heck visited Yale with Robert May in October, 2007 to give a talk in which they argued that Frege's distinction between sense and reference requires that thoughts have a complex structure. After the talk and dinner, I went out for drinks with Zoltan Szabo, Heck, May, and an Italian postdoc who had just arrived a couple of days before. I think the idea was that it would be a mini MIT reunion, given that Zoltan, Heck, and May were all MIT alum, and I had studied there for a couple of years. Zoltan had to leave at about midnight to relieve the babysitter. He asked me to make sure that May and Heck, who had been drinking (whiskey, I think), made it back to their lodgings safely. I agreed; I had an hour-long drive home and didn't really want to stay, but it was clear that there was no way the two were going to find their way back to anything.

May was clearly interested in spending the night with the Italian post doc, so I took the two of them and Heck for an hour-long forced-march tour around the Yale campus, to give her time to sober up enough to make sure that she wanted to engage. I left May and the postdoc on the street in front of Branford College, where May was staying. I would have escorted her to wherever she was staying, but they were locked in a full-body mutual exchange.

Heck and I headed back to my car so that I could drive him to his hotel. En route to the car, near the intersection of College and Elm, he reached out and suddenly became a groping octopus, reaching for my breasts, etc. I peeled his hands off of me, and reminded him of what I had told him earlier in the evening about being sexually harassed by George Boolos at MIT, when he had asked why I left. My exact words were something like, "Richard, you said George was like a father to you. I *suppose* he was like a father to me -- though what that says about my philosophical family, I don't want to know. But it makes you like a brother to me. So, please, hands off." We made it back to the car; I dropped him off at the hotel; I cried with anger most of the way home.

Heck most certainly is not -- and has never been -- a "political ally." We had a conversation about the incident at some point in the past few years. He said he has no recollection of it, and offered a personal apology when I asked for one. There were no reporting options for me at the time because the incident occurred at Yale and Heck was (and is) on the faculty at Brown. I have not heard anything about other incidents, and have no reason to believe that what happened to me was not an isolated case related to the alcohol and presumably Heck's complicated relationship with George Boolos. In other words, I have no obligation to report. I accept Heck's apology, and forgive him for what happened.

Victims of harassment should never be required or pressured to report the offense, and philosophers (female and male) who have experienced what it's like to be objectified, marginalized, and deterred from educational opportunities shouldn't be required to participate in the education of others who don't yet understand the full scope of the problem. As Audre Lorde remarked, "Black people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future."

Thomas

8 day(s) ago

No comment on the RH story, but what is the reason why RM needs to be mentioned by name in this story, especially because you took care not to name the Italian postdoc?

Chris

8 day(s) ago

No comment on the RH story, but what is the reason why RM needs to be mentioned by name in this story, especially because you took care not to name the Italian postdoc?

Thomas

She obviously doesn’t remember, and I’m guessing the postdoc hasn’t gone on to a philosophy career, like many postdocs. Of all the whining snivelling things to remark after a riveting story like that...

Uma

8 day(s) ago

Philosophers behaving wisely.

Uma

8 day(s) ago

Note to myself: Never take any normative statement made by a "philosopher" seriously.

If you dig up nasty stories about Putnam as well, I am going to lose my faith, or whats left of it, in "professional" philosophy.

Homer

8 day(s) ago

May was clearly interested in spending the night with the Italian post doc, so I took the two of them and Heck for an hour-long forced-march tour around the Yale campus, to give her time to sober up enough to make sure that she wanted to engage. I left May and the postdoc on the street in front of Branford College, where May was staying. I would have escorted her to wherever she was staying, but they were locked in a full-body mutual exchange.

Huai

Yeah, why be a good sport when you can be a feminist rule-fetishist?

Hughes

8 day(s) ago

Note to myself: Never take any normative statement made by a "philosopher" seriously.

If you dig up nasty stories about Putnam as well, I am going to lose my faith, or whats left of it, in "professional" philosophy.

Uma

Prof. Putnam was a fanatical Maoist activist at the height of the Cultural Revolution. That's the equivalent of being a Nazi in 1943. Read 'When Reason Goes on Holiday' by Neven Sesardic.

Susan

8 day(s) ago

There were no reporting options for me at the time because the incident occurred at Yale and Heck was (and is) on the faculty at Brown. I have not heard anything about other incidents, and have no reason to believe that what happened to me was not an isolated case related to the alcohol and presumably Heck's complicated relationship with George Boolos. In other words, I have no obligation to report. I accept Heck's apology, and forgive him for what happened.

Heidi, I respect your work but you really failed us here. Of COURSE there were reporting options. You could have gone public as you only now just did. And the thought that Heck's relationship with Boolos mysteriously led to this incident is just absurd. Sit back and think about it. You are so wrapped up in what happened to you you can't imagine Heck doing this to someone else. But clearly that behavior was not just about you.

By sitting on this story for so long you have put a decade of Brown students and conference attendees at risk of a predator. It's fine that you accepted his apology, but the judgment of whether Heck is safe, given these facts, should lie with the students and conference attendees and not with you. Think about it. If you were a student and read this account would you want to take his class?

If you are sitting on other such stories please do not embargo them. We are trying to make this profession and academia a safer place and we need to know who is a danger, whether you have forgiven them or not.

Kurt

8 day(s) ago

Of all the whining snivelling things to remark after a riveting story like that...

Chris

If the story of a drunk who made an attempt to grope someone is riveting, then I have several riveting stories like that to tell you. I was also sexually assaulted by a female colleague (but not raped). And yes, I am a so-called 'FUCKING WHITE MALE'.

HL, since you're probably still reading, I agree with you that it was important to make sure the Italian properly wakes up before she decides who to sleep with. But it's curious that you didn't think the same about RM. You say he was so drunk that he couldn't find his way home or anywhere. Then why weren't you equally worried about his own well- being?

It sounds like you are implicitly adopting a double standard for who deserves to have one's chastity defended and who doesn't. That is socially conservative and anti-egalitarian. Do you subscribe to anti-egalitarian conservatism?

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