philosophy meta-forum

Leiter pushes back against affirmative action in hiring

Anne

17 day(s) ago

He's an ass, but he's right on most of what matters:

https://www.chronicle.com/article/Academic- Ethics-Hidden-/242381

Noam

17 day(s) ago

Haha see his update

He's an ass, but he's right on most of what matters:

https://www.chronicle.com/article/Academic-Ethics-Hidden-/242381

Anne

Hippocrates

17 day(s) ago

Spousal hires also, it looks like

Max

16 day(s) ago

His earlier CHE piece is particularly useful. It's totally unclear what the benefit of diversity is supposed to be, given that implicit bias has been debunked and there's no evidence that students from marginalized groups benefit from being taught by people who share their identity.

Noam

16 day(s) ago

Given that you don't mention the main purported benefit, I'm guessing you haven't done even a Wikipedia read on the issue.

His earlier CHE piece is particularly useful. It's totally unclear what the benefit of diversity is supposed to be, given that implicit bias has been debunked and there's no evidence that students from marginalized groups benefit from being taught by people who share their identity.

Max

Giles

16 day(s) ago

I'm someone else, but I'll agree with Max's basic point. I have no idea why people think diversity is good, apart from the fact that it satisfies certain ideological preferences. Wikipedia isn't proving especially enlightening here.

Valentinius

16 day(s) ago

"Any seasoned academic who has been involved with job searches knows there are two sets of criteria for some positions: the ones in the published ad and the "hidden" ones.

"The dean says we must hire a woman this time," reports the chair. Or the dean says: "The department’s lack of racial diversity is becoming a problem, you’ve got to fix that with this year’s search."

This is (almost) literally what our dept. chair said in a dept. meeting last fall.

Noam

16 day(s) ago

Many claim it has a broadly epistemic benefit. Entities with diverse members, whether companies or universities, will perform better due to having access to a wider range of potentially relevant information. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I think it has been confirmed in a number of settings.

I'm someone else, but I'll agree with Max's basic point. I have no idea why people think diversity is good, apart from the fact that it satisfies certain ideological preferences. Wikipedia isn't proving especially enlightening here.

Giles

Edward

16 day(s) ago

That sounds like an argument for the much-maligned "viewpoint diversity" but it's not clear to me that it has much to do with the more popular forms: race, sex, etc.

"I think it has been confirmed in a number of settings."

The word "confirmed" is almost certainly bound to be a bit too strong here, but does anyone have citations for evidence on the putative benefits?

Noam

16 day(s) ago

Whether it's maligned depends probably whose viewpoint is being pushed to be included. I think many conservative academics take up basically the same argument when they malign the lack of conservatives in philosophy and the resulting echo chambers.

I learned about it originally through the democracy literature. I'll see if I can dig something up.

I just meant "confirmed" in the weak sense, not anything like a truth-entailing or best-view-available-entailing sense.

That sounds like an argument for the much-maligned "viewpoint diversity" but it's not clear to me that it has much to do with the more popular forms: race, sex, etc.

"I think it has been confirmed in a number of settings."

The word "confirmed" is almost certainly bound to be a bit too strong here, but does anyone have citations for evidence on the putative benefits?

Edward

Edward

16 day(s) ago

"Whether it's maligned depends probably whose viewpoint is being pushed to be included. I think many conservative academics take up basically the same argument when they malign the lack of conservatives in philosophy and the resulting echo chambers."

That sounds right to me. I'm not sure what I think about the viewpoint diversity claims. I certainly think that humanities depts are echo chambers and I deplore it. But there is a sense in which math departments are echo chambers about the infinity of primes in number theory. The reason I don't like the situation in the humanities is that I think falsehoods are echoed. That by itself isn't reason enough to support a general "viewpoint diversity" claim. I just want better discussions in the humanities, which would require a lot more humility on the part of certain zealots in the profession.

Hippias

16 day(s) ago

That sounds like an argument for the much-maligned "viewpoint diversity" but it's not clear to me that it has much to do with the more popular forms: race, sex, etc.

"I think it has been confirmed in a number of settings."

The word "confirmed" is almost certainly bound to be a bit too strong here, but does anyone have citations for evidence on the putative benefits?

Edward

I think there's perhaps an indirect case for the value of "viewpoint diversity."

Assume that we want to encourage our best and brightest students to pursue significant research (whether in academia or elsewhere). If our institutions and workplaces are authoritarian mono-cultures that punish or shame wrong-thinkers, then it is likely that many of these students will choose to pursue alternative careers. For instance, if a talented chemistry feels unwelcome in academia, then he may just go work for the local plastics company. A talented mathematics student may just go work for an insurance company. Even though math and chemistry departments haven't been (and probably can't be) captured by SJWs, many of the institutions that house them have.

I can't adequately justify the conditionals above, but surely they have the appearance of plausibility.

Herman

16 day(s) ago

Diversity can no doubt be a good thing, but as an unqualified exhortation it is next to useless. A good kind of diversity might be more exposure to Chinese and Indian thought. I have a hard time seeing why the mere presence of women, blacks, and others labeled 'minorities' are contributing to diversity as an epistemic good just on the basis of that identity.

There is a difference in having a voice and then having something worth saying or being heard.

Dignaga

16 day(s) ago

good diversity is when you are exposed to other high-IQ minds, regardless of any other characteristic of the persons that possess the minds.

for every X, if X has high IQ, there should be more X in phil. depts.

and if it happens that high IQ people are white, male etc., let's have more of them among philosophy faculty.

Nikolai

16 day(s) ago

Many claim it has a broadly epistemic benefit. Entities with diverse members, whether companies or universities, will perform better due to having access to a wider range of potentially relevant information. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I think it has been confirmed in a number of settings.

I'm someone else, but I'll agree with Max's basic point. I have no idea why people think diversity is good, apart from the fact that it satisfies certain ideological preferences. Wikipedia isn't proving especially enlightening here.

Giles

Noam

Yeah sure, my gender will help me see that e=mc2 is a male, sexist equation.

Allan

15 day(s) ago

It's unlikely that there's very much benefit associated with things like race and sex heterogeneity in disciplines like philosophy. There may be some benefit in ethics and soc/pol, but there's unlikely to be any notable benefit in M&E. And any benefit there is to the discipline overall would probably be achieved with even fairly few representatives of less-represented groups--you'd certainly not need 50% women. You just need enough to get the alternate ideas/perspectives in circulation. And none of that would matter to the average university that just needs teachers, and doesn't expect its faculty to change the intellectual trajectory of their disciplines.

Look, "diversity" is pursued in academia because academia is leftist. And the left wants fewer white males and more other types of people. Basically everywhere. That's the bottom line. Stuff about alleged prudential benefits of "diversity" is just plain made up...often by social scientists who are...wait for it...on the left. Is this really not obvious to everyone? Hell, I'm kind of a liberal and it's obvious to me. I mean, it's *possible* that this isn't the explanation...but it's not very likely.

I don't want entirely homogeneous universities. I hate it that certain groups are probably better than others at things like math and philosophy. It makes me sad. It took me years to even admit to myself that different groups have different abilities. And I think there are some medium-strength social reasons to want different groups to be represented in universities and similar places. But Jesus Christ, it simply isn't true that universities become better (in the narrow sense) by hiring less-qualified people. Thinking that universities are going to become better (in the narrow sense of: better at teaching and scholarship) by hiring worse teachers and scholars simply because they are from demographics preferred by the left is rather like thinking that a sports team is going be better (in the narrow sense of: winning more games) by hiring worse athletes. Maybe universities will fulfill some social functions better by becoming more "diverse"...or maybe they'll acquire some other virtues...but they will not become better at their actual purposes of teaching and acquiring new knowledge. It's just magical thinking. It's a bit like someone who wants to go to art school instead of law school making up an elaborate story about how, all things considered, art school graduates are better off than law school graduates even in the narrow sense of making more money. Undoubtedly the life of an art student will be better than the life of a law student in certain respects...but to pretend that art school is magically better in every way...it's just absurd.

This BS is a way of pretending that there's basically no cost to "diversity"...other than unfairness to white males...which doesn't matter... It's a story that lets the left pretend that choosing less-qualified people in order to achieve its political preferences actually makes the university better by neutral, non-political criteria. Seriously, I can't believe that anyone buys such a transparent fable.

Kumazawa

14 day(s) ago

Allan you are a gibbering moron. If you have a Ph.D. in philosophy I'm going to be the first American pope.

Lady

14 day(s) ago

Allan you are a gibbering moron. If you have a Ph.D. in philosophy I'm going to be the first American pope.

Kumazawa

This is what a feminist looks like.

Kumazawa

14 day(s) ago

No- it's what someone who can string two coherent thoughts together and write them out in fluent english looks like.

Jaakko

14 day(s) ago

"I hate it that certain groups are probably better than others at things like math and philosophy."

--Based on the reasoning in this post, whatever group you are in is certainly taking a statistical hit.

Everett

14 day(s) ago

Kumazawa, Allan's post strikes me as a bit breathless and hasty in certain respects, but it doesn't strike me as stupid. Perhaps you can point out one thing you think is particularly bad about it?

Yang

14 day(s) ago

This is Kumazawa from earlier. It would be a huge waste of my time to point out everything stupid about the post. But for one, there is no evidence that philosophy departments are hiring less qualified people strictly for diversity reasons.

Everett

14 day(s) ago

There is evidence that women are hired with significantly fewer publications. Publications aren't everything, but that seems like relevant evidence to me.

Jennifer

14 day(s) ago

This is Kumazawa from earlier. It would be a huge waste of my time to point out everything stupid about the post. But for one, there is no evidence that philosophy departments are hiring less qualified people strictly for diversity reasons.

Yang

So basically you're in denial that you're a token?

Yang

14 day(s) ago

It's Friday night and I don't feel like hand-holding you guys through it. There is a big gap between "some recent philosophy placement data shows women were hired with fewer publications" (I don't even know if the differences are statistically significant, or have been true of every year since people were talking about that in 2012) to this:

"Thinking that universities are going to become better (in the narrow sense of: better at teaching and scholarship) by hiring worse teachers and scholars simply because they are from demographics preferred by the left is rather like thinking that a sports team is going be better (in the narrow sense of: winning more games) by hiring worse athletes."

And this is just one of the many lazy, hazy, and unsubstantiated things in the post. Others include that men are better philosophy and/or that we know just how much better at philosophy men are than women and this is mirrored well by the current representation in the field. Or the suggestion that diversifying a field is only good insofar as we need "token" people from underrepresented groups to share "the perspective" from that group. I could go on but why bother.

Yang

14 day(s) ago

I'm a token white beardy guy with glasses.

Lord

14 day(s) ago

The evidence shows that amongst the group hired from no prior position women have roughly half the number of publications men have. Therefore less qualified people are being hired, because they are women. The correlation of gender and lower publication is statistically significant.

Yang

14 day(s) ago

"The evidence shows that amongst the group hired from no prior position women have roughly half the number of publications men have. Therefore less qualified people are being hired, because they are women. The correlation of gender and lower publication is statistically significant."

It's more complicated than that. In a sample of 2 years of placement data, they found: <http: 12="" 2014="" gender-and-publications.html#more="" www.newappsblog.com=""> </http:>

"Of 498 placed candidates in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, 149 were women (30%). 110 women (32%) and 229 men (68%) were placed in tenure-track jobs. For comparison, the mean percentage of women graduate students per department, as reported in the 2013 APA Graduate Guide, is 32.58%, and in 2009 one source put the percentage of women graduates from doctoral programs at just over 30%.

What is the mean number of publications for women and men in this data set? For all of the jobs (tenure- track, postdoctral, and VAP) and for all peer-reviewed publications, placed women have an average of 1.13 publications, whereas placed men have an average of 2.17 publications. Thus it looks as though placed men have one more publication, on average, than placed women. Yet, if we look at median number of publications, this difference evaporates: the midpoint of publications by both women and men is 1 publication. (The mode is 0 for each.) Why this difference between mean and median? The difference comes down to those at the extremes: 15% of men and 5% of women have 5+ publications."

Means can be skewed by extreme values. In this case, a small number of men having many (5+) publications skewed the mean, but the median was 1 publication for both men and women and the mode for both was 0. And this is one two year sample, so god knows how much this fluctuates. So the story is more complicated than the tale you want to tell. And what, exactly, is the correlation between publication # and quality as an instructor/ scholar anyways?

Yang

14 day(s) ago

"The correlation of gender and lower publication is statistically significant."

Is it?

Everett

14 day(s) ago

Yang,

There is a big gap between what Allan wrote and your conclusion that he's a moron and lacks a PhD. You're being insulting and holding others to a higher evidential standard than you hold yourself.

Obviously there are things here that are offered in a speculative spirit. I don't see why that's a bad thing. Sometimes a view based on anecdotal evidence and vague impressions is correct, and sometimes we don't have much else to go on.

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