Philosophers on Twitter getting push back about The Letter: here are some candidate actions, and some evaluations (by me) of those actions (thread):

i) Say nothing, refuse to engage
Evaluation: You have made a public stand: this makes you publicly accountable.
ii) Try to laugh it off.
Evaluation: This is a serious matter (you accept). Please don't ridicule those who disagree with you. You want to be taken seriously: take your interlocutors seriously.
iii) Straw-man your critics.
Some people will tweet that you are an effing misogynist. But other people will make polite and serious objections to the text of your letter: address the strongest objections to your claims, not the weakest.
iv) Fail to answer the questions posed.
I would like an answer to my question: what is the difference between a view being trans-exclusive and a view being transphobic?
v) Say 'I'm tired, I've got a lot on my plate'.
We are all tired, we all have a lot on our plate. But you have made public statements, to which you have lent your reputation, and you have an obligation to respond to polite critics.
(& join the union, ofc.)
vi) Make vague claims without evidential support or good reasons. Fail to specify concepts clearly. (Here, concepts like 'trans-exclusive' and 'transphobic', both of which appear in The Letter)
Please don't do this. It's not good. People are watching.
If items (i)-(vi) look familiar, from your first year teaching (if you still do any) from 'how to write a philosophy essay', then that's not completely unintended, and not completely coincidental.
And in response to the inevitable comic strip, when it comes to sea creatures, I much prefer Stingrays to Sealions. (see bio if necessary, but I bet you'll get the reference)

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More from @runthinkwrite

5 Jan
(i) P'raps I'll spell out the dialectic here. In the letter, @jichikawa elides 'trans-exclusive' and 'transphobic'. I'm coming up with a counter-example to that elision. My (philosophical) view is that trans-women should be excluded from women's rugby. Of course, I don't think
(ii) that trans-women should be excluded from rugby as such, but that they should play in the category of their birth sex (it's slightly more complicated than that, but I'll stick the paper at the end.)
(iii) On most normal understandings, this is a trans-exclusive (no scare quotes) view, in philosophy, which I argue for quite explicitly. I argue for it, because of the difference in bodies between males and females, which, I think, has ethical consequences.
Read 13 tweets
8 Dec 20
Here's an important development - and a thread...
1) This is an important new paper in @BJSM_BMJ (Roberts et al. 2020) for all those following the debate. Others better qualified than me can run through the science @FondOfBeetles, @Scienceofsport
2) In this thread I want to look at the upshot for the debate on trans women competing in women’s sport:

What does this new information do? What arguments does it close off? What possible moves in the debate does it open up?
Read 18 tweets
6 Dec 20
@EthicsInSPORT p.20 "Nonetheless it is recognized that *transfemales are not males who became females.* Rather these are people who have always been psychologically female but whose anatomy and physiology, for reasons as yet unexplained, have manifested as male...
The EWG therefore, in parallel with the Dutee Chand decision, opt against any ruling that might render a female ineligible to compete due to intrinsic factors that are beyond their control"
So 1) This is 'born in the wrong body' nonsense
2) This is (crap) Cartesian nonsense
3) This is antiscientific ('for reasons as yet unexplained')
4) psychology trumps physiology, so physiological fairness is trashed.
5) This is TW are *female* - which is, er, a *striking* claim.
Read 4 tweets
4 Sep 20
1/ Thread: there is a lot to say about this irresponsible statement, but I have an appointment with the Col du Peyresourde tomorrow. So I'll just point out one element
2/ Rugby Canada's submission says they included "documented *lived experiences* of Canadian rugby trans participants"

My question: what *status* do these "lived experiences" have in trying to sort out an ethical policy? How should it feed into the policy process?
3/ Trans women players will presumably have said the following things:
A 'I get a great deal out of playing rugby, and it is important to my sense of well-being.' This is fair enough, and uncontested. Everyone accepts this.
Read 8 tweets
20 Aug 20
It is still a shock to people like me - who fought Section 28 when it was Clause 27 - to find ourselves pitched against this mendacious propaganda from
Here are a few areas where this tweet is wrong (thread)
First, and most obviously, the proposals from World Rugby *do not* exclude anyone from playing Rugby. They *do* exclude Trans women from playing women's rugby: they do so for sound reasons to do with fairness and safety.
either @stonewalluk care about safety and fairness or they don't, either they will engage with the arguments there or they won't - that's up to them. But pretending that this is just about 'rights' and 'inclusion' in this faux-naive way just shows them up as bad faith actors.
Read 9 tweets
3 Aug 20
1/ In the tweet below, and the attachment, @outsports names and identifies - including giving locations - 300+ women athletes who have written to the @NCAA to voice their concern about the inclusion of trans women in women's sport.
2/ Obviously, the intent is to provide information so these women can be hassled, pressurised, and intimidated into changing their views, or withdrawing their names. But it is reasonable for competitive women athletes to object to their sports being opened up to people with
3/ male physiological advantages - they will, unreasonably, be edged out of teams, off podiums, denied medals, and opportunities.
The tactic is despicable. But it shows up something else: those of us who are *not* competitive women athletes have an obligation to argue this...
Read 5 tweets

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