I often wonder why Helen Joyce is suddenly so HUGELY exercised about trans people existing.
The comment Helen Joyce responds to so appreciatively—"God that is good."—is egregious. Let's take a moment to note how egregious. 2/
The first half is a complaint about how criticism of anti-trans positions generally and Kathleen Stock's work specifically is, allegedly, not adhering to "normal standards of rational debate." The writer suggests a "sociological" reading of the situation. 3/
Apparently, "the real problem" with Stock & others is that "if they are right," then that leads to some unhappy conclusions about academic feminism. "If they are right." That's a big conditional. Someone is wading into a discussion with which they're perhaps not familiar. 4/
"If they are right"? I say they have clearly tried to say they are right. Perhaps in full-length published arguments like this one.

Robin Dembroff, "Escaping the Natural Attitude about Gender," *Philosophical Studies,* 2020. 5/

Does this count as addressing "if they are right," clearing the foundational uncertainty of the writer's comment?

Aleardo Zanghellini, "Philosophical Problems with the Gender-Critical Feminist Argument against Trans Inclusion," *Sage Open,* 2020. 6/
However, our comment author does not seem to be able to address his own wobbling around "if they are right." He repeats the move: whether Kathleen Stock & others "are right or wrong, what one is witnessing is simply centres of academic power and prestige defending themselves." 7/
Nah, sorry. If you, an academic philosopher, can't be bothered to investigate whether you think a set of securely (afaik) employed philosophers—Stock, Lawford-Smith, Reilly-Cooper, Leiter, Byrne, etc.—is right or wrong about an issue for which they are hotly campaigning... 8/
...then you don't get to retreat to this ridiculous position:

I will reserve judgment on whether Stock et al. are right or wrong, and will instead judge those who object to Stock et al.'s arguments as all-too-established for my taste! Huzzah! 9/
And then it arrives.

A horrible claim.

Issued as if it was oh-so-clever.

Please prepare for the feeling of wanting to throw things. 10/
"The trans issue is mostly an abstraction."

Followed by:

The "trans issue" is "a mere signifier of virtue and would-be philosophical insight." 11/
What the fuck. 12/
And look, our writer is not actually so interested in withholding judgment on whether Kathleen Stock & others are right or wrong, is he? From his convenient position of not engaging with the arguments and the scholarship, he's allowing himself to conclude, nevertheless. 13/
Those who argue against Stock et al. are not "morally serious people" because, to his eyes, they appear to "blithely shove poor, abused, imprisoned women under the bus." Where or how need not be established, after all, he doesn't know whether Stock et al. are right or wrong. 14/
Our white male author ends with how unhappy he is that "hyper-privileged white straight males" argue against Stock's claims (what about Leiter? Byrne?): "For a certain kind of progressive male, if trans people didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent them."

Fucking ugh. 15/
So, it's a pretty terrible comment. The argumentation is shit. The claim that trans folk are an abstraction is shocking. The half-feigned, half-correct ignorance of the issues about which he's making big claims is astounding. 16/
The author, John Collins, is a professor of philosophy at University of East Anglia. 17/

The person who thinks, "God this is good.", is Helen Joyce, an executive editor at *The Economist.* 18/

The tweet where I happened upon John Collin's "Great comment" is by Miroslav Imbrišević, formerly a visiting lecturer at Heythrop College, University of London. 19/

The blog post under which John Collins' comment appeared. 20/


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More from @Katja_Thieme

6 Jan
Many of you will know that there are transitive and intransitive verbs. I remember that when I first learned about these categories, as a teenager, I had a hard time making them stick. I kept confusing them. Wait, is that transitive? Or intransitive? Which is which now? 1/
As I often did then, I made my own mnemonic. The terms mark the difference between verbs that require an object and verbs that don't. I told myself each verb gets two things. Subject + object or subject + in-. I've been using that mnemonic ever since. 2/
Well, today is the day that by random occurrence I took a moment to consider the lexical meaning of the word transitive. That wasn't something that was meaningful to me several decades ago. I finally get why linguists chose the particular word "transitive" for this purpose! 3/
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
Today in #Quillette editor confusion.

Jon Kay: „I am so mad Dr. Theresa Tam didn’t pick up our new rules from the #Quillette style guide and wrote about pregnant adult human females the way I want her to!“
Kathleen Stock & #Quillette fans today: One must never say she is transphobic, it is a smear, an insult, an ad hominem! One is only allowed to issue criticism against a living academic in peer-reviewed publications, or better yet, a whole book!

Jon Kay missed that memo.
Geoffrey Miller in #Quillette in October 2019: Polyamory makes you smart, fit, organized, and funny! Please treat it as the next sexual revolution.

Jon Kay, #Quillette editor, in January 2021: Forgot all about that. Let’s use it as a smear against a living academic I dislike!
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
In other words: Please, the proper way to respond to Kathleen Stock's damaging anti-trans work that she pursues via rambling Medium posts and unsubstantiated Twitter attacks is through the protracted path of peer-reviewed publishing! Or better, write a book. Take a few years.
"I don't agree with everything that Kathleen Stock has written with her pencil on smooth-gliding paper, but to describe it as scribbling is more a smear than a description. Far better to engage with her words by printing on a pool of molasses."

Read 6 tweets
4 Jan
If you find yourself nodding along to the below Jesse Kelly thread, here are some points you should consider.

(Hello my favorite reply guys, this thread is my new year’s gift for you!) 1/
As Kelly makes clear below, he’s not concerned with state-sanctioned communism (of which there is very little left, world-wide, and none that shouldn’t be rigorously challenged on claims that it is communist). 2/

If it’s not state-dictated forms of communism, then what he’s taking about is citizens developing and endorsing communist thought, saying it out loud, organizing themselves around those ideas, and campaigning for it. 3/
Read 11 tweets
17 Dec 20
I’m sure IQ differences by population/group will explain this when we’ll have all the data from a controlled study twenty years down the line. /SARCASM
Soon enough we’ll also have empirical proof that the disparity resulting from, say, so many more Indigenous babies taken away from their families and placed in foster care, has a lot to do with baby genetics. Then everyone can finally let nature take its course. /SARCASM
Our moral commitments to babies, children, youth and their welfare just bias the truth sometimes, you know. Best to separate morality from truthful pursuits. Must. Always. Pursue. Truth. /SARCASM
Read 5 tweets
17 Dec 20
The reason that U of Mississippi gives for cancelling Garrett Felber's grant (before they fired him) is, essentially, that he didn't allow them to intervene in the proposal before he applied for the grant. I'd like to know if other faculty's proposals received such interference.
Chief Marketing & Comms Officer: "If he'd followed UM’s process of engaging with external funders, his dept chair would have had the opportunity to advise him on how best to align his proposal with the dept’s research, teaching & service as articulated in its mission statement."
Couple this requirement with the fact that the department chair cancelled the grant after Felber received it: that is a violation of academic freedom.
Read 23 tweets

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