Right, so. Let me talk about the disciplinary implications of Singer's statement here:
@Helenreflects has a good meditation on this at the Philosopher's Cocoon, linked below. I largely agree with Helen's observations, but I thing we should take a broader view: rather than treat Singer's position as being "his" position, we should treat it as the field's position.
To be clear, while Singer's individual ignorance is unfortunate (but unsurprising), it stands to reason that his position is reproduced and institutionalized fieldwide. Singer actually gives us good reason to think this is the case.
Singer attributes his ignorance to "the manner in which (he) was trained." Now, the manner in which Singer was trained is still treated as the de-facto manner in which all "good" philosophers should be trained. Folks who are "good" without this training are anomalies.
However, there is something more pressing here: by Singer's admission, how he was trained was to focus almost exclusively on work within the anglophone philosophy sphere. Insofar as this is the de-facto mode of training it stands to reason that he'd come to this conclusion.
Now, the problems with this approach to Philosophy have been well documented: I point to @BryanVanNorden's "Taking Back Phillosophy" and Kristie Dotson's "How is this Paper Philosophy" as pointing directly to this situation within philosophy.
Put simply, how we are trained as philosophers structures how we view other philosophers and traditions as "participating in the same discussions" as the dominant anglophone philosophical community. Singer is saying what the field has been saying for decades.
Specifically, both Singer and the field have said in a variety of institutional and cultural ways that less commonly taught (LCT) philosophies are not participating in the same discussions as the rest of the field. Because they're not participating, they're not valuable.
Part of this has to do with the ways the field polices the boundaries of sub-fields, but part of it has to do with good old-fashioned structures of power. To wit, LCT philosophies are valuable not because they contribute to the conversation, but for their diversity.
That is, they break up the anglo-centric perception of departments, conferences, collections, journals, without actually being invited to participate in the conversations being had in these spaces. Their inclusion is thus in response to a threat to the "image" of the field.
As an example, let me trot out a hobby horse of mine: job ads for "metaphysics." Whenever one of these ads is posted, the my immediate thought is that they're not looking for my expertise in non-western metaphysics: they want something in the anglo-phone sphere.
A similar thing can be said of ethics, a field in which Singer is a fairly large figure: because LCT philosophies and philosophers aren't seen as having the same discussion as say Rawls or Greene, expertise in these areas aren't taken seriously as candidates for these positions.
And so the cycle continues: the domains of the "big conversations" in philosophy are restricted to the anglo-phone sphere, while the rest of the world is treated as "not participating in the same discussion." Again, there are several philosophers who've laid all of this out.
Ironically, those philosophers who have laid all this out, despite their incredible skill and prestige, are not counted among those who are participating in the conversation, except in a limited sense. Van Norden and Garfield point this out very well.

All of this is to say that Singer and his ilk are symptoms of a rot at the core of philosophy, and not isolated incidents. Treating Singer as an individual elides this very point and hides the ways that the field is in the business of producing more Singers.

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More from @shengokai

29 Apr
So, I'm glad Biden named white supremacy as "terrorism" and pointed to systemic racism in law enforcement, but I do want to keep in mind the purposes for doing so. In my mind, Biden has no other choice but to use this language to name the problem.
I'm pointing this out because the actions he's taking do not align with the rhetoric he is using. If white supremacy was as much a terrorist threat as Bin Laden, whose specter he invoked earlier, I would think that Biden would seek to mobilize resources sufficient to the task.
Moreover, his observation would recognize the breadth of white supremacist ideology not simply as a terrorist threat, or as a problem in law enforcement, which organizes our perceptions of how white supremacy works, but as an organizing principle that directs policy.
Read 8 tweets
29 Apr
Me listening to this Biden speech.
Positioning of the need to cultivate an educated workforce to combat China as an existential threat to America?

That certainly won't do anything to stem the tide of violence against AAPI folks.
Touting DARPA like it is a hub of scientific ingenuity and not some engine of the military industrial complex?

Acting as if the space race was some massive scientific endeavor and not driven by nationalism and military interests?

That's some revisionist fucking history there.
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
It is EXTREMELY risky for early-career people to specialize in LCT philosophies, not simply for the reasons that @BryanVanNorden pointed out in his retweet, but because of the way that departments and the field doesn't invest in LCT philosophies.
An example is how departments advertise for specialists in LCT philosophies. "Non-western," for example, is used as a catchall for "not-anglophone," and even when it is disambiguated into something like "Asian Philosophy," they're not specific as to which Asian Philosophy.
Thus, you have specialists in Chinese traditions competing with specialists in Indian traditions and Japanese traditions all for the same job. And this doesn't get into what happens when ads ask for "non-western" as code for "non-anglophone."
Read 12 tweets
1 Feb
Okay, this point is worth taking up. Jen is right that we have to use our eyes and brains to determine plagiarism, however, these critiques of using TurnItIn in this way smell like bullshit to me when a great many of these faculty likely use TurnItIn to assess student work. (1/n)
As I have said before: defenders of Stock and company routinely play fast and loose with the norms of the discipline. To quote one Harold Finch, "your rules have changed every time it was convenient for you." This is yet another example of a change in rules. (2/n)
By this I mean that when TurnItIn is used in the assessment of student work, it stands as acceptable "proof" of poor scholarship; when TurnItIn is used in the assessment of Stock's work, it "is not itself a reliable indicator of plagiarism." (3/n)
Read 5 tweets
1 Feb
For those of you concerned about the "damage" done to the field and academic freedom by the push to cancel transphobes in philosophy, I have this to say (1/n):

The above is from Gen. Sherman on what is necessary to restore the Union during the Civil War, the sentiment is apt for my position on philosophy: if we are to have an inclusive field and the structure of the field prevents that, then that structure must be destroyed. (2/n)
Now, I understand that this sounds harsh, but consider why it sounds harsh: so much of the pushback against transphobia in philosophy, and the recommendations made to address transphobia in philosophy sounds like "damage" to philosophy by established philosophers. (3/n)
Read 18 tweets
1 Feb
Putting the plagiarism aside (which is something I never thought I'd write) we need to keep in mind that this is expert testimony submitted to government on an issue that affects the lives of an incredibly vulnerable population and would subject them to further violence. (1/n)
I point out that this is EXPERT TESTIMONY because much of the defenses offered by Stock et al, Leiter, and their associates, and those who circulate and sign on to open letters in their defense, is based on the argument that the scholarship does not and will cause harm. (2/n)
That is, they assume that the scholarship remains within the confines of the academy and has no detrimental effect on the lived experience of the subjects of Stock and co.'s "research." To this end, they can say that they're just "doing inquiry" into valuable subjects. (3/n)
Read 11 tweets

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