Because we’ve discussed it here before, I hope @RogerPielkeJr will not mind me saying a few words about his statement that the argument about the fairness of LH in the female category is “100% a subjective argument”🧵
1/ First, note that no one really makes the statement he’s denying. Certainly, I don’t say: LH’s inclusion is unfair *and that’s 100% an objective fact about the world* (It’s not clear to me what a 62% objective argument would look like, either).
2/ Instead, I think, and say, that LH’s possession of male advantage is a fact about the world, and I think and say that the point of the female category is to exclude male advantage.
3/ When @RogerPielkeJr is pressed on this, he refers to the Scottish philosopher David Hume, who argues in his Treatise of Human Nature that you can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’. It’s in Part 3 of Treatise of Human Nature: ‘Moral Distinctions Not deriv’d from Reason’
4/ It’s important to understand Hume’s point to see why it is no help to Roger. On Hume’s account, even the most obvious factual statement about the world must be attached to a value premise to help us get to an ought. Consider some obvious claims: (TW)
5/ i) Child torture is the infliction of young humans of unnecessary pain
ii) Inflicting unnecessary pain on young humans is wrong
Therefore Child torture is wrong.
6/ Hume’s point is that you need the second premise here, as well as the first, to get the conclusion. Roger has to say that the second premise (ii) is ‘100% subjective’ which, in a way, it is. (some psychopaths disagree with (ii))
7/ Hume’s point, (if it is right) applies to any and all ethical statements. 'Humans ought to be treated with dignity', 'persons are of equal moral worth' 'humans have human rights,' 'FGM is wrong' and so on.
8/ It is possible to say of all these statements “that’s only your opinion” or “that’s 100% subjective”
9/ In teaching applied ethics – about punishment, or abortion, or vaccine passports, or the rules of war, or anything at all, there is often someone who says “that’s only your subjective opinion”.
(This can be slightly annoying, but I've got over it)
10/ And, when they say that, it’s a cue for a helpful teaching point about the relation between facts and reason. Mostly, what we are looking for are *reasons* and *consistency*.
11/ It’s inconsistent to say that we *ought* to have a female class that excludes male advantage, and then to say we *ought* to let people with male advantage compete in that class. Here, I move from an ought to an ought. And I can give reasons for the first ought.
12/ Someone can, of course, say that we ought to abolish the female class in sport, and this route is open to @RogerPielkeJr . But they need to give reasons for this view.
13/ What isn’t open (in my view) is to cite Hume, say that moral statements are ‘subjective’ and leave it at that. We can be clear about ethics in sport. We can give arguments, examine reasons, look for coherence and contradictions in the statements made by IFs and the IOC.
14/ Saying ‘it’s all 100% subjective” can then sound like an attempt, from on high, to stop that critical examination. To the extent that it’s true, it’s entirely beside the point, because it applies to every ethical discussion about everything.
15/ The point of all this is that to reassert that there is *no* clever philosophical argument out there that shows that it is fair for LH to compete in the female class at Tokyo.

It isn’t fair. That's it.


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More from @runthinkwrite

4 Aug
LH thanks the IOC for its 'courage and moral leadership'🧵
I see things differently. Courage would reside in the IOC sticking with fair sport and the principle in the 2015 statement I've quoted elsewhere.
The stance they have taken does not show that sport is an activity...
1/ ...'open to all.' It was not open to #RovielDetenamo, who wanted to live *her* life authentically and as she is: a competitive female weight lifter. But she was excluded from the female weightlifting competition.
2/ The language of inclusion and authenticity and openness is denied to #RovielDetenamo. This does not show moral courage, but something else: ignoring the science, backtracking on principles of fairness, in search of some sort of (inauthentic) political credibility
Read 6 tweets
2 Aug
I've written just now to Dr Budgett, of the IOC and I'll say here if I get a reply. It is, ofc, essential that women athletes and advocates who are affected by the 'framework' drawn up in the next 2 months are properly consulted.
But I will also try hard to get my say...🧵
Reason: Lots of people are saying nice things about the @WorldRugby work. That's to their (RW's) credit, but I'll claim some small influence on the method they used. I'm asking to explain that method to the IOC, against the 'balancing' metaphor that is easy but inappropriate...
For policy geeks: when you are targeting three incommensurable values (S,F, and I) you can't use a synchronic approach. You need a step by step (diachronic) one. You need to establish priority relations: what trumps what.
My rough view is that safety trumps fairness trumps...
Read 4 tweets
2 Aug
@FondOfBeetles reference to 'sliders' draws my attention to this paper by Yannis Pitsiladis.
In particular, look at the figures (1) and (2) which, in my view, misrepresent the argument. Pitsiladis constructs a 'slider' with safety at one end and inclusion at the other...
But ask yourself: what is the common metric that can vary along this sliding scale scale? (I'll put the figure in the next tweet)
Here, we are getting close to the nub of the issue, and imho, the Pitsiladis et al paper gets it wrong. This is where the balancing metaphor gets you, and it is incoherent because there is no shared metric. Image
Read 5 tweets
24 Jun
On 'pies' and 'spaces' (They’re connected) #MoralMaze
@AdamWagner1 argues that ‘rights are not like pies’. To spell things out, boringly, his point is that rights are not a zero-sum game, that it is possible to increase one right or set of rights without reducing ...
another right or set of rights.
I think that he is correct, about some rights, and his example of equal marriage is a pretty good example.
But I think he is wrong about other rights, and especially about the rights in question.
Consider the pie metaphor. It’s supposed to be powerful because it conveys the idea that we are talking about big, abstract, social rules, roles and institutions, not something as simple as a pie.
As simple, material and *spatially constrained* as a chunk of pie. 3/
Read 9 tweets
24 Jun
Nonetheless... (thread)
@AyoCaesar foregrounds Non-Domination. (ND) She points to the fact that there is only one trans competitor in Tokyo (ignoring the alternate, and the 9 (?) para-athletes... 1/
What does ND show about trans-inclusion into women's sport (TI)? Some candidate answers:
A) ND shows that TI is fair
B) ND shows that TI doesn't matter...

I'll take these in turn
A) is a category error. Whether a contest is fair or not is independent of the results of that contest. Fairness (in sport) is a matter of procedures, not outcomes. To see this, consider the difference with a criminal trial. There's a fact of the matter that the trial ...3/
Read 15 tweets
9 Jun
OK, I'll try to explain how I see things, recognising that this might not be right, and that others here can put things better and/or differently
1) The rights that women have fought for and won are collective rights, and in a lot of cases they are sex-based rights.
2) Sex -based rights are grounded in and justified by the fact of sexed bodies. Sexed bodies do not always count for grounding rights, - eg. for the right to vote they are irrelevant - but sometimes they do.
Read 11 tweets

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