More Ableism, Sexism, and Misogyny in Philosophy

As many of you will by now know, over the past week, I have been the target of ableist, sexist, and misogynistic harassment, condescension, and intimidation in the comments to a post at Daily Nous about free speech at Oxford. You will find the post and comments to it here. The harassment and intimidation persisted even after I tried, multiple times, to remove myself from the discussion.

I initially wrote the post below as a comment on another thread at Daily Nous and submitted it to the blog earlier this morning. Because the comment may not get added to the thread, I have copied it below in order that public record of it exists. The original rendition of the post below was addressed to David Wallace, one of central figures in the thread. I have retained this addressee status in the post below.


David Wallace,

I think that you and several others should be accountable for the ableism, sexism, and misogyny that you fostered on this blog over the past several days, ableism, sexism, and misogyny that were directed at me but which have an impact on other disabled philosophers and deleterious effects for the discipline and profession more generally.

The University of Pittsburgh organizes a summer institute for underrepresented groups in philosophy of science. Will your actions over the past week in the free speech thread and other threads discourage disabled philosophy students and disabled women and nonbinary philosophy students in particular from attending the institute, your university, or your academic programs in philosophy and philosophy of science?

Rutgers University also organizes a summer institute for underrepresented groups in philosophy. Have Justin Kalef’s harassing and intimidating actions toward me in various threads encouraged disabled philosophy students—especially disabled women and nonbinary students—to apply for a space in the institute? To apply to the Rutgers Philosophy Department?

Do disabled students have reason to doubt whether your respective departments will be safe, non-threatening, and respectful places in which they can study and work and thrive in doing so?

I want of course to flag the egregious behaviour in which David Mathers, Nicolas Delon, and others have participated over the past several days. Mathers is testament to the fact that disabled men can be as misogynistic, sexist, and ableist as their nondisabled peers. Due to Delon’s harassing behaviour toward me on this blog and elsewhere, he is now permanently barred from BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. The remarks that “Another Gopher” (and others) contributed to the attacks on me and other disabled people are yet more indication of how the use of pseudonyms on Daily Nous confers an unfair advantage and sense of entitlement on the commenters who use them, ultimately lowering the overall integrity of the philosophical discussions on the blog and the blog itself. I hope that Justin Weinberg will reconsider his current policy and practice with respect to anonymous and pseudonymous comments. Their use on this blog (and on others) should be permitted only under very exceptional circumstances.

I want to suggest how your departments and university and Kalef’s department and university can make amends to me and other disabled philosophers (especially disabled women and nonbinary philosophers) for the detrimental discourse in which you both have engaged over the past week. The remedy for this mistreatment should be appropriate to the transgression, taking a systemic approach that addresses a broader scope than the consequences and implications of your own bad behaviour or Kalef’s.

Therefore, I want to publicly urge Edouard Machery (at Pitt) and Derrick Darby (at Rutgers) to organize their respective summer institutes next year or the year after around the theme of philosophy of disability, inviting disabled philosophers of disability to be instructors for the sessions and highlighting the claims of disabled philosophers of disability and mechanisms that enable both the troubling dismissals of their work that have been produced here over the past week and the exclusion of disabled philosophers from philosophy more generally. Since neither the Pitt departments nor the Rutgers department has a (disabled) philosopher of disability on its permanent faculty, I am willing to be hired as a consultant for these endeavours. Furthermore, since neither the Pitt departments nor the Rutgers department has a disabled philosopher of disability on its permanent faculty, I would be happy to fill this gap in any of these departments and to work to alleviate the negative consequences of this gap for the disabled students in the respective department.

To date, no other summer institute for underrepresented groups in philosophy has given adequate attention to ableism, disability, disabled philosophers, and philosophy of disability, though all of them promote themselves as doing so. I hope the events that have taken place on this blog during the past week will motivate the organizers of these other institutes to significantly increase the amount of attention and resources that they themselves devote to these issues and constituencies.

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