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Sexual Harassment in Philosophy, Part 2 (guest post by Janice Dowell and David Sobel)

The following is a guest post* by Janice Dowell and David Sobel, professors of philosophy at Syracuse University, with help from several other philosophers. It is the second in a two-part series on sexual harassment in philosophy. Part 1 is here. Like the first installment, this one was also published at PEA Soup. Professors Dowell and Sobel have included some prefatory remarks for this post: Below is the second installment in our two-part series on sexual harassment in academia. In this installment, we discuss proposals for what individual philosophers and departments can do to prevent harassment and support victims. Some of these proposals will likely be controversial. The ongoing discussion of this topic is important; we hope people will carefully consider our proposals and the rationale offered for them. And while proposals for change frequently come with the risk of creating new problems, we hope people keep in mind that the status quo has very serious costs. Before those who disagree publicly express their dissent, I very much hope they will keep two considerations in mind:  (i) Whether the proposals advocated by the signatories to the statement below are warranted depends very much on what’s known about the rates of harassment and retaliation in academia and their impact on victims. Anyone who is unfamiliar with these facts will find it difficult to reasonably assess these proposals. So, we hope that anyone not yet familiar with the empirical data will first [More]

Sexual Harassment in Philosophy (guest post by Janice Dowell and David Sobel)

The following is a guest post* by Janice Dowell and David Sobel, professors of philosophy at Syracuse University. It is also posted at PEA Soup. Sexual Harassment in Philosophy by Janice Dowell and David Sobel Our aim in this short post is to provide a brief summary of the general picture of sexual harassment as it applies to the academic community and to philosophy in particular. In a follow-up post, we will offer a number of proposals for how departments and individuals can act to fight harassment and support victims. Some of those proposals will no doubt seem controversial to some. Understanding why those proposals are warranted will require first understanding the extent and repercussions of harassment. We need to understand that we as philosophers and teachers operate in a world in which sexual harassment is not rare. This recognition should be reflected in our practice, and two points are especially important. First, philosophers are well aware both of the multiple ways in which language communicates information and of the effects of language that extend beyond communication. So, we should be particularly alive to such considerations in the language we use for teaching and discussing philosophy. When we casually and unnecessarily offer examples involving rape, sexual harassment, or false accusations of either, we should be aware of how probable it is that some audience members, readers, or fellow discussants will have been sexually harassed or assaulted and [More]

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