Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

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

Philosophy News image
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. [Betty Tompkins, “Women Words (Warhol #1)] 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 disbelieved or dismissed upon reporting. Second, understanding the general picture is relevant to whether and how we should make institutional changes in philosophy. Some philosophers take the view that since they personally know so many philosophers and know of so few prosecutions or credible accusations, sexual harassment must be very rare in philosophy. If that view is right, institutional reforms may not be urgent, or even warranted at all. But if it’s. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Daily Nous

blog comments powered by Disqus