Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby wolfhnd on September 24th, 2016, 7:46 pm 

mtbturtle » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:48 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:52 am wrote:The original article is little more than an opinion piece on how to get more woman into philosophy but the title of the thread does not require any focus on feminist issues. It is not rude to ignore the original article when discussing rudeness in philosophy because frankly philosophy should have no gender distinctions. Making every topic of discussion about sexism or racism is not only boorish it often makes it difficult to have an honest discussion about universal issues.


I don't know what it means for philosophy to have gender distinctions. Are you just making more things up to tilt at. Carry on Don. But as they say in England, if I valued your opinions,...


Well that is part of the problem in so far as you don't value the opinion of anyone not wrapped up in your political paradigm.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby wolfhnd on September 24th, 2016, 7:54 pm 

Most things post modernist including intersectional feminism are highly suspect. I would be very Leary of excepting any of their "research" at face value.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BadgerJelly on September 25th, 2016, 2:35 am 

I don't think women need to learn anything anybmore than men do.

My view is in general that we have certain attitudes that we categorise as masculine and feminine and through this categorisation we view masculine as being a "male" attribute and "feminine" as a female attribute, thus enforcing a societal division through language.

Something that really hit home with me, and I believe I mentionnon this forum, was a comment by someone I admire greatly, Björk. She was commenting about the conflict of a women being successful in a patriarchal society. In order to be successful in such an environment many women simply pose as men and act as men act in order to validate themselves socially in the male dominated sociopolitical environment. Björk seemed to me to be suggesting that women have female power yet during cultural shifts some women have abandoned being women and merely mimicked male power instead of showing female power as validnin its own right.

I am sorry, I have not really presented this very well and cannot find the quotes from Björk. I do think it is important to realise that people will try and fit into social conventions. To be in positions of political power or influence for a woman in a male dominated society does mean that many will be forced to compete on the terms of the dominant party.

There are also differences between the US and the UK in regard to gender stereotyping I would imagine? I doubt the gap would be as dramatic as it is between the UK and Saudi though.

Slightly to one side when I consider what a great woman is compared to what a great man is I do notice that I would use different terms to describe them. From a womans perspective (generally speaking) would my ideal of a great woman be anything like what they would term "a great woman"?

As a simplistic example for a woman I would include "elegance" yet I would not use this term to describe a great man. The stereotype of passive being feminine is not a quality I would apply to either. Although I would say tolerance and understanding contain an element of "passivity".
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby Lomax on September 25th, 2016, 7:39 am 

badgerjelly wrote:I don't think women need to learn anything anybmore than men do.

I'm glad you added that somewhat hefty qualifier.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby Serpent on September 25th, 2016, 11:14 pm 

BadgerJelly » September 25th, 2016, 1:35 am wrote:Slightly to one side when I consider what a great woman is compared to what a great man is I do notice that I would use different terms to describe them. From a womans perspective (generally speaking) would my ideal of a great woman be anything like what they would term "a great woman"?

As a simplistic example for a woman I would include "elegance" yet I would not use this term to describe a great man. The stereotype of passive being feminine is not a quality I would apply to either. Although I would say tolerance and understanding contain an element of "passivity".

I find this intriguing. It's off topic, so I won't elaborate here, but I`ll be thinking about it tonight as I drift off to sleep. Elegance is a quality I admire in all kinds of things: a chemical formula, a horse, a fabric pattern, a table setting, a political speech, the proportions of a building. Don`t see why it can`t be applied to a man (I prefer Dawkins to Hitchens, for style.)
There is also, of course, the problematic definition of 'greatness'.
If you ever start a thread on this, I'll participate with gusto. If you don't, I'll mull it over till it boils over and maybe start one myself.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BadgerJelly on September 26th, 2016, 12:58 am 

Serp -

I didn't say it cannot be applied to men. Just saying that I am more inclined to say my ideal great woman would be elegant and and to discribe my ideal great man I would certainly not so readily apply this term and choose a word with more "masculine" weight.

I was digressing. Please discuss in another thread if you wish or pm me. I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby Serpent on September 26th, 2016, 1:56 am 

So would I. Don't know yet. Lots of scope.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby jocular on September 26th, 2016, 3:41 am 

OK , so if we called a man "stylish" and a woman "elegant" is this/can this be the same quality or is this a whole new can of worms?


Is this the debate about whether we have essential characteristics at all or just (ephemeral or ad hoc?) descriptions ?

Just because we choose not to ascribe to a man qualities that are assumed to be the (right word on the tip of my tongue) of women does that say more about the describer than the described?

Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart were considered stylish and elegant. Were they also considered less masculine for that?
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BadgerJelly on September 26th, 2016, 4:11 am 

Joc -

I think the point of the thread is to discuss the possibility that more women are not philosophers because their views when voiced in opposition and with strong feeling they are treated differently than men who do the same.

As an example in a philosophical debate if someone called someone elses view absurd and pointless because of X, Y and Z, that if this someone showing this impolite approach was a woman they would be viewed differently than if the someone was man.

What I was mentioning as an aside in the above is our social expectations. Although in philosophical debate, in deep discussion, I would argue that the content of the discussion and the views communicated are of more importance than the person saying them. Also against this seeming obviousness to me I would never say that cultural attitudes do not effect us in some, at least, subtle way. It becomes more about a question of psychologg effecting philosophical debates. If I am talking to someone younger, taller, more subjectively physically attractive, politer, etc., I cannot hinestly discount these factors in the opening of the discussion although these immediate emotional prompts do (in my opinion) fall away into oblivion as the discourse moves into greater intricacy. But, there is always a but, the "prompts" of social convention may have led the discourse in a very particular direction.

As an example if you are talking on a philosophy forum to a woman you would assume that if they are interested in philosophy they would have come across feminism and you make the assumption that this subject is of greatest interest to them. Maybe you will quickly learn that they are not interested in politics directly and are more interested in discussing metaphysics.

Ignoring the gender specifics it is interesting to look upon philosophical discussions as needing to be polite or impolite. I mentioned a very, very lon gtime ago on this forum that I didn't like the term "argue" because in colloquial use to argue is generally a negative term. I have always preferred to say "discussion". It may seem like a vacuous thing to say but it matters to me.

I do see that openly and aggressively opposing someone has great use. I do use this method sometimes, as carefully as I can, when I find someone voicing a view I can agree with. I do this because I believe it helps me to find new ways to think about the topic.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby Eclogite on September 26th, 2016, 4:43 am 

BadgerJelly » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:11 am wrote: Although in philosophical debate, in deep discussion, I would argue that the content of the discussion and the views communicated are of more importance than the person saying them.
I have generally taken the view on discussion forums that the focus is on discussion. I have replied to many posts, perhaps almost half, without even noticing who the author was. I view as important what they have said and how they have said it. Those are the issues I try to address.

On occasions this has led me to attack quite vigorously a post by someone with whom I would normally be in agreement and whose posting history and views are well known to me. You are correct that had I noted who they were it would have influenced the tenor if not the thrust of my post. I think that would be a "bad thing" that would detract from objective discussion. We do not need to look further than this thread to see what happens when past history and interactions are taken into account.

And the backdrop to those observations is that most of us, much of the time, will take an attack on our views as an attack on ourselves. It shouldn't be that way, but then Trump shouldn't be a serious contender for the presidency.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby jocular on September 26th, 2016, 5:26 am 

@BadgerJelly So many aspects to each question. Is philosophy to be judged on the way it influences our interactions or is it more the other way round ?

I have not been immersed in philosophical discussions at any point in my life mainly on account of my inability to keep up with those conversations (I did find your post and resume nice and uncomplicated, though)

I have to be careful in my contributions since ,as you have noticed they can often be (politely :) ) peripheral and even if they do address the heart of the matter I am often unable to follow up and defend my argument.

To address your point though ,I find it hard to understand why a woman (or a man) should feel "gender judged" on an internet forum.

When I look at usernames I do not know the particular gender and even if it is fairly obvious I nearly always withhold that kind of appreciation because I know that people (including myself) are not always upfront with that information.

At the time when I was forming my political opinions ,for example (and this goes back perhaps 40 years) one of my political identities was "feminist" even though I was not a member of that gender club and so unconsciously I expect or anticipate a similar approach from other -even though I cannot say I have come across this so much.

If we are talking about the way woman are seen in "real life" philosophical groups then the "gender bias" seems far more obvious and restrictive even though on the face of it you might expect the arguments presented to carry more weight than the persona (good term?)

Maybe it can be viewed as a good thing that we do have these hurdles to surmount . As they say ,what does not kill you makes you stronger.

Again , when a woman breaks through this particular "glass ceiling" by the force of her arguments ,does that give her argument added force if we have to sit up and take notice against the inertia of our inbuilt biases?

I for one am still smarting from the political success of M.Thatcher and will adopt any ploy to explain why she was successful as she was ( along with others be it said -the most effective put down was that she was not really a woman)

I have not addressed the polite/rude question I see but wonder if this is not an actual debate to be had on its own merits? When it is fair/right to be rude and when should we be polite -quite separately from any gender issues.

PS I think I cross-posted with Eclogite....
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BioWizard on September 26th, 2016, 4:43 pm 

I finally found the time to go through everybody's citations and a lot of the citations that they themselves cite. I also followed mtb's google scholar link and looked through the first three pages of hits (I was only able to access abstracts for the majority of the cases). Unfortunately, nothing came close to being supportive evidence for the claim that women are judged more harshly or assessed as being more rude in philosophical (or any) discussions than men for merely arguing against faulty logic or telling someone that they are wrong. If someone knows of any relevant studies, I hope they would cite them for us. Also it'd be nice if the study is current and considers contexts relevant to the subject matter (because it would be very difficult to extrapolate findings from murder deliberations in a jury to what might happen in say a philosophical discussion between peers or in a grant review panel). If the claim is that this happens everywhere, I'd like to see it demonstrated in at least more than one context.

I don't doubt that such evidence exists. I just haven't seen it and haven't been able to find it in the time I allocated for this. As others may have already pointed out, I suspect it might be quite challenging to demonstrate that such a thing occurs on a message board, where one can't verify the gender of the person they're posting to, let alone see their facial expressions/hear their voice/etc.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby TheVat on September 26th, 2016, 5:24 pm 

Yes, most studies I found on gender behavior in discussion groups were focused on live FTF groups....and they found particular patterns of action, e.g. men tend to interrupt more, tend to speak more assertively on a particular position, tend to use certain gestures more that are perceived as having a well-defined stance, use shorter punchier sentence structure, etc.
It also depended so much on the type of group....I recall scanning one that found that certain "male" styles did less well in largely female groups like nursing students or public libraries or primary schools, so it seems like relative numbers do make a difference and there is a "company culture" in play. Male anger is more favorably received at a business meeting than among public library employees. An aggressive male is seen as management material or a good salesman, in one context, but as a disruptive jerk in another.

I would think message boards are going to naturally foster more egalitarian atmosphere as regards gender, or any other physical attribute. It seems so obvious, I wonder if that is why there's so little research. As Bio says, verification is also going to be a mammoth challenge online. I sometimes sense a poster is a certain gender, but not always and some have a very academic style that seems neutral in this regard. And some people like to mess with your head, online.

I have to check on my kitties, then go freshen up. Ta ta, darlings!
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BadgerJelly on September 26th, 2016, 9:52 pm 

I do assume that some people on this forum are men and soem women. I think some are obviously women and some are obviously men, but that said a large part I cannot say conclusively and I may be wrong about my assumptions.

The people I thought were women turned out to be women and those I thought were men turned outbto be men. I also age can be discerned too to a degree.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby Lomax on September 26th, 2016, 10:40 pm 

BadgerJelly » September 27th, 2016, 2:52 am wrote:I do assume that some people on this forum are men and soem women. I think some are obviously women and some are obviously men, but that said a large part I cannot say conclusively and I may be wrong about my assumptions.

The people I thought were women turned out to be women and those I thought were men turned outbto be men. I also age can be discerned too to a degree.

As a fun aside: has anybody done the Naipaul Test?

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society this week, during which VS Naipaul provoked fury by suggesting that women writers are 'sentimental' and 'unequal to me', he also claimed that 'I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.' Do you?


Can you tell an author's sex?

(I scored 4 out of 10, despite having read five of those authors before. 5 and 8 were the only ones which seemed obvious to me.)
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BioWizard on September 26th, 2016, 10:57 pm 

Lomax wrote:As a fun aside: has anybody done the Naipaul Test?


Now I have, 5/10. I admit I was watching the debate analysis while doing this, but it's not at all clear to me that I would've done any better had I spent more time or attention on it. Curious to see how well BadgerJelly does, and if s/he blows us right out of the water.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby wolfhnd on September 26th, 2016, 11:41 pm 

I had no idea and only got two right. I now feel foolish for even taking this test. My excuse is indifference to the sex of authors.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BadgerJelly on September 27th, 2016, 2:35 am 

3/10

Doesn't really mean much though. I was talking about the way people present themselves in a discussion, not fiction.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BioWizard on September 27th, 2016, 6:21 am 

BadgerJelly » 27 Sep 2016 01:35 am wrote:3/10

Doesn't really mean much though. I was talking about the way people present themselves in a discussion, not fiction.


Fair point. Though for me both rates are about the same.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BioWizard on September 27th, 2016, 6:21 am 

BadgerJelly » 27 Sep 2016 01:35 am wrote:3/10

Doesn't really mean much though. I was talking about the way people present themselves in a discussion, not fiction.


Fair point. Though nobody said they are the same thing. I was just curious how well your success rate from one would translate to the other. For me both success rates are about the same (coin toss).
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BadgerJelly on September 27th, 2016, 10:37 am 

I am unsure about many members here thinking about it. I would say that Biv is a man almost certainly so I would be happily shocked to find out otherwise. I was right about another member here.

It could be that many of the member I assume to be men or women have at some point revealed such a detail and I've absorbed it without consciously holding it in memory as important?

It would be interesting to see a study on this, but imagine it would be very difficult to set up one that accounts for the many possible flaws.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby Lomax on September 27th, 2016, 10:54 am 

I was amused to find that one of the entries on the Naipaul test was by V.S.Naipaul himself, and I had thought the writing style feminine. I wonder how many others did too.

Estimating the sex of forum members is a different kettle of fish really. I think Badger, BiV, Wolfhnd and Bio all to be men, but I don't know how much of that is due to bias and how much is due to them having said (or implied) they're men before, and my having taken the information on board while forgetting its source.
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Re: Polite Philosophical Discussions Possible?

Postby BioWizard on September 27th, 2016, 5:49 pm 

Now study, with potentially relevant findings:

https://womenintheworkplace.com
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