Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Woke philosophers vs. Kathleen Stock

Prof. Kathleen Stock is a 'gender critical' feminist and a philosopher at the Univesity of Sussex. She has been involved in the controvery about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act which aimed to make it possible for anyone to change gender without any formal process: she is against this. I'd say the mob has come after her, but it's a mob of academic philosophers, and I wonder what the appropriate collective noun is. 'Shower', perhaps. They've written a joint open letter criticising her; there is a counter-letter in her support here, which I have signed myself. One of the leading names is Prof Peter Singer. Anyone familiar with philosophical ethics will enjoy the irony of his and my name appearing together under the same letter. Then again I'd not normally group myself with Stock either. This is about the freedom to disagree, not about defending our specific philosophical views.

I've written about the issue on LifeSite; here's a key passage.

...there is something very odd about a group of philosophers gathering to condemn a fellow philosopher for holding certain views without regard for the cogency of the views themselves. Surely, that must come into it. Surely, if Stock is correct, then any possible harmful fall-out from publicizing these opinions should be managed in some way other than by publicly shaming her? It is almost as if these critics are not confident about the force of their arguments, but hope to win the point by weight of numbers, joined with the fashionable nature of their own position.

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