Skip to main content

View Diary: TX-Gov: Abbott (R) Advisor Charles Murray, "No evidence that women are significant thinkers" (241 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  the "most of" was a hedging phrase (0+ / 0-)

    the point of that sentence was to suggest they are not philosophers. The "most of" was just a hedging phrase, which I stripped from your sentence.

    The purpose of your construction was to make a claim, without opening yourself up to a rebuttal by counterexample.

    But it is the claim that counts, and the hedging itself is the rhetorically disingenuous part. Brushing aside your cop-out phrase and going for the substance was a straightforward argument technique, and not disingenuous at all.

    •  It wasn't a hedging phrase. It wasn't a vague (0+ / 0-)

      pseudo-statistic referring to some imprecisely defined group of people. It was an accurate statement about some very-precisely-specified sets of people -- the lists of women that were being presented as refutations to Murray's remark about philosophers. It would have been more accurate had I made the stronger assertion that "few" of the women on "most" of the lists were philosophers, or the even stronger assertion that "almost none of the women on almost all of the lists" were philosophers. Margaret Thatcher? Seriously?

      I didn't, not least so as to avoid an inane debate over how small a fraction of the women on how large a fraction of the lists would warrant such a strong assertion, because that has nothing to do with the problems at issue. The problems at issue are (A) whether Murray knows anything about the accomplishments of all those non-philosopher women (Ans: almost certainly, despite the superabundance of condescension labeling him an uneducated ignoramus), and (B) whether the accomplishments of those women refute Murray's assertion about philosophers (Ans: No, for the obvious reason.) The question is not whether Murray said something idiotic, because he clearly did. The question is whether counter-arguments based on the commenters' own sense of smug superiority rather than on apposite facts</> are valid, or whether they are silly.

      Meanwhile, you explicitly altered what I said and then used your altered version as the foundation for a condescending snub -- a ridiculous one, incidentally, that I didn't bother to dispute. The purpose of my construction was to make a claim that was accurate. Yes, I do find that sufficient accuracy in one's claims does generally protect one's claims against rebuttal -- except of course when someone else chooses to reconstruct what one has said and rebut that, as if doing so represents some sort of significant achievement.

      My complaint was, and is, that most of the women on those lists weren't philosophers in the modern sense, and thus their names only clutter the lists, confuse the issue, and embarrass the enumerators. Some commenters avoided that misstep by linking to a wikipedia page that lists dozens of women who were philosophers -- "almost none" of whose names are known to anyone who hasn't made a particular study either of philosophy or of women's intellectual history. That isn't a rhetorical dodge, it's a recognition of fact.

      And no, I'm not saying that the comment thread doesn't contain thoughtful and applicable rebuttals. There are comments that take Murray to task for his premise that "significant thinking" is evidenced in the historical record only by high achievement in formal philosophy; there are comments that take him to task for his conclusion that women are sparse in the Philosophy Hall of Fame because they're incapable of thinking deep thoughts, rather than because the men viciously excluded them from the domain. Even a conversation about what reasonably constitutes "philosophy" would have some legs, given that once upon a time political thinkers (Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes, Marx) were considered to be philosophers, but that recognition seems to have faded away after Marx, just in time to exclude Anthony and Stanton, the Pankhursts, et al.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 08:39:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site