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Hi Ronald and Preston,
I am happy to answer your questions. I’ll try to be as brief as possible:
(1) Thanks for mentioning the fact that (what I consider to be) proof is presented in the book, Preston. It was part of the initial response I wanted to give Ronald – and not in a stubborn and stupid way. It’s just that I don’t consider it an easy situation to break up. That is why I wrote a 28-page chapter on this subject (and, in fact, the 29-page chapter following my first chapter, “Discursive Injustice and the History of Analytical Philosophy: The Marcus Case / Kripke ”, are part of the full defense of my argument). I also wrote a lot about it because I thought it was unfortunate that Folx just brought this matter up in such a quick and superficial way. People have talked about it constantly in my graduate school experience (and since), always with very strong opinions, but never long enough to try to defend those opinions. Certainly part of this happens to me more due to the fact that I have sort of made Soames my professional flagship in a lot of my publishing and conference work. But I still found it strange how so confident people were to treat this as something they had strong opinions on, but not to want to talk about it in depth. Soames even suggested at the time that having something like this discussion was unfortunate (“My task today is unusual and not very pleasant. I am not here to debate the appropriateness of a philosophical thesis. rather, the job is to assess claims involving credit and blame. ”Soames 1995, 191) Less than a year after the initial session, some very big names in the field (eg Anscombe, Davidson, Geach, Nagel) also published a letter to the editor in the APA Proceedings indicating their “dismay” that “a session at a national APA meeting is not the appropriate forum for bringing ethical charges against a member of our profession, although the charges have been plausibly defended. Hell, the most appreciated comment in this discussion is from Brian Skyrms saying that this shouldn’t have happened. Certainly, it may be because Brian has said that a COMBAT would not have d had to happen and I totally agree that it shouldn’t have taken on the feeling of a fight he did.
Either way, I find it absurd that some have suggested that something like my conclusion or Smith’s original articles are off limits in one way or another. Ethics is part of philosophy. Sessions at national APA meetings are suitable frameworks for doing philosophy. So it seems that arguments about ethical claims like those advanced by Smith or myself are perfectly appropriate for national philosophy conferences. Moreover, the implicit standards of not airing dirty laundry have been responsible for perpetuating injustices throughout history in every institution imaginable. Of course, I have been told over and over again that many in our field disagree with me on this point. Just recently I gave an article at a conference claiming that there is a model of problematic white feminism (with this understood not in the demographic sense of whiteness, but conceptual or political whiteness) in history. of analytical philosophy. I was told that a conference was not the place to give such arguments. I still don’t understand why that would be.
(2) So with all of this as a caveat as to why I would really encourage folx to read chapters 1 and 2 of my book for the full argument, I can try to summarize some of what I am saying. say. To start with, the progression I’m taking is:
[i] to argue that it is not controversial that a combination of 3-4 of the original 6 theses that Smith associates with the new reference theory originated in the work of Barcan Marcus
[ii] argue that, given [i], Barcan Marcus deserves more credit than it has received.
[iii] to argue more for [ii], I looked at things like the number of citations, the number of anthologized works, the number of pages discussed in history texts, rankings by philosophers, etc.
[iv] give an explanation of [ii], I’m focusing on an abductive argument that the best explanation for it being underestimated, under-anthologized, under-taught and underestimated is sexist discursive injustice.
[v] to fill [iv], I am looking at the textual evidence of Barcan Marcus, Burgess, Smith and Soames. I also review biographical evidence from the life of Barcan Marcus and the lives of other women on and off the pitch. I also consider six alternative explanations and suggest why I think sexist discursive injustice is a more plausible explanation.
Please let me know if there are any particular steps you would like me to develop further in this particular discussion.
(3) You say, Preston, that I appear[r] to downplay the otherwise broad respect with which she and her work have been met. It seems to me that there are at least two ways to read this. When reading, I play down the respect she and her work have met (in the sense of doing something to belittle that respect). On another read, I say that the respect she received is minimal compared to what it should be. I think the first reading is wrong, the second reading is true, and I would defend myself from doing what makes the second reading true. Regarding the first reading, Ruth Barcan Marcus suffered a great lack of respect from her colleagues as a person. This was the subject of the biographical evidence of [v]. As for her work, I don’t see how I diminished the respect she received here. I recognize that there was some respect. I’m not trying to hide how many there were. In fact, I’m doing a quasi-quantification of this respect to try to avoid doing it. I’m just saying that the respect Barcan Marcus has received falls short of what she has achieved. This brings us to the second reading I mentioned. Again, I’m perfectly happy to report that the respect she’s received is minimal compared to what it should be. That’s what [i]-[iii] of the original chapter (as well as the chapter that follows it) attempted to justify.
(4) You also say, Preston, that “It’s not like she’s a CS Peirce or a CI Lewis or a Josiah Royce, a systems-building logicist who left only the smallest pieces. concerned about history pay a lot of attention to today. ” For what it’s worth, my experience has been that Peirce and Lewis receive more respect and attention than Barcan Marcus. In my graduate school (University of Buffalo), there was a CS Peirce Chair in American Philosophy (RIP Randy Dipert). I was also taught Peirce and Lewis in several classes (RIP John Corcoran). Basically, I only took courses in philosophy of language and logic in high school and still never learned the work of Barcan Marcus. There is no Ruth Barcan Marcus Chair in Philosophy. There is no Ruth Barcan Marcus Foundation or Ruth Barcan Marcus Society. However, there are Peirce foundations and companies. Also, a quick glance at the number of citations from Google Scholar seems to confirm my feelings here. Compare Barcan Marcus (“Moral Dilemmas and Coherence” cited by 561, “Modalities and Intensional Languages” cited by 385, “Modalities: Philosophical Essays” cited by 217) to Peirce (“Collected Papers” cited by 16,444, “The Essential Peirce Cited by 3,407, “Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs” cited by 1,892) to Lewis (“Mind and the World-order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge” cited by 1,679, “A Survey of Symbolic Logic Quoted by 1312, “A pragmatic conception of the A priori” quoted by 229).
Even a very rough metric like the space given in their Wikipedia articles also seems to confirm my feelings. Compare 2,066 words for Ruth Barcan Marcus entry to 18,270 words for Charles Sanders Peirce entry to 2,842 words for Clarence Irving Lewis entry. We could also include Royce on this front, whose entry is 4,715 words long. I left Royce out of the discussion because I know next to nothing about him. I only know him from the fantastic work of Tommy Curry claiming that “Josiah Royce was a strong supporter of British colonization, an adamant racist and defender of the American Empire. His proposal to colonize black Americans in the South is an extension of this logic and is particularly relevant to how one theorizes his idea of community and the consequence of such ideas on racialized groups like black Americans today. I’m not trying to put Royce’s support or any of that on you, Preston. Since we were talking about Royce in relation to issues of justice and injustice, I just wanted to name these facts about Royce. We philosophers are far too hesitant to recognize how our discipline has not only been complicit, but has played an important role in the horrific plans of white supremacist, colonial and imperial. I’m so grateful to Professor Curry for doing the job he’s doing in pushing back this trend. If the folx are interested Professor Dwight Lewis (Minnesota) and I have a chat with Professor Curry (Edinburgh) and Professor John Youngblood (SUNY Potsdam) about some of their work on our podcast, “Larger, Freer, More Loving ” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i2F-TQGwuk .
(5) Getting back to what you say, Preston, another is “I don’t see why the internal debate over who has proposed a particular theory of meaning is revealing of much more than the fact that the cult of Kripke is still with us. “Again, I think this debate is more revealing, but I don’t think it’s straightforward. Like I said, I picked up a book to argue this point. is only indicative of the fact that the cult of Kripke is still with us, I think that matters. Because the cult of Kripke is just a particularly crude version of what goes on throughout philosophy (with cults de Kant, Locke, Plato, Descartes, Wittgenstein, etc.). And, these cults have serious power in the discipline and seem to exercise it in a nepotistic way. And I think it is telling that all these cult figures are white men. She seems to favor the reproduction of the highly problematic demographics of philosophy. Again, if folx is interested, Dwight and I also have a conversation about the reproduction of racism and ableism in the discipline of philosophy on our podcast This time it’s with Linda Martin Alcoff, Cha rles Mills and Shelley Tremain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnOc8Gkvup4
Thank you for your commitment,