Brian Leiter and the Philosophy Gourmet Report are having what one might call a Dawkins moment.
Brian Leiter may be a law professor, a philosopher, and the editor of an influential report that ranks universities’ philosophy departments. But when it comes to dealing with people he regards as being out of line, a different feature comes to the fore: “I’m a New Yorker.”
Over the past year, for example, the Manhattan native has told one fellow philosopher that she is “a disgrace” who works for “a shit department,” has threatened to sue another he dismissed on Twitter as a “sanctimonious arse,” and has suggested on one of his three blogs that still another professor should leave the profession “and perhaps find a field where nonsense is permitted.”
This year more than 270 philosophers have signed a statement in which they refuse to complete the surveys or otherwise to assist Mr. Leiter in assembling his rankings as long as they remain under his control.
The statement specifically protests Mr. Leiter’s treatment of Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, a professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia who was the target of his “sanctimonious arse” tweet. It argues that Mr. Leiter’s “derogatory and intimidating remarks” to Ms. Jenkins have damaged her health and her ability to work, partly due to the power he wields as editor of the report.
Hmm. Have any Irish bloggers come forward to say maybe she’s doing it for publicity?
Mr. Leiter remained dismissive of the recent wave of criticism of him, which he attributed partly to feminist philosophers irritated by his defense of the due-process rights of scholars accused of sexual harassment, and partly to philosophers who periodically rebel against The Philosophical Gourmet because their own departments rank poorly.
Oh good, another front in the War With Feminists.
Mr. Leiter attributed some of the criticism of him to a “cultural gap” that he said had developed in his argumentative field as younger philosophers had become heavily involved in social media and engaged in what he called “tone policing,” denouncing online comments they see as offensive or uncivil.
How about derogatory? Any discussion of that?
Some emails he sent have been made public and they’re…not very collegial.