20 June 2017
|18:15 – 19:45||Jennifer Saul, talk at the colloquium of the Institut für Philosophie: “Should Advocates of Reforming Philosophy Be Worried about Recent Empirical Concerns Regarding Implicit Bias?” Institut für Philosophie, Im Moore 21, Room B313|
|20:00||Joint Dinner, Vanino|
21 June 2017
|10:45 – 11:15||Coffee + Welcome|
|11:15 – 12:00||Katharine Jenkins|
|12:00 – 14:00||Lunch|
|14:00 – 14:45||Saana Jukola|
|14:45 – 15:30||Remco Heesen|
|15:30 – 16:00||Coffee break|
|16:00 – 16:45||Anne-Kathrin Koch|
|16:45 – 17:30||Valerie Gray Hardcastle|
|20:00||Joint Dinner, Restaurant Zwischenzeit|
22 June 2017
|10:45 – 11:15||Coffee|
|11:15 – 12:00||Liam Kofi Bright|
|12:00 – 14:00||Lunch|
|14:00 – 14:45||Anna Leuschner|
|14:45 – 15:30||Shanna Slank|
|15:30 – 16:00||Coffee Break|
|16:00 – 16:45||Yann Benetreau-Dupin|
Yann Benetreau-Dupin (University of Pittsburgh) and Guillaume Beaulac (Concordia University)
– Achieving Inclusiveness in the Classroom by Dodging Objections to the Virtue of Diversity –
In this paper, we propose measures to improve pedagogical and grading practices, as well as various other measures that can ameliorate the climate in the classroom that ought to be implemented without needing to refer explicitly to the underrepresentation of or to the climate for women and other under-represented groups in philosophy. These recommendations rest on arguments for fair practices that short-circuit objections to the virtue of diversity or to the need to make philosophy a more welcoming place to women and minorities. There are two pragmatic reasons for this strategy. The first one is that implementing these measures is urgent, and waiting to have convinced a majority of philosophers and administrators before acting might not be in the best interest of current members of the profession, especially those who have to endure this bad climate. The second one is that we do not know how much data and what kind of data would be needed to convince people defending the status quo.
Our recommendations are based on empirical research already carried out in other disciplines. Some of these mechanisms are the adoption of anonymous grading and of clear, explicit and objective rubrics; focusing on actions rather than persons (e.g., adopting a dynamic view of intelligence); organizing mentoring; creating inclusive curricula by adding diversity to course syllabi; adopting and making visible accessibility measures; and providing explicit rules against psychological or sexual harassment as well as promoting, more generally, courteous and professional behavior inside and outside the classroom. We offer a survey of the rationale for these recommendations and of the effect of their implementation, but we do so without presupposing that inclusiveness and fairness should be defined in terms of diversity.
Liam Kofi Bright (Carnegie Mellon University)
– An Intersectional Hypothesis Concerning Minority Group Under-Representation in Philosophy –
As is well documented, women and members of ethnic and racial minority groups are under-represented in professional academic philosophy. In this talk I develop a hypothesis about a mechanism which could account for at least some of this under-representation, generalising previous work I have done on the under-representation of women’s work in academic journal publications. In short, I claim that, given the incentive structure of the academy, the social mechanisms that reliably produce greater degrees of insecurity and self-doubt in women and members of ethnic and racial minorities can also be expected to produce under-representation of those groups in academic philosophy. However, work in intersectionality theory predicts that straightforward generalisations from theories adapted to the experiences of a particular broad demographic group are unlikely to hold up when one considers more fine grained intersectional social groupings. A hypothesis developed with the under-representation of ‘women’ in mind cannot be safely expected to reliably account for the experiences or situation of black women, or working class Asian women, or… generally, more specific under-represented groups within the category of ‘women’, let alone for men from ethnic or racial minority groups. As such, I draw upon work on operationalising intersectionality theory to try and develop a more precise and intersectional hypothesis. I hope that this more precise hypothesis stands a better chance of accounting for at least some portion of the situation of the various intersectional demographic groupings who find themselves under-represented in academic philosophy.
Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Stacie Furst-Hollway, Rachel Kallen, and Brian Eiser (University of Cincinnati)
– Professional Networking, Productivity, and Social Support in Philosophy: A Departmental Analysis by Gender –
Research indicates that underrepresentation of women in the academy is not only a function of bias but also of the climate within institutions and departments. Social network analysis (SNA) helps us understand climate through connecting different types of social and professional relationships to productivity, promotion, and attrition outcomes. Patterns of social and professional connections form a complex space that traditional survey methods cannot take into account. SNA gives us with a set of tools with which to investigate network formation and the consequences of this social adaptation. Previous SNA research has shown that node analysis of centrality, between-ness, number of ties, and in-degree are highly correlated with professional power, influence, and connectedness.
Three factors impact status, participation, and persistence in faculty: how often research is discussed with colleagues, structural features of the faculty member’s position and department, subjective assessments of departmental climate and culture, (work-family interference is a fourth). Who each faculty member is connected to, where each person is located in the structure, and personal knowledge of the connections themselves all affect career success in academia. In other words, the structure of professional networks matters. In fact, intra-organizational networking is predictive of career success, and women often have difficulties building professional networks because they can be judged as less competent or as outsiders. For Philosophy in particular, status and reward are not independent of gender, and individual characteristics do not fully explain differences in men’s and women’s career experiences and trajectories.
In this study of professional networking among philosophers in a PhD-granting Philosophy Department in an “R1” public university in the United States, we examine gender differences in networking among philosophical colleagues, compare the departmental network profile to those in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at the same institution, as well as compare individual network structures to faculty productivity and subjective experience of climate. Relationships of special interest in this regard are those promoting research productivity and those providing socio-affective support.
From previous studies of Philosophy and STEM departments in this institution, we already know that women are twice as likely to be strongly dissatisfied with their jobs compared to men and half as likely to report they had never considered leaving their current position. In addition, women rated themselves as less productive compared to male counterparts—though productivity data belie this conclusion—and believed that others also viewed them this way. The question we address here is: how do intra-departmental networks influence productivity, perceptions of productivity, and job satisfaction in Philosophy for male and female faculty? We hypothesize that the data will indicate that both men and women will view men as more appropriate partners for research-related activities, but that men will turn to other men for departmental friendship, while women will rely on other women. In short, we hypothesize that women and men occupy fundamentally different social spaces in philosophy departments, and that productivity, the experience of climate, and job satisfaction vary by role.
Remco Heesen (Cambridge University)
– When Journal Editors Play Favorites –
Journal editors occupy an important position in the scientific landscape. By making the final decision on which papers get published in their journal and which papers do not, they have a significant influence on what work is given attention and what work is ignored in their field.
In this paper I investigate the following question: should the editor be informed about the identity of the author when she is deciding whether to publish a particular paper? Under a single- or double-anonymous reviewing procedure, the editor has access to information about the author, whereas under a triple-anonymous reviewing procedure she does not.
Two kinds of arguments have been given in favor of triple-anonymous reviewing. One focuses on the treatment of the author by the editor. On this kind of argument, revealing identity information to the editor will lead the editor to (partially) base her judgment on irrelevant information. This is unfair to the author, and is thus bad.
The second kind of argument focuses on the effect on the journal and its readers. Here the claim is that insofar as identity information affects editorial decisions it will lead the journal to accept worse papers. This harms the readers of the journal, and is thus bad.
This paper assesses these arguments. I distinguish between two different ways editorial decisions may be affected if the author’s identity is revealed. First, the editor may treat authors she knows differently from authors she does not know, a phenomenon I will call connection bias. Second, the editor may treat authors differently based on some aspect of their identity (e.g., their gender), which I will call identity bias. I make the following three claims.
My first claim is that connection bias actually benefits rather than harms the readers of the journal, as knowing a scientist can provide valuable information to the editor. I construct a model to show in a formally precise way how such a benefit might arise—surprisingly, no assumption that the scientists the editor knows are “better scientists” is required.
My second claim is that whenever connection bias or identity bias affects editorial decision, this constitutes an epistemic injustice against the disadvantaged author. If the editor is to be (epistemically) just, she should prevent these biases from operating, which can be done through triple-anonymous reviewing. So I endorse an argument of the first kind: triple-anonymous reviewing is preferable because not doing so is unfair to authors.
My third claim is that whether editorial biases harm the journal and its readers depends on a number of factors. Connection bias may benefit readers, whereas identity bias may harm them. Whether there is an overall benefit or harm depends on various factors, as I illustrate using the model. As a result I do not in general endorse the second kind of argument, that triple-anonymous reviewing is preferable because readers of the journal are harmed otherwise.
However, I conclude that triple-anonymous reviewing is to be preferred overall.
Katharine Jenkins (University of Nottingham)
– Marginalised Philosophies and Marginalised People: How Do They Relate and What Do We Do about It? –
Attempts to rectify unjust marginalisation and exclusion in philosophy focus both on demographics, i.e. marginalised/excluded people, and on syllabi and research programs, i.e. marginalised/excluded types or areas of philosophy. Clearly, there is a non-coincidental relationship between the marginalization and exclusion of people who are not privileged white men, and the marginalization and exclusion of topics associated with people who are not privileged white men. However, the precise nature of this relationship is unclear, and this creates practical problems for attempts to improve the situation. For example, if the main goal of an organisation is to promote the participation of women in philosophy, should that organisation also seek to promote feminist philosophy? This paper aims to come to a clearer understanding of the relationship between these two forms of marginalisation/exclusion that can inform practical efforts. I will argue that these two forms of marginalisation/exclusion ought not to be treated separately, but that careless conflation of them can have serious negative consequences.
Saana Jukola (Bielefeld University)
– On Biases in Peer Review –
Being peer reviewed is considered to be one of the characteristics that differentiate reliable scientific work from suspicious projects. Thus, peer review is one of the most important mechanisms in determining what views and people are represented in academia. But how well does journal peer review serve its purposes and which factors have an influence on how close it comes to achieving its aims? In this paper, I approach these questions from a perspective that evaluates scientific practices as social processes, in which the possible individual errors and biases can be disclosed and corrected by critical interactions. I shall argue that scientific and philosophical literature is skewed not only by individual-level biases of reviewers, such as biases against authors of certain nationalities or genders, but also by the institutional context in which peer review operates.
Despite its centrality to academic practices, peer review has attracted little attention in philosophy. In empirical literature, however, it has been widely discussed. A central worry in these discussions is that reviewers make recommendations to editors not on the basis of the quality of manuscripts, but let extraneous factors, such as the affiliations, gender or language of the author, affect their judgment. These biases for or against authors of certain groups are problematic from the perspective of fairness but they are also epistemically detrimental: according to the Mertonian ideal of Universalism, scientific statements should be evaluated on the ground of their content only. Another often voiced concern is that peer reviewers are biased against certain theoretical views or nontraditional projects, which hinders the development of science.
My argument shall be that the problems of peer review cannot be reduced to individuals’ undue preferences only. Even though biases for or against author characteristics can be fought with blinding, correcting the content-based biases is more complicated. Recent discussions on academic publishing give rise to the worry that the institutional context in which peer review practices take place can amplify the effect of some biases; some of the defects of the system have to do with its current set-up and academic publishing in general. Certain institutional conditions, such as the publish-or-perish culture, the size of the pool of potential reviewers, and the number of prestigious journals in a field of study, can amplify the effect of biases that operate at the individual-level. When searching for means to make academia – and philosophy in particular – more inclusive, we need to take into account these institutional factors.
Anne-Kathrin Koch (University of Vienna)
– To Represent, to Repress, to Rectify: Reflections on the Role of the Canon in and for Philosophy –
The philosophical canon is often seen as a mirror or a means of exclusion in philosophy. This is why feminists have promoted re-readings or re-writings of it. In this paper, I propose an understanding of the notion of philosophy as a familyresemblance concept and claim that this a) helps us to understand how the canon serves as a means of exclusion, and b) supports what Sarah Tyson has called “the corrective model” for “reclaiming” the history of philosophy for women. (I expect my results to apply to other groups, too.)
My starting point is Tyson’s classification of and engagement with such attempts to reclaim philosophy. She recognizes four idealized types of models: First, “the enfranchisement model”, which stresses that women’s writings deserve to be included in the philosophical canon because they meet its constitutive standards. Second, “the alternative history model”, which views women’s writings as an independent tradition. The third one is “the corrective model”, on which women’s exclusion is seen as a blatant performative contradiction given philosophy’s aims and self-understanding. And lastly, “the transformative model”, which calls for a radical transformation of our concept of philosophy itself. Tyson argues against the first three models and in favour of the last one.
Tyson’s main argument against the first two models is that they overlook how closely re-writing the history of philosophy is entangled with our conception of philosophy. I agree with the criticism. I highlight that in making this point, Tyson implicitly relies on a distinction between what I call a “philosophy first”-approach and a “canon first”-approach to the nature of philosophy. A “philosophy first”-approach assumes that there is a well-defined nature of philosophy from which criteria for inclusion in the canon can be derived. Inclusion can then be argued for as the outcome of their correct application. On a “canon-first”- approach, we assume that there is no such uniform nature of philosophy from which a canon can be derived. Instead, what philosophy is or isn’t is partly determined by what is included in or excluded from the canon. Judging from what is compatible with the points she makes, Tyson would advise us to choose the latter type of approach.
I do agree with Tyson that such an approach should be adopted and I propose a way to flesh this out further by suggesting that we should view the concept of philosophy as a family-resemblance concept. With philosophy thus understood, a canon plays an important role for understanding what philosophy is. However, the notion of a family-resemblance concept conveys enough flexibility to allow for an expansion of the philosophical canon and methods, and its close ties to social practices make it explanatorily powerful enough to help make structural exclusion visible. I will apply this idea to the two remaining models for reclamation strategies and thereby show how Tyson’s objections to the corrective model can be rebutted. I will conclude by suggesting that rejection of the corrective model in favour of the transformative one is neither necessary nor advisable.
Anna Leuschner (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
– The Indirect Effects of Biases in Philosophy: What Journals’ Publication Data Reveals about Gender Inequality in Philosophy –
This paper, first, points out that the underrepresentation of women’s articles in philosophy journals is caused by a low submission rate rather than a biased acceptance rate. Subsequently, it presents and explains data from review sections of three top philosophical journals, Ethics, Mind, and the Philosophical Review: this data shows that (1) women’s books are underrepresented in the book review sections. At the same time, women (2) write book reviews more often than articles. I argue that this is a striking indication that women tend to do work of lesser prestige more often such as writing book reviews which count as “minor publications” while requiring a lot of work. Moreover, the data (3) reveals a notable tendency that the percentage of women reviewers is higher when the reviewed books are authored by women. I argue that this indicates that women philosophers tend to focus on specific thematic areas. In light of these findings and corresponding findings from gender studies on the STEM-disciplines I argue that the underrepresentation of women’s articles is due to indirect effects of biases in philosophy, namely a synergy of biases and stereotype threats that causes women not only to leave academic disciplines, but also to differ in their professional behavior.
Shanna Slank (University of Wisconsin)
– Does Philosophy Exclude On The Basis of Class More Than Other Academic Disciplines? –
Recently, philosophy has made a greater effort to understand and remedy its unusually skewed composition. Women have received the lion’s share of this attention, but an increasing amount of focus is being directed towards the underrepresentation of non-white persons. Rather remarkably, however, not much work has been done on philosophy’s distortion along class lines. I suspect that the reason is simple: We know that pursuing a graduate degree is expensive and that having a graduate degree often affords only meager opportunities for gainful employment relative to non-academic career paths. For many from working-class backgrounds, the cost is simply not worth it. Since this is true for academia writ large, we might think that this should be of less concern to philosophers in particular.
In this paper, I argue that there may be reason to think that philosophy excludes on the basis of class more than other disciplines. My strategy is to show how two aspects more central to our discipline than others may be unduly burdening individuals from working-class backgrounds. The first aspect is philosophy’s self-styled reputation as a discipline that requires significant innate or raw intellectual ability (as evidenced by Sarah-Jane Leslie et al.’s recent work). A host of psychological and sociological findings tell us that working-class families and communities prioritize the value of hard work and its role in success; we also know that culturally, we tend to treat hard work and innate ability as anticorrelated.
These two facts together suggest that individuals from working-class backgrounds may be
affected by philosophy’s “genius bias” in similar ways to those that we hypothesize women and persons of color are affected. The second aspect of philosophy that I consider is the collection of traits—e.g., assertiveness, self-confidence, and persistence in the face of harsh criticism—that are thought to appear in especially aggressive forms in both philosophers’ norms of conduct and philosophers’ collective beliefs about the dispositions most conducive for producing work befitting of our discipline’s rigorous analytic standards. What we know about the difference between working- and middle-class parenting styles (shown in Annette Lareau’s seminal work Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life (2011)) and about how working-class undergraduate students “code-switch,” or adapt their behavior depending on whether they are at home or school (shown in Jennifer Morton’s 2013 paper), suggests that individuals from such backgrounds face greater cognitive burdens in navigating the professional relationships and performances that are mediated by these traits.
Due to the absence of data about class in philosophy, my account is admittedly speculative. But my argument can be interpreted (in part) as a call for philosophers to collect and analyze the data that is required to treat this issue seriously. I close by considering one reason why philosophers may rebuff my appeal: Perhaps we think that practically, class is less important than gender and race because unlike improvements along the latter dimensions, a more equitable class distribution would not be visible and, thus, not as effective at altering collective beliefs and impressions about the discipline.