we’re not bullies, we’re just right

One of the few critical comments on Leiter’s blog re: Marder’s review/continental philosophy in general responds by pointing out that Anglophone philosophy undoubtedly runs the academy, whereas continental philosophy is at best ‘an extremely small and tightly-knit cadre that has virtually no power or influence within professional Anglophone philosophy as a whole’. I’m not sure how much power continentalists have, but that’s not the point I’m interested in here.

The commentator calls the entire ‘discussion’ of Marder and Skempton a form of bullying, insofar as it is composed of a bunch of the strong and powerful (Anglophone philosophers) bad-mouthing and ridiculing the weak (continentalists). S/he then goes on to speculate that this needless gesture ‘smacks of insecurity’, to which Leiter responds:

I think Professor Jun’s speculations about motives here are quite silly, and it is equally well the height of melodrama to call any of this “bullying.” Anyone who cares about philosophy is understandably bothered and annoyed by such bluffing being passed off as a way of “practicing” philosophy, or being featured in what is otherwise an exceptional philosophical resource, the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

I’m not sure that ‘silliness’ is a charge that will devastate Jun’s indictment of the issue. Moreover, Jun’s diagnosis has something of a Nietzschean flavor to it that seems to be lost on Leiter. What would be more interesting is if Leiter had given some other plausible defense of the so-called bullying. Also interesting in this case is the willingness of the Anglophones to criticize the NDPR–a forum which otherwise receives their respect–in the place of actually criticizing either Marder’s review or Skempton’s book. Leiter has pointed out in the past the tendency of pseudo-scholars to found their own journals when the mainstream Anglophone journals refuse to accept their (obviously!) poor work, thereby deligitimizing these journals. But isn’t part of the prestige of the mainstream journals achieved by the fact that they do not accept the garbage the continentals are peddling? Which is to say, isn’t the fact that the NDPR has accepted Marder’s review an indication that it should be applauded by the powerful arm of the philosophical community? No, they’d rather cry academic injustice and/or lament the demise of an otherwise respectable forum.

Remember the good old days when those kinds of reviews weren’t admitted into the NDPR? Yeah, those were the days.

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About plasticbodies

Contemporary philosopher.
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2 Responses to we’re not bullies, we’re just right

  1. Craig says:

    A bully doesn’t defend bullying; they deny that what they are doing is bullying. Indeed, the very accusation of being a bully is the real bullying in the eyes of the bully. (Before the obvious retort from the bullies that I’m not a philosopher; indeed, I’m not: but I am interested in the sociology of the issue.)

  2. anonymous coward says:

    It’s comical that a ‘Nietzsche scholar’ such as Leiter can’t smell the reeking ressentiment that he gives off.

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