leiter excluding my comments?

On the thread I’ve been obsessing about for the past few days I’ve made three comments. Only the first has been approved by Leiter; the other two are pending and, I suspect, will not be approved. Other comments have appeared since I made mine, which leads me to believe that I’ve been excluded. If they do eventually appear, all the better. The first responded to two of Leiter’s own responses and basically reiterated my call for substantial criticism of the issue under question (i.e., ‘bad’ philosophy). It also suggested that the purpose of Leiter’s post is to perform quality control on the NDPR, by chastising their editorial decisions. Leiter contends:

BL COMMENT: I’m not entirely sure where this particular discussion is going. Bad philosophy is bad, and should be held up for ridicule. Someone really patient, with endless time, can write up a careful critique of bad philosophy–scholars have done that on occasion, with limited effect. The readers of the NY Times are not the audience for this discussion. Bad philosophy is still well-represented in academic philosophy departments in the US and elsewhere; indeed, there’s an entire professional organization, SPEP, which champions bad work on and inspired by the Continental traditions in philosophy.

BL COMMENT: No one has questioned the quality of NDPR, indeed, the opposite. The particular nonsense at issue here is anomalous, and can be attributed, no doubt, to the fact that the editorial board includes some hacks and “Jewish poker” philosophers like Simon Critchley. So it goes.

I think the only way to make sense of Leiter’s post is to see it as an indictment of the NDPR’s decision to include Marder’s review of Skempton. If this isn’t its purpose, then we have to conclude that it’s an open forum to beat up on the SPEP crowd. I also asked, in my filtered comment, for a criterion that can help uninitiated outsiders (for several comments worry about these folks’ encounter with philosophy) determine when a piece of philosophical writing is bad or good. It seems like the first criterion would be: if it’s written by a marginal philosophy professor and focused on a contemporary French Sophist, then it’s bad. I invite others to provide helpful criteria for non-philosophers.

Here’s my second comment, just in case it doesn’t get approved by Leiter. It basically responds to one commentator, who first admits that Deleuze has written some good stuff before lamenting: ‘when I see what qualifies as Deleuze-inspired “theory” in film studies and other disciplines I’m horrified and embarrassed’. I immediately thought of John Mullarkey, who must terrify this commentator. In any case, my controversial comment:

I disagree with Sistare and Garrett. There’s nothing heated about this exchange. In fact, it’s only now becoming a genuine discussion. Remember, we shouldn’t worry about what other programs are doing with philosophers because they represent themselves. Literature departments have been written off countless times in this forum, so let’s just write off film studies too. Who cares if they do crazy things with Deleuze, so long as philosophers do sane things with Deleuze. But that means that such a thing is possible, but that can’t be because Deleuze is one of those guys beloved by the SPEP cadre. Now I’m confused.

Dear Brian: could you please approve my pending comment?

[Update: Leiter has approved my second comment, but not my first. He also asks for SPEP-affiliated philosophers who have done good work on Deleuze!]


About plasticbodies

Contemporary philosopher.
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6 Responses to leiter excluding my comments?

  1. i’ve left three comments today, two of which were very neutral/non-offensive, and none have been approved. he clearly moderates the comments in such a way as to make it seem as if everyone mostly agrees with them. to speak in high school bully terms, Leiter is a wuss.

  2. plasticbodies says:

    I’m not surprised, actually. Mine was also neutral, although it was a bit sarcastic.

  3. anonymous coward says:

    It’s times like these that I can’t help but offer my Lacanian theory of academia – those who act as if they have the biggest phallus are, invariably, those mourning the loss of, or lack of, said phantasmic appendage.

  4. Maladjusted says:

    Curiously, B.L. also refused to post my comment linking to my lengthy, but most importantly heartfelt tribute to him and Michael Rosen:


    It would seem his modesty has got the better of him.

    This is a pity because I did, in this post, take a moment to explain Leiter’s criterion for ‘good’ (or rather ‘real’) philosophy vs. obscurantist posturing, namely, the extent to which the philosophy or philosopher in dispute may be said to resemble Brian Leiter, his research interests, prose style and so on.

    If anyone can think of a better demarcation criteria between gibberish and philosophy, I’d be happy to listen, but let’s just say I’m sceptical that anyone can trump Leiter’s own brilliant and revolutionary solution to the nonsense vs. philosophy problem.



  5. plasticbodies says:


    Today Leiter re-posted his ‘policy’ on comments, which basically operates as a justification of why he moderates comments. Keep the quality high, avoid nonsense and incendiary remarks…that kind of thing. Of course, moderating comments will necessarily lead to the highest quality of comment threads, especially if your standard of quality is determined by which comments you let through the filter and which you do not.

    In fairness to Leiter, I think moderating comments is advisable. If I understand correctly, Graham Harman had to open a new blog some time ago because the comments got so out of control (or something to that effect). I also think that Leiter probably has a good eye for good comments. I remain suspicious of him, however. The comment of mine that he did not approve was no different from the others I had approved on his blog, except for the fact that I assumed an ironic tone and criticized him indirectly. Perhaps one of his criteria for exclusion is criticism of Leiter as a thinker or scholar? Of course, I could verify this hypothesis by looking through his comment threads to see if he has approved any such criticism, but I’ve got better things to do.

  6. Maladjusted says:


    Hello, and thank you for the reply!

    I also have nothing against people moderating comments on their blog.

    I mean, -I- probably wouldn’t blog without the ability to moderate, so it wouldn’t be fair of me to expect anyone else to do so. Obviously, no blogger wants to see his or her comment thread turn into the kind of clown-filled (but trapeze artist deprived circus) that you can see on Youtube, newspaper websites and the like.

    Having said that I share your cynicism about LEITER’s moderation policy, because I am entirely cynical about Leiter who I see as kind of like the upper echelons of the Baltimore PD in the ‘wire’, crunching the numbers, telling people that the numbers show reality and generally acting as if things that are disagreeable are not so much -wrong- as -nonsense-…



    P.S. Nice blog you seem to have here…

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