Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Do NES Philosophers Even Care?"

Since I have started writing about EFL philosophers (click on the label "EFL philosophers" below to see my posts on the topic so far), I have been contacted by many EFL philosophers who wanted to express how happy they were that someone was finally raising these issues in a public forum (if you want to call this blog a public forum). One of the questions I have been asked by these philosophers is: "But do NES philosophers even care?" "Do NES even read your posts on the topic?"

The answer is, of course, that some do. However, so far, most NES philosophers seem to be ignoring my posts about EFL philosophy. I think that this is normal. If we have to take philosophy's attitude to its gender and race problems as a model of these processes, first the issues are totally ignored, then they are denied, then they are belittled and ridiculed, and only when those who raise the issue keep raising it over and over again and won't shut up (and usually when they find some allies), people might finally start giving it some thought. So, all things considered, I'm not surprised that, so far, NES philosophers have by and large ignored the issues I have raised in my posts (there are a few exceptions, of course!).

What I find most discouraging, though, is the silence from feminist philosophers who happen to be NES. I tend to see philosophy's diversity issues as interrelated---to my mind, the more diverse and inclusive analytic philosophy, the better and you cannot make philosophy truly more inclusive in one dimension without also making it more inclusive in other dimensions as well. But, so far, I have not heard one spontaneous comment from any of my many NES feminist philosopher friends. Maybe, this is because they think this is not their fight (as if the problem were not intersectional and there were no philosophers who are both female and non-native English speakers). Or maybe it is because they think that the issue of language is small potatoes compared to the huge gender problem philosophy has (again, assuming the two issues are largely distinct and not at all overlapping). Maybe they might even think that focussing on issues other than gender is going to detract from the little amount of attention the discipline has finally decided to pay to its serious gender issues. I'm not sure. All I know is that I was expecting the silent majority of philosophers to be silent---that's what silent majorities do, isn't it? and that is what maintains the status quo from which they benefit---but I cannot deny I am disappointed by the silence I have heard so far coming from the feminist philosophers' camp.

UPDATE: There is now a post on Feminist Philosophers about the LCC. I take this to be a positive development and I hope that it's a sign that the pessimism I express at the end of this post was mistaken.

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