The Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics at Trent University

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Global climate change: Not just a Manufactroversy

I haven't taught a class on trust in a while, but think I should every time I read another article on the use of global climate change in political football.  My most recent inspiration comes from Discover Magazine's coverage of the exoneration of climatologist Michael Mann by the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation:
All of this stemmed from the "ClimateGate" nonsense of the past couple of years, where leaked emails were taken hugely out of context by the press and climate change deniers, and used to smear scientists.

It's true, scientists were accused of misconduct and falsification of data [pdf], claims which have been thoroughly investigated and rejected.  I do worry, though, that when columnists write with such loaded language about the truth, trust in their veracity is undermined by resistance to their (understandable) angry righteousness.  Exhibition of one's convictions in the language of passionate opposition is easily written off as 'bias,' so that one could dismiss both true and false claimants with the statement, "They're both biased." My students regularly report having trouble reading past a particularly vehement expression. Emotional appeals evoke emotional responses, and the opportunity to persuade, to point out the truth, is deferred.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New blog: Disabled Philosophers

The reason for this unusual new blog is nicely captured by the subtitle on its flag: "We exist." 

This is not a traditional blog.  One indication of this is the categories at the right– these allow you to search for disabled philosophers by disability or by area of philosophy. (For much more free-flowing discussion of disability and philosophy, you may want to check out What Sorts of People.)
I couldn't agree more!  What Sorts is really interesting as well. 

The two founders of Disabled Philosophers are also bloggers at Feminist Philosophers; one of them is Jenny Saul, this year's recipient of SWIP's "Distinguished Woman in Philosophy" award..  She'll be honored at the December meeting of the American Philosophical Association; if you are eager to fly to Washington, D.C. the day after Christmas, you're welcome to join the party.  (If you're not eager, come anyway.  Half the fun of APA meetings is the collective griping about our travel there.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Women in Philosophy Task Force

I'm away for the next several days (until August 22), but when I come back, I'll have news from the 3rd annual meeting: