I just got done writing two posts which explicitly apply philosophy to the practical issues of gender and orientation. Meanwhile in the atheosphere, PZ Myers wrote two posts defending philosophy as a field, to the disagreement of many commenters. Anti-philosophy sentiments in the atheist movement are nothing new, but I continue to find them strange since the atheist movement is more dependent on philosophy than literally any other social movement I know of.
A lot of this has to do with what people consider to be the central example of philosophy. My central example of philosophy is modern analytic philosophy, particularly 20th century philosophy of language and logic. Most atheists, on the other hand, seem to think the central examples of philosophy are anti-scientific skepticism and religious apologetics.
One of my Facebook friends follows a page devoted entirely to mocking Tumblr SJWs (social justice warriors). There are many such pages on the internet, basically functioning as humor pages. I present an example purely for illustration purposes:
See footnotes for transcript.1
Many people who follow such pages don’t think of themselves as opposing social justice. Rather, they oppose “SJWs”, who are supposedly a subset of social justice advocates so extreme that they cross into the absurd.
I think following these anti-SJW sites is unwise. Of course, people aren’t even trying to follow the rule of wisdom, they’re following the rule of funny.
I read skeptical writing for over a decade. During that time, I should have been educated about the social issues surrounding mental health and disability. It should have been common knowledge in the skeptical community. It is outrageous that it was not.
I say this as a person who does not have any mental health issues, or disabilities of any kind. And I am still rather uneducated about mental disabilities (so please correct me on anything). To the extent that I know anything, I primarily learned about it through my participation in social justice activism, and through my boyfriend, who has a mental disability.
I list three major reasons why I think mental health should have been a major skeptical topic:
The politics of whether aces “count” as queer is a tiresome subject for many people in the ace blogging community. People have been arguing about it since 2012. And you can’t treat it as a dry factual question, because it’s very emotional and raw. It’s not just a linguistic debate about the definition of “queer”, it’s about whether people acknowledge our lived experiences, or dismiss them as if we’re straight people trying to downplay our privileges.
But I have a different perspective, having participated in these arguments since before 2012. To me, these are not the same tiresome arguments we’ve been having forever. The arguments have changed. They are completely different from how they used to be. And I have a theory why. Continue reading