February 24, 2004

Battles Fierce, Stakes Low. REALLY Low. As is the Rhetoric.

Inspired by the ongoing "dialog" between this guy and this guy.

As far as I can tell after reading Feser's articles and the response and updates from Leiter, the main conversation boils down to this:

Feser: Here is my big long essay. Academics are all left, left, left! yARGH!
Leiter: That's not true! And not only isn't it true, if you think it is, you're crazy! You have significant psychological illness, because I say so and that's all the evidence I need! Because EVERYBODY KNOWS that's crazy--or at least everybody I talk to, and they're the only people that count. You can't possibly have a grasp of the entirety of academe, because only I do! And everyone who thinks like you, or has experienced professors who malign them to an entire class via email when they're powerless to respond, or has been written up on speech code violations or made a pariah by their departments due to politics, is ALSO crazy! You write like a nutbar! You'll never eat lunch in this town again! Unless this is all a vast right wing conspiracy because there's lots of money out there for stuff like this! Oh, and here's my friend, the noted science guy, to offer more evidence!
Noted Science Guy: Feser sux0rz! Totally!
Leiter: HA! And by the way, what he says I said? I totally didn't say! Or mean that way! So I didn't call him crazy, except that maybe I was right to after all! Again I say, HA!
Feser: Oh yeah, well disprove these amazingly sweeping generalizations that I'm probably making in part to provoke people like you to suicide!
Leiter: You're crazy! Crazy, crazy, crazy! AAASRRYYYRYRGHGH!!

Irony just wanted me to point out that perhaps this argumentative tactic isn't the best way to prove that campuses aren't full of crackpots. And also, that advanced logic and rhetoric courses are available on most college campuses. Just sayin'.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at February 24, 2004 01:19 PM

Although man is thought to have evolved in Africa, h. sap. academis arguably had his origins in South America. Consider, for instance, the territorial displays of the Howler Monkey....

Posted by: ManFromPorlock at February 24, 2004 03:56 PM

I don't know how you manage to strip these articles down to their very excresence essence but I worship at your feet. All hail BAW and her prophet Irony.

Posted by: Christine at February 24, 2004 11:11 PM

"And also, that advanced logic and rhetoric courses are available on most college campuses. Just sayin'."

oddly enough, both this class and chaos theory 101 meet in the same room at the same day & time... hmmmm....

Posted by: shane at February 25, 2004 05:50 PM

ManFromPorlock - Ah, that explains why the higher reasoning functions arn't as developed either.

BTW, have you noticed the literary theory profs picking each other's hair for bugs?

Posted by: JimInNOVA at February 26, 2004 09:38 PM

Having been in academia as grad student and teacher for over a decade, I'd have to say that there is far more truth in Feser's essay than in Leiter's.

Feser's sweeping generalizations have the advantage of being generally true, while Leiter's are either the product of someone who has so bought into the ideology of the left that he simply sees it as Truth, or he is deliberately lying.

I get tired of leftist professors bandying about terms like "paranoid" and "lunatic" when someone dares to question their ideological stronghold on the humanities and the social sciences, even at someplace like Loyola Marymount.

While UCSB and Texas may have "leading centers of research in evolutionary psychology," I can name at least three English professors currently at UCSB who are as blindly postmodern as they come.

Posted by: Winston Smith at February 27, 2004 06:56 PM