Arguments? Really?

Posted: October 25, 2010 by Jender in women are incompetent

Recently I was the official commenter on a talk by an male graduate (advanced) student at a conference. It was a good paper, and he was from a very good school. There were some problems with the paper, though. I pointed them out using the following form (though not content): NN claims that all cats have tails; however, there is a problem with this because Manx cats count as cats and they do not have tails. This bears on the issues in the following way.

The student did not see that I was giving arguments, and he treated them as simply negations of what he said; thus, “Prof. XYZ maintains that there are cats without tails, but I have argued that all cats do have tails.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to respond to his response. I asked myself what all my male acqaintances in the audience thought. Would any one of them think “but of course XYZ wouldn’t comments on a talk just by negating its claims.” After all these many years in philosophy, I doubt it.

I did explain to the graduate student that there were arguments in the comments. He may have been embarassed to discover that.

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