On not thinking to speak up

Posted: July 27, 2011 by Jender in failure to act, ignoring women

While I (male) was a graduate student at a university ranked high in philosophy of physics, a female friend from the same department attended a talk on philosophy of physics with me. The talk was given by a male Post Doc in philosophy of physics at the very same university, who knew both my friend and me, and knew that she was specializing in philosophy of physics, while I was doing general philosophy of science.

After his talk, my friend and I went up to the speaker and she pointed out a technical problem with one his arguments in the talk. He brushed her off with two non-technical sentences, and then proceeded to talk to me, who had not said anything at that point, about a related technical issue. So I repeated my friends point, and he then replied to me, again in technical language. The rest of the quasi-dialogue went on like that, with my friend saying something, the speaker brushing her of in non-technical language, me repeating her point, and him replying to me.

At no time in the conversation did it occur to me that I should point out to the speaker that I was just repeating my friend’s arguments.

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