Baffling things I have read in blog comments discussing Colin McGinn's exit from University of Miami

Sure, people are always warned not to read the comments. But in the philosophy blogosphere you might expect more thinking-through of positions, more recognition that what is metaphysically possible is not always plausible, and so forth. Plus empathy and stuff. And yet ...


  1. The baffling things presented here are mostly paraphrases (on account of Twitter's 140-character limit).  The commenters whose comments I'm paraphrasing would undoubtedly say I'm being uncharitable in my paraphrasing. I leave it to the reader to peruse the comments at NewAPPS, Crooker Timber, The Philosophy Smoker, and other fine blogs dealing with philosophy and/or academia that have commented on the McGinn resignation to see how many of these sentiments turn up.
  2. It is reassuring to see lots of pushback and sensible responses to the baffling claims of this sort that have been posted. It's not even surprising to me that there are people in philosophy who think these things, since many of them are comfortable saying them out loud.  Preserving their sentiments in the amber of the internet, though, makes them less ephemeral, easier to inspect, easier to reflect upon.  Maybe our field could do better here?
  3. Anyway, when I started tweeting the baffling things, I wasn't sure quite how many there would be. Let n = the number of baffling things read in blog comments that I tweeted ...
  4. #6 is the old "you can't have it both ways" argument.  The gender of the "you" here seems to be female more than half the time, for some reason ... unless our male classmates and colleagues have been keeping a secret of how much unwelcome masturbatory email they've been getting as they're "socialized into the professions."
  5. Maybe once the workings of magnets have been figured out, someone can get on this.
  6. Heck, a handjob *could* just be an argument for the existence of an external world! Why would you assume otherwise?