There’s an exciting looking new formal epistemology blog, Choice and Inference. They’ve done a lot of good things with getting it set up, including getting LATEX working on the blog. I’ve already added the blog to my RSS reader, and hopefully it will be a success.
What they didn’t do, at least on setting up, was get many female contributors. This was noted over at Feminist Philosophers, where there were also some disturbing reports of critical comments being blocked from the C&I blog. That’s bad – both having a non-diverse list of writers and blocking critical comments. Happily there have been moves to rectify the situation, and the blog owners seem committed to improving the gender balance of the site. So hopefully this story will have a happy ending.
Just what diversity obligations a blog has is a slightly tricky matter. I think anyone is perfectly within their rights to start a solo blog, and if that blog’s authorship is thereby 100% white and male, I don’t see how that’s a problem. I don’t think there’s a problem if they add a second author, even if that still means 100% white and male. A philosophy-oriented group blog that had, say, 10 authors and was 100% white and male, now that I would think was troubling in its lack of diversity. My intuitions about these cases feel fairly strong and robust, and I assume they are tracking something, but I don’t have a good theory about what they are tracking.
The feminist philosophers blog has been doing very good work over recent times keeping track of which events and the like are doing well or badly on gender diversity. That’s not the only kind of diversity we should be worried about though. I’d like to see us, collectively, pay more attention to how white various events (conferences, blogs, etc) are, and how much they are oriented towards people from English-speaking countries. On the latter score at least, Choice and Inference seems to be doing pretty well; which is as things should be given how much of the best work in formal epistemology is being done on the European continent these days. Hopefully this is a kind of development we’ll see more of going forward. There are so many ways in which philosophy could address diversity considerations; having better blogs is a small step in the right direction.
UPDATE: See Jonah’s comments below for information about steps C&I have taken to address the problems being faced. Richard Chappell has further interesting thoughts on the matter.
Posted by Brian Weatherson in Uncategorized