Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WTF philosophy

Here's another charge of sexual misconduct involving a philosopher and a student, this time an undergraduate, who is suing Northwestern University for failing to act following her claim of sexual assault by philosopher Peter Ludlow.
The student said philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow sexually assaulted her following a downtown Chicago art show the two attended together in February 2012. According to the suit, filed Monday, Ludlow bought the student alcohol and ignored her repeated requests to return to Evanston, taking her to his apartment where she lost consciousness. The student said she regained consciousness early the next morning in Ludlow’s bed.
The student is suing the University for the payment of all past and future medical bills and education expenses, reparation for emotional distress and appropriate remedial actions, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit demands resolution through trial by jury.
The student reported the case to a faculty member, who passed it on to Joan Slavin, director of the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention. After investigating, the lawsuit says, Slavin found Ludlow “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances,” including “sleeping with his arms on and around (the student) on the night of February 10-11.”
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 The suit says the University formed a committee to determine disciplinary action against Ludlow. The committee recommended NU fire him, but the suit alleges NU ignored the committee’s decision.
Ludlow is slated to move to Rutgers, where he will join the philosophy department and head the cognitive science studies there.

This allegation, like that against Colin McGinn, might puzzle non-philosophers who think that the study of philosophy makes people more wise and more just, but those of us on the inside of the discipline know that among those it attracts are some  men who are sexually insecure logic choppers who feel entitled to push boundaries with students and colleagues and feel protected by their ability to justify themselves with sophistical refutations. But "S feels justified" does not entail that "S is justified" and if what the student alleges is true, then Ludlow joins that distressingly large group of very smart, very talented, men, inside and out of philosophy and academia, who participate in the culture of rape.

(see update here)

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