October 14, 2013

"Mars Needs Women."



Movie title invoked by me in the context of critiquing philosophy departments. That's participating in my own comments thread section, where I also say something I'd like to reprint here:
The question of politeness is important.

The notion that women are "polite" in some special way needs examination. Women may have developed a strategy that gets called politeness that works in many situations. But let's be honest about what that really is and why it developed, both biologically and culturally.

No one is engaging in physical combat here. It's verbal sparring, and there's an emotional element that affects your predisposition to that kind of fighting.

There's no reason to think women are less able than men in verbal argument, but there is an emotional aspect to it. Still, when you do verbal argument, you are using emotion. You can't extract all emotion.

Lawyers know this perhaps more than philosophers.

Philosophers are stewing in their own juice. They think the juice needs more women, because lack of women is not the current taste.

They're going through an awkward phase of trying to add women. But women are not passively accepting the role as ingredient in their foul stew.

Why should they?!

Where do those female undergraduates in philosophy go if not to philosophy grad programs?

I bet they go to law school, which would be an extremely rational thing to do.

Although if philosophy departments are desperate enough [about needing] to display chunks of female floating in their gloppy gumbo, it may be a good bet for a few individuals to offer themselves up as the women philosophers, at least for a while, and these women may play the game especially well if they package themselves as specialists in "women in philosophy" issues.

Circa 1970, females entering law teaching would do "Women in the Law" and "Family Law" topics. When I was graduating from law school in 1981 and going into a law teaching job search, one of my female lawprofs advised me (and other women) to resist getting assigned Family Law or any of those women-associated topics. Get right to the seemingly "male" things like Contracts and Corporations.
The cooking metaphor began in the post proper, and the philosophers introduced it.

I just want to warn women to be very careful if any of these aliens displays a text — written in abstruse language — titled "To Serve Women."

19 comments:

Crunchy Frog said...

What kind of idiot pursues a philosophy degree nowadays?

n.n said...

So, women became lawyers, and men became chefs. Fortunately, astute women and men rejected well-intentioned direction, and women became chefs, and men became lawyers, and vice versa.

As for women being polite, that is a myth, which only has substance in the individual. It seems that women's physical stature predisposes them to either a diplomatic or authoritarian stance. While this is a product of nature, and to a lesser extent (i.e. precluding development) nurture, it is not a gender-specific trait.

Lem said...

Although if philosophy departments are desperate enough [about needing] to display chunks of female floating in their gloppy gumbo,

Althouse means "binders full of women".

Bringing up Romney would distract away from the subject at hand. Which is, I suppose, when underperformance is at issue, look for something or someone to blame.

Carl said...

Women aren't more polite, they're just less instinctually honest when they despise you. The knife goes in the back, that's all.

Strelnikov said...

Was this remade as "Earth Girls Are Easy"?

Inga said...

There are a lot of rhhardins out there. Perhaps women are better served not jumping in the toxic stew despite the invitations as Althouse indicates, if I understand her correctly. Perhaps it's better to let poisonous frogs boil in seperate pots.

Robert Cook said...

"What kind of idiot pursues a philosophy degree nowadays?"

People who are deeply interested in philosophy. And what's wrong with that?

You may be largely unconscious of it, but philosophies underpin human societies and our understanding of the riot of physical phenomena within which we exist. Most of us have some sort of philosophy, mostly inchoate and consisting of received bits from here and there, but the arguments that make up much of the commentary here are completely about and driven by conflicting philosophies.

Andy Freeman said...

> Most of us have some sort of philosophy, mostly inchoate and consisting of received bits from here and there, but the arguments that make up much of the commentary here are completely about and driven by conflicting philosophies.

Yes, but the question was about philosophy degrees.

I can imagine philosophy degrees that would be extremely relevant to "the discussion" broadly construed. However, I can also imagine philosophy degrees that aren't useful for anything.

So, the relevant question is "What value do actual philosophy degrees bring to the table?"

> People who are deeply interested in philosophy. And what's wrong with that?

Deeply interested in isn't enough.

Some people are deeply interested in eating hot dogs but we don't give them degrees or subsidize their hot-dog-eating degree.

FWIW, I'm predisposed to find value in philosophy degrees so if you can't convince me....

Gabriel Hanna said...

A little philosophy will save you from saying stupid things that have been said over and over. Valuable for that alone. You may still say stupid things, but they won't be the obvious ones.

Like morphine, philosophy has legitimate uses, but very few people could make it the center of their life and function in society.

BarrySanders20 said...

No lack of subtlety in the use of phallic devices on that movie cover. Martians must be very literal. I wonder if they get sarcasm.

Jupiter said...

"Perhaps women are better served not jumping in the toxic stew ..."

Inga, if I had to name a woman who simply cannot resist diving into a toxic stew ...

Henry said...

Crunch Frog: "What kind of idiot pursues a philosophy degree nowadays?"

Robert Cook: "People who are deeply interested in philosophy. And what's wrong with that?"

My alma mater, at least at the time I went there, only offered a Philosophy BA as part of a double-major.

I've always thought that a pretty good approach.

Robert Cook said...

"FWIW, I'm predisposed to find value in philosophy degrees so if you can't convince me...."

Who says I'm trying to convince you (or anyone)?

The Elder said...

BILL MURRAY: "What did you study?"

SCARLETT JOHANSSON: "Philosophy."

BILL MURRAY: "Yeah, there's a good buck in that racket."

SCARLETT JOHANSSON: "Well, so far it's pro bono."

Lost in Translation, 2003.


dbp said...

If your plan is to go to graduate school but would like to take a year or two off between that and your undergrad degree, philosophy is the perfect undergraduate way to go.

If your degree is in accounting or electrical engineering and you work a couple of years, it is likely to be tough to give up a good paying job and go back to school. With a philosophy degree there is little chance of a high paying job keeping you from your educational aspirations.

cubanbob said...

Cook is right. There is nothing wrong with a philosophy major as long as the student is doing a double major, the other in something that will result in a job.

The Roller said...

Mars needs guitars.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BtHZKMMMZs

Kev said...

(the other kev)

I actually watched it when it came out. Only remember two things:

1) Yvonne Craig was hot.

2) I think they shot it for $5.00. Even for a Corman movie, it looked cheap.

wildswan said...

There are degrees in "public administration" which lead to jobs. Public administration rests on ethics and if you think about ethics you are in philosophy right away. However this doesn't add up to a job - it only shows that social policy is unanchored. And there's no money in saying THAT.

I think people should read philosophy but outside the academy and the unreal world of current public policy. Philosophy's friends should assume their knowledge will be needed sometime - like old time Irish monks copying manuscripts as the Goths and Vandals destroyed civilization for awhile.