voting on whether to keep a member and two other issues

From: Alex N.
Sent on: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 5:00 PM
Hi Analytic Philosophers.

One of our members, Ann, I believe is not fit for membership, as she herself has suggested. Normally, I would tolerate any amount of nonsense, and I certainly welcome disagreement. However, it appears that a different member has left the group today, and I believe it is because of the wrong turn the discussion board has taken.

You recall I said, at our first meetup, the only rule we have is "don't take it personal, don't make it personal" -- In my opinion, Ann has broken this rule.

It is a species of 'ad hominem' to take umbrage at some nuance or tone or means of presentation, etc., of an argument, rather than the argument itself. Being in a constant state of outrage makes it impossible to continue a healthy, robust, and serious level of argument. -- Although I hold multiple degrees in philosophy and have taught philosophy at the college level for a decade, Ann seems to think my attempts to explain things is 'condescending' and 'heartless'.

Moreover, Ann seems to subscribe to a set of beliefs that is fundamentally hostile to analytic philosophy. It is counter-productive to any discussion within analytic philosophy to have to get sidetracked over the defense of analytic philosophy itself. There are plenty of philosophy meetup groups, most of which appear to be very welcoming of non-analytic views. We are in the minority in the meetup universe (though in the majority in academic philosophy).

So, I propose that we take a vote on three issues:

1. Should Ann continue to be permitted membership to our group?
2. Should we require the 'principle of charity' in all philosophy discussions ('principle of charity' = always take the most favorable and inoffensive interpretation of another person's words)?
3. Should we automatically disallow any non-analytic views, unless the topic of discussion is explicitly relevant to a hearing for that view?

I'll wait until the end of the week (Friday) to count the votes and report the results.


P.S. I'm certain that Ann is a very nice and good-hearted person. We are not voting about her personally. This is simply a vote on her membership status.

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