• Victoribus Spolia
    I. The Context.

    I read something in the "Site Guidelines" that concerns me a little bit as I feel that what was stated was quite ambiguous. Obviously the Philosophy Forum reserves the right to terminate comments and users at their discretion, with or without a stated reason for doing so; however, the language regarding racism, xenophobia, nazi sympathizing, sexism, etc., seems a little worrying given the current political climate and I do feel clarity and resolution ought to be had.

    II. The Minor Proposal (Main Proposal Shall Be In The Conclusion).

    I propose that we clearly contextualize the terms (racism, sexism, etc.) for the moderators to properly enforce without infringing upon the intellectual freedom of philosophy. Philosophy is meant to be the market place of ideas; wherein, no topic is off limits so long as conversations are civil and logic serves as the ultimate standard of truth.

    III. Example A.

    Let me use an example of what might be regarded as sexism by some, but I feel should be a legitimately discussed philosophical proposal (whether I agree with such or not):

    Example A: Certain ideas proposed by Sigmund Freud, and followed by J.D. Unwin, regarding the sublimation of sexual energy in men were argued to imply that the social expansion of sexual and political opportunity to women would result in the diffusion of sexual energy in men and result in societal collapse. Hence, according to such a view, egalitarianism or women's rights (as we understand them today) would be inherently destructive to society.

    Now, the above would be regarded as sexist by many today, but I would argue that such is not "sexist" but a legitimate area of inquiry because the above case is grounded in actual argument, and in the case of J.D. Unwin, was a notion proposed by an early advocate of women's rights as a historical & psychological issue that needed to be resolved (so he was obviously not a misogynist). Thus, what ought to be regarded as sexism in philosophy forum threads; Should be when men or women discriminate against other members on the basis of their sex and/or insult them using slurs along such lines. The existence of male privilege for example, as much as I abhor this concept, should be considered a legitimate topic of discussion, just as the example above is. But if a young lady on a forum tries to close down a discussion on the grounds of "man-splaining," I think that should be regarded as sexism as much as if a man shuts down a woman because "a chick just wouldn't understand."

    IV. Example B.

    Example B: Another important example is homophobia, Divine Command Theory is a legitimate philosophical position (think of Aquinas and the moral argument) and has been frequently debated in public even in recent years (think of Sam Harris v. William Lane Craig at Notre Dame). Most proponents of divine command theory are either Christians or Muslims and most of the adherents to these two faiths subscribe to commands that prohibit homosexual conduct. I do not think the advocating of divine commands and the questioning of homosexual conduct on moral grounds in a thread should be a "terminable" offense because of being "homophobic." Rather, using homophobic slurs or taking discriminatory tactics on threads should be regarded as homophobic and should be terminable., and I say this as a person who's only brother is a homosexual.

    V. The Nazi Question.

    Likewise, with the fact that conservatives in America have been increasingly called Nazis when they are not National Socialists leads me to believe that we ought be careful with language like "Nazi Sympathezier." Regardless of what you think of the likes of Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannapolous, they are not Nazis and I would hate to think sympathizers with their worldviews would be punished for expressing philosopical ideas on the philosophy forum because some might slander them as "Nazi Sympathizers."

    Obviously, we do not want the philosophy forum to turn into the Daily Stormer, so I have no problem with actual National Socialists or Neo-Nazi affiliates being targeted, but a Neo-Monarchist Ethno-Nationalist in favor of Tariffs would not be such a person and should not be punished for having Pepe the frog as his profile pic (so long as he conducts himself civilly and rationally).

    VI. Conclusion and Main Proposal.

    It seems absolutely insane to me, that because Giovanni Gentile argued in favor of Italian Fascism on the grounds of a robust Neo-Hegelian Idealism, etc., that we could not discuss the merits of his arguments, or that the ideas of the late Nietzsche could not be pondered or considered because of their often abhorrent character. To me, that seems to defy what philosophy is all about, should our forbears have outlawed discussion on the existence of God because such an inquiry could have been regarded as blasphemy?

    I therefore advocate and propose the following as an explanation for the ambiguity in the Site Guidelines given the current political climate:

    1. I Propose that discussions;regarding the nature and roles of the sexes, the nature of race, ethnicity, and nationhood, the validity or invalidity of immigration, the validity of any political theory of any kind, the morality of any practice sexual or otherwise, not be themselves regarded as inherently sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic etc., in and of themselves, for to do so would assume certain philosophical ideas yet to be proven or debated (such as feminism, post-colonialism, etc).

    2. I Propose that only actions of an intentionally malevolent character, regarded as discriminatory, be defined (contextually speaking) as either racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. That is, such designations ought to be reserved for actual ad-hominem attacks and discriminatory actions in threads.

    3. I Propose that admitted and actual National Socialists or copy-cat Nazis alone be preemptively prohibited under the label Nazi or Nazi Sympathizer.

    4. I Propose that no philosophical topic shall be off limits so long as its case be made and its merits (or lack thereof) be evaluated on the grounds of plain reason through civil discourse.

    I am sure this is what is actually intended by the "Site Guidelines," but even it was not,I believe the above proposals should be the benchmark of philosophical discourse in the market place of ideas and debate. A place where logic is the ultimate standard of a position's validity and practical civility the crown of the philosopher himself.

    I end with a poll,
    1. Do you agree, generally speaking, with my proposals? (4 votes)
  • T Clark
    I like your formulation. It's something I've thought about a lot. My natural inclination is to let anyone say anything. It is good spiritual practice to treat people with vile ideas civilly. I've also been on unmoderated forums that descend into mayhem and uselessness very quickly. Your plan provides a good balance.
  • Victoribus Spolia

    Yes, we cannot make the mistake that those who seek open philosophical dialogue are into chaos and mayhem in threads, in fact, I think the Philosophy forum is a little lax on people perpetuating obvious fallacies at will, so it's not like I'm against moderators....I am against censorship, which I believe is completely different. Rules are needed and should be based on the laws of reason and common decency, but ideas themselves should be permitted to be freely expressed so long as they follow the rules of sound argument.

    Please vote in the poll if you have not already, I think it would be good for me and the moderators to get a sense of where the philosophers on this site stand regarding the free expression and debate of ideas.
  • n0 0ne
    True, there are some foreclosed issues. But really that's what communities are made of to some degree. We recognize one another as truly human to the degree that we don't eat children for instance. It's impossible to debate such a thing seriously. Such a debate belongs in a dark comedy. This is an exaggerated issue to get the point across, which is that communities have "irrational" foundations. A certain background is presupposed and not subject to questioning. The Nietzschean-style philosopher can wander in the abyss "before" such foundations, of course, but there's a reason it's called the abyss.
  • Wayfarer
    I used to get a regular bible reading, at Church school - and I never signed up to church, haven't attended since, save for weddings and funerals. It was an Anglican school. There was a particular line they said again and again and again - 'not to make your freedom a cloak for maliciousness'. The general gist was - we have the freedom to say, or for that matter to do, any number of things. We are 'endowed with freedom by God'. And God, not being an oriental potentate, or galactic CEO, can't, and actually doesn't want to, make us good. We have the freedom to be or do as we please. (Folks don't realise how deeply that right, which we take for granted, is embedded in Christianity.)

    So the appeal against using freedom as 'a cloak for maliciousness' was, I think, very much about this issue. The way it would manifest in respect to this issue is - speak freely, but out of concern for truth, not out of malice, and *not* out of 'the concern for Being Right'. If you can avoid being driven by either malice or self-righteousness, THEN you ought to be free to say whatever you want.

    Actually a lot of liberal political theory presumes that those who speak actually are motivated by 'concern for truth'. However the very standards of what constitutes truth, have themselves been thrown into doubt, so accordingly, the spirit of the age is chaos. Which makes it exceedingly hard to engage in principled debate or disagreement. That is one of the background factors.

    So - overall, agree with OP, however in practice, very difficult to realise in an internet forum environment. I tend to cut the mods a lot of slack as a result. (I tried modding once, failed quickly.)
  • BC
    An old time socialist identified certain party members "who liked games of uproar". They liked to start disputes they weren't especially interested in -- the gamers just liked the sturm and drang they produced. Not quite the same thing as a cloak of maliciousness, but related.

    Don't expect an enthusiastic embrace by the moderators of your proposal. It isn't that they are hostile to criticism, or that they are dyed in the wool feminist, antifa, SJW types who will brook no deviance. Rather, they have a difficult, unpaid, mostly thankless job of policing badly written, badly conceived, poorly thought out posts, and enforcing rules.

    Even generally good posters at times have a yen to delve into subjects which lead to conflict with the rules -- like people who might want to open a discussion about... Nazis, pedophiles, or lesbian-separatist vegan (not all in the same thread, one hopes). They don't want the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable to get too muddied so they can't tell where the line is. Therefore, some topics are verboten.

    Is the Bell Curve by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein debatable? Maybe. Murray is very unpopular among leftists, but he apparently presents evidence to support his views. A recent thread that asserted that Africans were, at best, dull-normal was shut down pretty quickly. IF one had some sort of evidence that several hundred million Africans were stupid, that would be one thing -- but to just make a claim that they are all stupid, is outside of the permitted boundary.

    I would assert that many poor children will grow up with intelligence deficits because they are plagued by parasites, chronic enteric bacterial illnesses, and poor nutrition. They just can't develop normally. That's not the same as saying that poor people are stupid and so are their children.

    So, HOW sensitive topics are approached makes a difference.
  • XanderTheGrey
    I agree, these are superior guidlines. I did not have a smartphone or use the web for much of anything but some reading until alittle over two years ago.

    It's not exactly what I expected, freedom of speech is not respected or enforced; you cannot talk about certain subjects online. Life has much more freedom then the internet, considering that on the web laws are much easier to enforce, and creativity is less useful. There is potentially no privacy at all here, while in real life you can find and create the most exquisite forms of privacy.
  • Wayfarer
    Not quite the same thing as a cloak of maliciousness, but related.Bitter Crank

    Very close, indeed!
  • Baden

    Thanks for your input, although considering the fact that you listed "trolling" as one of your loves on your bio before removing it, and that the following is still there:

    "I enjoy impregnating my wife so my lineage will conquer the world, and getting frequent blowjobs just because I can"

    I don't take any of this seriously.
  • Agustino
    However the very standards of what constitutes truth, have themselves been thrown into doubt, so accordingly, the spirit of the age is chaos.Wayfarer
    Yes indeed. But it's something that has been coming for a long time Wayfarer. Darkness is finally starting to lay hold of the world properly, but it has been here for a long time.

    We'll see how the world will emerge from it.
  • Baden
    Anyway, much of what is written in the OP above makes sense and what does is already being implemented. It's a pity this is most likely a troll and therefore the discussion will be closed.

    EDIT: After corresponding with VS, I'm suspending judgement on the latter but I don't feel we need to open up the whole racism/sexism thing again anyway as we've had so much of it lately, so I'm leaving this discussion closed. If anyone else does have a burning desire to hash this out more, you can start a new discussion, but I don't think we mods have got much left to say about it that hasn't been said already in the recent past.