Michael Della Rocca has given me permission to post this request, which he sent to a number of Marcus-admirers and friends, to PEA Soup.
Dear Friends and admirers of Ruth Marcus,
Forgive the mass e-mailing, any duplications, or omissions. As you know, Ruth Marcus died over two weeks ago and an obituary has yet to appear in the New York Times. This failure to recognize one of the most prominent and pioneering philosophers of the last 60 years is appalling. There have been multiple communications between Yale and also NYU (Ruth's undergraduate alma mater) with the obituary editors at the Times. The Times has received a wealth of information from these sources and still no obituary. I fear that they have decided or are in the process of deciding that Ruth is not a significant enough figure to warrant the recognition of an obituary in the Times. Don't get me started on this -- it's simply outrageous. Don Garrett, Diana Raffman and I have sent to the Times' obituary editors a strongly worded message -- see below. If you would like to endorse the sentiments in this message please let me know and we will pass on this information to the Times. I plan to be in touch with them again soon. Or if you would like to write a message of your own to the Times that would be great. The obituary editors are Bill McDonald<firstname.lastname@example.org> and Jack Kadden<email@example.com>.
If there are other philosophers you know of who might be interested in helping out here, please feel free to forward this message and to encourage them to be in touch with me or Diana or Don.
Don, Diana, and I will be in touch directly with the APA leadership about this matter so that they may contact the Times too.
best, Michael (and Diana and Don)
Below the fold is the message that was sent yesterday to the Obituary editors at the Times:
The Pope seems to be referring to certain provisions in the government's Equality Bill which is currently being debated in Parliament --
specifically, the provisions that clarify the conditions in which an employer can lawfully refuse to hire
someone because of their sex or marital status or sexual orientation. According to the bill,
the principal conditions in which a religious organization may do this is when filling positions that "mainly involve (a)
leading or assisting in the observance of liturgical or ritualistic practices,
or (b) promoting or explaining the doctrine of the religion (whether to
followers of the religion or to others)."
According to the Pope, this "imposes ... unjust limitations on the freedom of
religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs, [and] in some
respects, ... violates natural law".
I shall argue that on this point the UK government is basically right, and the
Pope is wrong.
BBC has estimated that, in the UK, about 85.000 women were raped in the year 2006. In the US, during the same year, 92.455 rapes were reported to law-enforcement officers and we know that there were far more unreported cases than that. These sorts of numbers support the feminist view that we are dealing with a wide-spread social practice rather than merely with discrete acts of individuals who are morally corrupt and perhaps mentally ill.
I find the feminist analyses of rape appealing even if I want to try to amend them in one respect. Many feminist philosophers claim that it is not only the raped women who are harmed by this practice. Instead, all women suffer as a group because of it. This seems plausible. However, the feminists then go on to argue that it is not only the rapist men who benefit. Rather, all non-rapist men benefit. It is this claim that I want to challenge. I want to also suggest that even the rapists themselves are worse off for raping women whether they get caught or not. If this is right, then rape is a deeply irrational practice even before we get to the moral considerations – it harms all of us.
Folks who work on oppression often distinguish oppression attributable to individuals from oppression attributable to institutions. Thus, there's a lot of discussion about institutional racism or sexism, say, as well as discussion of systematic or structural racism or sexism. Here's a quick question: anyone have any thoughts on the nature of the relation between the institutional, the systematic, and the structural? Are these terms just being used as synonyms, at least in the relevant literature? I have a vague feeling that it is possible to have non-systematic and non-structural institutions, but (since the relevant systems and structures are all social systems and structures, I presume), I'm not sure that there are any non-institutional (social) structures or (social) systems. Any thoughts?