More Evidence that Postmodern Thinking is Id-Based

Philosopher Kelly Oliver gives us some more information about the postmodernist witch hunt of Rebecca Tuvel. Oliver makes various observations that support my contention that the postmodern mindset draws from the Id:

The feeding frenzy in response to Tuvel’s article couldn’t have happened without social media. The viciousness of the attacks was fueled by the mob mentality of Facebook. Dissenters, even those who just wanted a civil discussion of the issue, were shut down immediately or afraid to voice their opinions in public. Some who in private were sympathetic to Tuvel, felt compelled to join in the attacking mob. The thought police were in full force. Both Tuvel and the journal were under pressure to retract the article and apologize. In a private message to me, one of my academic friends said one editor’s Facebook apology for publishing such an “offensive” article, “sounded like something ISIS makes its captors read in a hostage video before beheading them.” Joking aside, there was (and still is) tremendous pressure to condemn Tuvel and her article. Some who joined in the protests later admitted in private that they hadn’t even read the article. And at least one person who signed a petition demanding that Hypatia retract the text in question, later, when the media tides were turning, wanted to remove her signature from the damning letter. I wonder how many of those who signed that letter had actually read the article. Just this morning, I received a text from someone I respect, lamenting the cruelty on social media, but telling me she was sure she would disagree with the article and find it offensive, even though she hadn’t yet read it.

Two interesting themes emerge:

  1. Group think among the academic postmodernists is so intense that even those who were sympathetic to Tuvel felt the need join in with the mob and go on the attack. This shows the primitive urge to signal you are part of the Proper Tribe among the various “scholars.”
  2. The Id-based urge to properly position oneself in this academic world entails criticizing something you did not read. When some scholar (I presume) told Oliver “she was sure she would disagree with the article and find it offensive,” apparently she is oblivious to the fact her mind is primed to rely on confirmation bias which is contrary to scholarly thinking.

Oliver also notes:

I felt the need to defend Rebecca Tuvel not only because she is a friend and former Ph.D. student of mine, but also because I respect her work, which is always well argued—whether or not you agree with it—and I found her arguments compelling. I summoned up the courage and entered the fray suggesting only that Hypatia invite critical responses to the article. This suggestion was met with ridicule and derision. I then asked critics to respond with philosophical arguments rather than lobbing insults, which was met with claims that I was doing “violence” to marginalized scholars.

Here we can see the infantile aspect of the postmodernists.  The whole idea of using reason to assess an argument is labeled as “violence,” meaning they have retreated fully into the realm of self-serving emotion.  It’s no wonder….

The most vocal figures on social media claimed they were harmed, even traumatized, by Tuvel’s article, and by my defense of its right to exist. Some said that Tuvel’s article harmed them, and I was doing violence to them, even triggering PTSD, just by calling for an open discussion of, and debate over, the arguments in the article.

In their “world revolves me” approach, the postmodernists use infant-like complaints about being “harmed” to shut down any criticism of their views.

And then comes the Id’s aggressive drive:

Through every medium imaginable, senior feminist scholars were pressuring, even threatening, Tuvel that she wouldn’t get tenure and her career would be ruined if she didn’t retract her article. When I called out the worst insulters for threatening an untenured junior feminist, they claimed they were the victims here not her.

and

A senior feminist philosopher called to warn Tuvel that she should be appealing to the “right people” if she wanted to get tenure and warned her not to publish her book on this topic or it would ruin her career and mark her as “all that is wrong with white feminism.”

Of course.  Toddlers who don’t get their way by crying will often switch over to having rage-fueled tantrums.  So this Id-based approach translates as follows in the academic world: If you won’t shut up because of our tears, we will have no choice but to lash out at you.

And finally, Oliver seems to get the whole tribalistic nature of postmodernism:

Part of the problem with the response to Tuvel’s article is that some seem to feel that they are the only ones who have the legitimate right to talk about certain topics….. Indeed, it leads to a kind of academic Selfie culture where all we can do is take pictures of ourselves and never consider the lives of others.

I have already spoken about this primitive aspect of the postmodernists, which further supports my hypothesis of the Id-based nature of postmodern “scholarship.”

It’s important to realize I am not mocking the postmodernists here.  The evidence does suggest the core of postmodernism is Id-based and such a primitive approach to reality has entrenched itself within academia.  This is quite serious.

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7 Responses to More Evidence that Postmodern Thinking is Id-Based

  1. Travis says:

    It boggles my mind to imagine how these people would react to living under sharia law. Are they completely oblivious to the fact that a free and open society that cherishes free speech is precisely the only society where people who claim to undergo literal psychological harm from the publishing of an article in a journal can lash out and try to destroy others who speak freely?

    I also wonder if these people are as weak minded as they claim, or if it entirely a foil to destroy those with whom they disagree. After all, if you can claim you are as damaged as they claim to be by these writings, you are basically trying to elicit the same sort of retaliatory response as if you had been physically suckered punched by someone; i.e., getting such “violent” people removed from positions of respect or authority. I think you’re right about how serious and dangerous this philosophy and mindset are.

  2. Michael says:

    I also wonder if these people are as weak minded as they claim, or if it entirely a foil to destroy those with whom they disagree.

    Indeed.

  3. Dhay says:

    > Some who joined in the protests later admitted in private that they hadn’t even read the article. … I wonder how many of those who signed that letter had actually read the article. … telling me she was sure she would disagree with the article and find it offensive, even though she hadn’t yet read it.

    Sounds familiar … I note that in 2006 Dawkins just knew he had to sign an in-your-face petition without taking the trouble to understand it, or even to read it in its entirety:

    Yes. In my all too cursory reading of the petition (if I had read the whole thing more carefully, I would have noticed the coercive phraseology and would not have signed it) … I of course assumed …

    … another reason why I would not have signed, if I had read the supporting statement …

    Dawkins makes a point of repeating and re-emphasising those words:

    If only the petition had been worded properly in the first place . . . And if only I had read it more carefully . . .

    https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/12/divided-by-a-co.html

    Let’s see his thinking: why bother to read the petition right through, why bother to take a moment or two to understand it, when it’s obviously anti-Christian. Sign reflexively, without examination, without consideration.

    *

    The desperate scramble to identify as, and be seen to be, one of the in-group by signing to complain about the pariah and by laying into the pariah on social media, is matched elsewhere by a great reluctance to be seen as one of the out-group; here’s tenured professor Daniel Bonevac of the ‘University of Texas at Austin’ being interviewed by Times Higher Education:

    He estimates that when he started out, liberals outnumbered conservatives in the humanities by a ratio of perhaps three or four to one. Today, it’s more like six to one among his immediate colleagues, he says. “But that makes us remarkably conservative for a humanities department. Some of the research I’ve seen recently makes it more like 10 or 15 to one.”

    What dismayed him most, he says, is that for every person who agreed to sign the Scholars and Writers for America statement, four or five were sympathetic but declined, fearing they would become “pariahs”.

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/the-only-conservative-scholar-on-campus

    And that’s in Texas, in “a deeply conservative region”.

  4. Dhay says:

    Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) is a reliably fearless advocate of free speech and anti- SJW irrationality — until, that is, he reads about Tory plans to allow a free vote in Parliament on fox hunting; in his blog post dated 10 May 2017 entitled “Theresa May wants to revive fox hunting in Britain” he shows another side:

    Fox hunting was banned in Britain a while ago, but now some Tories want to bring it back so they can indulge in upper-class ritualized murder.

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/theresa-may-wants-to-revive-fox-hunting-in-britain/

    Murder, indeed! Perhaps “murder” has a different meaning in the US to its meaning in the UK; here, murder is a word used exclusively for the unlawful killing of humans. Animals are killed, slaughtered, culled, put down, never murdered. In his use of this highly emotionally charged inappropriate word, Coyne signals his visceral rather than rational opposition to fox hunting and mirrors a characteristic SJW response. His Id is showing.

    Well. some things, and fox hunting is one of them, should not be up for a vote.

    Personally, I am all in favour of the current ban on fox-hunting. What I wouldn’t ban is discussion of it, free speech, and exchange of arguments and opinions.

    And do the foxes get to vote? After all, they’re the ones who get chased down and torn apart by dogs. What kind of heartless boobs would do that for fun?

    To parody Coyne in similar words to his own, how about the rabbits that get chased down and torn apart by foxes. What kind of heartless boob would accept that?

    Isn’t Coyne a former professional biologist; doesn’t he know the facts of animal life, that all predators, foxes as much as dogs, chase down and tear apart their prey.

    For some reason Coyne has a fondness for cats; cats are famed for chasing down and tearing apart birds and small mammals. Perhaps it’s because he self-identifies with cats that Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) is silent on an animal which does far more damage to wildlife than dogs do.

    If you are going to complain about speciesism — as I think Cat Coyne is doing here, with his implicit claim that foxes should be treated like humans — at least be consistent and treat all species alike, instead of rank discrimination in favour of foxes and cats, and against rabbits, voles, birds, etc; that is also speciesism.

    Maybe they should bring back bear-baiting, too.

    Coyne had better choices for his sarcasm in cock-fighting or dog-fighting. “Bear-baiting” is particularly clueless from a biologist: the UK has no bears except in zoos.

    Form your own opinion of Coyne’s blog post — calm rational argument, or an SJW-type freak-out?

  5. Dhay says:

    Looks to me like “Science and Reason” are readily jettisoned, even by those you would suppose must be exemplars of their use.

  6. Dhay says:

    From the “various observations” (Salon) link in the OP:

    Some said that Tuvel’s article harmed them, and I was doing violence to them, even triggering PTSD, just by calling for an open discussion of, and debate over, the arguments in the article.

    http://thephilosophicalsalon.com/if-this-is-feminism-its-been-hijacked-by-the-thought-police/

    Perhaps the Independent’s fox-hunting article harmed Jerry Coyne, did violence to him, even triggering PTSD.

  7. TFBW says:

    Here’s a contrary view from a psychiatrist. He argues that political correctness is more of a rampant superego thing, and that Trump appeals to the id. It’s an educated opinion supported by analysis, not a smear. If nothing else, it leaves me slightly more sceptical of the utility of these Freudian categories: they seem to be mostly narrative gloss.

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