Academic assholes and the circle of niceness

Here is a blog very much on our topic from The Thesis Whisperer.

With references to business literature and some interesting comments.

Update May 2018

Here are some related links. This one defends the status quo, and seems uninterested in alternatives or questions about pedagogy and privilege:

This one is about assholes in general, but the second item in the definition of an asshole has a bearing on philosophical practice. This is that the asshole acts on a belief in his own superiority and claims privileges on that basis, but is in denial about this. This surely must be part of the diagnosis of the philosopher-arse.

Here is another, more recent and nuanced discussion where it seems to be taken for granted that rigour requires some degree of obnoxiousness:

I’m not convinced that rigour must be obnoxious, though it is (as the writer explores) often socially out of place.

In contrast, here is a piece arguing that listening to someone’s arguments might be as much about learning and understanding as about convincing and counter-arguing.

Here is a hypothesis: the particular type of the philosophy-arse exists not (as some of these pieces argue) because philosophy is super-rigorous and philosophers insist on pursuing logic at the expense of politeness. Rather, it’s because philosophy is unrigorous. Philosophers use logic once they have you cornered, once they have persuaded you to accept their definitions and intuitions. But to get to that position, there may in many cases be nothing more rigorous than a lot of gaslighting and ridicule.


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