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What are the risks of a ‘dangerous idea’ like Tuvel’s?
First of all, trans people and activists for trans rights might worry that the structural analogy Tuvel draws between race and gender will undermine claims to the social acceptance of trans identities.
So we have to figure out the probability of anyone with political influence actually bothering to read Tuvel’s paper, and the probability of this changing their mind about anything enough to change the actual political situation, either for black people or for trans people.
Somewhat ironically, the probabilities were incredibly low before all of this blew up online. Perhaps it’s too quick to suggest that the correct response to an offensive paper is to ignore it, rather than to draw attention to it.
(2) Many philosophers tend to draw a distinction between the theoretical and the political.
This is where I think the case falls down, at least as a general worry about philosophical ideas.That is for the journal to negotiate with its authors. Even if the paper had been published in , Philosophy’s problem of being dominated at all levels by cisgender white men entails that many members of marginalized groups (including trans black people) will be located outside the discipline, and so, conversely, work done outside the discipline may in fact be philosopy.In that case, the problem of whose work must be read and engaged with becomes a lot more difficult.(3) One concern that has come up multiple times in response to Tuvel’s paper is about insufficient engagement with people who belong to the groups about which she is theorizing.If this paper had been published in , then it would seem reasonable to think that the obligations of engagement are limited to contributions both on the topic and in the field of philosophy.