[Marxism] Philosophers to cross picket line
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 21 08:23:29 MST 2005
To Honor a Boycott or Not?
Philosophers have had plenty to debate in advance of this weeks meeting of
the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association.
The meeting is at San Franciscos Westin St. Francis Hotel, which is
currently subject to a boycott organized by labor groups upset over pay and
working conditions. Some scholars have advocated moving the meeting to
another location, as the Organization of American Historians recently did.
But the leaders of the philosophy group in a letter posted on a Cornell
philosophers Web site said that a poll of program participants found
that most did not want to relocate the meeting to San Jose or another
location. The letter noted that large academic meetings are typically set
up well in advance, and that many meeting participants had made plans that
would be difficult and expensive to change. The letter also acknowledged
that moving the meeting at this late date could create serious financial
difficulties for the association.
So the group is going ahead with its meeting as scheduled, but also
publicizing the efforts of some philosophers to relocate their sessions to
locations at the University of San Francisco.
In comments posted on the Web site of Brian Weatherson, the Cornell
philosopher, opinion appears divided.
One philosopher wrote, I wont cross a picket line and personally I can
afford to change my plans if the conference moves, but I do wish there was
some way that the A.P.A. could investigate the labor practices of potential
venues for meetings well in advance and establish guidelines for program
committees before it comes to this kind of crunch.... Its a real moral
dilemma in any case one wishes that there would be panel discussion at
some future A.P.A. on the moral responsibility, if any, of professional
societies as institutions with bucks to spend in the real world.
Others, however, say that the right thing to do is to stick with current
plans. Some people have to make plans far in advance for any number of
reasons: financial, medical, disability, child-care, transportation,
scheduling of non-A.P.A. commitments, etc, wrote one scholars. For this
reason the A.P.A. has a serious moral responsibility to stick with its plans.
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