Jul 18·edited Jul 18Liked by Dr. des. Émile P. Torres

|Both histories are dominated by white men. This is largely due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who have written about human extinction have been white men; indeed, there are perhaps only 30 or so Western philosophers—that’s it—who have offered anything close to a systematic analysis of the ethics of extinction. Why it is that privileged white men have dominated Existential Ethics is a question that I hope to address in subsequent papers. The most obvious answer is that an extinction-causing catastrophe would directly affect them, whereas non-extinction catastrophes like global poverty and localized famines, and social injustices like racism and sexism, do not.

When you address the high count of privileged white men in Existential Ethics, I hope you compare to Western philosophers overall (adjusted for when these philosophers wrote). It seems to me the most obvious explanation is that Western traditions of philosophy in general are dominated by privileged white men.

Part of this has only an indirect relationship to injustice- the constructs of "Western" and "white" have been socially defined such that most Western persons were white. Even in a fully just society, this effect would be even stronger than national demographics imply. For example, an Australian philosopher who is a 2nd generation Indian immigrant might be less inclined to work in the Western tradition.

Additionally, injustice plays a role in all areas of Western philosophy. Until recently even the most privileged white women would have difficulty being employed as a professor or having their work taken seriously. Similarly a Black man would experience great barriers to tenure at a research institution. Identity aside, any person so impoverished that their family's life is endangered is unlikely to prioritize or have opportunities for a philosophy career.

That's not to say there isn't a statistical trend for Western Existential Ethics to be disproportionately privileged, white, or male compared to contemporary Western philosophy. But I would be surprised if it wasn't most of the explanation.

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Thank you for sharing this. Very insightful, and giving a lot of handles to give some direction to thinking.

I do have another question. I think it would fit better with the article about the Guardian article, but the comments seem to be turned off there. I am aware this might be a sensitive issue, please forgive me if I say anything wrong.

On the book website LibraryThing we are having a discussion about what to do with deadnames of transitioned authors. Am I right that you would want the author page of Phil kept separate from your current author page? Should we add a note not to combine the two, or would that draw to much attention to the connection? We're just not sure how to handle this best, so any input from you would be appreciated.

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