Monday, October 31, 2005

Of Milk and Moo

Two more posts up at Ezra-land. First I criticize the old saw encouraging women not to have premarital sex if they want to get married -- "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" The obvious problem with thinking about men's relationships to women in this way is exposed therein.

David Sirota descended upon my Ohio Senate post and got really mad. So I wrote a response that pointed out his near-complete failure to correctly present his opponents' arguments. It was fun to write, and I hope it's fun to read.

5 comments:

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

The Milk Conversation drives me batty. I can't believe we're having it here in the 21st century.

Mary said...

I hadn't heard that "cow/milk" saying in a long time, except maybe in jest, then I heard someone (a woman) sincerely say it at a Halloween party last night. I can't believe people still think that way, and how they don't think about all the implications of that oh-so-charming aphorism. Neil, it must be really difficult to be a professional philosopher and listen to people say things all the time that you know they haven't really taken the time to think about carefully. I think my head would explode.

Do you address that stuff in a social situation, like a party, or do you save it for the classroom, blog, etc? And if you do address it, do you get invited back?

Rousseau said...

I really think it's a different statement when given to an individual or to society at large.

At a party, it's probably given to an individual. I don't really know how to respond to someone saying "you boyfriend probably doesn't love you for you, so make sure to hold up sex to get him married." Seems so awkward.

Although if it's being said about a general societal level, people who go on about making sweeping cultural and political statements in a large anonymous setting should probably be fair game for controverisal discussion - but they often turn out to be the worst people to have rational discussion with.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Mary, political speeches are among the times where this is the biggest problem. Fortunately, I think John Edwards' understanding of morality and my understanding of it overlap in key respects -- he insists that poverty is a moral issue and I totally agree with him. So he's not painful to listen to in the way so many politicians (including Democrats, sometimes) are.

I've accepted the fact that lots of people -- often people who are otherwise quite nice -- have occasional nasty moral beliefs. (This is one of the things that drove me into philosophy from the beginning. I don't know if I'd be interested in ethics if I'd grown up in, say, London, instead of North Carolina.) As long as this is the case, there's still work for me to do.

cali said...

Just to let you know, I enjoyed reading your exchange with Sirota.