Missing Link Friday – Fat, feminism, fair pay & philosophy

In this week’s Missing Link Friday: fat, feminism, fair pay, philosophy and more.

The death of Obama? Catallaxy’s Samuel J spots an unfortunate typo at the Australian.

The dogs of war: "We sent 79 commandos to get Osama bin Laden — and one dog", writes Ezra Klein.

Cutting the fat: At Crooked Timber, John Holbo wonders why it’s virtuous to spend hours working out at the gym pursuing a better figure, but "regarded as just plain gross and freaky" to submit to cosmetic surgery.

Feminist call-out culture: Does the feminist blogosphere have an overactive immune system? At Feministe, Jill writes about the destructiveness of ‘call-out culture’ :

“calling out” has increasingly turned into cannibalism. It’s increasingly turned into a stand-in for actual activism. We have increasingly focused on shutting down voices rather than raising each other up.

Why Aren’t Porn Stars Paid More? At Dollars and Sex Marina Adshade wonders whether copyright laws can explain the pay gap between Hollywood stars and porn stars.

Should policy makers care about what people deserve? Julian Sanchez explains the difference between desert and entitlement arguing that:

political and policy discussions should concentrate on what people are entitled to, rather than on necessarily muddy attempts to determine (and embed in law) what people morally deserve.

Policy and philosophy: Many philosophers overestimate the importance of abstract principles, argues Fernando Teson:

… many philosophers think that if they can just make the right conceptual distinctions and identify the right political principles they can select the best institutions, laws, and policies. Not so. Abstract moral principles are insufficient to explain the differences between good and bad laws.

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Nicholas Gruen
13 years ago

Intriguing, from the quote I thought that the Policy and Philosophy item would argue the conservative idea that principles can only get you so far, and that history and the particularity of specific institutions, attention to context is the secret sauce – but far from it. Our utilitarian libertarians on the site are pretty adept at throwing round the big concepts. Not a lot of context there.

13 years ago


The same thing can be said for logical arguments. If someone has their views rooted in moral intuitions then any form of argument is likely to be dismissed with the most convenient rationalisation.

In my experience many people feel more comfortable making empirical arguments than moral ones.

I wonder if that’s because one can shift blame to the evidence if fault is found with an empirical argument. With a logical argument, the person making the argument puts themselves at risk of being the one at fault for an incorrect argument. It’s probably a similar sense of ego that prevents people being open to admitting their moral intuitions may be wrong.

I think what that post was getting at, is that generally people are arguing about what the practical outcomes of implementing a particular political ideology will be, rather than any logical inconsistencies or moral flaws internal to the particular ideology. These could (at least in theory) be experimentally determined with empirical evidence, and arguably be best answered with the available empirical evidence. These questions about how the world actually works stand in contrast to more abstract questions of how the world ought to work. Whether people do spend more time arguing about the former, I’m not sure.

paul walter
paul walter
13 years ago

The “callout culture” thread was interesting, it evoked a bit of thought revolving about the Great Online Inter Blog Stoush of few months ago, chiefly involving LP and OLP.
Things seem to remain the same in the short term and it is indeed a surprise to look up and suddenly realise how things have changed, “ten years after” and that underlying forces have done their work out of sight, a bit like tectonic plates shifting.
All appears to be well, then something new, maybe quite small, happens and- thwack!
As for po-n stars, surely the reward is in the work itself…