Synthese Disclaimer Published

I’ve already mentioned on this blog my Synthese response to the perfectly awful piece by philosopher Barbara Forrest (see here, here and here) in which she “critiques” my entire life. (If that sounds weird, you’re right. See my pointed Synthese response to Forrest, “Or We Can Be Philosophers: A Response to Barbara Forrest.”)  It turns out that the editors of Synthese have just published a disclaimer in the front matter of the Synthese issue in which Forrest’s piece was published. Here it is:

Statement from the Editors-in-Chief of SYNTHESE

This special issue addresses a topic of lively current debate with often strongly expressed views. We have observed that some of the papers in this issue employ a tone that may make it hard to distinguish between dispassionate intellectual discussion of other views and disqualification of a targeted author or group.

We believe that vigorous debate is clearly of the essence in intellectual communities, and that even strong disagreements can be an engine of progress. However, tone and prose should follow the usual academic standards of politeness and respect in phrasing. We recognize that these are not consistently met in this particular issue. These standards, especially toward people we deeply disagree with, are a common benefit to us all. We regret any deviation from our usual standards.

Johan van Benthem
Vincent F. Hendricks
John Symons
Editors-in-Chief / SYNTHESE

I am honored that these editors have chosen to distance their prestigious journal from the less-than-scholarly tactics of Professor Forrest. Once you read my March 8, 2011 blog post, which includes my article’s introductory comments, you will see why the disclaimer of the Synthese editors was compelled by nothing less than common decency.


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