My philosopher friends today are all talking about the resignation/firing of Colin McGinn, a pretty well-known philosopher as I understand it, who as it turns out has been sending e-mails to his graduate students describing…. well, there’s no real reason for me to describe it, I leave that kind of filth for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Philosophy and math have roughly the same male-female ratio, but philosophy has blogs like What Is It Like To Be A Woman In Philosophy? and math, as far as I know, does not. Is that because math has actually created a culture friendlier to women than philosophy has? Or is it because philosophy is closer to the social criticism tradition and philosophers are more likely to want to talk about these things openly?
I have one small data point. I once heard a philosopher give a talk in which there was a weird joke about you have to be careful not to sleep with your graduate students because [some philosophy joke I didn’t get and don’t remember.]
Or rather, it read as weird to me, because I think it’s highly unlikely that someone would say something like that in front of a roomful of mathematicians under any circumstances. Or if they did, there would be a burst of murmurs and everyone would be looking back and forth with the “Did he say that?” look. On this occasion, only I was looking back and forth. Nobody seemed to think it was weird, not the women, not the men. It was an informal, jokey kind of talk. But still.