Prominent philosopher resigns, blames confusion over philosophical puns. June 6, 2013 6:21 PMSubscribe
Colin McGinn, a distinguished philosopher at the University of Miami, is resigning his post due to allegations that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to his research assistant, a graduate student in philosophy. Sexual harassment is widely acknowledged to be a problem in philosophy departments, with philosophers debating what to do about harassers in their midst. (Previously on Metafilter: a call to shun harassers in philosophy.) Brian Leiter, who closely watches news in the profession of philosophy on his blog, reflects on the McGinn case and considers the importance of tenure as an academic institution, and he reminds readers of the value of due process when allegations like this are made against professors. McGinn responds and says the allegations are false and that "graduate students are not what they used to be." McGinn suggests that his e-mails were misconstrued, and that rather than committing harassment, his research on the philosophy of the hand included punning on how any task completed by hand constitutes a "hand job."