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09/07/2020

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Mike

Does the pro-life paper show up on philpapers? If so, it's a safe bet that someone on the search committee (or just a grad student at the institution), if you make it far enough, will search for you and see it. So, the whole CV question strikes me as moot.

I also second Marcus' point that, despite how things seem now on this side, there really are jobs you don't want. A place where people actively discriminate against you or call you sexist (behind your back?) may be one of those jobs.

In general, it also strikes me that the better job search strategy is to present the best version of you, not the version of you you think the hiring committee wants to see.

rutabagas

I agree with Mike. If I were on a search committee and came across a publication a job candidate hadn't put on their CV, I'd be nervous about what they were trying to hide and also a little offended they didn't think I could handle knowing their true beliefs.

If this is a concern for you, I think you can use other areas of your dossier to try to contextualize it--your research statement could be a good place to briefly expand on how this work represents a contribution that even people who disagree with you about abortion should value.

Humanati

When I first read this, I was fairly shocked to hear that Harman had suggested that she wouldn't hire someone who had publications arguing for an anti-abortion position. So I went and read the APA blog piece for myself. As far as I can tell, she says no such thing. (Indeed, the whole article is about how philosophy *benefits from* people defending what many might take to be immoral views.) Perhaps the OP didn't mean to suggest that Harman did say this. But they also didn't clearly distinguish between the inferences that they were drawing about her hiring practices and what she actually said. So I thought it useful to clear that up! Another point: I don't think the inference is totally right, at least if it's being applied more generally to hiring committees. For one thing, we should distinguish between different kinds of 'anti-abortion' papers; some may merely be arguing against certain arguments for the permissibility of abortion (e.g., challenging Thomson's violinist analogy), which doesn't strike me as sexist. For another, we should distinguish between the philosopher and the work. It's not out of the question that there might be compelling anti-abortionist arguments that don't rely on any background sexist commitments. A philosopher might put such an argument forward in print while still supporting a pro-choice position, and searching for a counter-argument to what they've published (or desperately hoping that there is one). Should we not expect hiring committees to take these possibilities into account?

grad student

Keep it on your cv! The women in your potential department, and the women taking your classes, nearly one in four of whom have had or will have abortions, ought to know that kind of thing about a person they'd potentially be working with :)

Anon

Just to clear things up: I didn't mean to say that Harman said she wouldn't hire someone who is pro-life. My point was that it wouldn't be surprising if she didn't given what she said. After all, who would hire a sexist? Of course, she doesn't say she thinks that all pro-life arguments are sexist, but that doesn't eliminate this worry. Anyway, I was only using her as an illustration for a mindset that I suspect is relatively widespread.

Em

Everyone in the comments is giving this person the benefit of the doubt to an impressive degree. Maybe this writer is, say, carefully arguing against the violinist analogy in a non-sexist way, or advancing such a position while personally being pro-choice, but given that the query states that this publication identifies the author as pro-life and worries that people will find it sexist, I have to say, I doubt that's what's going on here.

Bypassing completely the question of whether hiring committees will or should care (although I assume readers can maybe guess my position on that :) ), here's the thing: if you know a position is thought of as sexist, and you write an article taking that position, then you need to be prepared for people to think of you as a sexist. Either you hold that position strongly enough to accept the consequences of publishing and therefore publicly holding that position, or you hold the position but keep quiet because you don't like the potential consequences. Can't have both! Pick one! Ideally, before you publish any articles.

Postdoc

I vote that you take it off assuming it’s not easy to find on philpapers. Alternatively look for work at more conservative institutions.

Michel

Does the title out you as pro-life? If it doesn't, then I'm not sure that leaving it off the CV accomplishes much. I doubt anybody in the early stages would look into it unless they had some reason to do so, and in the late stages, they're going to Google you and check your papers on PhilPapers anyway.

I don't have any advice to offer, but I can say that for my part, if I saw that an otherwise promising candidate had a paper which might have what I judge to be questionable content--or a paper published in a questionable venue--I wouldn't dismiss them out of hand. Instead, I'd have a skim of the paper.

Now, if the tone or content of the paper raised red flags for me, then I'd drop the file. But I'd have a look first. As long as you're seriously engaging with the issue and the literature, and not just regurgitating talking points or spreading lies, then I'm not bothered by the disagreement with my own views.

Trevor Hedberg

I agree with prior comments indicating that interested search committees are likely to dig up the paper in question, which means that leaving it off your CV could hurt far more than it helps. But I'd also add that I think the general concern of the OP is overstated. There are plenty of people who have excellent jobs and are well respected despite having unpopular views. In fact, I suspect most philosophers hold at least one view that isn't held by very many people.

Prof L

I wouldn't leave it off. People like Em exist, almost everywhere, and they will judge you, and think terrible things about you. But what kind of person are you? As philosophers we should be dedicated to truth, and we are not dedicated to the truth if we hide our views at the slightest hint of personal risk. I imagine you wrote the essay because you think it's important, that it's a matter of justice. IDK. Professionally, yeah, it would probably be a better idea to take it off. But courage is a virtue, and honesty is too, and I just wouldn't let the the Ems of the world determine how I act (I hope, I've never faced this particular dilemma).

Chris

I may be mistaken but I think there was a previous thread somewhere on this blog on not listing ALL of one's publications. [The case was different---I think it had to do with a publication largely unrelated to the job ad and was not a particularly contentious publication.] My impression from that thread was that people were generally in favor of having a "Selected Publications" section on the CV (rather than a "Publications" section). The consensus was that a person can leave off publications that are irrelevant to the job ad without being dishonest.

Assistant Professor

In full agreement with those who note that any search committee will google you, find your publications, and any other track record that exists for you online, and learn about this publication - EVEN IF they have official policies that prohibit them from seeking out information outside the application portfolio.

Moreover: this paper is your view. Or, this is a view you have decided to defend in print (whether or not you agree with it, but I find it hard to imagine defending this particular view in print if you don't agree with it). So, stand by it! And if you think holding your own view is so problematic, you might consider revisiting whether it is sound, or shoring up an argument for why it is not sexist to be anti-choice, if you have a good argument for that position.

Were you to be hired into my department we would disagree about this topic. I have had an abortion. I write about abortion. We would argue. That is what philosophers do. I would not vote against your hire because you wrote an anti-choice paper, unless it was a poorly written, poorly argued paper, that you had nothing interesting to say about when asked.

R1er

Putting aside the morality of leaving it off your CV, I don't see how that would benefit you. If you make the shortlist, somebody on the committee will find it, then everyone will know about it, and then you'll have to contend with both (i) a pro-life pub and (ii) concealment of a pro-life pub, rather than just (i). The idea that this paper could hurt you is insane, given that abortion is hard and the pro-life view is a reasonable (although in my opinion wrong) one. But as you can tell from the comments here, and as you already suspect, it totally will doom your chances. Nothing to be done about that. Philosophy, and value theory especially, is an intellectual disaster these days. Prepare a backup plan. PS There's nothing "safe" or "supportive" about [...] comments like that of "grad student". [Moderator: '[...]' and final sentence redacted due to content].

Namesless

Many seem to be assuming that search committees, if you make the short list, will google you and find your publications. However, this is not a guarantee. First, not every search committee will take this kind of time to investigate you--people are busy and not everyone is comfortable with the ethics of googling an applicant. Second, not all journals are equally easy to find online--a journal that doesn't appear on philpapers may not be found by a quick search.

Probably, you won't find a job right now regardless of what you do, given the self-inflicted, global economic collapse. However, as you can see from many of the comments on here, a pro-life paper will decrease your chances at non-conservative institutions. This being an election year will make the vitriol against conservative ideas worse than normal too.

I second R1er that philosophy is a disaster. I'd prepare a backup and think of getting out. If you are in the slightest bit conservative you're going to hate it.

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