12 philosophy scholars call for open debate

Australian philosophers, the renowned Peter Singer included, have joined with international counterparts to support freedom of thought and speech and to condemn sanctions.

Inside Higher Ed has published the open letter written by the 12 scholars expressing their concern about measures being taken to silence academics regarding gender ideology.


We, all scholars in philosophy at universities in Europe, North America and Australia, oppose such sanctioning. The proposed measures, such as censuring philosophers who defend these controversial positions or preventing those positions from being advanced at professional conferences and in scholarly journals, violate the fundamental academic commitment to free inquiry. Moreover, the consequent narrowing of discussion would set a dangerous precedent, threatening the ability of philosophers to engage with the issues of the day.


The group “reject calls for censuring or deplatforming any of our colleagues on the basis of their philosophical arguments about sex and gender identity”, “condemn the too frequently cruel and abusive rhetoric, including accusations of hatred or transphobia”and “urge that the philosophical discussion of sex, gender and related social and political issues be carried out in a collegial and mutually respectful manner."


Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman, said it was refreshing to read the scholars’emphatic stand.


“For too long, radical gender activists have aggressively silenced opposition. Now people are pushing back on their intolerance. Gender ideology ought to be subject to critical thought just as much as any other issue which affects the whole of society.”


“It’s significant that Peter Singer, the ideological godfather of The Australian Greens, is a signee of the letter.  This is a man who champions some of the most radical views out there, yet here he is insisting on people’s right to speak their mind, no matter what, and their right to disagree.  If he gets it, anyone should be able to get it.”