Volume 62, Issue 1, Winter 2018
On Intellectual Generosity
A Response to Rebecca Tuvel’s "In Defense of Transracialism"
In this response I compare Rebecca Tuvel’s article, “In Defense of Transracialism,” to several other recent examples of philosophical and social justice scholarship in which authors (Eli Clare, Alexandre Baril, Cressida Heyes, Ladelle McWhorter, Judith Butler) draw comparisons between diverse identities and oppressions, and draw ethical and political conclusions about experiences that are not necessarily their own. I ask what methodological or authorial differences can explain the dramatically different reception of these works compared to Tuvel’s, and whether these differences in reception were justified. In this response I also challenge the often-heard claim that Tuvel failed to draw on the evidence of experience in her article, as well as the assumption that social justice scholars should always do so. Finally, I consider Tuvel’s motivations in writing her article and describe them as intellectually generous, and I call for more intellectual generosity in academia as it is transformed by social media.