Philosophy Journal hosts a debate on “Jewish influence” (some updates)

Have Jews insinuated themselves into positions of power and influence in politics and culture because they are naturally gifted with higher IQs, or is it also because they are ethnocentric networkers and hypocrites good at using non-Jews in their self-serving mission to “transform America”. contrary to white interests”? Racial science and/or conspiracy theory? This scandalous question – pardon the editorialization – is currently under discussion in the pages of the journal of academic philosophy Philosophy.

Welcome to 2022.

January 1 saw the online publication of “The ‘Default Hypothesis’ Fails to Explain Jewish Influence” by Kevin MacDonald, who is described on Wikipedia as an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, white supremacist and retired professor of evolutionary psychology. MacDonald’s 32-page article is a response to an article by Nathan Cofnas, “The Anti-Jewish Narrative,” which Philosophy published last February, and which is part of a series of articles in which Cofnas criticizes McDonald’s.

Both MacDonald and Cofnas are concerned with the question, “Did the Jews create liberal multiculturalism to advance their ethnic interests?” (Cofnas, p.1332).

Cofnas’ view on this issue is ultimately based on his assertion that “Jews are overrepresented in all intellectual movements and activities that are not openly anti-Semitic mainly because they have a high average IQ” (Cofnas, p.1331). This is part of his view that there is “legitimate racial difference science” (Cofnas, p. 1332) with respect to intelligence (previously).

Cofnas characterizes MacDonald as asserting that “intelligent and ethnocentric Jews created liberal intellectual and political movements to promote Jewish interests at the expense of Gentiles” (Cofnas, pp. 1330-1331). MacDonald posits ethnocentric “ethnic networking” (MacDonald, p.2), “Jewish hypocrisy” (p.9), “Jewish activism” (throughout), and efforts to “recruit Gentiles as “window dressing” to conceal the extent of Jewish dominance” (p.3) in left-wing organizations, among others, as elements of the Jewish conspiracy.

MacDonald also addresses the question of whether Jews should be welcomed by white supremacists. Here is his response, which I reproduce as a screenshot for those who might otherwise be incredulous that an academic journal published these words:

Did I mention that Philosophythe subtitle is “Israel’s Philosophical Quarterly“? One wonders to what extent Cofnas and MacDonald regard the publication of their articles in an Israel-based journal as evidence against the presumptions of their debate.

Philosophy is published by Asa Kasher (Tel Aviv). In response to questions about the publication of these articles, he wrote that the articles had been refereed before publication, but that it was “a mistake” to publish them, explaining that he was “not aware of the context general debate” and that he is “sorry to treat the discussion as an ordinary philosophical debate”. He added that further comments from him could be communicated.

Yesterday, Moti Mizrahi (Florida Institute of Technology), who until last night was deputy editor of Philosophy, wrote on Twitter: “I have nothing to do with the publication of this [McDonald’s] article in Philosophy. I asked the EiC to reconsider its publication in Philosophia. Later in the day he announced his resignation of the journal.

Readers may recall that Philosophy was in the news in 2020 for another article that was published by “error”. Dr. Kasher informs me that he “asked Springer to initiate a withdrawal procedure” for this document, although it remains online.

UPDATE 1 (03/01/22): The first sentence of this post has now been edited to better distinguish the views of Cofnas and MacDonald.

UPDATE 2 (05/01/22): The following editorial note has been added to the MacDonald article web page:

UPDATE 3 (07/01/22): A person claimed to be one of the referees of MacDonald’s article published in Philosophysaying that he has repeatedly sent the manuscript back for revisions, but indicating that he approves of its publication:

Edward Dutton appears to be a self-taught evolutionary psychologist with a doctorate in religious studies. According to his Wikipedia entrance:

he wrote controversial racist articles for far-right fringe magazines such as Quarterly Humanity and OpenPsychas well as articles for mainstream scientific journals such as Personality and individual differences and Intelligence. Some of the books Dutton authored were published by Washington Summit Publishers run by neo-Nazi Richard B. Spencer… Dutton wrote an article in defense of Kevin MacDonald’s work. Culture of criticism series, which claims that Jews are biologically ethnocentric to the detriment of other groups…

Dutton was previously editor of the pseudoscientific journal Quarterly Humanity. He currently sits on their advisory board. He is currently editor-in-chief of Basic Logfounded by American white supremacist Richard B. Spencer.

He does not appear to have a formal academic background in philosophy, science, sociology, history, or any discipline related to the content of the article he claims to have refereed.

I wrote to Philosophy’s editor, Asa Kasher, asking if Dutton was in fact one of the referees, and if so, why. I will let you know if I have an answer.

(via Lewis Powell, who shared the news in a comment)

UPDATE 4 (1/11/21): A Springer representative, responding to inquiries, informs me that Springer Nature’s Research Integrity Group is working with the editor to investigate concerns and, reiterating the statement placed on the page of MacDonald’s article, “editorial action will be taken as appropriate once the investigation of the concerns has been completed and all parties have been given an opportunity to respond fully.”

UPDATE 5 (1/13/21): A representative for Springer, responding to a request for a 2020 article that the publisher of Philosophy initially stated to have been published in error, writes that “This matter was investigated with support from the Springer Nature Research Integrity Group, who concluded that the peer review process was sufficient, but also noted that the article had was submitted under a pseudonym, as evidenced by the editorial note that was added to the article.

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