CCR Symposium: Paul Horwitz Responds
Over at Prawfs, Paul Horwitz offers a fairly harsh critique of our CCR Symposium, focusing both on the contents of the contributions and the posts that have not allowed comments. Here’s an excerpt:
[T]here’s something about the [decision not to allow comments] that I think is related to both the overall topic of the symposium and the views taken by those posters who are most sympathetic to Citron’s arguments. Those people who are most worried about the potential for “abusive” disagreement have also been, in my view, the symposiasts who have made the most sweeping, tendentious, and unsupported claims, both empirical and normative, in support of their arguments. That makes their “arguments” more like assertions. It not only prevents their arguments from being as strong as they could be — for, in saying they are making the most tendentious and unsupported arguments, I am not saying they are necessarily making bad arguments — but it also suggests, ironically enough given the topic, that those individuals who are making the claims that most demand heated disagreement are the same people who, on the one hand, fear being openly and heatedly (or “abusively”) contradicted, and on the other would enforce this fear through legal means. Moreover, the fact that they are taking matters into their own hands by blocking comments, although I am not crazy about this move, makes me question whether legal remedies are as necessary as they suggest they are.
Of course, the CoOp editors had every right to make this move. But I don’t think it was required, and I think the symposium posts that allow for commentary have been stronger, and produced stronger conversations, than the ones that haven’t, which in my view have been more likely simply to accept as true various assertions about both empirical and normative matters that are far more open to debate than they have acknowledged. Notwithstanding the existence of some critics on the panel, that is the best recipe for a “symposium” to become little more than a cheering section of collected monologues.