Philosophy Colloquium: Macalester Bell
A Moderate Defense of Derisive Dissent
The fall 2022 Philosophy Colloquium series presents Macalester Bell (Bryn Mawr College).
In this paper, I focus on what I see as an important moral issue that has received relatively little attention from philosophers: how should we assess “derisive dissent”? As I characterize it, derisive dissent is a dismissive, mocking form of protest. I offer a moderate defense of derisive dissent. While there are times and circumstances when derisive dissent would be out of place, those who are critical of all forms of it are making a mistake. Derisive protest is sometimes the best way of answering an objectionable, and all too common, attitude, and this attitude can do serious moral damage if left unaddressed.