Deirdre McCloskey and Me

In an appreciation of Ronald Coase, I came across an article by Deirdre McCloskey, the economist. It reminded me of our back and forth emails in 2007 about her and Lynn Conway’s treatment of Michael Bailey, who had written a book they hated. I reread the emails and found them still interesting, especially McCloskey’s claim that she and Conway have/had no special power. Is there a variant of sophistry that refers to self-deception? You can read the whole correspondenceMcCloskey’s version, which omits my final email, or my version (“McCloskey and Me: A Back-and-Forth”, plus plenty of context — my article starts on p. 117 of the 139 pp).

Thank god she and Conway failed to end Bailey’s career. The Man Who Would Be Queen (pdf) — about male homosexuals and cross-dressers — remains the best psychology book I have ever read. Last year I assigned my Tsinghua students to read a third of it (any third they wanted). One student said it was so good she read the whole thing.

2 Replies to “Deirdre McCloskey and Me”

  1. Admit it, Seth, you had “cattiness” in mind.

    Seth: No, the opposite. A puzzle about autogynephilic transsexuals is their hyper-masculine behavior. In various ways (e.g., job choice) they appear more masculine than the average man.

  2. Disgracefully, the Globe and Mail assigned McCloskey to review Bailey’s book. I’m glad he’s managed to continue his career, but if I’m not mistaken, he never wrote his planned book on “autogynephiliac” transsexuals – TMWWBQ focusses on the effeminate type, doesn’t it? If so, that’s a loss, especially with transsexual issues being so much in the news.

    Seth: TMWWBQ covers autogynephilic (non-homosexual) transsexuals. I presume that is why Conway and McCloskey hated it.

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