The dissemination and discussion of interesting new ideas will only be discouraged if members of an audience are allowed to pre-publish participants' ideas, since everyone will be inhibited from trying out ideas in public. The free exchange of ideas in our discipline depends on mutual trust. Speakers assume that they are speaking to the present audience in their own voice -- not to the entire world through a reporter. If that assumption no longer holds, all of us will say only what are willing to have permanently recorded for the whole world to read. That's not an environment for the discussion of interesting new ideas.--David Velleman at Leiterreports.
Our profession faces a number of really grave ethical challenges, from the treatment of women, to the treatment of adjuncts and per-course faculty, to the concentration of wealth, power, and access, in a handful of institutions. That someone reported on Martha Nussbaum's speech doesn't strike me as one of them.--Daniel A Kaufman at Leiterreports.
In his initial contribution, which was the occasion of Leiter's original post, Velleman, who is one of our most interesting moral psychologists and who has been of great service to the profession in developing Philosopher's Imprint, suggests that "The live-blogging of Martha Nussbaum's Locke lectures would be a good occasion for a discussion of the professional ethics of this practice." From Velleman's original and subsequent remarks (see this one, especially), it's clear that Velleman believes such live-blogging is unethical. The only ethical argument I encountered in Velleman's subsequent comments on the thread is this one: "what you're not entitled to do with author's ideas is to publish them before the author has a chance to." Now, that's not quite right; what you are not allowed to do is publish another's ideas and pass them off as your own or publish another's ideas without proper attribution or publish another's ideas without making clear in what context they are uttered, etc. If an author has expressly requested that one does not circulate or quote a text or lecture, then we ought to respect the wishes of the author all other things being equal.* But I don't see what's wrong with reporting on another's ideas is, if done generously (and with skill). After all, what's horrifying about most student notes on one's courses is not that they circulate, but that they so often misrepresent (see also Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa).