Categories ▸ Philosophy
Recently Tyler Cowen asked whether there has been progress in Philosophy. Agnes Callard wrote a thoughtful reply, saying amongst other things:
We don’t demand progress in the fields of fashion or literature, because these things please us. Philosophy, by contrast, is bitter, and we want to know what good it will do us, and when, finally, it will be over. It is not pleasant to be told that maybe you don’t know who you are, or how to treat your friends, or how to be happy.
Nomy Arpaly has an interesting post at Daily Nous called Is Polite Philosophical Discussion Possible? She says, in part:
I am not a philosophical pacifist, but you don’t need to be a literal pacifist to oppose war crimes, and you don’t need to be a philosophical pacifist to oppose gratuitous rudeness. Being compelled to break the rule of thumb against telling people that they are mistaken in the understanding of an important thing is no excuse for also yelling at them, repeatedly interrupting them and talking over them, responding to their painstakingly prepared talks with a sneering “why should I be interested in any of this”?
The other day at Daily Nous, Justin asked about so-called “Sleeping Beauty” papers in Philosophy:
“Sleeping Beauty” papers “lie dormant for years before experiencing a sudden spike in citations as they are discovered and recognized as important.” A recent article in Nature discussed scientific papers that have slumbered for decades … Are there sleeping beauty papers in philosophy? (I mean, of course, besides that paper of yours from a few years back that no one has cited…yet.
Last Thursday I gave a talk at the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division meetings about patterns in publication and citation in some of the field’s major journals. I have a more extensive analysis of the data that’s almost done, but that deserves a paper of its own rather than a post. Here I’ll confine myself mostly to descriptive material about some broad trends, together with a bit of discussion at the end.
The new Philosophical Gourmet Report Rankings are out today. The report ranks a selection of Ph.D programs in English-speaking Philosophy departments, both overall and for various subfields, on the basis of the judgments of professional philosophers. The report (and its editor) has been controversial in the past, and of course many people dislike the idea of rankings altogether. But as these things go the PGR is pretty good. It’s a straightforward reputational assessment made by a panel of experts from within the field.
Note: The original version of this post, with lots of comments including several follow-ups, clarifications, and further argument from me can be found at OrgTheory. A very useful contribution by Omar Lizardo can also be found there.
Seeing as Fabio has promoted some off-the-cuff remarks I made on Twitter about Critical Realism, I suppose I should say something a little more about it. All the moreso seeing as some anonymous commenters have been getting quite huffy at the very idea that anyone who called themselves an academic could make a dismissive comment without, presumably, devoting themselves full-time to “thoughtful debate and analysis” on the work in question.
June 26th, 2013. I’ve corrected some errors in the dataset. They changes don’t effect the substance of the post. All of these involve merging variant citations to the same work. Notable changes in the graph are the increased prominence of Davidson (1980), van Inwagen (1990), Putnam (1975), and (to a lesser degree), Wittgenstein (1953). I thank Brad Wray for drawing my attention to some of these errors.
Last week’s posts on A Co-Citation Network for Philosophy and Lewis and the Women generated a fair amount of discussion amongst philosophers, and I also got quite a few emails.
Corrections and Changes as of June 26th, 2013: See the end of the post for details on some corrections and changes to the analysis.
In the previous post I promised I would say something about the influence of David Lewis, and also something about citation frequency by gender. Some caveats at the outset. First, as I said before, this is exploratory work. I’m still in the process of cleaning the data and correcting mistakes, so things may change (although hopefully just around the margins).
Corrections and Changes as of June 26th, 2013: See the end of the post for details on some changes and fixes to errors in the data.
What have English-speaking philosophers been talking about for the last two decades? I’m asking—and presenting an answer to—this question partly out of an ongoing research interest in philosophy, partly out of some recent “Does anyone know …?” questions I’ve been asked, and partly to play with some new text-processing and visualization methods.
Note: This post is by L.A. Paul and Kieran Healy. The paper it draws on is available here as a PDF. You should think carefully about whether to have kids. It’s a distinctively modern decision. Until comparatively recently, producing an heir, supplying household labor, insuring against destitution, or being fruitful and multiplying was what having a child was about. Nowadays the decision to bear a child is freighted with a more personal significance—assuming you are physically able to do so, and lucky enough to be well-off and well-situated.
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