Thursday, January 29, 2009

Graduate student -- faculty relations

In certain Ph.D. programs in the South, graduate students are expected to call their professors 'Doctor', while the faculty of course refer to the graduate students by their first names. This can't make the students feel good, and I can't help but think the practice inhibits their development into professionals who view themselves as their professors' equals. Are there other ways in which graduate faculties create distance between themselves and their graduate students? More generally, how were (or are) the relations between faculty and graduate students where you got (or are getting) your Ph.D.?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Philosophy as bloodsport' redux

This brief piece by Norman Swartz is worth reading, or rereading. He claims that, unlike other disciplines, philosophy has a vicious streak that tends to alienate women (and no doubt lots of men), and in conference/colloquia settings leads to valuing the devastating "gotcha" point over thoughtful and helpful feedback, even if that "devastating" point looks quite innocuous after a bit of thought. I wonder whether any of you have stories of particularly bloodthirsty conference/colloquium presentations. Is it as bad now as Swartz made it out to be in 1994? And who is this G*** B*** Swartz is talking about?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What does 'pluralistic department' actually mean?

Are there departments billed as 'pluralistic' in which the faculty members' differing perspectives actually lead to improvements in teaching or research, or does 'pluralistic department' just mean that the department is in a perpetual low-grade civil war whose battles are fought in faculty meetings? Or do the members of the different factions just ignore each other and get on with whatever it is they're doing?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nasty referee comments and other publishing stories

My own experience with referee reports has been largely positive -- the best reports have included incisive and helpful suggestions for improving the paper; the worst struck me as being the work of somebody who did not read the paper carefully and presented as decisive objections that were either entirely off the mark or at least very easily answered. None of the reports, though, have been cruel or malicious. But I've heard that referee reports can get downright nasty. Please share your (suitably emended) nasty referee reports here. Any other good stories about publishing (from referees and editors as well as authors, of course) are also welcome.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Journal rankings

What do you think of the following ranking of journals? I'm trying to rank them by quality of articles published, not prestige. (Though in an ideal world these things would go hand in hand.) I'm restricting my focus to non-invitation journals that publish a sizable proportion of articles that would be described as analytic, and not including journals that specialize in ethics, philosophy of science, logic/math, aesthetics, history of philosophy, or philosophy of religion.

Best ever: Phil Review
Excellent: Mind, JP, Nous, Philosophers' Imprint
Very good: PPR, Phil Quarterly, Australasian, Analysis, Linguistics and Philosophy
Good: Phil Studies, Mind and Language, European Journal of Philosophy, Metaphilosophy
Decent: Synthese, PPQ, APQ, Ratio, Philosophy, Erkenntnis, CJP
Whatever: Facta Philosophica, Journal of Philosophical Research, Philosophia, Philosophical Psychology, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Acta Analytica, Dialogue, Southern Journal of Philosophy

Any obvious mistakes here? Does the 'whatever' category need to be more fine-grained? Which journals should be added, and where should they be ranked?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Most overrated philosopher ever

For those of you too nice to indulge in this sort of thing, how about your submissions for the most underrated philosopher?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Continental philosophy: bunk, tripe, or mere hogwash?

Reviews like this make me suspect that it is all three.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


A senior philosopher I respect once opined that there are only a few truly blind-reviewed journals: he listed Phil Review, Nous, and perhaps one or two others. Which journals are truly blind-reviewed, and (more interestingly) which journals are in practice not blind-reviewed?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It's a gossip blog, right? So give us your best Kripke stories here. And how was the thing at the APA?