The timing of this post is purely accidental...but a San Francisco paper has made available rather striking salary data on the highest paid University of California employees during the 2004-05 academic year. The listing is based on "total pay" for that academic year, which includes not only salary, but also "overtime, bonuses, housing allowances, relocation allowances, administrative stipends, revenue sharing and more than a dozen other types of cash compensation." It did not include benefits.
"Total pay" tended to be noticeably higher for those recruited to the UC system in the last decade or so. Distinguished senior philosophers, and longtime UC system faculty, like John Searle, Barry Stroud, and David Kaplan, among others, did not make these lists presumably because of the absence of things like "housing" and "relocation" allowances. The data also does not indicate the extent to which these "total pay" figures are stable or once-off or of fixed duration.
In terms of total 2004-05 compensation, the five highest paid UC philosophers were: Barbara Herman (UCLA); Alan Code (Berkeley); John Campbell (Berkeley); Brian Skyrms (UC Irvine); and Tyler Burge (UCLA).
In terms solely of salary, all we can tell from this data is that Tyler Burge at UCLA is the highest paid UC philosopher, though Barbara Herman, Brian Skyrms, and Alan Code are clearly "up there," though it is possible there are others with comparable or higher salaries who were not beneficiaries of other kinds of compensation that brought their "total pay" into the range to make the lists. Note also that I'm excluding here philosophers cross-appointed to law faculties, like Samuel Scheffler at Berkeley and Mark Greenberg at UCLA, both of whom make the listing.
Of course these highly renumerated philosophers can't compete with the really rich.
UPDATE: There is more on some of the issues being debated about the UC compensation system here.
AND ANOTHER: One reader asked why I considered this data newsworthy (it is already getting a lot of attention in the legal academy, which is how I discovered it). Here is why: those going into the profession of philosophy (it is a profession, after all--your salary as a philosopher will affect what kind of home you can afford, how many children you can afford to bring up, what kinds of vacations you can take, and on and on) have little idea what it is really successful philosophers earn. I was astounded by some of this data. Someone thinking about whether to pursue a graduate education in philosophy or, say, a career in law instead, might like to know what the most highly compensated philosopher in the entire University of California system earns compared, say, to what lawyers at major L.A. law firms earn, figures that are widely available on the web. Those who don't want to know shouldn't click on the link, above.