I'm sort of bemused by the debate between Jason and Brian about whether there is a "crisis" in philosophy. I don't have a clear idea of what a "crisis" means, unless it refers to a failure to achieve some important purpose. But what is the purpose of philosophy?
As some evidence for his belief that there is no crisis, Jason points to a "heady sense of excitement" among people he knows, plus the ability to recruit good new graduate students. As a sociology of knowledge type thing, I am pretty sympathetic to the argument that the short run goal of a discipline is to convince some group of influential or important or intelligent people that the discipline is important and useful. At least in the short run consensus within the intellectual community is all most disciplines have to go on, since effects take a long time to appear and their relationship to academic inputs is often very questionable. One can certainly also argue that some disciplines should be serving a certain kind of aesthetic and not utilitarian function anyway.
But the question of what groups judgements about excitement should count is always a political one. Presumably the people who do not already find the semantics/pragmatics distinction very heady or exciting are not part of Jason's academic reference group. Plus it does seem strange to divorce your judgement of a discipline's value from benefits outside the core group of knowledge producers. After all, if philosophy is useless then its ability to attract brilliant graduate students makes its crisis more severe, since it is distracting our best and brightest from doing something more socially beneficial with their lives.
Anyway, as a non-philosopher it would be useful for me to see Jason and Brian outline their debate in terms of what purposes they think philosophy should be serving within the broader intellectual community, or if that is a bad kind of question then to say why it is.