Philosopher David Auerbach (North Carolina State) writes:
This Stone article [http://tinyurl.com/lmqsuf4 ] is remarkably flabby. But it had an interesting consequence (?)—the level of reader commentary was remarkably high (I’m grading on the usual curve here; there were the usual “there’s the trouble with academic philosophy…” comments). Here’s one of the comments:
"As a father of two sons, I actually conducted the experiment described in the article 25+ years ago (this was shortly before strong guidelines for human subjects research had been put into place nationally).
"First, I imposed a delay of several minutes before the moment of my older son’s conception. As the article predicts, the procedure eliminated his birth and later existence. Not only that, instead of a son, my firstborn was a daughter!
"The first outcome could have been a fluke, so, a few years later when the time came to conceive my second son, I decided to replicate the initial trial, this time by slightly anticipating the moment of conception. Confirming the earlier study, the second experiment also produced a positive result: my younger son never came into existence either! And, conformant to the initial outcome, my second child was also a daughter. In other words, by slightly delaying or anticipating the moment of conception, not only I was able to block completely the existence of both of my sons, I was also able to substitute two daughters for them!
"Philosophy is truly a powerful tool. 'Ah ! la belle chose, que de savoir quelque chose!'"
The 2014 elections to the Fellowship have been announced; philosophers elected include: Susanne Bobzien (Oxford); Matthew Kramer (Cambridge, Law); Rae Langton (Cambridge); Christian List (LSE); and Cecilia Trifogli (Oxford). In cognate fields also elected were the classical philosophy scholar Stephen Halliwell (St. Andrews) and the criminal law scholar and theorist Jeremy Horder (LSE).
An interesting development; hopefully similar efforts will be made in the U.S. to reverse our insane penal policies. (The Committee responsible for the report was Chaired by the distinguished philosopher of criminal law R.A. Duff [Stirling/Minnesota].)
I think it would be very helpful if philosophy journals would make publicly available much more information on acceptance rates and submission statistics. At dialectica, we have been doing this for the last 14 years:
- The acceptance rate over the last ten years is 8.36% (2320 submissions, of which 194 were accepted).
- In 2013, we published 28 articles and a total of 611 pages (549 excluding commissioned book reviews). Of 298 articles submitted in 2013,
34 were accepted.
- Our turn-around time is reasonably quick (median of 3 months) and our backlog is small (currently accepted papers are published in 4/2014).
- Between 2007 and 2013, 28% of our submissions came from people working in the US, 20% from the UK, 6% from both Germany and Canada, 5% from Italy, 4% from Spain, and 3% from each of Australia, Spain and Switzerland. 12% of the submissions came from Asia (mostly Israel, China, Iran and Hong Kong) and only 1% from Africa.
- Currently, about 12% of our submissions are authored by women. This has been constant over the last 14 years and is surprising, given that about a third of PhDs and a quarter of jobs in philosophy are (held) by women. The acceptance rate of female submissions (16%) is higher than the one of male submissions (14%).
The only other two bits of information I know of are:
- Mind: around 350 submissions a year, cf. http://mind.oxfordjournals.org/ Does anyone know about others? I have heard that the Philosophy Documentation Center has information on acceptance rates, but my institution is not subscribed to it. Does anyone know whether that information is in the public domain? If so, I'd be very interested.
Commentary this time from a philosophy graduate student at Colorado. I'm curious what readers make of this. I will permit anonymous comments, but I ask that you choose a stable handle (e.g., "PhD student in the Midwest" or "Untenured faculty, SLAC") and stick with it. Unlike many blogs, I will adhere to my usual policy of not permitting anonymity to serve as a cover for defamation, irrelevant personal abuse, and the like. Stick to the substance, pro or con, and feel free to be critical in either direction, subject to the constraints noted.
UPDATE: Mr. Case's essay has generated a lively discussion, and he indicates in the comments, below, that he will reply to some of the objections. Meanwhile, Sophia Huerter, another graduate student at Colorado, has posted her own extended response to her classmate's perspective on the situation at Colorado. I commend both Ms. Huerter and Mr. Case for their serious (and courageous) contributions to this debate, and I invite further (civilized) discussion in the comment section here. (Since these are both students, not faculty, "civilized" means be kind, and the more critical you want to be, the more likely it is I will require a name attached to the criticisms. Ms. Huerter and Mr. Case have attached theirs.)
ANOTHER: Mr. Case sends a long a link to his second essay, replying to some of the original criticisms. He also writes:
One...wrinkle was ironed out for the benefit of the popular audience. The article states that conscious, demographic-based discrimination in teacher-student relationships is “clearly wrong.” My own view is more nuanced. I’d rather say “It’s a wrong-making feature” or “it’s prima facie wrong” or something like that. But that kind of language sounds like nails on chalkboards to folks in the journalism business who want it to be quick and punchy.
My column doesn’t address Sofia Huerter’s concerns about affirmative action. I didn’t know she had posted one until after I’d sent this to the editors. It will take me a separate column to do justice to it, and I may write one in the near future.
With over 1600 votes in our latest poll, 51% deemed it a "central, foundational part of the discipline," and another 12% thought it "a major area of research." A further 23% though it "useful" when "integrated with traditional philosophical questions": so fully 86% chose the most favorable options. 5% chose "minor area of research," and only 9% thought it should be banished to the math department.
UPDATE: Philosopher Christy Mag Uidhir (Houston) points out that the favorable opinion of logic is hard to square with the relative paucity of logicians in most philosophy departments. I can imagine some explanations for this state of affairs, but I'm curious what readers think?
Following up on the data from the other day, I've expanded it a bit, and also noted the 2002 PGR rank and the 2011 PGR rank. Total number of graduates during the period follows the school name.
2002 PGR Rank
2011 PGR Rank
% in TT jobs
% in TT jobs at ranked PhD programs
% in TT jobs at top 20 programs
% in TT jobs at research universities and SLACs
New York University (23)
Rutgers University, New Brunswick (36)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (31)
UC Los Angeles (21)
Yale University (16)
University of Notre Dame (36)
University of Chicago (30)
UC Riverside (23)
Northwestern University (21)
Boston University (35)
I knew from the past (though I had not posted about this) that there would be a very strong correlation between overall PGR rank and placement in ranked programs, research universities, and SLACs (this is true in every academic field, not just philosophy); what surprised me in this little exercise was how much correlation there was between PGR rank and overall tenure-track placement. Of course, the numbers are small, and if two or three people made different decisions (to accept the tenure-track job rather than the post-doc; not to be the trailing spouse for the other's academic career; etc.) the results would be different; so, too, if I had used a different window. (Just after this window, one UC Riverside graduate got a permanent post in a ranked PhD program, while another got a tenure-track position in a research oriented MA-granting program. I treated the ranked terminal MA programs as research university appointments, and I used U.S. News rankings of liberal arts colleges as a rough cut-off for SLACs.)
At the end of the day, bear in mind that even within department, placement success often tracks which faculty you work with. That's why it pays for students to scrutinize placement records carefully. Years ago, as longtime readers will know, I "bullied" departments into posting detailed placement records (by threatening to call them out in the PGR if they didn't). (I put "bullied' in quotes for the obvious reasons: it's now a meaningless term, but it was hurled about then, and at least it was true that I did threaten a real consequence if departments did not produce information.)
One other takeaway, that I expect will be confirmed by a more extensive study along these lines: all else being more or less equal, "brand name" universities still enjoy a slight advantage in job placement. But more on that once we have more information.
UPDATE: U.S. Research universities, for purposes here, were AAU universities, universities with PhD programs (ranked or not), and ranked terminal MA programs; outside the US, it gets a bit trickier, but in general any places more or less analagous to these was so counted.
Philosopher Jonathan Cohen (UC San Diego) invited me to share a rather odd solicitation, which other Southern California philosophers may have received; Prof. Cohen's (apt) response follows the solicitation:
Dear Prof. Cohen,
My name is Dr. Darren Iammarino and I was formerly a lecturer at SDSU and currently I am working at Claremont School of Theology. I am writing to you today to present a unique win-win opportunity that will make you anywhere between 500 and 3,000 dollars per semester. My colleague Chad Tuthill and I, create educational audio podcasts (digital audio files available for download) that specifically discuss the Western and Eastern philosophical traditions in detail. Each podcast is between 45 minutes and one hour long, and they serve as a powerful tool to reinforce the learning week-by-week.
Student evaluations prove that the podcasts are not only well-liked, but also raise the overall GPA of each student. In addition, utilizing ed-tech materials helps to create job security and looks great on peer evaluations, as it will serve to separate you from other faculty members who are not on board with emerging technologies.
The proposition is this: we provide you with a full album of materia l covering all of the major philosophers/philosophical schools and *we will pay you 45 percent of the profit from your students*. In addition, we will give you a bank of test questions for all of the podcasts. The deal is you get 45 percent, we get 45 percent, and 10 percent goes to tech support for our website where the podcasts reside.
What this means is that you do not need to do anything other than assign the material on your syllabus and create an assignment like a quiz or online discussion question that requires the podcasts *on the first week of class*. If you structure it this way we have found that there is a 90-95 percent purchasing rate from the students. The podcasts only cost $24.99 for the whole 16 week album. You can use your current projected enrollments to calculate what that would come out to for your 45 percent. However, on average the pay is around $1,000 dollars per semester based on a class of 85 students, so with two sections it can really add up.
In the end, it truly is a win-win situation because it benefits the students to reinforce the material via a mixed media format, and it benefits you financially as well as pedagogically. We are more than happy to meet with you during your office hours/Skype or elsewhere to discuss the details, but truthfully, it is quite straightforward and a simple way to help boost the income of underpaid and under-appreciated faculty.
Thank you for your consideration. Please visit [link omitted] to hear sample clips of the podcasts.
Darren Iammarino, PhD (Philosophy of Religion)
Chad Tuthill (Audio Engineer/Production)
------- begin response from JC
So let me see if I've got this right. Your idea of a "win-win opportunity" is that I should use my position as a professor at my university to require that my students buy your product (which obviously is completely unrelated in intellectual terms to any course I teach) so you can profit, and in return I get a financial kickback?
I would call that not a win-win opportunity, but a cynical attempt to get me to exploit my position and my students so as to line your own pockets.
That you offer to share the profits with me makes things worse rather than better. While there can be situations in which professors appropriately assign materials that earn them (e.g., royalty) income, these situations are defensible only if (unlike the situation here) there is a plausible intellectual case for the particular materials chosen. And, if anything, the justificatory bar should be higher than usual in such cases. By offering a payoff to the instructor, you are positively inviting instructors to make choices for the wrong sorts of reasons (viz., non-intellectual ones), at the direct financial and intellectual expense of the very students placed in our care.
What you propose is avaricious, intellectually irresponsible, and a fundamental abuse of our role as instructors and scholars. No thanks.
I have unfortunately come to expect the level of cynicism and exploitation you exhibit from a commercial press, but am esp disappointed that a scholar/teacher would stoop to this level.
UPDATE: Prof. Peter Atterton, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at San Diego State University, e-mails to point out that Mr. Iammarino "used to teach in the Dept. of Religious Studies and also in Classics and Humanities at SDSU, not in the Dept. of Philosophy."
I'm uncomfortable with the contrast Brewer draws between "busyness" and "scholia", between thought constrained by lack and want and the need to survive, and thought "that does not take direction from anything alien to itself"; or the contrast between servile and liberal thought. I think that's actually the wrong idea, and it gives obvious ammunition to those on the other side.
Here's how I see it. There is a continuum, from the need to respond immediately to a threat, to a need to apply a skill, to the need to learn a skill, to the need to step back and think about what exactly one is doing, to the possibility of taking the time to get a clear view of what we are doing, and (in yet further stages, but for my purposes finally) the possibility of devoting much or most of one's intellectual energies to something like the pure consideration of the problems involved in getting a clear view: philosophy, mathematics, theoretical physics, basic research in any of the disciplines.
Some business school professors, and some business school students, perhaps dismiss the more abstract stages of this continuum. This is not unlike the scientists who think philosophy is a positive waste of time. It's not. If Alan Turing hadn't been interested in the question of what is computable, we might not have computers. If Hobbes and Locke hadn't been interested in justifying the scope and limits of legitimate government, we might not have our Constitution.
But a lot of business school profs, and a lot of businesses, don't take such a parochial view of the value of forms of intellectual labor. I would be surprised if UVA's business school faculty at the Darden school thought it was obvious that UVA should shift resources to on-line, etc., as fast as Dragas thought they should.
Putting the contrast in terms of activities that are merely instrumentally valuable because they allow you to survive or make money, and activities that are genuinely valuable in themselves, invites crude skepticism about the latter and comments about navel-gazing.
Similarly Brewer's positive recommendation: that the humanities, and our liberal arts institutions, encourage “a form of reflective self-cultivation that can and ought to be a continuous life activity”. There's a way this fits with what I said above: the humanities, and our universities, help people think about (as Douglas Adams put it) life, the universe and everything, in a way not forced by immediate contingencies. You could call that self-cultivation, since as you change your views about the big picture, your view of yourself, and hence you yourself, will change. But if we put it in terms of self-cultivation, again we're inviting the charge of a crude sort of elitism.
Take a hypothetical student. She gets to take the long view at college. This puts her in a position to be an effective innovator in some market today, say some sort of tech or media thing. Should we think of this as a kind of self-cultivation? She's cultivating her response to the world around her, and that is of course cultivating herself. But her focus isn't on herself; it's on the world around her. My hope as a philosopher would be to help her and encourage her to think at all levels of abstraction: how to solve this immediate problem in her business plan, but also to see clearly (to think clearly about, to formulate a clear understanding of) what she's doing in the world, in relation to the markets, to other people, to what she thinks is valuable.
I picked three departments which provide good information on-line and which had fairly stable PGR ranks over the last dozen years or so. One, NYU, I singled out, recently and correctly, for having an excellent placement record; NYU has also been ranked #1 in the PGR for over a decade now. The second, at my university, has been solidly top 20, though not top 15, during this period. The third, Boston University, has had a PhD program for a long time and has been in the top 50 of the PGR (but not the top 40) for over a decade as well. Let's look at graduates from 2005-2010: this will get out of the mix those who haven't yet been on the academic market, or who have only been on once or twice and so might still be in temporary positions and may yet secure TT positions. In short, this will give us an idea of how many graduates of these programs are getting tenure-track jobs and what kind of tenure-track jobs. (In a few cases, the information on-line turned out to be out-of-date, so I updated it for purposes of the below.)
Let's start with NYU. During this time period we have 23 graduates. 20 of 23 have tenure-track jobs: 87%. 14 have tenure-track jobs at ranked PhD-granting programs (61%). 11 of 23 have tenure-track job at top 20 PhD programs (48%). 19 have tenure-track jobs at research universities (some in fields outside philosophy), and one is at a selective liberal arts college (83%). Of the three graduates not currently in tenure-track jobs, one went back to medical school (so may yet end up in academia), one took a non-academic job in the region where her spouse (also an NYU philosophy PhD) had a tenure-track job, and one graduate clearly had other events going on in her life, about which she has written. 83% placement at research universities and selective liberal arts colleges is remarkable.
Now let's look at the University of Chicago, another strong program but not as strong as NYU. Here we have 30 graduates, of which 23 have tenure-track jobs (77%). 5 of 30 have tenure-track jobs at ranked PhD-granting programs (17%). 2 of 30 have jobs at top 20 PhD programs (7%). 13 of 30 have jobs at research universities or selective liberal arts colleges (43%). Of the graduates not currently in tenure-track jobs, some have taken jobs outside academia, some are in adjunct positions or post-docs, and some are unaccounted for altogether.
And now Boston University. During this time period, 2005-2010, we have 35 graduates. 22 secured tenure-track positions (63%). 1 of 35 has a tenure-track job at a ranked PhD program (3%). None of have tenure-track jobs at top 20 PhD programs. 7 of 35 have tenure-track jobs at research universities or selective liberal arts colleges (20%). Of the graduates not currently in tenure-track jobs, some are in adjunct or non-tenure-stream positions, and some are unaccounted for altogether.
Here's a table summarizing the findings for graduates 2005-2010 from programs whose PGR rank has been fairly stable over the last dozen years:
2011 PGR Rank
% in TT jobs
% in TT jobs at ranked PhD programs
% in TT jobs at top 20 programs
% in TT jobs at research universities and SLACs
New York University
University of Chicago
This little exercise took about one hour to compile. I have no doubt that anyone could replicate this data for more departments, if their intention was to provide helpful information to prospective students. I am sure someone will.
Interesting piece sent along by reader Joe Hatfield--can any of the philosophers of physics (or physicists) out there comment on the adequacy of this presentation and the significance, if any, of all this?
With over 1200 votes cast, we see some definite improvement from the last time, though I think it's still fair to say there isn't as much love for philosophy of language as some of the other areas we have polled. Now 31% (up from 20%) view it as "a central, foundational part of the discipline," with another 21% (down from 29%) calling it a "major area of research" (presumably, per Chalmers's hypothesis, the difference is largely explaiend by folks moving to the most positive option once rewritten). 21% more think it "useful" when suitably integrated with the cognitive sciences and linguistics, while 7% think it only a "minor area of research." A robust, dissenting minority, 21%, chose the most negative option.
1. Drink booze. (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Spend time with friends. loses to Drink booze. by 74–40
3. Barbecue non-human animal products. loses to Drink booze. by 82–30, loses to Spend time with friends. by 62–45
4. Spend time with family. loses to Drink booze. by 88–33, loses to Barbecue non-human animal products. by 58–50
5. Tied: Barbecue non-animal products. loses to Drink booze. by 92–20, loses to Spend time with family. by 57–40 Spend time with yourself. loses to Drink booze. by 84–30, loses to Spend time with family. by 53–42
7. Moralize non-sanctimoniously. loses to Drink booze. by 97–16, loses to Barbecue non-animal products. by 50–36
8. Read philosophy blogs. loses to Drink booze. by 95–19, loses to Moralize non-sanctimoniously. by 44–38
9. Tied: Moralize sanctimoniously. loses to Drink booze. by 98–16, loses to Read philosophy blogs. by 41–38
Waste time on Facebook. loses to Drink booze. by 99–16, loses to Read philosophy blogs. by 47–36
11. Read left-wing blogs. loses to Drink booze. by 98–13, loses to Moralize sanctimoniously. by 46–31
12. Smoke dope. loses to Drink booze. by 93–13, loses to Read left-wing blogs. by 41–35
13. Burn the flag. loses to Drink booze. by 89–16, loses to Smoke dope. by 37–35
14. Tied: Produce rankings. loses to Drink booze. by 98–7, loses to Burn the flag. by 34–27 Thank Zeus you're an American. loses to Drink booze. by 98–12, loses to Burn the flag. by 41–29
16. Sign meaningless pledges and petitions. loses to Drink booze. by 97–7, loses to Produce rankings. by 25–21
17. Thank God you're an American. loses to Drink booze. by 100–9, loses to Sign meaningless pledges and petitions. by 26–25
18. Salute the flag. loses to Drink booze. by 99–8, loses to Thank God you're an American. by 25–22
19. Thank God you're not an American. loses to Drink booze. by 88–18, loses to Salute the flag. by 29–25
20. Barbecue human animal products. loses to Drink booze. by 95–8, loses to Thank God you're not an American. by 31–23
21. Read right-wing blogs. loses to Drink booze. by 101–4, loses to Barbecue human animal products. by 26–25
22. Tweet. loses to Drink booze. by 99–6, loses to Read right-wing blogs. by 27–17
Like last year, drinking booze dominated. And, also a bit like last year and a continuing tribute to the quality of the readership, barbecuing human animal products defeated reading right-wing blogs. Happy 4th to those who celebrated!
Kate Devitt (whose earlier amalgmation of citation and reputation data we noted here) has also posted a ranking of journals by the Google Scholar h-index, but adjusted for volume of publication. A few things are striking. Mind and Language, a major journal in its subfield, undoubtedly benefits from the differing citation practices in linguistics, which are more like those in psychology and other social sciences (i.e., lots of citations to other research--other philosophy & social science journals do unusually well, no doubt for the same raeson). Synthese plunges in this assessment (by comparison to its unadjusted rank, where it was #1 due to sheer volume), but Erkenntnis still does rather well. History of philosophy journals fare poorly, since historical scholarship does not typically involve extensive citation to other historical scholarship.
The Daily Northwestern quotes a Rutgers spokesperson, though seems a bit confused about the sequence of events. The Department of Philosophy had in fact voted him an offer last fall and, ordinarily, its approval at the administrative level would have been pro forma. Once the news of the Title IX lawsuit broke, the situation changed. It is much easier, legally, not to authorize a tenured offer voted out by a department than it is to revoke tenure based on misconduct, so this outcome is not surprising (if Ludlow had moved to Rutgers with tenure, and the allegations against him were confirmed subsequently, Rutgers would be hard-pressed to take any kind of disciplinary or remedial action). If Ludlow is successful in his lawsuit, the loss of the Rutgers position will figure in any accounting of damages. (A few weeks ago, on various social media, it was reported, falsely, that the Rutgers Department had voted "unanimously" not to re-extend the offer.)
Kate Devitt took the Google Scholar journal rankings, tried to correct for volume of articles published (in a reasonable way, I think), and then combined it with reputational data from surveys on this blog to produce this.
Several readers have sent this, but since it doesn't control for frequency of publication, or the size of each volume, its results are worthless. For example, Journal of Philosophy publishes about 24 articles per year; Synthese in recent years has published 150 articles or more per year. (That Phil Studies comes in 2nd is more impressive, since while they publish more articles than J.Phil., it is only by a factor of two, if that.)
UPDATE: Several readers point out that I miscounted on Phil Studies, which also publishes on the order of 100 articles per year.
UPDATE: Philosopher Piers Turner (Ohio State) writes: "In light of your post on Bentham on sexual liberty, I thought you might be interested in this often-missed entry from a diary J.S. Mill kept for a few months in 1854 (when he thought he might die soon and wanted to see 'what effect is produced on the mind by the obligation of having at least one thought per day which is worth writing down') :
As I probably shall have no opportunity of writing out at length my ideas on this and other matters, I am anxious to leave on record at least in this place my deliberate opinion that any great improvement in human life is not to be looked for so long as the animal instinct of sex occupies the absurdly disproportionate place it does therein; and that to correct this evil two things are required, both of them for other reasons, viz., firstly, that women should cease to be set apart for this function, and should be admitted to all other duties and occupations on a par with men; secondly, that what any persons may freely do with respect to sexual relations should be deemed to be an unimportant and purely private matter, which concerns no one but themselves. If children are the result, then indeed commences a set of important duties towards the children, which society should enforce upon the parents much more strictly than it now does. But to have held any human being responsible to other people and to the world for the fact itself, apart from this consequence, will one day be thought one of the superstitions and barbarisms of the infancy of the human race." [Collected Works, XXVII, 664]
A number of readers and friends have expressed puzzlement about how Ludlow can sue a colleague and a student for defamation regarding statements they made reporting alleged sexual harassment and related wrongdoing by Ludlow. In cyberspace, I've seen a number of people assert that such statements are "privileged," and so the makers of those statements can't be sued. Alas, the matter is somewhat more complicated than that. Several correspondents asked that I explain on the blog what I have told them individually. So here goes (with the caveat that I am not an expert on these matters, but am reasonably confident I understand the legal issues. This, by the way, is a pretty solid overview of Illinois defamation law for those who are interested. And none of what follows constitutes legal advice!)
There are two kinds of "privileges" that can attach with respect to false statements that are defamatory. The "absolute privilege" attaches to statements made in judicial proceedings (e.g., any statements made by a witness, whether in court or in a deposition or in an affidavit) and "quasi-judicial" proceedings (e.g., in Illinois, a complaint filed with the disciplinary commission of the State Bar alleging misconduct by an attorney enjoys an "absolute privilege"). In these cases, the maker of the statement can not be sued for defamation, even if the maker of the statement acted maliciously or recklessly (e.g., made the statements knowing they were false).
One important threshold issue in the Ludlow case is whether the proceedings of a university's sexual harassment office constitute a "quasi-judicial proceeding" under Illinois law. My guess is they do not (if I'm mistaken, please e-mail me any relevant case law). So, for example, in the course of finding that an arbitration proceeding was a quasi-judicial proceeding, an Illinois court said:
Under Illinois law, a tribunal is quasi-judicial when its possesses powers and duties to (1) exercise judgment and discretion; (2) hear and determine or ascertain facts and decide; (3) make binding orders and judgments; (4) affect the personal or property rights of private persons; (5) examine witnesses, compel the attendance of witnesses, and hear the litigation of issues on a hearing; and (6) enforce decisions or impose penalties [citations omitted]. A quasi-judicial body need not possess all six powers; however, the more powers it possesses, the more likely the body is acting in a quasi-judicial manner.
University sexual harassment offices lack #5, and have quite attenuated versions of #2, #3, #4 and #6 (attenuated because, among other things, their decisions are not binding on actual judicial proceedings).
Even if that is correct, statements made to a university's sexual harassment officer clearly enjoy what is called a "qualified privilege," since there is a strong public interest in preventing and punishing sexual harassment as reflected, for example, in the fact that faculty who learn of sexual harassment have a legal obligation to report it to appropriate university officials. The crucial difference with a "qualified privilege" is that if it is abused, it does not apply. So if Jane Doe reports what she sincerely believed to be conduct by Prof. John Smith constituting sexual harassment to an appropriate Dean, she can not be sued by Prof. Smith even if it turns our her report of the conduct is inaccurate. But if Jane Doe acts recklessly or maliciously, then she can be sued: for example, if Jane Doe reports Prof. Smith to the Dean, even though she knows full well that Prof. Smith did not act as she claims, she can be sued for defamation.
Even if Jane Doe enjoys the qualified privilege if she non-maliciously reports the alleged misconduct to the appropriate university official, she does not enjoy even the qualified privilege if she makes those statements to others who have no connection to enforcing the university's sexual harasssment policies. So, for example, if she tells fellow students or friends at other universities that Prof. Smith sexually harassed her, and that is false, she can be sued for defamation for those statements.
The crucial allegations in Ludlow's complaint in this regard are paragraphs 58-60.
Paragraph 58 alleges that the "false statements during the 2014 investigation impute to Plaintiff a want of integrity in the discharge of his duties, criminal conduct and prejudice Plaintiff and impute a lack of ability in his trade." Translation: the statements, if false, are defamatory per se, that is, damage is presumed. (It is hard to prevail in any defamation action, but if you also have to prove how the false statements harmed you, the plaintiff's burden can be impossibly high.)
Paragraph 59 alleges that the defendants "publicized these statements without privilege." Translation: they made these false statements to others not involved with the process (so no qualified privilege) or they made these statements maliciously or recklessly, so lost the qualified privilege.
Paragraph 60 alleges that the defendants "made these statements knowing they were false." Translation: they acted maliciously, so enjoy no qualified privilege.
I assume that, among other things, some of the defendants will move to dismiss the complaint on grounds that the statements were, in fact, privileged. Whether they are privileged will be a question for the court. If these allegations survive a motion to dismiss, then the plaintiff, Ludlow, will be entitled to discovery to determine, e.g., to whom the allegedly false statements were made and what the makers of the statements knew at the time they made them.
Another issue lurking in the background here is also whether Ludlow is a "public figure" or "limited purpose public figure" for purposes of defamation. My guess is that with respect to the allegations of sexual harassment and related misconduct, he is not. If, by contrast, he were suing defendants who made allegedly false statements regarding his cyber-activism, then he would almost certainly count as a public figure. The significance of this in American law is very substantial, since the burdens on a public figure plaintiff to recover for defamation are much higher (see this earlier discussion).
With over 1600 votes cast, only 20% chose the most favorable option regarding philosophy of language (a central, foundational part of the discipline), though another 29% did deem it a "major area of research," and another 24% thought it "useful" when suitably integrated with cognitive science and linguistics--so overall, nearly three-quarters were on the positive end of the spectrum. 7% deemed it only a "minor area," while 19% chose the most hostile and dismissive option.
Times have changed since the 1970s!
BL COMMENT: David Chalmers thinks I inadvertently "upped" the ante here for the first category:
The first option in the poll raised the bar by saying that philosophy of language is "first philosophy". That's usually understood as the Dummettian claim that the philosophy of language has priority over all other areas of philosophy. One can reject that claim while still thinking that philosophy of language is a central and foundational part of our discipline. I'm sure that many respondents to the poll, like me, hold that combination of views and chose the second option rather than the first for that reason.
Maybe that's right, though I would have urged him to choose the first option anyway since if you think philosophy of language is "a central, foundational part of the discipline" that's closer to thinking it's "first philosophy" than thinking it's a "major area of research." But I'm curious to hear whether other philosophers of language had this reaction? Comments open, signed comments please.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)