We were disappointed that Brian Leiter's survey of "Most Important Anglophone philosophers, 1945-2000: the top 20" omitted Hector-Neri Castaneda (1924-1991). At Leiter's invitation, we submit the following observations on his significance.
Castaneda was Guatemalan by birth and early education. However, his philosophical training at Minnesota and Oxford, his professional affiliations at Wayne State and Indiana, and his numerous publications surely qualify him as anglophone. For his autobiography (parts of which--notably section I.4--could easily be dramatized!), see Castaneda 1986.
We believe that there are philosophers on the poll who do not match Castaneda in influence or insights. He made significant contributions to both philosophy and the profession of philosophy.
His philosophical contributions include his groundbreaking work on:
(1) the private language argument (Castaneda 1967);
(2) reference, in particular, his theories of indexicals and quasi-indexicals (Castaneda 1966; 1977; 1989; 1999, Chs. 1-2);
(4) a unified ontology of physical objects and thought contents, notably, his ambitious guise theory of intentionality (Castaneda 1972a, 1989);
(5) the methodology and history of philosophy (especially the ontologies of Plato and Leibniz) (Castaneda 1972b, 1980); and
(6) imperative and deontic logic, on practical and normative reasoning, and on action theory and meta-ethics (see Castaneda 1974, 1976).
Perhaps his most significant contribution to the profession was his founding and editing of Nous, but it should also be remembered that he was a prominent philosopher in the analytic style who came from a socially and economically underprivileged background and thereby became an inspiration to many.
Surveys of his work include Tomberlin 1983 & 1986, Orilia & Rapaport 1998, Rapaport 2005, and Palma 2014.
William J. Rapaport
Associate Professor Emeritus of Computer Science;
Affiliated Faculty Emeritus, Philosophy and Linguistics;
Member Emeritus, Center for Cognitive Science
State University of New York at Buffalo
Written with the assistance of Julio Covarrubias (Washington), Tomis Kapitan (Northern Illinois), Michael McKinsey (Wayne State), Franceso Orilia (Macerata, Italy), and Adriano Palma (Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1966), " 'He': A Study in the Logic of Self-Consciousness”, Ratio 8 (1966): 130–157
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1967), "The Private Language Problem", in P. Edwards (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan and Free Press) 8: 240-247.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1972a), "Thinking and the Structure of the World", Philosophia 4 (1974) 3-40; reprinted in 1975 in Critica 6 (1972) 43-86.
Castanda, Hector-Neri (1972b), "Plato's Phaedo Theory of Relations", Journal of Philosophical Logic 1: 467-480.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1974), The Structure of Morality (Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1976), Thinking and Doing (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1977), "On the Philosophical Foundations of the Theory of Communication: Reference", Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2: 165-186.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1980), On Philosophical Method (Bloomington, IN: Nous Publications)
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1986), "Self-Profile", in Tomberlin 1986, pp. 3--137.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1989), Thinking, Language, & Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1999), The Phenomeno-Logic of the I: Essays on Self-Consciousness (James G. Hart and Tomis Kapitan, eds.) (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).
Orilia, Francesco, & Rapaport, William J. (eds.) (1998), Thought, Language, and Ontology: Essays in Memory of Hector-Neri Castaneda} (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers).
Palma, Adriano (ed.) (2014), Castaneda and His Guises (Berlin: de Gruyter).
Rapaport, William J. (2005), "Castaneda, Hector Neri", in J.R. Shook (ed.), The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (Bristol, UK: Thoemmes Continuum): 452-457.
Tomberlin, James E. (ed.) (1983), Agent, Language, and the Structure of the World (Indianapolis: Hackett).
Tomberlin, James E. (ed.) (1986), Hector-Neri Castaneda (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel).
This stuff is so pathetically disgusting, and so deeply entwined at points with other parts of his philosophical outlook, that I expect there is going to be a marked decline in interest in Heidegger in the coming decades.
Not surprising, given Raymond Geuss's retirement and the nature of recent appointments. It would be a bit pathetic, though, for philosophy students at Cambridge to be unable to find faculty to work with on Marx or Nietzsche.
(Thanks to Phil Gasper for the pointer.)
UPDATE: Richard Holton, Chair of Philosophy at Cambridge, writes:
Marx will continue to be taught in the Cambridge philosophy faculty. The proposal is to contextualize Marxism, along with theories of equality in one course, and with feminism and anarchism in another. Faculty and students discussed the proposals together at a productive Staff-Student Committee meeting earlier this week. The petition had been circulated and signed before that meeting, and thus before students knew the full proposals; so we're puzzled that it was published on Change.orgafterwards, as though the meeting had never taken place. The Hegel and Nietzsche course remains.
1. W.V.O. Quine (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Saul Kripke loses to W.V.O. Quine by 202–174
3. John Rawls loses to W.V.O. Quine by 200–155, loses to Saul Kripke by 201–180
4. David K. Lewis loses to W.V.O. Quine by 206–148, loses to John Rawls by 194–163
5. Hilary Putnam loses to W.V.O. Quine by 269–74, loses to David K. Lewis by 209–134
6. Donald Davidson loses to W.V.O. Quine by 259–88, loses to Hilary Putnam by 177–148
7. Peter (P.F.) Strawson loses to W.V.O. Quine by 269–85, loses to Donald Davidson by 196–130
8. Bernard Williams loses to W.V.O. Quine by 258–99, loses to Peter (P.F.) Strawson by 161–157
9. G.E.M. Anscombe loses to W.V.O. Quine by 277–88, loses to Bernard Williams by 169–151
10. Noam Chomsky loses to W.V.O. Quine by 273–80, loses to G.E.M. Anscombe by 166–155
11. J.L. Austin loses to W.V.O. Quine by 277–61, loses to Noam Chomsky by 155–143
12. Thomas (T.S.) Kuhn loses to W.V.O. Quine by 271–69, loses to J.L. Austin by 147–141
13. Wilfrid Sellars loses to W.V.O. Quine by 280–52, loses to Thomas (T.S.) Kuhn by 147–139
14. Thomas Nagel loses to W.V.O. Quine by 280–75, loses to Wilfrid Sellars by 148–140
15. Michael Dummett loses to W.V.O. Quine by 284–48, loses to Thomas Nagel by 150–133
16. H. Paul Grice loses to W.V.O. Quine by 286–42, loses to Michael Dummett by 131–112
17. Jerry Fodor loses to W.V.O. Quine by 292–41, loses to H. Paul Grice by 134–117
18. Robert Nozick loses to W.V.O. Quine by 284–62, loses to Jerry Fodor by 144–136
19. Gilbert Ryle loses to W.V.O. Quine by 300–27, loses to Robert Nozick by 151–123
20. David Armstrong loses to W.V.O. Quine by 295–36, loses to Gilbert Ryle by 137–110
At various points, Nelson Goodman and John Searle were in the top 20, and Armstrong and Ryle just outside, but the former pair finished at 21 and 22, respectively, in the final results.
Inevitably, it turned out that there were omissions of candidates who while perhaps not "top 20" contenders would certainly have rated favorably on the full list. Examples include Hector-Neri Castenada, J.J.C. Smart, Annette Baier, Ruth Millikan (I had not realized she was over 80), Kurt Baier, among others. Karl Popper was a tricky case, because his most important work was prior to 1945, but he continued to publish during the period in question. Comments on the significance of the work of those omitted and on the results welcome. For my own money, I would have put Hempel and Foot in the top 20 (as well as Goodman and Searle), and dropped Armstrong, Ryle, Nozick and Dummett. I wonder whether others were surprised by Austin's strong showing? And ten years ago, would Anscombe have fared so well? Rorty's rather tepid showing in a poll of actual philosophers is also notable. (Remember the poll was limited to philosophers no longer living and distinguished living philosophers over 80, with two exceptions: Kripke and Nagel.)
MOVING TO FRONT FROM YESTERDAY--POLL OPEN UNTIL TOMORROW (OVER 300 VOTES SO FAR)
A new poll for your amusement. I've limited the list of choices mostly to philosophers who did most of their work during this period and who are no longer alive, plus some distinguished philosophres who are alive and now in their 80s (with two exceptions: Kripke and Nagel). Have fun. We'll produced from this a list of "the top 20."
UPDATE: Mark Tushnet, a law professor at Harvard, writes: "Of course I don’t understand his paper, but there’s a great line in it. After proving that the upper bound for gaps between primes exists and is less than 70,000,000, the next line is: 'This result is of course not optimal.'"
In many state colleges and universities philosophy programs are housed in one department with religious studies. In some of these cases, philosophy faculty would prefer to be in self-standing philosophy departments. To make this change, philosophy faculty must persuade administrators that philosophy programs should be housed in autonomous philosophy departments.
These philosophers need arguments and data. Here are the questions. What are the particular ways in which the "Philosophy and Religious Studies" combination is problematic? What are the most effective arguments against that combination? (The arguments must appeal to Deans and Provosts.)
Regarding data, it would help philosophers in this position to know which other philosophy departments around the country were once in combined departments, and it would help to know when the split occurred. Finally, it would also be helpful to know the ways in which those philosophy programs have improved after the separation (perhaps in major recruitment, faculty recruitment and retention, research output, and so on).
This is a very good read, a well-informed (as one would expect) and appropriately opionated account of developments, especially in the post-WWII period, covering, inter alia, the decline of Wittgenstein's influence, the return of metaphysics, the shift from philosophy of language to philosophy of mind in the 1980s, the rise and fall of Davidson and Dummett, the contributions of Lewis, Kripke, Grice and many others. As one would expect, the story ends with a vindication of the centrality of logic, metaphysics, and a kind of philosophy of language to philosophical inquiry.
Philosopher Kathleen Wallace, who is Chair of the Department at Hofstra University, and who has called attention before to the unfortunate tendency of those studying outcomes by college major to lump philosophy with religion, writes:
Briefly, the issue for philosophers concerns how philosophy majors are often aggregated with religious studies majors by data collectors and researchers. This may have deleterious consequences for philosophy when student outcomes are reported in the media.
There is a time-sensitive action item during the public comment period for proposed revisions to the census bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). ACS is proposing to eliminate Question 12 which asks about the respondent's college major. Comment period closes: December 30, 2014.
I'm attaching a brief summary of the issue with the time sensitive action item, which I was wondering if you would be willing to post on Leiter Reports. (The summary is in the attached: Download Aggregating_Data_Summary_v3PDF.) I've written up a more detailed explanation of the data issues which I put up on my website,
I encourage philosphers to take time to submit comments to the ACS, since I think Prof. Wallace is quite right about the unfortunate impact this has on the results for philosophy.
UPDATE: Professor Wallace reports that she heard back from the ACS "as to whether they use aggregated or distinct coding for philosophy and religion on ACS question 12," and it turns out to be the former. Here's their answer:
It looks like the main questions are whether or not we break down "Philosophy and Religious Studies" (4801) into further subcategories and if so, what forms we make those data available. For ACS, we do not break down that category into further subcategories during any of our processing steps, therefore we would not have those data available. Any respondent who wrote "Philosophy", "Religious Studies", "Theology" etc. would all be coded to one category (4801).
Professor Wallace adds: "I had said in the summary that I wasn't sure whether ACS used broad or more finely grained codes from NCES CIP. I will update the more detailed report on my website.... So, it is *really* important that philosophers get in their comments -- that philosophy and religious studies (and theology!) should be processed and reported as distinct majors -- on the ACS question 12 during the public comment period."
ANOTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE: Here's where you go to comment on ACS Question 12: Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org). More information here:
For the benefit of those confused by the occasional references to this organization: SPEP stands for the "Society for Phenomenology & Existential Philosophy." It is a professional organization that primarily represents about a dozen philosophy PhD programs and their graduates: Stony Brook, Penn State, Duquesne, Emory, Vanderbilt, New School, Boston College, DePaul, Villanova, Memphis, Oregon, maybe one or two others. Many faculty from literature departments also participate in SPEP. Most of the leading Anglophone scholars of the post-Kantian Continental traditions have nothing to do with SPEP, so it's important not to be misled by the false claim that SPEPPies make that their organization represents Continental philosophy in the US: it does not. ("Party-line Continentals" is closer to the mark.) Some very distinguished scholars took their PhDs at SPEP programs, philosophers like Charles Griswold at Boston University, Terry Pinkard at Georgetown University, and Dalia Nassar at the University of Sydney. These scholars are the exception, not the norm, as I noted in connection with the SPEPPie "Pluralist [sic] Guide" (see also this). Some SPEP members participate as PGR evaluators, and most SPEP departments have been evaluated in the PGR at one time or another--they tend to get very low marks overall (outside the top 50), due to their narrowness and idiosyncrasies, but they sometimes rank decently in specialty areas. Students who find the work done by faculty at SPEP departments appealing will be better-served by the Pluralist [sic] Guide than the PGR, but they will also get, on average, an inferior philosophical education.
About 15 years ago, SPEP created an "Advocacy Committee," whose explicit purpose was to try to counteract and undermine the PGR (if you search back through committee minutes included in the annual SPEP programs, this becomes quite clear). You can see the current and past membership of the SPEP "Advocacy Committee" here.
A video of the event is here; Professor Siegel offers the following remarks about their discussion:
We were asked to discuss the roles of the sciences and the humanities in the study of the mind. Pinker went first. His own approach to studying to social phenomena (such as violence and gender roles) is evolutionary psychology. His intellectual hero is the sociobiologist E.O. Wilson. That comes through in his comments. But his main focus is on the respective roles of the sciences in general and the humanities. You could have guessed it in advance: Pinker chides 'the Humanities' for their 'anti-scientism' and for being insulated from the sciences (he makes an exception for philosophy, which he thinks - wrongly - is thoroughly and heavily informed by psychology), but he seems deaf to huge swathes of research in politics, literature, and social history which isn't and couldn't productively be informed by any 'science of the mind' of the sort he envisions.
My goal in my comments was to exhibit some of these areas of the Humanities. Our main disagreement is about what's continuous and what's discontinuous between the sciences and the humanities.
I find continuity in the modes of inquiry between the sciences and the humanities, because science is more than just confirming hypotheses. It includes the analysis of problems and to some extent (e.g. in certain types of case studies) detailed descriptions of experiences. The discontinuity is in the subject-matter. I identified three examples in my talk. One of them is about evidentialism and beliefs about social inequality. In another example I mention Chris Lebron's work on the long strand of American literature aimed at exposing the 'vast experiential gulf' between Americans. (I'm thankful to Chris for getting me to read Mat Johnson's novel *Pym*.)
Pinker thinks the sciences have superior methods, and that those methods can be applied widely in the humanities. So he thinks there ought to be continuity in the subject matter, and that to the extent that actual modes of inquiry are discontinuous, that's too bad for the humanities. (Philosophy is supposed to be a big hero here. He hasn't met the many non-naturalists that populate the field!)
I chose not to emphasize explicitly my biggest disagreement with Pinker's own political and psychological orientation. In a forum like this, that perspective is best met by exhibiting what it has to leave out. (It'd be different if we were charged with discussing sociobiology per se, in which case the perspective Pinker likes could be the main subject of discussion).
I also chose not to emphasize our biggest agreement, which is that philosophy - especially philosophy of mind, but also epistemology - is indeed often better when not conducted in complete intellectual isolation from the sciences. What would be the point of our spending all our time agreeing about that? It would have made the topic too narrow, and obscured the most important differences.
Final point: When you put together Pinker's own orientation as the intellectual heir to EO Wilson, with his interesting suggestions about reorganizing the university, it's easy to get the impression that he would in an imperialist manner impose sociobiology on the humanities. That is silly. He's serious about exploring other ways for the university to be organized, such as getting rid of disciplines altogether. He's not against fiction or philosophy. (He is after all the husband of the brilliant Rebecca Goldstein, philosopher and novelist). He says he didn't disagree with anything I said, though when push came to shove, he said we don't get any deep general or causal explanation of social phenomena or of the mind from the work in literature or history that I mentioned. He says causal generalizations can't be gotten from 'mere' descriptions. --But here's the part of his suggestion I think is very bad: he suggests selling the Humanities to the highest bidder. He points out in his talk that many donors would fund the Humanities more if there were greater connections to science. That is a poor reason to reorganize the university. You wouldn't select which novels should be taught by consulting the NYTimes best-seller list either.
Six hundred and three people completed a survey measuring perceptions of traditional areas of philosophical inquiry and their relationship to empirical science. The ten areas studied were: aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, history of philosophy, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and political philosophy. For each area, participants rated whether it is currently central to philosophy (centrality), whether its centrality depends on integration with science (dependence), and whether work in the area is sufficiently integrated with science (integration). Centrality judgments tended to be high. Participants viewed nine of the ten areas as central to philosophy (the exception being aesthetics), although they made this judgment more confidently for some areas. Dependence judgments were more varied, ranging from clear disagreement (for logic and history of philosophy) to clear agreement (for philosophies of science, mind, and language). Integration judgments were also varied but exhibited more uncertainty. Some areas whose centrality depended on integration were judged to be well integrated (philosophies of science and mind), but a central tendency for all other areas was ambivalence. Demographic factors had small but statistically significant effects on all three sorts of judgment. Higher age predicted higher centrality judgments and higher integration judgments. Higher socioeconomic status predicted lower dependence judgments and higher integration judgments. Men recorded higher integration judgments.
Horgan: What’s your opinion of the recent philosophy-bashing by Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson?
Rovelli: Seriously: I think they are stupid in this. I have admiration for them in other things, but here they have gone really wrong. Look: Einstein, Heisenberg, Newton, Bohr…. and many many others of the greatest scientists of all times, much greater than the names you mention, of course, read philosophy, learned from philosophy, and could have never done the great science they did without the input they got from philosophy, as they claimed repeatedly. You see: the scientists that talk philosophy down are simply superficial: they have a philosophy (usually some ill-digested mixture of Popper and Kuhn) and think that this is the “true” philosophy, and do not realize that this has limitations.
Here is an example: theoretical physics has not done great in the last decades. Why? Well, one of the reasons, I think, is that it got trapped in a wrong philosophy: the idea that you can make progress by guessing new theory and disregarding the qualitative content of previous theories. This is the physics of the “why not?” Why not studying this theory, or the other? Why not another dimension, another field, another universe? Science has never advanced in this manner in the past. Science does not advance by guessing. It advances by new data or by a deep investigation of the content and the apparent contradictions of previous empirically successful theories. Quite remarkably, the best piece of physics done by the three people you mention is Hawking’s black-hole radiation, which is exactly this. But most of current theoretical physics is not of this sort. Why? Largely because of the philosophical superficiality of the current bunch of scientists.
Horgan: You have written about the Greek thinker Anaximander. Who was he, and why do you find him interesting?
Rovelli: He is the guy who understood that the Earth is a stone that floats in the middle of the Sky without falling down. He understood that the Sky is not just above out head: it is also under our feet. It surrounds us in every direction. He is the only one in the history of our planet who understood this, and convinced everybody else that this is the case. In fact, he has done much more than this, but this is his greatest achievement. I find him immensely interesting because he represents one of the main steps in the development of scientific thinking. He is a giant.
Eugene Park, a former PhD student in philosophy at Indiana University, Bloomington, recently wrote a piece purporting to explain his departure from academic philosophy in the Huffington Post (thanks to Sarah Stroud for the pointer.) Allowing that the bad job market had something to do with it, he then went on to say:
But, more importantly, as a person of color, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable in my department and within the discipline at large. Granted, a PhD program in any discipline will involve a certain amount of indoctrination, but the particular demands of philosophy were, in my view, beyond unreasonable.
As I discovered over the course of my graduate career, in order to be taken seriously in the discipline, and to have any hope of landing a tenure-track job, one must write a dissertation in one of the "core areas" of philosophy. What are these core areas? Philosophers quibble about how exactly to slice up the philosophical pie, but generally the divisions look something like this:
Metaphysics & Epistemology
Logic & Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
Such is the menu of choices available to the philosopher-in-training today. (See, for example, the PhD requirements at these prominent philosophy departments: Penn, Berkeley, and Duke.) On the surface, this might look like a wide range of options. But appearances are deceiving. For instance, the subfield of philosophy of mind does not typically engage at all with Indian, East Asian, African, or Native American ideas about the nature of mind. It's as if non-Western thinkers had nothing to say about the matter. Similarly, those who work in the history of philosophy work almost exclusively on the history of Western philosophy -- e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Wittgenstein, etc.
So why don't Anglo-American philosophers engage with non-Western philosophical traditions? In my experience, professional philosophers today often perceive non-Western thinkers as inferior. Of course, few would say this explicitly. Rather, philosophers often point to non-Western philosophy's unusual and unfamiliar methodology as the primary reason for the disconnect.
There is much that seems to me strange and a bit dubious about this. Do we have any evidence that Asian-Americans generally expect the fields they study to feature Asian thinkers? And should we really add East Asian philosophers to the curriculum to satisfy the consumer demands of Asian students rather than because these philosophers are interesting and important in their own right? (Mr. Park, oddly, never explains, or even affirms, the merits of these thinkers.)
But what is quite surprising, and unsupported, is the claim that the absence of non-Western thinkers is due to Anglophone philosophers thinking them "inferior." I suppose some think that, but philosophers, who are quite opinionated as a group, no doubt hold every opinion under the sun. (My former colleague Herb Hochberg, about as unabashed an apologist for the most parochial conception of analytic philosophy imaginable, thought Kripke "inferior" to Russell.) My own impression, from having talked to a lot more philosophers than Mr. Park and for a much longer period of time, is that most Anglophone philosophers have no opinion at all about non-Western philosophy because they are simply ignorant of it. Some regret the ignorance, others think it is excusable since there are so many philosophical traditions in the world and one can only master so many, and others just don't think about it at all because it is possible to pursue an academic career in philosophy ignorant of a lot of things, including large swaths of the history of European philosophy (and the further back in the past we go, the more the boundary lines of "what's European, what's not" get harder to draw).
[A] professional acquaintance of mine kindly sent me a link to your blog, where he had spotted the reference to my 1999 analytical article on Elisabeth Lutyens's Wittgenstein Motet. I've noticed a spike in traffic on my Academia.edu site since the reference was posted, and since I've been thinking of revising that article, I thought I would write.
I wrote that article as a grad student at the beginning of my dissertation research, and since then I've been able to make several trips to the Rare Book and Music Room at the British Library where I've uncovered a sketch among Lutyens's papers revealing an essential bit of music-structural information about the piece that I did not have when I wrote the article 15 years ago. As a result, I've been planning a major rewrite. My article showing up on a philosophy blog therefore seems like an opportune occasion to get some constructive feedback from scholars who know far more about Wittgenstein's and Nietzsche's ideas about language than I do, and who could direct me to more current research that might be particularly relevant to my article.
If you think it would be appropriate, I would very much appreciate it if you could post at least some of this message on your blog.
You can reach Dr. Parsons at the University of Victoria e-mail address, above.
With almost 1600 votes, the readership revealed itself (not wholly surprisingly!) to be quite friendly to the history of analytic philosophy: 17% thought it "central, foundational," 28% called it a "major area of research," and 27% deemed it "useful when integrated with issues of contemporary philosophical interest"--so nearly three-quarters chose the most favorable options. An additional 20% deemed it a minor area of research, while only 8% chose the most dismissive option.
Editors: Patrick Grim, Paul Boswell, Daniel Drucker & Sydney Keough
Nominating Editors: Rachel Barney, J.C. Beall, Ned Block, Ben Bradley, Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, Andrew Chignell, David Christensen, Gregory Currie, David Danks, Keith DeRose, Cian Dorr, Lisa Downing, Julia Driver, Adam Elga, Branden Fitelson, Owen Flanagan, Stacie Friend, Tamar Szabo Gendler, Ned Hall, Elizabeth Harman, Verity Harte, Gary Hatfield, Benj Hellie, Christopher Hitchcock, Des Hogan, Brad Inwood, Simon Keller, Tom Kelly, Josh Knobe, Jonathan Kvanvig, Marc Lange, Brian Leiter, Neil Levy, Martin Lin, Peter Ludlow, Ishani Maitra, Shaun Nichols, Paul Noordhof, Derk Pereboom, Jim Pryor, Greg Restall, Geoff Sayre-McCord, Richard Scheines, Mark Schroeder, Laura Schroeter, Ted Sider, Michael Slote, Scott Soames, Roy Sorensen, Peter Spirtes, Johan van Benthem, Mark van Roojen, Peter Vranas, Ted Warfield, Eric Watkins, Sam Wheeler, Jim Woodward, Gideon Yaffe.
[BL comment: I was pleased that two papers I nominated [Neuhouser, Ypi] were chosen! Congratulations to all the philosophers whose work was recognized.]
ADDENDUM: Author affiliations are R.M. Adams (emeritus, UCLA, Yale, and UNC-Chapel Hill; currently part-time at Rutgers); A. Bacon (Southern California); JC Beall (U Conn); M. Caie (Pittsburgh); K. Fine (NYU); M. Kotzen (UNC-Chapel Hill); M. Lange (UNC-Chapel Hill); F. Neuhouser (Barnard/Columbia); I. Phillips (UCL); L. Ypi (LSE).
ANOTHER: This seems a bit myopic; there are many areas underrepresented in the PA, especially relative to their importance in the discipline--history of philosophy, most obviously, though PA has gotten a bit better on that score over time; aesthetics; philosophy of law; and so on. Obviously if you pick just ten articles, you miss a lot. Historically, as I've noted before, PA has a pretty good track record of picking significant articles (look back twenty years, and scroll through the choices), but it is inevitable the picks will be under-inclusive with respect to important articles across multiple fields.
Interesting piece, from the preface to a forthcoming Chinese edition of his 1981 book The Idea of a Critical Theory; an excerpt:
The academic reflection of the massive social and economic changes that took place between 1970 and 1981 could be seen in the gradual marginalization of serious social theory and political philosophy—and of “leftist” thought in particular. The usual story told about the history of “political philosophy” since World War II holds that political philosophy was “dead” until it was revived by John Rawls, whose Theory of Justice appeared in 1971. This seems to me seriously misleading. The Forties, Fifties and Sixties, after all, saw the elaboration of major work by the Frankfurt School (including Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man), a rediscovery of Gramsci, various essays and books by Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty, Debord’s La Société du Spectacle, early pieces by Foucault—all works roughly speaking “on the Left.” Meanwhile, Popper, Hayek, Leo Strauss and Oakeshott (to name only a few) were active “on the Right.” If Anglophones took no notice of this material it was not because serious work in political philosophy failed to exist, but for some other reason. To those engaged (in 1971) in the various and diverse forms of intense political activity which now collectively go under the title of “the Sixties,” Rawls’s Theory of Justice seemed an irrelevance. I completed and defended my doctoral dissertation in the spring of 1971, and I recall my doctoral supervisor, who was a man of the Left but also an established figure and full professor at Columbia University in New York, mentioning to me that there was a new book out by Rawls. In the same breath, he told me that no one would need to read it because it was of merely academic interest—an exercise in trying to mobilize some half-understood fragments of Kant to give a better foundation to American ideology than utilitarianism had been able to provide. Many will think that that was a misjudgment, but I think it was prescient. I cite it in any case to give contemporary readers a sense of the tenor of the 1970s.
Rawls did in fact eventually establish a well-functioning academic industry which was quickly routinized and which preempted much of the space that might have been used for original political thinking. He was one of the forerunners of the great countermovement, proleptically outlining a philosophical version of what came to be known as the “trickle-down” theory. Crudely speaking, this theory eventually takes this form: “Value” is overwhelmingly produced by especially gifted individuals, and the creation of such value benefits society as a whole. Those who are now rich are well-off because they have contributed to the creation of “value” in the past. For the well-off to continue to benefit society, however, they need to be motivated, to be given an incentive. Full egalitarianism will destroy the necessary incentive structure and thus close the taps from which prosperity flows. So inequality can actually be in the interest of the poor because only if the rich are differentially better-off than others will they create value at all—some of which will then “trickle down” or be redistributed to the less well-off. Rawls allows people who observe great inequality in their societies to continue to feel good about themselves, provided that they support some cosmetic forms of redistribution of the crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich and powerful. The apparent gap which many people think exists between the views of Rawls and, say, Ayn Rand is less important than the deep similarity in their basic views. A prison warden may put on a benevolent smile (Rawls) or a grim scowl (Ayn Rand), but that is a mere result of temperament, mood, calculation and the demands of the immediate situation: the fact remains that he is the warden of the prison, and, more importantly, that the prison is a prison. To shift attention from the reality of the prison to the morality, the ideals and the beliefs of the warden is an archetypical instance of an ideological effect. The same holds not just for wardens, but for bankers, politicians, voters, investors, bureaucrats, factory workers, consumers, advisers, social workers, even the unemployed—and, of course, for academics.
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)