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Helen De Cruz
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Russell: I think the situation might be further specified as follows: not only is writing books more rewarding in terms of audience and monetary reward, it is also the case that books publish ideas that would never be considered by top journals. Jason Stanley, for instance, wrote (in a comment published on this blog a while ago): "I'm reviewing Kieran Healy's citation data, and it reminds me again how weird journal acceptance is. My book *Knowledge and Practical Interests* is the fifth most cited work of philosophy since 2000 in Phil Review, Mind, Nous, and the Journal of Philosophy (book or article). Yet the book itself is the result of three revise and resubmits, and finally a rejection from Phil Review. One of those drafts was also rejected from Mind, and also from Nous. All of those journals have accepted papers discussing, in many cases very centrally, a work those very journals have deemed unpublishable." I find this very disturbing. I would wager Jason's experience is not some weird outlier. I know several senior philosophers who don't publish in general philosophy journals (anymore) but mainly in their own monographs or invited publications in handbooks etc. The reason is that they find the peer review process is not productive for getting their best work out. The peer review process is geared towards finding mistakes rather than identifying bold new ideas (which invariably always have some flaws), in this way encouraging work that extends existing debates and topics, and discouraging new ideas.
Jamie: I've done 2x2 table to see whether women are less likely to be Lemmings in my sample. This is indeed the case. For men, the numbers in my sample are: 102 non-lemmings, 91 lemmings; for women, 40 non-lemmings, 18 lemmings. That's significant: c2(1, N = 251) = 4.715, p = .03. Nonetheless, I found no difference between men & women submitting to these journals.
In a recent survey, I asked philosophers about their submissions to journals, to get a sense of what journals people submit to and also what factors might influence their decisions on where to submit papers. Specifically, I wanted to know how frequently people submit their work to the top 5... Continue reading
Our institutions indeed exert a strong influence on publication - if your institution just wants publications, but doesn't care where, you don't need to aim for the top. When I worked as a postdoc in Belgium, what mattered was if your paper appeared in a journal indexed in Web of Science with an impact factor. Now, there are very few philosophy journals indexed in WoS (although the list is growing), and most of these are in the Arts&Humanities index, which does not provide impact factors. The reason for that was that the way money is allocated to universities depends to some extent to how well people publish in such journals - a model rather slavishly adopted from the natural and social sciences. Anyway, there are very few philosophy journals with impact factors. Most of these are phil of science or phil of cog science, so Biology & Philosophy, Philosophical Psychology etc have impact factors, whereas general journals do not. It was only gradually that I realized restricting my publications to IF journals was perhaps in the best interest of my department, but not necessarily in my best interest. So I abandoned that strategy. Next to that, I think risk-averseness is also an important factor. I am going to report the data once I have done the analysis.
Hi Colin: Alas, yes, I realized (several people mentioned it in the open feedback). At this point, I can't change it or risk invalidating the whole survey. But I will code them together into one variable, so even if you've only checked it once, it should come up fine.
Sorry! That was a pre-emptive thanks for taking the survey. The link should work now. Thanks for pointing it out
I would be very grateful if NewApps readers who are philosophers could fill out the following brief, anonymous survey on journal submissions. The aim is to get a picture of what kinds of journals you submit to, especially to the journals that are regarded as the top general philosophy journals.... Continue reading
Although over half the world' population are theists (according to Pew survey results), God's existence isn't an obvious fact, not even to those who sincerely believe he exists. To put it differently, as Keith DeRose recently put it, even if God exists, we don't know that he does. This presents... Continue reading
Hi Elisa: You are certainly right that job market advice raises the stakes, emphasizes success in the job market at the expense of love of philosophy. Those who write about the job market, such as Kelsky and others, say that their pragmatic attitude is a welcome antidote to the "loving what you do" rhetoric in academia. It might ultimately be because we love what we do that we are willing to put up with years, even decades, of uncertainty and low pay. So they want to shift from this love rhetoric to trying to focus on what it takes to get a job in academia. I agree this sometimes comes at the expense of doing what one likes. For instance, philosophy still sees the lone thinker - like Descartes who goes into a room with a hot stove and emerges with a full-fledged system - as the essential philosopher, and so co-authoring is discouraged. There was even discussion on a forum (Leiter's I think) about how one can never tell who thought what with co-authoring. This is not ideal for people who prefer to work collaboratively (like me), and who like the dialectical process of writing with someone else. A friend who goes up for tenure told me: "This is the last paper I'm sole-authoring. Once I'm tenured, I'll only co-author, since I don't like being alone with my thoughts". So one should try to find a balance between what it takes (after all, a TT position comes with the promise of tenure, and thus greater freedom) and not giving up everything one loves in philosophy, e.g., topics that are felt as less prestigious such as feminism and philosophy of race. Finally, I've noticed that people who focus too much on strategizing (e.g., speaking only to important people) might not be pursuing the best strategy, even if one looks at it purely instrumentally. Rather, this sort of attitude is not appreciated by senior folk and it just radiates lack of collegiality. So, finding a balance between doing what we enjoy and find valuable, and strategizing seems key. A difficult exercise.
Thank you for letting me know about this, Carolyn. I will check out this work when some pressing deadlines have come by, so I haven't checked it out for myself yet. One thing I'm wondering about is whether this research really invalidates Kahan's work - it could still be the case that people strongly identify with positions and that it is hard to change their minds. So I'm a bit skeptical (a prima facie skepticism) that simple explanations of mechanism or a socratic-like method, or a combination of these factors could change the minds of anti-vaxxers or fundamentalist Christian or Muslim Young earth creationists. One study that examined the attitudes of anti-vaxxers found that no intervention (not even carefully explaining) could change their minds. I know climate change is also a polarized issue, but it is less polarized than evolutionary theory. It wouldn't surprise me if opponents to evolutionary theory from the lay audience wouldn't know how to describe the mechanism, but I doubt that it would change their minds. But one interesting finding is that the techniques used to not involve debating (which polarizes discussion). Perhaps by emphasizing mechanism, we go away from these views as positions that define people's cultural world views. Work by Larisa Heiphetz and colleagues indicates that people see beliefs along several dimensions: fact, ideology, and preference. - for instance, suppose I enthusiastically endorse vaccines and say they are effective, I'm saying something factual (I believe vaccines are effective and pose no health risk), preference (I'd like my own kids to enjoy this protection) and ideology (I find herd immunity etc important, and want to see preventable serious childhood illnesses disappear). Now, when we emphasize mechanism we might increase the salience of belief-as-fact and decrease the belief-as-preference and belief-as-ideology. I am just wondering if this works for things where ideological fault lines run very deep, such as evolution.
I found it really interesting too, but unfortunately, halfway through reading it, THE said my quota for free reading was over (apparently they count by the page). My original idea was just to interview mothers, because women seem to bear a heavier parenthood penalty than men, something that has been empirically confirmed. But then one of my interviewees suggested to also involve a father. So that's how I ended up interviewing Kevin Timpe. While doing the interviews, I realized it would have been great to include more fathers, but as it was, I had already quite some interviewees so I left it at that.
Enzo: It's only recently that I've come to realize (probably because I came from a home with a stay-at-home mom, we never had these problems) that all these concerns are amplified to a greater extent for people from low-income families. Meeting the demands of their employers and finding reliable child-care at short notice is vastly difficult for them (remember the story of the single mother who had to leave her kids in a hot car while she went for a job interview, because her childcare arrangments didn't work out). I believe that affordable, state-subsidized childcare is the way to go. Next to this, accommodation is also reasonable, I think, if it doesn't pose demands on other faculty members (e.g., scheduling meetings and talks on hours that parents can make is not a problem, I think, but asking other dept members to do extra work is not a good idea - if anything, it doesn't promote collegiality between parents and non-parents).
Congrats on the British position - that is awesome! I had the same concern about not making my children my excuse. At my previous employer, when I was pregnant, the chair and most other faculty members were even surprised that I already had a child (and a 9-year-old at that!) They didn't know because I didn't bring it up. I must say, however, that I did this in part out of fear of being regarded as unprofessional. And I was a bit in two minds when my male colleagues did bring up their children (for instance, when asking for a meeting to be rescheduled). I didn't feel confident enough to do that. Fortunately, I have a very supportive spouse who share the childcare equally with me (a blessing given the costs of living in Oxford - it's very expensive to have British childcare, as you point out).
This raises an interesting tension: on the one hand, I think a reasonable work-life balance should be available to all, and parents shouldn't be unduly penalized for being parents. However, sometimes a small adjustment can make all the difference, and I don't see why we shouldn't do effort to make scheduling so that it is feasible for parents to attend talks, meetings etc. For instance, talks here in Oxford used to be from 4:30 to 6:30 (the Jowett society etc). You saw virtually no people there who were the primary caregivers (in practice, a glaring absence of female academics). Now they're from 3:30 to 5:30. (While this is somewhat better for me, it's still difficult to attend; however, for most parents it's now possible to attend, as after-school club typically takes until 5:45). I think if taking into account parents' scheduling problems (exacerbated by the problem of getting reliable childcare on an ad hoc and short-notice basis) is perfectly reasonable.
Thanks for the follow-up. I've heard of such cases too, where it seems cultural expectations are especially hard on women who choose not to have children (and the whole set of ideas associated with that, e.g., that childfree people would somehow be selfish). So it's important to keep in mind that a good work/life balance should be attainable for all, not just for parents. Note that Kevin Timpe, for instance, did try to make sure the other faculty members weren't unduly burdened when he took parental leave.
Google the keywords “academic” and “mother” or “motherhood”, and you will find various websites with discussions about the baby penalty in academia for women. Representative for this literature is an influential Slate article by Mary Ann Mason, who writes “For men, having children is a career advantage; for women, it... Continue reading
Thank you, also to Cole Murdoch, for this important work. I'm intrigued about the connection between prestige of journal and percentage of female philosophers who are published in such journals. We learned that dialectica accepts a slightly higher percentage of papers from women compared to men who submit, but still, the overall percentage is very low. Ethics is one of the most prestigious journals in our field (and it is a speciality journal, so it is rather unique in that respect as the "top" journals of our field, in terms of prestige, tend to be general. So I am wondering about whether the fact that both journals are prestigious could contribute to the low percentage of women writing in it. In order to know about this, it would be useful to look at percentages of female authors (an approximate measure, as we will have to code by names and associated gender) in philosophy journals. Would it be the case that this percentage is lower in prestigious journals than in non-prestigious journals (purely eyeballing, this seems to be the case, but I don't know if anyone crunched the numbers). And what factors might contribute to this? For instance, even if there is triple-anonymous refereeing it could be that male grad students and early-career PhDs are more actively mentored and coached to write in the top journals.
Below is a guest post by Kathryn Norlock (Trent University). I have long believed the conventional wisdom that women are not proportionately distributed through every subfield in philosophy. In my field of theoretical ethics, in particular, it is often said that more women in philosophy seem to be found here... Continue reading
Hi Robert: This is indeed part of the challenge - most of the alloparenting in small-scale societies is done by relatives of the child, such as an older brother or sister (as can be seen in the video), grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. With large mobility of families and small family sizes it becomes challenging to arrange for affordable alloparenting solutions. However, even in small-scale societies it is not uncommon that nonkin takes care of children on occasion (e.g., neighbors). I'm not aware of comparisons between kin versus nonkin caregivers - it would be hard to compare indeed, given often the quite different situations (e.g., relatives often don't get monetary compensation, they didn't get special training). My only source for the German scheme is the BBC report on it, see this - in this scheme, the grandparents are not the biological grandparents. They do not adopt the child in a legal sense of adoption, but just fulfill the occasional alloparenting duties of their "adopted" grandchildren.
I know - and that is great. But I know from other people who have under-3s (most people I know don't qualify for the free hours for 2y-olds) that childcare for babies and toddlers under 3 here is still very expensive compared to other European countries, see e.g., here It may be a comfort to parents to know that their 3-y-olds are entitled to some free hours of childcare per week, but if you have a younger child, it seems far off. People I know in Oxford spend over 750 GBP/month for 3 days a week childcare. Other mothers who work full time and have no possibility to work from home see almost their entire salary disappear, but they work anyway b/c disappearing from the workforce for 3 years will mean it's difficult to re-enter later on. So lots still needs to be done.
How can we combine the economic necessities of work with caring for infants? This dilemma recurs across cultures, and western culture is no exception. In a series of interviews with professors who are mothers (which I hope to put on NewApps by the end of this month), one of my... Continue reading
Thomas Reid argued that the human default trust in testimony is a gift of nature, which is sustained by two principles that "tally with each other", the propensity to speak the truth, and the tendency to trust what others tell us. Interestingly, he observed an embodied aspect of this trust:... Continue reading
In order to examine and address issues of participation faced by minority and underrepresented groups in academic philosophy (e.g. gender, race, native-language, sexual orientation, class, and disability minorities), a number of UK departments have recently started to build a UK network of chapters of MAP ( ). With 24... Continue reading
It would certainly be an interesting exercise. The presses I have experience with as author, editor or reviewer typically have 2 or 3 referees so it would be feasible. Nonetheless, while this might be helpful for how much the book would sell I think overall anonymous review would be more effective in increasing the overall quality of published materials.
I refereed for several presses, and have encountered the 'Will it sell?" question. As academics without knowledge of marketing etc, I think we aren't in a position to make a good assessment of this. So I'd propose a division of labour here - the acquisitions editor can make an informed judgment about this taking everything in account. When anonymizing, we can still answer, as referees the following questions: What are the competing books (a question I was also asked)? Do you think the topic of this book is of interest, and who might the potential readers be? All questions that can be answered without knowing the author.