On the future of philosophy and diversity

Peter Ludlow, interviewed in 3 am, responds to the issue of the lack of women in Philosophy:

The only thing I know for sure about this problem is that it has nothing to do with the technical nature of analytic philosophy or its alleged apolitical nature. In the semantics of natural language, for example, I would guess that half the research contributors are women – most of those women just happen to be housed in linguistics departments. So that raises a question. Why can linguistics have so many women do this kind of technical work while in philosophy it is much less common? Here I can only speculate. For one, in the semantics of natural language there are many important female role models like Barbara Partee, Angelika Kratzer, and Irene Heim. Perhaps also it helps to be housed in a linguistics department where the gender balance is typically around 50/50 and there is much greater diversity all around. Perhaps the gender imbalance in philosophy departments leads to worse behavior by the men, or at least a greater likelihood of encountering bad behavior so that the problem is self-perpetuating.

It is worth pointing out that the gender imbalance is not only symptomatic of discrimination somewhere along the line, but it is not good for philosophy departments to have so little diversity. Diverse backgrounds can correlate with diversity of perspectives. Diverse perspectives mean more creativity, more novel solution strategies, and ultimately greater depth of understanding. Isn’t this something that philosophy departments should strive for?

Now go read the rest of what the hell are we doing here ? and find out about cyber worlds, online communities, and the future of the humanities.