Philosop-her on the Philosophers’ Annual

Philosop-her has a great post up about trends in the Philosophers’ Annual:

Despite the fact that the Philosophers Annual (PA) is doing better on the political philosophy front, I have a few worries that were prompted by discussions on Facebook (thanks to J.D. and E.B. and others for bringing my attention to these issues). It seems that the PA has recognized papers in philosophy of race only twice since the year 2000: from the literature of 2001, Robert Bernasconi, “Who Invented the Concept of Race?”; and from the literature of 2000, Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?” Something similar seems to be true of feminist philosophy as well. There have been three papers recognized in the area of feminist philosophy since 2000: from the literature of 2007, Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?”; from the literature of 2001, Karen Jones, “The Politics of Credibility”; from the literature of 2000, Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?” Admittedly, I did a quick and incomplete survey (considering only up to the year 2000). If anyone has determined the exact numbers of entries in these two areas since the beginning of the PA, I would be grateful if you could share that information with me.

It cannot possibly be true that of the very best articles in philosophy since 2000 that only 5 of the best articles are in the area of race and gender. That we are led to this conclusion by the PA may suggest that there is something wrong with the methodology behind the PA.

We can and should have a conversation about the specifics of the PA methodology. But personally, I’m of the opinion that any attempt to rank and codify what is ‘best’ in our discipline is going to be subject to – and more worryingly, is going to reinforce – the sorts of oversights and biases our discipline is plagued by. 



Daily Nous has opened a thread inviting suggestions of great philosophy of race and philosophy of gender/feminist philosophy that have been written during the relevant time period (i.e., 2000-2013). 


5 thoughts on “Philosop-her on the Philosophers’ Annual

  1. Wow, yes it is. And looking over recent years, I see they’ve always had either one or two papers by women. (Actually, last year there was also one with three co-authors, one of whom was a woman.)

    I’m sure a part of the explanation is the LEMMing-heaviness of the selections. That’s one of the biases of the profession, so it illustrates magicalersatz’s point.

  2. Yes, it seems that 3 of the last 4 volumes have been 90% male. 2008 is the only issue recent ones (at least that I can tell) which has less than 80% representation (it’s 70% male).

  3. When I was first looking into all of this, I looked at the number of women in the PA until around 1991. As Magicalersatz notes, the general trend is to have one woman per issue. 2008 seems to be one of the few if not only exceptions. I was surprised. I would also like to go back and check the articles by people of colour too.

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