Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Philosophers and Fellowships III

Oh, dear. More from the Leiter Report that philosophers aren't getting the fellowships they deserve:

The 2006 winners of American Council of Learned Society Fellowships have been named. Only one philosopher was a winner this year (out of sixty awards): Steven Crowell from Rice University for a project on "Heidegger and the Claims of Reason." A rather large number of historians (I haven't counted them all up) were winners. Two or three philosophers have usually won ACLS Fellowships in recent years.

I'd be interested in hearing from philosophers ... who applied during the 2005-06 cycle and weren't chosen. I'll keep this information confidential, but I may post in a general way about some of the issues that Jason Stanley and I have raised in prior posts ... if it turns out that there is an area bias at work here too.

OK, I've already commented on this topic here and here.

Three points:

1) "If it turns out that there is an area bias at work here too." Too? That's highly debatable. In fact, most of those who commented on earlier postings at the Leiter Report thought that the philosophical profession was at least partly complicit in its own marginalization. See here.

2) What can this sort of informal survey possibly accomplish? First, it depends on rejected applicants reading Brian Leiter's post (maybe they will, maybe not, but that's hardly a reliable way to gather data). Second, to find signs of bias it would be necessary to know the acceptance rate of other disciplines. Without that information, I don't see how it is possible to determine whether the ACLS is being biased or not.

3) What is it with the History bashing? Why single out the number of historians receiving awards? Is that supposed to be self evidently suspicious? (And if so, why? Is it because philosophers are entitled to a certain number of fellowships?) That aside really confuses me (to be charitable).

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