A propos to these three discussions, I'd like to point out these two fictitious reviewer comments on work by Plato and Kant, and this actual review of Rawls' A Theory of Justice by R.M. Hare. They're so awesome that I'll save you all the time and energy you'd waste on clicking the links.
Here's the fictitious review of Plato:
I’m afraid that I cannot recommend the submission ‘Euthyphro, or On piety’ for publication in the Athenian Journal of the Pursuit of Wisdom. I come to this view despite the fact that there are lots of things to like about the submission. For example, there is a neat point here about the possible difficulties in relating ‘what is pious’ to ‘what the gods love’. However, even here at its best the submission is ultimately disappointing. Having raised an interesting question we find only a short and inconclusive discussion before the author moves on to something else. And that is the most important failing of the piece in its current form: no conclusion or positive thesis is advanced at all. This is most infuriating and I imagine your subscribers will find it very frustrating. After all, any philosophical thought worth taking seriously requires the assertion of, preferably, a very striking and surprising positive thesis from a clear standpoint of dogmatic authority. The present submission, on the other hand, neither claims support from divine revelation nor asserts as we would expect at the outset of the submission that every other discussion of this subject is woefully misguided. Indeed, the author makes no personal assertion whatsoever and seems perversely excited at the thought of hiding his (I assume it is a male author) own views.
Indeed, I can see no reason whatsoever for the unnecessary self-indulgence involved in concocting a conversation, at least one of whose participants is a well-known and controversial figure. Such a confusion of real figures and disguised authorship cannot fail to generate all manner of interpretative difficulties for your readers that seem to me to serve no useful purpose whatsoever. If the author would agree to recast his submission in a more usual form (some hundreds of lines of nice direct hexameter poetry perhaps) then he would at least remove some of this unfortunate confusion. But even then it is not clear to me whether the author has any positive view of his own to offer. And until he does he should leave aside this kind of modern literary indulgence.
Here's the one on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (kudos to Feminist Philosophers for digging this one up):
Hard to know where to begin with this one. Lots of ideas -- too many ideas? -- and bold claims but the result ends up feeling essayistic and sweeping, leaping from one assertion to the next. Interdisciplinarity is one thing, but the author seems to want to invent entire fields of thought willy-nilly! It comes across as frankly arrogant and overreaching.
Not least, the author is almost wilful in neglect of secondary sources. This is a serious lack and the text feels ungrounded for it. One gets the sense that the author is interested in their own posterity than in dialogue with a community of thinkers! This needs redress. I might for example point the author towards some of my own recent work, among various writers.
With all this in mind, it seems pointless to engage too much with specific arguments, but the concept of "the noumenal" I found to be quite ungrounded and free from evidential basis. And I found the whole "categorical imperative" idea a bit..."categorical." Forgive the pun!
In summary: technically lacking, poor use of citation, strident, circuitous, dubious and sweeping. It would be foolhardy to recommend publication.
And finally, a small excerpt from Hare's actual review of TOJ:
In concluding this not very sympathetic notice, it must be said that a reviewer with more ample patience and leisure might possibly have done better for Rawls. I have taken a great deal of pains (and it really has been painful) trying to get hold of his ideas, but with the feeling all the time that they were slipping through my fingers...The book is extremely repetitious, and it is seldom clear whether the repetitions really are repetitions, or modifications of previously expressed views. I have drawn attention to some of these difficulties, and there are all too many others. Rawls is not to be blamed for failing to keep the whole of this huge book in his head at the same time (the only way to avoid inconsistencies when writing a book); and still less are his readers. He is to be blamed, if at all, for not attempting something more modest and doing it properly.
Many years ago [Rawls] wrote some extremely promising articles, containing in germ, though without clarity, a most valuable suggestion about the form and nature of moral thought. It might have been possible to work this idea out with concision and rigour (Rawls' disciple Mr Richards has made a tolerably good job of it in his book A Theory of Reasons for Action, which is much clearer than Rawls' own book as an exposition of this type of theory). If Rawls had limited himself to, say, 300 pages, and had resolved to get his main ideas straight and express them with absolute clarity, he could have made a valuable contribution to moral philosophy.
That one just never gets old. :) Makes one wonder whether there are better alternatives than traditional peer-review.
Update: Readers are invited to submit their own examples! Here's one from me on Mill's Utilitarianism: "Author claims to endorse hedonism, only to contradict him/herself a few pages later. His/her "proof" of utilitarianism is all of two pages long, and fallacious at every step. Although I am not optimistic about the viability of the author's project, I would advise that he/she submit the manuscript to a (graduate?) conference or two before wasting time submitting it to another journal." :)