There have been a lot of posts recently on the hyperprofessionalization of philosophy, including whether it affects the quality of work in the discipline. I don't to beat that horse to death anymore, especially in light of the community's response to The Onion Test I proposed (which I now see was a very bad idea, and I'm sorry for posting about).
Anyway, I'd like to discuss another aspect of the professionalization of our discipline that has struck me: the manner in which it seems to me to have possibly changed the spirit of our discipline. When I was younger -- a while ago now! ;) -- one of the things that attracted me to philosophy was all of the "weirdos" in it. I don't mean this as a pejorative in the least, by the way! I mean it in the most complimentary way possible. I've always had an (admittedly romanticized) attachment to people who "walk to the best of a different drum." And, for a long time, philosophy seemed to be a home for people like that: people who spoke oddly, sometimes cryptically, but interestingly, people who let their hair run wild and dressed goofily. Etc. I'm think you all know what I mean. There's even a popular phrase for it: "flying your freak flag."
Maybe it's just me, but this aspect of philosophy seems to me to be in real decline. Perhaps some of you think it is a good thing -- that philosophers for too long behaved in adolescent, obtuse, even offensive or threatening ways. And to that extent, I would agree that it is a good thing. I assume most of us have known "that" philosopher, the one who growls at, humiliates, etc., students and other faculty. By all means, I think it is a good thing that our discipline seems to have progressed in these areas, though I think I would say it clearly hasn't progressed enough.
But what about the good-natured type of strangeness that (or so it seems to me) used to pervade philosophy a lot more? Has it declined? It seems to me (anecdotally) as though it has, probably in large part due to market pressures: namely, the sorry state of the academic job market leading to an ever-growing concern to "look professional" to get jobs. Is this a bad thing -- something to be regretted? Or is it, on the whole, a good thing that our discipline seems to be growing "more professional"? Is it something that we can expect to change if/when the market changes for the better? I'm curious to hear your thoughts!