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« Analytic Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, and Natural Philosophy | Main | Unger's "Free Will and Scientificalism" »

06/19/2014

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Paul

--I can't help but be struck by the fact that the areas of analytic philosophy that carry the greatest prestige -- analytic metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical logic, metaethics, etc. -- are almost to a "t" fields that are about as far as one can get from being relevant to everyday life. Even in ethics, the most prestigious area--metaethics--is concerned with entirely abstract questions about "moral facts.--

I'm not sure that this is true. Many *very* prestigious philosophers, it seems to me, do not work in these fields (or, at least, their main work is not in these fields). Just to name a few that are currently "top of their field": Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, Anthony Appiah, Thomas Pogge, Peter Singer, Elizabeth Anderson, Shelly Kagan, Jeff McMahan. This group seems to rival, in terms of prestige, any group of Lemming (and metaethics) philosophers out there now.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Paul: of course you're right about that small class of individuals. But a select class of individuals is not a genuine counterexample to a *generalization*. So, for example, there are some very successful female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies--yet this is *no* evidence that women do not face discrimination in the workplace. The claims the person I paraphrased were meant to be be generalized, statistical claims. Do you mean to deny that the fields higher in the list are not *generally*, or on average, afforded greater prestige than those lower in the list?

Paul

Hi Marcus,

It seems to me that "prestigious" already picks out a relatively small class of philosophers. But maybe I'm wrong about this. Still, it doesn't seem obvious to me that your average, mid-career lemming philosopher is any more prestigious than your average, mid-career normative ethicist, say (neither seem to be very prestigious).

But perhaps certain *areas* are more prestigious than others, which is what the original post stated. Yet I'm not sure how to judge the prestige of an area apart from the philosophers that work in that area.

Anyway, I doubt that I have a very good pulse of the profession, as a whole.

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