I guess this might help me in terms of understanding my own attitude toward the profession. I am curious whether most philosophers like writing or reading philosophy more? Also, I am curious whether most philosophers read things they like, or mainly read for the purposes of their own research. Either way, what percentage of the philosophy that you read do find intellectually fulfilling?
I too am curious to hear people's answers. Here are mine...
All that being said, while I enjoy reading, it's really writing that inspires me. I wake up most mornings itching to write, and draft quite a lot. Much of what I draft never sees the light of day: either I find during creating it that don't think it's good enough to submit to journals, or I draft it with the intention of turning back to it months or years later, and so on. I don't see this as a waste of time, any more than I think a painter or musician would see practice paintings or rehearsals a waste of time (every composition is, in my eyes, worthwhile in one way or another). For me, the real joy of doing philosophy is the act of creation: of exploring new ideas on paper, seeing how they work themselves out and in some cases don't work out (I never outline things prior to writing: I just write, finding my way through ideas as I go along: and to me, that's a big part of the fun of it--it's an act of exploration, like exploring a new land or city!).
As for Amanda's question about the percentage of philosophy I read that I find intellectually fulfilling, I have a really hard time putting numbers to it. I would say that I read "quite a lot" of philosophy I find intellectually fulfilling, but also a significant amount that I don't. As a very rough guide, I'd say that the kind of philosophy I enjoy seems to me creative, risky, sincerely concerned with truth, and written with a distinct authorial style (there are some authors whose writing styles I just adore, Mary Beth Willard being just one person who immediately comes to mind, and Nick Riggle being another). On the other hand, the philosophy I don't enjoy as much tends to be that which strikes me as overly formulaic, needlessly technical, and seemingly focused more on narrow dialectical games with opponents. While I think this parody is too dismissive, as a general rule I prefer works that buck conventions and come across as a breath of fresh air.
But these are just my thoughts, and I am just one person. How would you all answer Amanda's questions?