In my second year of grad school, I audited a course on Davidson. In reading one recent paper on Davidson’s triangulation argument, the entire class agreed that this individual had CLEARLY misinterpreted Davidson, and that this paper was an all-around bad. I asked the prof if she would write a reply, since she was (and is) working on Davidson’s triangulation argument. She replied that a paper’s being mistaken and one’s having good objections is not sufficient motivation for writing a reply to a paper. Her reasoning was something like this: I only have a limited amount of time and energy to put together papers, and if I reply to bad papers, I won’t have time to focus on the papers that are good. It’s better to focus on quality papers than crappy papers. So, in general, one ought not spend time replying to crappy papers. Furthermore, replying to a paper indicates that it is worth the energy of a reply.
What do you all think? If this is right, what do you do with these papers? Do you just ignore them? When it is appropriate to ignore a paper? Ought we also not cite such papers?