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Shen-yi Liao

I think the main point is plausible, but I think non-experts would be more effective if their judgments are pooled together collectively. However, given that the standard remains one or two referees, I am not sure non-experts do do better.

I do want to object to the contrast between scientific and philosophical papers. Scientists test their papers against each other too: which hypotheses are relevant, which analyses are appropriate, etc. Scientists, as agents in academia, are also impacted by sociological factors such as career incentives. It doesn't seem obvious to me scientific peer review is any more "objective" than philosophy peer review, if that's what the contrast is supposed to imply.


Well, another bad thing is that this is the way I would guess that 1/2 of journal papers are not really blind review. The circle is so small you know who wrote the paper, whether via conferences or just paper sharing.


"In philosophy...it matters who one's readers are. If one's readers are a biased sample--a group of self-selected individuals united, say, by similar philosophical commitments--then even if people in that sample find one's premises true or plausible, that may not actually be good evidence that one's premises are true or plausible."

This is another reason why a referee who rejects a paper at one journal should not agree to review it again at a new journal. Let some air in.

Marcus Arvan

Ryan: totally agree!

Marcus Arvan

Amanda: good point!

Marcus Arvan

Shen-yi: I agree that we shouldn’t exaggerate the difference between science and philosophy. But there is a difference: there is clear mind-independent data in science. For instance, people could (and did historically) protest the counterintuitiveness of relativity, quantum mechanics, or evolution by natural selection all they like. The data show otherwise. The problem is, in philosophy, there often isn’t anything remotely like mind-independent data: there’s *just* different philosophers’ judgments about which premises are plausible, implausible, etc.

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