philosophy meta-forum

Fads and their survival

Dietrich

26 day(s) ago

Philosophy is full of fads, some of them just old stuff dressed up with new fancy lingo and in ignorance of already existing scholarship, other fads are new (and bad) ideas and few things will be worth pondering for future generations.

Usually these trends disappear when their originators die. What are current "hot topics" which will or won't stand the test of time and do you think that 20th century luminaries such as Wittgenstein, Quine, Kripke or Lewis will have the long-lasting appeal that the greats have had.

Nicholas

26 day(s) ago

Grounding. Reasons.

Allan

26 day(s) ago

X-phi.

Allan

26 day(s) ago

Feminist philosophy.

Roberto

26 day(s) ago

Virtue epistemology

William

26 day(s) ago

Extended mind

Colin

26 day(s) ago

The worst fad? Philosophers (usually talentless ones without t-t jobs) who are butt-hurt because no one pays attention to their work on tropes or the Gettier problem anymore, so they pathetically whine about topics that everyone else finds interesting and important. Yeah, that's the worst one.

Fujiwara

26 day(s) ago

dialectics (subfield: ancient philosophy)

emotions (subfield: ancient & medieval philosophy)

female philosophers (subfield: medieval & early modern)

Wilfrid

26 day(s) ago

Standpoint epistemology (which is already marginalized, and rightly so)

Directness of rights and reasons

Rawlsianism

Michelangelo

26 day(s) ago

+1000 thumbs up for "rawlsianism"

Solomon

26 day(s) ago

Hating on Rawls is itself a growing industry. Lots of young talent doing non-ideal blah blah.

Anaxagoras

26 day(s) ago

Someone touch a nerve, Colin? Writing a dissertation on (something like) grounding, by any chance? Don't worry, I'm sure in thirty years' time it'll turn out to be much less of a transient and parochial way of framing issues than tropes or the Gettier problem.

Colin

26 day(s) ago

Nah, I'm more like the guy on the search committee who will be rejecting your thrilling writing sample on Davidson.

Virgil

26 day(s) ago

I feel bad for grad students at non-elite departments that get caught up in the trendy topics. If you're from NYU and you wrote a dissertation on grounding -- or, if you did this five years ago, more accurately -- you can get a job. But for folks at departments outside of that New York City area clique, it is unwise to follow in their coattails, and advisors should be telling graduate students this. Doing what Rutgers kids do is not a winning play. The fancy departments and their golden children will almost always be more famous and well-connected and prestigious. It is foolish to try to beat them at their own game -- i.e., foolish to imitate or follow their research programs. It is far better to craft a *distinctive* research and teaching program. This will help you stand out. It'll also make you happier -- turns out, it's more fun to be creative than to talk about Kit Fine's latest.

Colin

26 day(s) ago

Virgil is wise.

Peter

26 day(s) ago

Philosophy is full of fads, some of them just old stuff dressed up with new fancy lingo and in ignorance of already existing scholarship, other fads are new (and bad) ideas and few things will be worth pondering for future generations.

Usually these trends disappear when their originators die. What are current "hot topics" which will or won't stand the test of time and do you think that 20th century luminaries such as Wittgenstein, Quine, Kripke or Lewis will have the long-lasting appeal that the greats have had.

Dietrich

Wittgenstein's star has already faded dramatically, and I expect that trend to continue. I know a lot of philosophers, and I hardly know any who take the later Wittgenstein seriously. Kripke's place is secure, but mostly as a technician, not for his speculations about modal epistemology or metaphysics. Quine and Lewis are question marks, for me, but I suspect we haven't yet seen Lewis' influence peak.

Philip

26 day(s) ago

Wittgenstein's idea in the Investigations about family resemblances is still very popular. It's a favoured get-of-jail-free card. Having trouble nailing a concept down? No problem: just say it's a family resemblance.

Socrates

26 day(s) ago

I think Virgil hit the nail on its head. There are a couple of philosophical clusters set around some coastal areas. If you don't belong to them, you cannot successfully engage the same topics. I think that it is slightly ironic that it usually is those departments that strive for"diversity" although they eliminate diversity by being so cliquish (that is to be expected and to me not a big problem) on the one hand, and on the other by dominating the prize committees for both early career and later stage prizes.

The best do tend to be around these clusters, but since philosophy lacks hard criteria for quality and appears so cliquish, I often doubt that certain persons have earned their position.

As for fads, 4D vs 3D has petered out and Sider's latest never really took off the ground.

Virgil

25 day(s) ago

Virgil is wise.

Colin

Aw shucks. I'm blushin here!

It took me a good long while to learn this lesson, FWIW. Once upon a time, I was working quite hard to break into the coastal racket -- trying to write articles like those coming out of NYU, Princeton, or Rutgers. I never quite succeeded, and for a while beat myself up over that. But I do my own thing now (my research isn't remotely fashionable), and I feel at peace about that.

Adolf

24 day(s) ago

Two ways to succeed in a crowded market:

1. Be the rising star in the approved program (e.g., the asskisser)

2. Or pull the rug out from all the cool kids (e.g., troll hard and be good at it)

Option (2) is far more interesting, and probably far more respectable, than (1)

Jinul

24 day(s) ago

Philosophical "issues" surrounding fiction. No clear grasp on reality but we can come up with theories about fictional realms.

Vauvenargues

24 day(s) ago

Hating on Rawls is itself a growing industry. Lots of young talent doing non-ideal blah blah.

Solomon

Oh yes. The silly fashion for "realism" in political philosophy (which nobody is actually able to give a satisfactory account of) is just a vehicle for the self-promotion of a few mediocrities.

Michael

24 day(s) ago

formal epistemology

Tertullian

24 day(s) ago

As for fads, 4D vs 3D has petered out and Sider's latest never really took off the ground.

Socrates

Frankly, I am a bit sorry 4D vs 3D has petered out. I liked that fad. Perhaps it will come back in fashion.

Thales

24 day(s) ago

Knowledge first, Contextualism, testimony

Oets

24 day(s) ago

Philosophy is full of fads, some of them just old stuff dressed up with new fancy lingo and in ignorance of already existing scholarship, other fads are new (and bad) ideas and few things will be worth pondering for future generations.

Usually these trends disappear when their originators die. What are current "hot topics" which will or won't stand the test of time and do you think that 20th century luminaries such as Wittgenstein, Quine, Kripke or Lewis will have the long-lasting appeal that the greats have had.

Dietrich

Wittgenstein's star has already faded dramatically, and I expect that trend to continue. I know a lot of philosophers, and I hardly know any who take the later Wittgenstein seriously. Kripke's place is secure, but mostly as a technician, not for his speculations about modal epistemology or metaphysics. Quine and Lewis are question marks, for me, but I suspect we haven't yet seen Lewis' influence peak.

Peter

Unlikely.

My money is on Naming and Necessity being regarded as the best and most important work of philosophy of the 20th century for as long as people keep doing (analytic) philosophy. The necessary a posteriori, the contingent a priori, the refutation of descriptivism, names as rigid designators, the necessity of identity, the (re)introduction of metaphysical necessity as a serious topic, understanding metaphysical necessity in counterfactual/subjunctive terms. Who else since Kant has contributed so many important ideas to philosophy? Maybe Frege or Russell, but what they contributed (apart from the logic) was largely wrong.

Damascius

23 day(s) ago

What about the whole "meaning is use" team? I take them to be building on Wittgenstein. So, Pitt kind of folks.

Philosophy is full of fads, some of them just old stuff dressed up with new fancy lingo and in ignorance of already existing scholarship, other fads are new (and bad) ideas and few things will be worth pondering for future generations.

Usually these trends disappear when their originators die. What are current "hot topics" which will or won't stand the test of time and do you think that 20th century luminaries such as Wittgenstein, Quine, Kripke or Lewis will have the long-lasting appeal that the greats have had.

Dietrich

Wittgenstein's star has already faded dramatically, and I expect that trend to continue. I know a lot of philosophers, and I hardly know any who take the later Wittgenstein seriously. Kripke's place is secure, but mostly as a technician, not for his speculations about modal epistemology or metaphysics. Quine and Lewis are question marks, for me, but I suspect we haven't yet seen Lewis' influence peak.

Peter

Hannah

23 day(s) ago

Pitt is sort of the department-level version of a fading fad

Colin

23 day(s) ago

Hannah is also wise. And funny.

Raymond

23 day(s) ago

Two ways to succeed in a crowded market:

1. Be the rising star in the approved program (e.g., the asskisser)

2. Or pull the rug out from all the cool kids (e.g., troll hard and be good at it)

Option (2) is far more interesting, and probably far more respectable, than (1)

Adolf

Yikes, I'm wincing just thinking of a departments full of Jason Brennans!

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