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Philosophers’ Views of Exploitation: A Survey

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 2:00am in


data, Exploitation

An interdisciplinary team of researchers is looking to find out more about what philosophers think about exploitation.

[Lida Moser, “Two Workers, Exxon Building” (detail)]

The survey’s authors are Benjamin Ferguson (Warwick)Peter Matthews (Middlebury)David Ronayne (ESMT Berlin), and Roberto Veneziani (Queen Mary University London). They write:

We are conducting a survey about academic philosophers’ views of what exploitation is, by judging how exploitative you feel various abstract scenarios are. It takes roughly ten minutes to complete the questions, with the option to answer more if you like. If you complete the survey, we will send you a copy of the eventual working paper summarizing the results, and we will enter you in our prize draw to receive one of ten $200 (or local currency equivalent) Amazon vouchers (unless you opt out).

You can find a link to participate in the survey here

The survey has passed internal ethics reviews.

Thank you for contributing your expertise!

Student Privacy and Pandemics: Understanding and Reducing Privacy and Security Risks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/05/2022 - 4:20am in

I’m presenting several times at TLTCon 2022 later in May. As part of the conference, they’re having some “live” or synchronous sessions where participants and presenters can interact. One of my sessions was accepted and identified as a virtual, or asynchronous session. This means that I put all of my materials together and make them available for consumption at the please of the participant.

In this post, I’ll share some of my materials and thoughts about the virtual session.


This session will briefly review data security and privacy protection regimes as they apply to institutions of higher education. Data security involves everything you need to know and do to secure the data you have and produce. Data privacy is framed by policies that may be handled by an institution’s legal or compliance office to ensure that people are aware of the laws and risks associated with the handling and dissemination of personal data. Data can be a powerful tool for parents, educators, students, and administrators. This includes not only student data, but also employee, alumni, donor, and vendor information.
The session will discuss the different types of student data, how that data is used, and the key policies, practices, and procedures that schools and districts should implement to create a culture of privacy. I outline some potential best practices to establish trust and promote transparency. Tips will be shared for talking with students about privacy including the new challenges posed by online learning.

Slide Deck

Video Recording


The post Student Privacy and Pandemics: Understanding and Reducing Privacy and Security Risks first appeared on Dr. Ian O'Byrne.

Philosophy Sees Decrease in PhDs Conferred In Recent Years

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/04/2022 - 12:02am in


data, data

After a slow and steady increase from 1998 through 2011, the number of PhDs conferred in philosophy in the United States has been decreasing, according to a report from Humanities Indicators.

According to the report,

In recent years, the number of PhDs awarded declined among all the large disciplines except communication (where it rose by 5% from 2012 to 2020)… Programs in history and philosophy experienced the largest declines from 2012 to 2020 (falling 12% and 10% respectively). 

The full report, which has data on various aspects of graduate education in the humanities in the U.S., is here: State of the Humanities 2022: From Graduate Education to the Workforce.

2021-2022 Philosophy Job Market Analysis

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 26/04/2022 - 4:08am in


data, employment

The market for tenure-track jobs in philosophy “was vastly better than last year’s COVID-impacted season, but still not quite up to the level of TT job ads pre-COVID.”

So reports Marcus Arvan (Tampa) in his latest analysis of the academic philosophy job market, posted at The Philosophers’ Cocoon.

Using PhilJobs and his previous reports as sources, Professor Arvan informs us of total number of tenure-track (TT) jobs advertised in philosophy over the past several years, beginning with the most recent cycle:

2021-22: 201
2020-21: 118
2019-20: 224
2017-18: 228
2016-17: 231

He also breaks down these numbers by areas of specialization. Here’s a visual overview:

For further details, commentary, and discussion, check out the original post here.

New Name & Updated Site for Information about Graduate Programs in Philosophy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/04/2022 - 5:15pm in


data, philosophy

APDA is retaining its initials but altering its name to better match its activities as an “ongoing project that collects, analyzes, and distributes data concerning philosophy PhD programs and graduates, with a special focus on job placement.”

Formerly “Academic Placement Data and Analysis,” it is now “Academic Philosophy Data & Analysis.”

APDA provides information about the job placement rates, financial support, research and teaching preparation, and climate, of philosophy PhD programs.

APDA is in the process of collecting additional data, according to project director Carolyn Dicey Jennings. It has also recently begun a “badge” program that indicates which departments are working as “partners” with APDA (you can see them next to the names of various departments on the table here). Professor Jennings writes that they are “hoping to get as many programs as possible into partner status with the project.”

You can now keep informed about updates to APDA by following the project on Twitter at APDAtweets.

Book Review: Technology Is Not Neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics by Stephanie Hare

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/04/2022 - 7:00pm in

In Technology Is Not Neutral, Stephanie Hare provides a practical overview of the complex topic of technology ethics. This is an accessible introduction that guides the reader through common questions, including whether technology can be neutral, where we draw the line when it comes to technology ethics and how we can apply these ideas to real-world examples, writes Sophie … Continued

A Little Rough Data About Journal Refereeing in Philosophy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/04/2022 - 8:32pm in

Is there a refereeing crisis in philosophy? There has been a fair amount of discussion about this over the past couple of months. What was missing from much of this discussion, though, was data. So I asked for some.

I heard from around 40 philosophy journals, but only about half of them were able to provide the kind of information I was after in order to figure out how difficult it is for journal editors to find enough qualified and willing referees: the percentage of those they invite to referee a paper who accept the invitation and write the review.

20 or so journals is not as large a pool of useful data as I was hoping to dive into, but it’s not nothing. What did they say?

The journals that provided helpful data were a varied group in terms of prestige, breadth of subject matter (general/specialist), and popularity of subject matter in the profession. They also varied in the time periods from which they drew their answers, but most of the information was from within the past year (with just a couple stretching further back in time than that). I told the editors that I would not reveal journal-specific information, so in what follows, no particular journals are named.

Across the whole sample I found that, on average, about 40% of the invitations journals send to prospective referees are accepted. About half the journals in this group were within ±7 points of that average. Among the other half, a few were down between 20% and 29% referee acceptance rate, and a few were up between 55 and 60%.

Were there any patterns to which journals had which rates of referees’ acceptance of invitations to review? Given the relatively small sample, it is hard to come to any definitive conclusions. I will say that one thing that’s true of all the journals with rather low referee invitation acceptance rates is that they are not the the best known versions of the type of journal they are. (And by type I mean general or specialist, and if specialist, the specific area.) That said, the generalist journals in this subgroup are definitely known to most philosophers, and the specialist journals in this subgroup are definitely known to the philosophers working in those areas of specialization. So journal obscurity is not doing any explanatory work here. What is? Perhaps it’s higher competition (i.e., more journals) in that space relative to the number of potential reviewers.

One reason to think this explanation has merit is that it’s consistent with the following data, which struck me as odd at first. Since I’m not naming particular journals, I’ll use nicknames for three of them: the Very Good Journal in an Unpopular Area, the Possibly Best Journal in a Popular Area, and the Great Generalist Philosophy Journal. Of these three, the Very Good Journal in an Unpopular Area has the highest referee invitation acceptance rate (in the high 50s): 4 points above the Possibly Best Journal in a Popular Area and 18 points above the Great Generalist Philosophy Journal. The first journal is one of very few journals of its type, and faces little competition for reviewers, while the other two, despite having better reputations in the profession at large, are each one of many of their respective types, and so each face a lot of competition for reviewers.

That said, the supply of potential reviewers is lower for the Very Good Journal in an Unpopular Area than for the other two, owing to differences in the popularity of the areas they cover, so that may count somewhat against the competition explanation. There’s also the possibility that there is a bit of an “underdog” mentality among those working in the unpopular area that motivates them to be more inclined to accept referee requests; or perhaps, knowing that they work in a relatively small area, they feel a relatively less diffuse sense of responsibility for helping with credibility-enhancing institutions in that area, like the journal.

A different possibility is that the Very Good Journal in an Unpopular Area is seen by its specialist community as “their journal”—the one that matters to them and is somewhat definitive for the area it covers, and so members of that community are more motivated to referee for it. Such a possibility was suggested by a journal editor (not associated with any of the above three journals) in reflections they shared with me about their experiences at two different journals: a top generalist journal and a top specialist journal: “Whereas people just about never refused [to referee] for [the specialist journal], the very same people did perhaps a third of the time for [the generalist journal]. It could… be that [the specialists in this area] saw [the specialist journal] as ‘their’ journal in a way that they did not so regard a [top] generalist journal.”

The “competition” and “their journal” explanations, plus some observations about the kinds of journals that had a 30% or smaller referee invitation acceptance rate, suggest (but hardly prove, given the small amount of data) something like the following generalization: if the journal you edit is not among the very first places authors might send their manuscripts, you are going to have more trouble finding referees.

This explanation is compatible with there being multiple reasons for why a journal might be among the very first places an author sends their manuscript: the journal might be especially prestigious or high quality, or be focused on distinctive content, or be the center of professional gravity in a particular subfield (owing to its content, or perhaps to the editor’s influential role in the subfield, apart from the their work for the journal). Correlatively, it suggests possible routes for how journals might improve their referee invitation acceptance rate: excellence, distinctiveness, and influence.

Another possible explanation for disparate rates is offered by the aforemention editor: “the personal touch made all the difference.” At the specialist journal, the editor would personally email potential referees, and though they used a form letter template for such messages, he thinks they still were more likely to garner positive responses than the auto-generated messages from editorial management programs: “I’m inclined to blame publishers’ insisting on seeking referees through the editorial management software as a major (if not the only) reason editors are having so much more trouble procuring referees.”

Some further information:

  • the journal that reported the highest referee invitation acceptance rate is also a journal that has a reputation for a high rate of desk rejections
  • very few referees agree to referee a paper and then never submit a report (except at one of the responding journals, about which the editor said their rate of referee ghosting was between 10% and 20%)
  • almost no papers at the 20 journals that sent in information were rejected simply because of difficulties in securing referees and reports (again, except at the same journal referenced in the previous bullet point, at which this happens “occasionally”)

Lastly, it’s worth noting that very few journals maintain this kind of data. For almost all of the journals that contributed data for this post, the data had to first be produced. In many cases, editors judged it impossible or too time-consuming to do so, or believed the information was inaccessible owing to publishers’ practices or editorial management software. As with questions about submission topics, demographic data about prospective authors, and related matters, it seems it would be useful for our understanding of our profession (what is happening in it, its challenges, its history, its progress, and so on) were journals in the habit of maintaining and occasionally publishing data relevant to their editorial operations.

New Data on Women in Philosophy Journals

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 19/03/2022 - 2:27am in

How much writing by women do philosophy journals publish? How does this vary by quality and type of journal? How does it vary by the type of reviewing manuscripts undergo? How have women’s rates of publication changed over time?

These are among the questions answered by a new study of women’s publication in philosophy journals, just published in Ethics. The study, by Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton), Sherri Conklin (AviAI Inc.), Michael Nekrasov (Santa Barbara), and Jevin West (Washington).

In conducting their study, the researchers divided up philosophy journals into three categories: “top” (based on an informal survey at Leiter Reports), “non-top”, and “interdisciplinary” philosophy journals. They find:

  • “an overall increase in the proportions of women authorships in philosophy journals between 1900 and 2009”
  • “stagnant growth in the proportions of women authorships for recent decades, especially in Nontop Philosophy journals”
  • “the proportion of women authorships has been lowest in Top Philosophy journals over time but that these journals show the greatest increase in the proportion of women authorships between the 1990s and the 2000s”
  • “women authors are underrepresented in Top Philosophy journals even compared to the low proportion of women philosophy faculty in the United States overall”
  •  “the proportions of women authorships in lower-ranked philosophy journals and women philosophy faculty in the United States do not differ”
  • “previously reported disparities in Value Theory [between the comparatively low proportion of women authorships and compartatively high proportion of women faculty] are sustained across all philosophy journal categories, including lower-ranked journals where women authors publish in greater proportions”
  • “Top Philosophy journals practicing Nonanonymous review publish higher proportions of women authors… than Top Philosophy journals practicing Double or Triple Anonymous review… Nontop philosophy journals publish the greatest proportion of women authorships when practicing Double Anonymous review, the most stringent anonymization level within this journal tier… while Interdisciplinary journals publish the greatest proportion of women authorships when practicing Triple Anonymous review”

Below you can see the change in number and proportion of women authors in each type of journal from the 1900s to the 2000s:

(Fig. 4 from Hassoun et al.) Total proportion of women authorships by decade and journal category (1900s–2000s). The top graph shows the total number of authorships by decade and journal category; the bottom graph shows the proportion of women authorships by decade and journal category.

In the following figure, you can see which 10 journals have the highest proportion of articles by women and which have the least, for the periods of 1900-2009 and 2000-2009, color-coded by category:

(Fig. 2 from Hassoun et al.) Journals with the ten lowest and those with the ten highest proportion of women authorships for all three journal categories ranked by proportion of women authorships. The top two graphs represent the total proportion of women authorships across all years (1900–2009), and the bottom two graphs represent the proportion of authorships from 2000 to 2009. The total number of authorships per journal “n =” is shown on the right of the graph.

The authors also used a generalized linear model (GLM) to provide estimates of how women’s authorship in philosophy journals varies by area of specialization, and how this compares to the proportion of women working in these areas:

(Fig. 9 from Hassoun et al). Generalized linear model (GLM) estimates of the proportion of women authorships (2000–2009) by journal AOS compared to faculty AOS (2014). The mean estimated proportion of women authorships across all journals separated by journal category and AOS for the years 2000–2009. Error bars represent the CI based on the output of the GLM. The number of observations (articles for each journal AOS and category in the 2000s) is displayed at the top of the graph with the “n =” label. Note that this figure displays the mean proportion estimated by the model on all articles in a journal category.

They also used the GLM to provide estimates of how the proportion of women authorships varies by type of manuscript review (non-anonymous, double-anonymous, triple-anonymous):

(Fig. 11 from Hassoun et al) GLM estimates of the total proportion of women authorships across all journals separated by journal category and review process for the years 2000–2009. Error bars represent the CI based on the output of the GLM (the CIs are very wide owing to the limited data for Nonanonymous review). The number of observations (articles for each journal category and review type in the 2000s) is displayed at the top of the graph with the “n =” label. Again, note that this is the mean proportion estimated by the model on all articles in a journal category.

The authors discuss their findings and possible explanations for them. For example, regarding the finding that “top” philosophy journals that use triple anonymous review publish a lower proportion of women authors than journals that employ other review types, they say:

our new analysis revealed the surprising result that Interdisciplinary journals utilizing Triple Anonymous review and Nontop Philosophy journals utilizing Double Anonymous review publish the greatest proportion of women authors overall. The low proportion of women authorships in journals using Triple Anonymous review in philosophy may have something to do with their being Top Philosophy journals rather than their review process.

What, then, explains the low proportion of women authors in top journals? Among the possible explanations offered as hypotheses for further investigation, the authors mention:

  • “women are particularly hesitant to submit to those journals”
  • “even with full anonymity, markers of gender, including the chosen topic of research, might still be available to referees and editors,” leaving opportunities for gender bias to operate
  • “some suggest that men and women may have different views about what counts as valuable contributions to philosophy. So, if the editors and editorial boards for most philosophy journals are primarily men (at around 73 percent in 2010 according to historical data collected from the websites of journals included in this study), they may be more likely to reject work by women philosophers based on the topic, style of the writing, or citation practices”
  • “there exists some evidence that academic writing produced by women academics is held to higher standards than that produced by men during the peer review process, even, it seems, when reviewed anonymously”
  • “women are… less likely to coauthor than men, and perhaps coauthored articles are more likely to be accepted than single-authored articles”

The study is entitled “The Past 110 Years: Historical Data on the Underrepresentation of Women in Philosophy Journals” (it may be behind a paywall). Readers may also be interested in exploring interactive versions of some of the above data at the Data on Women in Philosophy website.

Do Men and Women Philosophers Argue Differently?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/03/2022 - 12:01am in

There is no statistically significant gender difference in the argument types used by frequently cited contemporary men and women philosophers in their articles, according to a new study that uses corpus linguistic analysis to search their works for “indicator pairs” of words that are likely to differentiate between deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments.

In “Philosophy’s Gender Gap and Argumentative Arena: An Empirical Study,” forthcoming in Synthese, Moti Mizrahi (Florida Institute of Technology) and Mike Dickinson (University of Illinois) look at the works of the 32 most-cited contemporary men and 32 most-cited contemporary women in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and conclude:

Our results suggest that both men and women philosophers make arguments in their published works. More specifically, our data reveal no statistically significant differences between the types of arguments advanced in published works written by male philosophers and the types of arguments advanced in published works written by women philosophers. In fact, both men and women philosophers make the three types of arguments we have searched for systematically, namely, deductive arguments, inductive arguments, and abductive arguments, with no statistically significant differences in the proportions of those arguments relative to each philosopher’s body of work.

Are the findings useful, as Mizrahi and Dickson think they are, for assessing a hypothesis about academic philosophy’s gender gap (floated by Marilyn Friedman, among others), that the mode of argumentation prevalent in philosophy, long dominated by men, deters or alienates women? Mizrahi and Dickinson explicitly acknowledge an objection that supports a negative answer to this question: that their sample of women is unrepresentative, owing to “survivor bias”:

we have selected women philosophers who have managed to be successful in academic philosophy in spite of the ‘logic-chopping’ and ‘paradox-mongering’ nature of argumentation in academic philosophy… There are plenty of other women who have fought in the ‘argumentative arena’ (Alcoff 2013) of academic philosophy as well but did not survive.

Still, they think their study can speak to the credibility of the hypothesis. Here’s the relevant (given their findings) part of their response:

If we were to find no significant differences in patterns of argumentation between the most cited male philosophers and the most cited women philosophers, then such findings could suggest that women philosophers can be just as concerned with arguments, and just as philosophically argumentative, as male philosophers supposedly are. 

This won’t do. “That women philosophers can be just as concerned with arguments and just as philosophically argumentative” does not tell us whether the dominant modes of doing philosophy alienate or deter or make things more difficult for women in general. If we are looking for clues about what might be problematic with the status quo it is unclear why we’d focus exclusively on those for whom the status quo appears to be unproblematic.

That said, I don’t think this “concerned with arguments” hypothesis for the gender gap—understood as something that could be tested by counting the number of arguments people make and whether they are deductive, inductive, or abductive—is remotely plausible.

Further, it seems to be a misrepresentation of the complaints about philosophy it is supposed to capture. The complaints about philosophy that Mizrahi and Dickinson quote to motivate the hypothesis characterize philosophers not simply as people who argue, or argue a lot, or who use one type of argument more than others, but rather as people who are “just logic-choppers and paradox-mongers” and who are “concerned only with arguments.”

The complaint isn’t about the presence or degree of argumentation, but rather, it seems, about argumentation mainly detached from life as we know it, or detached from the contexts in which its problems arise. That said, I have no idea whether the “degree of detachment” of philosophical work varies by gender at all, or whether a hypothesis for philosophy’s gender gap that more faithfully represents this complaint of detachment has any evidence supporting it. Perhaps someone could figure out how to empirically test for these things.

And perhaps there is also interest in this: whether there are differences in how men and women argue about whether there are differences in how men and women argue.


Book Review: Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society by Firmin DeBrabander

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/02/2022 - 9:00pm in

In Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society, Firmin DeBrabander argues that rather than seeking to safeguard and revive privacy in the digital age, we should instead focus on becoming engaged citizens who contribute to a democratic public sphere. This lucid book is public philosophy at its best, writes Paul Showler, though he questions whether there might … Continued