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2009-12-09
Political Affiliation and the Existence of an External World

Compare this result from the survey:

Accept or lean toward: non-skeptical realism 760 / 931 (81.6%)
Other 86 / 931 (9.2%)
Accept or lean toward: skepticism 45 / 931 (4.8%)
Accept or lean toward: idealism 40 / 931 (4.2%)

with this result from my study of the political affiliations of American philosophy professors (based on the voter registration data of 375 philosophy professors in CA, FL, and NC):

Democrat 87.2%
Republican: 7.7%
Green: 2.7%
Independent: 1.3%
Libertarian: 0.8%
Peace&Freedom: 0.3%

I'd been summarizing the latter results somewhat tongue-in-cheek by saying, "Philosophers can't agree whether the external world exists, but they do agree that *if* it exists, then Obama makes a better President than Bush".  I'm glad to see some empirical support for this conjecture.

Of course, one further question that naturally arises is whether Democrats are more or less likely than Republicans or affiliates of minor parties to accept the existence of a mind-independent external world.


2013-02-01
Political Affiliation and the Existence of an External World
Answers to the politics question on the survey weren't strongly correlated with answers to the realism question, so I'm guessing the democrat/republican distinction wouldn't track that... although, libertarianism is associated with the same cluster of views as idealism, and skepticism is associated with the same cluster as communitarianism (very weak indirect connection in both cases),,, so, maybe you'd find something.