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1 - 20 / 21 2012-12-30William Brant
University of Maryland University CollegeAnalytic/synthetic and a priori/ a posteriori distinctions?
Why refrain from asking the next questions that are directly related to these questions and distinctions already answered within the PhilPapers survey, namely: Are there analytic a priori judgments or statements? Are there synthetic a priori judgments or statements (e.g., a straight line is the shortest distance between any two points)? Synthetic a posteriori? And (the anti-Kantian) analytic a posteriori?
Depending upon one's view of contradictions, there could be a set of valid arguments supporting a fourth set of analytic a posteriori judgments or statements. Anyway, it would be interesting to see if 1-5% made that distinction or sided with Kant against it. I doubt it would be 0% though, and it is important to see how many would make the synthetic a priori distinction contra Hume, which has important implication in ethics and metaethics.
University of Toronto, St. George CampusI don't understand factor analysis well, but it seems as if answers to most questions are predicted by just one factor.
For instance, if you are an anti-naturalist, then it's likely that you are going to be a non-physicalist about mind, think that there is a further fact about personal identity, be a libertarian in free will, and believe in God. None of these answers is significantly predicted by any other factor. (Though I wonder what's fundamental: maybe if you believe in God, the others follow as far as your own reasoning is concerned.)
There are a few questions that are determined by more than one factor. Knowledge rationalism is predicted by: anti-naturalism, realism, and rationalism itself.
But all in all, there seem to be just four basic determinative "personality" factors in philosophy: naturalism, realism, rationalism, and externalism. Aside from externalism, which speaks to the transformative influence of Kripke and Putnam, the other three are old chestnuts. I suppo ... (read more)
2010-01-03This is really a superbly interesting survey. I can't wait for the additional analyses to be published!
I've seen this kind of thing done for the economics field, too, but I would love to see it done for the sciences. For example, what proportion of neuroscientists or physicists are dualists? What proportion of each are theists? What proportion of physicists accept Copenhagen vs. Many Worlds vs. other interpretations of quantum mechanics? That would all be very interesting to know.
Many thanks to David Bourget and David Chalmers!
In the results page here:
and in the descriptions of the questions here:
There are 30 questions.
but in "The Original Survey" pdf linked to on this page: http://philpapers.org/surveys/ here:
I only see 20 questions. Did I miss something? I'm wondering what the other 10 questions were like in the original survey that everyone took?
Carleton UniversityI am surprised to learn that no mention of Eastern Philosophers have been identified. I put down Confucius and Sidharta Gautama.
University of Puerto RicoCan we read everyone's comments?Latest replies:
- David Chalmers, 2009-12-14 : We thought about this, but we didn't ask for consent to release the overall suggestions at the end, so probably shou... (read more)
- Tibor Machan, 2010-03-21 : Is there someplace you explain your reasons for conducting such surveys? I did take part but never followed up bec... (read more)
2009-12-13It's interesting to compare answers to a question between the whole target faculty population and those who work in the AOS associated with the question. The biggest differences by far, unsurprisingly, concern theism and the philosophy of religion. The next biggest differences are in decision theory (two boxing), philosophy of physical science (B-theory), philosophy of mathematics (Platonism). Then epistemology (invariantism and to a lesser extent internalism), general philosophy of science (Humeanism), social and politlcal philosophy (egalitarianism), metaphysics (non-Humeanism). And smaller differences in many other areas.
Of course those differences could be due to (i) specialists making better-grounded judgments, (ii) selection effects in entering the speciality, (iii) specialists' judgments corrupted by an insider literature, and various other sources. I suspect that most philosophers will agree that each of these sources are at play in some cases, while they'll disag ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Rachael Briggs, 2009-12-16 : I'm surprised about non-classical logic; I expected non-logicians would be more likely to pr While I agree that the... (read more)
- Jim Stone, 2009-12-16 : I work a good deal in philosophy of religion and there is no question in my mind that many people work in it becausAs th... (read more)
- Mark Povich, 2009-12-29 : I agree with Jim. I wonder, though, how many voted in favor of theism had Judeo-Christian theism in mind versus, say, Sp... (read more)
- Mark Silcox, 2010-06-11 : The most startling result for me was that specialists in normative ethics are _less_ likely to favor virtue ethics. I gu... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2010-06-12 : The most startling thing to me is that anyone can place any importance on these results beyond a kind of tri Take for ex... (read more)
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2009-12-13In light of the survey's many items with 3 options (besides "other"), I was rather surprised that the "God" question left out "agnosticism". If pressed to declare whether I "lean toward" one of the options provided, I might choose one or the other, yet believe that philosophically the most responsible position is agnosticism. Moreover, considering that there are many rival versions of theism, most people who believe in a particular (theistic) deity disbelieve many or even all rival versions, so overall they too ought to be agnostic. I wonder why this question was dichotomous.Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2009-12-14 : So now we have, it seems, three definitions of "theism" : (1) "Jews, Christians and Muslims traditionally... (read more)
- Jim Stone, 2009-12-14 : I wrote initially: 'Theism can safely be taken to be the belief that God, as traditionally conceived by Jews, Christ... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2009-12-14 : RE: 'Agnosticism' is much harder to get a grip on.". Agnosticism is simplicity itself to get a grip on, tho... (read more)
- Jim Stone, 2009-12-15 : ‘An agnostic is simply someone who thinks that all the arguments in favour of god, gods, or ultimate realities of any ki... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2009-12-15 : I don't follow your line of thought. To be clear: If I am an agnostic my attitude would not be "I haven’t... (read more)
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2009-12-11I wonder which way it tends to go. On the one hand, various psychological results suggest that people overestimate the degree to which others agree with them. On the other hand, it seems to me anecdotally that philosophers often feel that they are a lonely voice of truth in a crowd of errors.
This would be easy to check, if the data are compiled in the right way.Latest replies:
- Brent Allsop, 2009-12-30 : I'm also interested in this question. It seems to go both ways depending on the issue. What are some of the wa... (read more)
- Eric Schwitzgebel, 2009-12-30 : Hi Brent. Anyone with access to the full dataset with linkage between survey results and metasurvey results could... (read more)
- David Bourget, 2009-12-31 : Just computed the stats on this. There's an overall tendency for proponents of a given position to rate its populari... (read more)
- Eric Schwitzgebel, 2009-12-31 : That's interesting, David, thanks! It fits with the general psychological tendency to overestimate how much pe... (read more)
Royal Military College of CanadaHello,
I am not an academic philosopher by a long shot, but merely a curious engineering grad student. I was very interested in the survey results, and decided to sort them by mean square error to determine some degree of consensus.
I posted a short introduction with the results on my blog here.
Unfortunately the table works well when pasted initially, but turns into a mess in preview mode. For the impatient, it's near the end of the article. I'm planning on breaking this up further (ie just faculty responses, etc) over the weekend.
2009-12-10There seem to have been quite a few discussions of the results of the Survey elsewhere on the web: e.g. Garden of Forking Paths (on free will), Prosblogion (on religion), Think Tonk (religion/epistemology), Honest Toil (nominalism), EconLog (various), Metafilter (general), Reddit (general). And Survey data seems to have made it into at least one serious philosophy talk already.
If you've seen other discussions, post the links here.Latest replies:
- Vlastimil Vohánka, 2009-12-14 : What's Wrong with the World (on conservatism, Christianity): http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2009/12/trus... (read more)
- David Bourget, 2009-12-16 : The Philosopher's Eye
- David Bourget, 2009-12-23 : Knowledge and Experience Boston Globe (below the climate change column)
- David Bourget, 2009-12-28 : Chronicle of Higher Education Blog And some discussion in Chinese. According to Google Webmaster, there are currently 42... (read more)
- Carlo Penco, 2010-01-10 : tweet (& blog) on truth: http://wp.me/pkJNg-1D
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2009-12-09I find these results interesting:
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?
Accept or lean toward: switch 635 / 931 (68.2%)
Other 225 / 931 (24.1%)
Accept or lean toward: don't switch 71 / 931 (7.6%)
In Fiery Cushman's and my survey of philosophers' attitudes about moral dilemmas, we asked about this case and our results don't line up very well with yours. Here's the prompt:
You are standing by the railroad tracks when you notice an empty boxcar rolling out of control. It is moving so fast that anyone it hits will die. Ahead on the main track are five people. There is one person standing on a side track that doesn't rejoin the main track. If you do nothing, the boxcar will hit the five people on the main track, but not the one person on the side track. If you flip a switch next to you, it will divert the boxcar to the side track where it will hit the one person, and not hit ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Mark van Roojen, 2009-12-17 : Sorry, I shouldn't have said "red herring," since it seems to have been a bit inflammatory. I don... (read more)
- Luke Culpitt, 2009-12-17 : On this question, (after briefly researching the topic) it occurred to me that not-switching is as much of a choice or d... (read more)
- Berit Brogaard, 2009-12-17 : Hi Mark, this makes a lot of sense. However, wouldn't those who think that being part of the causal chain enta... (read more)
- Mark van Roojen, 2009-12-17 : Yes, if you aren't already part of the causal chain. That's why on this position it matters if you're... (read more)
- Anthony D'Amato, 2010-04-14 : The original problem has a workman on the side track. This makes all the difference. A workman assumes the risk of... (read more)
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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):
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.
2009-12-09It's interesting to compare results among faculty and graduate students. Where target faculty as a whole favor Platonism, aesthetic objectivism, two-boxing, deontology, and Millianism, graduate students favor nominalism, aesthetic subjectivism, one-boxing, virtue ethics, and Fregeanism.
Also, in most cases where there are views with large majorities among target faculty, those views have somewhat reduced majorities among graduate students: e.g. compatibilism, non-skeptical realism, analytic-synthetic distinction, atheism, non-Humeanism, classical logic, content externalism, moral realism, moral cognitivism, egalitarianism, scientific realism, and trolley switching.
Where compared to the faculty/PhD group as a whole (instead of to target faculty), graduate students' results are somewhat closer, because majority views among target faculty typically have reduced majorities among non-target faculty. But the majorities are still reduced among graduate students compared to this group.
Most of t ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Eric Schwitzgebel, 2009-12-09 : Have you tried correcting for age? That is, it is an age result or a prestige-in-the-profession result?
- Jeffrey White, 2009-12-12 : Likely due to the inbred and entitled nature of your target group, views like Platonism, aesthetic objectivism, and Mill... (read more)
- Nathan Jones, 2009-12-13 : Interesting. Is there a page where we can see the entire "primary roll" (I assume that's what was used) br... (read more)
- Bahram Farzady, 2009-12-14 : Whatever the explanation, it is nice to see that the future is not full of Platonists.
- David Cheely, 2009-12-14 : Possible explanation for the aesthetic objectivism versus aesthetic subGraduate students are in the process of having th... (read more)
University of Puerto RicoI skipped the metasurvey because I didn't have time after doing the survey. But I'd be interested in doing it now. Will you resurvey, or post the survey? Where can I see the metasurvey questions?Latest replies:
- David Bourget, 2009-12-09 : Hi, we won't run the Metasurvey again because results would be influenced by the availability of the Survey results... (read more)
- Michael Bishop, 2009-12-10 : I understand the decision not to analyze newly collected data as if it had been collected at the same time as the origin... (read more)
University of OstravaSuppose one wants to investigate the relationship between various positions and their coherence, but he cannot do it by the selection filters available online. E. g., he wonders about the relative number of non-physicalist, libertarian atheists. Can he ask the team for the table? Do you plan to add more selection filters online?Latest replies:
- Neil Levy, 2009-12-09 : I would like to see whether my suspicion that Australian philosophy differs from the rest of the analytic tradition in v... (read more)
- Vlastimil Vohánka, 2009-12-14 : -- It would be really great to have the possibility to generate _3+-way sortings_ on this site. -- So far, two... (read more)
- David Chalmers, 2009-12-14 : We'll add chronological, geographical, and gender filters in January, possibly along with some others. I'm... (read more)
- Vlastimil Vohánka, 2009-12-16 : In case you will not add them as online filters, I'd like to ask here and already now for results of _all repli... (read more)
- Vlastimil Vohánka, 2009-12-16 : And I guess everyone would like the see the results of _all replies of the survey as sorted by Tradition (analytica... (read more)
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University of Colorado, BoulderSome interesting differences between metaphysicians vs general philosophers of science and philosophers of physics (restricted to faculty/PhDs):
- Laws of nature: There are significantly more Humeans among general philosophers of science and among philosophers of physics than among metaphysicians (41% and 34% vs 23%).
- Science: There are significantly more scientific realists among metaphysicians than among general philosophers of science and philosophers of physics (83% vs 54% and 66%).
- Time: There are significantly more A-theorists among metaphysicians than among general philosophers of science and philosophers of physics (25% vs 10% and 16%). On the other hand, there are more B-theorists among philosophers of physics than among metaphysicians (44% vs 38%), but there are more B-theorists among metaphysicians than among general philosophers of science (38% vs 30%).
Also, some interesting differences between metaphysics faculty/PhDs, grad students, and undergrads:
- Abstract objects: The ... (read more)
Knox CollegeI was quite surprised at seeing the results of the question on normative ethics. It appears that in every categorical population listed (i.e. graduate students, faculty or PhD) the answer that received the most attention is 'other.' I guess my first question is what the range of those other answers are, both within and outside of normative ethics.
Beyond that, it appears that virtue ethics has taken root more strongly in the younger crowd, which I am a part of, and I wanted to know if the reasoning for that is because of the way undergraduate departments are set up (I know I spent the better part of my "contemporary moral theory" class reading Anscombe, Foot, and McDowell), or if there is some consensus that virtue ethics is a belief which befalls the younger crowd and that we are all better philosophers when we are able to resurface. It also struck me as odd that in the target faculty group the difference between those subscribing to virtue ethics and those to deontology was ... (read more)Latest replies:
- David Bourget, 2009-12-09 : Hi Andrew, you can see a breakdown of the "other" answers by changing the "response grain" to "medium" or "fine.
- Ignasi Llobera, 2009-12-09 : I am also quite surprised at seeing that virtue ethics has taken root more strongly i A possible explanation is the one... (read more)
University of Western OntarioPersonally, I was most surprised by the results on content internalism/externalism and the analytic/synthetic distinction. Internalism is in much worse shape than I thought, and the analytic/synthetic distinction in a much better shape. If we can take these results at face value, that is.Latest replies:
- Berit Brogaard, 2009-12-17 : Hi David, I found a couple of more comprehensive blog posts. Evelyn Brister reports that the number of women in ph... (read more)
- Panu Raatikainen, 2009-12-17 : David (C), I can't help feeling that the latter understanding of the internalism-externalism divide is quite o... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2009-12-17 : Yes, David, I was aware of this discussion. It does not answer my objection. I You say for example "survey vo... (read more)
- David Chalmers, 2009-12-17 : Panu: I take it that many paradigmatic externalists deny that there is narrow content: Burge, Davidson, Dretske, F... (read more)
- Panu Raatikainen, 2009-12-18 : David: They may well do, but I think that is a much more specific, technical issue, and does not show that if you don... (read more)
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2009-12-08All Survey and Metasurvey respondents will receive an email giving a link to a page with their responses, including an assessment of how well they did on the Metasurvey. We can't post those results publically, as participants did not consent to that, but people should feel free to post about their own Metasurvey results.
I took the Metasurvey unofficially by making predictions at the start of the Survey. I didn't take it officially, as even by that point I'd seen results from beta testing the Survey. Even so, a few of my predictions were off by a long way. For example, I wrongly predicted a substantial majority for Humeanism, aesthetic subjectivism, Platonism, and invariantism. I did better on the physicalism and analytic-synthetic distinction questions, predicting 60-20-20 in both cases (compared to 56-27-17 and 65-27-18), and was reasonable close on the zombie question, predicting 40-20-20-20 for CMI, MP, IC, other as opposed to 36-23-16-25.   ... (read more)Latest replies:
- David Chalmers, 2009-12-12 : Eric: You're really #2, as the official #2 answered only 12 questions, while you and #1 answered all thirty. W... (read more)
- Richard Brown, 2009-12-12 : The metasurvey was costly to me as I lost a bet on how many philosophers would self-identify as dualists. I bet Dave $10... (read more)
- Berit Brogaard, 2009-12-12 : I don't think interacting with a large number of people will necessarily improve your results. I take myself t... (read more)
- John T. Maier, 2009-12-14 : Like many others, I underestimated the extent of "other." (My results: 13.0% absolute error, rank 163 of 728... (read more)
- John T. Maier, 2009-12-14 : Someone pointed me to the "fine-grained" data, and that answers my question, though it remains surprising. The... (read more)
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