AcademicX Posted March 2, 2014 Share Posted March 2, 2014 (edited) After reading the discussion in the Acceptance thread, I decided to start a thread about the PGR rankings. Given my interests, it is natural that the questions that I would like to discuss are related to the relevance of Leiter's rankings to people who want to pursue work in continental philosophy. For that reason, I would like people to attempt to answer the original questions of this post first. With that said, I think that this should be a space where everyone can talk about all aspects of the PGR rankings freely. I don't really have an opinion about the PGR rankings as a whole. However, I've noticed that, while most people here seem to agree that the overall rankings are of little use (e.g., because they lump many subfields together and do not reflect the strength of a given department regarding the student's particular interests), the same people always talk about schools in terms top-20 or top-10 (which perpetuates the idea that the overall rankings are relevant). Like perpetuavix made clear, there is no meaningful correlation between overall PGR rankings and TT placements (the Rsquared values of a linear regression is .17-.18). This statistics already account for the time interval between the year of the ranking and the year the students enter the job market. While some have correctly argued that other positions (post-doc, adjunct, lecturer) should also be accounted for, I believe that most of us are shooting for TT positions (at least that was the main argument in favor of following the PGR rankings in the first place). Besides these thoughts about the rankings as a whole, I also have concerns about the rankings' relevance for students who want to pursue work in continental philosophy. The first thing that comes to mind, is the Leiter's obvious bias against continental philosophy (and particularly, the work associated with the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, a.k.a. SPEP). If anyone disagrees with this statement, I will gladly take the time to quote the several times that Leiter made his bias explicit (and, trust me, Dr. Leiter is a very outspoken person in the internet, so this is no difficult work). Given my first claim, it is clear that schools that have more people working in continental philosophy (and particularly, those departments associated with SPEP) will have lower rankings because that is not the kind of philosophy that counts for Leiter. Obviously, Leiter doesn't create the rankings on his own (or at least, not anymore. See http://rgheck.frege.org/philosophy/aboutpgr.php). Even then, his choice of evaluators for 19th and 20th century continental philosophy doesn't include a single member of SPEP (the 2nd largest philosophical organization in the US and, in spite of Leiter's opinion, a major player in the field of continental philosophy). Moreover, as this blog shows (http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/12/2011-pgr-20th-c-cp-board.html#comments), the choice of evaluators privileges the German tradition (mainly German idealism), with only a few people who specialize in contemporary French philosophy. There are many more evaluators who have French philosophy as a secondary interest, but they barely publish anything on these "interests" (out of 22 evaluators with such AOI, there are only 7 articles published by 5 individuals). Leiter's response (also in the same blog) is that the evaluators need not be experts in the field in order to evaluate it. You may disagree with me, but I think that the whole point of the PGR rankings was to give "expert advise" about the quality of philosophy departments in particular areas. Like Professor McAfee argues here (http://gonepublic.net/2011/11/15/the-favorites-favorites-another-round-of-pgr-rankings-of-continental-philosophy/), " t’s hard enough for someone who specializes in a field to keep abreast — in addition to his or her own work — to all the work that all the other people in their field are doing year by year, especially if given a list of 90 programs to evaluate." For that reason, I don't think that even the specialty rankings are useful for students of continental philosophy (especially those whose primary interest is not German idealism). It's funny how Leiter claims that Kant is a continental figure, while he considers that Kristeva and Badiou wouldn't be taught in any serious philosophy department (see links above). Finally, I would like to share again the link that Monadology posted in a different thread. http://www.philosophynews.com/post/2013/10/02/Will-I-get-a-Job-Graduate-School-Philosophy-Placement-Records.aspx I am not sure what the criticisms of this study are, so I would love to hear about them. I find it really usuful, if not a little deceiving because programs like Penn State get a .96 ratio of current TT positions because the data is drawn from a "summary of placements", which most probably excludes those who were unable to secure such positions. That said, the study shows that a lot of SPEPy departments have healthy placement records (e.g. Boston College has 82%, Stony Brook 75% and Villanova 71% TT placement record with all their data available for the study) Well this is all for now. I am sorry if this post is too long and of tangential interest to the analytically oriented in this forum. Edited March 2, 2014 by Johannes14 Establishment and Monadology 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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