Two historical papers made it into the Philosopher’s Annual 2014, as reported on Leiter:
- Robert Merrihew Adams, “Malebranche’s Causal Concepts”, in The Divine Order, the Human Order, and the Order of Nature: Historical Perspectives, edited by Eric Watkins, 67-104. Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Frederick Neuhouser, “Rousseau’s Critique of Economic Inequality”, in Philosophy and Public Affairs vol. 41, no. 3, 193-225.
Congratulations to the selected authors!
A quick glance at previous editions of PA suggests that this result is fairly standard. Papers in history of philosophy—not restricted to the modern period—have made up between zero and two items per issue, with texts on Kant and Frege doing especially well (respectively, eight and five papers in total over the 32 years surveyed). But does that mean that typically only a maximum of two historical works is among the ten ‘best papers’ published each year?
That is debatable. Meena Krishnamurthy at Philosop-her has raised questions about the methodology used in selecting the papers (here, and also last year here), and Eric Schliesser noted last year that for modern philosophy, inclusion in this list does not particularly reflect what is going on in the field. For good reason, then, on its website PA is characterized as ‘an attempt to pick the ten best articles of the year’, not as a final judgment on what work will push a field forward. Further, we may even wonder whether we should keep on ranking ‘best’ papers in the first place? Best in what respect anyway—persuasiveness, style, urgency?
More optimally, we view Philosopher’s Annual as a list of recommended reading from the papers published in the previous year. Stuff that you would do good to pay attention to, in case you had not yet gotten round to studying it. Viewing this list as recommended reading brings out that there is a specific group of philosophers doing the recommending, possibly even with a specific group of philosophers they
are recommending the work to.
In the spirit of viewing these lists as ‘recommended reading’, are there any papers in modern philosophy published in 2013 you would suggest to a general philosophical audience?