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October 03, 2014

Comments

Einar Duenger Bohn

Agreed.

Kris Kemtrup

No to rankings.

Yes to mandatory placement data for all schools using the APA, compiled at a central site by the APA, with some added advice on looking at funding, visiting schools, etc.

AxeI GeIfert

I agree. Professional organizations such as the APA or AAP ought to collect certain relevant data and make it easily accessible (and penalize Depts that don't supply the requested information), but any attempt to aggregate this into rankings will be detrimental to philosophy at large.

Sandrine Berges

Agreed.

Shelley Park

Agreed. Philosophical diversity isn't well-served by rankings. The "best" school for a student to attend will depend on their specific talents, interests and needs.

Mark Jago

Count me in! No rankings.

Donna Engelmann

Signing wearily - no rankings, provide the data.

Hilde Lindemann

By signing the September statement I, like Sally, was opposing a dangerous confluence of power and a disposition to bully that's been going on far too long. But I also oppose rankings as a form of boundary-beating. It keeps our profession from enriching itself the way it could if it took diverse perspectives and methodologies seriously.

Pierre Baumann

Yes to information, no to rankings.

Naomi Scheman

Agreed: no rankings. I've been thinking about this around the ranking of universities since our thankfully former provost set out to put Minnesota among the top 3 public research universities (in the US? World?Solar system?). I refer to this effort as Combatting the Global Excellence Pandemic.

John Drabinski

I am 100% on board with a No Rankings statement. Please add my name.

Chris Fox, Newman University

NO RANKINGS. Why should philosophers support a bogus "ranking" system that tacitly complies with the neoliberal destruction of the university?

Alexander Nehamas

I am very glad to sign this statement, which gets to the heart of the problem. I couldn't sign the earlier one because it forced me to approve the very idea of the ratings and because I think the issue is independent of whatever one thinks of Brian Leiter. The rankings, not Brian, are the main problem.

Amy M Schmitter

I am strongly in favor of providing information for prospective students (and blunt talk about problematic departments). But doing so absolutely does NOT require the horse race of rankings. (Or is it a talent competition, complete with baton twirling? Oh, pick your analogy as long as it's silly.) Anyway, I'm in.

Ammon Allred

I signed the September statement *despite* my concerns with rankings because I largely saw it as
being about refusing to participate/help someone professionally who uses their position to bully and harass others in the profession and declaring my public support
for those who were targeted for harrassment. But I share the view with the other commenters here that no rankings at all is the preferable state of affairs. Like Leigh Johnson, I'd happily review and
likely sign a more formal statement. But in the interim, count me in as another voice against rankings.

Bonnie Kent

I vacillate between thinking that there should be no rankings at all, and thinking that rankings are inevitable, so that the best we can reasonably hope to attain is a highly informative, searchable database that links to a plurality of them. But even when I’m leaning toward the second position, I firmly believe that the kind of “reputational” survey the PGR represents does far more harm than good to professional philosophy. Change the cast of characters who run it while leaving the methodology intact, and the problems will remain.

Neil Brophy

Agreed. No rankings.

Michael B Norton

Agreed, anti-rankings

Catherine Hundleby

Count me in. Universal ranking is absurd, and ranking in general tends to mislead about strengths and weaknesses.

Christopher P. Long

Agree, no rankings.

Deborah Achtenberg

I agree. Information, not rankings.

Sina Kramer

Agreed. Information =/ rankings.

Ben Grazzini

No rankings.

Fiona Jenkins

No rankings and no Leiter either! About time.

J. Colin McQuillan

Agreed. Information, not rankings

Alia Al-Saji

I'm in. I don't support rankings. I signed the September Statement, despite some worries about the passage you quote above, because I read the statement as a much needed stand against bullying in the profession. In that sense, I am happy to sign both statements. I would like to think that they serve different but complementary purposes.

Evan Thompson

I agree and hereby sign.

Monte Johnson

I have been advising undergraduates all day about graduate school applications. None of them mentioned any rankings, and I found no occasion to mention any myself. We focused on looking at programs in which there are professors whose publications they had read or encountered (or should read, according to either my colleagues or myself) in connection with their actual research in coursework and on honor's theses. Somehow all of these students managed to find departmental websites and publication lists on their own.

Count me as someone embarrassed that certain members of our profession take it upon themselves to rank the reputation of all the others (whether in their own field or not), and who imagine that in so doing they are helping undergraduates responsibly choose where to pursue graduate education. This kind of practice of ranking and speculating about reputations has nothing to do with philosophy or education as I understand it.

As Aristotle said in his lost dialogue the Exhortation to Philosophy: "honors and reputations, objects of more striving than almost anything else, are full of indescribable nonsense; for to those who behold anything permanent it is silly to take those things seriously... it is actually owing to our weakness, I think, and the shortness of our lives that these things even appear to be much of anything" (apud Iamblichus, Protr. 47.16-21, tr. Hutchinson and Johnson).

Ingo Brigandt

I am opposed to department rankings. What we need instead is data and information, including on which departments have a presence in specialty areas and links to the departments.

Stemming from a concern about the non-accountability of the PGR to the profession, Alan Richardson calls for professional organizations to have a say in the conduct of rankings. Given that these organizations are unlikely to (and in my view should not) conduct rankings, Richardson's concern would be well met if it was the professional organizations that gathered and disseminated information about philosophy programs.

Joanne Faulkner

I agree that there should be no ranking or metrics of any kind, which is part of the problem. More information sharing about climate and inclusiveness — and which involves input by actual students — would be far more beneficial to people making decisions about where to study. As far as I know, the PGR has never asked students what they think, and so departments with quite toxic cultures have been allowed to rank highly.

Alexus McLeod

I agree--to hell with rankings. I signed the September statement as well, mainly out of objection to Leiter's position and abuse of it. I think many of the problems of our field (including neglect of non-western philosophy, feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, and other under appreciated areas) stem from obsession with ranking. Many are afraid to try new things for fear of being rank-blasted. The whole idea of the PGR was supposed to be (so the claim goes, at least) to help potential graduate students choose programs. It seems to me this could be better achieved by compiling placement data, and making lists of departments with specialists in particular areas. I found the attempt in the last PGR to rank programs in Chinese Philosophy into tiered groups particularly bizarre, and not at all potentially helpful to prospective students. This could only be an endorsement or lack thereof of the work of particular faculty members, which is not only unhelpful to students, but also stifles the development of our field.

Berislav Marusic

I agree; no rankings.

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