Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Archive of The Meltdown [Now Closed]

If the current results of Brian Leiter's poll (which asks whether or not he should continue producing the Philosophical Gourmet Report) are any indication-- it's 1709 to 1118 in favor of "No" votes as I write this-- and if Leiter intends to take those poll results as some sort of mandate, then Philosophy may very well be witnessing the end of the PGR as we know it.

That's a pretty big deal all by itself... but it's happening coincidentally with what appears to be a bigger deal, i.e., the public unravelling of Leiter himself, one of the "biggest" (in terms of exposure, if not also influence) personalities in professional Philosophy.  Over the last 48 hours, Leiter has been publicly exposed as (and widely chastised for) being at best intemperate and uncivil, at worst bullying and threatening.  Things happen quickly and non-centrally in cyberspace, so I've decided to try to collect a running archive of the articles, letters, posts, petitions and the like related to  this incident, which may be a significant turning point in the professional life of academic Philosophy.

I've listed below (in roughly chronological order) what has shown up so far, so you should be able to easily familiarize yourself with the basic contours of this issue by working your way down this list. Consider it a public service.  I'll add new entries as they appear, but it's likely that I will miss some things, so please feel free to leave a link in the comments if you see something that ought be included.

Tuesday, Sept 23 - Wednesday, Sept 24:
⇒ "Statement of Concern" by Sally Haslanger and David Velleman (includes excerpts of Brian Leiter's emails)
⇒ "Inappropriate Correspondences" by Catarina Novaes via NewAPPS blog
⇒ "Cyber-smear campaigns and the future of the PGR" (Brian Leiter's first response) via Leiter Reports
⇒ "Here Is Some More Context" via Feminist Philosophers
⇒ Brian Leiter's Poll "Shall We Proceed With the 2014 PGR?" and his Leiter Reports post soliciting participation in that poll 
⇒ "More PGR Thoughts" by Brian Leiter via Leiter Reports
⇒ "Sometimes An Apology Doesn't Help" via Feminist Philosophers
⇒ "This is Not About the PGR" by Catarina Novaes via NewAPPS blog
⇒ "Should the Philosophical Gourmet Report Continue? (5 Updates below)" via DailyNous
⇒ "September Statement" including a list of 184 philosophers (and counting) who have pledged non-participation with the PGR
⇒ "Brian Leiter's Slow-Motion Car Crash Accelerates" by Paul Campos via Lawyers, Guns & Money blog
⇒ "Some thoughts about Brian Leiter and the PGR" by Jonathan Ichikawa via There Is Some Truth In That blog
⇒ "Party Line Continentalists" via NSSR (New School for Social Research) Philosophy blog
⇒ "Maybe the Best Rankings are No Rankings At All" by Edward Kazarian via NewAPPS blog
⇒ "Some Thoughts on the recent Leiter Imbroglio" by Jon Cogburn via his blog
    I suspect much more will be said over the next few days.  Updates following.

    UPDATE Thursday, Sept 25:
    This Facebook status was made "public" early in the evening on 9/24 by Jason Stanley (Yale), who encouraged that it be shared:
     After the PGR" by Brian Weatherson via And Another Thing blog
     "An Increasingly Remarkable Series of Unprovoked Bully Attacks Puts Brian Leiter in the Sight of an Open Statement Signed by a Growing Number of Philosophers in US and Worldwide" by Christian Munthe via Philosophical Comment blog
     "Two quick bits of factual information regarding the cyber-smear campaign"by Brian Leiter via Leiter Reports
    ⇒ "The PGR board letter, and a different perspective" by Catarina Novaes via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "An Alternative Future for Leiterreports" by Eric Schleisser via Digressions&Impressions blog
    ⇒ "Leiter & Philosophy: A Surely Much Too Early Post-Mortem" by John D. Drabinski

    UPDATE Friday, Sept 26:
    ⇒ "Partial PGR Update" by Brian Leiter via Leiter Reports
    ⇒ "The Man Who Ranks Philosophy Departments Now Rankles Them, Too" by Peter Schmidt via Chronicle of Higher Education
    ⇒ David Velleman has publicly shared the following about the Statement of Concern he co-authored with Sally Haslanger:

    ⇒ "Merit vs Justice, or why we shouldn't rank philosophy programs" by Megahertz via xcphilosophy blog
    ⇒ "Brian Leiter, supporter of Steven Salaita, embroiled in his own civility controversy" by William Jacobson via Legal Insurrection

    UPDATE Sunday, Sept 28:
    ⇒ "On the Future of Leiter's Relationship with the PGR" by Mr.Zero via The Philosophy Smoker blog
    ⇒ "The PGR Challenge" by Spiros via Philosophers Anonymous blog
    ⇒ "Answering (?) The PGR Challenge" by JadedPhD via The Philosophy Smoker blog
    ⇒ "On/against civility in professional Philosophy" by Eric Schleisser via Digressions&Impressions blog
    ⇒ "Is Civility a Professional Error?" by Mary Margaret McCabe via Feminist Philosophers blog
    ⇒ "Yes, but, we do need rankings" by Eric Schleisser via Digressions&Impressions blog
    ⇒ "How much ranking do we (and our prospective students) really need?" by EricWinsberg via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ The final results of Brian Leiter's poll ("Should we proceed with the 201 PGR?") was 2,060 NO votes and 1,297 YES votes
    ⇒ Also, a site called Leiter Events has been created (authors unknown), which claims to "aggregate basic information about some recent episodes involving Brian Leiter"
    ⇒ "Leiter's Mistreatment of Noelle McAfee" and "No, Noelle McAfee Did Not 'Spread Misinformation'" by Richard Heck via Richard Heck blog

    UPDATE Monday, Sept 29:
    ⇒ "The September Statement" by Simon Cabulea May via DailyNous 
    ⇒ "The Rational High Ground" by MagicalErsatz via Feminist Philosophers blog
    ⇒ "Internet Shaming" by Eric Winsberg via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "Thoughts on the PGR and the Recent Controversy" by Alex Rosenberg via DailyNous
    ⇒  "Oh Alex... on PGR and validity (and all that)" by Eric Schleisser via Digressions&Impressions
    ⇒ "Philosophy and Normal Science: The Rankings Debate" by Joshua Miller via anotherpanacea blog
    ⇒ "Zachary Ernst on 'Our Naked Emperor'" by Richard Heck via his blog

    UPDATE Tuesday, Sept 30:
    ⇒ Richard Heck has set up a "Discussions of Philosophy Rankings" page to collect just that
    ⇒ "The Revolt Against Leiter" by Brian Tamanaha at Balkanization blog
    ⇒ "Does Leiter Use the PGR to Punish his Enemies?" by MrZero via The Philosophy Smoker blog
    ⇒ "Once More: 'Intellectual Property' Breeds Confusion; Drop It" by Samir Chopra at NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "The September Statement: Some Numbers (Update)" by Carolyn Dicey Jennings via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "Professional Philosophy Triage" by yours truly (Leigh M. Johnson) via the blog you're reading right now

    UPDATE (WEEK 2): Wednesday, Oct 1:
    ⇒ "Brian Leiter's Classism" by John Pepple via I Want A New Left blog
    ⇒ "Documenting the meltdown on Leiter and bad tactics in rankings" by Noelle McAfee via Gone Public blog
    ⇒ "Eugene Park Was Right: Philosophy Academic Philosophy IS Failing Its Cosmopolitan Values" by Bharath Vallabha via HippoReads
    ⇒ "Rank-and-Yank: What's Next for the Philosophy Rankings Game?" by Mitchell Aboulafia via Up@Night blog
    ⇒ "Nottingham Pulls Out of PGR (updated)" via DailyNous
    ⇒ "Leiter Boycott Update" by Richard Heck via Richard Heck blog

    UPDATE Friday, Oct 3:
    ⇒ "The Danger of Justice Done OR Why We Need A Bad Conscience" by Adriel Trott via The Trott Line blog
    ⇒ "Open Letter to Professional Philosophical Organizations" by Alan Richardson via DailyNous
    ⇒ "What We Can Learn About Philosophy's Diversity Problems by Comparing Ourselves to Music Theory" by Robin James via It's Her Factory blog
    ⇒ "The PGR's Technical Problems" via DailyNous
    ⇒ "What Does the PGR Advisory Board Do?" by Brian Leiter via Leiter Reports
    ⇒ "PGR Update #2" by Brian Leiter via Leiter Reports
    ⇒ "On the Plurality of Statements" via Feminist Philosophers
    ⇒ "The October Statement: No Rankings, Not Now, Not Ever" by John Protevi at John Protevi's Blog
    ⇒ "Rankings? Does "No Rankings, Not Now, Not Ever" Preclude CDJ and McCafee style rankings?" by Jon Cogburn at Jon Cogburn's blog
    ⇒ "What Should An Alternative to the PGR Look Like?" by David Sobel via PEA Soup blog
    ⇒ "Against Ranking" by Roberta Millstein via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "Can You Sign the September Statement If You Object to the PGR In Principle?" by Richard Heck via Richard Heck blog

    Going forward, I will not link to anyone's Facebook "status" unless the author writes to me and asks me to do so.  Several of the statements that people have made on Facebook are, however, embedded in some of the posts that I have linked above.  [LMJ]

    UPDATE (Week 3): Monday, Oct 6:
    ⇒ "Rankings? 9- Against the October Statement" by Jon Cogburn via Jon Cogburn's blog
    ⇒ "OPEN LETTER TO BRIAN LEITER (from one "just a guy with a blog" to another) by Terence Blake via Agent Swarm blog
    ⇒ "Brian Leiter, Academic Thug" by Keith Burgess-Jackson via Keith Burgess-Jackson blog
    ⇒ "For the Record" by Carolyn Dicey Jennings via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "Alan Richardson's Open Letter to Professional Philosophical Organizations on the PGR" by Winston Smith via Philosoraptor blog
    ⇒ "Thinking Outside the Box (or, A Real Alternative to Rankings) by Mitchell Aboulafia via Up@Night blog
    ⇒ "Sheffield Will Not Cooperate With PGR" via DailyNous
    ⇒ "The Leiter Report" by Colin McGinn via Colin McGinn blog
    ⇒ Robert Vallier has offered an alternative to the PGR here
    ⇒ "Some Further Developments on Brian Leiter and the PGR, following the September Statement and the Advisory Board Letter that Urges His Resignation" by Christian Munthe via Philosophical Comment blog

    UPDATE Wednesday, Oct 8:
    ⇒ "Regarding the Boycott Statement" by Brian Lieter via LeiterReports
    ⇒ "On The Advisory Board Letters and Leiter's Response" via The Philosophy Smoker blog
    ⇒ "Bharath Vallabha on 'The Function of the Philosophical Gourmet Report'" by Richard Heck via Richard Heck blog
    ⇒ "The Halo Culture: Taking the Rankings Challenge" by Mitchell Aboulafia via Up@Night blog

    UPDATE Friday, Oct 10:
    ⇒ Brian Leiter announces that he will be stepping down as Editor of PGR after this year in "PGR Update #3" via LeiterReports 


    ⇒ "Leiter to Step Down from PGR / The New Consensus"  via DailyNous
    ⇒ "Remember that whole Brian Leter  kerfuffle?  Well he's gone" by Ann Althouse via Althouse blog
    ⇒ "Brian Leiter to Step Down as Editor of the PGR in 2014-15" by Bill Vallicella via Maverick Philosopher blog
    ⇒ "Moving Forward" via Feminist Philosophers blog
    ⇒ "Beyond the September Statement: Other Forms of Protest" by Carolyn Dicey Jennings via NewAPPS blog

    UPDATE (Week 4):  Monday, Oct 13:
    ⇒ "Brian Leiter to Step Down From His Claim to Fame" by William Jacobson via Legal Insurrection blog
    ⇒ "Not so philosophical philosophy backlash" via The Australian blog
    ⇒ "Editor to Give Up Leadership of Philosophy Rankings" via InsideHigherEd
    ⇒ A curated and interactive timeline of The 2014 Leiter/PGR Controversy can be viewed here.

    UPDATE Wednesday, Oct 15:
    ⇒ " A rankings vacuum is unsustainable in the Internet era" by Neil Sinhababu via NewAPPS blog
    ⇒ "Who Can Afford to Be Out of the Loop?" by Gabriele Contessa via Yet Another Philosopher's Blog 

    FINAL UPDATE: Thursday, Oct 16:
    As of today, October 16, I am retiring this Archive. At this point, nearing one month later, the better part of public/professional conversation has shifted to debates about the relative merits and demerits of "rankings" in general, with only incidental reference to the Leiter/PGR controversy of recent weeks.  And so, it seems to me, the original purpose that this Archive was meant to serve has been satisfied.  I recommend, going forward, that readers who wish to continue to keep abreast of the rankings discussion bookmark Richard Heck's "Discussions of Philosophy Rankings" page here.

    There will be no more updates of this Archive after today, though it will remain here for posterity (as will the Interactive Timeline of the Leiter/PGR Controversy).  I also extend my sincere gratitude to those of you who helped me keep track of relevant posts and articles by recommending or forwarding links to me over the past month.

    [Archive Closed]


    1. This too is an important link:

    2. Another good link:

    3. Leigh, there's this:

    4. Leigh M. JohnsonWed Oct 01, 11:55:00 PM

      Thanks Anonymous1 and Anonymous2 for the links. I'm trying to (1) limit only posts from the last week in this Archive as well as (2) avoid redundancies as much as possible, so I haven't included your suggestions... but they are here in the comments for posterity!

      @Shelley: Since I already included the CHE article in the Archive, I haven't included posts that simply report the appearance of the CHE article. But thanks also to you for the alert!

    5. An important post by Jessica Wilson (U of Toronto):

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. Leigh M. JohnsonWed Oct 08, 03:32:00 PM

      @Terrence: Your open letter is already linked in this archive (item #2 under the Oct 6 update).

    8. Hello Leigh, sorry for the duplication. I have just deleted it. Part of my reply to Leiter was making fun of his misspelling of my name, and this falls flat if you call me "Terrence" too. My particular spelling is Terence. Also my blog is called "Agent Swarm". When I saw you link to "Against Swarm" I had a moment of panic, fearing that someone had set up a shadow blog hostile to me. Thanks for mentioning me, I am grateful as I am not always extended this courtesy.

    9. Leigh M. JohnsonSun Oct 12, 02:16:00 PM

      My apologies, Terence! Post edited. Mistakes fixed.

    10. D. GhirlandaioSun Oct 12, 03:33:00 PM

    11. Mitchell AboulafiaSat Dec 20, 01:01:00 AM

      The Rankings Controversy In Philosophy: The Philosophical Gourmet Report on Up@Night


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