PhilPeople Launches (guest post by David Bourget & David Chalmers)


The following is a guest post* by David Bourget (Western) and David Chalmers (NYU), the co-directors of the PhilPapers Foundation, which has brought you the bibliographic database PhilPapers, the online philosophical archive PhilArchive, the philosophy events calendar PhilEvents, and now, the professional networking tool PhilPeople (previously).

PhilPeople Launches
by David Bourget and David Chalmers

We’re pleased to announce the public beta testing launch of PhilPeople, a directory and social network for philosophers developed by the PhilPapers Foundation with support from the American Philosophical Association.

PhilPeople is an extension of PhilPapers.  The core of PhilPeople is a database of professional philosophers which complements and works together with the database of philosophical works that is at the core of PhilPapers. PhilPeople has also become the locus of user profiles and social features previously on PhilPapers, with numerous new features added.

The key features of PhilPeople include:

  1. A powerful search engine for searching PhilPeople’s database of philosophers based on topics, location, demographics, and other criteria.  This will enable conference organizers, researchers, and others to search for philosophers meeting various criteria.
  2. A comprehensive directory of departments offering an array of department-wide statistics.
  3. Personalized profiles for every philosopher, including customizable publication lists and graphical elements.
  4. The news feed, a social networking system that allows you to follow the publications, appointments, updates, paper recommendations, blog posts, and other activities of philosophers.
  5. The radar, a tool to discover people traveling near you, and for announcing your own travels.
  6. discussion sessions feature allowing you to share a paper for discussion among as many or as few people as you want, with extensive on-screen commenting and group discussion features.

At the moment, the PhilPeople database includes all registered users of PhilPapers and many other philosophers for whom we have included information from PhilPapers works and from institutional websites. We estimate that well over 80% of academic philosophers in Anglophone countries are included, with less complete coverage elsewhere. Our eventual aim is to extend coverage to all professional philosophers worldwide. Graduate students and others are also welcome to register.

If you are a registered user of PhilPapers, what was previously your PhilPapers profile has been redesignated as a PhilPeople profile. We encourage you to try the new features of the site. As before, any user may opt to have their profile hidden or removed.

If you are a professional philosopher who is not a registered user of PhilPapers, you may find that the PhilPeople database includes an entry for you with some minimal public information, akin to an entry in a standard academic directory. We encourage you to  register as a PhilPeople user so that you can make a full profile available to users searching the site. However, if you prefer, you can remain unregistered or have your entry removed from the site completely.

PhilPeople remains in beta testing. The database is still incomplete and not every feature has been tested thoroughly. If you notice any problems, please notify us in the comments here or by using the Feedback button on the site.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who have contributed to this project. The Committee for the Status of Women in Philosophy of the American Philosophical Association provided the initial impetus by asking us some years ago if we could make a tool to help find members of under-represented groups. The American Philosophical Association provided seed funding for the project. The editors of the Philosophical Gourmet Report shared the faculty lists they compiled for the 2018 report. The Department of Philosophy at Western provided generous research assistant support. Cecilia Li and Mark Dunlop did excellent data collection. Last but not least, our outstanding team at the Centre for Digital Philosophy did a superb job. Many thanks to Steve Pearce, Jen McKibbon, Mavrick Laakso, Ryan Augustynowicz, Craig Weston, and Chris Brogly.

Added note: We have heard some concerns that the “Radar” feature, which shows philosophers who will be speaking in a certain area in a certain period, may facilitate stalking and harassment. We should clarify that by default this feature conveys no information that is not already easily and publicly available in PhilEvents and in other conference announcements. Further information about a user is included only if the user chooses to add the information. We have also made it easy for users to exclude any information about their events from the PhilPeople site. As always, we are open to feedback and to fine-tuning the system before the full public launch.

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