Philosophy is “Flat”

“But one great thing about our profession is how flat and un-hierarchical it is. I still think it’s the best job any one can have.”

That’s Alexander Rosenberg, R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University, in an interview at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? Interviewer Cliff Sosis (Coastal Carolina), follows up:

What do you mean when you say “philosophy is flat”?

Rosenberg replies:

I never experienced any hierarchy or rank-pulling in philosophy. You had a good argument, or you didn’t. Of course, there are a few (very few) philosophers who attach importance to pedigree and a few who, in the words of another colleague and friend, John Martin Fischer, act like they are “the chosen people,” but by and large you can’t pull rank in philosophy and there are super-smart people everywhere.

I do wonder if the impression that philosophy is “flat” in this way is one that is shared by others in the profession. Comments welcome (but please do refrain from naming those you think “act like they are ‘the chosen people'”).

The whole interview is here.

European Space Agency, “Peruvian Landscape” (satellite photo)


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