Visualization of the Philosophical Gourmet Report

Frank Saunders, Jr. (Yonsei University Underwood International College, South Korea) has created interactive visualizations of information from the Philosophical Gourmet Report, a well-known, if controversial, reputational ranking of graduate programs in philosophy.

Dr. Saunders says of the visualizations:

They are broken down into three major groups: The first group concerns the summary distribution of all specializations and areas across top philosophy Institutions. The purpose is to give readers a visual sense of how many Specializations are found at an institution and how strong they are. The second group concerns the summary amount and distribution of all Specialty Programs, which are defined as incidences where an Institution is recommended for a Specialization. The purpose of these visualizations is mostly, showing the variety of possible areas of specialization graduate students have access to throughout the English-speaking philosophical world. The third group concerns the relationship between Institutions’ Overall scores and their Specialization scores within a certain area of philosophy. This enables students to compare an Institutions’ overall strength with its strength in a particular area of philosophy.

By going through the data to present it visually, he learned some things, including:

  • The quality and quantity of top philosophy programs are positively correlated, meaning that the more potential specialties a program has, the better it is at each specialty.
  • The most common Specialty Programs are in Normative Ethics, Metaethics and Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Language, and Epistemology.
  • The least common Specialty Programs are in American Pragmatism, Medieval Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy, and Indian Philosophy.

You can read about and explore the visualizations here.

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