Monday, February 23, 2009

New Philosophy Rankings! With Useless Commentary

The new rankings of philosophy departments are out! Unfortunately, I don't pay attention to the who's-getting-hired-where business enough to say anything particularly insightful. So I'll just offer totally worthless commentary.

-NYU wins again. Congratulations, NYU.

-Yale continues its trend of moving 8 spots at a time. Unfortunately, since its last move was from #16 to #8 and there's no #0, there's nowhere to go but down.

-I was worried that my friends at Texas would fall out of the top 20 and Michigan would fall out of the top 5 due to various faculty losses (partially offset by gains) but fortunately that didn't come to pass.

-Pittsburgh moves from #5 to #4, a feat achieved by their basketball team on Feb. 2. And where are the basketball Panthers this week? #1! Clearly, the philosophers should follow the hoopsters' path to success. They need to defeat the #1 department (NYU) head-to-head, have the big guy at the #2 department (Jerry Fodor at Rutgers) get injured, and have the #3 department (Princeton) prove themselves incapable of defending anything.

On a less stupid note, I'm guessing that there are structural reasons why philosophy is a field where an observer from the outside would be especially surprised by the names at the very top (for example, there's only one Ivy in the top 5, compared to two Big East schools). Building a top-ranked philosophy department is cheaper and faster than building a top-ranked Chemistry or English department. Philosophy departments tend to be smaller, and they don't need expensive equipment like the chemists do. So if you're a dean who wants to build one spectacular department in a field everybody has heard of, you can get lots of bang for your buck by buying philosophers.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha

Anonymous said...

I meant the comments...
Ha

sue said...

"where an observer from the outside"

As an outside observer, I don't find your commentary useless at all. (My field: engineering.)

Tell us more about Singapore! I'm curious.

Brock said...

The chair of the physics department goes to the provost for the annual budget review. "I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is we have a lot of exciting things going on in the department - some potential Noble-prize winning stuff. The bad news is we need a new particle accelerator which will cost $10M."

The Provost is shocked. "That is a lot of money. It is incredible to me how different departments need different things. Why can't you be more like the math department? They only want Paper, Pencils and wastebaskets. And the philosophy department doesn't even want the wastebaskets..."

Neil Sinhababu said...

"...or Comparative Literature? They take out everybody's trash, and they only ask for envelopes."

Neil Sinhababu said...

And by the way, Sue, I'll try to get more Singapore-blogging up sooner or later...

Georgfelis said...

Probably because the annual Philosophy Tournament just doesn’t bring in the fans that the Basketball Tournament does. "And Kant takes the idea to the outside, he’s repositioning, expounding on the point a bit while being covered very well by the Princeton star guard Smith. And Kant makes a drive to the Point with a blinding summary! He scores!"

Yep, CBS would be all over that for Saturday afternoon TV :)