Logic matters, but not that much, apparently …

Looking at the Leiter blog … and no, this isn’t going to be about certain recent kerfuffles, where there has perhaps been rather too much rushing to judgement.

As I was saying, looking at the Leiter blog, I’m struck by the new list of “recent hires“. So far, there are [updated] eighty three “tenure-track and post-doc” appointments listed. Only four mention logic at all in any shape or form, and judging from publication lists and websites, the relevant people’s interests are in non-technical philosophy of logic overlapping with the philosophy of language and epistemology (topics like vagueness, theories of truth,  the epistemology of basic logical principles, the sense in which Russell was a logicist). Only one person on the whole list mentions philosophy of mathematics at all (and again, only with that same historical paper on Russell’s logicism to show for it). Fine topics to be interested in, but not perhaps at the core of logic or philosophy of maths.

It could be that Leiter’s list — or rather the list provided on his comment thread — is a bit unrepresentative. But it could be one more straw in the wind, showing how far the direction in most philosophy departments has turned from a central engagement with two of the founding disciplines of analytical philosophy.

4 thoughts on “Logic matters, but not that much, apparently …”

  1. Philosophers are impatient with difficult subjects; e.g. they are for the most part happy to discuss the philosophy of time, even write books about it, without a proper understanding of the Theory of Relativity. Logic and philosophy of math are too hard for most philosophers, except pursued as an exercise in applied epistemology or metaphysics, in such a way as to require nothing beyond the most elementary knowledge of the two subjects. If philosophers were smarter and more patient, they would do more logic & phil. of math.

  2. It is of course the fate of the old(ish) to think the world is going to the dogs … So cheering words from Aldo. Also Toby Meadows (Aberdeen) tweets “I was hired last year, also Jack Woods and (I think) Graham Leach-Krouse. Not a huge Leiter fan and didn’t want to draw attention.”

  3. It is true that mainstream philosophy in America has taken a turn away from traditional logic and philosophy of math (in the singular, as we say over here). And this lack of engagement has given rise to what seems to me a form of neo-scholasticism (working out the umpteenth epicycle of the latest theory). But there are still places producing PhD’s in logic and phil of math: it would be interesting to look at the placement record of Berkeley’s Logic & Methodology Program and Notre Dame’s joint Phil/Math PhD program. And my old department of Logic and Phil Science at Irvine has made a couple of excellent technical hires lately and they have an active logic scene.

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