Tuesday 9 October 2012

Philosophers' Carnival #144 + Statement of New Direction

Welcome to the 144th edition of Philosophers' Carnival, the first edition since I took over organizational duties from Richard Yetter Chappell of Philosophy et cetera. The next edition will be hosted at Philosophical Pontifications on the 10th of November.

Those who have been following the Carnival lately will have noticed its decline. Brian Leiter recently decided to stop linking to it, due to declining quality. Last edition was a complete scandal. Depressed, I wrote to Richard Chappell offering to host the next edition, and to try to make it a better one. As an afterthought, I offered to take over the organization of the Carnival, and Richard accepted. 

I'm very excited about this opportunity to promote the free online dissemination of serious philosophy (something I believe in strongly), and I expect to give Brian Leiter reason to reverse his decision.

The two main things I think were wrong with the Carnival before are:

(1) It wasn't ambitious enough. It presented, and was regarded, too much as just a bit of fun.

(2) The work of highly visible and established bloggers, instead of being the backbone of the Carnival, was neglected.

Regarding (1): I see no reason why a significant amount of the serious, groundbreaking philosophy being produced now and in the future can't appear in the form of blog posts. Insofar as it can, the mandate of the Carnival should be to locate that stuff and help bring it to a wider readership.

Regarding (2): I suspect this is partly due to misguided attempts at fairness - people thinking 'Why should I link to Eric Schwitzgebel (or Berit Brogaard, or Brian Weatherson, or Richard Chappell etc.)? Those guys get tonnes of traffic already, and the Carnival is all about giving less visible writers a leg up'. Firstly, the Carnival isn't all about that - that's part of it, but it comes second to the main aim, which is to showcase the best philosophical writing of the blogosphere. Secondly, neglecting the best bloggers doesn't help anyone; there are surprisingly few people regularly posting serious philosophy on blogs - at least, blogs which aren't hidden away in dark parts of the web. Excluding the pillars of the online philosophy community, the central pool of talent, only reduces the Carnival's quality and interest. It doesn't make it any more open to new writers.

Look forward to a more serious Philosophers' Carnival, with higher aims and higher standards!

The Carnival Proper

Soames on the Abstract View - by Jeffrey Ketland of M-Phi.

When is true belief knowledge? - thoughts on Richard Foley's book of the same name, by Clayton Littlejohn of Think Tonk.

Next edition at Philosophical Pontifications on November 10.


  1. For all its worth, I have posted an apology for the pitiful carnival I put on back on my blog.

  2. I like the idea of having the Carnival every month, rather than every three weeks, or even every four weeks (that would make it more like a journal, and easier to remember). I'm also wondering how many hits the Carnival gets nowadays (number 121 got 1,900 hits).