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Chris Brooke

Leon and I happily edited a volume together

And it's a good book, too.

ingrid robeyns

This is a wonderful story. And it's even more wonderful for me because Leon and I were fellow students at Cambridge, and I am not the least surprised that he did what you described here. He was officially in the "Faculty of Economics and Politics", but was doing what he found most interesting - history of economic thought in his case. At the time it was still possible to do various types of heterodox economics at Cambridge, as well as history of economic thought and economic philosophy; I am not sure what the situation is now in that faculty. Say hi to Leon from me next time you see him (or: Leon, if you read this: hi!).

As to the substance: I agree that senior people should support young people. But many only support their own PhD students. Of course, there are limits to what one can do given time scarcity (which, in my experience at least, becomes worse the higher up the tree you are); but you are absolutely right that there is a tendency not to refer to the work of younger people. I think in philosophy in particular, this is in part due to the tendency to believe something that may be roughly this: if you only cite the perceived canon/influential papers, your paper aspires to be in the same league and otherwise not; if such tendency exists (there is at least lots of empirical observation that confirms that hypothesis), it may also contribute to explaining why junior people do not get the recognition they deserve. Of course it doesn't explain the entire professional culture we have, but some of it perhaps.

Eric Schliesser

Yes, Ingrid, I think you must be right that in philosophy citation is used as a kind of aspirational signaling device. This reinforces other patterns of systematic exclusion (gender, race, pedigree, etc.).

Bruce Janz

Hi, Eric. Yes, this is the best form of collegial relationship, and I'm glad to see it worked here. To your point about people not citing the work of more junior scholars (and we could add women, non-whites, etc.), you're quite right about that too. Sometimes I think it's because people don't read, or don't do the groundwork of canvassing an area to see who else has written on something. In my area of African philosophy, sometimes it's because those literatures are hard to come by, but other times it's because there's an unofficial canon of "important" and "not important" people. I do think that anyone, senior or not, should have some sort of mechanism to break the comfortable pattern of defaulting to their version of the canon all the time. One of mine is as simple as a Google Scholar search on concepts and word strings that are as specific as possible. I regularly turn up work in other disciplines, and by scholars, I never would have come across otherwise. That's only a partial solution, of course - Google Scholar doesn't catalog everything, especially in African philosophy, so I also need to find other ways of hearing what writers on the continent are saying. It all takes work, but it's worth it.

Leon Montes

Working with Eric on that volume "New Voices on Adam Smith" was not only fun, but academically quite challenging. And it is tyche all around!!!!

After reading Eric's reflections with all those good memories, I was surprised and thrilled to find below Ingrid Robeyns comments. Hi Ingrid! Ingrid wrote her thesis with Amartya Sen, and while we were together at the Faculty of Economics & Politics in Cambridge University (they finally ended up calling it only Faculty of Economics, quite a historical and strategic mistake, in my view), we wrote a letter called the 27 Cambridge Students(I found it with google: http://www.paecon.net/PAEtexts/Cambridge27.htm). After re redading it, I believe that much of what we said almost 13 years ago, is still true.
This letter, which was signed by a majority of 27 Cambridge PhD students in Economics at that time, had some impact. In my case, it was the closest I have been to a revolution. After a strike of economics PhD students in Paris, who had also read the letter, but were more radical, I decided it was better to come back to good old Adam Smith...

Roland Pierik

Sometimes generosity of senior scholars makes all the difference. After I finished my PhD I was somewhat lost and a colleague gave me a post-doc, trust and the time to rearrange myself and my research. it worked out and after a while I was back on track.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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