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Mike Beaney

I absolutely agree with Eric that many other possible analyses could have been done of the contents of the BJHP and JHP. This is something of which I was very conscious. It would be extremely interesting to see what topics have been covered, for example. I am certain that more has been published in metaphysics and ethics than in logic and philosophy of religion. But my main concern was with *canonization*. Of course, I was also conscious that someone writing on, say, Spinoza, may also discuss some of his contemporaries. I tried to reflect this by using, as appropriate, ‘0.5’, ‘0.33’ or even ‘0.25’ to represent such contributions (where reasonably substantial). But what needs emphasis is this: *even where an article is strongly ‘contextualist’, it is still all too often focused on a canonical figure*. The author will be interested in *Spinoza’s* context or in *Kant’s* context. Take the case of Emilie Du Châtelet. Ruth Hagengruber gave a talk on her work at the Humboldt University yesterday, and this was one of the issues we discussed. Du Châtelet tends to be viewed as a critic of Locke, a commentator on Newton, an interpreter of Leibniz, or an influence on Kant. But what about her own philosophy? As historians of philosophy, we really do need a thorough critique of canonization. It is so pervasive and self-perpetuating that we have to be much more proactive in counteracting it.

Let me add one comment on the recent (irresponsible) JHP moratorium on submissions in early modern philosophy (of which I was not aware when I wrote my editorial). I was glad to hear Steven Nadler say (on 10 January) that he was not involved in this decision, but his suggestion that Eric’s (and many others’) complaint about that decision just shows “how it is in the Age of Trump” has an irony to it that cannot be let pass. I can think of nothing more Trumpish than the following (JHP) ‘argument’: “We have too many people in our journal from one particular historical continent (early modern Europe), so let’s ban all of them!” The problem is not early modern Europe, but the fact that there is too high a percentage of papers being published on the ‘big seven’ of early modern philosophy. The sensible policy would simply be: “We will accept only the very best articles on the big seven (to reduce this percentage), and encourage more submissions on other philosophers.” That has been the policy of the BJHP for the last seven years.

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


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