Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Synthese Petition

As Brian Leiter explains, there's now a petition being signed over the Synthese affair, which centers around a controversial disclaimer shrouding the print edition of the journal's recent special edition entitled "Evolution and Its Rivals."

There have been some interesting developments over the last week. Leiter posted the full response from the journal's Editors-in-Chief, which does not address the concerns about their behavior. Lots of good points are made in the comments section, especially this, by Ingo Brigandt. (There's also some rather absurd criticism of Leiter and defense of the EiC by one Darrell Rowbottom.) The guest editors formally responded to the EiC, expressing their dissatisfaction. Also, Leiter ran a poll. It looks like a strong majority agrees that foul play is afoot, while the community is split over whether or not to boycott.

The petition is a less drastic means of putting pressure on the EiC to come clean and make ammends. As of now, over 200 professionals (representing a good many schools, including a number of top philosophy departments) have signed. The demand is for more information, for an apology, and for a retraction of the disclaimer. If this doesn't work, support for the boycott may strengthen.

There's ample evidence of foul play here, and I'd sign the petition if I could. Unfortunately, I'm not qualified. I was once a grad student in Philosophy, but that was a long time ago, and I still don't have a graduate degree. I'm working my way into the Philosophy PhD program here in Szczecin, but I'm not there yet.

P.S. John Wilkins is keeping track of the situation (with links to various discussions) at Evolving Thoughts.

See update: Cryptic Letter from Synthese Editors in Chief