"This is why I don't blog." —Anonymous


If you look at the little network diagram below, you’ll probably agree that $P$ is the most “central” node in some intuitive sense. This post is about using a belief’s centrality in the web of belief to give a coherentist account of its justification. The more central a belief is, the more justified it is. But how do we quantify “centrality”? The rough idea: the more ways there are to arrive at a proposition by following inferential pathways in the web of belief, the more central it is.... Read more

Today The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology is available for download. It’s an open access book, the first published by PhilPapers itself. (The editors are Richard Pettigrew and me.) The book features 11 outstanding entries by 11 wonderful philosophers. “Precise Credences”, by Michael G. Titelbaum “Decision Theory”, by Johanna Thoma “Imprecise Probabilities”, by Anna Mahtani “Primitive Conditional Probabilities”, by Kenny Easwaran “Infinitesimal Probabilities”, by Sylvia Wenmackers “Comparative Probabilities”, by Jason Konek “Belief Revision Theory”, by Hanti Lin “Ranking Theory”, by Franz Huber “Full & Partial Belief”, by Konstantin Genin “Doxastic Logic”, by Michael Caie “Conditionals”, by R.... Read more

How does prestige correlate with placement in academic philosophy? There’s good stuff on this already, like this post by Carolyn Dicey Jennings, Pablo Contreras Kallens, and Justin Vlasits.1 This post uses the same data sources, but emphasizes different things (visualization, North American PhDs, and primarily tenure-track jobs). TT Placement in North America Let’s start with a simple question of broad interest. In North America, how well does the PGR rating of one’s PhD-granting program predict one’s chances of landing a tenure-track (TT) job?... Read more

Here’s a striking result that caught me off guard the other day. It came up in a facebook thread, and judging by the discussion there it caught a few other people in this neighbourhood off guard too. The short version: chances are “self-expecting” pretty much if and only if they’re “self-certain”. Less cryptically: the chance of a proposition equals its expected chance just in case the chance function assigns probability 1 to itself being the true chance function, modulo an exception to be discussed below.... Read more

How much does a PhD from a prestigious program help you on the job market in academic philosophy? It makes a big difference to where you get a tenure-track job, if you do get one (see here). It also seems to make some difference to whether you get a tenure-track job (though maybe not as much as one might have thought: see here). But here I want to consider whether it makes a difference to how long it takes to get a tenure-track job, if you do get one.... Read more

This post is the second of two devoted to an idea of David Wallace’s: applying Google’s PageRank algorithm to the APDA placement data. Part 1 Part 2 Source on GitHub Last time we looked at the motivation and theory behind the idea. Now we’ll try predicting PageRanks. Can students who care about PageRank use the latest PGR to guesstimate a program’s PageRank 5 or 10 years in the future?... Read more

This is the first of two posts devoted to an idea of David Wallace’s. Part 1 Part 2 Source on GitHub Suppose you pick a philosophy PhD program at random and you go visit their website. There you pick a random person from the faculty list and see where they got their PhD. Then you go to that program’s website and repeat the exercise: pick a random faculty member, see where they did their PhD, and go to that program’s website.... Read more

In the previous post we saw there’s about a $35$% chance a given referee will agree to review a paper for Ergo. And on average it takes about $5.8$ tries to find two referees for a submission. The full empirical distribution looks like this: But there’s also an a priori way of exploring an editor’s predicament here, by using a classic model: the negative binomial distribution. So I thougth I’d make a little exercise of seeing how well the model captures the empirical reality here.... Read more

Finding willing referees is one of the more tedious parts of an editor’s job. And with all the talk about how overloaded the peer-review system is, it’s worth pausing to examine just how hard it is to find referees. Well, at Ergo it takes on average 5.8 tries before we find two referees to review a submission. The following plot gives the full picture. So most submissions take six or fewer invites, and the overwhelming majority require fewer than 10.... Read more