Thursday, August 07, 2014

The 267 Most-Cited Contemporary Authors in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

As I mentioned Monday, my son sent me a list of bibliographical entries in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, so I thought I'd update some of the citation analyses I did in 2010-2011. Below is an ordered list of the most-cited contemporary authors.

Some caveats:

* "Contemporary" means born 1900 or later.

* Each author is counted only once per entry, and then only if that author receives a bibliographical line as the first-listed author on the entry's main page. Evaluating second authorship proved intractable. Sorry! I recognize that this results in substantial underestimation of second-listed authors, which is especially regrettable when authorship order is determined alphabetically rather than by magnitude of contribution.

* Unlike my 2010 list, this list includes the historical entries.

* The SEP has a strongly "analytic"/Anglophone perspective. So Foucault, for example, at 20 entries, didn't quite make the cutoff.

* If you just plug the author's name as search term into SEP's front page, you'll get substantially more page hits than my method delivers (e.g., people in editing roles, or as second authors, on in subentries, or as false positives). So please don't critique my numbers via that method! I do welcome more thoughtful corrections.

* After computerized sort, I hand-coded the data, in some cases correcting misspellings and merging authors (e.g., Ruth Barcan = Ruth Marcus), more often separating authors with similar names (e.g., various A. Goldman's). I estimate coding error of up to about +/- 2 entries.

* Unsurprisingly, given the state of the discipline, it's overwhelmingly white men. For more details, see my gender and ethnicity analysis.

1. Lewis, David (214)
2. Quine, W.V.O. (164)
3. Putnam, Hilary (131)
4. Davidson, Donald (120)
4. Rawls, John (120)
6. Kripke, Saul (117)
7. Williams, Bernard (104)
8. Nozick, Robert (96)
9. Nagel, Thomas (94)
9. Nussbaum, Martha C. (94)
11. Searle, John (93)
12. Chisholm, Roderick M. (92)
13. Armstrong, David M. (87)
14. Fodor, Jerry (86)
15. Dummett, Michael (84)
16. Dennett, Daniel (83)
16. Harman, Gilbert (83)
16. Jackson, Frank (83)
19. Strawson, P. F. (82)
20. van Fraassen, Bas C. (77)
21. Dworkin, Ronald (74)
22. Williamson, Timothy (72)
23. Geach, Peter T. (71)
24. Chalmers, David J. (70)
24. Kitcher, Philip S. (70)
26. McDowell, John (69)
26. van Inwagen, Peter (69)
28. Sober, Elliott (66)
28. Stalnaker, Robert (66)
30. Bennett, Jonathan (65)
30. Hintikka, Jaakko (65)
30. Mackie, John L. (65)
30. Plantinga, Alvin (65)
30. Raz, Joseph (65)
35. Parfit, Derek (64)
35. Scanlon, T. M. (64)
37. Adams, Robert M. (63)
37. Goldman, Alvin I. (63)
37. Popper, Karl (63)
40. Ayer, A. J. (60)
40. Dretske, Fred (60)
40. Hacking, Ian (60)
43. Feinberg, Joel (57)
43. Gibbard, Allan (57)
43. Goodman, Nelson (57)
46. Burge, Tyler (55)
46. Tarski, Alfred (55)
48. Alston, William P. (54)
48. Earman, John (54)
48. Fine, Kit (54)
48. Frankfurt, Harry G. (54)
48. Rescher, Nicholas (54)
48. Wright, Crispin (54)
Continued on the Underblog.

[Corrected Aug 8 - Aug 14.]


John Schwenkler said...

This is really interesting. Would there be a way to control for recency? I.e., the list seems biased toward more contemporary -- esp. living -- authors over older ones. Not sure how this could be accounted for, though.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks, John. Yes, I'm working on a temporal analysis. I do think there's a recency bias. See the graph from this post from 2010:

John Schwenkler said...

Thanks, Eric. That earlier chart is really striking!

Kathryn Norlock said...

Fascinating data, and thanks for pointing out its salient characteristics. Strongly analytic, indeed! Much moreso than I would have guessed.

I can imagine the work one could do to discuss the presence of philosophers with varieties of disabilities in the list of frequently cited contemporary scholars. But a percentage based on a simple disabled-or-not analysis wouldn't seem sufficient to the task.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks, Kathryn! I agree it would be interesting to look at disability of various sorts on this list. A daunting task, though, both for conceptual reasons (what counts as a relevant disability, and how should they be classified?) and because the information is not readily available in most cases. If someone wanted to try a hand at it, I'd be interested to see the results.

Enzo Rossi said...

They are overwhelmingly white Anglo-Saxon men. Is this not worth noting or is the implicit bias so deep-roted that it becomes invisible? (Genuine question!)

Nate Meyvis said...

Might your son be willing to share the code he wrote? Many parts of this study seem to be replicable, and replicating this would be valuable. (I am also a coder.)

Thanks to you both for your work here.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Enzo: I think it is definitely worth noting -- though it might be even harder to analyze this rigorously than it is to analyze race, especially for U.S. philosophers whose ancestry often traces back to a mix of nationalities.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Nate: I'll check with him. It would be nice to see a replication and other approaches to analysis. (I'm planning to do a few more analyses myself next week.) I'm out of town this weekend, but shoot me an email and I'll get back to you next week.

Howard Berman said...

Putnam had many ideas, Kripke one basic idea, or so I hear- Searle one big idea plus a system- maybe we can call it foxes v hedgehogs- but how does that bias your list?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Hard to say, Howard. In 2010, I expressed the view that maybe the list was a little pro-fox (small contributions to many areas over giant contributions to one area); and maybe I still think that. Kuhn's #81 position, for example, doesn't seem to me properly to capture his huge visibility in philosophy of science; but others who worked mainly in one subfield do appear high on the list.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Imre Lakatos make the cut?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

I looked carefully at Lakatos, but he didn't quite make the list, with 17 entries by my method. My inclination is to think that general philosophy of science tends to be underrated by this method, relative to its visibility in mainstream Anglophone philosophy. Kuhn is only 81, despite being, in my view, one of the most influential philosophers of the period. So I'm not sure if my (and your?) view is off-target because of our subdisciplinary background (I started out in philosophy of science), or whether there's something about this approach, or the SEP, that results in these philosophers scoring too low.