Monday, November 20, 2006

Most-Cited Ethicists in the Stanford Encyclopedia

As part of my project of seeing whether ethicists (or at least readers of ethics) steal more or fewer books than non-ethicists, I need lists of eminent ethicists. (I can then look at the rate at which their books are stolen.) No easily-parsed list being handy, I created my own imperfect approximation by the following method:

I compiled all the bibliographies of ethics entries in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I included all areas of applied ethics and history of ethics, but I excluded moral psychology and philosophy of action. (Of course, in some cases this was a call that could have gone either way.) Then I looked for repeating names and counted the number of repeats. For example, if F.P. Wu had 4 articles cited in one entry, 2 articles cited in another, and one book cited in a third, he'd have a score of 7. I included only authors who published a substantial portion of their work after 1959.

Drawbacks of this methodology:
* The SEP still has large patches of incompleteness,
* The list will reflect the topical choices of the SEP editors (there are a large number of feminism-related entries, for example, and many fewer related to race).
* The bibliographies reflect the choices of the SEP entry writers, and disproportionately the choices of those who write long bibliographies.
* It's not always possible to determine which "Smith, L." (or whatever) is being referred to -- or at least not without more work than I am willing to do with the 9000+ bibliography lines.
* Authors who publish a number of articles may get a higher number of bibliographic lines than those who publish one (equally influential) book.
* Where an anthology is cited, it may not reflect the editor's research contributions. (However, normal practice in philosophy is not to cite the anthology but the essay within the anthology, leading with the essay-writer's name, unless the whole anthology is relevant.)

I'm sure there are other drawbacks to this method as well. Still, I thought some readers might find the results interesting. Here's the list, then:

93: Rawls, J.
77: Dworkin, R.
55: Williams, B.
51: Raz, J.
50: Nussbaum, M.
50: Feinberg, J.
49: Sen, A.K.
42: Kymlicka, W.
37: Scanlon, T.
36: Parfit, D.
36: Hart, H.
36: Frankfurt, H.
34: Walzer, M.
34: Foot, P.
33: Pogge, T.
32: Nagel, T.
32: Brandt, R.
30: Nozick, R.
30: Brink, D.
30: Arneson, R.
29: Young, I.
29: Waldron, J.
29: Hare, R.
29: Butler, J.
28: Vlastos, G.
28: Roemer, J.
28: Pettit, P.
28: Habermas, J.
27: Scheffler, S.
27: Blackburn, S.
27: Barry, B.
26: Taylor, C.
26: Railton, P.
26: Feldman, F.
25: Coleman, J.
24: Anderson, E.
23: MacIntyre, A.
23: Iragaray, L.
23: Gauthier, D.
23: Cohen, G.
23: Buchanan, A.
23: Benhabib, S.
22: Chisholm, R.
21: Temkin, L.
21: Okin, S.
21: Miller, D.
21: Kristeva, J.
21: Korsgaard, C.
21: Finnis, J.
21: Derrida, J.
21: Dancy, J.
20: Vallentyne, P.
20: MacKinnon, C.
20: Copp, D.
19: Sinnott-Armstrong, W.
19: Sandel, M.
19: Kagan, S.
19: Hurka, T.
19: Harman, G.
19: Fischer, J.
19: de Beauvoir, S.
18: Wolf, S.
18: Gibbard, A.
18: Code, L.
17: Singer, P.
17: Leiter, B.
17: Harsanyi, J.
17: Griffin, J.
17: Foucault, M.
17: Fleurbaey, M.
17: Cornell, D.
16: Thompson, J.
16: Sturgeon, N.
16: Sayre-McCord, G.
16: Narveson, J.
16: McDowell, J.
16: Jaggar, A.
16: Irwin, T.
16: Held, V.
16: Dworkin, G.
16: Darwall, S.
15: Smith, M.
15: Kraut, R.
15: Fraser, N.
15: Cohen, J.

Coming soon: A similar list in philosophy of mind and language.

UPDATE: Here's the philosophy of mind and language list.


Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, did you allow for (and were there cases of)self citation?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

I thought of excluding self-citations, but I didn't end up doing so.

Authors are prone to be generous in citing themselves, so it is another source of distortion, I agree.

Pablo Stafforini said...

I'm curious as to why John Broome has been omitted from your list. On my count, he's been cited 21 times.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

I don't have access to my files right now, but going through casually again I count 14 bibliographic lines. Remember, I'm only counting ethics, not metaphysics or philosophy of action -- so the citations in the entries on Identity over Time, Temporal Parts, and (though this is a call) Agent Neutral vs. Agent Relative Reasons don't count.

Anonymous said...

Where is John Mackie?