Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The 295 Most-Cited Contemporary Authors in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

My son David Schwitzgebel is back in town with new mad computer skills, so I thought I'd have him update his 2014 scrape of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy bibliographies. Below are the 295 most-cited authors (including only authors born 1900 or later).

Image of a young David K. Lewis [source, cropped]

Method

* Each author is only counted once per entry. In 2010, I found that this generated more intuitively plausible results than counting authors multiple times per entry.

* Unlike in the 2014 list, I include co-authors. Co-authorship is increasingly important in philosophy. However, due to unsystematic formatting, I was also only able to search for co-authorship if the author was cited in at least 27 entries as first author in my first-pass coding. Even among authors in that group, I probably didn't capture all co-authorships.

* Also unlike in the 2014 list, I included editors, but only if their name appeared before the date and any author names in the bibliographical line. Putting the editor at the front of the bibliographical line highlights the editor's role or the edited collection as a whole.

* After computerized search and 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. Goldmans and J. Cohens), in a process that involved some guesswork and pattern recognition. Inconsistent syntax and imperfect redundancy removal procedures also created some error, though nothing large or systematic that I noticed. Bear in mind that with about 170,000 bibliographic entries, perfection is not possible! I estimate coding error of up to about +/- 2 entries.

* If you just plug the author's name as search term into SEP's front page, you'll almost certainly get more page hits than my method delivers (e.g., people in non-headline editing roles, on in subentries, or mentioned in the text but not cited in the bibliography section, or as false positives). So please don't critique my numbers via that method! I do welcome thoughtful corrections.

As a rough measure of influence in current mainstream Anglophone philosophy

This list generates a rough measure of current influence in what I call "mainstream Anglophone philosophy" (a sociological category I have defined and discussed here and here). For example, the top five -- Lewis, Quine, Putnam, Rawls, and Davidson -- contains four of the top five in Brian Leiter's poll results concerning the best Anglophone philosophers since 1957. Better-known bibliographic metrics, like Google Scholar and Web of Science do not as accurately measure this particular sociological phenomenon.

The list captures, if anything, a moment in one academic philosophical culture. For example, despite Michel Foucault's huge global academic influence, mainstream Anglophone philosophers rarely cite him, and on this list he ranks #271.

Further caveats:

* Philosophers who work on topics that are underrepresented in the Stanford Encyclopedia relative to their visibility in mainstream Anglophone philosophy will appear lower on the list than their eminence would suggest. I'm inclined to think that philosophy of race, for example, is underrepresented.

* Authors who have a transformative impact in one area will probably be underrepresented relative to authors who make significant but less transformative contributions to several topics. This will explain some conspicuous absences from the list, such as Barry Stroud, who died about a week ago and so is on my mind.

* Editors of the Stanford Encyclopedia might be somewhat overrepresented, since they might tend to disproportionately solicit entries on topics to which they have contributed and authors might feel some pressure to cite them in their entries.

* ETA: Also, I'm pretty sure that philosophers whose main contributions were before 1960 are substantially underrated on this list relative to their historical importance.

* ETA2: As several readers have pointed out, yes, I'm on this list (in a tie for #251). I find this somewhat embarrassing, since I think this method substantially overrates me (see the 2nd and 4th caveats). If you could withhold congratulations and comparisons, I'd appreciate it!

As I did in 2014, I will follow up later with some demographic analyses. (ETA3: gender, race/ethnicity, disability, language.)

1. Lewis, David K. (cited in 267 main-page SEP entries)
2. Quine, W.V.O. (191)
3. Putnam, Hilary (168)
4. Rawls, John (146)
5. Davidson, Donald (142)
6. Kripke, Saul (139)
7. Williams, Bernard (133)
8. Nozick, Robert (126)
9. Nussbaum, Martha (121)
10. Williamson, Timothy (116)
11. Jackson, Frank (113)
11. Nagel, Thomas (113)
13. Searle, John R. (111)
13. Van Fraassen, Bas (111)
15. Armstrong, David M. (106)
16. Dummett, Michael (104)
16. Fodor, Jerry (104)
16. Harman, Gilbert (104)
19. Chisholm, Roderick (103)
19. Dennett, Daniel C. (103)
21. Chalmers, David J. (101)
21. Strawson, P.F. (101)
23. Stalnaker, Robert (96)
24. Scanlon, T.M. (92)
25. Dworkin, Ronald (91)
26. Pettit, Philip (90)
27. Fine, Kit (89)
27. Sober, Elliott (89)
27. Van Inwagen, Peter (89)
30. Popper, Karl (88)
31. Parfit, Derek (87)
32. Kitcher, Philip (86)
33. Bennett, Jonathan (83)
33. Raz, Joseph (83)
35. Hawthorne, John (82)
35. McDowell, John (82)
37. Geach, P.T. (81)
38. Hintikka, Jaakko (80)
39. Adams, Robert (79)
39. Hacking, Ian (79)
41. Goldman, Alvin I. (78)
42. Goodman, Nelson (76)
43. Mackie, John (74)
43. Plantinga, Alvin (74)
45. Dretske, Fred (73)
45. Smith, Michael (73)
45. Taylor, Charles (73)
48. Alston, William (72)
48. Anscombe, G.E.M. (72)
50. Wright, Crispin (71)
51. Ayer, A.J. (69)
51. Gibbard, Allan (69)
51. Kim, Jaegwon (69)
51. Stich, Stephen (69)
55. Evans, Gareth (68)
55. Tarski, Alfred (68)
57. Korsgaard, Christine (67)
57. Lycan, William G. (67)
59. Gödel, Kurt (66)
59. Schaffer, Jonathan (66)
59. Sellars, Wilfrid (66)
59. Singer, Peter (66)
63. Anderson, Elizabeth (65)
63. Burge, Tyler (65)
63. Horgan, Terence (65)
66. Block, Ned (63)
66. Feinberg, Joel (63)
66. Kaplan, David (63)
66. Priest, Graham (63)
66. Swinburne, Richard (63)
66. Thomson, Judith Jarvis (63)
72. Rescher, Nicholas (62)
73. Blackburn, Simon (61)
73. Wiggins, David (61)
75. Frankfurt, Harry (60)
75. Hempel, Carl (60)
75. Kuhn, Thomas (60)
75. Shoemaker, Sydney (60)
75. Sosa, Ernest (60)
75. Zalta, Edward (60)
81. Earman, John (59)
81. Grice, H.P. (59)
83. Skyrms, Brian (58)
83. Smart, J.J.C. (58)
85. Barnes, Jonathan (57)
85. Cartwright, Nancy (57)
85. Field, Hartry (57)
85. Hare, R.M. (57)
85. Lowe, E.J. (57)
85. Ramsey, Frank P. (57)
85. Rosen, Gideon (57)
85. Ryle, Gilbert (57)
85. Sen, Amartya (57)
94. Perry, John (56)
94. Sider, Theodore (56)
94. Soames, Scott (56)
94. Velleman, David (56)
94. Woodward, James (56)
99. MacIntyr e, Alasdair (55)
100. Annas, Julia (54)
100. Kenny, Anthony (54)
100. Prior, Arthur N. (54)
100. Yablo, Stephen (54)
104. Clark, Andy (53)
104. Darwall, Stephen (53)
104. Waldron, Jeremy (53)
107. Parsons, Terence (52)
107. Schofield, Malcolm (52)
109. Dancy, Jonathan (51)
109. Friedman, Michael (51)
109. Jeffrey, Richard C. (51)
109. Nichols, Shaun (51)
109. Peacocke, Christopher (51)
109. Shapiro, Stewart (51)
109. Sorabji, Richard (51)
116. Brink, David O. (50)
116. Church, Alonzo (50)
116. Simons, Peter (50)
116. Van Benthem, Johan (50)
120. Cooper, John M. (49)
120. Habermas, Jürgen (49)
120. Hart, H.L.A. (49)
120. Irwin, Terence (49)
120. Young, Iris Marion (49)
125. Audi, Robert (48)
125. Griffiths, Paul (48)
125. Millikan, Ruth G. (48)
125. Tye, Michael (48)
129. Austin, J.L. (47)
129. Barwise, Jon (47)
129. Belnap, Nuel (47)
129. Brandom, Robert (47)
129. Chomsky, Noam (47)
129. Glymour, Clark (47)
129. Papineau, David (47)
129. Rorty, Richard (47)
137. Burgess, John P. (46)
137. McGinn, Colin (46)
139. Brandt, Richard (45)
139. Devitt, Michael (45)
139. Foot, Philippa (45)
139. Kretzmann, Norman (45)
139. McLaughlin, Brian P. (45)
139. Sedley, D.N. (45)
139. Von Neumann, John (45)
146. Montague, Richard (44)
146. Stump, Eleonore (44)
148. Boolos, George (43)
148. Horwich, Paul (43)
148. Johnston, Mark (43)
151. Buchanan, Allen (42)
151. Godfrey-Smith, Peter (42)
151. Mellor, D.H. (42)
151. Prinz, Jesse J. (42)
151. Smith, Barry (42)
156. Arneson, Richard (41)
156. Miller, David (41)
156. Railton, Peter (41)
156. Salmon, Nathan (41)
156. Salmon, W.C. (41)
156. Unger, Peter (41)
162. Carruthers, Peter (40)
162. Churchland, Paul M. (40)
162. Feferman, Solomon (40)
162. Kymlicka, Will (40)
162. Loewer, Barry (40)
162. Okin, Susan Moller (40)
162. Sartre, Jean-Paul (40)
162. Sterelny, Kim (40)
162. Suppes, Patrick (40)
171. Davies, Martin (39)
171. Finnis, John (39)
171. Kahneman, Daniel (39)
171. Maudlin, Tim (39)
171. Sandel, Michael (39)
171. Stanley, Jason (39)
171. Strawson, Galen (39)
178. Appiah, Kwame Anthony (38)
178. Butler, Judith (38)
178. Dupré, John (38)
178. Gauthier, David (38)
178. Guyer, Paul (38)
178. Hampton, Jean (38)
178. Kriegel, Uriah (38)
178. Merricks, Trenton (38)
178. Schiffer, Stephen (38)
178. Wolterstorff, Nicholas (38)
188. Burnyeat, Myles (37)
188. Goodin, Robert E. (37)
188. Heil, John (37)
188. McMahan, Jeff (37)
188. Mele, Alfred (37)
188. O'Neill, Onora (37)
188. Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter (37)
188. Sunstein, Cass (37)
188. Zagzebski, Linda (37)
197. Baker, Lynne Rudder (36)
197. Barry, Brian (36)
197. Gabbay, Dov (36)
197. Mancosu, Paolo (36)
197. Nagel, Ernest (36)
197. Walzer, Michael (36)
197. Wood, Allen (36)
204. Boghossian, Paul (35)
204. Cohen, G.A. (35)
204. Feldman, Fred (35)
204. Laudan, Larry (35)
204. Lehrer, Keith (35)
204. Pogge, Thomas (35)
204. Rowe, William (35)
211. Bach, Kent (34)
211. Bealer, George (34)
211. Bird, Alexander (34)
211. Broome, John (34)
211. Elster, Jon (34)
211. Hale, Bob (34)
211. Haslanger, Sally (34)
211. Hull, David L. (34)
211. Scheffler, Samuel (34)
211. Slote, Michael (34)
211. Teller, Paul (34)
211. Thomasson, Amie (34)
211. Van Cleve, James (34)
211. Watson, Gary (34)
211. Zimmerman, Dean (34)
226. Beiser, Frederick C. (33)
226. Bonjour, Laurence (33)
226. Flanagan, Owen (33)
226. Garber, Daniel (33)
226. Hurka, Thomas (33)
226. Hurley, Susan (33)
226. List, Christian (33)
226. Nolan, Daniel (33)
226. Price, Huw (33)
226. Wimsatt, William C. (33)
236. Byrne, Alex (32)
236. Cohen, Joshua (32)
236. Conee, Earl (32)
236. Craig, William Lane (32)
236. Hájek, Alan (32)
236. Halpern, Joseph Y. (32)
236. Kagan, Shelly (32)
236. Kraut, Richard (32)
236. Levy, Neil (32)
236. Long, A.A. (32)
236. Longino, Helen (32)
236. Malcolm, Norman (32)
236. Pollock, John (32)
236. Recanati, François (32)
236. Sainsbury, R.M. (32)
251. Allison, Henry E. (31)
251. Black, Max (31)
251. Crane, Tim (31)
251. Feyerabend, Paul K. (31)
251. Kahn, C.H. (31)
251. Linsky, Bernard (31)
251. MacKinnon, Catharine (31)
251. Marcus, Ruth Barcan (31)
251. Schroeder, Mark (31)
251. Schwitzgebel, Eric (31)
251. Shafer-Landau, Russ (31)
262. Bechtel, William (30)
262. Benhabib, Seyla (30)
262. Berlin, Isaiah (30)
262. Butterfield, Jeremy (30)
262. Fischer, John Martin (30)
262. Griffin, James (30)
262. Levi, Isaac (30)
262. Paul, L.A. (30)
262. Sorensen, Roy A. (30)
271. Alcoff, Linda Martín (29)
271. Bayne, Tim (29)
271. Bigelow, John (29)
271. Crisp, Roger (29)
271. Feldman, Richard (29)
271. Foucault, Michel (29)
271. Gendler, Tamar (29)
271. Kleene, S.C. (29)
271. Loar, Brian (29)
271. Parsons, Charles (29)
271. Vlastos, Gregory (29)
271. Von Wright, Georg H. (29)
271. Wolf, Susan (29)
271. Wolff, Jonathan (29)
285. Adams, Marilyn McCord (28)
285. Baier, Annette (28)
285. Bratman, Michael (28)
285. Ebbesen, Sten (28)
285. Huemer, Michael (28)
285. Kamm, Frances (28)
285. Langton, Rae (28)
285. Lloyd, Elisabeth (28)
285. Maynard Smith, John (28)
285. Pasnau, Robert (28)
285. Spade, Paul Vincent (28)

For the 2014 list, see here.

15 comments:

Jonathan Livengood said...

Eric, would you mind highlighting (maybe just putting in boldface or adding an asterisk) the philosophers in your list who are still living? Several of the people on your list don't strike me as "contemporary": e.g. Ramsey.

Jonathan Birch said...

Congrats, you're more influential than Foucault.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the comments, folks!

Jonathan Livengood: I'm thinking maybe I should have made 1920 the cutoff instead of 1900, since the results are kind of weird anyway for the oldest philosophers on this list. I do plan to do a birthyear analysis later.

Jonathan Birch: Ugh, way too embarrassing. See ETA2 and my various caveats.

Matt said...

A question about the non or border-line philosophers on the list (Just off the top of my head, I mean people like Cass Sunstein, Michael Walzer, Catherine MacKinnon) - is the method just that any author who turns up enough is included, are was there some decision about whether to include particular people or not? Either seems fine with me - I'm just curious. (I'd also be interested to know if there are other non-philosophers or border-line cases people would pick out. These ones are in my area of research, so I noticed them easily.)

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Kahneman is another case. I included all authors who met the criteria. I have a broad view of what counts as philosophy, and all of these authors are quite philosophical in my view!

Rollo said...

John von Neumann was certainly not a philosopher by contemporary academic demarcation. Plato would have thought he was though...

I love that Hempel and Kuhn are tied!

Anonymous said...

No Wittgenstein - I guess that shows where the professional culture is at at the moment

claudia westermann said...

Comment to the most recent comment: Wittgenstein was born before 1900. The list includes only philosophers born after 1900.

General comment: Thanks for this work! I find it rather astonishing that neither Hannah Arendt nor Donna Haraway are in the list. I assume the latter would also be considered a philosopher. Google's Ngram viewer (thus searching google books) would place Arendt comfortably above Popper, and Haraway comfortably above Tarski, Rescher, Gödel. Obviously, Ngram also places Foucault far above Rawls and Habermas, for example. I am wondering what this says about the Encyclopedia.

Matt said...

Google's Ngram viewer (thus searching google books) would place Arendt comfortably above Popper, and Haraway comfortably above Tarski, Rescher, Gödel. Obviously, Ngram also places Foucault far above Rawls and Habermas, for example. I am wondering what this says about the Encyclopedia.

I assume that it mostly means that the SEP reflects Anglophone philosophy, while the Ngram viewer isn't limited to philosophy (so, for example, Foucault will get picked up by lots of work in sociology, gender studies, English, etc. while Rawls won't nearly as much - both will get picked up by political science, law, and some others.) Authors who touch on more fields will get picked up in more general searches. That's not surprising, but what to take from it other than the obvious isn't super clear.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the continuing comments, folks!

Rollo: Right -- not trying to make that demarcation. In my view, anyone doing foundational work in any discipline is in some sense doing the philosophy of that discipline.

Anon/Claudia: Claudia is right, Wittgenstein wasn't included for that reason.

Matt: Yes, that's correct. The value of SEP-based analyses is that they target mainstream Anglophone philosophy specifically. Other metrics, like NGram and Scholar, are better measures of general academic impact across all disciplines. Arendt is terrific, but unfortunately not much cited in this literature.

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Influence is not measured by citations in the SEP.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Unknown, I would suggest that a certain *type* of influence is (approximately) measurable in this way. Not historical importance or global influence, certainly.

Howie said...

Can you measure something like an "Erdos number" but for philosophers in this data set or others?

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Andrew Higgins has done some interesting network analyses based on older data. Maybe he'd be game to update.