When it comes to mapping the territory of academic philosophy, “the timeworn analytic-continental divide should be replaced with a three-way split, between analytic, continental, and philosophy of science programs.”
That’s Pablo Andrés Contreras Kallens (Cornell), Daniel J. Hicks (UC Merced), and Carolyn Dicey Jennings (UC Merced) in a new paper, “Networks in philosophy: Social networks and employment in academic philosophy,” published in Metaphilosophy.
Given disputes over both the substance and usefulness of the analytic-Continental distinction, the authors asked whether “other divisions might be more informative.” They used cluster analysis on data collected by Academic Philosophy Data Analysis (APDA), to investigate:
In machine learning, cluster analysis is any method that arranges units of analysis into subsets—that is, clusters—based on some measure of similarity between the variables that characterize them… In the current project, the units of analysis are philosophy Ph.D. programs, and the variables that characterize them are aggregated from (1) the areas of specialization (AOS) of their Ph.D. graduates and (2) the “keyword” survey responses. Recall that the survey respondents are asked to select keywords that distinguish their Ph.D. program. We hypothesized that if the analytic-continental divide exists at the departmental level, it will create patterns of association among these AOS and keyword variables and thus that the programs will cluster along this divide.