Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A PUZZLE

The oddness of Internet handles makes it difficult to be sure, but it is my informal impression that the readership of this blog is very heavily tilted toward men.  Is that true, and if so, does anyone have an idea why?  For obvious reasons the readership tends to be drawn from the Academy, but these days there is something approaching gender equality among academics, or perhaps even a tilt toward women.  It may just be that a larger proportion of male commentators are willing to identify themselves by their real names.  I think I am right in saying that none of the overseas commentators who have chosen to identify themselves are women.

The generational spread, on the other hand, seems to be quite broad.  Obviously a blogger approaching his eightieth birthday is likely to attract some equally superannuated readers, but there certainly appear to be a goodly number of young readers, keeping in mind that like most people my age, I have a rather elastic notion of what counts as young!  I mean, I have reached the point at which my students are retiring.  Pretty soon, my students' students will be on Medicare.

Just wondering.

8 comments:

Mitch said...

Part of it is probably the low number of doctorates given to women in philosophy. It still a male dominated field. (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/02/04/gender-divides-in-philosophy-and-other-disciplines/) Andrew Sullivan has also noted a heavily male readership, so this fact alone wouldn't explain it.

James Camien McGuiggan said...

Yeah, to support Mitch's point, philosophy's gender ratio is about as bad as it gets, 80:20 or so. At the Feminist Philosophers blog, they have a campaign going which names-and-shames (I guess that's the phrase) every all-male conference, publication, etc., of which there are an embarrassing number.

Annaleigh said...

The previous comments are correct to note that philosophy has a pretty terrible gender balance. For what it's worth, I'm a regular reader, but I've never commented!

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Welcome! I was kind of hoping the appeal of the blog extended beyond the philosophical community, but the same imbalance may be present in other areas from which people might find their way to it. Needless to say, the racial imbalance in philosophy is even worse. I am reminded of what Walter Jackson Bate, Chair of the English Department, said to my first wife, Cynthia Griffin Wolff, when she asked to be admitted to the doctoral program in English at Harvard, back in '59: "Why don't you go over the Anthropology? They are looking for women over there." Just in case anyone imagines that no one ever actually says these things.

Chris said...

I won't name names, but when the department I GTA for was looking to admit someone to teach logic, one of the faculty members said "do we really want to hire a Christian?"

I admit, as an atheist, I find this rather funny. Also, living in Florida, I find this department to be the one non-pious safe haven I have!

I work under the Christian philosopher, so I know his Christianity does not heavily influence his work (it does in the sense that he spends time in class defending the problem of evil and free will).

I thought those comments weren't allowed anymore, but I suppose because he has tenure he gets away with it?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

That's weird. A Christian as opposed to a Jew? As opposed to an atheist? As opposed to a nominalist? a constructivist? a Platonist?

Chris said...

Again, my guess is he likes the fact in Florida that we have our own little Atheist center. Every professor, except this one, is an atheist. And in Florida, the minority finally has a majority!

Or he was afraid that his Christianity would influence his teaching - which it has. He spends Monday and Wednesday telling the kids why there is no problem of evil, and I spend every Friday telling them why there is :)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

sounds like a pretty good course, Chris. When I started teaching at Harvard, I was part of a team teaching the history of western Europe from Caesar to Napoleon. The Asst Prof who lectured on the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity was a very religious Christian, and he made it all sound like a triumph for Jesus -- very unnerving. He later became the Librarian of Congress! James Billington.