“What Do Philosophers Believe?”

Posted on Posted in Analytic Philosophy, skepticism

I stumbled across this recently published and really interesting paper by David Chalmers and David Bourget entitled “What Do Philosophers Believe?”

Here is the abstract:

What are the philosophical views of contemporary professional philosophers? We surveyed many professional philosophers in order to help determine their views on thirty central philosophical issues. This article documents the results. It also reveals correlations among philosophical views and between these views and factors such as age, gender, and nationality. A factor analysis suggests that an individual’s views on these issues factor into a few underlying components that predict much of the variation in those views. The results of a metasurvey also suggest that many of the results of the survey are surprising: philosophers as a whole have quite inaccurate beliefs about the distribution of philosophical views in the profession.

Here is the whole paper: What do philosophers believe?

There was nothing too surprising but nice to see actual data on the topic. One thing I found a little surprising was the number of people claiming to be theists (25%). That seems a bit high to me based on my experience. I can’t help but wonder if that result is actually representative of main stream analytic philosophy.

My personal interest was in the number of philosophers who self identified as skeptics, which was of course very low (4%). How could one not be a skeptic (and still be a philosopher). To reject skepticism is to reject philosophy.


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