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May 1, 2023Liked by nescio13

Here is a possible competing hypothesis (or at least factor you don't consider) for the low acceptance rates in philosophy journals.

You don't mention (though maybe it is implicit in your comment about not believing in philosophical progress) - that the standards of good and bad work are less well agreed upon by the philosophical community compared with fields like math or the sciences, where the acceptance rates of leading journals tend to be about twice as high as leading philosophy journals. Arguably, those fields have more consensus about which work is good. This might be why there is more self-selectivity in sending articles to such journals. Most biologists know whether the study or experiment they've just done has a chance at a leading journal in their field. With philosophy? It is more of a crap shoot. So in math and science there's more self-selectivity at the submission stage, because more consensus of what good work looks like. This might also be an alternative explanation as to why specialist journals in areas that require technical expertise - logic, philosophy of science, and ancient philosophy - might have higher acceptance rates at their journals. Perhaps those sub-disciplines have a bit more consensus about what it takes for an article to be good.

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I think this is right, but I believe the significance goes in the other direction: the functionality of prestige production is to generate an artificial consensus where there really isn't one.

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Eric v interesting. My own journal is second tier and I see it as often publishing the great pieces the first tier miss - perhaps because the idea is interesting but hard to make fully convincing, or as polished. I will ponder your arguments Re desk rejects etc - I do fewer than Bob though. But just as I don’t aspire to make CRISPP JPP so it would be odd to make JPP CRISPP one needs different sorts of journal even within the pretty small field of analytical pol philosophy

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I agree we don't want uniform journals

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