Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leiter on Continental Philosophy Departments

On his blog Leiter Reports, Brian Leiter (UT Austin) posted today on PhD programs in Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy. Leiter gives us some idea of the programs he thinks are the best:
University of Chicago (Brudney, Davidson, Forster, Haugeland, and Pippin, plus a number of other faculty [e.g., Lear and Nussbaum] with sympathetic interests in particular figures or movements), but any serious student should also be looking at Columbia University (Carman and Neuhouser), Stanford University (Anderson, Follesdal [part-time], Friedman, Hills, Hussain, and Wood are all working primarily or partially on figures or movements in post-Kantian German philosophy).
I am interested in what people think about his post and list. I agree that these programs ought to be at the top of any list. I am interested in what other people consider as good programs for students wanting to work on German Idealism and Post-Kantian philosophy. I would also like to hear about more specific suggestions (as in which schools are good for, Kant, Fichte, Hegel etc, or Post-Kantian political philosophy or ethics). Feel free to also post on Continental programs in general.

8 comments:

The Brooks Blog said...

I don't disagree with Leiter's assessments in general. However, I was very surprised (in the UK) that he left out the University of Sheffield and I think Ireland's University College Dublin is worth at least an honorable mention, if not far more.

Gabriel Gottlieb said...

I would consider Boston University near the top of any list with strong scholars like Manfred Kuehn, Daniel Dahlstrom, Klaus Brinkmann, Allen Speight. Robert Stern should certainly push Sheffield onto people's lists.

Anonymous said...

It is important to remember Brian Leiter does not believe that there is any merit to institutions almost exclusively teaching post-Kantian "Continental" philosophy. He, at best, accomodates such tendencies in modern european thought, by encouraging naive undergraduates to consider programs that simultaneously have strong Anglo-American offerings. Consequentially, he is primarily interested in preserving the existing dimensions of the professional philosophical playing field, which deliberately marginalizes programs like that nororiously to be found at The New School for Social Research. That said, the modern philosophical consciousness of Academia is reified, but not totally. Rather than argue with Leiter--honestly a boring and unproductive task--or setting up competing "rankings" of graduate programs sympathetic or empathetic to post-Kantian "Continental" philosophy, it is my opinion that students should be celebrating those rare institutions and instances where genuine independent thinking is possible. Given the prevailing attitude in the field of academic philosophy, however, this list is likely to be depressingly short.

Gabriel Gottlieb said...

Dear anon, I agree that there are a number of good programs that Leiter does not have on his radar, and the New School is one. But there are plenty of others. What the New School does not have is the guaranteed funding and small department, but we do have strong scholars. At the New School Jay Bernstein, Richard Bernstein, Y. Yovel are very strong Post-Kantian scholars with good publishing and teaching reputations. DePaul for example might be worth mentioning as I'm sure other schools are too.

ChrisE said...

Anonymous 8/21: I'm interested in what you think justifies the assertion that genuine independent thinking is only possible at a short list of institutions. It's true that to earn a degree and be published, one has to participate in the existing discussions in ways recognizably contributing to those discussions, but the range of philosophical discussions so sanctioned is quite diverse and rapidly becoming more so. We're certainly not in a period of scholasticism where any one philosophical view dominates.

As for Leiter, who DOES believe that "there is any merit to institutions almost exclusively teaching post-Kantian `Continental' philosophy"? Anyone earning a general philosophy degree and not learning some solid subset of ancient, medieval, modern, American, global [e.g. Chinese/Indian/etc.], Bentham/Mill/Utilitarianism, Wittgenstein, would be quite philosophically impoverished indeed.

I would also be interested in evidence that Leiter "is primarily interested in preserving the existing dimensions of the professional philosophical playing field," or in "marginaliz[ing] programs." Which comments of his support that? (It certainly does not follow "Consequentially" from your preceding comment.)

To facilitate conversation, you would also have to explain how "the modern philosophical consciousness of Academia is reified," because I don't understand. Academia has one philosophical consciousness and it has become a thing?

Anonymous said...

DePaul should certainly be up for consideration. It has a diverse group of fine minds doing very interesting work. But don't forget Duquesne University, which has both a strong historical approach and the powerhouse Tom Rockmore. It also has an up-and-coming wizard named Daniel Selcer who does work on early modern rationalism and French postmodernism.

J said...

Private universities should be detonated, including the one Nurse Leiter resides at--or, nationalized. That's Kantian ethics. Then reform the matriculation bureaucracy of public uni's: say, draw names out of a hat, or better, put everything online, and offer a series of tests (could be done via apps, really). For that matter, it's questionable whether PhDs should even be offered in Phil (or belle-lettres). Youngsters should do civil engineering or medicine or mathematics etc., and get the Phil. as needed (and reject what's not needed, like most of german idealism).

That some applicant's GPA or GRE scores are one point less than Biff who was let into UCLA or UCB means scheisse; that he has a sweeeter letter of recommendation from Higginsbotham means scheisse.

Anonymous said...

If Duquesne is on the list, so too, then, should the University of Kentucky. There you will find one of the foremost Fichte scholars in the world, Daniel Breazeale. He also works on K.L. Reinhold, and other post-Kantians. So too does Ronald Bruzina, a Husserl scholar well-acquainted with the German Idealists, especially Fichte. Arnold Farr, who has just taken a post at the University of Kentucky (having recieved his Ph.D. there some years ago), has published on Fichte.