Ranking Philosophy Journals: Pros and Cons (Mostly Cons)

In this interesting article, Jeffrey R. Di Leo considers the problems in ranking philosophy journals for a broad audience. Most rankings, he argues, are done by specialists and the rank given by those specialists would only be meaningful for other specialists. While rankings can provide some insight in the the overall quality of the journal, they do probably don’t help all that much when attempting to determine the relevance of the material for interdisciplinary study.

The majority of the philosophy journals in print speak more strongly to sub-groups of philosophers than to all professional philosophers. The scholarly narrowness or philosophical focus of these journals is necessary to advance scholarship in their sub-field or sub-discipline – which in turn, advances scholarship in the discipline of philosophy at large. However, this situation makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to provide a general ranking of philosophy journals that has any real merit or validity for all professional philosophers.

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