The list below provides the articles, replies, reviews, and interviews most viewed during 2022. As you will see, these pieces were published at different times over the last decade.
We invite you to read a sample of the exceptional range of contributions that the SERRC receives. We hope you will join us in reading and contributing to the SERRC in 2023.
❦ Briggle, Adam. 2021. “Which Reality? Whose Truth? A Review Kathleen Stock’s Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (11): 52-59.
❦ Martin, Brian. 2019. “Do We See Icons or Reality? A Review of Donald Hoffman’s The Case Against Reality.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 8 (12): 13-24.
❦ Mason, Elinor. 2021. “What is Hermeneutical Injustice and Who Should We Blame?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (4): 17-22.
❦ Fuller, Steve. 2021. “Is the Metaverse the New Metaphysics?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (12): 68-72.
❦ Brown, Matthew J. 2015. “A Critical Appreciation of Ronald N. Giere’s ‘Distributed Cognition without Distributed Knowing’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (6): 45-51.
❦ Tyson, Charlie and Naomi Oreskes. 2020. “The American University, the Politics of Professors and the Narrative of ‘Liberal Bias’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9 (8): 14-32.
❦ Fuller, Steve. 2013. “What Does It Mean to be an Intellectual Today? An Interview with Steve Fuller by Filip Šimetin Šegvić.” Social Epismtemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (10): 12-17.
❦ West, Mark D. 2021. “Gaia and COVID: A Review of Bruno Latour’s After Lockdown.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (12): 36-43.
❦ Radenović, Ljiljana. 2022. “Misunderstanding the Human and the Divine.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 11 (7): 9-14
❦ Rosenberg, Alex. 2020. “Scientism Versus the Theory of Mind.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9 (1): 48-57.
My friend told me she thinks this list is,”A bizarre, demeaning, meaningless stunt. Relevance is not about click bait.” While I am not offended, she makes a good point. Are we to believe the purpose of SERRC is a popularity venue? I know from personal experience that Jim has, to his credit, combatted this “hagiography” concerning a certain author. I follow her in suggesting this is perhaps not a proper approach. Perhaps best withdrawn.
I thank Professor Basham’s friend for their criticism and concern, and Professor Basham himself for sharing and elaborating the points that were made. My brief response: I accept the criticism of the list as engaging in a form of click bait and will be alive to that point in my future choices. As any web user knows lists of this sort are infamous, parodied tools for driving website traffic. Admittedly, part of my reasoning for publishing the list was to help generate views. I hasten to add that the SERRC is not a revenue generating site; so, I understand the need for views primarily as a way to promote what we publish. I want our contributors to have an audience—in part, generating that audience falls to me (there’s a much larger discussion to be had about the obligations scholars should have to their own work). Still, that does not absolve me from the charge of click baiting. I have other reasons for such a list as well—to make further visible the range of work we do on the SERRC and, hopefully, have new visitors explore the site once past the list.
Am I engaging in a “popularity contest?” I see the general point. The list is based on the analytics I receive from WordPress. In comprising the list, I had in mind similar lists of most cited articles found on scholarly journal web sites (in fact, Matthew Brown’s piece is an appreciation of just such a citation “star”). Still, I do not have to promote the work in such a way—point taken.
In sum, I agree—the list is “click baity” and sets up a kind of popularity contest. Too, I am involved in the delicate task of promoting the work we publish (I do engage this task in various ways and with more than a little angst). I can be criticized on other grounds as well. I tend to default to a “content model” in which I solicit and publish a great deal of content. I do so, in part, for the sake of views—new content drives traffic. The question of traffic itself—do I, or SERRC contributors, “need” traffic—and, if so, what amount and when—resides at the heart of the matter. I am willing to discuss it further.
As I wrote, I was not offended. I agree with everything you write, and I think the “greatest hits” list was a well earned celebration of SERRC’s success. I took no offense. “Click bait” is to be judged by what the catch is, not the fact there was well placed and intended “bait”.
As I wrote, though I was not offended, our colleague was and I thought I’d share that while not agreeing with her take. As I wrote to Scott Hill, I wonder. The fact one of our contributors felt that this (greatest hits) was misguided is a helpful piece of data. We should understand it in the general malaise of like/dislike internet culture circa early 21st century. This isn’t a completely misguided concern. Perhaps the infant beginning?
What would happen if every journal in Philosophy was online and under constant, even if robotic, scrutiny and intervention, by the vast internet entirety in which it is embedded, the entirety that appears to be our publishing future? Numbers can be generated by bots. Responses the same. When the world turns inward, all becomes subject and of necessity to self-obsession. Conviviality in difference dissolves. Can currently relevant Philosophy, in a formal manner, survive online when it is discovered by such a culture? Say 10-15 years from now? What will become of social epistemology?
I sense a powerful new subject here.
I disagree with Basham and his friend. It is the normal practice of journals to provide information about views and citations. It is interesting information to have. I thank Jim for providing that information.
We don’t disagree, Scott,
I wrote I was not offended at the list of success, even though our colleague was. I think Jim is right to celebrate SERRC and its success, so I see little we might disagree upon. This includes ‘greatest hits”, at least I think so.
Jim’s response is thoughtful, honrdy, prefect. Yet take a few steps back and we see the situation of SERRC’s success is more interesting than we might have imagined. Tomorrow is a new world.
True, traditional journals don’t typically publish read-rates–how could they? And such numbers for online journals can be easily inflated with simple internet tools; but it’s hard to see why anyone would be that obsessed with SERRC or any other journal, at least at the moment. Yet in our dysfunctional “like/dislike” internet culture there is the inevitability that this facility for manipulation will spread too more serious venues, like SERRC. And in that, spark misguided reactions. As I said, I was not offended by the top ten celebration: SERRC operates within the larger situation of the internet, one I would not, like some, censor. But the fact one of our contributors felt that this was misguided is a helpful piece of data. We understand it in the general sense of like/dislike internet culture circa 2023. This isn’t a completely misguided concern.
What would happen if every journal in Philosophy was online and under constant, even if robotic, scrutiny and intervention, by the vast internet entirety in which it is embedded in that appears to be our future?
We should write a paper on this as it impacts academia. That would be an adventure worth taking! We’ll take it either way.
Thanks Lee. Regarding: ‘True, traditional journals don’t typically publish read-rates–how could they?‘
It turns out that they do provide such information.
Religious Studies is one example. On each article, they provide information about the number of views. On the front page, they have the most read and most cited article together with a link to the page below containing the ten most read articles:
Episteme does the same thing.
Looking at Philosophical Studies and Australasian Journal of Philosophy I find that each provides a view count for their articles.
I suspect Lee means “read” in “actually read not just looked at”; one of the common complaints about using the “read” metric is it only tells you who has accessed a site/page/article, not whether they have read and comprehended the piece. Indeed, the common problem with using a mere “read” metric is that it often counts bots and web scrappers (who access pages to index or search for material) in the “read” count, which means you might end up writing in a field with a lot of interest (such as conspiracy theory theory) with big “read” counts even though such counts never translate into any actual citations (which are themselves only a loose proof of having been actually read, since sometimes people cite work in lit reviews without having done the actual reading…).
As I see it, there are three issues here.
First, there is the claim that the list is ‘A bizarre, demeaning, meaningless stunt‘. That claim was mentioned even if no one endorsed it. And even if no one endorsed the claim, it was said that the claim had a point. And it was said that maybe the post should be withdrawn. For this reason, I thought it was worth evaluating the claim. The claim makes it sound like SERRC is doing something weird and unusual. So I thought it was worth pointing out that traditional journals do what SERRC did in the post all the time.
Second, there is the part of the relevant claim that says view counts are ‘meaningless‘. I get the idea that view counts are largely noise and are not that informative. But I doubt that they are completely noise and contain no signal whatsoever. I would be surprised if there is no minimally interesting correlation between view counts and reads at all. But I don‘t really know much about it. So I don‘t have evidence to offer for my hunch. I would just point out that the idea that there is at least some interesting correlation is compatible with the evidence you and Lee cite.
Third, there is the question of what Lee meant. He contrasted ‘traditional journals‘ with ‘online journals’. He said that traditional journals cannot count reads but that although online journals can count views there are problems with view counts. I thought in doing this he was contrasting traditional journals with SERRC and using ‘read‘ and ‘view‘ to mean the same thing. I thought it was worth pointing out that traditional journals are online too and that they do count and provide information about views. But perhaps I was misunderstanding Lee. If so, sorry Lee!