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A survey of contemporary philosophers

Image result for survey form

Nine hundred and thirty one contemporary philosophers took part in a recent survey. The word "philosopher" in this context means a member of a university department of philosophy. The 99 departments involved were generally Anglophonic and analytic in history/orientation. 
So ... given some commonality in education, profession, language, historic lineage ... has there come to be a consensus on the Big Questions? 
Not really. But the particulars of that answer are fascinating.

I’ll just select the ten questions on their survey that have given my mind the most solicitude over the years, and tell you what the survey results say, and only then answer those for myself:

1.      Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?

Accept or lean toward Platonism                    366 (39.3%)

Accept or lean toward nominalism                 351 (37.7%)

Other                                                               214 (23.0%)

2.      Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?

Accept or lean toward yes                              604 (64.9%)

Accept or lean toward no                               252 (27.1%)

Other                                                               75 (8.1%)

3.      External world: Idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

Accept or lean toward non-skeptical realism 750 (81.6%)

Other                                                               86 (9.2%)

Accept or lean toward skepticism                   45 (4.8%)

Accept or lean toward idealism                      40 (4.3%)

4.      Free will …

Accept or lean toward compatibilism             550 (59.1%)

Other                                                               139 (14.9%)

Accept or lean toward libertarianism              128 (13.7%)

Accept or lean toward no free will                 114 (12.2%)

5.      God: theism or atheism

Accept or lean toward atheism                       678 (72.8%)

Accept or lean toward theism                         136 (14.6%)

Other                                                               117 (12.6%)

6.      Moral judgement: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?

Accept or lean toward cognitivism                 612 (65.7%)

Other                                                              161 (17.3%)

Accept or lean toward non-cognitivism          158 (17%)


7.      Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?

Other                                                               301 (32.3%)

Accept or lean toward deontology                 241 (25.9%)

Accept or lean toward consequentialism        220 (23.6%)

Accept or lean toward virtue ethics                169 (18.2%)

8.      Personal identity: Biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?

Other                                                               347 (37.3%)

Accept or lean toward psychological view     313 (33.6%)

Accept or lean toward biological view           157 (16.9%)

Accept or lean toward further-fact view        114 (12.2%)

9.      Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?

Other                                                               382 (41%)

Accept or lean toward egalitarianism             324 (34.8%)

Accept or lean toward communitarianism      133 (14.3%)

Accept or lean toward libertarianism              92 (9.9%)

10.  Time: A-theory or B-theory

Translation: the A-theory holds that time is a reality, the B-theory that it is an illusion.                                            

Other                                                               542 (58.2%)

Accept or lean toward B-theory                     245 (26.3%)   

Accept or lean toward A-theory                     144 (15.5%)
Had I been asked, despite the fact that I am not qualified by the surveys standards, I would have answered those ten as follows:
Yes on nominalism. No on the analytic/synthetic distinction. Yes on non-skeptical realism and incompatibilist free will (i.e. 'libertarianism' in the first sense in which it is used in this survey). "Other" on theism and "yes" to cognitivism in moral judgment. Yes to consequentialism and to a psychological view of identity (stream-of-consciousness and all that).  Yes to libertarianism in the second sense in which it is used here, and to the reality of time, aka the A theory.
On questions 3 and 6 I'm comfortably within a consensus view, although the more common situation, where there is something like a consensus, is that I'm against it, as with both free will and God.


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