Friday, July 18, 2008

Fantasy Philosophy

I should be doing other things, but Richard Brown wants to play fantasy philosophy departments, the geekier version of fantasy baseball. You're chair of a philosophy department: you have ten, and only ten, faculty. Build the best department you can.

There are lots of different possible lineups that would be great; but the need to have an excellent department with only ten sets some limits. I set aside all the faculty at the University of Toronto, which is where I got my degree, and any faculty who are not currently there but were there at any point during my graduate studies there; you could have a stellar lineup from the UT department on its own, and I thought it best in this case to take the personal out of the equation, in order to judge more objectively. Of the following, the only three I've ever even met are Baker, Atherton, and Klima, and in all three cases it was a short interaction. I'm not really the kind to have academic heroes, so that makes things easier; but, obviously, the lineup has to include only people who have done at least some work that I've genuinely liked. I take it that we are to restrict our lineup to the currently, and not just recently, living (so, say Deleuze is out) and to those who are in a fairly straightforward way philosophers (so, say, the sociologist Randall Collins is out).

In no particular order:

(1) Lynne Baker

(2) Jorge Gracia

(3) Pierre Hadot*

(4) Lorraine Code

(5) Margaret Atherton

(6) Jean-Yves Girard

(7) Gyula Klima

(8) Helen Longino

(9) Patricia Churchland

(10) Jean-Luc Marion

* Hadot is retired; if retired professors are not counted, replace Hadot with Julia Annas.

Try your own hand at it and link to Richard's original post so everyone can track everyone's answers; and we can compare.