Ideological diversity, hostility, and discrimination in philosophy

Philosophical Psychology 33 (4):511-548 (2020)
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Abstract
Members of the field of philosophy have, just as other people, political convictions or, as psychologists call them, ideologies. How are different ideologies distributed and perceived in the field? Using the familiar distinction between the political left and right, we surveyed an international sample of 794 subjects in philosophy. We found that survey participants clearly leaned left (75%), while right-leaning individuals (14%) and moderates (11%) were underrepresented. Moreover, and strikingly, across the political spectrum, from very left-leaning individuals and moderates to very right-leaning individuals, participants reported experiencing ideological hostility in the field, occasionally even from those from their own side of the political spectrum. Finally, while about half of the subjects believed that discrimination against left- or right-leaning individuals in the field is not justified, a significant minority displayed an explicit willingness to discriminate against colleagues with the opposite ideology. Our findings are both surprising and important, because a commitment to tolerance and equality is widespread in philosophy, and there is reason to think that ideological similarity, hostility, and discrimination undermine reliable belief formation in many areas of the discipline.
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First archival date: 2019-07-23
Latest version: 6 (2020-04-27)
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