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June 05, 2007


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It is a good question Michael and to some degree I think the answer is yes. However (and it is a big however) presently writing on something like Peasoup is in itself a privilege not a right, and it is for the most part only on the "big" blogs that you will get much feedback at all. So in other words journals will accept papers from anyone, whereas blogs like Peasoup will only accept posts from those already accepted as regular bloggers. (Although some blogs do do guest blogs)

This makes me wonder is there space for a peer reviewed blog ie a blog that posts entries sent in by anyone as long as a reviewer agrees?


I don’t think that blogs will ever replace the vetting function that the comments of peers, journal referees, and conference audiences serve, because, in part, the vetting occurs at different stages in each case. Blogs help to vet initial core ideas, whereas peers and journal referees help to vet complete papers. I never post a complete paper on PEA Soup, although I’m sure some of the readers will lament that my posts seem almost as long. Rather, what I post is a concise summary of some half-baked idea that I’m not sure is worth developing into a paper, or I’m not exactly sure how to shape or package that idea into a paper. Our excellent commentators help me decide whether the idea has any hope of passing muster and is worth developing into a paper. But no commentator at PEA Soup says things like: (1) you could have said the same thing in half as many worlds, (2) you don’t adequately motivate the project, (3) the paper is not sufficiently grounded in the literature, (4) section 3 really belongs in a different paper, etc. You can only get those sorts of comments on a completed paper. So, as I see it, blogs serve not replace journals referees, but to replace that excellent colleague that you bump ideas off of.

"(1) you could have said the same thing in half as many worlds"
At first Doug I thought some odd claim about publishing in possible worlds... But now I realise that there is just one too many "l" in your statement.

I'll agree wholeheartedly this though:
"So, as I see it, blogs serve not replace journals referees, but to replace that excellent colleague that you bump ideas off of."
Having shifted to progressively smaller departments (from 20 to 5 to now just me) blogging, in terms of posting and commenting and just reading has (along with other things such as reading journals and attending conferences) kept me in touch with what is going on in the fields of philosophy I am interested, along with allowing me to bounce sometimes very half baked ideas off some very sharp people.


I don't think blogs will ever replace journals. They serve utterly different functions. Blogs are "free flowing," not tied to the stuffy conventions of ordinary scholarship.

For example, there were about 50 posts recently on "incoherentism," a term I coined in a recent paper. There was a LOT speculation about what the idea was, whether it was anything new or plausible, etc. (Also there was a lot on unrelated issues!)

Anyway, no sooner had I written in with a link to that original paper, offering people a chance to get it from (one of) the horse(s) mouth(s), but the thread died!

That is as it should be! It's much more fun to discuss things without the constraint of knowing what, exactly, one is talking about! A journal would never allow us to do that. Talk about stifling creativity!

Sniff . . I mean . . it's not like my . . . sniff . . . feelings were hurt or anything . . . Sniff. Why? Do I seem hurt? I'm not! Snifffff. No way! I'm totally . . . snifffff . . . serious.


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