Via Tyler Cowen:
The PhilPapers Survey was a survey of professional philosophers and others on their philosophical views. You can find the survey and the results here. Some of the more interesting results are below:
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?
Accept or lean toward: yes 604 / 931 (64.8%)
Accept or lean toward: no 252 / 931 (27%)
Other 75 / 931 (8%)
God: theism or atheism?
Accept or lean toward: atheism 678 / 931 (72.8%)
Accept or lean toward: theism 136 / 931 (14.6%)
Other 117 / 931 (12.5%)
Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?
Accept or lean toward: physicalism 526 / 931 (56.4%)
Accept or lean toward: non-physicalism 252 / 931 (27%)
Other 153 / 931 (16.4%)
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?
Other 301 / 931 (32.3%)
Accept or lean toward: deontology 241 / 931 (25.8%)
Accept or lean toward: consequentialism 220 / 931 (23.6%)
Accept or lean toward: virtue ethics 169 / 931 (18.1%)
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don’t switch?
Accept or lean toward: switch 635 / 931 (68.2%)
Other 225 / 931 (24.1%)
Accept or lean toward: don’t switch 71 / 931 (7.6%)
I find the first interesting, since Quine’s arguments against the analytic/synthetic distinction always struck me as some of the most accepted results in philosophy. I’m happy to see that a healthy majority of philosophers are atheists, though that result might be difficult to square with the much small majority that are physicalists about the mind. I’m also surprised at the narrow plurality of deontologists, especially in contrast with the large number who are willing to sacrifice some innocent person just to save five others, which is consequentialist in spirit.
Thursday, December 10, 2009