Three of the most important papers in the philosophy of language/semantics overlap in recent years are:
- Dorothy Edgington, On Conditionals, Mind 1995
- Jason Stanley and Zoltan Szabo, On Quantifier Domain Restriction, Mind & Language 2000
- Jason Stanley, Context and Logical Form, Linguistics & Philosophy 2000
Between them they have nearly 1500 Google Scholar cites, and nearly 500 Web of Knowledge cites. They appear in Kieran Healy’s dataset 57 times between them. You might suspect that would mean that they would have to appear prominently in all four of the journals Kieran looks at. You’d be wrong.
According to Web of Knowledge, those papers have been mentioned, between them, exactly once in the Journal of Philosophy. In Jason Turner’s Ontological Pluralism there is a mention, in passing, of the Stanley and Szabo paper. The other 56 citations in the Healy dataset come from the other 3 journals he looks at.
According to Google Scholar, things have recently gotten better. There has been one more citation of one of these papers. In Andreas Stokke’s Lying and Asserting, published in the next-to-most-recent issue of the Journal, there is a mention, among a list of dissenters from radical contextualism, of Stanley’s Context and Logical Form. I assume that’s too recent to make the latest update to Web of Knowledge. (Neil Levy pointed out in comments to the previous post that Google Scholar often gives more accurate citation counts than Web of Knowledge. He’s right, especially about recent publications, and that prompted the search which led to this paragraph. Thanks Neil!)
But that’s it. There are no papers, at all, from the tradition of formal philosophy of language that Stanley and Szabo are writing in who cite their work in the Journal. There is no one at all who cites Edgington. By contrast, her paper has been cited in Mind at least 15 times that I found, and I possibly didn’t find all the cases.
Obviously any journal will have areas it thinks are less interesting, or less important, than other journals do. That’s a good thing. But I think this particular gap in the Journal‘s coverage of philosophy is unfortunate.