Tim Crane Among the Most Cited Contemporary Philosophers

Professor Tim Crane, head of CEU’s Department of Philosophy, is among the most cited contemporary philosophers of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy according to a recently published list. For Crane, this recognition is important because this online encyclopedia is not only highly prestigious but also freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

This is the third time that American philosophy professor Eric Schwitzgebel created the list of most cited contemporary philosophers using the database of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. He published a list of the 200 most cited philosophers first in 2010 and then in 2014. This year, slightly tweaking his methodology, he published an updated list of the most cited 295 philosophers in the Encyclopedia.

According to this latest list, CEU’s Tim Crane is the 251th most cited philosopher in the Encyclopedia, among those born since 1900.

“The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a huge resource for academic philosophy. As the Encyclopedia has developed it has become a statement of the state of the art in analytic philosophy (the label for mainstream Anglo-American tradition in philosophy beginning in the early 20th century). In this department at CEU we work mostly in this analytic tradition” he said.

“There are good bibliographies in all of these entries, and to be mentioned in an entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia is a sign that people are reading your work. So, among the thousands of philosophers born since 1900, it is nice to be number 251” Tim Crane added.

“In all fairness, the Stanford Encyclopedia is dominated by certain areas and I think my area, the philosophy of mind is, one of these dominant areas. There are many very influential philosophers who are not on that list” he explained.

The most important aspect of this recognition for Tim Crane is that Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a free online resource and thus makes it possible for anyone in the world to connect to his own online work — not just students in university libraries with subscriptions to expensive academic journals.

“The internet has given us such opportunities here! I put a version of everything I write on my website, apart from my books. This gives people a chance to access these works outside university libraries. It is nice to get the acknowledgement of being on this list, but it is also nice to think that one’s work is being read across the world” he said.

There are other online encyclopedias of philosophy as well, Crane added — “the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which I used to edit, has shorter articles that are easier to understand. However, it is behind a paywall.” — but Stanford is the world leader.

The whole issue of online publication is important to Crane also because of the notorious cost of academic journal and online subscription prices. These are very high in humanities subjects, even if not as high as in science subjects. He wrote an article about this problem in the Times Literary Supplement last year on what he describes as the scandal of academic journal publishing.

He is also actively encouraging his colleagues to post the texts of their article on their websites - when that is legally allowed by the agreement with the publisher with whom they published. “There are thousands of people around the world interested in philosophy and this is how they read your work these days. People who do not make their work available to read online for free are depriving themselves of a huge readership.”