We previously wrote about the uprising in the philosophy academic world against Brian Leiter, the pugnacious pejorative-prone University of Chicago law professor: Brian Leiter, supporter of Steven Salaita, embroiled in his own civility controversy.
Leiter’s claim to fame was a publication of philosophy department rankings, The Philosophical Gourmet.
Leiter has a long history of conflict with other philosophers regarding that ranking publication, but the conflict was elevated to new heights recently after publication of emails Leiter sent. Leiter said it was a cyber-smear campaign by people who took things out of context.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, Controversial Philosopher Will Step Down as Editor of Influential Rankings:
Brian Leiter, the philosopher who has come under intense criticism in recent weeks for his caustic rhetoric, will step down as editor of The Philosophical Gourmet Report, an influential ranking of philosophy departments.
Mr. Leiter, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, announced the change in a blog post on Friday, after the publication’s advisory board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the move. Mr. Leiter will remain the publication’s editor until its 2014-15 edition is complete, at which point he will join the advisory board. Berit Brogaard, a philosophy professor at the University of Miami and the publication’s co-editor, will take over as editor.
Mr. Leiter’s combative tactics on his blog and social media—he called one philosopher “a disgrace” and said she works in “a shit department”—fueled a protest that prompted the change. Hundreds of philosophers signed a statement saying they would not complete the surveys that inform the publication’s rankings as long as Mr. Leiter was its editor.
In his blog post announcing the move, Leiter presents the situation as one in which he was in favor for the good of the ranking journal:
Of the 50 members of the Advisory Board, 45 voted in favor of this plan, none voted against, and 2 Board members abstained (believing, as I understand it, that I should not have agreed to step down, or not in these circumstances). I supported it as well and made that clear prior to the vote….
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