UPDATED! NOW MORE COMPLETE THAN EVER!
(As comments and email give me more info, I'll be updating this post off and on during the week. If you see an oversite or erroneous info—especially omission of your book!—feel free to email me directly at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or comment below, as you prefer. Ideally, give me <author, title, year of pub>. Thanks.)
This is one of those “sociology of the profession” posts that Real Philosophers should scrupulously avoid reading, because of its déclassé nature. So, read on my friends.
A little more than four years ago, at the Garden of Forking paths blog, I wrote up something on the most frequently cited free will (and moral responsibility-oriented) monographs (in English) published between 1980-2005. Making use of The Google, in its then-recently launched “GoogleScholar” guise I generated a list of citation counts. Like all citation counts, these things are fallible and limited in various ways. However, citation counts do give some (imperfect) sense about which ideas have been influential, for good or ill.
So, I’ve decided to update the monograph list, partly out of curiosity about whether there have been interesting or notable changes, and if so, what that might say about the state of Ye Olde Free Will World. An even more telling list might be one that looked at journal articles and citation impact, since that's where so much of the action is in the field. My bet is some high citation figures on my list below would be much less well-represented on such a list, but that other figures would go up by a large margin.
Anyway, the observations below are something of a prelude to a forthcoming post about what counts as a position or a parameter in the literature. Before you make the jump, I invite you to ask yourself what you think the most heavily cited books are, and which books have climbed the most in citations over the past five years. After the list, I have some observations and thoughts about the details.
Author, Title, (publication year): # of citations in 2009 survey (if included)/ # of citations as of Oct. 2013.
If the book didn’t appear in the prior list, it is marked as having x citations in the previous list. Asterisks indicate collapses of multiple entries in Google Scholar to what appear to be the same work. I’ve included the Wegner book, as a sober reminder about our comparative visibility.
- Wegner, Illusion of Conscious Will (2002): 706/1785
- Dennett, Elbow Room (1984): 629/1157
- van Inwagen, An Essay on FW (1983): 413/920
- Kane, Significance of Free Will (1996): 366/870
- Fischer & Ravizza, Responsibility and Control (1998): 320/840
- Dennett, Freedom Evolves (2004): 332/822
- Hampton & Murphy, Forgiveness and Mercy (1990): x/736
- Allison, Kant's Theory of Freedom (1990): x/673
- Wallace, Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments (1994): 228/595
- Duff, Punishment, Communication, and Community (2001) x/531
- Pereboom, Living Without FW (2001): 166/524
- Wolf, Freedom Within Reason (1990): 193/512
- Moore, Placing Blame (1997): x/483
- Mele, Autonomous Agents (1995): 191/470
- Fischer, Metaphysics of Free Will (1994): 196/449
- G. Strawson, Freedom and Belief (1986): 194/441
- Darwall, Second-Person Standpoint (2006) x/409
- Ginet, On Action (1990): 173/388
- Pettit, A Theory of Freedom (2001), x/347
- O'Connor, Persons and Causes (2000): 127/334
- Mele, Free Will and Luck (2008) x/249
- Arpaly, Unprincipled Virtue (2002) x/248
- Korsgaard, Self-Constitution (2009) x/233
- Clarke, Libertarian Accounts of FW (2003):79/228
- Scanlon, Moral Dimensions (2009), x/221
- Honderich, A Theory of Determinism (1988): 100 /208*
- Smilansky, Free Will and Illusion (2000): 67/195
- Lucas, Responsibility (1993): x/192
- Kane, Free Will and Values (1985): 80/191
- Double, The Non-Reality of Free Will (1991): 76/167
- Zimmerman, An Essay on Moral Responsibility (1988) x/165
- Walker, Moral Repair (2006) x/161
- Ekstrom, Free Will a Philosophical Study (2000): 50/146
- Hurley, Justice Luck and Knowledge (2005): 55/143
- (tie) Searle, J. Freedom and Neurobiology (2008) x/141
(tie) Zagzebski, L. Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge (1991) x/141
- Lucas, The Freedom of the Will (1970) x/139
- Haji, Moral Appraisability (1998): 66*/137
- Flint, Divine Providence (1998), 46/128
- Bok, Freedom and Responsibility (1998): 49/121
- Mele, Effective Intentions (2010) x/110
- Holton, Willing, Wanting, Waiting (2009) x/94
- Walter, Neurophilosophy of free will (2001): 36*/92
- Russell, Freedom and Moral Sentiment (1995): x/89
- Berofsky, Liberation from self (2007), x/87
- Haji, Deontic Morality and Control (2002) x/81
- Pink, Free Will: A Very Short Introduction (2004) x/71
- Sher, In Praise of Blame (2006) x/70
- Moore, Causation and responsibility (2009) x/67
- Double, Metapilosophy and free will (1996): x/54
- Arpaly, Merit, Meaning, and Human Bondage (2006) x/53
- Corlett, Responsibility and Punishment (2006), x/50
- Berofsky, Freedom from Necessity (1987), x/49
- Harris, Of Liberty and Necessity (2008) x/49
- Sher, Who Knew?: Responsibility Without Awareness (2009) x/48
[If you think I missed something, please look up said author/volume in Google Scholar and verify that it has more than 45 citations. If it does, please post the correction below, because I'm sure I missed some obvious works. Also, bear in mind that this is monographs only, so collections of papers, anthologies, and so on, aren’t generally included. I haven't included books that have some engagement with free will/moral responsibility but that don't present themselves as centrally concerned with those issues.]
What stood our for me, as I was thinking about what I was going to try to blog about, is that most of these people don’t regularly blog or comment on blogs except under duress, or because of fits of pity. Also, the group at the top is mostly the same. The biggest mover is Derk’s book. There is a clear band of big citation-getting books at the very top (800+ citations), and then things seem to spread out more evenly after that. In philosophy world, time since publication certainly helps with the total number of citations.
Having cog sci/psych readers clearly helps for citations. Normatively oriented books have become a more pronounced part of the citation pattern (presumably, in part because they pick up citations from the larger ethics literature; but it surely makes a difference that many of those authors are independently very visible in ethics and political philosophy).
The 200+ citations set is occupied entirely by people with positions in departments with a Ph.D. program.
Of almost 40 entries, women make up only 7 entries (or 17.5%). That figure makes things seem better than they are, though: Nomy's work accounts for two of those entries, and Hurley is deceased, so only 5 living women are on the list, assuming I didn’t screw up my math. [UPDATE: These numbers change a bit, with the addition of more ethics-y and political texts; the numbers remain quite low for free will-focused texts, as opposed to responsibility-focused texts.]
In that spirit, let’s just say members of racial/ethnic minorities (by U.S. standards) make up a dramatically smaller percentage of the list. Representation strongly skews to the U.S., but there are a variety of folks who are from or teach in institutions outside of the U.S.
There are clearly people who have been massively influential but never wrote monographs (Frankfurt and Watson are especially prominent cases, I would think). Also, the surge in empirically-oriented work hasn't yet really hit monographs citation patterns (two obvious exceptions: the Wegner book and Mele's Effective Intentions, which is still pretty new.). Philosophical "comets" in the free will solar system (i.e., philosophers who haven't published many articles in peer-reviewed journals on free will, but go on to write monographs on it) don't seem to get as many citations as one might have thought, given their wider professional visibility—although, I say this because of some entries that didn't make the cut-off. The one exception here is of course on the normative side of things: if you are a Gran Fromage in a normative field, you can be a pretty successful comet, if we are looking at raw citation count.
Anything jump out at you about this list? Surprises?