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12/11/2014

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Wesley Buckwalter

Members of the philosophical science lab up at Waterloo have published experiments over the past year in AJP, Nous, Synthese, Philosophers’ Imprint, Episteme, and Philosophical Studies. These experiences were positive and may suggest growing parity in the way non-experimental and experimental work is being received at traditional journals. Many experimental philosophers have also successfully published in cognitive science and experimental psychology journals (Cognitive Science, Cognition, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, among others).

Joshua Knobe

In my experience, the key distinction is between the two main ethics journals (Ethics and PPA) and all other journals.

There have been really good experimental philosophy papers in all sorts of different journals (Journal of Philosophy, Nous, Mind, PPR, Phil Studies, Analysis), but for some reason, those two ethics journals have been very different from the whole rest of the field and have pretty consistently rejected all submissions that report new experimental studies.

Thomas Nadelhoffer

Thanks, Joshua and Wesley. My main interest was in hearing about people's experiences so I appreciate your helpful feedback. In the old and early days, I remember getting some really horrible referee reports from journals that shall go unnamed that have published some work in x-phi in the intervening 10 years. So, it seems progress is being made (as pointed out by Wesley). In my present case, it is an ethics paper I am trying to find a home for this time around (which highlights the salience of Joshua's comments about Ethics and PPA).

It is precisely because I have never seen anything x-phi related in either journal that led me to submit to different ethics journals. But for the first time in my career, both of the journals to which I submitted my piece this time around--namely, Journal of Ethics and Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy--rejected it in less than a week without sending it out to referees. Because I received no feedback, I don't know whether it was summarily rejected because they thought (a) the paper was simply too bad to merit consideration, (b) too damn long at 13,000 words,(c) inappropriately empirical/experimental, or (d) some combination of (a)-(c).

At this point, I either need to cut the paper down so that it's short enough for some of the other ethics journals (Journal of Moral Philosophy or Ethical Theory and Moral Practice) or I can try one of the generalist journals. Either way, I thought it might be helpful to others to start a thread about people's experiences at different journals.

Joshua Knobe

Hi Thomas,

Hope things work out well with this manuscript! In any case, my sense is that those two journals you just proposed would actually be great choices. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice recently published a great experimental philosophy paper by De Brigard, Mandelbaum & Ripley, and Journal of Moral Philosophy is edited by Matt Liao who has himself done important work in experimental philosophy.

In other words, I don't think there is any worry about ethics journals per se. It seems like there is just an issue with those two specific journals (Ethics and PPA) which appear to be taking an editorial stance that diverges from the whole rest of the field.

Felipe De Brigard

The Review of Philosophy and Psychology also publishes empirically informed papers, although not only in ethics/moral psychology. That could be another place for your to consider sending it to. Cheers, Felipe

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3QD Prize 2012: Wesley Buckwalter