Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Paper changes

I've made changes to a couple of my papers that I'd welcome comments on. Firstly, I realised at the APA that I was saying some completely false things regarding the individuation of sums in my paper on fundamentality. I now hope I'm saying true things. The changed section is section 4 - the stuff concerning necessary connections and whether they're unobjectionable if the things in question overlap.

I've also made an addition to my paper on the Contingency of Composition. I have always argued that composition as identity is compatible with restricted composition and I've needed to say something about Merricks' argument to the contrary. Merricks relies on the necessity of identity, and I've previously been happy simply to play the counterpart theory card and reject this. But on further reflection I think I can show that you shouldn't accept Merricks' argument even if you accept the standard Barcan/Kripke proof of the necessity of identity. The final version of this paper has to be sent off soon, so if anyone had any comments on my response to Merricks here I'd appreciate them.

On another note. As I understand it, women are under-represented in the major journals (I mean, even given their under-representation in the profession - that is, woman are even more under-represented in the journals than you'd expect them to be, given how many women there are in the profession). Why is this? Well, we'd need a study on this, but the following seems likely to me. Since women are under-represented in the profession it is very likely, for every paper sent to a journal, that it will be refereed by a man. Men and women vary in their styles of writing and arguing. So while when a man submits a paper it is likely that it will be reveiwed by someone who writes and argues in a broadly similar style, with women this is very unlikely. Hence, women face a disadvantage in trying to get papers published.

Okay - it's hardly likely to be that simple. But I bet there's something to this. And if there's some truth to this then there's a good case to be made, it seems to me, for journals implementing the rule that papers by women should, other things being equal, be reveiwed by women. (The 'other things' packs in a lot, because it seems far more important that papers be reveiwed by experts in the subject.) Is there a good reason why this shouldn't happen?

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