A draft of Valerie Tiberius’s Presidential Address at the Central Division of the APA is linked to below. The text below is her teaser for the address. Her advice to Philosophy is informed by important data, revealed below, from a survey of over 2500 philosophers.
Of this piece Valerie writes “I am really hoping that the survey (and my discussion of the results) will be helpful to other philosophers. I’m very grateful to the editors of PEASoup for linking to it and hosting a discussion. I’d love to hear your comments and I would be glad to answer questions. (I might be a little slow to answer certain questions about data, or to respond to requests for data, since I’ll have to ask my collaborator about these).”
Here now is Valerie:
I have been writing about well-being and about how to think about well-being when we are trying to help our friends. In this context, I believe we should focus on the values of the person we are trying to help and on how those values could be improved in light of shared norms and the facts about personality and environment. Well-being, on this view, is success in terms of appropriate values over time, or “value fulfillment” as I call it.
Given my research, I started thinking… what if PHILOSOPHY were my friend? I might worry. Philosophy, what are you doing with your life? You’re in the news, and not in a good way. Thinking about philosophy as my friend led me to wonder what would happen if I took my own approach to helping and applied it here. And that led me to creating “The Value of Philosophy Survey”. My hope in creating the survey was to find out what philosophers value about philosophy. I anticipated finding some conflicts among these values and my goal was to use this information to recommend a “healthy” and sustainable path that we can follow, given our values, given what philosophy is like (our “personality”) and given the academic, economic and political environment in which we have to work. My presidential address is the results of these efforts. It reports findings from the survey and recommends a path forward that I call the “broaden and balance” path.