The essay of which this is an abstract originally appeared in the Proceedings and Addresses of The American Philosophical Association, 55, 3 (February 1982) 417-423. Copyright © 1982, Peter Suber.
The Place of Philosophy in the Humanities:
A Statistical Profile
Peter Suber, Philosophy Department, Earlham College
In this article I summarize data from two then-recent studies of humanities Ph.D.s in the United States: (1) Employment of Humanities Ph.D.s: A Departure From Traditional Jobs, and (2) Science, Engineering, and Humanities Doctorates in the United States, 1979 Profile. Both studies were produced under the direction of Betty D. Maxfield for the National Research Council Commission on Human Resources, and published by the federal government in 1980. The former uses 1977 data, and the latter 1979 data.
I put up only an abstract here, not full-text, because the data analyzed in the study are now quite old, and I don't have a digital version of the original.
- Recent growth of the field has been astounding: nearly half of the philosophy Ph.D.s granted since 1920 were granted in the 1970's. Yet philosophy is growing more slowly than the average field of the humanities.
- Philosophy has a mixed record on the employment of women. It has the smallest percentage of women Ph.D.s of all the fields of the humanities, and is the only field failing to show a steady growth in the percentage of women Ph.D.s over the years. On the other hand, women are paid more than men in at least two levels of experience, and philosophy is the only field of the humanities in which, over the employment life of an average Ph.D., the sum of a woman's salaries exceeds the sum of a man's. However, in universities and colleges male philosophers are paid more than women consistently (apparently after all academic ranks are averaged). The tenure rate for women in philosophy is the second lowest of the humanities, and the average number of years required for a woman to be tenured in philosophy is the second highest of the humanities.
- Philosophy is below average for the humanities in its proportion of black Ph.D.s, but second highest in its proportion of Asians and native Americans.
- Philosophers are typically younger than all other humanists. Philosophy shows the most young Ph.D.s, the fewest old Ph.D.s, and the lowest median age.
- At some levels of experience philosophers are the best paid humanists, but at other levels they rank near the bottom. The average philosopher is at the median of the humanities in salary.
- The rate of unemployment in philosophy (among persons with Ph.D.s seeking work) is the highest of the humanities, according to the 1977 data, but only third highest according to the 1979 data. Philosophy leads the humanities in Ph.D.s unemployed but not seeking work. The unemployment rate for women in philosophy is nearly 1.5 times that for men; however, seven of the other eight fields of the humanities show even larger disparities.
- Under-employment, at least in the form of part-time work among those seeking full-time work, is second worst in philosophy. Men in philosophy work part-time more than any other male humanists, while women in philosophy work part-time much more often than men but near the average for women humanists.
- Philosophers who leave philosophy tend to leave the humanities as well. Philosophy is at the median of the humanities in the proportion of Ph.D.s working in their Ph.D. field. But philosophy is below the humanities average in the proportion of Ph.D.s working in academe. Recently, philosophers who left academe went (in decreasing order of frequency) to business and industry, non-profit organizations, and government.
Department of Philosophy,
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374, U.S.A.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 1982, Peter Suber.