Philosophy, bullshit, and peer review

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Peer review is supposed to ensure that published work, in philosophy and in other disciplines, meets high standards of rigor and interest. But many people fear that it no longer is fit to play this role. This Element examines some of their concerns. It uses evidence that critics of peer review sometimes cite to show its failures, as well as empirical literature on the reception of bullshit, to advance positive claims about how the assessment of scholarly work is appropriately influenced by features of the context in which it appears: for example, by readers' knowledge of authorship or of publication venue. Reader attitude makes an appropriate and sometimes decisive difference to perceptions of argument quality. This Element finishes by considering the difference that author attitudes to their own arguments can appropriately make to their reception. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Number of pages74
ISBN (Electronic)9781009256315
ISBN (Print)9781009462310, 9781009256308
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameElements in Epistemology
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN (Print)2514-3832
ISSN (Electronic)2398-0567

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • peer review
  • bullshit
  • academic hoaxes
  • prestige bias
  • trust


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