Thursday, May 4, 2006

Political Theorists at the AAAS (Josh C.)

Jacob Levy has an interesting post on which political theorists are -- and aren't - members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He notes some patterns of inclusion and, um, non-inclusion that aren't wholly surprising -- almost no Straussians, and (though he doesn't mention this), a general trend away from 'post-modernist', communitarian and 'Continental' theorists; he also notes some surprising indiividual exclusions, the most egregious of which, in Jacob's view (with which I tend to concur) is Michael Walzer (Jacob doesn't list, but also doesn't note the absence, of either Michael Sandel or Charles Taylor, the latter of whom I'd say is as egregious an omission as Walzer. And, among foreign members, what about Habermas or Jerry Cohen? And, among philosophers whose work is relevant to political theorists, what of Nagel, Raz, Parfitt? [Or, as Don would be quick to add, Finnis]? Some of these folks may well be members, but have not been mentioned by Jacob as being philosophers rather than political theorists; the page with the list of AAAS members seems currently to be down, so I can't check).
I don't know how much can or should be concluded from this -- aside from the (fairly obvious) lesson that inclusion/non-inclusion among the august ranks of the AAAS is not a sufficient criterion for judging distinction (I don't mean that as a snark at the AAAS or its members).
UPDATE: I've now looked at the list; Nagel, Sandel, Taylor, Raz, Parfitt, and Habermas are all on it, though it appears that Finnis isn't (sorry, Don).

1 comment:

Don said...

Parfit and Raz and Nagel are members, but not in politics, I don't think. Sandel and Taylor are members, too. Not sure which divisions; but you can download a PDF of the full (alphabetical) list on the site, now. Division headings are somewhere on the site, but not on the PDF.