About The Philosopher

 
About The Philosopher

The Philosopher, founded in 1923, is the oldest 'general philosophy' journal in the world.

Its history was for many years entwined with that of the Philosophical Society of England, founded ten years earlier. The Society was intended 'to promote the study of practical philosophy among the general public', to bring together professional philosophers and non-professionals, to bring philosophical ideas and problems to the public attention, and to encourage wider discussion of both traditional and topical philosophical issues. It was to carry out this function, that the Society founded its own journal, set up local groups for lectures and discussions and held regular conferences, often free of charge. Over the years, the needs of the Society changed, as membership declined and the general public shifted to infromal, web-based groups. In 2011, the Society formally separated the functions of the printed Journal, which became a members' newsletter, and the web edition, which had long been the key publication in terms of both submissions and readers, and made it fully autonomous.

Speaking more precisely about precedence, the journal, Mind (founded 1876), is even older but not only was it launched (as the title suggests) as a psychology journal, but it has never attempted to speak to or for the general reader. As both an 'an announcer for' and a 'judge of new work' in what we would now call psychology, Mind has never had any sense of its limitations, claiming its scope was unlimited, and assuring its readers, in language that the founders of The Philosopher would borrow, that 'Mind will not be the organ of any philosophical school.'

Philosophy (founded 1925) is a closer match, on paper, but slightly younger, and more importantly, is very much the standard-bearer for academic definitions and approaches. All three journals are English, but in this particular publishing area, England was a pioneer of sorts.

Today, The Philosopher is unrivalled in its efforts to provide a forum for short, original, brilliant and accessible articles (and, it is true, space for a few rather less good ones!).

The Philosopher believes in principle anything can be made clear to the interested reader, and that, in the words of the Society's archivist, whilst the expression of obscurity is pardonable, the reverse is not. Articles are consdered without discrimination as to subject matter or author. The only criterion is that it must be philosophical in method. The ever present threat of intellectual strangulation by the encroaching jungle of academic style - extensive footnotes and jargon-strewn indigestible prose - is vigorously hacked away at by the editorial team of:

Martin Cohen (Journal Editor)
Zenon Stavrinides (Deputy Editor and Reviews)
Pierre-Alain Gouanvic (Philosophical Investigations Editor)
Thomas Scarborough (Deputy Editor and specialist in Linguistics and Theology)
Ahmed El-Deeb (Philosophical Quotes Editor)


The Philosopher can be contacted quickly and directly through our wiki site, Contributions are welcome from professional and amateur philosophers of all kinds. Authors are encouraged to study the Journal for style and literary conventions. The Philosopher insists on a high standard of readability and transparency, more in line with classical discussions than with the quite different aims and rationales of journals catering for the academic market.

Articles should not exceed 3000 words, and are preferred considerably shorter. We try to make a preliminary assessment of publication potential within three months of receipt, although articles may then require further consultation with referees at the Editor's discretion. In a typical year we receive many enquiries, and being a not-for-profit organisation, we struggle to keep up sometimes! Apologies to anyone whose query for whatever reason goes unanswered.

Footnotes and References


Please keep notes to an absolute minimum, and preferably have none at all. If you do wish to include notes, please gather them into a Notes section at the end of the article. Further unreferenced works which might be helpful to the reader, should be indicated in the main text.

Reviews

The Reviews Editor encourages new reviewers for the Journal. Review articles can be up to 1500 words long, but short reviews of less than 700 words are preferred.

Psst! You can keep up with developments at both the Phiosopher and Philosophical Investigations via  the Editor's Twitter feed: @docmartincohen

Rival versions of The Philosopher


For many years, The Philosopher was the official journal of The Philosophical Society of England (PSE), a charitable organization founded ten years earlier in 1913. The Society claimed to 'to promote the study of practical philosophy among the general public', to bring together professional philosophers and non-professionals, to bring philosophical ideas and problems to the public attention, and to encourage wider discussion of both traditional and topical philosophical issues.  Following the centenary of the Philosophical Society of England, internal arguments led in 2014 to the resignation of its Chair and the end of the PSE as a national organisation, governed by a rulebook. The establishment as of 2018, of a rival Newcastle-based journal, also called The Philosopher edited by Newcastle upon Tyne-based philosopher Anthony Morgan, published quarterly by Bigg Books a small publisher also created and owned by Anthony Morgan was done without any formal agreement with us and Martin Cohen continues to edit The Philosopher as the online publication we find here, as he has done 1995. The Philosophical Society of England has not met since 2015 since its collapse.