This is, obviously, an extraordinary development. However, and I realize I'm not the first to make this observation, this is not what people are asking for. Some further observations:
- It would be nice if whoever edits PGR was in the habit of responding more graciously to criticism.
- As Brian Weatherson points out, it would be nice if whoever edits the PGR weren't openly hostile to the existence of other ways of ranking philosophy departments.
- As Jon Cogburn reminds us, Leiter himself is not above publicly posting private emails.
- I agree with the point, as far as it goes, that Leiter engages somewhat routinely in behavior that is abusive and nasty, and that the harmfulness of this behavior is enhanced by his position as editor of the PGR.
- However, I think it enhanced even more by his position as owner, moderator, and principal author of Leiter Reports, which, it is often noted, is by far the most widely read philosophy blog on the internet, and which I'm pretty sure makes it the most widely read philosophy publication of any kind. I don't think removing him as editor of the PGR would have much of an impact on that, or to mitigate the harmfulness of his abuse.
- I also agree that the issue is not so much "civility" as it is that his behavior is harmful to the people he targets.
- I also, also agree that he's basically been like this forever. However, it seems to me that a) it's been an especially bad year for him, invective-wise, and b) it's totally okay to reach a point where enough is enough even in the absence of any important qualitative changes.
- I've read arguments to the effect that the fact that Leiter is the owner of the PGR might have some impact on the prospects for removing him as editor. I don't know if that's a good argument. I don't know who owns the Report. I know Blackwell publishes it, and that they pay him (not much, I understand) in exchange for his services as editor. But I don't think it matters that much in any case. He's the founding editor of the PGR, and he may be its owner, but he's not its king. There's an advisory board, and this board votes on matters of substance, and the results of these votes set policy. This really ought to include determining who will be responsible for carrying out the duties of editor. If the Report is to have any legitimacy whatsoever, its editor must be answerable to its advisory board.
- Similarly, it also seems to me that although the PGR is not an official ranking, if it is to have a modicum of legitimacy, the Report and its leadership must be answerable to the profession at large.
- And so, it seems to me that the most powerful argument against Leiter's continuing as editor (or co-editor) of the PGR is that he seems to have lost the confidence of the advisory board. I suppose I'd like to see the letter before I register agreement or whatever. But if a substantial portion of the profession finds Leiter's abusive behavior unacceptable to the point where they are unwilling to work with him on the PGR (and the September Statement seems to indicate that this is the case), then the advisory board would be duty-bound to replace him as editor--either for the good of the Report, or because they themselves aren't willing to work with him anymore, either.
*edited to correct false/mistaken attribution of the September Statement to Stanley, et al. My apologies.