We welcome you to the first issue of Current Philosophy. May it be the beginning of a long association. It is customary for the editors of new periodicals to justify their existence -- the ambiguous 'their' referring to both the periodicals and, at times, the editors. In our case, perhaps, the editorial role requires more explanation than does the journal itself. For the goals of Current Philosophy are straightforward enough. We aim to provide a single source that summarizes the offerings of hundreds of philosophy journals published worldwide. We offer this service because few scholars even have access to all these journals, let alone time to read each of them. Our aim is to be a guide to the literature, calling your attention to essays in your specialty which you might otherwise have missed, and alerting you to interesting developments in other areas of philosophy. We do not pretend -- or desire -- to replace the journals you already read: but you can rely on us to help direct your attention to points of interest in sources you usually don't see (and, through our copy service, to provide you with some of the original articles if you can't find them locally). Our editorial policies are intended to let us do this through an optimal use of our space and your time. This means exercising some selectivity in presenting articles to your attention. And it means highlighting the best of the current literature while playing down the less exciting. Of course, the editorial judgments involved here raise the risk that some of our readers will not approve our choices. And it creates what we consider to be grave responsibilities on our part both to establish reasonable standards for reviewing articles and to apply those standards equally. We confess to having somewhat different criteria than most journals. The reason is that our fundamental question is not: What deserves to be published? We ask, rather: What deserves to be brought to the attention of philosophers generally? At present we evaluate articles on an eight-point scale, the first four of which pertain to what the author is trying to accomplish, with the latter four considering the execution of his task:
- Scope. Has the author tackled a subject of sufficiently broad import to be of general concern?
- Current interest. Is the work a contribution to the contemporary dialogue in philosophy, or only a side issue or a throwback to past, settled controversies?
- Applicability. Are the ideas under discussion of any real use to philosophers and even (preferably) to wider society?
- Innovation. Is the idea a new one, an insight, an inspiration?
- Reasoning. Is there any? Is it incisive, original, powerful, and creative?
- Opposing views. Have actual or potential objections been taken into account and dealt with plausibly?
- Evidence / Examples / Scholarship. Have these been used appropriately, in sufficient amount to support the argument, but with discrimination as well?
- Writing quality. Does the author make his case in a clear. even elegant manner, without abuse of philosophical jargon or (horrors!) gratuitous neologisms? Could a college freshman both understand and enjoy the article?
These criteria admittedly introduce biases into our work. That, after all. is precisely the point. You will find that you can, by using our index, find items of highly specialized interest. But it is not our policy to draw everyone's attention to such articles by giving them lengthy or prominent treatment. It is unlikely that our selection will be the perfect one for you, but we do hope that it will be good enough to be of real benefit to you. I should also add that, as we prepare to go to press, it is already evident that at least a few things are not coming out exactly as we originally intended. For example, not as many articles as we had expected qualified for our Summa section; there are some problems in typography and indexing as well. And we do hope to pack more material into future issues. Still, this first issue is indicative of what you can expect in the future. We encourage your comments: we want to make Current Philosophy as good for you as we can. We do welcome you to Current Philosophy, and we hope to serve you well for many years to come.
Charles S. Yanikoski