Current Philosophy

In 1986, I was teaching philosophy at Penn State University, Scranton Campus. The head librarian received a copy of a philosophy journal which he passed on to me; and, after reviewing it, I requested that the library subscribe to it. As it turned out, the library had a budget for only one journal. Without any hesitation, I requested that the library discontinue its subscription to its current journal, and subscribe to this new journal, Current Philosophy, instead. After some time, I received a notice from the librarian that Current Philosophy was not accepting subscriptions because it had terminated.

I was taken aback by this turn of events, and greatly disappointed. Why? Let me answer this with a quotation from a lecture, "Scientific Realism and Perception," delivered by Wilfrid Sellars at Notre Dame University on September 23, 1977:
"I had a sabbatical year -- a research year -- and I did a fantastic amount of reading. You all know how much literature is pouring out of the presses in the form of journal articles and books, and unless you have a trustworthy group of colleagues who can help you winnow out what is worth reading and what can be neglected for a time -- unless you have such assistance, as I said, you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of the literature . . ."

Exactly! In a recent statistical study I found the following escalation of the number of articles in philosophy being published. For example, in 1965 there were 2,000 articles; whereas in 1994 the number escalated to 8,500! It is impossible for anyone to breach this Everest of literature. One needs, as Sellars put it, a trustworthy group to guide us through this literature. As I saw it, Current Philosophy was established exactly for this purpose. That is why I was delighted to see such a publication, and why I was ready to drop any other journal for the sake of it.

Why the journal failed after one issue, I have no idea. If someone does (or knows the whereabouts of Charles S. Yanikoski, the editor), let me know, and I will pass on the information here. [May 28, 1998 -- Charles Yanikoski unravels the mystery!]

Well, I have fondly kept that one issue of Current Philosophy over the years, and am placing it here on the Internet as a valuable research tool for the philosophical literature of 1985-86, but also as an example of a project worth pursuing.

Andrew Chrucky
May 6, 1998