Thanks to Crooked Timber for this invitation to serve as guest blogger — it’s exciting.

To get us started, I  respond to the recent discussion here at Crooked Timber in response to <a href=””>Harry’s post</a>   prompted by what I write about philosophers in <a href=””>How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment</a>.

1) What is a philosopher? Since weed was evoked in the thread, here is a sociological definition, which builds on Howard Becker’s famous 1963 paper “<a href=”″>On Becoming a Marijuana Smoker</a>”: Is recognized as a philosopher someone who labels himself and is labeled by others as such. No essentialism here. Only a social process of definition of identity, which is bounded by institutional constraints (e.g. whether one is paid to be a lecturer in philosophy), and by cultural/cognitive constraints as well (i.e. one has to have some knowledge of the disciplinary cannon). No need to be an innovator in the field, as the term generally encompasses consumers and diffusers.
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