Something emphasized early on one’s way to becoming a philosopher is how important it is to publish in high-prestige academic journals: it signals professional legitimacy, intellectual prestige, and in some cases is a de facto prerequisite for employment. Yet, publishing in such high-prestige academic journals can be cutthroat and leave one feeling eviscerated or discouraged. Luckily, academic journals are not the only way to share philosophical ideas publicly. Philosophy is so much more. So, what are the sites and formats for up-and-coming voices to publish outside of academic journals? Blog posts! – That is an increasingly often-heard reply. Here is what they are, why to write them, and where to publish them.
What: Blog posts are pieces roughly 800-2,000 words in length (it can vary depending on the website one writes for) that approach or engage philosophical topics in such a way as to increase intellectual accessibility and/or provide commentary on contemporary cultural or political phenomena; it could range from using a piece of news to further a point in an ongoing philosophical debate (or vice versa) to a humorous listicle.
Why: A benefit to writing in such a medium is the diminished prevalence of certain forms of gatekeeping, for both readers and writers. I understand “gatekeeping” simply as systemic barriers to entry. Increased stylistic and thematic freedom is one way in which writing for a philosophy blog establishes fewer (or different) gatekeeping strategies; another being less rigid standards for complexity or exhaustiveness.
Philosophy blogs also tend to have a significantly wider reach than academic journals because their content does not require institutionally granted access (another form of gatekeeping, just on the audience side). Only a small part of “philosophy,” if it can be described so monolithically, happens in the ivory tower, and it is important for philosophers to write in such a way that recognizes that. Not only will it be intellectually rewarding and stimulating, writing for a different audience and exploring one’s voice and style, it will also be a boon to one’s philosophical pursuits later on as a flexible writer inevitably seeking publication on an array of platforms.
Where: Below is a list of well-regarded philosophy blog platforms. Make sure to read the respective submission guidelines carefully, as they can differ from platform to platform.
Daily Nous: http://dailynous.com/about/
Publishes content, interviews, and news relating to the world of public and professional philosophy. Also has a lively comments section. Submission is currently per email to the editor.
Pea Soup: https://peasoup.typepad.com/peasoup/about-pea-soup.html
Covers mostly ethics and moral philosophy in an open-access forum for thinkers across space, discipline, age, and profession. Tries to cultivate a spirit of conversation both for official contributors as well as those who contribute to the forum in other ways, such as comments and responses. Only invited “contributors” are allowed to make blog posts.
The Stone: https://www.nytimes.com/column/the-stone
The Stone is an op-ed series in the New York Times moderated by philosophy professor Simon Critchley (New School for Social Research). It is a themed series that has been running for nearly a decade, dealing with contemporary issues in public philosophy.
Blog of the American Philosophical Association: https://blog.apaonline.org/
Official blog of the APA. APA members can submit proposals or pieces for review by the editorial team, but can also be commissioned.
LSE Impact of Social Sciences: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/about-the-lse-impact-blog/
The LSE Impact blog is a site for researchers and thinkers of all kinds whose work involves or converses in the social sciences, broadly construed. The aim is to maximize the social impact of research and scholarship.
Aeon, a world of ideas : https://aeon.co/
Free and open access blog with frequent posting and a wide array of covered philosophical/literary/cultural topics. Often adopting a “public philosophy” approach in using academic philosophy or philosophers to address issues outside of the academy, or to translate some important work in the academy for use outside of it.
Ordinary Philosophy: https://ordinaryphilosophy.com/
Geared towards both career and civic philosophers, with an emphasis on the history of ideas and how philosophy as a practice related to our modern condition. While most of the blog is written by a single writer, they also accept and publish submissions from others.
Philosophy Now, a magazine of ideas : https://philosophynow.org/
Publishes philosophical writings, broadly construed, for both public and academic philosophers and the intellectually minded. It is both an online and print medium. The magazine looks for clear, non-technical writing on philosophical topics for the “educated general public.”