Guidelines For Overrating Philosophers

by Asher Kay

From the American Philosophical Association’s Philosophical Bookmaking Manual, 4th Ed., 1994 — University of Chicago Press.

1. When overrating a philosopher, attention should be paid to the distinction between “rating” and “ranking”. Any passage that operates as a comparison, either explicitly (e.g., “Spinoza had prettier lips than Hegel”) or implicitly (e.g. “Spinoza had implicitly prettier lips than Hegel”), will be counted as a “ranking”, and will therefore not be included in the APA’s yearly statistical totals. Note that supplying the numerical ratings of two or more philosophers in the same passage (e.g. “Spinoza’s oscular score of 94.3 puts Hegel’s mere 73.5 to shame”) does not constitute a ranking.

2. As amended in section 40, part 7 (by a plurality vote at the APA’s Making Philosophical Ratings Less Accessible conference in 1990), each separate overrating of a philosopher within a book or article will be counted as a distinct overrating for statistical purposes, unless judged either “gratuitous” (e.g., “By the turn of the twentieth century, Hegel had attained an ocular rating of ninety-eight. Ninety-eight, people!”) or “too verbatim” (e.g. “Spinoza’s lips easily rate 9 out of ten. And did I mention that Spinoza’s lips easily rate 9 out of ten?”) by the APA ratings panel. The “gratuitous” exception applies to citations of other works, but the “too verbatim” exception, for obvious reasons, does not.

3. To avoid mistabulation, it is advisable to mention which of the six official APA rating categories are operative in your overrating of a philosopher. The six categories are: “Smartness”, “Coolness”, “Awesomeness”, “Originality”, “Overratedness” and “Prettiness of Lips”.

4. When overrating the overratedness of a philosopher, it is acceptable to use the term, “metaoverratedness”, unless it is felt that this would not be confusing to the reader.

5. Endnotes count halfsies.

6. When using imprecise quantitative terms to overrate a philosopher, refer to the table in Appendix C of the Bookmaking Manual for the exact numerical values that will be tabulated. Some common imprecise terms and their corresponding numerical values are:

A) “Really”: 65.0
B) “Very”: 70.0
C) “Really very”: 75.0
D) “Mega-“: 80.0
E) “Mondo-“: 85.0
F) “Crazy-assed”: 90.0

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3 Comments to “Guidelines For Overrating Philosophers”

  1. I’m glad to see that the ratings go beyond lip service. But I have to dispute the APA’s essentialist distinction between ‘rating’ and ‘ranking’. In order to speak of an overage of rating there must be at least an implicit ratio, and therefore a comparison. I hope I make myself obscure.

  2. I didn’t quote that part, but the overage/underage is computed in one of two ways:

    1. For idealist philosophers – the difference between a specific rating and the statistical mean over all ratings
    2. For realist philosophers – the difference between a specific rating and the philosopher’s “actual” rating.

  3. I object! These ratings are not objective and only correlate with real objects. What is your object in promoting such objectionable rubbish?

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