Philosophy’s gender gap and argumentative arena: an empirical study

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While the empirical evidence pointing to a gender gap in professional, academic philosophy in the English-speaking world is widely accepted, explanations of this gap are less so. In this paper, we aim to make a modest contribution to the literature on the gender gap in academic philosophy by taking a quantitative, corpus-based empirical approach. Since some philosophers have suggested that it may be the argumentative, “logic-chopping,” and “paradox-mongering” nature of academic philosophy that explains the underrepresentation of women in the discipline, our research questions are the following: Do men and women philosophers make different types of arguments in their published works? If so, which ones and with what frequency? Using data mining and text analysis methods, we study a large corpus of philosophical texts mined from the JSTOR database in order to answer these questions empirically. Using indicator words to classify arguments by type (namely, deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments), we search through our corpus to find patterns of argumentation. Overall, the results of our empirical study suggest that women philosophers make deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments in their published works just as much as male philosophers do, with no statistically significant differences in the proportions of those arguments relative to each philosopher’s body of work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Argumentation
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Data science
  • Gender gap
  • Metaphilosophy
  • Philosophical methodology
  • Text mining
  • Women in philosophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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