Apparently there’s this silly little document going around the APA-Central, which predicts in 2042 there will only be 15 to 20 PhD-granting institutions, with the upshot that all departments in the US will be made up of three or four people, teaching “one each in history of philosophy, value theory and core analytic (critical thinking and philosophy of science and technology).” Mohan Matthen calls this “grim predictions,” though I wonder if this isn’t the wish of a certain part of the discipline–that the rash cuts to the humanities will rid philosophy of all those extra PhD programs they don’t respect, end the teaching of supposed “non-philosophy” in philosophy departments (feminism, CRT, “Continental” philosophy, etc., let alone philosophies not originating in the West), and return us to the “basics.” This is a hope, not a pessimism, based on a dated dream of what philosophy was once upon a time in the early 20th century, as found in the earliest APA programs, when there were few PhD programs and one could land jobs smoking cigars around a table at the smoker.

The real pessimist would know that we’ll be at best service departments teaching our students not to steal our corporate overlord’s pens–i.e., applied ethics (business ethics, computer ethics, engineering ethics, nursing ethics, and so on and so on).