A recent discussion on public intellectuals in philosophy of science on our blog made me think of this week's most underrated philosopher: John Corvino (Wayne State). In many ways, John reminds me of one of my undergraduate teachers, Hugo Bedau, who despite considerable philosophic breadth became closely identified with his criticisms of the death penalty (and along the way a great moral exemplar to generations of philosophers). Besides being a well known public speaker, a "heavy" on the campus debating circuity, and a regular columnist, John is also the author of one of the most heavily anthologized piece in recent ethics, “Why Shouldn’t Tommy and Jim Have Sex: A Defense of Homosexuality." (It is probably taught quite a bit, too, in undergradaute courses.) Along the way, John has become a serious gender theorist in his own right. One of my favorite pieces by him is his defense of naughty fantasies (sadly I could not find a nice link to it online).
All of this would be more than enough to qualify for most underrated. (Someone might object that while Corvino fits the formal criteria for most underrated, his fame rules him out--but precisely among professional philosophers fame is often a compelling reason to disqualify somebody; who would deny that as a group we're prone to reverse elitism?) It would be easy to forget that John is also a quite accomplished (and funny) Hume scholar.