A few days ago, I used the lack of historical figures in its top-20-pernicious list to propose that Leiter’s poll about pernicious philosophers said a lot about the politics of academic philosophy, and not so much about anything else. “Pernicious,” in other words, is a political designation. In the comments, Jon Cogburn wonders:
“You had me up until the historical construct bit. Aren't we in danger of presupposing that something can't both be a political act of boundary policing *and* a statement with a truth value? I mean I think that it's objectively false that Heidegger is a pernicious philosopher. I also think that calling one's colleagues charlatans in public forums is objectively pernicious. Maybe I [am] trying to police a boundary here, but aren't some boundaries objectively worth policing?”
This is a fair question; let me try to pursue and answer in three slightly different ways.