“One thing that you see with successful grad programs is that they’re agenda-setting,” says [Jason] Stanley. “Clusters of papers will come out of a group of grad programs—that has happened at MIT several times.”
For example, MIT Professor Robert Stalnaker, Delia Graff Fara PhD ’97 (a professor at Princeton), Robert J. Stainton ’93 (Distinguished University Professor at Western Ontario), Zoltán Gendler Szabó PhD ’95, and Stanley have all produced influential work on the topic of context-dependence, responding and building on one another’s views. More recently, a number of MIT alumni have contributed influential, mutually supportive work on modality.
“A lot of us [MIT grad students] wrote about each other’s work because we grew up criticizing each other’s works. In our generation there were certain topics that were discussed a lot, that we all talked about incessantly with each other, that resulted in a host of papers,” Stanley says.