The skinny on the brief 
A paper is either good or it is not. A good short paper is better than a good long one, because it gets right to the good stuff with hemming and hawing; if Gettier had buried his examples deep in some other discussion, the problem might not have been named after him. A bad short paper is better than a bad long one, because it wastes less of the readers' time. So short papers are better than longer ones. QED

This is specious, of course, because the length of a paper is not independent of its quality. Carefully and convincingly explaining something takes time. Nevertheless, it is part of my philosophical self-conception that I write short papers.

A couple of years ago, I put this to the test by tabulating word counts for my published papers. Today I updated the list. Again, I give it the illusion of technical precision by abbreviating article titles and writing word lengths in units of 1000 words. The ones marked with *s are co-authored and, as one would expect, are among the longest. Lines in italics are papers since the last time I did this.

8.2 Reid's defense... (2008)
8.0 On trusting... (2009)
7.8 Realist ennui...* (2005)
6.9 The Identical Rivals...* (forthcoming)
6.9 Is there an elephant...* (2007)
6.5 Reckoning the shape... (2005)
5.9 Distributed cognition... (2007)
5.5 Demonstrative induction... (2008)
5.1 Williamson on knowledge...* (2003)
4.6 Background theories... (2005)
4.4 Peirce... (2005)
4.2 The price of insisting... (2004)
3.9 Success, truth... (2003)
3.3 Un... Identical Rivals (2003)
2.9 Mag Uidhir... (2008)
2.7 Whats new... (2006)
2.6 Hormone research... (2005)
1.7 Reid's dilemma... (2004)
1.3 Early response... (2008)

Although some of my recent papers are among my longest, others are among my shortest. My self-conception survives with only a little bit of rationalization and denial.

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Yammering on about brevity 
In a recent discussion with Mark about paper lengths, I claimed that my papers tended to be pretty short. My general inclination: Brevity.

Curious as to whether this claim is actually true, I dropped all of my papers onto latexcount. Since the files are not precisely the published versions, I've rounded off the numbers. To give it an air of authority, figures are in 1000s of words expressed with two significant digits. For full titles, see my cv.

8.2 Reid's defense... (forthcoming)
7.8 Realist ennui...* (2005)
6.9 Is there an elephant...* (2007)
6.5 Reckoning the shape... (2005)
5.9 Distributed cognition... (2007)
5.1 Williamson on knowledge...* (2003)
4.6 Background theories... (2005)
4.4 Peirce... (2005)
4.2 The price of insisting... (2004)
3.9 Success, truth... (2003)
3.3 Un... Identical Rivals (2003)
2.7 Whats new... (2006)
2.6 Hormone research... (2005)
1.7 Reid's dilemma... (2004)

My most recent paper is my heretofore longest, but I'm not sure that's part of a trend. My coauthored papers (marked with asterisks) are three of my six longest.

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