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Helen De Cruz
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Recently, I was talking to a postdoc, a philosopher who had been looking for a permanent position for a while. He is well recognized in his field, has several papers and a well-received book, and as is the custom in Europe, has also received several prestigious grants. Yet, the job... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
By Helen De Cruz Over the past couple of years, I have been an informal mentor to several people, many of whom are women. They include graduate students, postdocs, and also peers (see here for more thoughts on mentorship, including peer mentorship). I have been incredibly lucky to have had... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
I did not put this in the main post, but here are some unsystematic observations: 1. Publishing is neither necessary nor sufficient to get a job as an ABD or newly minted PhD, but it seems to help you 2. Perceived quality of venue is the determining factor, especially in the US - less so in grant-centered cultures like Belgium and the Netherlands. One paper in Phil Review or J Phil is worth more, to a search committee, than say, 2 or 3 papers in less prestigious journals. 3. I know people who have papers in top-5 journals and who did not get a job offer in spite of applying widely. That being said, it seems (and I've heard this from many people, that having something in Phil Review is a guarantee to a job. 4. Unfortunately, the acceptance rate in Phil Review is tiny and there are long referee times, which makes placing one's bets there a very risky strategy. 5. Graduates from unranked or lower-ranked schools have a higher need for publishing than people from top schools who just come out of grad school 6. If you have a PhD in hand it's getting increasingly the norm to have at least one paper on your CV. 7. Contrary to what I sometimes hear, I've seen plenty of people land TTs with papers in mid-tier general journals or in specialist journals. Schools are looking for people who are tenurable, and such papers do signal that one has what it takes to get a publication record together.
In recent conversations with advanced graduate students (especially ABDs), I have learned that prestigious schools used to advise their students not to submit any papers for publication in grad school, calling this premature publishing, something that would not reflect well on the CV. However, recently, they've changed that advice and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
By Helen De Cruz I thank Jon Cogburn and BP Morton for their discussions on race and identity, specifically on the question of whether race can ever be a positive sense of identity for white people, or if any attempts at such identity construction are inherently racist. As a European... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
There are lots of altac resources, for instance this one by former philosophy professor Zachary Ernst
I work in assessment design and content development for ACT, Inc., an educational and workforce assessment company. ACT is primarily known for its college readiness assessment (i.e., the ACT), which is the largest college readiness assessment in the United States. My work primarily concerns the assessment of critical thinking, graduate... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
By Helen De Cruz [I am grateful to Wesley Buckwalter for discussion on these issues] My daughter's been learning to play the guitar for about 4 years now (classical and chords, notes and tabs), and she has now reached a level where she is using intermediate techniques such as harmonics... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
By Helen De Cruz A couple of days ago, I taught my very first philosophy for children in my daughter's school. It is a bilingual (Dutch-English) international school in Amsterdam, and it has a very international group of students. The children were in upper primary, aged 9 to 11. I'll... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
(This is the sixth installment of our series of philosophers who have been on the job market for a long time - submissions - anonymous or named, are still welcome - send your story to helenldecruz @ Since 2012, I have been an associate professor at the University of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
(This is the fifth installment of our series of philosophers who have been on the job market for a long time - submissions - anonymous or named, are still welcome). I am currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy (tenure-track) in the Department of Philosophy & Political Science at Quinnipiac University. I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
This fourth post on philosophers who were/are on the job market for a long time has an anonymous contribution. For more background on the aims of this series, and how to tell your story, see here. My first job rejection was on Christmas Eve 2009. I spent the whole night... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
This third post on philosophers who were on the job market for a long time has an anonymous contribution. For more background on the aims of this series, and how to tell your story, see here. I got my Ph.D in 2003, from a decent place, with a new wife... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
In this second post on philosophers who were on the job market for a long time, Mark Silcox (professor of philosophy at the University of Central Oklahoma) tells his job market story. For more background on the aims of this series, and how to tell your story, see here. I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
At the Cocoon, we are introducing a new series: personal accounts of philosophers who have been on the job market for a long time. We don't have a firm timeline for what "long" means, but a rough timeline is 3 or more years post-PhD. The idea is to collect testimonials... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
By Helen De Cruz In this installment of the Boot Camp, I'll discuss how to get support from a mentor, what a mentoring relationship involves, and how one can turn to peers for support. Many readers will already be familiar with formal mentoring programs, such as the Job Candidate Mentoring... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
By Helen De Cruz When I first arrived in Somerville College, Oxford, in September 2011, I found myself incredulously staring at the women's portraits, gazing calmly and confidently at me in the dining hall and throughout the college buildings. I was so used to all male portraits and busts in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
By Helen De Cruz Viewers of the HBO show Game of Thrones may remember with horror how Stannis Baratheon sacrificed his only daughter Shireen to ask the God of Light for success in battle (pictured). Seeing how the girl pleaded in vain to her parents to spare her was heartbreaking.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
This is a series of recommendations by Meghan Sullivan (Notre Dame) on how to write better letters of recommendation for job applicants and applicants for graduate study. I find them all excellent, and am inviting readers to give their own tips and tricks. Note: The norms are obviously somewhat different... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
And The first link is an interview with Michael Rea, about, among other things, the relationship between liturgy and divine hiddenness The second link is an interview with Samuel Lebens, about what it is like to be a philosopher and an Orthodox Rabbi.
Fun fact: the term cliffhanger comes from A pair of blue eyes, a serial novel by Thomas Hardy which appeared in several installments in a literary magazine. The purpose, as for season finales, is to entice the reader to buy the next novel. In that cliffhanger, the protagonist looks into the eyes of a fossil (Hardy was interested in Darwinism). Here is the passage: Haggard cliffs, of every ugly altitude, are as common as sea-fowl along the line of coast between Exmoor and Land’s End; but this outflanked and encompassed specimen was the ugliest of them all. Their summits are not safe places for scientific experiment on the principles of air-currents, as Knight had now found, to his dismay. He still clutched the face of the escarpment — not with the frenzied hold of despair, but with a dogged determination to make the most of his every jot of endurance, and so give the longest possible scope to Elfride’s intentions, whatever they might be. He reclined hand in hand with the world in its infancy. Not a blade, not an insect, which spoke of the present, was between him and the past. The inveterate antagonism of these black precipices to all strugglers for life is in no way more forcibly suggested than by the paucity of tufts of grass, lichens, or confervae on their outermost ledges. Knight pondered on the meaning of Elfride’s hasty disappearance, but could not avoid an instinctive conclusion that there existed but a doubtful hope for him. As far as he could judge, his sole chance of deliverance lay in the possibility of a rope or pole being brought; and this possibility was remote indeed. The soil upon these high downs was left so untended that they were unenclosed for miles, except by a casual bank or dry wall, and were rarely visited but for the purpose of collecting or counting the flock which found a scanty means of subsistence thereon. At first, when death appeared improbable, because it had never visited him before, Knight could think of no future, nor of anything connected with his past. He could only look sternly at Nature’s treacherous attempt to put an end to him, and strive to thwart her. From the fact that the cliff formed the inner face of the segment of a huge cylinder, having the sky for a top and the sea for a bottom, which enclosed the cove to the extent of more than a semicircle, he could see the vertical face curving round on each side of him. He looked far down the facade, and realized more thoroughly how it threatened him. Grimness was in every feature, and to its very bowels the inimical shape was desolation. By one of those familiar conjunctions of things wherewith the inanimate world baits the mind of man when he pauses in moments of suspense, opposite Knight’s eyes was an imbedded fossil, standing forth in low relief from the rock. It was a creature with eyes. The eyes, dead and turned to stone, were even now regarding him. It was one of the early crustaceans called Trilobites. Separated by millions of years in their lives, Knight and this underling seemed to have met in their death. It was the single instance within reach of his vision of anything that had ever been alive and had had a body to save, as he himself had now. The creature represented but a low type of animal existence, for never in their vernal years had the plains indicated by those numberless slaty layers been traversed by an intelligence worthy of the name. Zoophytes, mollusca, shell-fish, were the highest developments of those ancient dates. The immense lapses of time each formation represented had known nothing of the dignity of man. They were grand times, but they were mean times too, and mean were their relics. He was to be with the small in his death. Knight was a geologist; and such is the supremacy of habit over occasion, as a pioneer of the thoughts of men, that at this dreadful juncture his mind found time to take in, by a momentary sweep, the varied scenes that had had their day between this creature’s epoch and his own. There is no place like a cleft landscape for bringing home such imaginings as these.
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2015 on I Hate Cliffhangers at Philosophical Percolations
By Helen De Cruz Ancient DNA (aDNA), extracted from deceased organisms, has recently let to exciting discoveries. In the field of paleoanthropology, there was a long-standing debate on whether or not anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals interbred. Thanks to aDNA, we know there is some introgression of Neanderthal DNA in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
On the philosophy smoker, Mr Zero asks why he keeps on going on the job market, year after year. He loves the job, and he likes the position he has, which are solid reasons to stay in his NTT position, but he also says "I don't really know how to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
By Helen De Cruz [Note: this is not a hugely philosophical post, just one where I muse about some of the cool features of countries I've lived in] I live in the Netherlands - it's the third country I live in. Living in different countries gives you a perspective on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations