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Helen De Cruz
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Thomas Reid argued that the human default trust in testimony is a gift of nature, which is sustained by two principles that "tally with each other", the propensity to speak the truth, and the tendency to trust what others tell us. Interestingly, he observed an embodied aspect of this trust:... Continue reading
In order to examine and address issues of participation faced by minority and underrepresented groups in academic philosophy (e.g. gender, race, native-language, sexual orientation, class, and disability minorities), a number of UK departments have recently started to build a UK network of chapters of MAP ( ). With 24... Continue reading
It would certainly be an interesting exercise. The presses I have experience with as author, editor or reviewer typically have 2 or 3 referees so it would be feasible. Nonetheless, while this might be helpful for how much the book would sell I think overall anonymous review would be more effective in increasing the overall quality of published materials.
I refereed for several presses, and have encountered the 'Will it sell?" question. As academics without knowledge of marketing etc, I think we aren't in a position to make a good assessment of this. So I'd propose a division of labour here - the acquisitions editor can make an informed judgment about this taking everything in account. When anonymizing, we can still answer, as referees the following questions: What are the competing books (a question I was also asked)? Do you think the topic of this book is of interest, and who might the potential readers be? All questions that can be answered without knowing the author.
To my knowledge, full book manuscripts are never reviewed anonymously. Given that the double anonymity of peer review is implemented to decrease biases, and presumably, thereby increase the focus on the quality of the writing, this is puzzling. David Chalmers wrote, in a very helpful comment on how to publish... Continue reading
Thanks for this, Kirk - The Daily Nous has started a thread on how advisors etc can help grad students become aware of their transferable skills, so that they might consider a career outside of academia.
This is part 3 of a 3-part series of interviews with philosophers who left academia right after grad school or in some cases later. See part 1 to see what jobs they held, and part 2 on how they evaluate their jobs. This part will focus on the transferrable skills... Continue reading
thanks for the information - fwiw, the person I mentioned earlier (in a nonacademic job, female, from STEM field), is vastly happier in her new job, even though it's not a permanent position. The pay is better, and the atmosphere is a great deal friendlier (no sexist remarks such as "She just got into the phD program because she's a woman", something she often had to hear as a grad student.
Anna: that is a very good point which did arise in my mind as well. In fact, I don't know if it's representative, but most prominent female post academics I know are freelance or self-employed (Rebecca Schuman and Karen Kelsky are two examples that spring to mind). Moreover, it may just be the base rate of women in philosophy, but I had to do some extra effort to find women who satisfied my criteria (1) having completed a PhD in philosophy, (2) being currently employed outside of academia. Fortunately, I got some help from people in my network who brought me in contact with Claartje and Emilie. I am not sure whether any general conclusions can be drawn, but I fear indeed that there may be gendered stereotypes making it harder for women to make the jump. I'll give an example: a very talented woman I know (I will not say who it is) completed her PhD in a STEM field. It was not programming, but she is a gifted programmer who can very quickly pick up new programming languages. She decided during her grad work that academia was not for her (her field is quite woman-unfriendly, although the dynamics are different from philosophy). So she tried the private sector, including a recruiter e-mail from Google, but in each occasion, it was decided she didn't know the programming language in question. I believe Zac when he says that employers don't care much about that in his case, but perhaps, gender assumptions being what they are, they more easily imagine a man as a resourceful person who can learn a new programming language on the fly, but less so a woman. Anyway, she ended up (for the moment) in a public sector job that does require some research and programming, but alas, she is - as in academia - on precarious short contracts that only give her a horizon of 18 months at most. It would be great to see more systematically the challenges men and women face who leave academia, but I would not be surprised if these are different.
I don't know how this pans out for other people, but I take at most 1-2 weeks off in summer. The rest is spent on research and service (refereeing, teaching), and teaching preps. As several of my interviewees mentioned, the pressure to excel in academia is such that one is driven to work very hard.
This is part 2 of a 3-part series of interviews I conducted with seven philosophers who went on to a non-academic career after obtaining their PhDs. For more background on these philosophers, the work they currently do, and the reasons they left academia, see part 1: How and Why do... Continue reading
At this point, I'd like to make a general comment in response to some e-mails I have received about the representativeness etc. of the people interviewed. This blogpost was inspired by several friends who are contemplating a move outside of academia. While there is an emerging Internet literature on postacademic careers, I thought it would be useful to hear specifically from philosophy PhDs, and to hear in-depth about the paths they took to get there. To that end, I contacted some people I knew who were former academics, and got some referrals from people who knew philosophers working outside of academia. I then very quickly ended up with 7 people I could interview, which, given the format of a blogpost, is already quite a large sample. So if the philosophers interviewed here do not provide the full spectrum of postacademic careers for philosophers, or a full geographic range (now I have people from the US, the UK and The Netherlands), this is because of the modest scope and aims of this project, which is not intended to be a full-blown sociological study. I think it would be interesting to do a large sociological study on PhDs who work outside of academia, which of course, would involve proper sampling techniques and so on (given that I think grad schools don't keep a detailed record of non-academic placement, some amount of referral sampling would be inevitable, I think).
It would have been wonderful to hear your perspective as well (you are very welcome to do so in the comments if you like)! I've often wondered what I would do in this case (i.e., working outside of academia). On the one hand, I love reading philosophy and doing philosophy and it would be hard to let go of that entirely. On the other hand, some of the service work you describe is not always fun (reviewing papers etc, I'm wondering if I'd feel obligated - as I do now - to referee papers if I weren't an academic).
Thanks, everyone. I'm glad it's helpful. Roberta: I was thinking how valuable it is to have philosophy PhDs flourishing outside of academia. Even if they could have had a good career in academia, it is valuable that members of our profession are making an impact elsewhere. I always suspected that The Big Bang Theory must have had a philosopher in their script writers, given that I often use TBBT footage as illustrations for my classes (esp my philosophy of science classes). So I was happy to see that confirmed!
This is the first of a three-part series featuring in-depth interviews with philosophers who have left academia. This part (part 1) focuses on their philosophical background, the jobs they have now, and why they left academia. Part 2 examines the realities of having a non-academic job and how it compares... Continue reading
Dennis and Sara - those are excellent points - thanks. It certainly applies to things like canning, mending etc (saving resources), but it's difficult to generalize to all the skills such as writing with a fountain pen and navigating by map or compass rather than by GPS.
Hi Neil: Your comment made me think about Sterelny's Evolved Apprentice, which deals with this semi-informal transmission of practical skills as a way to understand the behavioral innovations in hominids about 100,000 years ago. To Sterelny, the apprentice model, where people learn skills from others in a cognitively scaffolded environment (e.g., a workshop where all the tools are already in the right place) explains why humans can acquire such a diversity of skills. The way such skills are dependent on others (e.g., vertical transmission, division of labor along gender lines etc in a community) nevertheless strikes me as a different dependence relation than the sorts of things Fricker decries, such as reliance on GPS. The former require deliberate practice and observation in a context of social interaction, often for extended periods of time, the latter require only a brief reading of an instructions manual, and you are ready to go.
There are several variants of a list in circulation with skills our grandparents could do but the majority of us can't, for instance, 7 skills your grandparents had and you don't. Examples include ironing really well, sewing, knitting, crocheting, canning, cooking a meal from scratch, writing in beautiful longhand, basic... Continue reading
Hi Sara: What we know of episodic memory is that it isn't static, but each time it's reactivated, it enters a labile phase and gets reconsolidated, episodic memories can potentially be altered each time we recall them. It seems very plausible to me that pictures can play a role in that reconsolidation phase, i.e., when we call up episodic memories they are susceptible to getting input from new sources, in this case, the pictures. To an internalist, this reintegration would undoubtedly be a sullying of our internal memories, but a more extended perspective would view those pictures as part of our episodic memories, i.e., more than just cues or aides memoirs.
André: Thanks for the link to the picture and for your comments. Personally, I find it is especially drawing and painting that helps me to remember things, or rather, to notice details I would have overlooked and thus help commit these to memory. It is intriguing that a similar thing happens for photographers.
I remember that picture! It is a good example of where a picture is actually superior to the experience, especially as the memory of it quickly fades (remember that steam emerging from the bowl of soup, that, for a moment, looked like a chicken is a lot less impressive than a picture that backs it up.
Daniel: Thanks - I was thinking about the madeleine-induced memories too. Maybe photographs do not have the same emotional salience as fuller sensory recall (hence the importance of memorabilia, such as old toys, etc. I am always surprised about the emotional response such items can elicit). It may just be a reminder not to just store photographs but also other objects, and to think twice about tossing them or putting them away in a garage sale. I am also wondering about our need to make pictures of common landmarks, such as the Eiffel tower - for which many pictures exist, often in better quality. Is it to have a tangible mark of having been there?
I live very close to Port Meadow, one of the largest meadows of open common land in the UK, already in existence in the 10th century, and mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086. I saw my first-ever live, wild oriole there. The land has been never ploughed, so it... Continue reading
I am well aware, I'd eventually like a job, that the idea of a recent creation (i.e., only 6000 years ago) predates Christian fundamentalism. Indeed, with the information one had at the time, this didn't seem implausible, but a young earth became increasingly implausible as geological findings were emerging that pointed to a very old earth. I am speaking about the roots of the current young earth creationist movement, which are very recent. The difference between creationism pre-19th century and this new movement is that the new movement consciously sets itself against, and responds to, findings in geology (in particular, stratigraphy) and evolutionary theory. One of the key founders of modern YEC, with its alternative geology of Noah's flood was George McCready Price (1870-1963) a 7th day adventist, who was inspired by "prophetic" utterances of Ellen White (1827-1915). See work by Numbers and Bowler about this.