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Helen De Cruz
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By Helen De Cruz Thank you to the contributors of this blog for inviting me to write here! I've been reading some recent work in philosophy of perception (a field I am fairly unfamiliar with), and I found the accounts of hallucination quite striking. Here's a passage from Susanna Schellenberg's... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Philosophical Percolations
I recently talked to a US theologian, who just got a job in a really difficult market. He was reflecting on the challenges facing theologians. You can either work in a secular university, in a religious studies department. Those jobs generally discourage you from making any normative claims, or recognizing... Continue reading
High registration fees at conferences and workshops ignore the growing group of people who have a PhD but are not securely employed and have no institutional support. Often, there are only reduced rates for students. High conference fees creates a barrier of entry for adjuncts, lecturers and other non-tenure track... Continue reading
Hello, r - I acknowledge this is a concern. The paper I am talking about is by someone who is untenured at a relatively small institution. But there are other papers that are unpublished and available online by senior people that can enjoy the name brand of their authors (which is an important form of branding too, next to the reputation of the journal). I'm not sure what would happen in philosophy if we moved to a system where it was de rigueur to put pieces online as is the case now in physics which makes anonymous review next to impossible. However, I don't think it's a problem to cite papers by big names (as well as small names) that are unpublished if I deem them good - if I think they are not very good and they do not substantially contribute to discussion I see no reason to cite them.
Hi Roberta - I love the Phil-Sci archive and it would be great to have a venue like this for other philosophical works. PhilPapers allows one to upload drafts, but there is - to the best of my knowledge - no separate heading for unpublished papers. This could easily be added to PhilPapers and it would be preferable to, for instance,, since academia doesn't give stable URLs (I've shifted from to to So a pre-print archive that provides stable urls and maybe also allows for comments, statistic tracking etc. As for the paucity of citations - it is unfortunate feature of our discipline. I used to cite lots and have drastically revised that downwards (although I still have many more citations more than the average philosophy paper). As Marcus Arvan says, it makes entry into debates more difficult for specialists (compared for instance with cognitive science papers where there's often a citation-dense introduction to the literature at the start of the paper), it makes citations a scarce good, favors to be bestowed on people sparingly, and it skews the citation rates of star academics to run-of-the-mill philosophers even further (if you can only cite a few, one might feel compelled to cite big names so as to anticipate reviewers' concerns)
Hi Anon: I'm not saying it isn't risky to put one's papers freely online - possibly compromising the chances of the paper of getting accepted b/c people will google it and anonymous review will be difficult. I'm just saying, if one benefits from the research one reads in an unpublished paper, why not cite it?
I'm writing a paper where I'm citing an unpublished paper. It's by a relatively junior author, available on the internet, and it has been already cited, for example, I recently saw a citation to it in a published paper that's already in print for several years (that paper is very... Continue reading
Hi Wesley: I was struck by how value-laden the WC piece is (not just this one, also their previous ones). Some normative implications they spell out "Unfortunately, despite their success once hired, women apply for tenure-track positions in far smaller percentages than their male graduate student counterparts (14, 16, 18). Why might this be? One reason may be omnipresent discouraging messages about sexism in hiring, but does current evidence support such messages?" Their conclusion extrapolates, in an unwarranted manner, from the available evidence, e.g., that they've found"a surprisingly welcoming atmosphere today for female job candidates' - the study only discusses tenure-track hires, not work environment (which qualitative work still suggests might be unwelcoming for women in STEM), senior appointments, mentoring etc. So you are right, given this unwarranted extrapolation, that the risk exists even if WC are correct about their narrow claim. Whether that's still an inductive risk - I think so. Suppose that WC's stronger claims about welcoming climates, and it being a "propitious time for women launching careers in academic science" is true, then I think the inductive risk disappears, since it would then seem that efforts to implement more fairness for women have succeeded across the board. Unless their work would cause some backlash, the inductive risk remains insofar that they have demonstrated that the climate and opportunities in STEM are truly the same for women across the board. This, however, they have not done (I think), given their narrow conceptualization of what counts as personal choices. So given the emphasis they place on the broader claims they make, there is still inductive risk, I think. It's possible for authors to write about matters of biases in a less value-laden way, just reporting, as you say, what they found. It would still be the case that people would read things in it, of course.
In their series that could be titled "Academic sexism is a myth", Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci have a newest installment: on the basis of fictive scenarios, faculty members in STEM disciplines had to make decisions about hiring particular male or female candidates. I'm not going to talk in detail... Continue reading
Earlier this month, Andrew Cullison, Jonathan Jacobs, Mark Lance, Kevin Timpe and I launched a survey to gauge interest for an open access philosophy book press. Following the successful launch of open access philosophy journals like Ergo and Philosopher’s Imprint we wanted to see if there was sufficient interest for... Continue reading
Thank you, Sebastian Lutz - this sort of feedback is very helpful for us to assess whether there is sufficient interest, motivation etc for a specialized OA philosophy book press. My sense is that by having a specialized press for philosophy books, we'd have more control over the editorial practice, peer review, etc (all aspects of quality control that philosophers might be concerned about).
Philosophers: Please take the following survey to help us assess the feasibility and interest for an open access philosophy press, by following this link. It should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. This survey aims to gage the interest of professional philosophers in helping to create, operate,... Continue reading
Hi Sara: One way those numbers might be distorted is if people from top-5 schools got earlier offers (since Marcus' figures only report the first 100 hires).
Hi Joe: Thanks - that's good food for thought. Personally, I found Carolyn's numbers comforting (I thought, well at least prestige isn't everything and some lower-ranked programs still manage to place their candidates well). But if Marcus' figures for the first 100 hires extrapolate to the total job season, to have nearly 40% of new TT hires from only 5 schools seems to me pretty skewed. To assess whether 25% would be fair, we'd have to know how much % of new candidates the top 5 schools jointly produce, and to assess how much of a skew towards those programs we would deem fair.
Do you know the figures for the rest? 100 seems a good sample to me (except if the first 100 hires are skewed in some respect).
I've put together some numbers on pedigree bias from various websites and sources, and it seems the problem is pervasive in academia: In computer science, business and history, 25% of doctoral granting institutions provide 71-86% of all tenure track jobs (Clauset et al.) In computer science, business and history, only... Continue reading
Thanks for your comments - The Cocoon is for everyone, not just academic philosophers with PhDs! Anyway, I suspected too that it's a matter of style, and not just of subject. I personally work associatively, whenever I find a topic to write about, lots of other things come into my mind and I develop these are second and subsequent minor strands in the paper.
Thanks - I did not know about this blogpost (and it's remarkable that it has the same probably-not-Hemingway flash fiction)! I was recently reminded of the art of ultra-short philosophical works by letting my biology students read a philosophy paper in class, using David Concepcion's method of reading philosophy with meta-cognition.
I have always wanted to have a paper in Analysis or Thought. A really neat, short, paper, that is self-contained and makes an substantive philosophical point. Unfortunately, I tend to write articles of about 8000-9000 words, and first drafts are typically even longer. I've written some pre-read papers for conferences... Continue reading
Religious disagreements are conspicuous in everyday life. Most societies, except perhaps for theocracies or theocracy-like regimes, show a diversity of religious beliefs, a diversity that young children already are aware of. One emerging topic of interest in the social epistemology of religion is how we should respond to religious disagreement.... Continue reading
I am co-signing Helen De Cruz British Academy postdoctoral fellow University of Oxford
What do philosophers think about religious disagreement? This is a brief survey (takes about 5-10 minutes) to find this out. The survey is aimed at academic philosophers, by which I mean people who hold a PhD in philosophy or are graduate students in philosophy. If you fit these criteria, please... Continue reading
Hi Ambrose: I think older professors *can* make a difference, but I don't think the solution is to give up their spot so that a younger person (often indeed with a comparably better publication record, such is the arms race we are in) can take their place. For one thing, many tenure lines go away when the person retires (I think in the previous place I worked only about 1/3 retirees were replaced by new tenure-line hires). Second, I know there's an overproduction of PhDs but I would still question the wisdom of hiring and retaining people in terms purely of their productivity (because then why should we hire parents, or indeed anyone who has a life outside of academia). Older professors could advocate for and mentor younger people, do some small things towards making life for new hires and for adjuncts a bit easier (e.g., many friends of mine who are tenure track hires have difficulties figuring out how the dept works, for instance, learning too late about a bonus they could get for good teachng evals.) Precisely because the protection tenure offers, older professors don't need to compete with their younger (more productive etc) colleagues, and so can make a positive difference.
Dear Steven, thanks for the clarification. If there are exceptions (pilots etc), one could imagine an exception being added for professors if it turned out that they hung on as long as possible and beyond the capacity to do their job properly (I don't think that is the cade, to be clear). What I mean is that there's no individual moral duty for professors to retire when they reach a certain age, even if it turned out that the lack of a mandatory retirement age was detrimental.