This is James Griffith's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following James Griffith's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
James Griffith
Recent Activity
I feel compelled to chime in, though I do not have the time to be systematic. In the interest of, and attempt at, brevity, I offer the following points: 1. It is interesting that some of you, having previously completed long dissertations, and now asserting that dissertations need to be long (or longer than the current trend) do not seem to have a firm grasp on the literature you cite. To wit, (1a) the original poster claims, "Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Heidegger -- didn't just hammer away at small problems; they developed entire systems of thought." In fact, this is precisely what Plato did most and first. Most of the dialogs are rather short. In addition, though we have long works attributed to Aristotle, it is good to remember that these are largely notes from his students. I'll admit to not knowing whether references from his contemporaries give us any idea of the length of projects as he released them for public consumption. Meanwhile, the works of Kant and Heidegger are notoriously difficult to get through. The OP continues, "And the same is true of more recent people of influence: Quine, Rawls, Davidson, etc." Rawls I'll give you, though I do believe most of the content of many of his chapters was first introduced as papers. I'm not sure if Davidson _ever_ wrote anything other than articles (or invited standalone chapters). His "books" are collections of his independent, but related essays over periods of time. (1b) elise freschi, in response to the point that the Tractatus was fairly short, states, "Wittgenstein's Tractatus would not be an example of a good dissertation (at least, certainly not in Europe, let me know whether you think it might be a good PhD thesis in the US)." The Tractatus _was_ Wittgenstein's dissertation/thesis, and at Russell's urging that it be submitted as such for his Ph.D. from _Cambridge_. Moore's comments at the end of the defense, include the statement, "it is well above the standard required for the Ph.D. degree." 2. With the above in mind, I hold roughly the same view as offered by Jenn and Jonathan (and apparently Daniel). 3. Many of you seem to be suggesting that dissertations should be on par with, or aim to be so, the great philosophers' master works, which is absurd. 4. Full disclosure: I am currently writing a dissertation that will almost certainly exceed 300 pages, perhaps 400. I am also almost certain that it would be better written as individual papers. 5. So much for brevity...
James Griffith is now following The Typepad Team
Jan 8, 2016