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Tom Cochrane
Adelaide, Australia
Philosopher at Flinders University
Recent Activity
The point of a faculty restructure is to cut administrative staff. So you might think- good right? Reduce administrative bloat. Anyway, in my experience, upper management usually do that stuff first. Then they come for teaching staff the following year.
I also recently used my publication metrics in a (successful) promotion application. It's particularly useful how they break it down by sub-field. Just one of the many useful services philpapers provides! I wish there was a bit more philosophical discussion on there.
Interesting Helen. The aesthetics of character matters to us when we make friends, so it's probably also relevant in hiring decisions. But effortless mastery is not a quality I'd intuitively associate with job candidates! I'd also be wary when writing a reference not to create expectations of quick-wittedness or brilliance that might not come across under pressure. I like the comparison to music competitions. It reminds me that probably the best job talk I ever gave was on a subject I'd mastered years before so only had to brush up a bit.
Hi Samuel. This sounds interesting! A couple of questions. 1. How did you mark the assignments? Just as regular essays? What are you giving credit for? 2. Presumably, you had to present some options before students could make their choices- but then, what do you lecture on after the first few weeks? How would this tie into what they doing?
I agree that numbered propositions are awful. Also the version of this where a principle is labelled say-'PHP' expecting me to remember what this is. Now I have to hunt back through the paper to find out what that means. Much better if it's something like 'the transitivity principle'. But even then, how hard is it just to use prose? Are you really saving that much space? Pretending your claim is stronger than the evidence actually warrants. It's ok to be modest! Just boring writing. And I think it's worth noting that if your abstract is boring, I may not even accept the review request.
Hi Samuel I just wanted to say congrats on your Obsessive–compulsive akrasia article. I was one the referees for Mind & Language. I'm sorry to hear that a career in academia didn't work out for you. You'd certainly have deserved it as much as anyone else.
Before I switched to individual articles, I used Gordon Graham's Philosophy of the Arts: An introduction to Aesthetics It's particularly handy for the first four chapters where he outlines different values of art (pleasure, beauty, expression, understanding). After that he turns to individual art forms, but he's defending his preferred cognitive theory so they are less neutral as introductions. I still use his chapter 4 on understanding when teaching that topic though.
Hi John Have you ever considered giving credit for good referees, e.g. by awarding points that can be displayed on your website? This could be both very motivating, and helpful as feedback.
I think one thing not mentioned yet, but which has become clearer to me over the years (both as author and reviewer) is that if the editors like your paper, they will allow several rounds of revision, even given strong objections. If the editors don't like (or just don't care about) your paper- they will reject for any trivial reason. Editors are the true gatekeepers of our profession and their power is immense. The upshot is that, as an author, polishing doesn't matter so much. A sympathetic editor will let you do this during revisions anyway. So just make sure the fundamentals are strong and clear. Meanwhile, your first job as a reviewer is to convince the editor one way or the other. If you like a paper, but you have problems with it, but don't let these bury your support for the paper!
Thanks very much for your reply Neil. 55% is an extremely good acceptance rate (assuming that means about 2 rejections per 1 acceptance), particularly if you aren't being highly perfectionist about them (i.e. making them impregnable to referee objections). This is why I think you must demonstrating certain virtues in your writing that make it particularly acceptable to reviewers/editors. If I get some time, I shall have to examine your style closely! Anyway, you have a paper on OCD that I intend to read, since it's a shared interest.
Hi Neil I think there's more to your process. You're probably one of the best-published philosophers alive right now! I have some questions. 1. What's your journal rejection rate like? 2. Do you ever write with a particular publication venue in mind? Are do you just start at the top ranked and work your way down? 3. When you review your papers, what sort of virtues are you checking for? 4. Like Marvan above, I don't commit to writing a paper unless I think it's got something original to say. Is originality a big factor for you? What's the priority of this as compared to say, scholarship (being situated in a certain debate, referencing the current literature)? 5. Are you following any structural templates (e.g. problem-solution-objections/relies) or generally following the material where it leads? 6. Are you highly perfectionist about your material (to the extent say, of radically working an essay over a long period) or will you submit relatively quickly? 7. Where work is rejected, do you send it right out again or make sure all referee problems are accommodated?
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Apr 5, 2019