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06/09/2012

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Kyle Whyte

Trevor: A good topic. I've sadly ended up most summers putting in half-days, and that counting as the closest thing to a vacation. Though my friends in other professions think that what I just described is a huge advantage over the few weeks they can get, I don't really think it's a vacation. I also don't know very many folks who take and talk about vacations who are professional philosophers. I even know a few academics who scoff at the idea of sustained vacations, as bizarre as that may sound.

Marcus Arvan

I think the important thing is to "listen" to your mind and body. Basically, if you're feeling run-down or "fried" -- if you feel like you need a rest -- then, by all means, take a vacation to recharge. But I agree: it's important not to take too much time, or it can be difficult to get back in the saddle. Periodic vacations are also important, I think, so that one doesn't neglect family and other loved ones. It's always important to remember that philosophy isn't the be-all and end-all of life.

Susan James

I think that summer or any other vacation is a good opportunity to go more into depth into topics you've either just covered in a course or are just interested in for personal reasons. So many times during the school semester we don't have time for the in-depth research that transforms our understanding from cursory levels which are often is all we can manage when time is limited to higher levels possible when we have more leisure. I just graduated with my MS but I know I still have a lot to learn!

Trevor Hedberg

@Kyle -- I'm not tremendously surprised that there are some academics who don't like the notion of sustained vacations (even though I couldn't personally identify anyone who shares this outlook), but I can't see that outlook as a desirable one. There is, as Marcus mentioned, more to life than philosophy, and vacations can (if nothing else) serve as a reminder of that fact. They prevent us from losing touch with the other things in our lives that we value (e.g., friends, family, leisure, non-philosophical personal projects).

@Susan -- That's a good suggestion. Like most other philosophers that I know, my reading list in philosophy acquires new entries much faster than old ones get checked off. Summer's definitely a good time to make a dent in some philosophical literature.

Kyle Whyte

Trevor and Marcus: I've recently been coming to the realization I've really not been exposed to healthy conversations about the importance of vacation within our profession. Agreeing with you guys, I think that's totally not good. I'll be planning something for next year! I swear.

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