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07/04/2017

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ichikawa

Setting aside questions about opportunity costs, publication in other fields is absolutely a professional advantage—probably a big one. This is just the sort of thing that could distinguish someone from the giant pile of applicants, and move one to the top of someone's list if the fit is right. Interdisciplinarity is huge at a lot of institutions. I wouldn't consider this remotely close to neutral. Big plus.

The other postdoc

As a general answer, I think this depends a lot on your AOS. In philosophy of psychology, for instance, quite a few philosophers publish in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science journals with a theoretical bent (e.g., Consciousness and Cognition, Psychopathology). As far as I can tell, as long as you don't overdo it, this doesn't hurt your career—and it might even help.

As a specific answer for this case, I don't think it'll hurt if you (a) publish in good journals in the other discipline(s) and (b) have already published in philosophy journals. One thing you might consider, though, is using a separate heading on your CV for articles published in non-philosophy journals. I think this can signal to anyone scanning over your CV that you're fully aware of the disciplinary boundaries and that you're not trying to pass these off as philosophy publications. If you look at the CVs of philosophers who also have degrees in the sciences, they often use a separate heading to flag the publications they got while a student in these fields.

anonymous

This would be a big plus at my (R1) school, and I suspect at a lot of others--my guess, having been affiliated with fancier/higher ranked departments before, is that in at least some of those it's possible you might not be taken as seriously (though I think The other postdoc's suggestion is a good one, and I doubt that a few people being snobs about philosophy's boundaries would even remotely offset the large advantage you'd probably get). I can't imagine it could hurt you at liberal arts colleges or regional state universities, but I am much less familiar with hiring practices and general departmental/university attitudes at those kinds of schools.

Mark Z

My guess is that it depends on your university. In a big fancy research university, my impression is that if you are hired in an AOS, they expect you to be the greatest philosopher in that AOS and the opportunity cost for doing anything else is probably high, though they probably won't hold it against you if you meet all their other requirements.
In most smaller universities, my impression is that unless you have some snooty colleagues, getting your name and the institutions name on publications looks good.
However, your colleagues will have no idea how to evaluate any publication not in their field. So for all they know, you are publishing in the most backwater journal in your field and they will be hesitant to count it for much.

Trevor

I would say it’s neutral or a plus, unless somehow the content/topic of the non-philosophy papers rubs people the wrong way for some reason (leaving aside the issue of taking your time away from publishing philosophy).

I’m not sure whether such papers would count toward tenure at an R1 school with a doctoral program in philosophy, but at my R2 school publication in (say) the history of science definitely counts—although it’s a pluralist department that isn’t obsessed with what counts as philosophy, which probably helps.

UK reader

(I'm the one who asked.)

Thanks for all these comments everyone. Really useful.

One impression I've got from a few others is that publications in science or math or their history are looked upon more favourably than publications in, say, English literature. I can think of many reasons why that would indeed be the case.

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