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08/10/2012

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Mark Alfano

It's all a matter of degree, I fear. How good are the unpublished ideas? How much hammering do the papers need? How much would you need to learn to extend your areas of expertise?....

While one doesn't want to commit the sunk cost fallacy, I think it's good for the soul not to leave too many husks of papers lying around.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Mark: hard to say how good the ideas are. One is in philosophy of mind, and is something I presented at the Society for Philosophy and Psychology and the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Involves some cool thought-experiments defending mental-content internalism against externalist arguments. Basically, I think the thought-experiments are killer but I've had a hard time getting the arguments out of them right. Another is on vagueness. This one hasn't been presented at any conferences, but I've had a longstanding interest in the topic and think the position I'm defending is new and interesting. The problem is: I keep getting referees who say I don't engage with the existing literature enough -- and fair enough, I don't. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to immerse myself in it.

I was thinking one thing I might do is try to find someone with some expertise who might be interested in co-authoring one of the pieces. But again, I don't know who I might approach.

Kyle Whyte

I've got a few such papers. The thing that has happened to me is that as time goes on, the papers become less and less related to the increasingly specific directions of my research streams. So then it becomes less and less likely that I'll be willing to put in the sort of time required to do things like have been mentioned above (e.g. immerse oneself in the literature). This has especially been the case with drafts I did in graduate school. Right after I finished my degree, publishing these papers "seemed" attractive because at that point, given the job market, I was thinking publish publish publish, and I think my conceptions of my research streams were more general. But then I find as research streams get more developed, there just become some papers that, really, it makes it hard to justify why I would put the work in that some reviewers and editors might have asked for, or that I know I need to do.

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