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It's done.

Chike Jeffers

LOL, good answer, JDJ.

Marcus Arvan

I have very mixed feelings about mine. I'm proud that I got it *done*, that's for sure -- because there was a very long time that I never thought I would ever get there.

In terms of the actual product, though, I find myself torn in two directions: I still think some of the ideas in it were good, but I really cringe at some of the ways I developed and/or argued for many of them.

All in all, then, I guess I think my dissertation was what a dissertation should be: a start. Maybe I got a lot wrong, maybe some of the arguments were bad -- but I'm still refining many of the same ideas, developing what I take to be better arguments for them, etc.

The process itself was torturous, but I think it was worth it in the end!


A related question I am curious about is:

How did you feel about the project when you were writing it? And
In retrospect, what sort of attitude do you wish you had when you were writing it?

This would seem to benefit those who are about to write, or is the process of working on their dissertation.


My dissertation has a chapter on Heidegger. Once in a while I'll re-read it. Sometimes I'll momentarily forget what it is I'm reading and think "wow, a reading of Heidegger that seems right to me!" I like the rest of it too, though I can definitely tell better now which parts I wrote without really knowing what I was talking about.

What I find interesting is that I've definitely written papers since the dissertation that, reading them over now, strike me as having a distinctly immature philosophical voice (which is not to say that my philosophical voice now is mature--I'm fully aware that I'll think the same way about things I'm writing now a year or a month hence). But parts of my dissertation really don't strike me that way, which is amazing to me when I remember the actual writing process (coming home from teaching three classes to frantically write until 5 am).

To answer LC's question: when I was writing it, I was very focused on just how much I didn't know. To some extent I wish I'd been less focused on that and just gotten it done years earlier, but maybe I would have been less happy with it then.


I'm in the process of turning it into my first book (fortunately, I approached the dissertation *as a book* from the beginning). The diss was 9 chapters, and the book will be 12 or 13.

I'm very proud of it, since I think it makes a large contribution to my field (and there's some external validation of this, since it's been nominated for a national dissertation award), and a few key pieces have been published in good journals.

My dissertation stage was easily the most fun I've ever had in philosophy, and I can't wait to start my second book.

Chike Jeffers

That is so lovely, Rachel. It's important that people know that that it is possible to feel the feelings you express in that last sentence!

Kristina Meshelski

I am both proud of and embarrassed by my dissertation. (I think I felt the same way when I was writing it too.) I am currently working on getting pieces of it into journals and that process really excites me, though I am constantly worried that I'm working too slowly. If that is sucessful I will consider turning it into a book, but there is such a big hole in the overall argument I'm not sure it is worth it. But either way I feel similarly to Rachel, I can't wait to start my "second" book :)

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