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Philosophy Adjunct

A related question is how the philosophy job market became such a gauntlet in the first place. I think part of the explanation might be that it is due to their being little agreement on what makes for an ideal philosophy hire. It seems that hiring committees are so varied in what they look for, not only from school to school, but within each committee*, that over time more and more hurdles have accrued to the process to try to get a fuller picture of the candidate and to compensate for the wild biases philosophers exhibit.

As to what the point is, I think that enough philosophers really do not believe all that research, or think that despite it all, they still `know better'. I'm betting that this attitude is more prevalent amongst the older, more conservative, members of the profession, and hence amongst those with more institutional clout. And those members of the profession tend to think of philosophy more like an exclusive club, or a cult, rather than a profession. One has to demonstrate the strength of one's commitment by demonstrating how much shit one is willing to eat for the privilege of joining the club.**

I think the majority of committee members are reasonable people who are trying their best to be fair and objective, but it takes just one obstreperous committee member to distort the process. With enough such people, and parts of the profession do tend to encourage such attitudes, and enough iterations of the process you get the irrational mess we have now.

* As a case in point consider the post by the committee member a while back (http://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2015/12/notes-from-search-committee-members-part-1-dr-slac.html). They admit quite frankly that they do not take all the information the department asked candidates to provide into consideration, and that they leave certain assessments to their colleagues (the `wisdom of the herd'), while they look at what they consider essential. In the resulting discussion it turned out that things which this committee member saw as a minus (e.g. expressing the desire to live in some particular location) others view as necessary, or even a plus.

** As an aside to search committee members. If I am treated badly during a search then you can bet that I'll be looking for another job. The normal standards of politeness and decency are not suspended during a search and if you are the kind of person who thinks they are then you're not a colleague worth having, no matter how smart you are.

Stacey Goguen

This is a really interesting idea:
"they might simply submit a film to you of an actual course meeting they've taught, to convey their actual performance."

Overall, I don't think philosophers see other philosophers teach enough. It's like this weird private thing we do with our students. And whenever I have gotten a glimpse at how others teach, I've walked away with at least three good ideas for my own teaching.

So I could see this being a good thing, for both an interview process and as part of a norm of sharing our teaching more.

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