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Postdoc Quinns

1. So far the market does not look encouraging to me -- I'd say worse than at this point in previous years. But it could improve still.
2. There seem to be relatively few genuinely Open/Open TT positions. Many of the advertised Open/Open TT job ads list preferred AOSs or AOCs -- which makes those positions seem, effectively, not Open/Open. Or, the Open/Open TT jobs are at universities that would hire grads from only a handful of other universities.
3. Social/political philosophy (including race & gender) seems to be off to an unbelievably good start. LEMM AOSs seem to be off to much worse starts than in past years.

A hugely frustrating feature of the market is that certain AOSs will trend, or lose popularity, years after one has already invested quite a bit in a dissertation area, or after one has already earned a PhD!


I don't keep track of when things show up, but my impression so far is largely the same as Postdoc Quinns's in (1) and (2): there are nothing like as many open/open positions this year. It might well pick up, though, or maybe last year was a bumper crop year.

Aesthetics is doing better than usual: there's one postdoc, two European jobs (although one requires a Habilitation, so maybe it doesn't count?), and one job in the US, although it's based in a comparative literature department. Another one or two could still be announced!

Looks like a relatively good year for Metaphysics, too (though perhaps not for the other LEMMing subjects).


Michel and Post-Doc Q,
Open jobs are not good. Do not be misled. First, they got lots of applicants. I recall a UC school sending me a rejection letter for an open job for which they had 600 applicants. Further, open jobs are often a sign that the department could not agree on the details of the position when they needed to get the ad out, or get something to Human Resources, to meet a deadline. So what they really want is actually more defined and restricted. They are not going to give all files considerations. They just do not state what they are looking for.


I counted jobs listed for the UK/Ireland a few weeks ago at jobs.ac.uk. They've now combined philosophy and history into a single category. Taking the history jobs out and a funded PhD advertisement, if I remember correctly, I counted 8 philosophy jobs total. Now, the job market over here is year round, and I've seen it look this barren before, but still thought I'd comment.


I'm hoping that this is finally a year where job market reporting doesn't happen on a toxic metablog. That, in and of itself, would be a huge improvement for everyone. I think that reporting serves a valuable function, particularly for students at less-connected departments, and I hope people use the Cocoon thread for it.

Although overall the market doesn't look great, I am inspired by the fact that several departments which failed searches, or had many areas of need and hired in only one last year, have new searches this year.


I'm sure that some open searches occur for the reasons Warning describes, but certainly not all of them. (And I'd be surprised if it's even the majority.)

Here are two other reasons departments might run an open search. One: their specific teaching needs are largely filled, and they are aiming for a candidate they think is genuinely excellent, regardless of field. (I take it that many open searches at tippy-top Gourmet Report departments are of this sort.)
Two: the department has so *many* teaching needs that an open search makes most sense; either because, otherwise, the ad would be absurdly disjunctive, or because the specific AOS matters much less than the ability to teach a variety of courses.


Warning: unfortunately, open jobs are all some of us get. My AOS is not in very high demand (for reasons that I think are mostly wrongheaded, but that's as it may be). If it weren't for open jobs, I wouldn't be sending out applications most years. And I'm hardly alone in that. Nor do I have any reason to believe that if all of the open jobs were converted to particular AOSes, that mine would get any more jobs. Unfortunately, I just don't have the luxury of not relying on open jobs.

(FWIW, one of the open jobs I applied to a few years ago had over 1200 applicants, but the median number does indeed seem to be about 600/650.)


I said 'median' but I meant 'modal'. Oops.


I would not think that you should be so thrilled about open jobs. Any narrow niche specialty, say, philosophy of physics, will be announced as such. A department does not discover in the course of an open search that it would be great to have a philosopher of physics around. This goes for all the narrow areas.


I have yet to come across a position I am comfortable that I am qualified to apply for. But my standards are idiosyncratic. Like Warning noted above, I do not waste time/money apply for open/open positions (too many applicants), and I do not apply at deparments with PhD programs (I don't have the pedigree for that), nor do I at apply at any department where the majority of faculty have degrees from Ivies, elite publics, or Leiter top 20 departments.

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