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09/02/2020

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Too much review?

I have been post phd for a few years now. At first, I thought it good to get some referee work under my belt. Now, I am getting a request to review at least once a month if not more. Today, I got two requests 15 minutes apart. My question is, how do people approach the decision whether to accept or reject a request to review? What are the considerations people take into account (besides fit to review)?

Phd student

I'm a PhD student and I guess it is time for me to produce and publish some papers but I'm still struggling to find paper ideas, even for the term papers! How do you come up with new ideas for paper? Do you have any heuristic for that?

For example, I have seen in a post here that Neil Mehta uses some heuristics: replacement, extension, unification etc. Do you have any suggestion so as to find new paper ideas? Do you think such heuristics really work?

Also, I guess people will suggest to write a lot and say that you will come up with ideas while writing. What do you write when you do not know what to write? Do you start by writing summeries of what you have read or by writing analyses of the well-known positions or arguments in the literature?

German student

Is it better to not list publications in a foreign language in my CV?

Anon

Suppose you have 3 publications. 2 in one area, 1 in another area. But suppose that the 1 publication identifies you as being pro-life. Is it better to keep this publication on your CV, outing you as being pro-life, or is it better to leave it off, thereby looking less accomplished and depriving yourself of an area of specialization?

My concern here is that this position (pro-life) is not only unpopular, but appears to be frowned upon in lots of philosophy circles. For example, Elizabeth Harman recently said on the blog of the APA (!) that she considers most opposition to abortion *sexist*. So, if she knows someone is pro-life, this makes it pretty likely that that person's application will be thrown out. (Would you hire a sexist?) It seems that Harman's views aren't idiosyncratic. So, which strategy is more advantageous?

J

How to write a successful grant application? I am soon to defend my PhD and I have many publications both in good general journals and top special journals so publishing is not an issue. However, where I am located it is normal to apply for a grant application as a PostDoc - to get any funding for your work. But how on earth one writes a successful application? For me, the problem seems to be that if I have an idea for a paper, I can easily write a publishable article on the topic. All I have to do is to look for articles in the journals and write my own ideas in the same way. But I have never seen a grant application that received funding, so I have no idea how they look. Is it possible to see successful grant applications somewhere? And another related point. How do you come up with ideas that need years working? When I have an idea, I write a short clever article in a few days and publish it in a journal that is fast. How to come up with 'big questions' or themes that need to be worked for many years? Do people just take the small issues and somehow make them look like big when they apply for example a grant for three years? It seems for me that the grants go for people who know how to write applications and who can justify others that some (minor) issue needs years of pondering when in reality an efficient scholar could write an article or two on the same topic quite fast. Is it easier to get a grant for writing a book than articles? Or do I even have to explain in the application whether I am going to publish my research in a book or in articles? If I am saying I want to write a book, does it help if I manage to get a book contract before receiving funding for it? It seems yes, but on the other hand, if publishers want to see the whole manuscript before giving a contract, then the funder might think that the work is already done if one has the contract and thus maybe they do not give any money because no-one gives you money if the work is already done.

FF

I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to transition to an ethics consultant role (e.g. business ethics, but not only), starting from expertise in ethics (but not normative ethics) (PhD), some competence in law and formal methods, but no background in business or business ethics, and some years of postdoctoral work (books, teaching, etc.).
EU focus, but obviously open to any perspective.

Seconded

I want to second FF's request: I'd love a little insight on how to transition to an ethics consultant role with a philosophy PhD, AOS ethics.

Thirded

I want to second-second FF’s request, but in a slightly different context: would it be possible to transition into an ethics consultant role with a PhD but a non-ethics AOS?

Remembrance of Earth's Past

I'll be applying to PhD programs this year, and my significant other will be applying as well. We're currently at different institutions, but have similar backgrounds (same undergrad program) and similar philosophical interests. I wonder whether there's any effective way to promote the chance of doing grad school together?

We're planning to apply to programs that are geographically close (those in NYC, UCLA/USC, etc.) I guess there's no harm in doing this.

We're also considering whether to apply to the same programs or actually avoid applying to the same programs, as I'm not sure whether this would enhance or harm the chances. On the one hand, this is the only chance of going to the very same program. On the other hand, it seems likely that admission committees would avoid admitting multiple students with similar AOS and similar backgrounds.

Also, I wonder whether it would be wise to mention the two-body problem in the SOP. I'm inclined not to, as I'm not sure how it would look like to the committee - perhaps it would seem unprofessional, and maybe they'll see us as a whole package, which might seriously undermine the chance of admission. But might some departments have preferences in "couple hiring"?

Alternatively, it might be helpful to inform the department of the two-body problem after one of us receives an offer (if that happens). I guess this could enhance the chance of admitting the other, especially if that person is on the waitlist - but I'm not sure whether this is true, and whether it would be appropriate.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Anon

I'm an upper-year PhD student whose looking to go on the job market in a year or two. My question: in deciding where to publish papers, how should I balance general prestige with area focus? My default view has always been to just publish in the best general journals possible. I guess my more specific question then is whether there is any special value in, for instance, publishing in a less prestigious ethics-focused journal as opposed to a general journal that might be more 'prestigious.' My thought has always been that people looking at a CV want the most prestigious journal possible, but I hear from some that there might be a value in going for an ethics-focused journal, at least at times.

Gradola

I am a grad student and a faculty member suggested to me that I may want or need co-advisors for my dissertation given my department's faculty and the two intersecting areas I want to work in. I can imagine that this has both pros and cons. Can anyone offer any advice about this? Has anyone had co-advisors? If so, how did it go?

(I tried to submit a longer version of this question earlier, but it seems to have been lost. If this question turns out to be a duplicate, please ignore.)

Confused

I'm finding myself confused about what the protocols surrounding going to conferences are. Who can attend conferences? Under what circumstances should you submit to a conference? Should you ever write an abstract to submit and then write the paper later? Are there different types of conferences?

Grad Student

I am a grad student who has been fortunate enough to publish a few papers. But my publication record is peculiar: while I have one paper in an AOS in a top generalist journal, my other two papers are in areas I don't even list as an AOC. (One is in a specialist journal; the other is in a decent generalist journal.)

These latter two papers were the culminations of side projects. I am hesitant to list the relevant areas even as AOC's because I sincerely consider myself incompetent to, without very serious preparation, teach advanced undergraduate-level survey courses on them. Basically, in both areas, I found a niche question and completely ignored any literature that did not directly address it. I have no other background in these areas. Moreover, I do not expect to continue research in these areas. My current research lies within my AOS's.

I am curious how hiring committees would perceive such a publication record. In my own case, I do have at least a couple years before I go on the job market. So, if I am lucky, I might be able to get another publication or two squarely within my AOS's. But whether or not that happens, how would hiring committees view an applicant with several publications in areas that they do not list as either an AOC or AOS?

Thanks in advance!

Grad student anon

Would be very curious to hear about strategic choices grad students must make when it comes time to form a committee. If i know “famous” professor X would serve as chair on my committee and also for someone in my cohort, and that person is held in better regard than I am, should I avoid having professor X as my committee chair? Is this way of thinking about things misguided? Do faculty compare students? Need one’s chair be the most “famous” person on the committee to be competitive for the best jobs?

S

Some good and respectable journals that I can think of that publish reply papers are Analysis, Thought, and Philosophia. What other journals might be interested in publishing short reply papers to recent publications, especially in the areas of epistemology? Episteme?

Junior TT

I wonder how TT assistant professor folks can flag that they are in their first or second year when applying for TT positions?

The worry is that folks on search committees may unwittingly favor assistant professors who are further along the tenure track because these folks will often have more publications and generally a more robust CV.

Cover Letters

Do folks think that TT job applicants should include in cover letters that they have submitted proposals or applied for various fellowships or grants such as the NEH faculty award for research?

One might think that job applicants should include this because it is evidence of activity.

On the other hand, maybe job applications shouldn't include this cover letters because it isn't evidence of success.

jargon help needed!

Here's an easy one: what does PFO stand for in the context of the job reporting thread?

Marcus Arvan

jargon: I'll answer that one for you, since it's simple. It's an acronym for "please f off", in other words vernacular for job application rejection letters.

Mj

I am a second-year M.A. student of Philosophy at a low ranked university, looking forward to applying for another master's next year in a better university. I passed nine graduate philosophy courses with good grades. My bachelor studies were not in Philosophy and I had just one Philosophy course at bachelor, so I think I need my master's degree (and courses) for a successful application to a philosophy major. I have no personal problem completing my current studies as a master student to get my degree, but there is an educational law in my country that prevents people from entering master studies twice unless the mandatory military service (which lasts two years) is completed. I can withdraw from my current M.A. and apply for another M.A. without any problem with this law. In that case, my current university will give me an official transcript, but no degree. I prefer this withdraw option because it saves two years for me. Are there any problems with the withdrawal from my current master's in applying for another master? I mean does this have a bad effect on the strength of my application, and should I mention this in my application? Thanks for your advice.

2020 Applicant

UPenn, Rice, Columbia, and UChicago have all suspended admissions for incoming PhD students, and at this point it seems inevitable that several more will follow suit, and the ones that do accept new students will more often than not be reducing admissions.

I am a current undergrad who is applying to both PhD and funded MA programs, but I am concerned that even some MA programs might lose their funding/accept fewer students. I think many of us applicants need to start thinking of "backup backup" plans in case we don't get into any MA programs, or for those MA students who may be shut out this cycle.

Presuming we plan on applying again in the future to PhD programs, what would people recommend we do if we don't get into an MA? Spend a year auditing courses and doing more independent research? Try and get a job that is somewhat relevant to our AOI and get some life experience? Get a (funded) MA in another subject relevant to our AOI?

Psychologically, having this "backup backup" could potentially be a comfort to those who are experiencing high levels of anxiety right now (I know it will help me at least), so any advice is greatly appreciated!

goin on the market :/

Does the job market mentoring for women program (jobmentoringforwomen dot wordpress dot com) still exist?

postdoc Z

What are the general attitudes about co-authored papers? For example, is it to one's advantage to co-author with notable philosophers if the opportunity presents itself or are co-authored papers viewed less favorably than papers written solo?

ma in the last year

My question is: is going to a program which is not strong in my research area (e.g. no faculty member in the area) worth it? Do programs want to accept people who don't fit with the strengths? My letters are all from people in that area. Is that going to be a problem?
Background: I'm a second-year MA student at a university in a non-English speaking country. I'll be applying to PhD programs in English speaking countries. My research field in philosophy is relatively small, so some programs (even the biggest or most elite ones) don't have any faculty in that field. But some great philosophers (young or old) got PhD from universities which have no strength or even no faculty member in the area (mostly from the most elite ones). I know going to a elite university (if possible) will be probably worth it in many ways, even though it has no strength in the area. But how about going to a non-ranked or lower-ranked program without any strength in it? If that's worth it, I can apply to great many programs, and maybe I can choose places where I would like to study. Neighbor areas are of course taken into consideration.

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