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My initial reaction is that one doesn't have to try to develop in isolation! More than trying to seek out feedback from professional philosophers or grad students, I think a much more organic way to develop is to attend conferences. Doing philosophy "live" feels a lot more engaging than trying to slog through some new articles you don't understand, etc. There are, thankfully, many Zoom conferences nowadays, so hopefully this makes things a bit easier. I'd aim for smaller, regional conferences (e.g., XYZ State Philosophical Assoc. instead of the APA).

I think that *talking* about philosophy is actually where the most interesting philosophy gets done, and there's no way to do that except by attending conferences and participating in the Q&A.


good luck keeping up with relevant articles outside of the academic paywall, until tenured faculty start publishing Open Access philo will remain merely academic...

Trystan Goetze

You might want to look into some events hosted by the Virtual Philosophy Network: https://www.virtualphilosophynetwork.com/

They're a collection of public philosophy groups all around the world, who host various reading groups, talks, and discussions, mostly via Meetup.com. I gave a talk to some of their members on philosophy and tabletop roleplaying games, and the attendees were very engaged and insightful!

Gambling Addict

You certainly shouldn't become one of those people who uses disreputable sites like scihub and libgen to get around academic copyright.

It sounds like you still have connections at your Alma Mater. If they have a grad program, you could audit classes and/or attend (or start) a reading group that focuses on your area of interest. It's very hard to develop philosophically *in isolation* but there are ways you can remain connected to a philosophical community without being a grad student.

As far as working on your writing, you have a couple avenues. You mentioned that you have people who can give you feedback on your writing. That's great. I'd recommend availing yourself of that in conjunction with presenting at conferences and submitting work to journals and getting referee comments. The more traditional order would be to present at a couple conferences, make use of the reception you get to draft a full paper, get some comments from someone who's familiar with the standards for professional journals, and, if the paper seems promising, submit and see what the referees say.

As an aside, I don't know if the school where you were pursuing an MA has a part-time option, but I know some phd-programs do. You could float the idea by the mental health professional you're working with.


Depending on your area of philosophy, you should venture outside of philosophy to help you see a different perspective on the same topic. I have read excellent law articles written by legal scholars that include fruitful and new information that many philosophers doing political or legal philosophy failed to mention. As well, sometimes it’s good to read things that aren’t written by philosophers because they can help inspire new ways of structuring your argumentation. I’ve benefitted and been inspired greatly from law articles in how to be more fruitful and logical in my papers.

inside out

It really depends what you mean, but I think it is very challenging to engage with academic philosophy outside the academy. One just does not get the sort of feedback and interaction that is often so useful for developing ideas. And I think that many aspiring philosophers would not give the time of day to someone on the fringe ... they would spend their own energies following the leaders. That is my humble opinion.


Wouldn't it be possible to embrace the outside academic philosophy? Academic philosophy is, after all, only one way to do philosophy and it can hamper the development of your philosophical thinking. Moreover, if you pursue an academic career, there are only a few option how to publish. But if you do not aim at an academic career, plenty of other options emerge. Think about venues such as Aeon where people really read you and communicate with you (and there are many more). I also agree with the prior contributors who emphasize that the academic community is missing at every step you take, not only at the beginning. Being read, being cited etc. also depends a lot on your position within the social context of academic philosophy. There might be more promising paths to philosophical satisfaction than trying to contribute to academic philosophy, if you cannot be part of it because of health reasons...

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