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I have a question that I've seen asked quite a few times on Reddit's /askphilosophy page and elsewhere, and it resonates with me quite a bit. Usually it's something along the lines of "I only have x amount of education in philosophy (or a related field), can I still get published?" The answers are in a near universal agreement that the publication system is so rigorous that it precludes most contributions from people who are not trained as professional philosophers. I have to admit that I am very understanding of the people who post these queries, because having left my previous master's program after only a few weeks due to health concerns, I hold out hope that I can publish something, even if this desire to publish is a result of the fact that I am still grieving over the fact that I'll never teach or get a graduate degree. I enjoy writing mostly because it helps with learning and remembering what I read, and it gives structure and purpose to reading and studying. The problem is that the things I've written are so arcane that they would be of no interest to people outside of the narrow confines of academia, and while my work has been accepted to professional conferences, I recognize that it isn't of such outstanding quality that it would merit inclusion in academic journals. My question is the following: are there venues for independent scholars who lack a Ph.D., but nonetheless have a desire for some kind of creative output? Is it possible to publish on, say, Husserlian time-consciousness, if one masters the literature and manuscripts, given that it is a hyper-focused topic with a smaller literature than traditional philosophical problems? I've considered blogging, but people generally wouldn't want to read anything I have to write on this topic, since it's so beyond the pale of the ordinary concerns of most people. Thank you.


I am in the dissertation phase of my Ph.D. and will be going on the job market soon. My question is about references, specifically teaching references. Before leaving to pursue my Ph.D., I taught high school for just over a decade. I had a very good relationship with my principal and she was able to see my growth as an educator, directly observe my classroom, and receive feedback from students and parents about my teaching. Moreover, she also knows the positive nature of the relationships I had with my colleagues. My question is this: Would it be prudent to ask for her to write a reference letter for jobs in higher education? I have professors in my current program who would write me a positive teaching recommendation, but they would not be able to write as strong a letter as my former principal. Would a letter from a high school administrator be looked down upon?

To be clear, I have professors who are willing to write recommendations. If I included a reference letter from my former principal, it would be in addition to these.


My question is: what is the perceived value of invited contributions to peer-reviewed volumes?

My thoughts on this are that, on the one hand, such papers should be greatly valued since they show that the author is good enough/ respected enough to be invited to contribute to the volume. On the other hand, my impression is that the peer-review standards are not that high when it comes to edited volumes compared to regular journals. I have the impression that it is very hard to get rejected once invited to contribute.

What are your thoughts on this topic?


I work at a teaching-oriented state school, and I usually do not have much time for research. People shared a lot of strategies for writing, such as starting your day with an hour of writing, blocking some time everyday for writing, finding writing peers, etc. I find them very helpful. However, there seems not to be many tips for reading, which is the part of research I am struggling with. For example, I tried to reserve one hour each day for my own research, but it is usually not enough for me even to finish reading one paper, especially when I need to stop and think about some interesting points or arguments. Can people share some tips or suggestions on the "reading" part of research?

L. Harris

I'm a prospective graduate student preparing for the application cycle this fall. I'm hoping to pursue analytic philosophy, but the courses offered at my undergraduate institution were mostly in ancient, medieval, and continental philosophy. My quandary is in choosing a writing sample from the papers I wrote for these courses. In the paper I think might be my strongest, I analyze and interpret a continental thinker through tools drawn from an analytic thinker. My own writing style is very analytic, but I'm concerned that submitting a writing sample on a continental thinker might be a turn off to the analytically-minded programs I'm applying to. Is this a valid concern?


I have a question concerning where (and if at all) to mention philosophy teaching experiences that fall outside of the academic setting on a CV?

To give a personal example, I was recently given the opportunity to teach an introduction to philosophy to refugees and asylum seekers. Although this teaching experience is not academic, I feel it is worth mentioning on my academic CV. However, I am unsure where exactly to fit it in.

Moreover, beyond my specific example, I am sure there are many similar cases of teaching philosophy outside of the university setting.

Very curious to hear what others think about this.


Hi Marcus,

Thanks for doing this. I have a question about transitioning from academia to a professional degree program, and would really appreciate your input.

I recently started at a lower-ranked philosophy PhD program and I've realized pretty quickly that although I enjoy the academic aspect of it, I would have little to no prospects of academic employment if I keep going down this route. So, I am thinking of leaving my program with an MA and applying to professional degree programs instead (I'm primarily considering master's programs in public policy, business, and law at this point).

Now,I am in a bit of a predicament: most professional grad school applications would require me to submit letters of recommendation from current professors/supervisors. I am worried that if I ask my current professors/supervisor for a recommendation, they may look down upon my choice of leaving academia and even think of me as a sellout (especially for something like business or law school). I'm also concerned that this attitude may further reflect in their recommendation and really hinder my chances of getting into a good program. In this case, how should I approach the process of getting a recommendation?

Thanks again!

- Anonymous Graduate Student


I got a virtual interview a few years ago for a TT position. I did not advance to the next round. They have advertised a similar position this year. There is a slight difference in emphasis for the job this year. Still, should I bother applying again?


The participants at a paper workshop suggested I send in my paper as a response piece. They also noted that response pieces are 'easier to get in.'

My paper responds to a problem that is associated with a particular philosopher, so I suppose that this shouldn't be too hard. But, how would I go about framing the paper as a response piece? Do I do this merely to flag to the editor that this paper is a response piece? Also, is it true that response papers are easier to get published?


I have a question about how to categorize a type of teaching that occurs outside the classroom. I have a student who wants to study a particular text with me outside of class, and I am going to guide them through the text and teach it to them. It will be a semester long project, and I have taken it on. It's not quite a reading group, and obviously not a course. Is this worth putting on a CV? How should it be categorized?


Reply to anon: It might be too late in the semester bureaucratically (or maybe this isn't something your university allows), but I would look into whether you can get it registered as an independent study course. This is what I'm doing with an undergrad this semester: we're meeting regularly about a text, and he'll write a paper at the end of the semester. I think this can be an attractive option for students, because it'll count for course credit and be a place where they can do some independent thinking and writing without it being a thesis-level project. If you were reading texts on, say, Buddhist ethics, you could list it as "Buddhist Ethics (Independent Study Course)" along with your other courses for Fall 2021. I don't think making it an independent study course would be more work than what you're doing already; you can decide how long the final paper would need to be and you'd have to grade that, but the readings and discussion are the largest part of it.

writing sample advice

I have a job market question I've been struggling with. So, suppose that I work on X and Y, but my dissertation and best work is mainly in X, but the job is in Y. Do I submit my best work, or the work that falls more squarely within Y (which I think is less good etc).

Perhaps relevantly, X and Y interact a lot throughout my work, and other parts of my file will make the clear. But my best work is more squarely on the side of X.

What have people done in this situation? Also curious about people who have used 2 writing samples to navigate this -- e.g. sending one paper in X and one in Y (and in that case, which would you use as your primary and which as secondary)?

Thanks so much!


@ postdoc thank you for the feedback. I can't actually do an independent study at this point in the semester, and we wanted to start right away. So if that's not an option, is there any way to describe and categorize such teaching on a CV?


I can't actually do an independent study at this point in the semester, and we wanted to start right away. So if that's not an option, is there any way to describe and categorize such teaching on a

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