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Lucky Luke

How to become a journal editor? Is the correct answer: "become famous and be invited"? Is the more detailed answer: publish in the journal, review for the journal, guest-edit for the journal, get invited to serve the editorial board, get invited to become AE and eventually get invited to become the EiC? I have the luck of being invited to the editorial board of my favourite journal (after publishing, reviewing and editing special issues for the journal - and other journals). I have met the EiC, and the line of communication is open. Can I simply express my interest to the editor(s) - perhaps after serving the journal well from the board position? I guess it is the EiC who nominates associate editors, but when it comes to nominating EiC, does, for instance, the publisher have an opinion/veto etc.? I think the discussion on this might be useful for others as well - given the large number of submissions any decent journal receives, it would be good if more people were willing to become editors.

young academic woes

Is it frowned upon to have a new tenure-track position, and to be applying out to a different one? For various reasons, it is already clear that this place is not a good fit for my family. But it feels bad to be applying out, especially since the department invested in me and may not get a replacement line.


Can my publication record and overall fit for the job outweigh a lack of solo teaching experience? I have plenty of teaching assistant experience, but have no solo experience yet. I'm nearing the end of my PhD program and have found a job to apply for that's perfect for me.


asking for a friend

Following up on "young academic woes." Given the structure of the market these days, it seems almost impossible to wait for the right fit when applying for one's first job. My question is slightly different, however: what ought one do at one's first job to be appealing to jobs where one wants to lateral? Is there anything unique that would be beneficial (travel, presentations, networking) that applies less for seeking the first job than for seeking the lateral to the right fit?

I know this is a touchy conversation, but it's also a very real and necessary one.


Say you have two separate research projects, one in each of your areas of specialization. From the hiring committee side, do you want to see how these two projects are connected, even if the narrative the persons tells to do so seems a bit, shall we say, fluffed up? I think this is especially tricky for someone who justifiably claims an AOS in a historical area + a standard area (epistemology, ethics). If I wrote a dissertation on Spinoza theory of action and also work on forgiveness, should I really be trying to say something about their connection?

Where I am coming from is that I've seen research statements written as what amounts to a standalone essay on one's research that brings in past and future projects, and I've seen research statements that begin with a basic overview paragraph and then just describe papers and monographs on their own, leaving it to the reader to find the connections. I could see the person I describe above opting for the latter, but then someone thinking: What's the connection between this ethics stuff and the Spinoza?

It just seems right to me that not all of one's research need be so connected. Our actual philosophical interests often don't often fall into AOS categories, and when they don't, why bother trying to find some story that unifies them instead of just saying: I like X; and I like Y?

But if the answer is that hiring committees like that, then I'm willing to play ball

Recent Grad

How do you explain your work to non-philosophers in small talks or non-academic interviews? I recently went from philosophy grad school to a non-academic job market, where potential employers and colleagues love to ask me to explain the research I did. My work was quite theoretical (some issues in epistemology and meta-ethics), and I don't know a good way to explain my work to them in a short conversation. Most people either have a hard time understanding the topics or don't see why they are meaningful. But I HAVE TO make an interesting conversation that makes them happy and satisfied!

I feel tempted to pretend that my research was in an area that they might find more interesting, perhaps political philosophy or ethics, but I'm also reluctant to do so - after all, I spent several years of my life studying the theoretical issues (sometimes even meta-theoretical issues).

I would appreciate any advice!


If you have an article/paper/chapter that you are never going to publish elsewhere, is it better to publish it in a special issue of a lower-ranking journal than not publishing it at all? I've heard mixed advice on this.

For context, I'm thinking of special issues of journals most people haven't heard of, but that semi well-known philosophers have published in, or will also be publishing in in the special issue.

I'm thinking well-known philosophers being in the special issue (or in previous issues) kind of "legitimizes" the journal, but when looking at a CV, you don't get to see that, which can potentially be seen as a negative by search committees.

This question is also applicable to "non-elite" edited books (e.g., not Cambridge Companions).

on the market

What is a 'short writing sample?'

I've seen a couple of jobs ads posted where what is requested is a 'short writing sample'. What does that mean? Does it mean under 20 pages? Under 10? Any guesses from those with experience?

I have a conference paper that I've presented once and that I am revising into something larger, and I'm wondering if that would be appropriate (I think it might be of interest for this particular job too). But then I always assumed, rightly I think, that conference papers should not be used as writing samples.


Prospective Workshop Applicant

What makes for a strong abstract when submitting to conferences and workshops?

A CFA has just opened for a prestigious and competitive workshop in my subfield. It's much easier to get an understanding of what makes for a strong paper - simply read papers published in prestigious journals. But the kinds of elongated abstracts that you submit as workshop proposals don't (to my knowledge) tend to be available online. So, how should you write the abstract? What should you include? How detailed should your summary of your arguments be? Can you focus on particular sections of the paper and gloss over others, or do you need to detail every step of the paper? Should you make any arguments in the abstract itself? And should you include citations and/or a bibliography?

Thanks for the help!

non-tt faculty

I got into the final stage interview last round somewhere. I plan to apply for that place again for virtually the same position. Should I highlight in the cover letter the differences in my publication, teaching experience, research proposal etc.?

East Coaster

What do you do when you use an idea you got from someone in a talk? This isn't quite the same as a draft labeled "Do not cite or circulate." But still, it is less than a formal paper. And I would not want to claim the idea as my own.


East Coaster
Talk to the person whose talk it was. Let them know your idea, and your plans. If they say hey man that's mine, then you have to work it out


I have submitted a paper to a special issue of Synthese, and it is now under review of the third reviewer. Is it normal to get a paper reviewed by more than two reviewers (in my case, three) in a special issue? Does this mean that there are conflicting suggestions from the first two reviewers?

East Coaster

non-easter: Took your advice, and it resolved my question. Thanks!


Sometimes life is like a Broadway musical and it works out in the end!
Best wishes


I'm on the job market for the second time this year, and I'm wondering if I should ask all of my letter writers to update their letters. My advisor is updating his to reflect new publications and awards, but do the others need to? I'm especially curious if it's recommended to ask the writer of the teaching letter of rec to update their letter, since I've taught several new classes and won a teaching award since last year.


What is the best way to include teaching evaluations that are in languages other than English in job applications to UK/US universities?


When is the right time to put a paper on philpapers? When it is accepted? When it is published? Thanks!


Is it really the case that search committees do not have access to the "voluntary self-identification" of race, gender, etc? I know there are other ways of ascertaining this information, but I wonder how much of the confidentiality of this information is BS.


Could those who have served on hiring committees say what are some important questions they would expect job applicants to ask the hiring committee members during an interview?

Unresponsive reference

In cases where job applications just ask for the contact details of reference writers, rather than require them to upload their letter: what happens when a reference is slow or even fails to respond when they are eventually contacted? I have a very unresponsive reference and if it's a matter of them uploading their letter by a certain deadline I can pester them until they've done it, but if they will be contacted by the search committee at some unknown time there is less I can do. Would the search committee in such a case tell the candidate that they cannot get hold of one of their references, so that I could then try to contact them myself? Or does it just mean that they won't have the reference letter and which potentially harms the application.

Early Career

How are publications in invite-only journals (like Phil Issues and Phil Topics) viewed?

These journals often perform very badly in journal rankings (i.e. the Leiter polls), but I have the impression that those polls might be significantly understating the reputation of these journals. Is that right?

Current PhD Student

I'm a PhD student trying to figure out how to spend my free time in grad school taking into account the following things:

1) I am more geographically picky than some. I scoured all the PhilJobs posts in my AOS from the last month or so, and I would only consider 62% of them (for long-term, non-post-doc jobs). This makes me think I should try to be as broadly appealing to the most kinds of jobs (research, teaching, alt-ac), which would require not being the BEST at any of these (scary!)

2) I enjoy public humanities and the thought of working for an ethics center even in an operations position (though I don't know if jobs in these places are any less competitive than tenure-track professorships).

3) I am fairly confident that a TT job at an R1 is off the table for me given my research program being not as sexy as some and my being at a very-good-but-not-Harvard department where placement has been bad lately. So I do not want to have the mindset of someone looking for a prestigious research-focused job.

3) I love teaching and would be happy to be at a teaching-oriented university or community college. I will have taught several of my own courses by the time I'm on the market.

4) I am also happy to work for a nonprofit if teaching doesn't work out (and I have some relevant credentials and training in this area).

Basically, I have no idea what I should spend my free time doing over the next couple of years. Some options include: focus mostly on publishing, do some nonprofit work on the side, lean into public humanities stuff and outreach, network, do whatever I want b/c it doesn't matter?!

Any advice is very welcome, thank you!

Farm to Market

How do people (especially those on hiring committees, tenure committees, etc.) view publications in special volumes on pop cultural topics? E.g., Philosophy and Dragons, The Ethics of Middle-earth? Is there any professional value? Does it leave a negative impression?


Is there a preferred way to decide when to acknowledge a specific reviewer comment with a dedicated footnote, instead of offering a general thank-you in an acknowledgments section? For example, suppose a reviewer recommends I cite a paper that I have not cited, or asks for additional argument in support of a premise. If I make requested changes like these, should I flag them and thank "an anonymous reviewer" in individual footnotes? Or is a single/general acknowledgments note enough?


When is it OK (or even a good idea) to stop using recommendation letters from your PhD advisor in job applications? My former advisor is great, we have a good relationship, and I have every reason to think their letters for me are strong. But as a postdoc who's several years out from their PhD, it's starting to feel weird to rely on the testimony of someone who's sort of professionally obligated to say nice things about me. (I have good letters from others outside my PhD program I could use instead.)

On the other hand, I've heard it said that search committees might interpret it as a sign of bad blood or other weird dynamics if a pre-TT person doesn't submit a letter from their advisor. That's a false impression I'd like to avoid giving.

Conflict of interest

I recently submitted a paper to Phil Studies, which was sent back by Springer's editorial office because I didn't include a conflict of interest statement *in the blinded manuscript*.

I have never been required to do this before, and it seems quite obvious that this potentially violates the manuscript's anonymity. For example, my research is funded by a scholarship that is only awarded once every year, so it is very easy to deduce my identity.

Has anyone heard of such requirements before? I just cannot quite comprehend that this is the policy at Springer journals, but maybe I'm missing something.

Switching Tracks

I'm a senior grad student finishing up my thesis. I'm finding that there's not much more to say within my thesis research area, and I've also recently found new interest in a different and less studied area of philosophy. Would there be problems when it comes to trying to get a job that I no longer want to work on my original area of specialization and want to switch tracks on to a new topic that would require me to start almost from scratch?


A question about teaching letters (i.e. letters of recommendation speaking to your teaching abilities). I've not seen any job ad specifically asking for a teaching letter, but for something like 3 letters of recommendation. Is it just expected that applicants submit a teaching letters along with their other letters?

lateral moves

Suppose you are in a TT position and you are shortlisted for another. Assuming that you would remain in your current school if they offered you more, when should you talk with the head of your department? Once you have been shortlisted (offering not to go to the interview)? Once you have been selected?

whom to choose

What goes into selecting a potential reviewer for your article? Is it normal for junior scholars to select, for example, their thesis advisor or another person at their graduate institution? Should it specifically be someone who works on this exact topic, or someone who you know in the general area of philosophy?

I've never presented this exact argument, so I don't feel that I would have met someone at a conference who clearly responded well to this particular work. Although, I did attend a conference on this topic and met some folks there. What's the best strategy?


What, if any, differences should there be between cover letters for associate professor positions and assistant professor positions?


People say most of the work of writing a publishable paper comes out in the editing process. Let's say you have a first draft. Can you advise on the way to edit a half-baked piece of writing into a polished work of philosophy? Sometimes it's easy to get "stuck in your head" or overly perfectionistic to the point that you give up on the draft altogether. Thanks.


Is it inappropriate for a job applicant to look at prepared notes to answer questions during an in-person interview?

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