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early career

Anyone (or Marcus?) affiliated with SLACs care to weigh-in as to the dearth of job postings at such places this year? It's a real bummer for those from the SLAC system who would ideally love to teach & work at that kind of institution. Or maybe my perception is off? But it seems like there haven't been many postings at SLACs.


If a candidate has a number of papers that are available on the inter webs, what is the function of the writing sample? Assuming that I would choose one of those publications, it seems to me that I'm not exactly giving them something they don't already have.

Maybe it's a way of pointing to the paper I like the most? Is most representative of where I've been/where I want to go?

Future Conference Presenter

A conference question: Someone will be commenting on a paper of mine for the first time at the Eastern APA, and I have to give them a "final draft" by the end of the month. The conference itself only allows ~3,000 word submission, but the full paper is ~7,000 words.

If I give my commentator the shorter paper, there is a good chance they will bring up some good objections that I address in the longer version. But of course the 7,000 word version was not submitted and requires more effort to review. Should I reach out and ask the commentator what they prefer? Is it rude to just send them the longer version? Should I send both? Thanks!


Can I include paid work under 'service' on my CV? I'm doing some copy-editing for a journal. Or is service supposed to be volunteer?

British post-doc applicant

This question might be too specific, especially given the UK focus, but I think there is no harm in asking.

I am looking to apply for a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and one of the criteria is that "the project put forward should therefore not be a reworking or mere extension of the candidate’s doctoral research project". I was wondering if anyone had a sense of how distinct a project has to be in these sorts of circumstances?

For instance, suppose my doctoral thesis was on distributive justice, would another project on distributive justice but in a different domain be considered an extension of the project?

Or suppose my thesis was fairly theoretical, but I now want to explore similar questions in applied/practical philosophy, but informed by my previous work. Would this be considered sufficiently different?

More broadly, do people have a sense about the merits of this kind of project versus one on a very different subject but still in ones broad research specialism?


Postdoc Curious

I find postdocs to be the most opaque jobs to apply for in terms of what criteria might be used to assess my application. I’m specifically talking about postdocs, fellow, or JRF-type jobs that are not focused on a specific/defined research project. Often, these job ads are very short and the department websites can be more undergrad-focused, which makes saying anything about working there or what I would bring to the table speculative and genera at best.

Are there any specific things that committees look for? Any things you would include or mention in those applications’ cover letters or research statements? (To clarify, I don’t have publications to highlight yet. So, I know that would be an obvious thing to highlight. I’m looking for less obvious things to mention.) Does having fewer research programs discussed in more depth the way to go or is it better to have many projects? (The second strategy may increase one’s chances of having something catch a committee’s eye. But, the first strategy could be better in many other ways.)

It would be very helpful to hear tips and advice from people who were successful in landing postdocs like this (e.g., Society of Fellows, MIT’s Stalnaker postdoc, etc.). Also, if any search committees have any suggestions for applicants (or their pet peeves to signal *what not to do*), that would be great too!

postdoc advice

To Postdoc Curious:

From my past (successful) experiences, it might help to describe how you, as a temporary member of the department, are nonetheless committed to making valuable contributions to the community and are capable of doing so. Such contributions may include capacity to offer hitherto non-existing courses, willingness/ability to collaborate with scholars from other humanities (esp. important for society fellowships), experiences in organizing workshops/conferences, and so on. Take your cover letter as a piece of advertisement and be sure to explain why you're a worthy junior colleague to have even just for 2-3 years.

Best of luck!

Postdoc waiting

I am a postdoc on the job market and I only have minor publications on my CV. I currently have three publications under review; one of this paper has been reviewed for a year at a highly-regarded journal in my main AOS and another is stuck in a third R&R round since May. The difficulty for finding reviewers may be explained by the fact that I use an unusual empirically-informed methodology in philosophy.

Would it be a good idea to address the impact of the reviewing bottleneck on my research in my job documents? And if so, how? Instead of directly addressing this situation in my cover letter, a way to hint at this situation could be to add on my CV and/or research statement the dates since my papers have been under review or through R&R. Or, would it be better to have my letter writers addressing this situation in their letters?

Not Canadian

Can someone working at a Canadian institution, and preferably someone who has been part of hiring committees, speak to the typical' Canadians will be given priority' line in most job ads at Canadian universities. It would be helpful to know how this is actually put in practice when it comes to selecting candidates. What I am most curious about is whether it is already effective at the interview stage, or whether it is more of a tiebreaker.

This would be very helpful for more than one of us, I assume.

early career

I have seen several job adverts recently for Asisstant Professor roles that seem to request graduate mentoring. Are new Asisstant Professors actually expected to mentor graduates from day one, or is this listed as something that will be expected in the future? Or am I misunderstanding and they do not mean PhD dissertation supervision but something else by graduate mentoring in the US? It seems like a lot to ask recent PhDs to mentor graduates.

kit kat

Does anyone have advice for what an early scholar might do while taking a break from writing? I'm in a post-doc and feel a bit(lot) burnt out on writing, having done it at a blistering pace for so, so many years. I'm starting some time "off" from this particular aspect of my career and hoping to spend more time reading, exploring philosophy, and perhaps other things.

Has anyone taken a similar sort of break from writing? How was it? Do people have tips as to how to stay engaged with philosophy even if not through new research projects?

Anon Postdoc

I've seen a few discussion here about presenting papers before they are under review. And the consensus seems to be that this is fine (as I think it should be).

However, I'm not sure you've touched on presenting papers that are currently under review.

Specifically, I am giving a talk next week on a paper that is already under review, and at a venue where I expect some of the most obvious reviewers for the paper will be attending (although it is not a particularly niche paper, so the probability the reviewers are actually there is reasonably low).

The following reasons make me think this should not be a problem: 1. I'm pretty sure I've seen people do this before. 2. If the reviewers are in the audience and haven't started reading the paper yet then this is really just an instance of pre-review presentation.

But the final reason goes rather the other way: 3. If the reviewers have started reading the paper and my presentation changes their views of the paper (either positively or negatively) then they might need to excuse themselves (or feel that they should) from review—and that would be annoying for everyone (me, the reviewers, the editors) due to the wasted time and effort all around.

So, have I made a mistake? And assuming that I will present the paper anyway (it would be difficult to change now), is it better to flag that the paper is already under review or not to mention it?

the most terrible time of the year

Here's one concerning holiday stressors, which is not so much a question as it is a request for the opportunity to vent and/or swap stories of frustration during this time of the year.

I am an early-career person with a large publication output and a series of decent postdoc and VAP-type jobs at good institutions, but no TT job. It turns out that, to my friends and family (nearly all of whom are non-academics), such a career profile makes me indistinguishable from someone who has spent the last many years living in the basement and playing video games.

I've just spent a mentally exhausting few days "back home" among these people for the holidays. It quickly became clear to me that they cannot parse my efforts as successful given that I'm still on the job market.
Some annoyingly ignorant questions I got include, "When do you get to start teaching your own classes?" (I've been teaching my own classes for nine years, five as a PhD student and four as an early-career non-TT prof); "Is the reason you don't have tenure because you don't publish?" (which especially smarts given how aggressive I've been with publishing my research compared to my peers), "How's life as a philosophy major?", and, perhaps most annoyingly, "How's school?" (clearly implying the inability to distinguish between being a professor and being a student). Given the stressors of the job market, etc., dealing with the alienation that follows from friends and family members who cannot see one's hard work and instead read one as a slacker who needs to "work harder" to get that job is especially mentally taxing.

In posting this, I'm not really asking for advice. The rational part of me knows that I should assess myself through the evaluation of my peers (who are experts), not laypeople who do not understand my field; that I cannot expect friends and family to understand my field; that I should remember that I don't even really understand what *they* do for a living; etc. But nevertheless, I would benefit from the opportunity to vent about this, and imagine others might be able to relate.


Occasionally, I found other disciplines like animal studies or nursing or jurisprudence also discuss some very general philosophical questions like " what is conceptual analysis". And they do refer to lots of philosophers' work in their papers. My question is whether discussing these works by non-philosophers (not just referring but devoting two or even more paragraphs to discussing their views, putting them on a par with other prominent philosophers) is proper. From time to time, I found some interesting views from their works or their works offer a clearer and more careful literature review.

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