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Harley Maxwell

Van Alstyne is correct. Those PhD holders should charge at least $3500 for a talk. And nearly everyone else should refuse to pay it. There should be fewer talks.

Cecil Burrow

Surely Van Alstyne is not living on planet earth, or does not know anything about academia. Academics typically give talks in academic settings either to get their name out there, or to get feedback on work in progress. The audience is then doing the speaker as much of a favor as vice-versa. Trying to cover someone's travel and lodging expenses if possible is of course basic manners, and if possible, a small honorarium would be nice. The idea that for typical talks something like $3500 should be changing hands is so out of touch with reality that I'm almost not sure it's a serious suggestion.


How many hours of training does it take for a good talk in professional philosophy? 100?

Don’t be afraid of money as if it were bad.

maybe controversial

Thanks for the discussion, Helen! I'm very glad to hear your point because I've been thinking for quite some time that I was the only one thinking this. (Not saying that you and I would agree entirely on this issue, but at least it's refreshing to hear a carefully thought-out PoV that isn't in support of larger honoraria.)
I'm an early career URM who does a lot of service, who is nevertheless not financially precarious. A lot of people around me have advocated against "unpaid labour", such as the informal mentoring a lot of us are expected to do. Personally I feel like this is almost a gig-fication and fragmentation of what it means to be a member of a community. I'm all for people receiving more money, but I dislike the "I've spent 10 hours mentoring and should charge $30 per hour" way of talking about it, which is common in a lot of these discussions. There are more profitable things I can do with those hours. And I would certainly approach a "client" who pays me differently from a "mentee" who reaches out to help.
I think the same is true for talks. I agree with you that hosting institutions should try to cover all of the cost of the travel and they should invite precariously employed people more often. Another thing they can do, I think, if they expect some folks to consult/mentor, because of their marginalized status, in addition to giving a research talk, is to formalize those events so speakers can 1) decline if they prefer not to have a second thing tagged along their research talk, 2) put it on their CV, 3) perhaps be funded to stay an extra day or have a fancy dinner as part of the event.

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