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Questioning Their Career

I'm close to finishing my PhD - I could be done this coming year if I so choose - and I'm not sure what to do next. I'm just not sure that I really like this work anymore. In the last month or so, I have absolutely dreaded the very thought of writing, and even just talking about philosophy, whether with professor, friends, or students, feels painful at times. I know this is a common reaction to finishing up a dissertation - none of my friends have liked their work by the end of it - and so this could just be the result of burnout. I also know that I now am closer to a professional philosopher than I've ever been, though. I have a much clearer sense of what the job is now than I ever did in the past. I don't think I should just dismiss my current antipathy because it might go away in the future.

I also currently have an opportunity to pursue a very different kind of work that I have good reasons to think I could find deeply meaningful and enjoyable, and my life on that path would be much easier if I started the pursuit sooner rather than later. I plan to finish my dissertation regardless, but my plans for going on the job market and all that would entail would seriously conflict with my ability to start on this alternate path.

This has all left me feeling deeply conflicted. I've poured so much of myself into pursuing this degree and a position in this profession. Being an academic feels like a deep part of me. I've also, historically, loved it. It's sometimes been bad just like any job, but that's never made me doubt that I should pursue it. It feels like I could be throwing something away needlessly because of a temporary setback.

I'm hoping for some insight into what sorts of factors have lead folks either to decide to carry on with academia despite some significant doubts or to leave the profession. I think hearing about others' experiences would help me to better understand whether what I'm experiencing now is a case of mere burnout or something more serious. Thank you all so much for any insight you might have!


I'm wondering how much feedback others get from their supervisors and also how much they expect from you and your work. I've talked to others both in philosophy and outside, and I am very surprised to hear from a lot of people, mostly those from outside philosophy, that they get fairly little feedback, sometimes just once a year with committee meetings, and also often requiring fairly little revision at all. Are the expectations in philosophy much higher than other fields? Are they healthy?

looking for data

I am aware of a couple of crowdsourced web pages for data on average journal review times and other relevant stats for early career people trying to get a feel for where they should and shouldn't send things off if they're hoping for a semi-reasonable turnaround. There are plenty of "specialist" journals, though, that don't end up on those lists, particularly those that intersect with the sciences. I think it could be really helpful to get a thread going in which people can share links to any such journal database pages that they're aware of (including pages for interdisciplinary journals!). I personally didn't find out about these things until well into grad school, and wish I had earlier. I think this would also be a great way of increasing the accuracy of these sources (by increasing submission #s) and slightly minimizing the extent to which success at early stages in this profession hinges on knowing the "right" people with this sort of insider info!



I'm interested in doing a PhD in philosophy of education. The programs I find just based on internet searching are in education departments. These programs aren't out of the question for me, but I'm wondering if there are philosophy departments that welcome that area of research, as I don't see it much when I look on departments' research pages or faculty interests.

And if there are philosophy departments that do accept that area of research, which programs should I look into?


genuinely curious

Asking as an upcoming applicant: What are mid-ranked programs and how should we compare them? My sense is the following:

1. The current top 9 (ending with USC) plus Stanford are the best.
2. Top 14-22 -- from CUNY to Cornell are second-tier.
3. Top 22-36 -- from UCSD, Chicago, to UPenn are third-tier.
4. The rest, starting with Georgetown, progressively gets worse.

So what are "mid-ranked" programs here? Is it 2 and 3, or just 3, or some of 2, 3, and some of 4? Where do UCSD and Chicago fall, for instance? In addition, do you have a sense as to which programs are on the rise and which ones are on the decline?

I'm genuinely asking this to figure out people's actual perceptions and predictions about prestige. I am aware that there are other factors important to consider; my question is just about prestige comparison. I'm not interested in a discussion of the absurdity of rankings or whatever. Clearly, everyone cares about these and takes them seriously to an extent whether they find it absurd or not.

word limit

Do revise-and-resubmits have to respect the same initial word limit? Or is there some leeway (10% over?)?


I'd love some frank opinions/advice about including Philosophy of Religion in one's AOS. I'm in a position where I can list it, but I don't yet have publications on the topic, so no one would likely know I do PoR if I didn't include it. I have been told by senior faculty across several universities (including those who work in PoR) that there some quarters where PoR is seen with disdain, and that I shouldn't pursue it openly until I already have a job. There's the further consideration, which I'm not asking about here, that there are few jobs looking for a PoR AOS; what I want to know is specifically whether people think there's anything to the idea that it is most pragmatic, where possible, to refrain from mentioning PoR as an AOS to dodge stigma among job committees.

As a follow-up, if folks agree that there *is* such a stigma, I'd be curious to hear what other topics would also be unwise to voluntarily disclose.

Frustrated Naturalist

Related to PhilReligionQuestioner's comment, but coming from the opposite angle. I got my PhD from a good program, but it's a religious institution. My advisor works on phil religion, though it's not their only area (and not what they supervised me in).

I've noticed that everywhere I've interviewed for TT either has someone doing phil religion on the faculty, or ends up hiring someone who does phil religion. Meanwhile, heavily secular departments ignore me.

Here's the thing: I am as atheist as I can possibly be. A hardcore naturalist. I think philosophical questions about God are about as interesting as philosophical questions about leprechauns. Am I being typecast, or is it likely coincidence? And if I am being typecast, what can I do about it?

Aoi Ashito

I am currently finishing the first year of my PhD. Unfortunately, I am thinking of applying for a transfer because I am not happy in my present program. There are many reasons for this: they are not running many of the courses advertised, some professors I wanted to work with left, etc. I am fine with starting from scratch but I was wondering how admissions committees look upon such applications. What is the risk involved in applying for a transfer? For example, would the admission committees inform my current institution about my intentions?

academic migrant

Surge in work in investigating academic misconduct due to chatGPT?

My employer uses turnitin and asks us to investigate every single case where turnitin shows any percentage of assignments being generated by AI. I think this has gotten a bit out of hand despite constantly warning my students about the policy. (Student who have something detected also tend to conclude their assignments with “some experts say X some experts say Y and this is an important issue so we need to investigate further and have more discussions.”)

I think this has substantially increased my workload and that of the casual staff who works with me. Is this getting more common? How have others dealt with the increased workload and potential unpaid work of casual staff?


A top 10 generalist journal rejected a manuscript of mine on the basis of one referee report. The one referee said that they had rejected an earlier version of my manuscript elsewhere. I know that editors can have a hard time finding referees, but should editors base rejections on reports provided by one such referee?

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