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Worried about the risks on all sides

Only if you are willing to suffer bias in the other direction from two groups: (1) conservatives who disagree with you substantially—probably not a large number of people. And (2) liberals who agree on the substance but aren't interested in having the kind of colleague who is that personally political (and yet doesn't work in political philosophy on those topics)—probably a much larger number of people.

This will depend a lot, I think, on where you are applying for jobs. I suspect that in the US (2) won't be that many people. But outside the US you are likely to find a much higher resistance to bringing politics into the workplace (unless you specifically work on those issues as the focus of your research).


This strikes me as a very American-specific concern. I have worked in the US, and I found that there were many people who were keen to share their political views, and did so as a means to display their courage (on both the right and left, I will add). This made for an especially hostile wokplace. Further, I think that it creates an odd environment where students do not feel they will be evaluated in a fair manner. I think we owe it to our students, and perhaps our colleagues, to keep a lot of non-professional stuff out of the professional workplace.

TT who just wants collegues to do their jobs

I have two very political colleagues with diametrically opposed viewpoints. They are also the colleagues I dislike the most because they find it necessary to politicize everything. I would be very reluctant to bring in a new colleague if I felt that their political views would be central to the type of colleague they were, regardless of the content of those views.


I think that doing something like this would signal to me, either:
(1) You have gotten into some kind of imbroglio that you are trying to extricate yourself from.
(2) You are a narcissist who thinks too much about all the possible ways you might be perceived.
(3) You are a zealot who views everything through the shattered prism of American politics.

I think it's a really bad idea. I think that anyone with half a brain knows that it's a big wide world with all kinds of folx in it, that there are plenty of people interested in PoR who are socially liberal.

It's true that from a 'inductive inference/Bayesian update' point of view, being interested in PoR might raise my estimate that you're a conservative. But, learning that someone is American raises my estimate that they are morbidly obese, learning that someone is British raises my estimate that they have bad teeth, etc. If I make decisions on the basis of this kind of 3rd tier evidence, I'm not making decisions well. Probably a committee is making decisions on the basis of this kind of evidence, but your proposed cure is worse than the disease.

search committee experience

I would also add the possibility of these statements, and linking to them, being perceived as an empty gesture.

Veteran Witch-Fynder

Worried about the risks on all sides,

Non-liberals/socialists are very rare in academia, especially in philosophy, and they are self-selected for those who don't mind working with liberals or socialists. There are a handful of departments where political signalling would hurt.

A bigger problem, I think, is left-leaning philosophers seeing such signalling as currying favour, especially since a BLM or Roe-vs-Wade statement is a very low-cost signal in the context of American academia.

In general, the signals I have seen people use for witch-hunting are things like e.g. working on areas of philosophy that they think are suspicious, like Heidegger, formal epistemology, or all of analytic philosophy (!). Naturally, these political stereotypes are often proxies for methodological disputes and insecurities.

op hegel lover

OP here. Thanks for all this (and any further) advice. You all have convinced me not to link to my department's statements on my webpage.

I guess I was hoping that all that was stopping me from getting one of these many tenure-track jobs for which I keep interviewing was some good, old-fashioned virtue signaling on my personal web page ;)

I kid. Sort of.

op hegel lover again

@Hermias, to respond to one of your many interesting points:

I don't think, FWIW, it's right to say that this kind of signposting on the job market is narcissistic. Trying to show search committees who you are in all senses--that you do good work and are a good person--is itself a necessary, not narcissistic, part of the job-market process. In my own documents, I make all kinds of borderline-pufferies (e.g., "My teaching evaluations quantitatively have been the best in my department for X years in a row") that I wouldn't ever call attention to otherwise. I do this not because I love myself, but because this is, so far as I can tell, what the job market requires. Your claim seems to be that posting such statements crosses a line, though, and while I *think* that I disagree, I might be wrong.

I dwell on this because the question of proper job market self-presentation in terms of perception has become a pet one for me given how the last five years have gone, and a problem with which I think I really struggle personally. (At the risk of getting tangential, the norms self-presentation in application materials are completely antithetical to how I live my life other. I never talk about how good I am, I just try really hard to do good things. But it seems to me that the job market requires that one talk quite a bit about how good one is, which I simply don't know how to do. Pardon the digression.)

Anyway, the lines dividing necessary self-description, mere puffery, and narcissism--again in terms of the perception of search committee members--are unknown to me. I'd certainly be curious if anyone had further thoughts.

op hegel lover yet again

Sorry, one more thing: @Hermias, I realize I'm failing to distinguish between two separate points, (1) that political signposting might *appear* narcissistic (your claim) and (2) that it *is* narcissistic (not your claim, though above I might be speaking like it is). In any case, I hope what I'm saying above makes sense overall.


@Hegel lover

I agree that self-promotion is, though distasteful, totally warranted, e.g. 'why i write such excellent books, why my students rate me 5/5'. However, I think that once you get beyond things that are, in some fairly narrow sense, relevant to the 'job', then you can get into this hall of mirrors where you're trying to guess what the committee wants to hear - as proven by perusing message boards like this, they're all very different and nobody knows what they want; it's like herding cat - and then the narcissism worry comes in.

I'm reminded of the Apocryphon of John, which gives a weird image of how the world came to be:

The Father is surrounded by light.
He apprehends himself in that light
He is conscious of his image everywhere around him,
Perceiving his image in this spring of Spirit,
Pouring forth from himself.
He is enamored of the image he sees in the light-water,
The spring of pure light-water enveloping him.

hegel lover

Very good and nicely made points, Hermias. Thanks for that.


On the one hand, I do think it is a philosopher's (and maybe every citizen's) duty to reflect on these political issues. On the other hand, it seems better to keep your personal website professional and have the discussions on social media.

Now maybe the best of both worlds is to highlight your political views on your social media and share your social media accounts on your personal website.

Bill Vanderburgh

Mentioning this sort of thing would be very out of place in application materials. Linking to it on your website is fine. It will have no net effect on your job prospects, however. (Committees mostly won't look, a few won't care, and the handful of others will be split on how they interpret it.)

UK context

I agree with Bill Vanderburgh here. We made 3 hires this year, and I don't think anyone looked at the personal website of any of the candidates. There is simply too much material to look at already, and at least our department is trying to make a conscious effort to minimise bias-inducing information.

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