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Not looking forward to this year's job market

Hey search committees and people on the market, tell me what you think about my hunch. I get the feeling that this year on the market is going to be worse than last term. I think this is because philosophers from Florida and Texas are going to have a mass exodus this year because of quality of life reasons, attacks on tenure, attacks on woke etc. (I do know one person who has gone the other way, but I think those will be few) What do people think, am I being paranoid?

upcoming job applicant

One of the commenters on the recent CV advice thread writes, "For PhD students, I glance at expected graduation date, but my assumption is that it is inaccurate. Unless I see strong evidence that they will complete their thesis before our job starts, I mostly pass them by. We have hiring restrictions around this, and given the number of stellar applications we have, it is not worth dealing with the problems arise if a PhD student doesn't have their degree in time." I've seen similar sentiments elsewhere on threads where search committee members are giving advice.

My question is, what is 'strong evidence' that an applicant will complete their dissertation before the job starts? My impression was originally that letter writers would essentially guarantee that the defense would take place e.g. that summer and back it up by summarizing progress and so on, but I noticed in the same thread that many people don't care much about letters at all. (Indeed, I can imagine that nearly all advisors would claim their students are certainly going to defend in time, so their statements wouldn't be super informative or reliable.) So, how can applicants who are genuinely certain to defend in time demonstrate that that's the case?

newly tt

I'm very good at generating new projects and writing initial drafts. But, revising is much harder and a specific difficulty I have (especially with more complex revisions like r&rs) is that it's harder to develop a sense of progress when working on a revision. So far, I've tried making lists of specific changes so the work doesn't feel invisible/non-existent. This has been a medium success. I'd like to know if other people have techniques they use to approach this part of the writing process.

can't compete, won't compete

Is there any place in academic philosophy for someone who is utterly non-competitive? I'm a junior scholar, and I keep being told that I belong in academia, but I find the academic atmosphere to be unbearable. I'm very secure about my own philosophical abilities and find no need to compete with anybody for anything, but I keep getting plagiarized from/sabotaged with zero provocation. The push for diversity, while great on paper, still only seems to be for hiring people who look different outwardly, but are still willing to "play the game" as it were, in exactly the same ways as everybody else. And so despite checking a lot of the cosmetic diversity boxes myself, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to remain in academia almost exclusively because of my reluctance to gamify philosophy. Am I simply naive in thinking that academic philosophy should not be identified with gamified philosophy, that there should be room for people like me as well?

paul tompkins

Does a lack of letter of recommendation from a job applicant raise a red flag for search committees? I'm a postdoc at a pretty good place, but my primary duties are teaching and my supervisor is pretty hands off, and so I haven't developed the kind of relationship with them that asking for a letter, at least for the coming job cycle, would be appropriate (or maybe a postdoc supervisor expects to write a letter eventually?). Should I try to develop a relationship with someone else in the department in the hopes of obtaining a letter? Any thoughts on these issues would be welcome!

Under Cover (Length)?

UK cover letters: I recently heard that these should be 3-4 pages, which goes against everything I have been told (1-1/2 pages). Who is right, if anyone?


I've come across a job ad for a tenure-tack position at the rank of assistant professor that only asks for a cover letter, CV, and letters of reference. The job is teaching-focused. What gives? How can I stand out as a candidate if they don't see a writing sample or even a teaching portfolio from me? Would it be a bad idea to send additional documents anyway?

a postdoc

Something I've recently encountered is editors and copy editors insisting that footnote citations be moved to the main text. This offends my aesthetic sensibilities and strikes me as unduly infringing on author style: other things equal, I strongly prefer philosophy papers with main text that is just doing philosophy over those that go back and forth between philosophy and scholarship throughout the main text. I also listen to a lot of philosophy papers and much prefer listening to ones that confine citations to footnotes. (After hearing one or two citations, I tend to get distracted and have to go back or miss parts of the paper. I can avoid this problem when citations are in footnotes by skipping the footnotes. In contrast, I don't know of any easy way not to listen to citations that are in the main text.) It occurred to me that it might be easier to persuade editors and copy editors not to insist on moving citations to the main text if there were a discussion to point to in the profession that acknowledges confine-citations-to-footnotes as a legitimate writing style with accessibility advantages.

upcoming PhD applicant

I am applying to PhD programs this upcoming cycle as an MA student. I have received very conflicting advice on the importance of having a "positive" writing sample rather than a critical one. The current paper I have prepared is a critical paper, though it is one that several professors and colleagues (including those working in the same area) have looked over and praised. The criticism has some large significance (if I'm right!) for a very recent subfield of normative ethics. But I am worried that my sample will not be well-received at top 25(ish) programs because it does not advance a strong positive argument. Could anyone provide any perspective on this issue? All feedback is appreciated.


I recently completed my PhD and it looks like I may have missed the boat for applying for postdoc/lectureship positions that begin in the Fall. Although I am applying to the odd positions that have been coming up, I'm anticipating having a "gap year." For this year, I was wondering if anyone has recommendations for what I should be focusing on preparing or completing in order to strengthen my applications for the future. Thanks in advance!

same journal

A paper of mine has been recently rejected from a journal. I have another paper that deals with a topic in the same sub-field. Would it be against me to submit that paper to the same journal that just rejected my other paper? I want to submit to that journal because it has a fast response time but would like to know whether it'd be ill-advised or not.

Mama Mia

I'm starting a permanent teaching position this Fall (3/3 load, small classes of 20-30 students, no research obligations - though it seems most people in this position do publish a little), and will have the equivalent of a "tenure review" after 3 years. My spouse and I also hope to grow our family in this window and I'm the birthing parent. (FWIW: after a year of employment I'll be eligible for a semester of parental leave, and the department I am joining has a reputation for being a supportive and caring environment.)

Do folks have advice for how to best prepare for this? Ways to build excellent courses that are dynamic and engaging (i.e. will make material for an impressive teaching portfolio and get stellar reviews from both students and supervisors), but that also can adjust for pregnancy-related interruptions and the collateral damage of postpartum sleep deprivation + hormones? I'm also open to advice about more general "life stuff" like time/household management, making the transition from 1 to 2 kids, etc. (FWIW: My spouse has a hybrid work schedule, we have a toddler who is in full-time daycare, a cleaning service 2x/month, and Instacart. We have no family nearby.)

My first pregnancy was physically very rough, but I was not teaching at the time. I also had postpartum "baby brain" for about a year - honestly, this is the thing that worries me the most. I LOVE teaching and am SO excited to start the new position, and a I want to do a stellar job. At the same time, I am not going to put my personal life on hold for my career. But (insofar as it's possible!) I want to be smart about this.

There have been a few good advice threads on pregnancy + parenting on this forum before, which I want to collect here for those searching for this kind of insight in the future:




Thanks to Marcus (as always!) for cultivating the supportive environment found here on the Cocoon. It has helped me think through a lot of my choices and strategies over the years, and has made me feel less alone.


Is it advisable to make reference to or directly quote student evaluations in a statement of teaching? I have comments from student evaluations that directly support various points I make in my teaching statement. But since the job I'm applying for doesn't ask to include teaching evaluations, I'm wondering if I should avoid doing this. For all the hiring committee knows, I'm just making it up.


Mr. Big

I wonder if others have run into the following challenge: in graduate school. I focused on "smaller", bite-sized ideas that I thought would be most easily published. I also think that philosophy moves pretty slowly, that "small" steps are really important, and that "big" steps often make a lot of "small" (and not-so-small) mistakes.

On the job market, it seems to me that committees are almost exclusively looking for "big" ideas, at least where I'm applying (R1, research-focused). I worry that I've written myself into the typecast of making "small" contributions that don't add up to anything "big". Since I'm junior, that doesn't seem fair since my small contributions haven't had time to add up to anything big. But that aside, I'm just wondering how to move toward "big" ideas, if for no other reason than that is what many schools seem to seek.

I also understand why colleagues want to hire someone working on "big," sexy ideas. I'm not sure that's where good philosophy is done, but it's certainly fun and interesting to engage with.


I've got a paper that has been accepted for publication but has now been 'awaiting publication checklist' for three months without any contact from the journal. Is this normal? Should I follow up at all to see where it has got to, or will this just annoy the editor when they are just waiting for the right time to publish? This is a journal that does online first publication so I don't see why it would get held up for this time.

Unsure (again)

This question may be too specific for many to have an answer to here, but perhaps it is worth asking anyway, in case people have had experience with this.

For people who have had funding that requires open access publication, does that requirement continue (for work undertaken partially or in full) after the funding ends? And if so, is it usually possible to access financial support from the original funder for open access publications?

In my case I was AHRC (UK) funded for my phd, and that required publishing open access. Now that my phd is over and my funding finished, am I still required to publish open access for work undertaken as part of the phd? I have two chapters of the thesis which could form the basis of a publication, but would look significantly different to the original work. I don't want to upset funders, but also don't want to hold back work from publishing in good venues because of this.

Weighing options

I am a PhD student with qualms about writing a reply to a recent paper that I have found both very engaging and in many respects objectionable. The "problem" is, this paper is published in a reputable journal and penned by quite a reputable mid-to-late-career author. The journal accepts replies to published pieces, and I believe in my ability to write something of value. Yet I am very uncertain whether it is wise and/or prudent to engage in this debate due to clear disbalance of seniority. Usually, replies to articles seem to be authored by scholars who have a standing / are somewhat known in the subfield.
I wonder what is the general consensus on this matter. Are my intuitions completely wrong? Should PhD students feel free to publish replies to senior colleagues?

Early-ish career questions

I find myself uncertain of certain norms and would appreciate guidance. I'm a few years into a tt job and have started to be invited to give talks semi-regularly. Often I have a piece that is semi-ready, so a few months out I frantically start trying to polish it up. But then, once I feel it is in good enough shape to give a talk, I face a conundrum. Do I submit it for publication, or wait until after I have given the talks? I'm not so secure in my tenure prospects that I feel comfortable not having pieces under review . But I worry there is a chance (however small!) that the paper could be accepted before some or all of the talks. My sense is that the norm is that you shouldn't give talks on pieces that are already published. But what I would then be left with is really underdeveloped things, and I also don't feel like I'm at a stage in my career where I feel comfortable waltzing into a talk with a super unpolished bit of work (maybe I never will be or should be!) To submit or not to submit? And what to do if an article were to get accepted? (And yes I know the real answer is probably "have multiple pretty polished pieces ready and/or cooking at any given moment" but sometimes I just....don't)

letter plague

I have a very basic question. Should I be asking references for updated letters? I keep most of my letters on hand in interfolio, but they will all be dated 2022.

I was thinking to email references and simply ask them to update the date to 2023 and offer my new materials should they choose to tweak the letter, without requesting that they do.

Is this acceptable or too much?

pretenure puzzle

Suppose one is pre-tenure and has been asked to participate on a hiring committee for a job specifically created for a person already at the institution who is in a temporary position. This fact--that the job is "for X" is widely known and openly discussed at faculty meetings. Yet, per institutional requirements, there is an ad and a search. There is virtually no chance anyone outside will get the job but making a stir about this without tenure seems foolhardy. So does voting for one of the (potentially better) outside candidates who applies.

What should one do?

PhD Student

I am a PhD student with an interest in philosophy of religion. A professor recently advised me not to publish anything with religious content unless and until I recieve tenure, since (in his experience) hiring committees heavily discriminate against religious people.

I have two worries about this advice. First, I doubt I will be very happy or productive if I do not write about philosophy of religion, at least occasionally. (I am interested in lots of other kinds of philosophy, but none so much as philosophy of religion.) Second, I have already published in philosophy of religion. (To make things worse, the relevant papers are -- horror of horrors -- arguments for theism.) So, it might be too late for me.

I used to think that allegations of anti-religious discrimination in philosophy were overblown, but reading this blog -- in particular, reading comments from posters who seem to regard religious people as their moral inferiors, or unfit to be their colleagues -- has changed my mind. I am quite worried about how this state of affairs could affect my family. (This also makes me worry that any hesitancy on my part to publish in philosophy of religion would be due to cowardice.)

What do you all think about this? I should emphasize that I am aiming for a research job at an R1 university, not a teaching job at a religious college. (I am aware that the odds of landing such a job are prohibitively long, but I am aiming for one anyway.)


Beside English, I have done academic work (publications, conference presentations) in another language as well (that being my native language). Should I list non-English work on my international CV, and if so, how? (For example, should I put it in a separate section, and should I translate the titles to English?)


The standard is to list your publications in the language they are published in, and then provide a translation of the article title or book title in England, in parentheses.

CV font size and length

Hi all, I'm wondering about CV font size and overall length.

Karen Kelsky of The Professor Is In strongly recommends no smaller than 12-point font in the CV, but I see plenty of successful professional philosophers with 10-point. I use 10-point on mine (and wouldn't go any smaller). At 10-point, my CV is five pages long. It expands to eight pages if I change to 12-point. This seems to me to be too long for a junior US person like me (five years out from defense in my case).

I'm wondering if anyone, but especially search committee members, has strong thoughts about what font is too small and what length is too long, or any practical advice for us as we try to shine up our CVs for the sake of the upcoming job market cycle.

My god, this is an esoteric question, but I imagine that this blog is the place to ask it. Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

A certain TYPE of person

CV font
Just use 12 pt. It is easy to read for readers of all ages. I worked with type before (seriously !?), so trust me. Philosophers and other untrained designers have a false sense of their design abilities, and their audiences' capacities.

Skip the BA?

I have an unusual question. My partner has an associate's degree, many years working in healthcare administration, and a fairly thorough philosophy education (being married to a philosopher for 15+ years, close friends with many academics, very well read, attended many etc.). Suppose she audits a philosophy graduate course, takes the GRE, and produces a great writing sample. Would it be entirely unrealistic that she could be admitted into a graduate program in philosophy without a bachelor's degree? Money is a huge obstacle to finishing the BA.

Newly minted assistant professor


I will be teaching a large undergraduate ethics class (120 students) this Fall and have been assigned 2 TAs. The class meets on M-W-F. This is my first time teaching a class with more than 40 students and my first time having any TAs.

Does anyone have any advice on how to distribute the work between my 2 TAs? My department told me previously that I can have a TA teach on Friday. Do readers recommend having both TAs teach together on Fridays? Alternate? Or have only 1 do the teaching and the other do grading? Or some other combination?

I would really appreciate advice on how to fairly distribute the work. Each TA can do 20 hours of work a week.

Thank you in advance.


I have two related questions regarding citation styles. Nowadays, most journals do not require a specific style when you submit a manuscript, but you need to follow their styles when your paper is accepted. First, do we have a sense of the most common style of philosophy journals? (Is there a survey or summary about this?) Second, since one probably needs to send a paper to a few different journals (not at once, of course), what "default" style do people use when you write your drafts before knowing where to send them?

Bob Law Blaw

Question that (perhaps) has not been discussed on this board: is one less competitive for philosophy jobs if one's current position is at a law school? If one has philosophy publications (including ones that don't touch on the law), is it still possible that hiring committees will think less of you for being on law faculty?

I get a sense that hiring committees sometimes discard candidates based on very little, especially during the first cut. I'm just curious to hear how people, especially those on search committees, react to those applying from other (seemingly disparate) disciplines.

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