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grad student

For conferences which we've been accepted to, but we've decline/withdrawn (e.g. due to conflicts in schedule, teaching committment, lack of funding, etc.), do we still list them on our CV and indicate 'withdrawn'?

in the teaching trenches

I'm curious about how faculty are coping with the continual erosion of student ability: e.g. to attend class, to take notes, to study, to write clear sentences, to read texts, to come to office or drop-in hours when they need help, to respond to emails, to care enough to withdraw from a class rather than failing it. Note that I'm *not* asking for advice on how to change these behaviors. (My own view is that we are entering into a new age of functional illiteracy, at least as measured by the standards most of those reading this blog grew up with, and that no one person can change the social and educational inequities that are behind this dramatic shift I'm seeing in student readiness and behavior.) I'm simply asking if anyone has any advice on how to manage the feelings that these problems can generate, because I'm getting close to throwing in the towel. FWIW: I'm at a R1 state institution that basically has open admissions.

new to the game

I am a junior faculty member and started to receive referee requests. I am curious about people's criteria for recommendations (acceptance, minor revision, major revision, and rejection, among others).

In addition to any general thoughts, I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts on the following two questions. First, do you take the "quality" of a journal into consideration? For example, is it reasonable to think, "this paper is not good enough for Phil Review or PPR, but for this journal, sure, it should be accepted"? I feel that this sounds pretty normal, but I also know that people do not like journal rankings. If the quality of a journal should be considered, what is your standard? Do you implicitly or explicitly follow a specific ranking such as the survey by Leiter?

Second, is there a principle that you follow when you make your recommendations? To be honest, the rejections that I received usually raised some objections to my arguments. Is it a good principle that if you can find an objection to the author's main argument, then you should (probably) reject the paper? Do you recommend direct acceptance only when you cannot find a good objection? Thank you!

On the market

Some job ads don't ask for a teaching statement, but say something like "some evidence of significant skill in teaching and mentoring." What do people send, in these cases?

a simple student

I am an ABD student. My question is what our expectations from dissertation advisors should be? My advisor reads the drafts and gives feedback. He is also ready to meet and discuss whenever I need. But that is pretty much it. Should I expect more from an advisor? Should I expect him to introduce me to other professors in other universities or invite me to certain conferences he attends? Should I expect him to do networking for me? I attended a few conferences where my advisor was also present. But he never introduced me to his colleagues from other universities or told them that I was his student.

Perplexed about R&R

Dear all,
I've recieved "major revision" verdict form a very good journal. This is the 2nd revision of the paper and I struggle how to proceed, because I feel that reviewer2 does not understand half of my manuscript...

He or she wrote 2 paragraphs in his/her review and I think that the proper way to address this review is just explain why all the sentences in this review are false/stupid. And zero changes in the paper.

Can I do so? Perhaps such a response will be treated as rude and my paper will be rejected?

Grad Applicant

A question for those who have served on recruitment committees: If you take the PhD-granting institution's reputation into account in your evaluation of a job candidate (which seems to be a common if not pervasive approach), do you consider specialism rankings or only general ones? I ask because I am applying for grad programs, am keen to apply to departments that are relatively lowly ranked in general but which are very good for the area I'm interested in, yet do not want to make applying for jobs harder than it already is. Please also mention how your colleagues seem to approach this issue as well, if possible, please.

New prof

Okay maybe this has been addressed on the Cocoon.

But here goes anyway--imagine yourself in the situation where you have just been hired as an assistant professor in a new department. Your initial sense of euphoria and busy work for the fist year and a half or so prevents you from seeing it, but slowly, it dawns on you that there is a long-standing ugly feud going on which has been going on for maybe decades, long before you arrived. For instance, a dispute between secular and religious people in a religious-identifying school, continentals vs analytics, a sexual harassment scandal involving a faculty member who is still around that made a deep rift but where no accusations resulted in, say, a title IX case.

Battle lines are drawn. Usually it's quiet but you find yourself in a search committee where it comes to the fore, for instance. How are you supposed to deal with this? Pick a side? Try to be "neutral"? Trying to resolve the situation, which people have tried before of course, will probably not work for someone who comes in new (and who only gradually realizes what work culture they've unwittingly been hired into). Any tips welcome.

a cocoon visitor

Search committee members: Has it ever mattered to you/even registered with you that a candidate has made it clear in their cover letter (and in a genuine, non-corny way) that this is their 'dream job' (whether stated so specifically or not)?

feeling poor

I feel that UK jobs, starting from like 37k-44k GBP (roughly 45k-54k USD), isn't a lot. At least as the single source of income for a family of four, I don't feel that I can save up to anything. (Bracketing the steep costs for applying for indefinite leave to remain down the track.) Maybe I'm doing something wrong, e.g. having kids too early, and maybe this is something worth taking into consideration for those thinking about having kids.

I'm very grateful for having a job, and I know that I'm extremely lucky compared to my equally qualified peers who are still seeking stability. But I'm feeling the financial pressure, and it is producing a lot of anxiety for me and my partner. (My partner plans to start working once the kids are old enough to go to childcare.)

But here's the general question. Do people who start their first stable (TT or continuing) job in other places of the world feel similar financial stress?


I would appreciate advice on how to choose what to present for job talks. How do people go about it? Do they give different talks for different jobs? Do people ever present their writing sample, or other published work? Overall, should one prioritise showing that one has new work and/or work that fits the AOS very well, or rather just giving one's strongest talk?


Can we get a commiserative thread with horror stories about letters of rec for PhD/jobs? About writers who flake, who ghost, who make unreasonable demands, who have unrealistic expectations, etc....

I don't want to terrify up-and-comers, but I'm dealing right now with a – let's say – challenging letter-writer as I apply for jobs, and it is by turns stressful, terrifying, and infuriating. I think it would help me (and others?) to have a little 'hold my drink, this one's a doozy' comradery.

Also reports from search committee members saying 'nobody I know cares a whit about letters of recommendation' are welcome, too, of course :)

Panicked Grad!

I think I have made an egregious error on my CV & Website. I recently read on this thread (https://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2021/08/how-to-list-items-on-your-cv.html) that you should not be listing chapters in edited volumes as forthcoming, unless you have confirmation that it is in press.

I did not realize that book chapters that have been invited for inclusion in specialized edited volume, and have already been reviewed by the editors could not be listed as "forthcoming" on a CV. I thought it was fine to do so because it has been reviewed twice by the editors and they have told me that my paper is "done".

I have already applied for jobs with this error on my CV & research statement. What should I do?

I haven't been intentionally duplicitous, and really don't want to come across that way: it was a genuine error. My question is: What should I do now? Should I fix the error on my webpage and my CV now and just not worry about how this will look for jobs that I have already applied for? Should I withdraw my application for jobs where the deadline has elapsed and where I have made this error?

Marcus Arvan

@Panicked Grad!: don’t panic! If your paper has been reviewed and you have been told by the editor that your paper is accepted into the volume, then “forthcoming” is fine! I just gave that previous Cocoon thread a quick read and unless I missed it, I didn’t see someone suggest otherwise. What you don’t want to do is to list a chapter as “forthcoming” simply on the basis that it has been in invited (but not yet reviewed or officially accepted).

cautious editor

Panicky and Marcus
If the edited volume needs to go out for a review - sometimes called a clearance review - then you should not list it YET. Papers can be cut at that stage.

Grad Applicant

What are the potential benefits and harms of naming professors in grad applications? I am considering naming one or two since (1) I genuinely really want to work with them, and (2) I assume naming them increases the chance that (if my application is not initially cut) one of these professors will read my application (and hopefully they'll like what they see and perhaps root for me during decision discussions, etc.). Is this naive? And, separately, if you (on an admissions committee) have expertise in the AOI an applicant lists, and they don't mention you, do you lose interest in that applicant/favor other applicants who do mention you as their favored faculty? Any other related considerations would also be helpful. Thanks.

To Exam or Not to Exam

This is related to the thread about student capacities, but I figured it should probably be its own thread. I am just starting to teach my own courses, and so far have avoided exams. I figured they encourage more rote memorization than anything else, can be pretty stressful, and it seems fine for students to learn one or two topics in depth for their papers and then learn through smaller assignments like reading responses. However, I am starting to worry that students might have pretty major misunderstandings of some core ideas in the class, and several seem to be unable to recall other topics we discussed in class. I'm wondering if I should just accept this as a worthwhile cost to not having exams (or perhaps this would not change even with exams), or whether I should figure out a way to incorporate exams into my syllabi in the future (in a way that isn't just super easy to cheat).

Grad student

With triple-blind journals, what happens if the chief editor knows that a submitted paper is yours? I assume they don't pretend not to know, so do they defer to an associate editor, or desk reject, etc? Similarly, what if the relevant associate editor (area specialist) knows the paper is yours? I'd hope there are ways around this problem, but if not then it seems to suggest that we should avoid discussing our work with editors from journals we want to submit to, which seems rather silly.

job market baby

I'm anticipating having a nursing infant during flyout season. How have women with nursing babies approached campus visits, and how has that gone?

grad student

A thread on developing expertise might be helpful. It often feels like there's always so much more to read on a topic, and it can be hard to be sure that you're saying something new or that you have a grasp of the subject at hand.


If you interviewed somewhere, did not get the job, but the same position is now being advertised again, seemingly indicating a failed search, is it worth applying again?

I don't know what I don't know here in terms of why I didn't get the position or why the search failed, but all things being equal, there is seemingly no harm in applying.

But is any kind of acknowledgement of having interviewed previously worth mentioning or not?

Just any general advice is appreciated.


I seem to recall on the Cocoon, back in the height of the pandemic, someone offering a resource (from some kind of financial rating agency or consulting firm) for assessing the financial health of colleges/unis. This came up in the context of someone worrying about taking a job at a college that might do under during their time there. How do you all approach this issue? Can you recommend specific ratings sites/catalogs/etc.?

not good at finance

People, I would like to ask your advise on how to best spend research fund (maybe just viable ways of spending it). Other than buying books, the things I can think of are (1) fund my trips (2) invite visitors (3) organize conferences. I am not sure if I am ready to do (2) and (3) as a junior person. If I do them, I will probably do them on behalf of my department and therefore will not use my personal fund.I can do (1) but usually my trips are funded by inviters. Maybe I should just gather the courage to do (2) and (3)? Or are there other easier and useful things that I can do with my fund?


"not good at finance" here. I just want to add something to my question [Marcus: please feel free to postpone posting this]. The ironic thing is that the largest expense for me research-related is not to visit anyone and any place, but to stay at a hotel solo and write (which is weirdly necessary for me to do the research that requires intense focus). I suppose I cannot reimburse such an expense without "faking" an invitation, by which I mean asking a friend to write a research invitation and let me stay nearby. (For the record, I have never tried to do something like that.) Anyway, I just want to hear people's advice and their experiences on using personal research funds.

Philosopher Snail

I am becoming less efficient in writing as time goes on. When I read productivity advice for academics, the bottom line is usually, "spend more hours of your day writing." But what is "writing" mean? My real problem is not so much about finding hours for research, or about writing itself, it is about the process of translating great ideas into a single (limited) paper. When writing for a conference, I always see so many angles of exploring a theme and I struggle to choose between them. This bogs down my process as I explore all of them simultaneously, and often ends up complicating my writing to the point I publish one dense piece that really would have been better as three separate papers. I am also a really slow reader, and my time tends to get bogged down by researching (often of sources that don't end up helping much in the end but only take more time). So I guess my question is: does anyone have advice for improving the efficiency of the process of transforming an idea into an article or chapter, without sacrificing serious scholarship or rigorous original thought? If you see multiple paths to a question, what intellectual or pragmatic strategies do you use when deciding which one to take? What kind of external or internal limits do you use keep the (temporal) balance of researching new sources and pursuing original thinking vs. writing pieces?


Quick question about the word limit of philosophy journals. If not specified, does the word limit include footnotes and bibliographies?

editor and referee

Just assume that the word count does include the notes and bibliography. I work on a journal, and far too many people think they are an exception, and their argument needs to be treated in more words. At one point it really wears you down. Get a reputation for honoring limits ... it will work in your favour in the long run. I have edited a few volumes, and I have passed over difficult people as contributors, even if they are good scholars.

To Specs or Not Specs

I posted a question about exams earlier on this thread, and now have a similar question that might pair well with that one:

I have heard many teachers starting to use specification grading as a way of maintaining high standards without stressing the students out too much. Has anyone tried this and liked it/not liked it?

not catholic

I'm curious in the perspective of those who work at schools with religious affiliations. I know it will vary with the school, but do those working at such (for instance Catholic) schools have a general sense of what they would look for from applicants who are not of that faith? I'm starting to interview at such institutions, and I'm a bit unsure of myself.

I imagine that no one wants an applicant to misrepresent the extent to which they are religious in general or have beliefs that align with a particular faith. At the same time, I wonder if true honesty is a virtue if, for instance, an applicant considers herself an atheist. Might an honest atheist have a shot at being employed in a Catholic university? Or is it best to profess some sort of amorous spirituality to be more palatable?

And I know that a non-religious candidate might be more fulfilled at a non-religious school. We just all need to be realistic about the sort of choices that job candidates are faced with these days.

not catholic edit

"amorPHous" spirituality,

NOT "amorous" spirituality.


Reading the recent post about ABD job candidates has really cemented the idea that one should apply when the dissertation is substantially complete. This leads me to question: do most people go on the market for multiple years while in graduate school? Or only their last year?

Not holding his breath

Are other people having huge problems with peer review this year? I keep statistics on my reviews. My average review time in 2020-2022 was 3.2 months. My average review time this year was 7.3 months. I had 2 *very short* referee reports 8 to 11 months after submission, and the editor rejected the paper based on these reviews. I had a desk rejection that took 6 months. One of my papers has been under review for 15 months now. What am I going to tell my promotion committee, "sorry it seems that everyone is busy this year and I can't get decisions on my material"?


I'm having motivation problems. This is my 4th year on the job market and it looks as though, once again, I'm not going to get any traction whatsoever this year.

The thing is, I'm currently in the 1st year of a postdoc position that's part of a grant that I wrote for a 2 year project. So, I'm quite lucky in that I'm employed with another year and half to keep doing research and few other responsibilities.

However, given my complete lack of success on the job market (besides the postdoc position I've been in), I have no reason to think that accruing further publications is going to do much for my chances of landing a TT position. I've got what I think is a very strong publication record - it's comparable to what many people have who've gotten tenure. Yet, like so many others, it doesn't seem to have made the slightest difference in getting a job. Sadly, this is probably due, in part, to having gotten my PhD from a unranked department.

At this point, I'm basically counting on the fact that I'm going to go back into a construction gig once this postdoc is up. Given that I've written the grant, there's little penalty attached to being less productive for the remainder of it. Add to this, I have a wife and a toddler who I could spend more time with while I've got job flexibility, I'm finding it very hard to motivate/justify continuing to invest myself in what seems to be a almost certain dead end. How much time/emotional energy should I continue to invest?

Nobody puts baby in a corner?

Suppose you've got a brand new book coming out, or a spicy new article, and you'd like to do some colloquium talks. How do you get into that circuit?

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