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12/14/2023

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Hermias

How to go big?
Kind of building off the previous post. I’ve been revisiting Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, for the first time since freshman year. Comparing what they wrote with what I write/what I see people writing, it seems that they are doing really massive-picture stuff about the fundamentals of metaphysics and epistemology, but that lots of people now are working on really small-picture stuff. I’m increasingly thinking that “division of labor” in philosophy (a) just doesn’t work - unlike the sciences, there’s no point in a “catalogue of monkeys” or finessing the Rawlsian edifice, etc. By its nature, philosophy is concerned with the whole, knitting the cosmic yogurt, and so has to take lofty leave of a lot of details. (b) from an existential point of view/why do this instead of “big money, big cars, big bodyguards”, it seems worth it to go to Descartes-levels of big picture and, probably, make a mess of it, than to have scribed out the 1808th footnote to Rawls (sorry, just don’t like Rawls lol).

So, advise for going big, or thoughts on whether this is the wrong way of looking at it.

Writing while teaching a lot

Idiosyncratic self-reporting incoming:

I teach a lot, but still try to write a lot too. So what happens? I get an idea; I then have a vague recollection of a paper or two in the area that I should probably read and cite; but otherwise I just want to write MY paper, and don't have the time--I teach a 4/4--to read up like I did in graduate school. (I'm also not going to leisurely sit on things, let it be a conference paper first, and so on - I want to get stuff out.). Plus, I am not even sure why I should feel the pressure to dig into every related piece, when I just want to get my ideas out. But oh, right, no journal will review my papers if the reference list is too short. But who has the time to research like they did in grad school? Why is the journal standard set for the spaciousness of R1 research conditions?

Summary of predicament: I have no problem writing despite a heavy teaching load; the problem is that my environment does not allow me to approach writing like a graduate student, or postdoc, or someone at an R1. And I don't plan to be someone who just saves writing for the summer.

Tips?

Aeden

Blogging for graduate students.

I was wondering what might be the advantages and disadvantages of blogging as a graduate student. Especially if the blogging is oriented towards the public rather than academic philosophers.

The advantages, as far as I can tell, amount to having a "testing ground" for ideas, being able to fulfil some kind of responsibility towards the public, and maybe improving one's writing. The disadvantages are the opportunity costs of blogging as opposed to publishing, and quite possibly a poor evaluation of the graduate students by professional philosophers who might disagree with some of the more "badly defended," half-baked ideas published in the blog.

What do folks think?

mossy

Job market decisions between temporary positions.

It has been made clear to me that if one were to commit to a VAP and then receive a TT offer, that it is acceptable to withdraw from the VAP and take the TT offer. What I am curious about is how the calculus runs when it concerns different kinds of non-TT offers. For instance, if someone commits to a 1 year VAP and then receives an offer for a 2 year postdoc, is it acceptable to take the postdoc and withdraw from the VAP or would it be seen negatively given that the postdoc is not a TT job and withdrawal is only acceptable for a TT position? It occurs to me that many of these temporary positions are heterogeneous in terms of teaching load and contract term (1-3 years) so I am curious to hear if there is any consensus on this point given that a junior scholar is, at once, hoping to make the best choice for themself and hoping not to burn bridges in the process.

jd

I'm a non-tenure track faculty member with a very small travel stipend. I've been lucky enough to get papers accepted at multiple conferences, and I really want to go to all of them. I will use my entire travel stipend to travel to the first conference and am looking for additional travel funding.

I've searched Pivot, the APA site, and checked with conference organizers for funding and couldnt find anything that obviously applies to me. Lots of opportunities for grad students though! Any advice on where to look?

Bookish

Is there any way to fund the process of converting a dissertation into a book? Perhaps it it is understood that it requires additional new research to do so?
Post-docs, fellowships, grants...?

My concern is that if I must take on much teaching and/or other work to pay the bills, it won't leave enough time to write the book, as the project is massive, dense and intense.

Friend Zoned

It's now happened to me multiple times that I have a first round interview, the school moves on to fly outs, and I hear nothing about it. (I know there is a related, but distinct, issue of a school sending out rejections to some, interview invites to others, and nothing to a third group.)

If you've already interviewed me, I think I deserve your consideration! Also, if you've already interviewed me, it can't be the case that it would be *such* a burden to notify me that you've moved on with other candidates. Lastly, you wouldn't have to tell me that I have no chance to get the job; you could just do me the favor of telling me that you've invited others for a campus visit.

Am I missing something? Is it too much to think that those who have taken the time to interview with schools deserve some sort of timely notice, as opposed to months of silence and inferences?

desk reject

Publishing question: I am curious as to how journal editors decide whether or not to "desk reject" a manuscript. I have received many such rejections (where a manuscript is rejected without ever being sent to referees). Most times this happens the rejection does not include any feedback or comments from the editor, so I'm left entirely in the dark. On the basis of what are these decisions made? Is the manuscript actually read? Skimmed?

prospective graduate student

I'm thinking about going back to school after taking several years to pursue a career in software engineering. I'm not sure what to put in my application materials. I'm working on rewriting one of my old papers, and I've been doing a lot of reading to re-familiarize myself with the field. How do I explain the gap, and am I at a disadvantage because of it? Any advice for people looking to re-enter academia in general?

grad student of doom 💀

Is it typical to include conference commentary on a CV? Should it be listed along with other conference presentations but with the clarification that it was just commentary?

Thanks!

Referee Question

Is there ever a point to replying to referee feedback (on a rejection) when it is mistaken? To be clear, I have no interest in questioning the rejection with the journal/editor and am submitting the manuscript elsewhere.

Briefly: had a paper rejected for a combination of reasons, one of which the editor mentioned basing the decision on specifically and which was IMO not accurate. Specifically, the referee indicated I should have consulted and used a particular example from an author's other work rather than the example I did use, when these examples are identical. The same referee also indicated that I don't engage with well-known theory X, which would be a great point except that (1) that theory and area is not germane to the topic of my paper and (2) the architect of theory X is very clear in print that the topic of my paper would not 'apply' to the theory. The comments were not particularly detailed, although two of the same referee's other comments were somewhat helpful for revision.

Is this sort of thing just par for the course?

Library trouble

How do you balance the professional necessity of access to one's physical library (your books and papers complete with your marginalia) with the need for moving back and forth?

In my particular case, I'm hoping to move somewhere else (complete, I assume, with my library) for graduate school but to still spend my summers, as much as possible, back home. I'm hoping to continue to do research during those summers, but it obviously makes no sense to ship my library back and forth.

My immediate solutions seem to be: notes, libraries, and (alas) e-copies. But I'm curious how folks in general approach this dimension of professional life.

NewlyMintedPhD

How common it is for journal editors to reject a paper even if the referee reports recommend an R&? My paper got rejected from a high-profile journal but the reports had notes in the lines of "when revising, author should do X" or "If I were to revise this paper...". Recent discussion here has made it clear that appealing a decision is nigh futile; I guess I'm asking to lick my wounds more effectively.

one small referee

Newly
Remember that the referees are only offering advice. You can certainly take their advice about how to revise your paper. But the editor must balance the advice of the two or three referees. And even two R&Rs do not always lead to an acceptance or even an invitation to submit a revised manuscript. Some of his is an artefact of the size of the journal - if they do not publish a lot of article, and have many submissions, many 2XR&Rs will be rejected.

best or bust

Can I still get into top philosophy PhD programs after a break, following my MA?

I've always been a kind of all-or-nothing type of person, studying philosophy only at top international schools. Last year, after my MA from a well-known terminal program in the U.S., I tried for the top 10 (and only top 10) PhD programs and didn't get in, except for two waitlists that didn't work out. Now, I'm in a high-tech research/writing job, wondering if my chances for those elite PhD spots are already gone. I'm thinking of applying again in the future, but I'm not sure if there's any clear way of collecting more prestige to make my application matter to these schools. I have the option of making myself an American citizen in the next few years, which would matter I suppose, but the gap between my MA and applications is growing larger. Any advice?

I cannot answer your question without more information

best or not ...
what do you mean by top international schools: Cambridge and Oxford? Munich? NYU in Dubai? It makes a big difference to your answer

Bookish

Are there post-docs that do not require relocation? That is, "remote" post-docs, or at least predominantly remote, which may require occasional in-person visits?

How much weight?

I've heard that, at some departments, almost the entire decision as to whether to hire a candidate hinges on the job talk. I imagine this is especially true in cases in which the entire department votes and many professors are only acquainted with the candidate via the job talk.

Does this echo others' experience? I'm not trying to put additional pressure on my own job talk, but it's good to know if that's the truth of the matter.

What is a "likeable" candidate?

I know there will be wide divergence on this question, and my hope is simply that, by compiling different perspectives, some common themes will emerge.

A comment on an earlier post about the importance of job talks said that it's not the merit of the argument that matters the most, but instead the delivery, Q&A, post-talk reception, and way the candidate responds to questions.

What sort of things do people like to see, outside of philosophical merit, in their job candidates? A friendly person? A serious person? An open person? An argumentative person? A patient person?

Of course, we should all be very skeptical about basing decisions on this sort of criteria given the overwhelming possibility of bias. That said, I accept that this is how many decisions get made, and I'm curious what philosophers (I'm looking at you!) are looking for in colleagues.

The man who has no idea

Does anyone have clues on the time limit of submitting a revised version of a R&R paper to Inquiry?

The email generated by their system says I need to submit the revision within a month, which is kind of an unreasonable. So I am wondering what's the 'real' norm of resubmitting a R&R paper to Inquiry.

Impatient

What is it permissible to do in light of an accepted paper taking very long to actually reach print?

I have a paper, that was accepted in April last year, but is still "Awaiting Production Checklist". I haven't heard from the journal since it was accepted, and looking through the journal website, it seems like lots of paper take a long time from acceptance to being published online even though they have an online first publication model. (As a side note, there seems to be no pattern as to when accepted papers are published - some accepted more recently than mine have been published, others accepted even longer ago have only just been published - what is going on here?)

My problem is that I want this paper published (not just accepted) so that others might read it, and because I think the arguments could be quite important for the field. I'm also early career, and it would help with my name recognition - I'm also somewhat worried someone might scoop me even though the paper has been accepted.

I have the paper on my website, but I would like it to show up on philpapers and google scholar, so that people can find it. Is there a way of doing this? Alternatively, is it acceptable to upload the paper as a pre-print somewhere (i.e. SSRN) even though the paper has been accepted?

Looking to move on

I've heard different things about moving jobs before/after tenure. Is it easier after or before, or in what circumstances? I see sometimes senior people moving around a bunch, and the process seems much more informal for those sorts of moves. I'm looking to find a more research-supportive job and wondering what the likelihood of this is, and how to increase the odds. Is it done via networking, making it known to various people that I'm "available", so to speak, rather than just applying to positions posted on philjobs (which tend to be junior)?

Travis

I'm considering going up for promotion to full professor in the next few years. One of the criteria the promotion committee will be looking at is 'professional recognition' which includes holding an office in a professional organization or association. I've never been asked to hold such an office, or even been aware of any nomination procedures for such. Outside of just starting my own philosophy association and appointing myself president, how do I get a leadership position of some sort in a philosophy association? If anyone is looking, I'm volunteering.

Grad student

How do hiring committees of Philosophy departments look at someone who's spent some years in a position (TT or non-TT, maybe this makes a difference) at a business school or other non-Philosophy department straight out of grad school? I'm considering applying, but would prefer to end up in a Philosophy department later on. (If possible please specify geographic area which your experience applies to.)

Grad student

At what point in the publication process is it acceptable to list a chapter in an edited volume as "forthcoming" on one's CV, or to cite it as "forthcoming" in other work? When the editors have accepted the proposal, when the full draft or the final revisions have been submitted, or at some other point?

prospective student

I also posted this in the thread that relates to my situation, but would be interested in any and all thoughts.

I have been in industry for 8 years post-undergrad (investing business) in US. I took a few (12 credits) philosophy classes in undergrad, while majoring in business, and had always loved them.

Over the last 2 years, I had some pretty significant personal life things happen that made me question the meaning of my work (this work that I had previously thought was my "vocation.").

To do some soul searching, over the last 2 years I have been taking online MA Phil classes. This hobby has blossomed into something I would like to take more seriously, culminating in getting a paper published in a well respected journal. I would like to apply to more serious MA programs to pursue next steps. The difficulty I'm running in to is the Phil Dept of my current program will only supply letters of recommendation if I am an in-person FT student, which I am not.

Any advice on how to get letters of recommendation, or how to approach the application process without recs?

Submit or not?

I’ve come across a CFA for a conference that fits perfectly with some of my work. The call states that the organizers anticipate publishing the conference papers in a collected volume. However, the paper I would present is already under review at a journal (it has a fairly long turnaround time, but I cannot exclude the possibility that the paper might be published around the time of the conference, if accepted). Journal publications are also what matter the most for promotion at my department, so I would hesitate to withdraw the paper from the journal and publish it in a volume. But I would still consider it valuable to present at the conference, as it includes networking, being exposed to new work by others, etc.

Is it considered inappropriate to submit an abstract for a conference without having the intention of contributing to a collected volume? If not, at what stage would it be best to inform the organizers? And would it look bad if I should end up presenting a paper that has just been published ahead of print?

argh&argh

I often find that when I receive a "major revisions" decision on a paper, what reviewers are asking me to do places me well outside of the word limit of the paper. In fact, oftentimes I purposefully excluded the information they'd like to see precisely because I needed to cut sections to meet the word limit. I'd love to see some suggestions on how to deal with this. How can I respond to all of the reviewers' suggestion without the paper ballooning to twice its initial length?

waiting

I've had a paper under review for 3 months, with 2 referee reports having been submitted since month 1.5. I know, I know, they might have asked a third referee, but they might not have. When is it appropriate to contact the journal to ask for an update?

response to reviewers

I'd love to see some advice on how to write a good response to reviewer comments. In particular, I'm wondering whether it's appropriate to explain a response to Reviewer B, for example, in part by explaining what Reviewer A requested. For example, Reviewer B suggests changes to section 1. Reviewer A suggests a change which indicates that scrapping section 1 altogether was the way to go. In responding to Reviewer B, would it ever be appropriate to explain that section 1 was scrapped because of both reviewers criticisms? Or is one supposed to restrict their responses only to what each reviewer has suggested and make no reference to the other reviewer's comments. Thanks!

nonanon

I received a rejection from a journal, and the comments I received from the one referee report make it pretty obvious who the referee was. They're a good referee for the paper given the topic, BUT they had already (non-anonymously) read the paper a few months before I submitted it to the journal. This goes against the journal's double-anonymous review policy. Should I write to the editor? Or just let it go?

NervousApplicant

Hi! I have applied for graduate school in philosophy and have a question that is just scratching at the back of my mind: how much of a red flag are some A-'s and B+'s in undergraduate coursework when it comes to applying to top 30 PhD programs? In my case, I've taken 20 philosophy courses and have A's in all of them except for two A-'s and two B+'s. Assuming the rest of my application is up to par (I think it is) would those non A's be a big problem?

Thank you!

relax, don't do it ... when you wanna come

Nervous
There is nothing you can do about an A- or a B+ now. So it would be irrational to worry about something that is beyond your ability to change. By far, you are more likely to be set aside from consideration in the top 10 schools because of where you did your undergraduate education - they have a strong preference for Ivey league universities, and other elite universities (Chicago, UCLA, UCBerkeley, MIT, NYU), and very selective liberal arts colleges, like Williams, Swarthmore, etc.

Sourpussin'

Two closely related questions for those of us in small dept gigs:

Is there a network to set up mentoring? When you're junior, these jobs can be very isolating. And if the few people immediately senior to you aren't great, or worse are tending toward poisonous, it can be really hard to see the forest or to make a good logging plan. I know some people have really thrived in small depts. (We see and appreciate you Marcus! And how does Gregg Caruso get it all done!) Is there any way to arrange for some sort of mentoring between junior and senior small dept folk?

Likewise, while I know that getting any kind of permanent employment is winning a lottery, sometimes the prize isn't quite what you'd hope for! https://americanliterature.com/author/w-w-jacobs/short-story/the-monkeys-paw

I wonder if there is a way for those of us stuck in the early career mud to have a happy hour or an anonymous vent board or something like that. (And for those hopeful to go into philosophy to know that lots of these jobs turn out to be not all that great, even if they are permanent or even TT.)

hoping for help

I came here to ask for advice on sources of funding for travel to conferences at which one has had a paper or abstract accepted. I'm a non-tenure track faculty member and exhausted my university's funding on the one other conference at which I've presented this academic year. I applied for travel assistance funding from the upcoming conference but didn't get it because it was allocated to applicants who have received no travel support from their universities this academic year (understandable). Does anyone know of other sources of funding that can be used for travel expenses to conferences? I'm just not finding any in the places I've searched. Also, I noticed a very similar question from jd on 12/15 but couldn't find a follow-up post in the conferences category. If there is one, please let me know! And if not, could there be one (please!). Thanks.

This was jd's post:
"I'm a non-tenure track faculty member with a very small travel stipend. I've been lucky enough to get papers accepted at multiple conferences, and I really want to go to all of them. I will use my entire travel stipend to travel to the first conference and am looking for additional travel funding.

I've searched Pivot, the APA site, and checked with conference organizers for funding and couldnt find anything that obviously applies to me. Lots of opportunities for grad students though! Any advice on where to look?" jd on 12/15

Grad Student

I'm a PhD student in a large department. Since workshops and seminars tend to focus on areas in which faculty have ongoing research, I often find myself reading draft articles or chapters written by my instructors.

I see lots of typos in these drafts, and I am tempted to point them out to the authors (privately, of course). But I don't know whether it's socially acceptable for PhD students to offer this kind of feedback to faculty. Since lots of you are faculty, I thought I'd ask: How would you feel if a PhD student sent you a marked-up copy of one of your drafts that identified a few typos? Relatedly: am I neglecting my professional duty by omitting this kind of feedback, if faculty have explicitly asked for feedback?

jr. academic

I apologize if this is silly. I'm a junior academic, and it's the first time I've done this. I agreed to co-edit a special issue of a Journal. How do I list this on my CV? Do I have an "Editorships" section under "Publications"? And then list the journal, volume #, and name of co-editor? If anyone has an example I could look at, I'd love that.

co-authors as sources of reference?

I received my phd 4 years ago. I am still in contact with my supervisor occasionally, but less so when it comes to other external referees. I start feeling that my current colleagues and (external) co-authors know my work a lot better. My favourite co-author is TT. We have published 2 papers together, and have 2 more being drafted. Would it be prudential to list my favourite co-author as my source of reference? Would their earlier career stage make their letters less cool?

B

Is there a list of resources for junior to mid-career faculty who are looking for (partly) funding a sabbatical/get additional training?

I have in mind something like the British Academy mid-career fellowship, or a Tempelton grant for tenured faculty to get additional training (discontinued a few years ago I believe).

Sometimes one is in the privileged position of being able to take a sabbatical, but coming from a country with low academic salaries it is difficult to organize longer research stays/pay for tuition elsewhere.

Thank you!

Potential APA Submitter

I had a colloquium paper rejected from the APA, and I have since revised it so much that it has a new thesis and a totally different argument. Some of the core insights are the same, but the framing, structure, and argumentation is new. I'd say if you compared the two versions probably like 40-45% is similar stuff framed/structured differently, 55-60% is brand new. Is it worth it/acceptable to submit it again to the same division (it got rejected from 2/3 divisions), or would this be considered malpractice/impermissible of some sort?

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