Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For the record

No May JFP this year. Not that you're in a good way if you're relying on the JFP in May.

-- Second Suitor

28 comments:

Mr. Zero said...

Oh my god the JFP is a disaster.

Anonymous said...

That fucking blows.

Anonymous said...

I saw a guy downtown today with a sign reading "Will philosophize for food." You'd think that there would be lots of open adjunct positions. Nothing. Just nothing.

zombie said...

At the state U where I adjunct, they're losing two adjuncts who are moving on to other jobs in the fall (including me), and it looks like there will still have to be additional cuts. It's grim.

Anonymous said...

Makes me think of the scene from "History of the World, Part I" with Mel Brooks

Mr. Zero said...

I really didn't think the VAP market would be this bad. I thought schools would be trying to save money by hiring VAPs instead of TT positions. I guess they're saving money by not hiring anyone at all.

cross the breeze said...

Ugh. I'm surprised by how bad the VAP market is too. I've had a bunch of interviews and short-lists and jobs cancelled out from under me etc but still don't have anything for next year. It's a strange situation: to come so close one minute to having a dream job and then staring at having nothing for fall the next. Now I'm not sure if it's worth trying again: a gap on the CV won't look too good. Or is this worry overstated (I can't seem to get a straight answer on this)?

Anonymous said...

At the good LAC where a close friend works, they were supposed to get a VAP for next year (as consolation for not getting the tenure line they were promised earlier). Now, instead, they're closing some upper-level courses with low enrollment and replacing them with fewer lower-level sections that fill up. They stay below the 25-student threshold that US News cares about, so it doesn't hurt their ranking.

I think this is typical, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

cross the breeze, I implore you, do your best not to give up! Your case sounds very much like what I experienced this year - so close you can taste it, and then it's gone - and it can be difficult to rebound from. (I count myself fortunate to have at last gotten a TT CC offer.) But if you can bear it, do try again next year -- people will understand the CV gap given the economic situation.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind three things:

1) many institutions still haven't set their budgets for next year year. They will not do this until _after_ May 1 when students in the incoming freshmen class commit.

2) The JFP (and APA) is becoming more and more irrelevant. One JFP gets published the weekend of the Central APA meeting (making it impossible to apply and interview in a reasonable manner), and the timing of this one is ridiculously poor as well given what I stated above.

3) A number of schools are just bypassing the JFP altogether. In the last month, I've had interviews/been contacted about 4 VAP positions that were unadvertised on the JFP. If you're in a graduate program in any big city (Boston, NYC, DC, etc.) then departments looking for visiting professors just email the department chair and/or graduate director at the schools with graduate programs in the area. Why bother to pay for advertising and/or flyouts when they have a perfectly good selection of candidates that can just hop on the subway/commuter train and come and visit.

Perhaps, as members of the APA and users of the JFP, we should stop caring about relatively trivial things like whether or not some small, catholic school that no one has ever heard of is discriminating against homosexuals and start caring about producing a publication that is meaningful and having academic organization that serves a useful function. I am not suggesting that these two things are mutually exclusive (in fact, we should accomplish both), but it's like trying to repair a leaky roof while the house is burning down.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think that U.S. Philosophy programs should be ashamed for hiring Canadians or other foreigners, not Americans, in this extremely tough job market? Should our job market be protected? The Canadians protect theirs, so that no American or other foreigner can be hired unless a qualified Canadian cannot be found.

Popkin said...

Leave the poor Canadians alone. Canadian universities hire Americans all the time (I don't think that law about having to prefer Canadians really has any influence on hiring decisions---it only technically applies when a school is choosing between equally qualified candidates, and each school can decide for themselves how qualified each candidate is). Plus it seems to me that Canadians are at a disadvantage when applying to American schools anyway, since Canadian schools aren't rated as highly as they might be in the PGR, and their supervisors who write them letters necessarily work at low-profile Canadian schools. But, of course, I would think that, being a Canadian and all.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:43, Canadian departments only claim on paper to protect their job market, in order to follow the rules.

In practice this is not really so. In some cases having a PhD from a Canadian institution may count against you.

zombie said...

I'm an American who will soon be starting a two year postdoc fellowship at a Canadian university. Should Canadians be excluded from jobs at American schools? Hell no. They quite happily hire Americans, and are quite serious about funding fellowships. That business about giving preferential treatment to Canadians exists on paper. In reality, they look for their best candidate, get clearance from the govt, and that's it. They also welcome American students to their universities (I personally know of several), while it is harder for Canadians to study in the US.
All in all, Canada is far better to us than we are to them.

Clayton said...

"Does anyone think that U.S. Philosophy programs should be ashamed for hiring Canadians or other foreigners, not Americans, in this extremely tough job market? Should our job market be protected? The Canadians protect theirs, so that no American or other foreigner can be hired unless a qualified Canadian cannot be found."

I don't. There's no evidence that I know of or that others seem to know of that suggests that Canadian universities in practice discriminate against those of us who aren't Canadian. Even if Canadian law forced universities to engage in some sort of discrimination, that seems to provide no justification whatsoever to discriminate against philosophers who are in no way responsible for that policy.

Anonymous said...

Clayton,

Thank you. You have provided me with a perfect example of an argument from ignorance for my critical thinking class today.

And you have provided me an example supporting the legal positivists' separation thesis for the next time I teach phil law.

Oh yes--and you have stated the obvious. Thank you. What would the world do without analytic philosophers?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:38,

Huh?

What Clayton said sounds pretty reasonable to me. Both parts. Do you know of some evidence that Canadian universities discriminate in practice? If not, what is your point?

I guess I agree that what Clayton said is fairly obvious; but apparently 3:43 who asked the question wasn't aware of it, so it did need to be said.

Clayton said...

Dear Anon 12:38,

You probably shouldn't be teaching critical thinking if you think you found an example of an appeal to ignorance in my previous comment. The previous comment contained no argument, so it contained no argument that is properly classified as an appeal to ignorance.

Anonymous said...

C: "I don't [think that the U.S, job market should be protected]"

P1: "There's no evidence that I know of or that others seem to know of that suggests that Canadian universities in practice discriminate against those of us who aren't Canadian" [Appeal to ignorance]

P2: "Even if Canadian law forced universities to engage in some sort of [legal] discrimination, that seems to provide no [moral] justification whatsoever to discriminate against philosophers who are in no way responsible for that policy." [hidden premise: strict law/morality separation, also slightly circular and question-begging]

Wow, an analytic philosopher who cannot even recognize when he is making an argument--amazing!

Anonymous said...

6:54,
This is tedious, but I suppose it has to be said.
When someone declares, "I know of no evidence that ...", it implicates that one in the speaker's position would be likely to know of such evidence, if there were any, and it invites others to come up with some. What I wonder is, did you really not know that, or are you just pretending not to know it so that you can be bitchy?

Your P2 makes no sense at all. There is no "strict separation" premise -- whether Canadian discrimination justifies discrimination against Canadians has nothing to do with whether the discrimination is legal or moral. There is no circularity. Question-begging and circularity are the same thing. There is no such thing as "slightly circular". Do you really teach critical thinking?

Anonymous said...

Reporting the psychological fact and saying that you don't know of any evidence or reason to accept what someone says is an argument for what conclusion exactly?

Anonymous said...

"The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam ("appeal to ignorance"), argument by lack of imagination, or negative evidence, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or is false only because it has not been proven true."-Wikipedia

"One of the defining features of the legal positivist understanding of law is the insistence on the separation of law and morality. In other words, state or private action may be legal, and yet immoral, and vice versa, depending on the extent to which it is based on legal rules recognized as valid within the particular legal system in question. The positivist insistence on the separation of law and morality remains controversial."-Prof. Seitzer, Princeton U

Mr. Zero said...

don't feed the trolls, yo.

Anonymous said...

I think that I would have to agree that based on the definitions given by 3:36 (which seem right), Clayton has made an appeal to ignorance and subscribed to the faulty law/morality separation thesis.

blessed said...

Wow, that's great, because I (and I'm sure many others) had been thinking, "if only some random anonymous reader would write in at 9:20 am and offer an opinion, I wouldn't really care if there were any new argument offered at all." I sighed to myself, and then added, "people are so shy about offering their own personal opinions these days." I shook my head and returned to my work, unsatisfied, but resigned to continuing my life without any affirmation one way or the other on the topic of whether Clayton really did appeal to ignorance, according to the definitions in 3:36.

And then, as if a higher being had heard my inner thoughts...

Anonymous said...

Yes, well, in my own defense let me say this instead of grading.

First, the passage from Wikipedia is from Wikipedia.

Second, the passage from Wikipedia says that the fallacy is committed when a _premise_ (but not a conclusion?) is claimed to be true only because it has not been proven false or false only because it has not been proven true. That's not right for a few reasons. Here's one. Not all appeals to ignorance are fallacious. Rummy was wrong. Sometimes the absence of evidence just is evidence of absence. (Some examples for Anon's class.

(a) No one has ever seen any good reason to discriminate against foreign philosophers so it's likely that there aren't any.

Is that more like:

(b) No one has ever seen any evidence of intelligent life from another world, so there probably isn't any intelligent life from another world.

(c) No one has ever found any evidence of WMD in Iraq, so it's likely that there never were any WMD there.)

Third, when someone asks whether anyone thinks blah blah blah and some says 'No', that can't be taken as the assertion that one lacks the belief that blah blah blah or that one believes the negation of blah blah blah. I asserted that I did not have the belief that U.S. Philosophy programs should be ashamed for hiring foreigners. Maybe I have idiosyncratic views about self-knowledge, but I didn't think that in reporting that I lacked a belief I was then expected to produce evidence or reasons for believing that I lacked this belief.

Maybe Anon 5.7.2009 @ 6:54 disagrees. Maybe he knows my mind better than I do. I thought what I intended to do was to say that I didn't share a belief and then say that I didn't know of any reasons to believe what the original poster seemed to believe--namely that we shouldn't hire foreigners. If that means I'm some sort of strict separatist or whatever, so be it. I thought it meant that I grasped the relatively obvious distinction between giving reasons for a conclusion and saying that you couldn't see reasons that supported a conclusion you didn't accept. For the record, I think it's okay to hire foreigners even if Archie Bunker and Anon thinks Canadians are conspiring against us.

C

Anonymous said...

Question.

Suppose there was a valid inference from:

P. The fact that Canadian law forced universities to engage in some sort of discrimination provides no justification to discriminate against Canadian philosophers.
_______________
C. The legal positivists' separation thesis is true.

Wouldn't that mean we have a sound argument for the legal positivists' separation thesis? I mean, shit, if all it took to show that the positivists were right is to show that it's not morally appropriate to discriminate against Canadians, it seems we have ourselves one damn fine argument for the positivists' thesis.

Anonymous said...

I think we should continue discussing the merits of Mr. Littlejohn's argument. But talking about Canadians is boring.