Tuesday, August 5, 2014

APA interviews are morally impermissible

Since we're already talking about the job market (I'm with Zombie, holy crap!), Asst.Prof. at a Canadian School writes in to remind us of the significant hardships APA interviews impose on job seekers. There's not much for me to add; I wholeheartedly agree (and I aired my views last APA go-around). Here's Asst.Prof. at a Canadian School's take:
It’s the middle of the summer, so no one wants to think about searches for new tenure track hires. But now’s the time to talk about something important -- before those searches start.

APA interviews are really expensive for job candidates. This isn’t news, but it’s worth doing the math again. Flights can easily run to $500 for candidates on the West Coast. If people are coming from the UK or Canada, it’s closer to $800. I don’t even want to think about Australia or Asia. Then there’s hotel costs, which even if you bunk with a bunch of friends in one room, is probably going to run past $100. So we’re talking about $500, $600, or a lot more for candidates to go the APA. 
That price might have been one thing in the olden days, when everyone got ten interviews at their first APA, and then got a job, and never had to deal with the job market ever again. Back then, the APA was a one-time cost. But that’s not the world we live in now. Now people spend three, four, or five years on the market before they get permanent jobs. They go to APAs where they have one interview -- a one-in-12 shot at a job. And then they do it again the next year. And then again the year after that, and the year after that. At that point, they’ve spent $2000 or $3000 just trying to get a job.

That bears repeating: candidates can easily spend well over $2000 going to APAs for interviews.

For a grad student? For an adjunct? For some postdocs and VAPs? That is way too much money. It’s two or three months’ rent. It’s health insurance. Grad students, adjuncts, and other part-timers are the most economically marginalized, most economically vulnerable members of our discipline. To impose those costs on them is to impose on them a considerable hardship.

Now, you could argue that in the olden days, there was just no way to avoid APA interviews. Search committees had to get a first look at people before they made up their minds about who to bring out to campus. That would be a bad argument for at least two reasons I can think of, but it’s an argument you could make.

But now there’s Skype. Really. It’s a real thing and it works. I know, I know, it can be glitchy, and even when it’s not, it’s not the same as an IRL meeting.

But how much better than a Skype interview is an APA interview? So much better that it justifies forcing some adjunct to spend $500 she could have spent on her kids’ Christmas presents? Or her health insurance? Or her rent?

To recap: APA interviews impose a considerable economic hardship on the most economically vulnerable members of our discipline. And since there’s Skype, they impose that hardship for no reason at all. But to impose a considerable hardship on the weakest and poorest among us -- for no reason at all -- is an injustice. It is morally impermissible.

That point deserves to be put in the second person. If your department is hiring this year, and if you let your department do APA interviews, you are committing an injustice. You are forcing economically vulnerable people to spend way more money than they can afford, in order to have a one-in-12 shot at your job. And you’re doing it for no good reason at all. That is a despicable thing to do.

So what should you do? Easy. Don’t do APA interviews. Just refuse. Don’t wring your hands this year and think maybe you’ll skip the APA next time around. Don’t wait for the APA to come up with some new policy. Don’t wait for a few other departments to start skipping the APA before you do. Just do it yourself. Do it this year.
Abolish APA interviews.

-- Jaded, Ph.D. 

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is Skype all of a sudden the big difference maker? Haven't people had telephones for some time?

Simon said...

For those search committees that find Skype interviews just too awful to contemplate, an obvious alternative is for them to pay their interviewees' costs.

Anonymous said...

Simon, spoken like someone who has never worked for a public university or college. The administration is already so delighted to give us lines that I have no doubt that they'd also be willing to give us an extra $10,000 to pay for candidates' expenses at the APA. (That said, I agree that it's highly morally objectionable to make candidates interview at the APA, have had very successful Skype interviews as a job candidate, and am pleased to be part of a department that interviews that way.)

Anonymous said...

Looking for a job is expensive no matter what the profession 1:32. Do you want the departments to buy your interview clothes as well.

You are all adults looking to get into a professional career. That costs. Both actual dollars as well as opportunity costs.

How about you get your degree granting institution to pay for your trip since they are training you and taking advantage of you teaching classes for them.

This debate is so freaking irritating. Nothing is free. Save your money and go to the conference. If you don't, others will b/c it will be in their advantage to go there.

Meet people and network. You are at the bottom of the profession, but we have all been there.

If you want the rich to keep on getting richer, then by all means stay at home.

Anonymous said...

I keep asking this question and no one seems to be able to answer it:

HOW MUCH SHOULD IT COST YOU TO GET A JOB IN PHILOSOPHY?

That was for emphasis not yelling. Should looking for a job cost you 0$? $50? Or something close to $2000 with clothes, mail, travel, and sundry items?

Riddle me that smokers?

Anonymous said...

If you aren't moved by the moral argument, then consider the reputational cost of being one of the few hiring committees to still treat candidates so inhumanely.

This past year I had about a dozen first-round interviews. All except one were by Skype. But for that one I had to spend over $800 to attend the APA - and in the first five minutes of the interview it became clear that they weren't very interested in my research.

But suppose they had been interested. Frankly, at that point I already resented them pretty seriously, for forcing me to waste all that money just to talk to them, when every other department was willing to accommodate me through Skype. If I had received an offer from them to compete with other offers I had, I can't deny that my lingering resentment might have factored into my decision.

In short: the first-round interview is also the first big impression you make on your candidates - at least one of whom you will eventually want to have a favorable opinion of you. Don't be the one department that treats them terribly.

zombie said...

I suspect in a few years, this will no longer be an issue. Many (possibly most) departments are now offering candidates a Skype or APA choice. Last year, I had 3 Skype interviews, two of which were with departments who offered me the option of going to APA or interviewing by Skype. I opted for Skype in both cases, since I had no intention of going to APA. (I plan to do a post on the interviews later, and I'll tell you all about it. But the TLDR version is that I don't think the purported Skype disadvantage is real.)

Derek Bowman said...

@3:00

And if other professions were jumping off a bridge would you do that too?

Anonymous said...

For exactly the reasons specified in the original post, I was 100% without qualifications in favor of going to Skype, until this last round of hirings. I'm still on the whole in favor of it, but now I have a qualification: the quality of candidates' internet connections varied widely. As a result, a couple of candidates had to be switched over to phone calls -- and that was a big disadvantage, since they could no longer see us e.g. fidgeting when they went on a little long, or looking confused when they went too quick. Further, even within the folks who we managed to maintain a Skype connection with, some were very easy to hear and understand, others it was a bit more choppy/clipped and hard to understand. And it's more difficult to have a really satisfying conversation when you're expending a decent amount of mental energy just trying to make out what your partner is saying.

Of course, the search committee tried to take these different circumstances into consideration when we were making our deliberations, but the fact of the matter is that it was easier for us to have a really good conversation with some candidates than with others. And that's not fair.

As I said above, I think the ethical argument outweighs this unfairness, but I think differential connection quality is a disadvantage to Skype interviews.

Moral for job-seekers with Skype interviews: do everything within your power to get the best internet connection you can find for your interviews.

Dan Hicks said...

I agree with the argument of the post, as well as Anon 9:41's advice to get the best internet connection possible. (That applies to the interviewers as well.) Plugging directly into the router — rather than just using the wireless connection — can sometimes make for dramatic improvements.


But I'm mostly interested in expanding on zombie's prediction at 8:24. This coming year will be my fourth consecutive round on the job market. I've had nearly a dozen interviews, and only one was at the APA; all of the others have been over Skype or (in I think two cases) the phone.

APA interviews are also quite expensive for hiring departments. Airfare, lodgings, and APA registration for 2-4 faculty can easily run into the thousands of dollars, perhaps even $10,000 for people coming from outside the US. I think the trend towards Skype interviews is as much about hiring departments trying to save money as it is about considerations of justice. Fortunately, in this case, trying to save money seems to promote rather than frustrate justice.

Anonymous said...

In 2013, I had an APA interview. It was my only APA interview (I also had some Skype interviews), and I had to fly in from the UK. I was pregnant and asked if it could be by Skype. Because I was worried that my pregnancy would impact their perception of me, I did not disclose this as a reason (rather, the costs I'd be footing of hotel, flight etc, which I had to book about 2 weeks before scheduled time since they waited that long to let me know). No, they said, we want to treat everyone the same. So there I went, spending over 2000 USD on a last-minute trip to the APA. The morning sickness combined with jetlag made me totally mess up my interview. They thanked me several times for "coming all this way".
Later I heard from a trusted source they had an internal candidate. It totally sucks - I had no chance at all, but I kept on agonizing (until I heard about their choice) that I had messed up my interview, that I should've come days beforehand (thereby spending even more of my meagre postdoc salary).

Anonymous said...

Re: quality of Skype connections.

I agree that this is a problem but the solution is to do what one of my interviewing universities did: have both the search committee and the interviewees go to professional videoconferencing facilities (and REIMBURSE candidates for the expense of doing so).

It cost me less than $100 for the interview and the quality was amazing (it was more than this, the committee was projected, nearly life size, against the wall in the room I had selected). All told this could cost a department anywhere between $800-$1,000 to interview all of their candidates. I realize this is not an insignificant amount.

But even if candidates fully bore the costs, it would STILL be cheaper than going to the APA and paying for hotels, food, etc (it's always cost me closer to $1,000 but I'm flying across the country).

Anonymous said...

"HOW MUCH SHOULD IT COST YOU TO GET A JOB IN PHILOSOPHY?"

12 years of your life in education and a fair part of your soul.

Anonymous said...

"Looking for a job is expensive no matter what the profession 1:32. Do you want the departments to buy your interview clothes as well."

But in most other professions, job seekers are not expected to spend money to attend a conference in order to be interviewed. Of course there will be expenses. But this is an unnecessary one. (I should point out here that was raised in, educated in, and an now employed in one state, but had to travel to another state in order to interview for the job I had. My PhD institution and new department were a short drive from one another. But I and the SC that hired me all flew to another state for this idiotic charade.)

"You are all adults looking to get into a professional career. That costs. Both actual dollars as well as opportunity costs."

Right, so explain to me how the actual dollars spent on the APA are a necessary expense. How do other professions manage to avoid yearly conferences to hire employees?
"
"How about you get your degree granting institution to pay for your trip since they are training you and taking advantage of you teaching classes for them."

Many do, or at least put up some of the cost.

"This debate is so freaking irritating."

You are debating? Sounds more like you are spouting off. If this is a debate, please explain why the APA is a necessary expense.

"Nothing is free."

Right, but that's hardly a reason for spending money for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

+1 for 5:13pm

Anonymous said...

I'm wholly convinced that Skype first-round interviews are the way to go (morally speaking). The problem has been convincing my departmental colleagues, none of whom pay a bit of attention to these sorts of online discussions. The central argument in favor of APA interviews during our last discussion of this issue was that APA interviews are much more likely to impress potential job candidates than Skype interviews. Of course I think this gets things entirely the wrong way around, but it's pretty hard to make my case sufficiently convincing. (Pointing to anonymous online comments tends not to carry much weight.)

Ultimately, I think University Administrators will facilitate the push toward Skype interviews for financial reasons.

Anonymous said...

YO SMOKERS!

I am a new philosopher and have another moral question.

I know that it is bad to submit a paper to more than one journal at the same time.

But it is bad to submit a paper to a journal and a conference at the same time? What happens if the conference accepts it for presentation? Must one withdraw it from the journal? Or if the journal accepts it? Drop out of the conference?

Thank you my friends!

Anonymous said...

5:13 writes:

"But in most other professions, job seekers are not expected to spend money to attend a conference in order to be interviewed. "

No, but they are expected to spend money to attend an interview, and that's what's relevant here. In most other professions, if I live in Ohio, but decide to apply for jobs in Florida, London, and Oregon, then the expectation is that I will cover the costs of whichever interviews I am fortunate enough to land. Philosophers are actually in a way fortunate that they can conduct multiple interviews in one place at the APA. That opportunity is rare in other professions.

It is irritating to see these discussions continue to pop up. Only philosophers would think that a school is under an obligation to interview them in the ways that interview candidates see fit. You don't see INSERT ANY OTHER KIND OF PROFESSIONAL making these arguments online. No, that doesn't justify anything, but what it does is reveal how out of sync philosophers are with the rest of the world. I'm sorry you spent 10 years trying to get this job. But given the way things really, actually are, the world doesn't owe you shit for this decision that you made.

zombie said...

10:20 -- there's no reason you can't do that. I've yet to see a journal that said you cannot submit the paper to a conference. Papers presumably benefit from conference feedback. I regularly attend a conference that recently started requiring that submitted papers not be previously published (I don't know why -- no one ever really reads a paper there, that I have seen, since they give you 15 minutes tops for a presentation). But that doesn't mean you can't have the paper under submission.

Anonymous said...

10:20,
I agree with Zombie. If you do end up presenting a paper that's already been accepted, it's not ideal *for you*, because you probably won't be able to change the paper much in response to the feedback you get at the conference. But there's no obligation involved, just personal benefits.

Anonymous said...

"No, but they are expected to spend money to attend an interview, and that's what's relevant here. In most other professions, if I live in Ohio, but decide to apply for jobs in Florida, London, and Oregon, then the expectation is that I will cover the costs of whichever interviews I am fortunate enough to land."

And, increasingly, many corporations - especially those looking to hire foreign applicants - are relying on Skype. Recognizing that they might lose out on applicants if it's prohibitively expensive to get to the interview, many corporations do their best to minimize such costs. There's no reason why academia cannot follow suit. (In other words, while I agree that going on the market will cost money, you haven't yet explained why the cost of the conference is *preferable* to the cost-savings of Skype.)

"It is irritating to see these discussions continue to pop up. Only philosophers would think that a school is under an obligation to interview them in the ways that interview candidates see fit. You don't see INSERT ANY OTHER KIND OF PROFESSIONAL making these arguments online."

Just because you haven't found them doesn't mean they don't exist.

"No, that doesn't justify anything, but what it does is reveal how out of sync philosophers are with the rest of the world."

Thank you for making my point. Many in "the rest of the world" have long accepted that Skype (or other online platforms) make the most sense for interviewing an increasingly large, mobile, and diverse population of applicants. And they often mock academics for continuing to rely on a model that was obsolete by the end of the 20th century.

"I'm sorry you spent 10 years trying to get this job. But given the way things really, actually are, the world doesn't owe you shit for this decision that you made."

Right, and nobody here is saying that they do. You really do seem to be missing the point here. Unless, of course, you can provide some sort of evidence that Skype interviews are significantly inferior to conference interviews (and I'm still on the fence about campus interviews).

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU MR. ZOMBIE!

Anonymous said...

Many in "the rest of the world" have long accepted that Skype (or other online platforms) make the most sense for interviewing an increasingly large, mobile, and diverse population of applicants. And they often mock academics for continuing to rely on a model that was obsolete by the end of the 20th century.

Out of curiosity: did you just make this up? Which corporations do this, and which ones often mock academics? (In my experience people outside academia have no idea how academics interview prospective employees, so it’s unlikely that they would often mock us for it.)

Anonymous said...

@ 6:16

"Many in "the rest of the world" have long accepted that Skype (or other online platforms) make the most sense for interviewing an increasingly large, mobile, and diverse population of applicants."

Yes, and many philosophy programs do so as well. The difference between our profession and others, however, is that many interview candidates in our profession believe that all programs are under a moral obligation to reduce burdens on candidates. Don't believe me? Here's the original argument of the post. The one that we see crop up every few months:

"APA interviews impose a considerable economic hardship on the most economically vulnerable members of our discipline. And since there’s Skype, they impose that hardship for no reason at all. But to impose a considerable hardship on the weakest and poorest among us -- for no reason at all -- is an injustice. It is morally impermissible."

Too bad it's not at all obvious that it is morally impermissible for a program to "impose" the burden of inviting candidates to be interviewed at the APA. Or that even if it were morally impermissible, that all programs would be under an obligation not to do so. And yet, we see this argument make the internet rounds every few months.

Now here's where you're going to claim that all programs also have good prudential reason to conduct Skype interviews. And so they probably do. But if a program prefers to conduct APA interviews, they might very well also have good prudential reason to conduct APA interviews.

Now here's where you're going to tell me I have to explain why a program might prefer to conduct APA interviews. And here's where I'm going to tell you that no one has to explain shit to you and that only a philosopher would demand such an explanation.

Anonymous said...

"And here's where I'm going to tell you that no one has to explain shit to you and that only a philosopher would demand such an explanation."

I'm so glad I don't even have to be a part of this conversation anymore. I didn't realize I was so predictable.

Though I do applaud both your tact and your rhetorical skills. I rightly cede the moral high ground to you.

Anonymous said...

10:20 and Zombie-

What about conferences that do proceedings? I am under the impression that you can still submit a paper to a peer reviewed journal if it has been published in conference proceedings. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm tired of hearing from graduate students about this. Most of them believe one of the following:
1. the system is corrupt and must be changed, or
2. Shut up your face and stop complaining.

I'd like to know what hiring committees think. Who out there has served on a search, and has used Skype? What was positive about it? What were the drawbacks? What, if any, reasons exist to continue the system as is?

I don't want speculation or moral arguments. I want discussions from people who have gone through this.

Simon said...

"Simon, spoken like someone who has never worked for a public university or college. The administration is already so delighted to give us lines that I have no doubt that they'd also be willing to give us an extra $10,000 to pay for candidates' expenses at the APA."

That's the best of the objections to my proposal. ('Everyone else has it shitty, too' is just delightfully stupid.) I agree that there are limits to what departments can do. There is an obvious question about what departments can do when their resources are scarce, and the administration, not the department, holds the purse strings.

But since it's not exactly a secret that the job-seeking and not-yet-tenured have pretty terrible working conditions (though such people may indeed be better off than those who have *even worse* working conditions!), the point seems worth making that perhaps the *norm* that candidates are expected to cover their own costs ought to change, including in the eyes of administrations. Since the claim of the post was about what's morally permissible, I assume that's a fine point to make here. I don't think that's such a ridiculous thing to strive for, either, although I'm certain that those within the profession who appeal to the fact that others have it rough, too, are impediments to that change.

As an aside, though, I agree with 2:13 that philosophers have this *peculiar* tendency to look for explanations! Someone should really put a stop to that shit.

Anonymous said...

5:06, if the conference proceedings have been published, you can't submit the paper to a philosophy journal. For example, Ethics says:

Authors must guarantee their submission is original, owned by the author, that no part of it has been previously published, and that no other agreement to publish it or part of it is outstanding.

If you have a paper you think is really good, you might not want to present it at a conference that has a publication requirement. Sometimes those volumes turn out to be fairly high-profile, but usually a journal will be read by a lot more people.

Anonymous said...

While I completely agree that APA interviews under the current system are morally impermissible, I also have to add that UNRANKED PHD DEPARTMENTS PRODUCING PHDS WHO HAVE TO COMPETE WITHIN THIS SYSTEM ARE MORALLY CULPABLE.

I put this in all caps above obviously for emphasis, but this point cannot be over-emphasized. Yes, the rankings are (only somewhat in some cases) subjective, but the market is more than bleak for PhDs coming from programs which are unranked. We just can't get the jobs, and this is especially true when placement advice at the unranked institution is lacking. In fact my institution has started to count adjuncting as successful placement in order to juke its stats. Seriously? Instead of making it look like people are being placed, why can't they just be honest with us at the beginning? Why can't they say, "Look, you will most likely not get a tenure-track job, so if you really want the PhD, you need to NOW (at the beginning of a program) make sure you have a plan B (or plan A, with philosophy as plan B)." I imagine that unranked programs don't do this for many reasons, not the least of which is that if they were upfront like this, then they would likely not have programs or likely not have enough graduate students to justify their graduate programs. Maintaining the illusion at the expense of students is shameful, really.

I'm defending in August and not even going to go on the market. It's not worth it. I've taken the initiative to pursue employment outside of academia. It seems like a lot of people from my department have done this same thing, but after a few years of being on the market. By then, hours and money have been spent (maybe wasted, but maybe not). Coordinating a non-academic job search while adjuncting is a headache, especially if there is a move involved. I'm skipping that part, and going straight into a career. I'm sad to leave the discipline, but am very comfortable with my decision.

Anonymous said...

10:31 writes: I'd like to know what hiring committees think. Who out there has served on a search, and has used Skype? What was positive about it? What were the drawbacks? What, if any, reasons exist to continue the system as is?

I don't want speculation or moral arguments. I want discussions from people who have gone through this.


I've interviewed candidates both at conferences and using Skype. This is of course anecdotal, but I've never heard a colleague of mine on a hiring committee (both within and outside of philosophy departments) opine that video interviews are as valuable as in-person interviews.

Although it makes no sense and is not the way things ought to be, the fact is that the littlest, stupidest things seem to sway the minds of SC members about candidates and, in my experience, Skype exacerbates the problem. I've seen interviews where the frames freezes and we've had to stare at an image of the candidate's contorted face for 45 minutes. In one case, the candidate was not able to get his video conferencing software working, so we switched to a phone interview instead. The candidate was never mentioned again; he just fell off the map, apparently not having made a sufficiently vivid impression in the absence of video. I'm not defending these reasons for passing over candidates. I think they are dumb reasons and immaterial to the candidate's suitability for a job. What's I'm saying is that -- from where I sat -- they made a difference to most SC members I've known.

Skype sucks and I can't think of a single advantage from a purely information-gathering perspective. Outside of a few super prestigious PhD-granting R1 programs, most search committees think every one of the candidates being interviewed is completely professionally competent. The interview is seen as a tool for finding to suitable colleague and co-worker -- someone we can all live with for 20 years+ without being miserable. Again, I agree that this is probably a seriously misguided view. 45 minutes interviews are likely not going to give anyone reliable information about who the best colleague will be. But the view is deeply ingrained in the minds of most SC members I've dealt with.

The upshot, in my opinion, is that these discussions are pointless -- specifically, the discussion about the advantages of in-person interviews. It's here that the moral argument comes into play and is valuable. I've been able to convince colleagues that we should switch to Skype only by conceding that Skype interviews are less preferable from an "information-gathering" perspective, but arguing that the virtues of Skype -- namely, easing particularly onerous financial burdens for job candidates -- outweighs the disadvantages. (I just tried to make a similar point on the more recent Smoker thread on this topic. I apologize for the repetition.)

Anonymous said...

"UNRANKED PHD DEPARTMENTS PRODUCING PHDS WHO HAVE TO COMPETE WITHIN THIS SYSTEM ARE MORALLY CULPABLE."

Yeah, I'm calling bullshit on this. There's clearly a market need for these programs, in that people keep applying to these programs in order to earn a PhD. You know, people like you. You are keeping that program running. Remember that.

Further, I refuse to believe that everyone enrolled in these programs have somehow been duped into enrolling into them. When you were applying to PhD programs, you chose your unranked program, and you did so while choosing not to apply to others. You had some set of criteria, and your current program matched that criteria. Unless something has drastically changed, you got exactly what you applied to get: a degree from that university.

Were you unaware that your program has a shitty placement record? And if you were unaware, how did that happen? When researching the placement record of your program, what did you find? Or did you not bother to look at all? Or did placement record not become important until the market started looming? Unless the program flat out lied to you and showed you false information about placement, or maybe unless you have been in that program for 20 years and the market was just different back then, you have not been duped.

Where's your all caps claim that applicants are morally responsible to not enter into unranked programs? Why is the onus on the programs to shut down, and not on you to simply not apply to and attend them?

You sound like the fat, out of shape kid who blames his poor health on the existence of fast food and cigarettes, and wonders why, in this day and age, nobody has ever considered warning the public of the health problems associated with smoking and eating junk food.

Read the fucking labels.

Anonymous said...

7:16 AM - your analogy with fat shaming is revealing. The view that the fat, out of shape kid is solely responsible denies the importance of social factors (including stress and monetary concerns for instance) which entice poorer people to eat unhealthily. Similarly, unranked programs. Perhaps if you come family where the importance of rank has been hammered into you since birth (good preschool, classy primary school, etc) you would think about that, but what if you're the first person in your family to attend college, let alone grad school? Eric Schwitzgebel found that people from less-well regarded undergrad programs are less likely to go to well-ranked grad school http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/sorry-cal-state-students-no-princeton.html
I've argued elsewhere that the hunt for pedigree is racist and classist: http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/04/hiring-academic-pedigree-and-exclusion-is-going-for-pedigree-racist-and-classist-.html

Anonymous said...

"what if you're the first person in your family to attend college, let alone grad school?"

Thanks, but allow me to provide some background, so you need not guess. I grew up urban poor, attending the high school in my state that had the worst track records in student spending, college placement, and survival rates (due in large part to environmental factors). Between scholarships, loans, and 3 part-time jobs, I worked through a relatively unimpressive university, before being accepted to a relatively impressive MA program. After graduating from a top-50 ranked PhD program (at the time ranked 49th), I got a job.

I am, in fact, the first person in my family to attend grad school. One of the first to attend college, and one of the first who did not quit high school to get a job.

Please don't assume that because I hold an opinion you disagree with, that I must come from some invented privileged background you will use to conveniently dismiss me.

Nor did I say that the fat kid was "solely" responsible. I was, however, saying that we cannot pass the all of the blame for our poor choices onto others. The person who chooses to attend a program with a shitty placement record may be (in part) a victim of circumstance, but that person also chose to attend a program with a shitty placement record *instead of* doing something else. But more to the point, thanks for showing me the limitations of my analogy, because the person I replied to certainly cannot be like the child who eats junk because he cannot afford good food. And this is because attending a graduate program, even an unranked one, is a marker of privilege denied to many.

-7:16

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see Brian Leiter's snide Twitter link to this thread? ("Yet more evidence for Ayer's theory of moral language.")

https://twitter.com/search?q=brian%20leiter%20ayer&src=typd

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is better:

"Question: Are you saying philosophers are prone to making stupid and ignorant and overly speculative comments, too?
Answer: Yes. I mean, have you seen that unmoderated philosophy blog where the commenters regularly suggest that women philosophers and feminism are to blame for all of the problems in the discipline, not to mention their careers? It’s adorable, like when a kid complains about monsters under the bed. But it is annoying, too, like when a kid complains about monsters under the bed."

BURN.

http://dailynous.com/2014/08/14/on-moderation/

Anonymous said...

I think Justin might have his own special definition of 'speculative'. He refused to post a comment of mine on the grounds that it was 'speculative'. There was no speculation in it at all; it was just responding to a speculative comment. (I even asked him what he thought was 'speculative' in my comment, but he didn't answer me.)