Thursday, February 12, 2015

In Which I Despair for the Underemployed Philosophers

Like many of you, I received the PFO from the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. Like many of you, I was shocked to read that the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy received over six hundred applications. 600. Six-zero-zero. I sent out just over 40 applications this year. How is a person supposed to find a job in this environment?

--Mr. Zero

162 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure everyone knows how bad the job market is, but here is story to get you *up/down even more. A friend, who has a PhD from a top 3 program in the US, a prestigious post doc, and at least 3 pubs in a top 5 journals, was shut out again this year.

*up, since everybody is struggling (not just you!)

*down, since if this philosopher can't get a job my prospects are shot

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that lots of jobs are getting way more applications this year than last year. I have gotten a number of emails from teaching schools that give the impression of being overwhelmed, shocked, by the amount of applications they received. Is this just the snowball of unemployment increasing over the last few past years? Something else? It does suck. I fear this just makes Search Committees resort to even more stark sorting policies to get the number of applicants to a reasonable group to assess more closely.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, with respect, I think you may have it wrong. You say that if your friend was shut out, your prospects are shot. But this presupposes that the things you list (being from a top-3 program, publishing in top-5 journals) are the things that truly *matter* when it comes to hiring. But maybe they don't. What about being a great teacher? (You didn't even mention teaching!) What about other things (collegiality, university service, etc.)?

Derek Bowman said...

@8:41

I would love to see the list of great, collegial teachers who got tenure-track jobs this year without a good publication record.

Anonymous said...

Anecdata: our non-tt job received nearly 250 applications this year. This is a roughly 50% increase from the last time we ran a similar search. We don't have enough information to know whether this is a new normal or whether this was just an unusually bad year. My guts tell me "new normal" but they're often wrong.

Anonymous said...

I have VAP position this year at 4 year state university. I spoke at length with the chair about the TT offer they made 3 years ago. They received so many quality applications that is was no problem finding excellent teachers with excellent publications. The problem, according to the chair, was getting the list down from 50 or so exceptional candidates (excellent teachers/scholars) to the 7 they interviewed.

Anonymous said...

And the exploitative jobs gonna keep exploitin'.

Auburn just posted a one-year position: 4/4, at $35k. Granted, living in Alabama is probably cheap, but ~4k per class should be borderline criminal.

Anonymous said...

No one cares about publications and prestige any longer. Those days are done. Post-docs, too. Irrelevant.

People just want a good teacher with a great personality who is excited about undergraduate teaching and has a cool Robot Ethics syllabus!

Right? Right? ... right?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I've known a few folks who were utterly incapable of getting a job despite sterling credential because of factors like the following:
o They could only communicate via the Incoherent Mumble.
o They were incapable of listening to someone they disagreed with without insulting that person.
o They were sexist/racist/homophobic in alarmingly apparent ways.

That said, the market is horrifyingly bad. All one can do is try to kick ass like a motherfucker -- teach like a champ, publish like a hero, maybe whiten your teeth and polish your shoes.

Anonymous said...

"You say that if your friend was shut out, your prospects are shot. But this presupposes that the things you list (being from a top-3 program, publishing in top-5 journals) are the things that truly *matter* when it comes to hiring. But maybe they don't. What about being a great teacher? (You didn't even mention teaching!) What about other things (collegiality, university service, etc.)?"

This is precisely what I thought, too. The friend sounds very qualified for a small number of coveted research-oriented positions. But this info alone tells us little about the qualifications he/she possesses that would be attractive to the bulk of the jobs posted this year (I noticed last year, pedigree and publications mattered a lot less in my mainstream AOS than one likely would imagine).

My institution is not a top 3, top 5, or even top 10 program. But we consistently get a ton of interviews, and we place the majority of our candidates in TT jobs or postdocs. One thing that may help our candidates stand out is the program's emphasis on balancing research with teaching excellence and breadth. Also, letter writers at my program tend to emphasize several strengths of the candidate, and not merely extol his/her virtues as a researcher.

So I certainly would not despair if NYU, Rutgers, and Princeton grads with great pubs flounder on the market. They may get a job at Harvard, Penn, or Columbia, say, but their pedigree and pubs alone may not do so much for them other places.

Anonymous said...

7:42: I guess it all depends on what your friend's AOS is. If it's something like say philosophy of math or aesthetics I don't think we can really infer anything from that. If there's only three or four jobs in your area each year the odds don't favor you. If it's say ethics or Ancient philosophy then yeah I think we all should start worrying.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's terribly useful to link job success or failure with merit (or lackthereof). There are just too many people to choose from, and the number of dimensions that people can judge a dossier is too high. There are any number of perfectly legitimate ways of sorting the 250-600 applications a departments get down to the 8 or so that they do a first round with, then down to 3 or so, and then down to 1. In the same department, I've been a top choice in one year, and in the other year my application didn't make first cut. (This has happened in two top departments, one where I went from finalist to not considered, and one where I went from not considered to finalist. This has also happened in SLACs.) It's not as if my profile has radically changed from year to year, beyond the normal accumulation of articles. This year I got a job. I have been trying for many years. I am happy about that, but I do not believe that it is because magically I finally did the right thing to make me deserving of a job, whereas I wasn't in previous years. I got lucky. Previously, I was relatively unlucky (though more fortunate than others). It's a bit of a weird pathology to try and come up with the reasons why some people get jobs and others don't. After a certain threshold, it's not a story about merit or desert or whatever. We just need to accept that this is a stochastic process. You buy a lottery ticket each year, and hope that you win. Congratulate the ones that do, and commiserate with the ones that don't.

Bob Kirkman said...

The School of Public Policy is somewhat unusual in that it is an interdisciplinary unit and the posted job ad was not specific as to discipline. That 600 might have included people with backgrounds in economics, economic development, geography, political science, technology studies, public administration, public finance . . . and so on.

While I know very precisely - I know it in my bones - how hard it is to be looking for a job as a philosopher, don't extrapolate from that figure, 600, to your general prospects with more single-discipline departments and schools.

(I'm a member of the faculty of the School of Public Policy and, though I did not serve on the search committee this time around, I have done so in the past.)

Anonymous said...

A few things:

(1) Some well-connected, ambitious, and generous person (at PhilJobs?) should follow up with every SC that posted a job to gather up information on how many applications SCs are getting.


(2) What does everyone think: Are we at the point where, in general, a newly minted PhD should not only not expect a TT job, and not only not expect a VAP job, but no job at all?

Anonymous said...

"What does everyone think: Are we at the point where, in general, a newly minted PhD should not only not expect a TT job, and not only not expect a VAP job, but no job at all?"

We've been there for a few years now. Many people get lost in the hell of adjuncting, but that's not sustainable for the field.

Anonymous said...

Seems relevant to this thread:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/12/academia-is-not-a-meritocracy/

Anonymous said...

This is off-topic but here goes-- I'm a senior undergraduate philosophy major at what is apparently, according to the philosophical gourmet report, one of the top 15 philosophy programs in the English-speaking world. I am extremely passionate about philosophy and would be perfectly happy spending the rest of my days reading, writing, and teaching philosophy. I have a good GPA, transcript, GRE scores, etc., and could presumably get into a good grad program if I applied. That being said, I'm well aware of how tough the job market is for young academics, particularly for philosophers (especially after recently stumbling upon and reading through this insightful blog). Despite my passion for philosophy, I'm not sure if I'm willing to risk the stress and dissatisfaction of un/partial employment. It seems safe to assume that the people engaging with this blog are also extremely passionate about philosophy. Any thoughts or advice for a young, potentially-aspiring philosopher?

Anonymous said...

@11:45 AM

My advice is to not go to graduate school in philosophy. It is very unlikely that you will come out the other side both (a) still in love with philosophy and (b) in a position to get a job you enjoy. You could be the rare person (statistically) who comes out still loving philosophy and in a position to get a job that you find meaningful, but you shouldn't bet your life (or ~7 years of your life) on it.

FWIW, I'm a grad from a top-5 program (and the top 1-2 in my subdiscipline) and I'm now doing what's considered a prestigious post-doc. I'm trying to make my escape from the discipline. I'm sick of philosophy (and academia as a whole) and the market is hilariously bad. So I'm trying to move on. It's not easy.

TryingToEscape

Anonymous said...

11:45,

Find other ways to make money. If you want to go on to grad school, by all means do so. That said, your chances of making a living at this are pretty slim. Spend time developing a viable career outside academia. If possible, work in that career while you are going to grad school.

If you hit the job market jackpot at some point down the road, you can leave that career behind. But if not, that's how you will feed yourself and keep a roof over your head while you do your work in philosophy.

Yes, this will require a great deal of hard work, and no, it won't leave you time for anything else. But everyone who does not have a viable Plan B will be kicking themselves not not doing the same.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:45 AM

Be prepared to have your passion seriously challenged by the brutality of the job market. Also, what I wish I had spent more time considering when I was roughly where you are is how it would feel to be over 30 and heading for unemployment. The worst case case scenario sounds less bad to someone in their early-to-mid-20s than someone who's supposed to be able to provide for their family, etc., by their age.

Anonymous said...

11:45:

DO NOT GO. Or at least: do not apply right now. Go spend a couple years doing something else. You likely lack the life experience to tell whether philosophy is the only thing that will make you happy. If it isn't, then do not go into academic philosophy. I've put myself in a fairly good position to succeed and I nonetheless regret choosing philosophy.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:45. Do you have any other interests or aptitudes that would make a good career? Try those, and enjoy philosophy as a hobby. Chronic unemployment and underemployment are now the norm, even if you're really, really, really smart and personable.

Big D said...

Dear Anonymous 11:45,

I'm currently underemployed (but on the cusp of potential, full-time, academic employment next year), so take my advice with a grain of salt.

First, consider the financial burden you're taking on. Some people will tell you not to go to grad school unless it's at one of the top schools and fully funded. That's good advice, in general, but there are could be some exceptions. For example, current repayment plans allow you to pay 15% of your income and discharge all your debt after ten years if you work for a non-profit or government agency (I think it's twenty years otherwise).

If you're not going to a top program, this could be less relevant if you are in a niche area. This is the case with me, where my area of specialization is only covered at one of the top 20's. So, consider your interests, the rank of the departments in your areas of interest, their breadth (in case you change your mind about what to focus on), as well as their overall ranking.

Whatever you choose, good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear 11:45,

If you're anything like the rest of us, then you're going to ignore all of our advice about not going into philosophy. You're going to ignore it because you think philosophy is enough, and will always be enough. But I can assure you that if you are anything like the rest of us then eventually philosophy isn't going to be enough. Soon enough you're going to care that you're poor. Trust me, I know it doesn't seem like you'll eventually care about this. But you will. Your priorities are going to change. You are not in a good position to make this choice. Not yet at least.

You can be, though. Go make a bunch of money doing something else for a few years and invest it. In the mean time, attend a conference once a year or so, especially conferences where you can keep in touch with those faculty members who are currently advising you. Read a few articles a year to stay sharp. Maybe even spend a few weekends tweaking the writing sample you currently have.

After three to five years of this you'll be in good position to decide whether you want to go back. You'll have more life experience and it'll be less financially risky. Also, you'll have stayed in touch with the profession, so re-preparing your application won't be too difficult.

Signed,
Person who wishes they had received this advice instead of the advice to simply not go



Derek Bowman said...

@11:45:

Use your passion for and training in philosophy to investigate what it means to be a philosopher and how you can incorporate that into your life in way that is independent of the disfunctional academic employment system.

If you can break away from thinking of 'philosophy' as synonymous with 'academic philosophy' you can avoid thinking in terms of the false dilemma of 'abandon philosophy' and 'subject myself to the academic job market.'

You're probably attracted philosophy because you were't happy with unreflectively accepting conventional answers to how to live your life. So take that one step further - don't unreflectively accept conventional answers to what it means to be a philosopher.

Anonymous said...

Here is some advice for those of you concerned about getting jobs in philosophy after grad school. If you think grad school isn't for you, then you shouldn't go. But there is an inference some make about grad school which I would suggest is not entirely accurate. Some people say something like: "If you finish your PhD and don't get a regular teaching job, you'll have to leave academia." This inference isn't quite correct. There are lots of people working at universities who aren't regular faculty. Universities ask administrators and others to teach courses since they always need them covered. So, e.g., the librarian at my university will sometimes teach courses for the religion department. The associate dean also teaches courses in the core (though he's not a faculty member). So one suggestion is to consider that if you don't end up getting a faculty job, you could always try getting something in administration, academic support, the career center, etc. These sorts of jobs are listed in different places on academic websites. This isn't the same as being a faculty member, but you still get to work at a university which isn't so bad after all if you really like that.

Anonymous said...

@11:45-

I would second (third) the advice to do something else for a while. If after two years of not doing philosophy, you find that you really miss it, then consider grad school.

HOWEVER, you should realize that most of us commenting on this blog (myself included) are fairly jaded. You might take a look at other blogs for advice. I think the Philosopher's Cocoon does posts on this issue every now and then.

Anonymous said...

I'm going somewhat against the grain here. I'd say go to grad school now while you're young, energetic, and don't care much about money (unless you can;t get into a solid program). Do everything you can to finish in 4-5 years. Assuming you're about 22-25 now, if you can't get a job once you're out, you're young enough to start a new career path (any one you want) and at least you'll have tried (and you'll have a PhD). The main thing you'll have lost is money. However, if you're wise about spending while you're a grad student, you'll be young enough to recover easily (at least financially).

Anonymous said...

11:45,

Something I tell al my undergraduates is the following:

If you need the tenure track job at the end of your graduate training, then don't go to graduate school. You will spend the better part of our adult life training for a job you will never hold. If you need the job at the end of the road, you will be very, very disappointed.

If you don't need the job - if you can see yourself doing something else to pay your bills - then do that. Use the next decade of your life building a career in something that will allow you the time and comfort to use philosophy to feed your soul. Maybe eventually do graduate work part time. Continue reading. Develop one or two really good papers. You can still engage with the field even if your paycheck does not come from a university.

And in the event you are wondering if you can ever make a significant impact on the field from outside academia, remember this: most graduate students don't make a significant contribution to the field from *inside* academia. And many of the out-of-work or underemployed philosophers never will either, as they spend the bulk of their time chasing adjunct jobs and losing time every year to an increasingly difficult job market.

Anonymous said...

Have we all given up hope on the slew of "off cycle" jobs that were supposed to come in the new year now that the APA dates don't dictate when interviews need to be? Will there be more jobs or is this it?

Anonymous said...

One thing I'm increasingly wondering is how *male* philosophers are supposed to get jobs; from the hiring announcements, etc., I'm noticing a disproportionate number of female hires. I'm all for gender *equity* in hiring, but is anyone else noticing this trend? (It's not even obvious to me that it's bad, just seems it's subversive if we don't acknowledge that it's happening.)

Anonymous said...

I think gender inequity in hiring would be a good thing. Assuming that women are equal on average with men in all other respects, the fact that they can help bring some balance to faculties that are otherwise largely male suggests that they should be hired in disproportionate numbers.

Anonymous said...

"I'm noticing a disproportionate number of female hires."

How so? What are the numbers?

Anonymous said...

@1:32 -- where are these announcements? I'm not seeing a lot of women getting hired. On the philjobs wiki it looks like the numbers are in line with the number of people getting phD.s in philosophy (like 80/20 favoring men) ... I'm honestly not sure that it *is* happening. But unlike you, I do think that it would be a really bad thing if being a woman gave one a substantial leg up on the job market (i.e., being a lady is not a "tie-breaking" factor but rather ends up being something like a requirement for a large portion of jobs).

On the flip side, most of the women philosophers I know are really, really good. Maybe because the ones who are just okay are beat down by the profession and leave. So I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers were more like 60/40, nor would I think it would be something to be concerned about. I would be interested if someone had some actual hiring data from recent years to post. Leiter's threads would certainly be a place to start.

Anonymous said...

1:32,

Do you mean to suggest that the women getting hired to jobs are not qualified? Or should they not be getting jobs because of their sex? I guess I don't understand your concern.

Anonymous said...

I realize that ire is about to poured on the poster who asked about jobs going disproportionately to females and probably now on myself as well, but I have noticed the last couple of years a purely anecdotal trend of females having a leg up. This is based on (a) several commenters who report having been on job search committees which have explicitly said that they want female finalists; (b) checking CVs of female job hires (I know--CVs are only part of it, but a substantial part of it) and finding them to be prima facie weak CVs; and (c) knowing several females personally who would likely not be interviewed if male but were getting interviews in droves. All of this is defeasible evidence which could certainly be rejected, if the APA were better at tracking job hires. I'm not saying that female candidates are actually getting a leg up, but this should be at least something to be discussed, rather than greeted with aghast exhalations followed by collective shaming.

So, bring on the ire!

Anonymous said...

@1:32 PM

And this is the kind of bullshit that makes it really difficult to be a woman on the job market.

If you get a job, you're part of some mythical pro-women trend. (Issues related to gender equity in philosophy have gotten a lot of press in the blogosphere as well as in mainstream press, but this does not translate into large-scale changes in hiring. And looking at the numbers, it looks like women are getting hired in proportion to the number of PhDs handed out to them.)

If you don't get a job, you must be quite bad at philosophy, because even straight-up affirmative action can't help you out.

It's hard out there for every. single. one. of. us.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he was saying that they weren't qualified, just that there is a gender bonus that people don't talk about. And then FP folks go around promoting this market boost campaign for people who are already advantaged on the job market. A quick skim of Leiter's placement data looks to me to bear it out, someone should run the numbers.

Anonymous said...

5:27 here.

I'm still on the issue of jobs if you don't get a teaching job after the PhD. This article just came out in Inside Higher Education on where English and Language PhD's get jobs. Look at the chart which shows that 6% of PhD's go into nonfaculty roles and 2.2% into administration at Universities. This is exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't get a tenure-track job after finishing, an alternative to consider is trying to stay in academia in some manner. Some people make this work and it is worth considering as a backup maybe.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/18/new-mla-analysis-sheds-light-much-discussed-humanities-job-market

Anonymous said...

"(a) several commenters who report having been on job search committees which have explicitly said that they want female finalists"

Sure, but you realize that this does not mean that thy want female hires, only that they want to satisfy the perception problem about interviewing enough women, right? It also does not mean that they want to bring in lesser qualified women over better qualified men. Why is so hard to believe that the market is flooded with qualified applicants, unless those applicants are women?

"(b) checking CVs of female job hires (I know--CVs are only part of it, but a substantial part of it) and finding them to be prima facie weak CVs"

So you recognize that CVs are but one part of the process, but when women are hired the non-CV parts of the application (writing sample, letters, interviewing skills) clearly are not relevant, because the CVs are so weak that anything other than their sex could not have been a deciding factor?

"(c) knowing several females personally who would likely not be interviewed if male but were getting interviews in droves"

So you know some women you are not impressed with, and therefore women who get hired must be inferior?

Why don't you man up and name names? Who are these women who have been hired to jobs they are unqualified for? What makes them unqualified? You're posting anonymously, so it won't come back to you. So name them and tell us why their CVs, which of course are publicly available so we can check, are lacking for the jobs they were hired to?

If there is a problem where multiple universities are hiring unqualified philosophers, you'd be doing a public service by pointing them out, so students don't make the mistake of studying with them.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when I look around at CV's online I get the impression that the percentage of philosophers with good research output (let's say something like 1.5 top twenty-ish articles per year since the PhD) but no tenure-track job who are men is greater than the percentage of PhD awardees who are men.

Anonymous said...

CDJ will almost certainly run the numbers. IIRC last years numbers were claimed to be proportionate the the assumed proportion of female grad students (80/20). If this years numbers favour men in a proportion greater than average, then people alleging bias in favour of women will have no leg to stand on. More likely, there will be a slight bias (70/30, say) which will be explained away by proponents of Market Boost and their allies in one of the following ways:

1) the bias is not statistically significant given the sample. (I don't know enough about statistics to evaluate this claim.)
2) apparent bias for women tracks merit, so is fair. It may track merit because (a) women graduates are better than their male counterparts since the harsh climate culls weaker women graduate students or (b) being an equally qualified woman is, ipso facto, having more merit than a male counterpart since women are diverse.
3) though women are hired into TT jobs disproportionately they are discriminated against elsewhere (eg. Postdoctoral hiring) so the overall picture is fair or discriminates against women.
4) the jobs women are being hired into are somehow less desirable than the jobs given to male candidates.
5) the disproportionate hiring of women is permissible/required in light of historical injustices.

Whether these arguments are sound and empirically supported isn't something that's been much examined, particularly given the knee-jerk condemnation of such examination evinced above.

zombie said...

There is no way to Monday Morning Quarterback job hires just by looking at one factor (race, sex, whatever), and show that someone got a "leg up" for any particular reason. CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION, people. Were there more blue-eyed hires last year? Blue-eyed people have a leg up in the job market!! I'm DOOOOMED.

I look at who got hired for jobs I've competed for and did not get and often think (through my sour-grapes tinted glasses) that pedigree got someone the job, because their CV is so obviously weaker than mine. In my opinion.

But it could have been others things. Maybe they just really killed it on the campus visit, or their research was more interesting to the faculty and SC, or the faculty liked their paper better than mine, or their letters were stronger. Or they had blue eyes. I have no way to know what made the difference.

I can tell you this about the job search in my dept -- there were more women than men on the SC; we had fewer male than female applicants; we subsequently interviewed more women than men; but the campus visits represented men and women equally. Not by design, but because that's how the top candidates shook out after the first round. The hiring decision came down to factors like teaching and research experience, because the performance of the candidates during the campus visit was fairly equal, all things considered.

SCs have to make choices based on something, but there's no reason to think it's some kind of anti-white or anti-male bias at work. The majority of philosophers in US philosophy departments are still white and male, and it doesn't take much looking to find departments that are entirely white and male. How does that happen with all that anti-white-male bias out there?

zombie said...

I'm looking at the new junior/TT hires on Philjobs since Jan 2015 (representating the current job season). 4 men and 2 women. The 2 women were both appointed to jobs at non-US universities.

zombie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Good grief not again. Just shut the fuck up about gender disparity in hiring. Even if this "problem" were fixed it would still be the case that most of us are extraordinarily unlikely to get good jobs. Let's focus our energy on the real reasons we are unlikely to get good jobs, like the fact that working conditions for adjuncts are terrible. So go walk out on Feb 25th with the rest of us, instead of sitting on the internet complaining about women stealing your jobs.

Signed,
White male philosopher fed up with misguided white male philosophers

Derek Bowman said...

"It's hard out there for every. single. one. of. us."

I'm with you, 8:21.

Anonymous said...

Sigh--in addition to ire, I forgot straw man attacks as well.

"Why is so hard to believe that the market is flooded with qualified applicants, unless those applicants are women?"

I take it for granted that the market is flooded with qualified applicants. Even a minimally diligent search committee is going to find and hire a qualified applicant. The issue is about degree of qualification. Some search committees have seemed (again, anecdotally--I don't have statistics) to count gender as a criterion of qualification. Or maybe it is a perception thing. But either way, if it's happening, it's wrong-headed.

"So you recognize that CVs are but one part of the process, but when women are hired the non-CV parts of the application (writing sample, letters, interviewing skills) clearly are not relevant, because the CVs are so weak that anything other than their sex could not have been a deciding factor?"

Again, I am not saying that the CV is the end-all measure, but when you see someone--anyone--get a job at a teaching institution with few to no pubs and very limited teaching experience, then the stakes are now higher for those letters, that writing sample, those interviewing skills. I am not saying that these people don't have strong applications, the CV notwithstanding, but I also don't assume that they MUST have strong applications. I've seen too many that I know personally get interviews when their applications were not as strong as you'd expect them to have to be.

"So you know some women you are not impressed with, and therefore women who get hired must be inferior?"

Again, don't straw man me. What I mean to say is that, in spite of claims--such as the one you imply earlier--that we just see a small part of a person's application package when we see the publicly posted CV and are therefore not in a position to say whether someone is a strong candidate for a job, I have witnessed candidates getting interviews when they clearly don't have as strong an application as others who are interviewed. (They don't get the job, but when you see who did get the job and check their qualifications, you scratch your head and wonder how this might happen.) And by and large these people have been either a. from a prestigious department or b. female. Lots of people are talking about (a), but we seem unable to have a real conversation about (b).

And no, I won't name names. It's mean and counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

Well how's this for an argument:

1. Some search committees have been told that deans will only approve female hires.

2. No search committees have been told that deans will only approve male hires.

3. Therefore, some search committees have chosen women--because of their gender--so as not to jeopardize their hires.

4. Therefore women--because of their gender--have an advantage on the job market.

So far as I can tell, you don't need a bunch of fancy data to vindicate OP's claim. Some hires are effectively dedicated to women, no hires are effectively dedicated to men, so women have it easier.

An interesting argument might be that there are all sorts of *other* biases against women that countervail this advantage, but I just doubt those implicit biases would rise to the level of this explicit bias. Maybe, though, don't know.

(Also, for emphasis, I haven't seen anyone claim that the women getting the jobs are unqualified--my own experience is that they're often brilliant philosophers. But it's far more likely a brilliant male philosopher is unemployed than that a brilliant female philosopher is unemployed, so far as I can tell.)

Anonymous said...

Just to add to 5:33 AM's comment,

Just because philosophers fall over themselves to express the desire to hire more women *does not mean* that they in fact hire more women.

I know of an SC at a prominent department this year that constantly talked about how hiring more women was an absolute priority. They now have a list of three people they are prepared to offer the job to (in case one or two of them decline): all three are white men.

Departments want to be perceived as sensitive to concerns of equity. But that does not mean that they are actually prioritizing hiring candidates from underrepresented groups. Especially top departments, which have too much to lose by simply hiring people on the basis of their race or gender.

Anonymous said...

To respond to anecdotes above: I know lots of women who are *not* getting interviewed despite being, in my opinion, excellent philosophers.

What is slightly irritating about this, and what provokes the 'knee-jerk' reaction is that it's annoying to have your success explained away, especially by people who have no clue, and especially when we've heard it a million times before ("Oh, you'll do great, you're a woman"). It's impossible for me to be be regarded as a great philosopher, to deserve the job I get, simply because I'm a woman. There will always be someone like the poster above who assumes I got it handed to me. Have you read my letters? Do you know me? Have you read my writing sample? Were you present for my interview? If the answer is no, then keep your opinions about what explains my success to yourself.

It would be interesting if people on search committees came forward and discussed their hiring practices. On the search committee I served on, such considerations (racial/gender minority status) mattered *slightly* when picking who to interview. They mattered *not at all* when choosing who to hire. After you meet people, everyone just wants who they consider to be the very best candidate.

Anonymous said...

Every year some butthurt man comes to complain that too many women are being hired, and that this is somehow a problem because these women being hired are inferior to men who were not hired.

That this complaint always comes as a discussion about sex is bothersome. When inferior women are hired, this is because departments are actively trying not to hire men. But when inferior men are hired, the complaint is that search committees focus on the wrong parts of the application, or demonstrate prestige bias, etc.

When lesser-qualified women are hired, it's because they are women. When lesser qualified men are hired, it's never because of their sex.

What bothers me most is the implication that there are no well-qualified women in philosophy. Those who get jobs are under-qualified, and those who don't get jobs are proof of the field's meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

"An interesting argument might be that there are all sorts of *other* biases against women that countervail this advantage, but I just doubt those implicit biases would rise to the level of this explicit bias."

This comment amazes me. I'd encourage the poster to read through the website "What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?" If "you don't need a lot of fancy data" to vindicate the OP, surely these stories give some credibility to the general argument that there are countervailing implicit biases.

https://beingawomaninphilosophy.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

It's funny. I thought about posting my hire on PhilJobs this morning. Then I had a flash of anxiety. What if get trolled or cyberbullied or PMMBed or something? I shuddered and decided to face that fear some other day. Lo and behold, there are folks over here just dying to troll some CVs...

Derek Bowman said...

If you haven't already, you should read "Three Cheers for the Token Woman" by Anca Gheaus. Although the paper is about representation at conferences, the strongest arguments there apply even moreso to the academic job market. http://www.academia.edu/2436536/Three_Cheers_for_the_Token_Woman_

The illusion that the job market would be basically a meritocracy but for the distorting influence of some X is a piece of toxic ideology, whether that X is 'prestige' or 'unfair bias in favor of women' or some other hobby horse.

I understand why that sort of belief is tempting. It offers an explanation for an awful trauma that has happened, is happening, or you expect to happen to you. Guess what, it happened to me too. It happened to lots of us - men and women (to say nothing of members of other underrepresented groups). But the job market is worse than that. Even it's failures and pathologies are not so simple.

There's no simple 'if only X' to rationally wish for on which it would be all better, whether X is some personal failing you're focusing on or some political hobby horse or even some legitimate shortcoming of the profession.

The problem is deeper than that, and any hope we have of seriously addressing it must begin by recognizing @8:21's point: it's tough for everyone (including those who actually get jobs). And we need to stop making it worse for one another.

Anonymous said...

"Every year some butthurt man comes to complain that too many women are being hired, and that this is somehow a problem because these women being hired are inferior to men who were not hired."

And every year, someone commits the ad hominem fallacy, forestalling meaningful conversation. Is gender a consideration during the selection process?We'll still won't know because we can't possibly discuss it like intelligent adults. I guess the topic is still taboo.

600 apps at Georgia Tech, huh? Wow, bad odds.

zombie said...

2:54 -- please DO post your hire on PhilJobs.

zombie said...

When labor markets get extremely difficult due to a shortage of jobs, the same people get scapegoated time and again. Funny how women and minorities are just never as qualified for jobs, as long as there are unemployed white men around. The current philosophy job market is hard for EVERYONE. It is not exceptionally hard for white men.

Anonymous said...

I think it's perfectly reasonable, in some contexts, to count gender quite heavily in determining who to hire.

Studies show that women students are more likely to major in a discipline when there are more women faculty in that discipline. If you are at, say, a SLAC, and have a department with all men, then you have good reason to prefer a woman. It's much better for your department to have more majors, and having a more representative faculty is a way to do that. At least this is a good reason if all other things are equal. And as a veteran of a number of searches, I can assure you that you that, at least for a SLAC, all other things are almost always equal. There are probably at least 5 amazing candidates for every job we've hired for.

Anonymous said...

Failed to get a job just last week largely on the basis of my gender. I killed the interviews, the on campus, etc. I know who got the job. I don't know how she performed as well in her interviews, etc., but I know it'd be at least a serious fight if she and I got into a philosopher's death match. So I think she's a good fit for the gig.

At the end of the day, though, they were a small department, replacing a woman, and the other two people in the department were bearded white guys. It would've been a bad choice for them to hire me -- another bearded white guy. Would I have taken the job if offered it? Of course. Would I have questioned their decision in giving it to me? Yes.

Anonymous said...

11:38,

It's impossible for me to be be regarded as a great philosopher, to deserve the job I get, simply because I'm a woman.

That's ridiculous. There are many women who are regarded as great philosophers and who deserve the jobs they got.

2:40,

What bothers me most is the implication that there are no well-qualified women in philosophy.

There was no such implication.

The guy who was annoyed at being "straw-manned" has a good point.

Anonymous said...

"And every year, someone commits the ad hominem fallacy, forestalling meaningful conversation. Is gender a consideration during the selection process?We'll still won't know because we can't possibly discuss it like intelligent adults. I guess the topic is still taboo."

It's not the the topic is taboo. It's that when it's raised, it's always in the context of how inferior women are, and how their sex must have been the reason they were hired over the men who were more clearly qualified.

It's never a discussion of sex, and always an accusation against women.

Anonymous said...

"It's not exceptionally hard for white men."

If we have a global notion of difficulty in mind, then I think this is pretty clearly true. That is, it seems to me false that, in terms of the overall experience of working from birth (or high school or undergrad or whatever) toward the goal of being a happily employed academic philosopher, things are harder for men (the whiteness got thrown in at some point in this thread) than women.

But if the last parenthetical sentence of 10:11AM were true (minus the 'as far as I can tell' and interpreting 'far more likely' in a way that is sensitive to the fact that 4 of 5 phil PhDs are men)--a highly controversial antecedent, I realize--then would there not be a substantial local sense of difficulty with respect to which the market is particularly difficult for men?

Anonymous said...

For your own sanity, I encourage everyone on the job market to realize that there isn't a single ranking of all applicants. There are too many dimensions to consider, and too many ways to weight those things. I personally think that gender balance in a department is a worthy consideration, as it provides significant benefits to students. Most undergrads are women, to the point where many admissions departments have been lowering standards for men because they think gender balance is important.

But let's ignore gender. Consider a few aspects of your CV. There's the number of publications you have, there's the journals you placed them, there's the number of citations they have received, there's the topics they cover, etc. Then there are conferences. Do you give many talks? What kind of venues? Are you recycling the same paper over and over, or are you trying out new pieces? Do those talks seem to convert into published papers? Do you have co-authors? Who are your letter writers? Are they all at your institution, or have you started building a reputation beyond your department? Are your letter writers just friends of your advisors? What do they say about you? Anything specific? What's your writing sample? What topic does it cover? Does it connect well to the needs of the department? Does it demonstrate overlapping interests with existing department members? Do you have a compelling story to tell about where your research is going? Does that line of research fit in with the hiring department? What sort of classes can you teach, given your research specialties?

I can keep going for a while. The truth is, you don't know what any given department wants or needs. Stop thinking that you do, or your reading of a CV is any indication of how someone else is going to read that CV. I've struck out on a lot of jobs over the years. Lots of times I lost out to people with fewer papers (the vast majority of the time, in fact). My papers tend to get cited a fair amount as well. But the departments weren't looking for what I did, as it turned out. They wanted a different kind of project. So comparing papers isn't a useful metric.

Just accept that it's a tough, tough job market, and the competition is intense. The decisions that get made are largely idiosyncratic. That doesn't mean they are bad or unfair or biased. It can feel that way when you don't get something. But just accept that at this point, you're competing with a lot of other people who have also jumped through all the hoops that you have, or a slightly different set of hoops that you haven't. Hume's circumstances of justice don't apply here - there aren't enough jobs to go around. It's just a tough environment for everyone. Try and be happy for your colleagues who land jobs. If you don't, try and publish a bit more and teach a bit more and try again next year.

Anonymous said...

@6:50, 11:38 here. What I meant is that (since I'm not Christine Korsgaard, or Martha Nussbaum) is that the immediate assumption for *many* (not all) people, when they hear of some minor success, is that it's because I'm a woman. It's not "wow, she must do really great work" or "her letters must be really strong". I notice this attitude towards a lot of my female colleagues as well. This isn't universal, but it's ubiquitous enough to infect a lot of my professional relationships.

So I was being hyperbolic, or describing the feeling or phenomenology of this being the default assumption. Maybe one day I'll be so well-known that people won't make this assumption. I wish, however, that people would just stop making this assumption. When a man does well, it's because of his merits. When a woman does well, it's because of her gender (until she proves otherwise).

But please, I do not mean to shut down discussion, or to say this topic is taboo. I suggested that search committee members would be best able to assess how gender factors into hiring decisions, since other assessments of ability (such as CVs) are not going to be great markers of what makes a candidate qualified for a job.

Anonymous said...

"There are too many dimensions to consider, and too many ways to weight those things. I personally think that gender balance in a department is a worthy consideration, as it provides significant benefits to students."

Granted, but the real question that needs to be considered here is whether female undergraduate enrollment numbers is a sufficient reason for allowing gender to be one of those "dimensions." 5:54 attests that this has happened in his or her department and I have heard multiple reports that it happens in other departments. 5:54 says "I think it's perfectly reasonable, in some contexts, to count gender quite heavily in determining who to hire." Now, rather than getting apoplectic at even hearing that gender counts in some searches (which it most likely does), can't we debate 5:54's claim?

Should gender, something that by and large is not an achievement, count among other criteria such as pubs, teaching excellence, writing samples, research focus, letters of recommendation, etc.?

Anonymous said...

"Fit" in the sense of collegiality, meshing with the personalities of your coworkers, and bringing other desirable traits to a department is also not an achievement. None of those things are earned in the sense that publications, writing samples, or teaching excellence are. And yet we hear over and over again that 'fit' is what matters most when deciding between a small number of very qualified applicants.

Sometimes gender might also play a role in judgments of fit. On occasion, someone may have seemed to fit better because she was a woman and the department had a gender imbalance. However, I'd bet that more often than not, being a woman (or a member of some other marginalized group) played a negative role in judgments of 'fit.' In fact, the anecdata expressed above is considerably less conclusive than the overwhelming anecdata we've all heard attesting to the claim that being a woman tends to work against aspiring philosophy professors.

In other words, if we're going to get upset about gender influencing some SC's decision, we should probably be upset about lots of other things as well. So why the focus on the probably very small number of women who got a slight advantage due to their gender (as opposed to the overwhelming number of men who probably got an advantage due to their gender)?

Anonymous said...

I do not understand why people keep saying that this conversation about whether women are getting a leg up in the job market is 'taboo' or a conversation that we're somehow not willing to have.

We have this conversation every goddamn year, if not multiple times per year. We never stop talking about it, in fact. It's on multiple blogs, in posts that are hundreds of comments deep.

And if you haven't noticed, we are actually having a discussion about it in this thread. It's just that people who insist that women are being given a leg up can't manage to engage with pushback (or the understandable exasperation from people who *personally* suffer from the insinuation that they're benefiting in a market that is horrific for everyone involved).

People pushing back against this assumption that women are benefiting from affirmative action have raised the following points, among others:

- Women are not getting hired disproportionately to their numbers. Check the CDJ numbers.
- A number of rather idiosyncratic factors go into hiring decisions, so it's impossible to tell, from the outside, whether you lost out to someone on the basis of their gender. Hiring is not purely a contest about publications: believe it or not, someone's project might be philosophically more interesting and deep than your paper on how to slightly tweak a necessary condition on possessing second-order knowledge about your first-order beliefs.

- Just because people talk all the time about wanting diversity does not mean that departments are actually hiring more diverse candidates.


The people who have repeatedly floated the hypothesis that women are unfairly benefiting are the ones without the compelling argument. So you saw some CVs online that didn't seem to you overly impressive. Ok. Were you personally privy to the considerations that led to the hiring decision? No? Well, then, sit down.

You personally know of some women who aren't overly impressive who are getting jobs. Ok. Is this a statistically significant trend? Can you back it up with numbers that point to something beyond mere anecdotes? No? Again, sit down.

Do you have proof that there are deans out there who will literally not approve a hire unless that hire is female/a minority?

Can you show that committees that express the desire for diversity make that desire the determining factor in a hiring decision?

If you want to have a debate, you should try holding up your end of the conversation.

Derek Bowman said...

@9:43: Choice of research topic or AOS is also not an achievement. Are you worried about the role they play in candidate selection?

Anonymous said...

"Should gender, something that by and large is not an achievement, count among other criteria such as pubs, teaching excellence, writing samples, research focus, letters of recommendation, etc.?"

There are lots of factors in the vaguely-defined category of "fit," and none of them are based on achievement. There's no reason to single out gender from other non-academic considerations.

Anonymous said...

@931 "When a man does well, it's because of his merits. When a woman does well, it's because of her gender (until she proves otherwise)."

Speaking for myself I don't feel this way at all, and am a white male. I took classes from several women philosophers when I was in grad school and they were all very smart. I have had women commentators on my papers at the APA and been very impressed by how good the comments were. I assign readings by women philosophers in my classes because, well, they are good readings. And I know of women who've published in JPhil, despite the fact that I've never done this. There is no reason to think women aren't brilliant in all these cases. In my view, there is no default assumption being made about women from my experience, and any guys who make such assumptions aren't attending to the evidence. It is true that some people harbor bad attitudes, but I don't think this is representative of everyone's views and very likely is not a majority of them.

Anonymous said...

"If you want to have a debate, you should try holding up your end of the conversation."

No, I get it--the data are usually not available. And I want to make it clear that I am making no assertions that gender is being considered in job search decisions. But consider a different debate: the role of prestige in job hires. When we see a Princeton or Rutgers grad get a job when they have no pubs and little teaching, we don't automatically say, "Well, we aren't privy to the rest of their application. Perhaps their writing sample was stellar and they have strong letters." Some do this, but a significant number of people don't. Of course, it's certainly possible, and even likely, that these parts of the application are very good, but at least some of us are willing to ask whether their pedigree is playing a role in the decisions. In other words, many people don't immediately give search committees in these cases the benefit of the doubt, even if ultimately they do.

But when we turn to this conversation, people are willing to automatically give search committees the benefit of the doubt. Maybe we should, but I don't think it's a clear cut issue. All I am trying to do here is ascertain whether gender is being given weight. 5:54 says that it has in his or her department--I'd like to hear from other search committees about whether they do as well. This is the only way to make such a determination, since, as you point out, from the outside the question is very hard to answer.

"Choice of research topic or AOS is also not an achievement."

True, but it is something that is chosen and therefore something that a candidate can rightly be held accountable for. Gender (in most cases) is not like that.

"There are lots of factors in the vaguely-defined category of "fit," and none of them are based on achievement. There's no reason to single out gender from other non-academic considerations."

Again, it's true that gender, if given consideration, would seem to be playing into the notion of "fit." But that doesn't make it right. And we single out non-academic considerations all the time when we complain about the elusive notion of fit. I am just worried that the issue of gender as a consideration is somehow off-limits.

As I see it, there are two issues that are being conflated:

1. Whether gender is given weight in job searches.

2. Whether gender should be given weight in job searches.

I am primarily interested in (1). There is some (defeasible) evidence that gender is given weight, but I have taken no stand on (2).

Anonymous said...

Yes, the gender of a candidate has been relevant to hiring decisions in some cases. However, the role that such judgments play almost always fall under the "fit" category. For some SCs, being a man will give you a leg up in terms of how "fit" they think you are. For some SCs (those trying to counter implicit biases and make philosophy more inclusive, for example), being a woman may make you seem like a better fit. Both of these have occurred, and both of them will again. Maybe some campus decided at the outset that they'll toss all CVs submitted by men in the garbage. I've never heard of this happening, but even if it has, it's certainly not a common practice.

But here's a point I'd like to make: unless we answer the normative question in the negative (and thus claim that it is a serious problem that gender ever plays any role in SC decisions), then we don't really have a good cause to care about the factual question. So, by raising the factual question (every fucking year), people on this forum are most definitely expressing a commitment to a negative answer to the normative question. We're not confusing the two questions. It's just that when you keep on raising the factual question, it becomes obvious that you have a specific inclination regarding the normative question.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Do you have proof that there are deans out there who will literally not approve a hire unless that hire is female/a minority?"

Yes, because he said so.

Anonymous said...

@1:52 PM, Awesome proof. I'm totally convinced!

I know that deans *put pressure* on departments to hire minorities. I know they can even exert plenty of oversight on searches, demanding proof of a good-faith effort to try and hire minorities. None of that strikes me as crazy, or really all that worrisome.

But I've never heard of any dean who would unilaterally impose such a hard and fast restriction.

You should really name some names. I'd happily stand corrected in such a case. And I'd also like to know so that I never apply to work for a university with such a toxic relationship between deans and departments.

5:54 said...

Being Catholic isn't an achievement, but a Catholic school that wants to maintain a Catholic identity will have reason (in some cases, say if they don't have any Catholics in the department) to prefer hiring a Catholic. I take this to be uncontroversial, though maybe I'm wrong.

But if it's true, then why isn't it acceptable for a diversity-seeking department staffed by men to prefer to hire a woman, all other things being equal?

I should confess that I don't buy the notion that papers, teaching ability, etc. are something that an individual can be entirely responsible for (i.e., are "achievements" of that individual). I side with Rawls on this point -- upbringing, schooling, etc. matters.

zombie said...

"But consider a different debate: the role of prestige in job hires. When we see a Princeton or Rutgers grad get a job when they have no pubs and little teaching..."

That's actually the opposite case. Many people think that going to a prestigious school IS merit, or indicates merit. So when someone is hired "because of prestige," the implication is that the SC believes (rightly or wrongly) that a prestigious PhD makes that candidate superior, regardless of other evidence. OTOH, the implication of saying that a woman got hired "because she's a woman" is that she was not hired b/c the SC thought that "being a woman" indicates superiority, but rather that she was hired despite lacking superiority. Which attitude, I suspect, holds even if she was hired b/c of prestige.

Anonymous said...

There are two distinct issues here. (a) Whether various factors do make it the case that women are more likely to get jobs than men, and (b) whether it's unfair or unjust that this happens. The original post that started this whole discussion only assumes (a), not (b).
If (a) is true and (b) is false, that still means that the current job market conditions are worse for men than for women. Ceteris paribus, if you're a man, you've got less reason to hope you'll get a job than if you're a woman. There might be nothing unjust about that, but if it's true, we should acknowledge that it's true--especially when it comes to giving advice to students about whether to go to grad school or not, or advice to people currently on the market about whether to keep trying or give up and pursue other employment.
People disagree about whether (a) and (b) are true, but can we all agree that if (a) is true, then it would be unjust to hide this fact from male philosophers who have to make important decisions about their futures? This seems obvious to me.

Anonymous said...

But we have actual evidence that (a) is not true. The numbers have been crunched, and widely reported on on multiple blogs (including this one): http://philosophysmoker.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/to-get-job-in-philosophy.html

So I really don't know why every year we get a bunch of people reporting random anecdotes anonymously and all the sudden it's an issue all over again. Anecdotes posted anonymously on blogs don't trump data. And the data shows that women are not more likely to get jobs than men.

This also speaks to your conditional: nobody's trying to hide any information! Not only is no-one hiding it, there are people making a lot of effort to actually collect and collate the data.

So it seems a bit odd to say that "if a is true, then it would be unjust to hide this fact from male philosophers" when the actual evidence (not random anecdotes) show that a is not true, and no-one's trying to hide anything. Given these, what's the point of even raising the worry about some potential injustice in the first place?

Anonymous said...

So you saw some CVs online that didn't seem to you overly impressive. Ok. Were you personally privy to the considerations that led to the hiring decision? No? Well, then, sit down.

Do you have proof that there are deans out there who will literally not approve a hire unless that hire is female/a minority?


So, the standard of evidence for the people raising the issue here is: you must have been personally privy to the hiring decision, and you have to have proof that a dean will not approve a hire.

Just out of curiosity, is that also the standard for people arguing the other side? For instance, does this person:

When a man does well, it's because of his merits. When a woman does well, it's because of her gender (until she proves otherwise).

also have to sit down, or is she allowed to keep commenting even without having proof?


Anonymous said...

I am not 1:52PM, but I, too, am directly acquainted with an extra-departmental directive (not explicitly stated, to my knowledge, but very obviously implied) for a philosophy SC to make a diversity hire (and the implication was such that proposed hires that did not fit this condition would not be approved). For the record, this should not be taken to imply that this directive forced the SC in question to hire someone other than their (unconstrained) first choice. I do think it's a little bit much, though, to demand that names be named before giving any credence whatsoever to the claim that such constraints exist, as it's not preposterous to think that naming names might cause, for example, serious friction between the administration and members of the philosophy department. So, I'm sure this comment will fail to convince folks like 2:08PM who, lacking a list of relevant names, simply refuse to believe that things like this happen, but I also think that the response of "Well, I just don't believe you without you doing something to potentially compromise your own working relationships" fails to be a totally reasonable one here.

Anonymous said...

Oy. First of all, people keep on peddling the CDJ statistics as evidence that women have an easier time on the job market. But why think that it is evidence? Here is what CDJ says about her findings:

"What is the mean number of publications for women and men in this data set? For all of the jobs (tenure-track, postdoctral, and VAP) and for all peer-reviewed publications, placed women have an average of 1.13 publications, whereas placed men have an average of 2.17 publications. Thus it looks as though placed men have one more publication, on average, than placed women. Yet, if we look at median number of publications, this difference evaporates: the midpoint of publications by both women and men is 1 publication. (The mode is 0 for each.) Why this difference between mean and median? The difference comes down to those at the extremes: 15% of men and 5% of women have 5+ publications... If we look only at those placed candidates without (reported) prior positions, the percentage of men with 5+ publications drops dramatically to 4.67%, whereas the percentage of women with 5+ publications stays about the same at 4.08%. Thus, what appears to be pushing the mean away from the median are male candidates outside the top-20 who have prior positions. Since the proportion of women placed in postdoctoral, VAP, and instructor positions (24.5% for 2011-2013) is significantly smaller than the proportion of women graduate students (average of 32.6% for departments in the 2013 APA Graduate Guide), the difference in mean publications may be partly caused by the difference in opportunities prior to the tenure-track. At least, I think this is something that readers should consider when looking at these numbers."

http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/12/gender-and-publications.html

So the only statistical data that people can point to (beyond the anecdotal, beyond the random looking at people's CVs on the internet, beyond judging your friends' unworthiness of getting oodles of interviews) is that women hires on average have 1 less publication on their CV then men hires. But if you look at individual hires, you will notice that most of the people hired will tend to have between 0 to 1 publications each be they men or women (mode, median, respectively). The difference in average publications based on gender is influenced by the extremes - there are 10% more men than women hires that have more than 5 publications at the time of being hired. If it turns out that women do not get hired disproportionately for TT lines and that men get disproportionately hired for post-docs, vaps, etc., then the difference at the extremes can be explained without ANY reference to women getting some market advantage.

Until there is actual evidence that women are getting some advantage on the market, why are we talking about what advice we should be giving men about how to deal with a market in which they are being disadvantaged by their gender? This is an uninteresting and unimportant question. Move on.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:35, I'm the one who said: "When a man does well, it's because of his merits. When a woman does well, it's because of her gender (until she proves otherwise)."

Again, what I'm concerned about here is the comments above that women are getting interviewed in droves, despite being unqualified. The assumption by people *in this thread* seems to be that these women are getting interviewed because they are women. I know men I consider unqualified who seem to be getting lots of interviews. But I just assume either (1) I'm wrong or (2) search committee standards are somewhat different than mine or (3) they've somehow managed to beef up their CVs or impress the right people. Most of the time I think "Oh, they must be really good in some way that is not apparent to me right now. Go figure."

Now, on the other hand, I don't think that's the case for me. I'm not given the benefit of the doubt *by some (not all!) people* as is evidenced by comments in this thread. For those people, my getting interviews might be *prima facie* evidence that women get a boost b/c of gender. At least that seems to be the assumption that these people make with respect to the "unqualified" women they know that are getting interviews. They don't assume that these women are good in ways that they are not privy to.

Again, I don't want to shut down discussion. Discuss away. I just mean to bring awareness to the types of assumptions that seem to be animating a lot of this discussion.

Anonymous said...

From: http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/06/job-placements-2011-2014-first-report.html

"Once I removed duplicate placement records, I found there to be 777 placements and 715 placed candidates. 30.91% of the placed candidates are women, which is very close in number to the percentage of women who earn doctorates in philosophy in the United States: 30.47% in 2009, according to one source.
[...]
Looking at all placements, and not just placed candidates, women make up 34.8% of tenure-track placements
[...]
Breaking this down by year, we have 30.5% tenure-track placements in 2011-2012, 34.1% tenure-track placements in 2012-2013, and 39.3% tenure-track placements in 2013-2014 going to women..."

So we have an increasing trend over the past few years to hire more women, beginning with rough parity in '11-'12, growing by ~8.5% last season. Supposing that the trend continues, the ~4% annual growth in female hires continues, this season will see women hired at 43.5%.

Suppose that there were 100 jobs this year and 200 candidates. If CDJ's stated numbers are correct, about 60 of the 200 candidates are women. If women get 45% of the jobs, the bare odds of getting a job as a woman, apart from the individual qualifications of each woman, is 43.5/60=~72.5%. By contrast, the proportion for a man is 66.5/140=~47.5%. So, in my purely fictional market, unless being a women is correlated with other strengths like publication, teaching, or gender-independent 'fit', being a woman comes with a gender bonus of 35%.

Perhaps this year won't see the historic gains women have seen over the past three years.

Anonymous said...

"Again, what I'm concerned about here is the comments above that women are getting interviewed in droves, despite being unqualified"

Bleh--how many times does it need to be said? The worry here isn't that UNqualified females are getting interviews. The main worry, I take it, is that, if a search committee is presented with, say, 15 candidates, all judged to be equally qualified, some weight is given to the females in the pool simply because they are female. Maybe this is unavoidable--after all, if you want to winnow the pool down and all merit-based considerations are equal, you have to turn to non-merit-based criteria. But if this kind of thing happens--again, IF--then we should ask whether it SHOULD happen. (Despite the earlier comment that claims that by merely asking the "factual" question, we are thereby committed to the "normative" position that this kind of thing shouldn't happen.)

Again, I suspect that most people who are curious as to whether any weight is being given to gender are not envisioning a system in which unqualified females are being interviewed, but one in which equally qualified candidates are differentiated by something having little to do with merit.

Anonymous said...

If we're clear, the argument being mounted here is that it's really hard to be a (white) male in philosophy? Males will only end up with a majority of the jobs, and not the vast majority of the jobs? Likewise, if we are making decisions around merit or desert or whatever, we should only think of this moment, and not potential countervailing bias in, say, rates at which women are admitted to grad school, the gender differences in attrition rates, and any bias in the refereeing process at journals or conferences, or even the gender difference in tenure rates? Is that the argument?

I don't have patience for this kind of argument. No doubt everyone is a beautiful and unique snowflake, who is uniquely deserving of a job, and surely would have got one too, if it weren't for those pesky other people. You can be bummed that the market is hard and unpleasant, and that there are structural factors that have reduced the total number of TT jobs. Getting rejections sucks. I assure you that even more qualified people than you - some of whom are women - didn't get jobs this year. Get it out of your head that there is a nice rational process for this, where coming in second at a top-5 school means you'll come in first at a top-20 school or something. It's also a labor market, not a system that matches people to jobs according to some measure of desert. There are all kinds of random considerations. Also get it out of your head that the appropriate explanation for women succeeding is that there's a conspiracy to hold men back. Women have a way less pleasant time getting to the point where they can apply for jobs than men do. There are extra hurdles all over the place. If they can get through all that extra crap and still put together a good portfolio, that's a pretty good indicator of quality. It is also an absolutely reasonable consideration for a department to look at making sure that their faculty have some women on it, as part of an effort to encourage more women into the field. Philosophy departments need bigger enrollments if they're going to survive. Most college students are women. Guess where there might be an area of growth for philosophy? These can be strategic decisions for departments looking to better serve their schools. What's why employers hire. Not to validate your feelings, or show the world that you are smart.

Again, I completely understand that it sucks to get a big stack of rejections (or just never hear anything). I've also been in a situation where I've lost a job to someone who has far fewer publications. What I came to realize is that it's not useful to ruminate on this. I don't know why the decisions get made, and it's pointless to speculate. When I stopped coming up with reasons for why it was unjust, I started finding elements of my application that I could improve upon. I also realized I could just write something I found interesting instead of hate-reading other people's CV's. Be sad, listen to some depressing music, and then write a paper. Then work on another one. Present them at conferences. That stuff is in your control. The rest isn't.

Anonymous said...

Right, but you forgot to take into account the trend of women earning more doctorates. The survey on the APA website shows a trend of about a 2% increase a year, ending at 31.4 in 2011. This gets us to women earning 39.4% of all doctorates in this season.

So run the numbers: 80/200 candidates are women. 43.5/80 = 54%. 66.5/120 = 55%. (So, given the numbers are small and I occasionally rounded up or down to the nearest whole number, I guess we call it equal).

Anonymous said...

Anon. at 10:55: You neglect to include the fact that the number of women PhDs also rose between 2009 and 2013, from 30.47% to 32.58%. So insofar as there was an increase in women hirees in 2013, that increase is slightly more than the increase in the newly minted women PhDs (only 1.5% higher). CDJ does not discuss statistics of PhDs for 2014. But I think we can imagine that the increase in women PhDs is likely. It seems then that the 4% increase also has to do with the fact that market share of women candidates is increasing.

So in this fictional world of 100 jobs and 200 candidates, if we pay attention to the growing number of female PhDs, the numbers could be more like 62% (43.5/70) of the women can expect to get TT jobs whereas 48% (66.5/130) of men can expect to get TT jobs. So the "gender bonus" as you say would be more like 14% not 35%.

This is all based on some hypothetical gains that women have received this year. It doesn't take into account factors such as publications, writing sample, etc. And it also doesn't take into account that there has been a steep decline in the proportion of women who get hired for post-docs, VAPs and other non-TT lines.

Anonymous said...

"The worry here isn't that UNqualified females are getting interviews. The main worry, I take it, is that, if a search committee is presented with, say, 15 candidates, all judged to be equally qualified, some weight is given to the females in the pool simply because they are female."

Well, no, that's not the argument being made here. Not by 2/17 5:17 who claims to have been "checking CVs of female job hires (I know--CVs are only part of it, but a substantial part of it) and finding them to be prima facie weak CVs," and has decided that access to partial information is enough to decide bias must exist. And not by 2/19 4:23 who wrote that "I don't know how she performed as well in her interviews, etc., but I know it'd be at least a serious fight if she and I got into a philosopher's death match," admitting to having no idea how the successful applicant did on the interview but surely, somehow, knows they must be pretty evenly matched.

The first problem is, we can never know if applicants are equally qualified. It might be generous to assume that all finalists are equally qualified, but whether or not this is true can never be known outside of the search committee. What we have above are commenters who admit to not having all the evidence, but despite that are convinced that there must be a gender-based bias at play.

But even if we could all accept your characterization of the concern, what you are saying is that people are concerned that *qualified* applicants are getting jobs? That's insane. I know the market is tough, but do people really need to claim that there is a problem because qualified applicants are being hired to positions that search committees deem are a good fit for the department and university?

You raise a concern that we have a system "in which equally qualified candidates are differentiated by something having little to do with merit." But honestly, don't we already know this exists? SLACs repeatedly hire people who have earned BAs at SLACs, and it's not uncommon for SLAC search committees to ask about applicants' experience studying at such an institution. Some universities demand that hires provide a statement of faith, to demonstrate fit within the religious community.

The problem here is that every year someone comes to raise the question about sex, and points to it as a problem because it has nothing to do with ability to do philosophy. But I've yet to see anyone complain about religious affiliation, or SLAC background, or other aspects that all fall into "fit." People seem to complain about "fit" generally, or sex specifically. The problem is that people seem to accept that non-merit considerations are part of the process, but are outraged that sex might be one of them.

Anonymous said...

Think of all the people you know from your PhD granting department, current department, area of specialty, etc. who fit this description: genuinely nice person, good teacher (insofar as you can estimate), 1 or more years post-PhD, extremely well published relative to age of PhD, not employed in a tenure-track position.

Are 3 in 10 of the people you thought of women? (If so: great! I mean it as a genuine question.)

Now, it's obviously a pretty rare achievement for anyone to fit the above description (at least the conjunction of being nice, a good teacher, and extremely well published), and I'm not contesting that, speaking in gigantic generalizations, achieving it is a more ass-painful experience for women than for men. Nor am I saying anything about whether the man/woman breakdown of people fitting that description OUGHT to match the man/woman breakdown of PhDs awarded.

But if I were deciding, say, whether to pursue graduate study in philosophy, I would certainly find it useful to know whether there IS a significant mismatch in those breakdowns, independently of my sex.

I hope it's clear that none of this is to say that it's generally tougher to be a man in philosophy than a woman in philosophy.

zombie said...

Everyone in the current philosophy job market is ridiculously overqualified. Except the people who get hired over me. They are transparently inferior.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone in the current philosophy job market is ridiculously overqualified. Except the people who get hired over me. They are transparently inferior."

This is not my experience. Whenever I check to see who got a job in a department for which I didn't get an interview, I am THRILLED when I see a solid candidate had gotten the job. And this happens a lot more than the opposite--when I do a little digging and find it just inexplicable that the person got the job. But when the latter happens, this suggests to me that--as we have already discussed--not all departments are going with the most qualified. But I then recite the usual "Well, they probably have a kick ass writing sample and great recommendations."

But something bothers me about that. What role do kick ass writing samples and great recommendations play? Aren't they supposed to speak to potential of the candidate? If so, how do these outweigh ACTUAL accomplishments? In my most cynical moments, I suspect that these elements of the application are becoming outdated, as people are publishing and teaching a lot more before leaving graduate school. I think it may be time to re-evaluate the importance and usefulness of these elements, switching instead to greater attention to publications, teaching evals, and teaching references (which are useful, since they speak to the candidate's actual teaching methods).

Anonymous said...

This is 11:45 here, the undergrad who posted a while back about whether or not to pursue graduate studies in philosophy... not to derail the conversation or anything, just wanted to say thanks to everyone who gave me advice.

I have two further thoughts that might be of some value (while I'm here, I figure I might as well throw my two cents in the jar).

First, it seems to me that the problem is not one of gender equality or the lack thereof, whether or not some departments prefer, ceteris paribus, to hire a woman over a (white?) man. The problem is clearly that there are way too many philosophers competing for not nearly enough jobs. I'm not sure it's much more complicated than that. Instead of being upset with phil departments for (possibly) hiring a woman over a man with all other qualifications being equal, why not be upset with phil departments (or the field in general) for cranking out way too many PhDs? I feel like there should be a specific and slightly terrifying warning given to anyone accepted into grad programs for philosophy prior to deciding if they will enroll (as this blog has sufficiently provided me). Is there no obligation for philosophers to stop creating such an overabundance of philosophers, for the sake of the well-being of those would-be-philosopher-individuals as well as the field itself?

Second, I wonder this: even if it were the case that some departments prefer to hire women (all other things equal), and further suppose it were the case that this occasionally led to some men who were slightly more qualified not getting a job because it was given to a well-but-slightly-less-well qualified woman-- would we really find this objectionable? Would these decisions themselves not be made in the name of equality? I imagine one would only cry foul if the decision was perceived as harmful to one's self.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to why people are still trying to run the 'it's just useful to know' line (2:08) which I take it is a variant on the 'it's unjust to hide the facts from male philosophers' line.

Because the thing is, we DO know. We have data - data specifically about hiring in philosophy, and data specifically about whether Average Male Grad has a lower chance of being hired than Average Female Grad. The answer is there chances are about equal, and women are represented in hiring at about the same proportion as the proportion of women who earn doctorates.

When we know the facts, when they have been stated repeatedly here and elsewhere, claims like "none of this is to say that it's generally tougher to be a man in philosophy than a woman in philosophy" start to look a bit disingenuous. Why keep raising 'just as a possibility' something that the data *specifically on this issue* doesn't support?

Anonymous said...

"not all departments are going with the most qualified"

It might be more fair to say that not all departments judge "qualified" in the same way that you do.

Anonymous said...

"why not be upset with phil departments (or the field in general) for cranking out way too many PhDs?"

Because nobody wants to admit that they are part of the excess. When people do argue that there are too many PhDs being produced, they always look at other programs, and other PhDs, as being the excessive number keeping them from getting jobs. Personally, I think that any program that does not place at least half of their PhDs into TT jobs should lose the right to produce PhDs. But then again, I also wonder why people keep applying to PhD programs that place less than half of their graduates into TT jobs. Honestly, I think that many people simply don't want to admit they made a mistake. This, I suspect, is also partly why so many PhDs - especially those who enroll in programs with subpar placement records - don't aggressively pursue Plan B options: they don't want to admit that they made a poor choice, and so refuse to consider other options.

"I feel like there should be a specific and slightly terrifying warning given to anyone accepted into grad programs for philosophy prior to deciding if they will enroll (as this blog has sufficiently provided me)."

I feel that undergraduates who want to pursue a PhD in philosophy should research the programs, particularly for their placement rates. You don't need that warning if you are capable of doing relatively simple research on the field you with to devote your life to.

"Is there no obligation for philosophers to stop creating such an overabundance of philosophers, for the sake of the well-being of those would-be-philosopher-individuals as well as the field itself?"

Nope:
1. Some people will tell you that there is no reason not to keep teaching philosophy, and that it's a social good to have more people with advanced education. However, many of these people are successful philosophers, and have long since stopped worrying about having to find a job. Rarely is this argument made by the person who spent a decade chasing a degree that failed to get them a job.
2. Departments will never, not ever, choose to shut down their PhD programs. Such programs bring prestige to the department and university. They bring in small armies of grad students to serve as TAs, teach Intro courses, and assist faculty with research. No program wants to give up those perks. And so long as people are willing to enroll in programs with shitty placement records, those programs serve a need.
3. While it might be bad for the individuals to have an over-abundance of PhDs, it's not bad for the field. The field doesn't mind this at all. No department complains about there being too many talented people to choose from when hiring. No department complains about being able to hire talented adjuncts. "The field" is fine with the system the way that it is.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comment threads on this blog is like watching a series of winter train wrecks that devolve into people alternating among (1) pretending like they will fight each other with wet noodles (and actively ignoring any potential resolution of the wet noodle fight), (2) humblebragging about how they don't know why, but they were suddenly summoned to take a seat on another train, (3) frantically trying to figure out why they were on this train rather than another, (4) screaming at someone else while receiving multiple back rubs from their friends, (5) masturbating in the middle of a field next to the wrecked train, (6) pretending to masturbate in the middle of a field next to the wrecked train (as some sort of joke), (7) calling other people out for masturbating in a field next to the wrecked train, but nevertheless rubbing themselves on something nearby, (8) staring into the void and weeping, or (9) giving what they take to be good advice about how to avoid such a train wreck in the future. (Here's a hint: get off the train.) I encourage others to fill in the gaps that I've missed. (I've just thought of one: the barely-surviving passenger who decides to never ride the train again while laughing at the rest of the poor schmucks who survived and decided to hop back on.) Have fun staring at your navels.

Anonymous said...

"It might be more fair to say that not all departments judge "qualified" in the same way that you do."

That may be true. I tend to think of research and teaching experience/excellence as the key criteria, but maybe that isn't what all departments are looking for.

Anonymous said...

6:42,

2:08 here. My question isn't about average grads. If there are data specifically on my question, I would find them useful. Why is that confusing?

Suppose these data showed a giant mismatch. Still, it would not follow that things in general are tougher for men. Why suspect that I'm being disingenuous when I point out this absence of entailment?

Anonymous said...

"That may be true. I tend to think of research and teaching experience/excellence as the key criteria, but maybe that isn't what all departments are looking for."

As do search committees. But as has been *repeatedly* noted, search committees may be heavily weighing writing samples, which people outside the committee don't have access to. They may also value the subject matter covered by the research, so that two publications in one sub-discipline may be more important to the committee than one publication in a different sub-discipline (as it may be of more interest to the department, may reflect a pedagogical need, may connect that applicant to another campus program, etc.). Quality of writing may also play a big part, and you can't judge that just from looking at a CV; one stellar work of writing is more impressive than multiple mediocre works, even if the latter takes up more real estate on the CV.

Similarly, while teaching *experience* can be judged by looking at a CV, teaching *excellence* cannot be judged by the CV alone, or even by the paper application. I know people who have taught for years, and still suck at it; I know people who have taught for only a few semesters, and are quite good. By the time of the campus visit, the campus presentation/teaching demo is far more important than the list of courses on the CV.

Anonymous said...

"so that two publications in one sub-discipline may be more important to the committee than one publication in a different sub-discipline"

Oops. Reverse that. *One* publication in one sub-discipline may be more important than *two* publications in another.

Anonymous said...

"Again, I suspect that most people who are curious as to whether any weight is being given to gender are not envisioning a system in which unqualified females are being interviewed, but one in which equally qualified candidates are differentiated by something having little to do with merit."

If two candidates are equally qualified, then it seems to follow that the only things available to differentiate them would be things that have nothing to do with merit. Given that, it seems prima facie quite reasonable to use as a tie-breaker the fact that one candidate (through no merit of her own) would, by virtue of being hired, help alleviate a serious problem in the profession while another candidate (through no fault of his own) would, by virtue of being hired, exacerbate that problem.

zombie said...

A reason letters matter (from someone who recently served on a SC):

The letters your referees write, if they are good, attest to both your promise as a scholar, and the importance of your work. The latter is important, especially in cases where you are applying to a small department where the SC may not have any expertise in the advertised AOS (which is precisely why they are hiring). I found it quite valuable when referees explained the importance and originality of the candidate's work, because it was not in an area of philosophy that I know much about. It's all well and good for them to say that you're "brilliant" or "one of the best..." but it can be really helpful if they can explain what is so good about what you do.

It also helps if you have a letter about your teaching, or at least some peer reviews of your teaching, in addition to your student evals.

Derek Bowman said...

@2:41

Yes. This. Exactly this.

If several applicants are sufficiently qualified that any measure of 'merit' sufficiently fine-grained as to distinguish them will be disputable and idiosyncratic even among experts, then something other than (reliable, publicly recognized) indicators of merit will be the difference-maker in who finally gets the job. Given this, it would be a tragedy if many committees DIDN'T take this as an opportunity to address issues of inclusiveness in their department and/or in the profession at large.

Anonymous said...

I have a general question to those of you struggling for eternity on the academic job market:

How many of you actually have tasted how the world outside academia really feels like? And how incredibly and utterly fulfilling philosophy can be, when it's finally untied again from the need to make a living with it?

Nothing is more stimulating, more fun, more life-enriching and more deeply fulfilling, than to have studied philosophy, took it with you as a mental outlook on life, gained another skill-set, which connects you to the general economy, and from then on charge a life outside the ivory tower with a lively philosophical outlook, including trying to be up-to-date with current trends, diving into new areas you haven't investigated earlier, attend a conference here and there (albeit with a fundamental lightness of being), completely unburdened by any need to progress "professionally" in a harsh environment, endure peer-review processes, extreme poverty in dire adjunct-positions without hope etc.

This comes from someone breaking off his phd, nevertheless enjoying philosophy ever since as a supreme source of joy and curiosity in his spare-time and holidays, in addition to having a secure, family-sustaining job, and shaking his head in disbelief, as to why so many of you simply do not make a pragmatic life decision, relieving you of so much misery.

Big D said...

8:22,

I'm currently working outside of academia, and I don't find it terribly liberating. I'm in a field with smart people, and that makes it tolerable, but I wouldn't be happy if I had to spend the rest of my life doing it. I've found working as an academic to be far more fulfilling, but adjuncting just doesn't pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

@8:22 AM,

Your question is totally reasonable, especially given the misery of the job market. Here's my pessimistic answer:

It's not actually clear to me that people *can* continue to really do philosophy as a hobby. People say this, but I'm unsure. (I would be thrilled, btw, to have someone show me to be wrong in this.) So, absent employment in philosophy, one worries about really being able to do the thing they love.

Doing philosophy (I think) involves coming up against obstacles and having to push through them. It involves having philosophical interlocutors push back against your ideas. It's not (just) reading philosophy books, or even using analytical tools to think through the problems of the day. And it's hard, if not impossible, to do philosophy in the way I've described outside of the profession.

So maybe that's why so many of us cling to the profession even when we're capable of making a living in other ways.

Derek Bowman said...

@8:22 (and anyone else with similar experience):

If you're willing to correspond via e-mail, I'd love to hear more about your career path and your experiences of making philosophy a part of your life outside the academy. You can find my e-mail address on my website.

Anonymous said...

"And it's hard, if not impossible, to do philosophy in the way I've described outside of the profession."

For many, it's hard, if not impossible, to do philosophy from *inside* the profession. How much research and publishing do many adjuncts get to do?

If "doing philosophy" is something that only tenure-track faculty get to do (for the most part; there are of course some exceptions), then most philosophy PhDs will never get to "do philosophy."

Derek Bowman said...

@11:58: I think you're right about the mindset, but it's a mindset we need to change. Part of changing it means getting over the false dilemma of 'hobby' vs 'career.'

As an example, my wife is part of the Providence Roller Derby league (go PRD!). Depending on the individual player's availability and level of commitment, each one spends 2-4 nights every week on practice and unofficial skating, plus an extra night when there are bouts or league meetings.

This isn't anyone's paid job but it's also much more than a hobby. They all have other jobs (and several are mothers too!), but they find time to engage seriously in something they're passionate about, and to maintain a welcoming community for others.

Serious philosophy can take a similar form if we - the serious philosophers - are able to get over the idea that only those with (tenure-track) jobs are real philosophers. We have to create the communities that allow that to happen.

Sure, this might not be easy to do. But 6:50 is exactly right about what the status quo looks like. It's not good for philosophers, and it's not good for philosophy.

Anonymous said...

if you really wanna do philosophy, there is this wonderful thing in western society called "spare time" in which you may sacrifice netflix to "do philosophy"

Anonymous said...

... say people with no children.

Anonymous said...

"... say people with no children."

Or people who are willing to sacrifice some of their family time to work on their research.


Anonymous said...

"Family time" is non-optional for most. Children (especially small children) do not take care of themselves ... Family isn't something I do in my spare time, like netflix. Sacrifice *netflix* time, sure ... But most of the parent-philosophers I know aren't watching much netflix.

Anonymous said...

"'Family time' is non-optional for most"

...but having children is.

Anonymous said...

Ah I see. Indeed, friendship is also optional, love is optional, and all such things should be sacrificed to the great god of philosophy, because if you really love philosophy, you will spurn all other things in life. If you have kids, you should give them to someone else to take care of the majority of the time, so that you can spend your evenings reading and writing philosophy. If you aren't the kind of privileged person who can pay someone else to raise your kids (or marry someone who is willing to do this largely alone), you shouldn't have them. If you REALLY want to do philosophy, you will make such sacrifices.

Seeing kids and family as "optional" as if it's something one does in their free time (like a hobby) is a distinctly late 20th way of seeing things. Human beings do philosophy. Human beings love and reproduce and their lives (the things that philosophy is about) are made rich through these activities. If the conditions of the world make it impossible for philosophers to live rich and fulfilling lives, enjoying at least some of the goods that are distinctive of human life, there's a big problem.

Anonymous said...

"If the conditions of the world make it impossible for philosophers to live rich and fulfilling lives, enjoying at least some of the goods that are distinctive of human life, there's a big problem."

The world has much much bigger problems than this.

Anonymous said...

"If you REALLY want to do philosophy, you will make such sacrifices."

For most people, yeah.

I have a tenure track job, one of the general, non-special ones at a small state school. I have a social life that involves a serious relationship, several good friends, and a variety of hobbies. And if I want to work on scholarship, I have to take time away from something in my personal life.

Between the 4 courses I teach (plus the summer class because I need the money), the 3 dozen students I advise, my committee work and other service, I already spend more than 40 hours on the job (some weeks more, depending on what I'm grading; the end of the semester is all work, all the time).

Mind you, I'm not complaining. I like my life. I have published some work I'm proud of, and which has been noticed by some people (which has led to some other opportunities). But I don't get to "do philosophy" very often, and when I do, I have to take that time out of my social life. (Well, I could stop doing service or be a really shitty teacher, but I find those options unpalatable.)

I don't have kids, and one reason I don't is because I know that if I do, my research agenda is done. Because as has been noted, kids don't raise themselves. Also, as much as I want to go on vacation with my girlfriend, I'm at that point in my career where I need to spend what little money I have on travel on conferences (I get no research support from my university, but am required to present at conferences for promotion). So my "vacations" involve a couple extra nights at a hotel at or near some academic conference, and finding a non-academic reason to enjoy myself.

My point? Life is full of choices. If you don't have time to "do philosophy" because you want to raise your kids and spend time with your family? Fine. But that's the choice you made. You don't have "spare time" because you decided that a family was more important than that time. And that's fine. But accept that you decided that your family was more important than "doing philosophy." (And in the long run, honestly, perhaps you made the better choice. People love philosophy, but rarely does philosophy ever love anyone back.)

Anonymous said...

You're right, but of course, as a philosopher, you know that nothing follows from this.

Anonymous said...

"The world has much much bigger problems than this."

Yes it does. We can all agree that many people in the world suffer MUCH MORE than the typical professional philosopher.

But that doesn't make the work/life problem itself smaller.

Anonymous said...

The 'position filled' and 'offers made' sections of the wiki are getting longer. Anyone in the know about the identifies of the candidates getting these jobs/offers willing to share general information regarding the candidates' profiles - pedigree, research productivity, etc. - that accounts for their success (luck aside)? Are the tenure-track jobs going to people already on the tenure-track or in a postdoc position or VAP position? Any ABDs with success?

Anonymous said...

I'm the original poster from February 22, 2015 at 8:22 AM.

First of all, yes, I'm still without children, so I have indeed more time to do philosophy in my freetime. But in 1-2 years, we'll be ready to get it going and I'm greatly looking forward to it.

That being said, I'm in a very passionate relationship with a highly intelligent woman, who is, without any "proper" philosophical training, what I would call a "natural philosopher", i.e. someone who questions authority and ideas, tries to illuminate new mental input from different angles, engages in heated discussions, is curious, and simply likes to deep-dive into complex topics of the mind. The same is true for my friends, some of whom also studied philosophy and found careers outside academia. They all still have "it" in them.

Is it on par with competetive, rigorous discourse in academic settings? Probably not, but it doesn't need to be. I had my fair share of heated discussions in academic settings, as anyone of you. They were sometimes deeply enriching and inspiring, but sometimes also deeply annoying, egocentric, and distrubingly myopic.

Now, years after I quit, my memory of that time lost some of it's former vividness. I don't remember exactly, how intense the inspiration and satisfaction was I gained from specific encounters. It's more a warm, constant background glow in my mind. And while I have great memories, I sensed very clearly in grad-school, that what I loved most about philosophy would vanish when it would take center-stage as a possible career: It's role as a wonderful safe haven of the mind. Why should I potentially destroy something so valuable by doing it "professionally" in a setting, that can be so utterly toxic?

Anyway, the experience of doing philosophy today, simply in terms of subjective joy and it's role as a life enricher, far surpasses anything I have done in grad-school. Some of you may say, that I "lost the edge", but for me, philosophy still has a fundamental lightness of being. It's not connected with bitterness, regret or anger on a regular basis. If that would be the case, that would be the single most tragic thing that could happen to my relationship with philosophy. A relationship, that I want to be healthy and fulfilling till the day I die.

By the way: Jobs outside philosophy can be deeply inspiring, too. With the added bonus of, well, making a decent living. And, as I have elaborated on, doing the best service to your relationship with philosophy: Unburden it.

And it's perfectly possible to teach philosophy, too, as I'm doing it for example in evening classes. Which is great, because people of all shades come in there, not just young students. Also people with significant life experience and trauma.

I'm 30 by the way, so still young. Please, it's really possible, to make a smart decision for your life and totally keep the spirit of philosophy in tact!

Anonymous said...

"Seeing kids and family as "optional" as if it's something one does in their free time (like a hobby) is a distinctly late 20th way of seeing things."

So is gender equality, anti-homophobia, anti-racism, and lots of other things that I think are pretty good developments. If your conception of the good life centrally involves spawning, good for you. Mine doesn't, as I weigh other things more heavily than an outdated conception of what "humans do." My value system makes pursuing children unrealistic, and I accept that as a choice I made. If your value system makes the pursuit of philosophy unrealistic, then you should accept that as well and stop whining.

zombie said...

8:10 -- Philjobs has an "Appointments" section where, I hope, more people will start posting their hiring info. Clearly it is not as well-attended as the phylo wiki.

Leiter's annual thread hasn't been posted yet, but probably will be soon (unless he decides that Philjobs can take that over)

Anonymous said...

So, a lot of the comments say something like ``I hate being a bad teacher, so I put a bunch of time into that and don't end up doing good philosophy.''

I'm sorry, but this always seemed like a lame excuse to me. 98% of your students don't give even one fuck about learning anything at all in college. Of the 2% who do, 90% of them won't give even one fuck about learning anything from your class .

The moral? Be an ok-enough teacher and get over the importance of your role. You really aren't significant enough to take yourself that seriously. And if you need to boost your evaluations, hand out better-than-deserved grades to the people in the middle of the pack and move on.

Anonymous said...

"So is gender equality, anti-homophobia, anti-racism, and lots of other things that I think are pretty good developments. If your conception of the good life centrally involves spawning, good for you. Mine doesn't, as I weigh other things more heavily than an outdated conception of what "humans do." My value system makes pursuing children unrealistic, and I accept that as a choice I made. If your value system makes the pursuit of philosophy unrealistic, then you should accept that as well and stop whining."

So does that make arguments in favor of gender inequality, anti-racism, and anti-homophobia also mere whining? Is "spawning" supposed to be the equivalent of the pejorative terms used by racists and sexists? Real nice.

Every time these sorts of exchanges come up it seems that many people's vision of social justice is just simply their own self-interests and identities masquerading as progress. I'm glad you scorn children but there are other points of view.

Anonymous said...

"So does that make arguments in favor of gender inequality, anti-racism, and anti-homophobia also mere whining? Is "spawning" supposed to be the equivalent of the pejorative terms used by racists and sexists?"

...what? Arguments in favor of gender INequality are morally repugnant. Arguments in favor of anti-racism and anti-homophobia aren't whining, nor is that implied by anything I said.

My point is simply that it's pretty stupid to endorse an essentialist vision of the good life that is inherently heteronormative. You can have a good life without children and you can have a good life without philosophy. Some people find a way to include both in their life. Good for them. Some people prioritize one over the other. Again, good for them. If you prioritized reproducing, then you should at least have the courage to acknowledge that that is how you chose to devote your time, and accept the consequences.

I don't endorse social justice because it serves my interest (I'm a white, straight, man - you can't even hurt my feelings). I endorse social justice as progressive because I'm a rational human being.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry, but this always seemed like a lame excuse to me. 98% of your students don't give even one fuck about learning anything at all in college. Of the 2% who do, 90% of them won't give even one fuck about learning anything from your class."

This does not resonate with my experiences. Maybe your students have this attitude because you don't put enough effort into your teaching.

Besides, it's not like philosophical research makes much of a contribution to the world at large.

Anonymous said...

I'm og poster at 11:41 am, 2:50 pm, and 9:05 am (not thereafter) ... I was originally responding to the strange idea that everyone has loads of free time, doing something kind of stupid (netflix) that they could give up to do philosophy, as well as the strange idea that "family time" is something one can give up (clearly this person either does not have a family or has an incredibly giving stay-at-home spouse).

I certainly wouldn't limit having children to those who are heterosexual, and so my views aren't "heteronormative" in that way - why would you assume that they are? I think it is a good of human life to raise the next generation. I think *philosophy* will suffer if philosophers aren't allowed to be parents, because of some ascetic vision of the philosophical life, where one shuns all other good things. Being a parent has made my philosophy better, it's opened up a dimension of life. It's not the only dimension that could be opened up, surely, but I think it's truly bizarre to see it as something one does in their leisure time, like traveling or dinner parties or netflix.

I honestly don't know what the comparison is supposed to be between the views I laid out above and racist views, so I'm not going to respond to that.

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry, I guess I missed the part where a bunch of people were defending an "essentialist" vision of the good life. I thought they were just claiming that taking care of children is not the same as goofing off to watch Netflix instead of writing your philosophy papers.

Anonymous said...

98% of your peers don't give even one fuck about reading anything at all you publish. Of the 2% who do, 90% of them won't give even one fuck about learning anything from your scholarship.

Anonymous said...

"Oh sorry, I guess I missed the part where a bunch of people were defending an "essentialist" vision of the good life. I thought they were just claiming that taking care of children is not the same as goofing off to watch Netflix instead of writing your philosophy papers."

That is actually pretty close to being essentialist. Granted, no one's said that having children is a necessary condition for human flourishing, but it has been strongly suggested that it is somehow a distinctive human good that is elevated above others such as travelling (because no one benefits from expanding their horizons and experiencing other cultures), dinner parties (or, as I understand it, socializing and sharing food with members of your community), and netflix (because relaxing with a significant other, a friend, or oneself and enjoying entertainment is certainly an inferior pursuit to the noble cause of child-rearing).

How are any of these things less connected to human flourishing (for some humans, at least)?

Mr. Zero said...

I don't know what y'all are talking about. Having kids is obviously optional. But once you have them, taking care of them is strictly not optional. That's not because having kids is somehow connected to human flourishing in a way that socializing or Netflix is not, or because childrearing is "nobler" than that other stuff; it's because caregivers have a responsibility to the kids themselves and to the other people who would be affected by their behavior to raise them right. It's literally an obligation. Netflix, God love it, is not.

Derek Bowman said...

@8:22/3:07:
I understand if you want to remain anonymous, but I'm still interested in corresponding if you're willing.

More people need to hear about how it's possible (and maybe even better!) to engage with philosophy outside of the increasingly hostile confines of an academic career.

Anonymous said...

@ Mr Zero: That's perfectly reasonable and I take no issue with that view. I still think that if you don't have time to do philosophy because of a voluntary obligation you took on, that's not a great cause of concern or an indication of injustice (and I think at least some people above were suggesting that it is an indication of injustice).

If some people get to enjoy philosophical pursuits because they did not voluntarily take on an 18-year obligation, good for them. If you don't get to enjoy philosophical (or any other) pursuits because of your decisions regarding child-rearing, well, that's your problem. In that sense, the decision to devote your time to child-rearing is exactly like the decision to devote yourself to any other activity. The main difference, as you pointed out, is that once you make that decision you're pretty much tied to the mast.

Anonymous said...

Why is nobody responding to the obvious elephant in the room: That philosophy can be 100% as, or even more rewarding outside academia, when it's freed from academic pressure? What worth does a conception of philosophy have, when only a selected few can make a living in a close eco-system in the ivory tower, contributing basically nothing to the wider world, while so many live a desperate adjunct life, unable to even establish a basic form of sustained family security? Why should someone choose to be part of such a system? Is this really the way you want to treat philosophy?

I can only speculate, that most of you never left Platon's cave and thus only have a very narrow conception of what a satisfactory life could truly be. This almost necessarily entails a very narrow definition of what philosophy can be outside an academic setting. How many of you have tried or felt it?

Philosophy is chameleon-like and can integrate itself in every possible conception of life. Academia is only one, especially high-pressure and rigorous environment, where philosophy can blossom. It can be extremely rewarding in it's precise focus, but more often than not, it's a major hassle, isn't it? But there are other, completely different environments, where philosophical engagement can arise, with an equal, albeit very different form of satisfaction. You only need to be brave and step outside your comfort-zone. Which in itself is a very philosophical thing to do.

It really boggles the mind, that so many of you stick to such a narrow definition of philosophy. Of all people, philosophers should be the ones to embrace conceptual re-thinking the most, especially if it means to avoid a nasty dead-end in your mid-to-late thirties.

Anonymous said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some regard child-rearing as a form of entertainment. Well. I think some lives are (gasp!) more worthwhile than others. Even if you enjoy your netflix immensely, spending every waking hour watching it is a waste of a life. I think we ought to differentiate between worthwhile pursuits (friendship, family) and those things that are mere entertainment (netflix, maybe traveling (might depend on where)). I think this makes me commonsensical, not a dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

10:43 AM : I am unabashedly committed to the idea that raising children is more noble than watching netflix. It's not just that I prefer raising children to watching netflix. It is a more valuable (if sometimes less pleasurable) way to spend my time.

Anonymous said...

Spending every waking hour doing any one thing is a waste of life. A life with a healthy balance of friendship, travel, philosophy, as well as relaxing entertainment is pretty fulfilling to some. A life with considerably less of those things but more diapers is pretty fulfilling for others. Make your own choice. But once you've made it, that's your responsibility. No one owes you the opportunity to do philosophy if you chose to completely (or almost completely) fill your life with other pursuits. If finding the time to do philosophy is that important to you and you think that doing so outside of the academy is incompatible with raising children (as some commentators have suggested), then be sure to choose very carefully. If you've already chosen, then deal with your choice.

Anonymous said...

@10:43. Great. Then if your noble pursuit gets in the way of being able to do philosophy, you should rest comfortable in the knowledge that you made the choice that best conforms to your system of value. But, once again, you made that choice.

This conversation got started because some commentators seemed to believe that making them choose between philosophy and parenting (which is how they themselves characterized the suggestion that philosophy could be done on one's own free time) was an attempt to deprive them of fundamental human goods. I am simply trying to point out that sometimes in this life we need to sacrifice (some) of one fundamental good in order to more fully experience another. Further, once we make our choice, we must take responsibility for it.

I've never committed myself to the claim that netflix is in any way a valuable pursuit, the way that rearing children obviously is. However, I do think there are many other very valuable ways to live one's life sans children, and I believe that many of those are much more valuable than a life whose value centrally derives from parenting. I know many parents will disagree with this (justification of effort is a pretty powerful psychological force), but my life has a shit-ton of value, and I'm very happy with my choices.

If you really think that raising children is so darn valuable, then I suggest you try to be happy with yours and stop characterizing yourselves (or yourself? I've lost track of how many people are talking) as victims.

Mr. Zero said...

I don't think that having a family and having a successful career in philosophy are inherently incompatible. If such incompatibilities exist, they are probably contingent; if they are widespread, it suggests a serious problem with the profession.

It's normal to struggle with balancing one's work-life with family life. Telling people who are struggling with this that they should stop whining about the consequences of their choices is not helpful. It's closer to B-minus-level trolling.

Anonymous said...

Zero, I (2:21) was just engaging with the people who claimed that it was not possible to do philosophy on your free time if you have children. The rest of the conversation grew from there. I had no intention of trolling and didn't mean to shut down concerns about work/life balance, which I think are very important issues in academia. Rather, I took myself to be responding to specific arguments my interlocutors were offering.

As usual, your comments are sobering. I'm done.

Mr. Zero said...

Sorry if I misunderstood you.

Anonymous said...

Let's remember that a great many philosophers - past and present - have been able to do their work because the helpmate took care of the domestic things.

Anonymous said...

In my eyes, this is the core problem: Philosophy might very well lose its appeal 10 years down the road, when adjuncting, a nihilistic job market and years of grinding poverty and insecurity have taken their toll on you. What suddenly appeals to you instead, is a secure job, a career, the ability to nurture a family etc. Not much is left of ouyr love of philosophy.

Said poverty and insecurity might not be so bad when you're young. It might even be a meaningful part of your philosophical identity. But once you turn 30, the clock starts ticking louder, and very soon, what appeared to be a world of possibilities once, suddenly, in a moment of devastating insight, reveals itself to be a world of lost opportunities.

I'm a practicing psychologist, and if there is one overwhelmingly appearent reason for mid-life depression I encounter in my daily paractice, than it's this sudden epistimemic shock, once your priorities have involuntarily shifted. And the bitter fact is: your priorities will, with absolute certainty, shift, because that is a natural part of getting wiser.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I am getting paid 6,000 per course, and I can basically teach as many courses I want (I mean, the administration is flexible about my teaching load, it can be a 2-2, a 1-1 or whatever). The question is this. Am I being exploited? Or is that a decent salary for a teaching non-tenure track position?

Anonymous said...

7:43

At my school, the pay is $2,000 a course.

Anonymous said...

7:43: I guess it depends on where you are how good the salary is. Arkansas it's phenomenal NYC not so much. But comparatively I'd say that's a great salary for non TT. The usual is more like half that. As far as whether you're being exploited goes.... I dunno. Part of me says that kind of money for doing anything you find at all interesting is a pretty good deal. On the other hand, it is galling that a TT faculty member at most schools gets about twice that per course when you break it down. So I guess my judgment is that adjuncting is in and of itself exploitive, but you're getting one of the best possible deals you can as an adjunct. To put it in perspective lots of TT faculty at broke ass non-flagship state schools are getting 40,000-50,00 or so a year to do 4/4 loads with administrative work on top. So you're actually earning more than they do. Then again my bet is that any school that will pay you 6,000 as an adjunct probably pays their TT faculty something more like 55,000-80,000 for 2/2 loads so that's just a guess. Also, even those guys at the BASU are getting a really generous benefits package whereas adjuncts get doodly squat on that front.

zombie said...

Non TT (VAPs, instructors and lecturers, renewable but more or less permanent) in my department get ~30-40K plus benefits to teach 3/3 plus advising (no committees). This is not a very expensive place to live. So, depending on where you live, 6K is decent. Do you get benefits?

The question about exploitation is more complicated.

Anonymous said...

GET OUT NOW. if you are in grad school, and the life of a professor appeals to you, get a degree in something at least slightly more employable: psychology, sociology, business, whatever. It is much easier to get a university jobs in fields where degree holders have other options than simply working in a university. A (non-philosophy) dept at my school did a search last year and got less than 50 apps. Think about that for a while.

If you are done with your PH.D and have given the market a few runs, don't polish your CV, work on a new paper, or try to get more teaching experience. Just call a temp agency and start hitting up monster.com instead of Philjobs.com. Another paper won't help your, a kick ass presentation won't help you

To say this not to be cruel, but because the odds are shattering. at this point, looking for a job in philosophy is like moving to LA to become an actor; most end up waiting tables.

Get a "day job" and don't look back. If you say you love philosophy, you can still do it in your spare time. Which, fwiw, most professor of philosophy end up,doing anyway, the bulk of time being spent on grading and admin work.

I was on the philosophy job market 10 years ago, and it was rough then, but this is a whole other beast. Frankly, I would not get hired now. And most of you won't either. Not because your not smart (let's stipulate everyone with a ph.d is pretty bright) not hardworking, not prestigious enough but just because it is mathematically impossible. To go back to my acting metaphors...I know a few people that did that. None of them made it, and they all moved home eventually. That how it is.

Get a day job and don't quit it.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being crass or unfeeling, it might be nice to have a post about the ethics of negotiating / letting people know in a timely and responsible fashion whether you will take the job. /

Anonymous said...

1:33,

This one is easy:

If you have an offer, then you need to do whatever is in your best interest to secure the best benefits possible.

If you have more than one offer, the best way to negotiate is to play the schools off one another, to see who can make you the most appealing offer.

To do anything less is selling yourself short.

However, if you are are a finalist who is waiting for an offer because another applicant is engaged in such negotiations, then the above is ethically dubious, and not at all good for the field, and you should be angry at those selfish philosophers who stand in the way of your employment.

Anonymous said...

at what point should I contact a school post on-campus to see what the status is?

I had an on-campus a month ago and still no word. I'm supposing they've offered it to someone else by now. I'm happy to wait it out another week or two, but a faculty member advised I should contact them as of now. I don't see any obvious benefit. I guess I'd know for sure about what's going on.

Anonymous said...

9:35,

Don't contact them. There's no need.

They have not forgotten that they are running a search, nor have they forgotten that you were a finalist. If they had something to tell you, they would. At best, you will only get a vague conversation that tries hard to keep you on the hook while not giving you any actual information.

There are lots of reasons it could be taking this long, including the following:
-some schools are hitting spring break season, and all work stops
-some administrators take their time with paperwork
-some administrators may have been away on other business, and may be getting back to piles of paperwork
-they may have made an offer, and nothing is finalized yet
-everyone involved has lots of other work to do, and they know they don't have to rush this.

Yes, it sucks. But contacting them won't actually give you any hard information.

Anonymous said...

9:35,

When I was first on the market, I had an on-campus interview in January with a particular institution for a three-year position. I heard nothing for a long time, and after a while, I assumed that the job had been offered to someone else. They called me in May to offer me the job.

As it turned out, the job had been offered to another candidate who accepted the position. A second position had opened up, and they were able to hire from the existing applicant pool. I turned the job down because I had already accepted a one-year position somewhere else.

Something similar happened to me the next year. I was a finalist for a tt job, but it was offered to someone else. But then a three-year job opened up in the department. A dispute broke out within the department about whether the three-year job should be filled from the existing applicant pool or whether it should be filled in history of philosophy. Unfortunately for me, the department decided to make a hire in history.

So you never know.

zombie said...

Don't call unless you have a compelling reason to call, i.e. you have another offer and want to know if you might be getting an offer from them as well.

Anonymous said...

So I just called the benefits office at that Slippery Rock University ad. The higheredjobs ad is:

https://www.higheredjobs.com/faculty/details.cfm?JobCode=176025626&Title=Philosophy%20Instructor%20%7C%20Temporary%20Part%20Time

The ad reads that the course load is 2/2, doesn't hide the fact that it is part-time, but then reads "Excellent salary and benefits," so I stayed on the phone for the benefits manager. Instructor 1 and 2 are paid at half-time, but the real kick in the ass is for a temporary family of 2 with no kids is 450 biweekly. With a salary of 23000 for Instructor 1 for the whole year you'll make a little over a thousand dollars a month. I'm sure there will be people that do apply, but seriously the fact that the school puts it in the higheredjobs ad, but not the philjobs ad is a little mysterious. Why do that? And why say that? It's a shit-ass job, just be honest about it.

Anonymous said...

Those job descriptions, especially the adjunct-positions, are beyond ridiculous. Why should people with trained minds apply for garbage jobs like that, year after year? Please, why?

Someone having to do such a job, although possessing such an extreme degree of intellectual training and potential, is, by all accounts, either a) almost pathologically unable to make sensible life decisions, b) too timid to make the delayed transition into responsible adulthood, or c) brainwashed by years of secluded academic training into a narrow-minded philosophy-robot who's unable to imagine other satisfying ways of life.

Don't take it personally, but please, in all honesty: Isn't this what a failed life is all about? Chasing a hollow dream for years on end, while being intellectually able to something meaningful for the grander society, and not just a bunch of philosophy students running blindfolded into the same trap as you once did, thus fueling a desperate cycle of destroyed hopes and wasted potential?

This is tragic, and I simply don't know, why intelligent beings would want to be part of such a vicious system.

Patrick Mayer said...

Anonymous name callers are brave aren't they. Here is the thing. Spending one year making terrible money if it keeps you in the running for what is objectively an incredibly good job (TT professor job) is not a sign of brainwashing, it is a sign of someone willing to make short term sacrifices for the hope of long term gain. Doing it a second year sounds bad, but to focus on the second year part of it is to commit the sunk-costs fallacy (which might not really be a fallacy, but is at least not obviously good reasoning). If you had good reason to think that your failures on the job market were a sign that you weren't very good at philosophy that would give you reason to quit delaying the exit from the profession, but of course everyone tells you all the time that the job market is not a meritocracy but rather a crap shoot. If you had some real data on the applicants to job opening ratios, and some information about what those numbers would be in the future, that might give you good reason to exit the profession. Such data does not exist as far as I know.

Here is a good rule of thumb, if you are convinced (as I am) that most of the unemployed and underemployed philosophers out there are really smart people, how about you stop shitting all over their life choices from behind the veil of anonymity? They know more about their situation than you do, so back the fuck off.

Anonymous said...

Easy there, mate.

Given the odds of succeding on the philosophy market are almost lottery-like, it's obviously extremely dumb to even start counting on it.

It's especially dumb (and tragic), when basically everyone in the room is supposedly megasmart on an intelletual level, but doesn't even have the slightest bit of general practical intelligence.

It is simply idiotic to take part in this rigged game.

Patrick Mayer said...

"Given the odds of succeding on the philosophy market are almost lottery-like, it's obviously extremely dumb to even start counting on it.

It's especially dumb (and tragic), when basically everyone in the room is supposedly megasmart on an intelletual level, but doesn't even have the slightest bit of general practical intelligence."

The odds aren't even close to lottery like, unless you are aware of lotteries in which 17% of people win the first time they play. That you would impugn the intelligence of others on the basis of such a supremely hysterical and idiotic comparison is laughable.

Anonymous said...

@ Patrick Mayer

Do you have a TT job?