Welcome back to Ought Experiment, the column by Dear Ida that offers personal advice for your academic life. Today’s letter is from a graduate student seeking advice on moving from one department to another. (more…)
Ought Experiment, the Daily Nous feature offering “personalized advice for your academic life,” will be returning soon after having been on hiatus since last May. During this break, Original Ought Experiment columnist Louis Generis stepped down to pursue other interests, such as keeping his day job*. After a hardly exhaustive search I am pleased to announce Ought ..
The latest edition of “The Ethicist,” the The New York Times‘ moral advice column (published last Wednesday), takes as its topic sham green-card marriages. The advice seeker asks current Times ethicist, Kwame Anthony Appiah (NYU), whether she should report that at a wedding of an acquaintance, the bride explained to her that the marriage “was a fraud, one she’d ent..
Yesterday, I posted an outline of Jason Brennan’s advice to graduate students on how to be productive in publishing (when you read that, do note the further details Brennan supplies in response to some of the comments). In what follows, David Enoch, the Rodney Blackman Chair in the Philosophy of Law in the Faculty of Law and the Philosophy Department at Hebrew Unive..
Jason Brennan received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 2007. Since then, he has authored or co-authored seven books, and has two more books currently in progress. He has also written a good number of peer-reviewed articles, reference entries, and pieces for popular consumption. He’s currently Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Provost’s Distinguished Assoc..
It’s the start of the academic year,and for some people, the start of their graduate education in philosophy. Graduate students are getting oriented in their programs, and graduate programs are orientating their students. Are they doing a good job of it? (more…)
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! Today’s letter is from a philosopher who’s decided to leave the profession after several years of trying to get a tenure-track job, and is wondering how to break the news to academic friends and mentors:
After spending several years in NTT positions and failing yet again to get a TT job, I have decided to leave aca..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! Today’s letter comes from a student who just struck out on all their grad school applications, and wants to know what they can do to improve their chances next time:
I have well over a 4.0 GPA, and had great letters of recommendation from my professors. I also have published one paper in an undergrad journal. On to..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week, a professor wonders when it’s permissible to reject a grad student’s request to serve on their committee, and how to avoid crushing a student if one does end up having to say no:
I hope you don’t think me a monster for this, but I have reason to suspect that a graduate student I’d strongly prefer not to ..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week’s question is from a grad student looking for advice on the habits that make one a better philosopher. After googling “how to be a better philosopher”, I’m prepared to fake my way through a half-decent answer:
I’m curious about what habits philosophers have cultivated that are specifically geared at being..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment, which returns after a brief waiting-for-more-emails hiatus! (Hint hint guilt trip hint.) This week’s question is from a woman wondering if the close friendships that many grads seem to have with their professors are necessary for professional success.
What kind of relationship should you foster with your professors..
TeachPhilosophy101 is an open-source compendium of resources helpful for teaching philosophy. It’s mission is “to enhance undergraduate student learning in introductory philosophy courses by providing free, user-friendly strategies and resources to the academic community.”
The editors of the Blog of the American Philosophical Association have begun a new series to help members of the profession with questions, challenges, and problems, about teaching philosophy. Jennifer Morton (CUNY) writes:
The Teaching Workshop is a new, regular feature on the Blog of the APA, run by the APA’s committee on the teaching of philosophy. Every other..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! A professor has written in with a question about navigating a set of incredibly vague, but incredibly important, boundaries. When students trust you, they sometimes come to you with their problems. But we can’t always help. And sometimes we shouldn’t even try…
On occasion students come to my office and confess vari..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment, which sadly is not a comic strip. I think this week’s question is about getting kids to do the assigned readings, but if I’m being totally honest with you here, I kind of skimmed the letter:
I can’t get my students to do the readings! Maybe a third of them will be with me for the first few weeks, but term after te..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week’s question is a sensitive one, indeed. A professor writes that s/he’s struggling to reach a grad student who apparently interprets any criticism of her work as evidence of gender discrimination:
I’m hoping you can help me with a tricky teaching situation. There’s a student in my department who has, in the..
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, a philosopher who has written nonfiction for non-philosophers, as well as novels, is interviewed in The Chronicle of Higher Education about writing. Some of her insights about those kinds of writing seem just as relevant to—and helpful for—the kind of writing philosophers typically do.
Chronicle: Is there a way in which writing fi..
An undergraduate student in philosophy writes in with a question that I suspect many philosophers confronted at some point in their studies. Perhaps we can provide some assistance:
I am a philosophy student in my last year of undergrad studies in need of some advice. I am about to apply to graduate studies in philosophy but not sure what I should choose to focus ..
Have you ever had a problem and thought, “I bet a professional philosopher could help”? If so, you are almost certainly a professional philosopher yourself, and if so, you almost certainly do need help. Here it is. Announcing Ought Experiment, a new Daily Nous guest column offering personalized advice for your academic life.
My name is Louie Generis (no it isn’t)..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! We had ourselves quite the weekend, didn’t we? Well hang on to your armchairs, folks, because apparently it’s time for a Very Special Episode. After the heated conversation about professional cliques, a certain blog editor wrote in with a question about the role and consequences of anonymity in online philosophical discussion:
The following is a guest post* by Josh Parsons, associate professor of philosophy at Oxford University. It’s “a slightly jokey collection of what I called ‘dirty tricks for seminars’ (including some to use liberally, and others to beware of) that I am apt to dispense to graduate students and colleagues after a couple of drinks.” He kindly agreed to share it with Da..
Welcome to Ought Experiment! For our first advice column, an ABD grad student writes:
Over the last several years, I have repeatedly noticed a trend among professional philosophers in the blogosphere: they speak frequently of a deep, passionate love of philosophy and believe that their love of the discipline justifies the choice to pursue graduate study despite ..
Bob Hargrave was, I am told, a much-loved lecturer in philosophy at Oxford University (he died in 2012). Among his pedagogical contributions is a document he prepared called “Rodin’s Thinker, or How To Fail Philosophy Exams.” It was written for Oxford students, but much of it is applicable to philosophy exams (and some writing assignments) given anywhere.
Tim Crane interviewed John Searle, and all he got was a lousy t-shirt another dimissal of the state of contemporary philosophy: “It’s in terrible shape!” Searle also talks about his influences, discusses his new book on perception, makes what we can charitably call an “opening move” on the topic of human rights, and offers some advice to young philosophers:
Check out “Hanti’s Notes on Doing a PhD and Getting a Job in Philosophy” by Hanti Lin, assistant professor of philosophy at UC Davis. It has a lot of good advice. Of particular value is the “When to do what?” section. Also, I appreciate the “Health maintenance” section, the issues under which do not get discussed as frequently as they should. Throughout the guide, L..
It’s one thing to be told “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” and another thing to, well, actually not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Whether it is writing a paper or working through some task at a departmental meeting, there is the temptation to not move forward unless everything is just right, or until one knows everything is going to be j..