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maxhgns last won the day on July 24

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  1. Conference Paper Commenting

    Chime. Comments at the conferences I attend are usually about 10 minutes. Nobody will be angry or upset if you take less time, though. Remember that your job is to help the audience engage with the paper. You're not a peer reviewer, you're a facilitator. So take some time to go over what you take to be the main points of interest, in case the audience missed them. And then offer a worry or two about the argument, or suggest a line of questioning that you think might be fruitfully discussed in the questions. Then stand back and let the author do their thing.
  2. Paper Editing

    Ask on the Philos-L listserv. A fair few copy editors with philosophy credentials advertise their services there. Just be aware that it's going to be very expensive. Some journals also offer a similar (but free!) service for non-native speakers of English. I can't remember which ones offhand, but I do know a few pretty prominent ones do. Just have a look at their sites. If they offer those services, it'll be somewhere on there. Probably in the author guidelines.
  3. A New Sophomore Seeks Advice!

    Yeah, most European (including UK) jobs don't make it to PhilJobs, and the same is true for most other regions of the world. Even a lot of Canadian jobs don't hit PhilJobs. But most of those markets are pretty terribly over-saturated. I applied for jobs in more than a dozen countries on my last job run, and I'm not at all exceptional in doing so. A lot of Americans confine themselves to American jobs (and a lot of Britons and Euros to Euro jobs), but the number of people who don't isn't insignificant. It's like the difference between 600 applicants and 50-100; that's a big numerical difference, true, but in the end it doesn't do much to actually improve your chances.
  4. GRE Math for Continental Phil

    Don't sweat it. Even for analytics, the GRE doesn't matter much. It mostly matters because sometimes you can qualify for a university-level scholarship on the basis of high GRE scores. As long as your scores aren't abysmally low, they're pretty much irrelevant. Everybody on admissions committees knows that the GRE is worthless, and it's pretty common for philosophy applicants to have higher verbal than quantitative scores. It's no big deal. Just do your best. Practice is the key.
  5. Choosing a topic?

    I think this is all exactly right. It's also worth mentioning two other things: (1) Your topic may not be quite as novel as you think (and this is where supervisor guidance can help: both to steer you to the relevant literature, in assessing the topic's potential contributions, and determining whether it's worth the effort). As Sigaba mentioned upthread, novel dissertations can be really hard to write, let alone to sell to your peers. I know from personal experience; the sum total of pre-existing research directly on my topic was a single recent article. That makes the literature review and framing issues especially hard, although it does open up space to distance yourself from the pre-existing literature. The trouble is that that literature is your only guidepost through the topic, and that makes it more difficult (emotionally and intellectually) to open up the space you need between your work and theirs. (2) There's a fair bit of doctoral and post-doctoral funding out there (mostly through the government of Canada) for issues that pertain directly to Canada. This is especially true for areas of research in which there's a significant Canadian lacuna. As long as your supervisor is supportive of your project, it might be an especially good bet on future funding. But start chasing that funding starting in your first year. Your supervisor should be able to help steer you towards the right grants.
  6. Applying to New school(Philosophy)

    I have known four students there. Three transferred out because the funding was so bad, and the student::prof ratio was so bad. One stayed because he had external (governmental) funding and has a rich family. Tuition is something like $20 000 a year, and their best funding package is something like 40% of that. Plus there's the cost of living in New York. The philosophy department has just eleven full-time faculty, and 74 PhD students alone. They no longer list how many MA students they have, but the last time they did it brought the total to over 100 graduate students. You should never, ever attend a program that doesn't fund you, and the New School is one of the worst offenders. It's as close to a scam as you can get without actually being a scam. The best place for contemporary European philosophy is probably DePaul, but you should also check out programs like Columbia, Duquesne, Emory, Guelph, Memphis, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Penn State, Riverside, Stony Brook, Toronto, Vanderbilt, and Villanova (in addition to Chicago, UPenn, and Boston College, as you're planning to).
  7. Applying to New school(Philosophy)

    Don't go to the New School. Their funding is woefully inadequate, and their ratio of graduate students to professors is horrifically high.
  8. A New Sophomore Seeks Advice!

    Just about every field is related to philosophy. There's no strategic set of minors or double-majors one can pick that will help one's chances of admission. One should pursue the things that interest one, rather than trying to game the system (especially since that's not the way to game it). As a sophomore it's too early to know what one's AOS interests are going to be (frankly, it's too early for even a senior to know), but odds are good that whatever minors one picks will be complementary or otherwise related. That proving ground is the writing sample, and the statement of interest. Yes, pedigree and prestige play a big role in the profession, and even in graduate school admissions. But that's not something over which the poster has any control. Having solid recommendation letters is important; having letters from all-stars matters a whole lot less at this level. This is PhD admissions, not the job market (and even there, they matter less than you might think). Yes, they're very competitive. And the number of slots at each one is a tiny fraction of the number of applicants. And quite a lot of those applicants are very, very talented. That's where the luck comes in; there, and at a few other steps, too (e.g. your prospective supervisor isn't currently overburdened and the balance of interests among current students and other prospectives is in your favour, you've managed to be perceived by the admissions committee as being a worthwhile investment in the program--note also that committee judgements are highly fallible in this regard, as they are in sports, etc.). The grad school admissions process is like a kinder version of the job market (since there's more than one slot, and fewer than 650-1200 applicants for it). The job market involves a lot of luck; grad school admissions involves a lot less, but it's still not inconsiderable. I have to say, it's kind of funny that you think the people here are naïve to think that luck plays a role. Most of us have been through one or more rounds of admissions, have witnessed people going through the process, etc. Hell, some of us are even all done with grad school, and have been through the market's meat grinder. That's not to say that we're right, of course. It's just to say that maybe we bring a little more experience and perspective to the table. It's pretty easy to lose sight of the things that matter when you're worrying about admissions, and it's even easier to spend way too much time worrying about factors beyond your control.
  9. Law student with MA seeking advice

    Don't worry about that. Those factors aren't relevant. Age is completely irrelevant (and being in one's later twenties or early thirties is quite commonplace in PhD programs), and being out of academia isn't bad in the first place (in fact, many think it's better to have spent some time doing something else first). Besides which, you're graduating this year, which means that you haven't been out of academia at all. Don't sweat this kind of stuff, it's irrelevant. Just pay attention to the things you can control, like your statement, writing sample, and choosing schools that fit your interests well.
  10. Law student with MA seeking advice

    Your chances of getting into a good philosophy department are good. Your chances of a job in philosophy afterwards are not--nobody's are, even when they come from top-notch programs. For every job you apply to, you'll be competing against 600 other applicants (many--probably even most--of which are more qualified than you are. Sometimes it's 1200 of them.). Being able to fall back on your law degree might help offset some of the desperation of not getting any academic interviews, however. Don't let that discourage you. Just go in with your eyes open.
  11. A New Sophomore Seeks Advice!

    Nah, it's too early to worry about it. Just enjoy yourself and do your best work. You don't need to really start thinking about this stuff until the summer before you're applying to graduate schools. Just focus on learning what you can as best you can. TA opportunities are good because they're extra money and give you a taste of what's to come, but they won't make any significant difference to your application. Any scholarships or awards you receive might make some difference, however, so seek out those opportunities if you can. Exchanges can be fun and rewarding, but you should consider them for their own sake. They won't make much difference as far as graduate applications are concerned. The best you could hope for on that front is a good letter from a well-known philosopher, but you can't count on getting one, and it's unlikely to make much difference anyway. Most undergrads don't have hotshot letter writers, and committees know this. The admissions committee is looking for reassurances about your abilities from your letter writers, and fame doesn't really do much on that front. It certainly doesn't do anything that your writing sample won't be doing for itself. The most important thing is that your letters exist, and that they heartily recommend you. So just enjoy yourself and do your best to learn what you can. You might not want to pursue graduate study in a few years, and that's OK too. You don't need to worry much until just before your last year, when you'll have to put together your list of target schools, secure your letters, write your statement of interest, polish your writing sample, take the GRE, TOEFL, and other tests, etc.
  12. Writing Sample Dilemmas

    I would only submit the chapter if it's done--that is, if it's been through several drafts and your supervisor has approved the final draft of that chapter. I'd also want it to stand more or less alone, of course. Provided it meets those criteria, the chapter is the better choice, since your pub is more tangential. Otherwise, stick with the pub (in its final, published format).
  13. MA program rankings?

    Not really, and the PGR's brief mention of MA programs isn't great either. Frankly, there's not a whole lot to rank because the goals of an MA program--and the relationship you have to your supervisor--are pretty different, and it's not clear to me (at least) that a ranking will do much to capture those features. (Not that ranking the research prestige of PhD programs does either! But it comes closer.) The goals of an MA program are to give you breadth of knowledge in the discipline, and to introduce you to research norms and methods. It's a peek into the academic life, and a chance to see how another department works and build connections there. Quite a lot of MA programs will fit that bill, even if they're not the prestige programs like Tufts, SFU, and NIU. So... Just look for a program that will fund you, and that has a good record of placing students into the kinds of PhD programs you want to attend (if that's what you want). If you can attend one where you'll get a letter from someone active in your desired subfield, that's even better.
  14. Well, you should re-read it, practice your presentation, and try to think of answers to potential objections. Think up questions that would be really hard for you to answer, and sketch out answers to them. As for jobs... I don't know, and can't say much without knowing what kinds of jobs you were applying for. Apply for the kinds of jobs for which you will soon be qualified, I guess.
  15. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    Whatever, dude. It doesn't change the fact that your attributions of "political correctness" (which is what you characterized as "sad") commit the same sin you accuse me of committing by being politically correct. In pointing that out, I should have thought my use was obviously sarcastic. (Not that your use of "political correctness" makes much sense to me in the first place.) But I digress. I'm happy to return to the topic, if there's anything more to be said about it.