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maxhgns last won the day on September 7

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  1. They fare just fine. And, as a Canadian, you took more philosophy courses in undergrad than most of your American colleagues. It's still a bit of a crapshoot, but focus on your writing sample and letter of interest, apply to good-fitting programs, and you'll be fine. Even if you don't get in this time around, there's no harm in trying again once you've got some experience with the process. Send your applications, and then bury yourself in stuff that will make you forget all about them for weeks at a time. It's when people are constantly thinking about them that they become very unhappy and stressed. What you should feel hopeless about are your job prospects at the other end. You can't really afford to hold out any hope about that, because it's crushing when you send out 100+ applications and never hear back from any of them, not even for a first-round interview. The lower your expectations on that score, the better--and hopefully, low expectations will see you cultivating possible exit strategies during the PhD.
  2. I can only chime in on what the others have already told you. At this point, you're taking classes for your own benefit; there's not really anything strategic you can do with them.
  3. maxhgns

    FRQ 2020-2021

    Are you sure? When I had an FRQSC fellowship, the award-holder's guide explicitly said that I could not also hold another, similar award at the same time. So, e.g., you can't have both SSHRC and the FRQSC simultaneously. You can apply for, but not hold, both. Unless things have changed since then, I believe the same restrictions would apply against simultaneously holding an OGS. As for the original question: as long as you're still a Québec resident, you can apply; IIRC they also recently relaxed the application criteria so that people who aren't Québec residents but who are planning to study in Québec can also apply (although Canadian citizenship or permanent residency is required).
  4. The place to look for that stuff is in philosophy. Start with the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and its bibliographies, and then search for stuff using the PhilPapers database. (That said, although there's still plenty being produced on those topics, academic philosophy has definitely moved on.)
  5. Take whatever time and space you need to identify the text's main claim, and the premises supporting it. Once you've established that, then you can take issue with the premises, and see if they hold water. It will take whatever time and space it takes. To my mind, you should be prioritizing the summary. Partly, that's because it's presumably a big part of the point of the exercise to have you demonstrate that you understand the text, or at least, that you understand how to approach it and its claims. The summary can then act as a resource for you going forward, so that you don't have to read the whole text over every time. But it's also partly because the summary--and getting it right!--is essential for developing your critical perspective on the text. Nobody can really tell you exactly how long all that will be. Presumably, it'll vary depending on the text. But I think a good rule of thumb is 3/4 summary, 1/4 critical commentary. (Your professor, of course, may have something else in mind.) That said, your summary shouldn't just be a 'he said this, then that' regurgitation. Instead, you're aiming for an explanation of the position(s) at issue. And that may require you to consider some possible objections, and then dismiss them from the author's perspective. And doing that may well make it seem like you're tending more towards something that's half summary and half commentary. That seems OK to me, too.
  6. Pace yourself, and don't try to read too much at once. Start with 10 pages a day, and work up to twenty. Keep an eye out for the main claim, and make a note of it once you find it (highlight it too!). Highlight the reasons offered in support of the claim, and make a note of those, too. But don't highlight too much! As you're reading, write down the questions that occur to you. Also make a note of any thoughts or observations you have. When you're done, go back over your notes and see how it all fits together. Try to answer your questions. And then, when you're done, write a brief summary of the chapter/article. Explain the main claim and its supporting premises, so that you can just read the quick summary later. For books, reading book reviews can be helpful, since they're usually good at condensing the point and identifying flaws. But I suggest reading those only after you've read it, too, or once you're pretty far along. Best not to colour your views with someone else's!
  7. By tier, maybe. By ordinal rank, no. There's a lot of variation between programs, and I suspect selectivity is more closely correlated to program size and the university's overall reputation. Also note that it doesn't track selectivity at non-American programs very well at all. Oxford, for example, is relatively easy to get into (though not with funding, and there's a massive cull after the BPhil); McGill, however, has very small incoming classes and gets hundreds of applicants, even though it's in the fifties on the international ranking.
  8. maxhgns


    This is simply false, and Duns Eith has given you a good resource for starting your search. I think the problem might be that you're looking for the wrong credential. You're looking for a Master's in Ethics, as though that were a special credential. While a few programs may offer such a thing, what you're actually looking for is a Master's degree from a philosophy department. In the course of completing that credential, you can choose to specialize in ethics. So what you need to do is identify philosophy departments which will offer you a funded MA, and which have research strengths in ethics. There are also quite a few bioethics Master's degrees, if that's what you're after. These are usually aimed at people who want to continue into a clinical environment (these people often have or are hoping to get some kind of medical qualification too, although it's not necessary). As a result, it's a degree that usually skews more to the practical than the theoretical. But there are lots of them around, and the job prospects are OK.
  9. Absolutely. That said, you can expect that someone in their mid-/late seventies or older will be retiring soon. It doesn't mean you shouldn't apply, or that they will retire, but it's one of the few indications you can find on your own before applying. Remember, a PhD is a 6+ year project. In some AOSes (those which are small, or professionally maligned) you might not get more than one person strictly devoted to that AOS. That's OK, but you need to go in with your eyes open, and understand that things may not work out between you and that person for whatever reason. That means having a backup plan, and attending a program that's strong in some of your other interests (and cognate subfields), too.
  10. You should ask students in the department, but they won't be especially reliable sources--and probably not very knowledgeable, either. Students who are at the end of their PhD and working with the faculty in question will have a better idea, but they still won't be especially reliable. What compounds the problem is that faculty themselves often don't have a clear idea of when they're retiring until they're quite close to it. If it were me, I'd start by figuring out roughly how old they are. If they're in their mid-to-late seventies or older, I'd work with the assumption that they probably won't be around to supervise me, especially if it's an American or Canadian PhD program, since those take substantially longer. I'd also ask around here, because some of us may have some kind of (unreliable!) sense of the lay of the land. If they're younger than that, then I'd apply and, once I was accepted, I'd ask current students and maybe even the person in question themselves.
  11. Just so you know, there are no jobs at all. Nobody wants you: research schools think aesthetics is a joke (they shouldn't), and teaching schools think it's a luxury subfield (they shouldn't). That's changing, but very slowly. That's the bad news. The good news is that the ASA and BSA are great organizations, and very proactive in securing opportunities for their members. Currently, for example, both associations are sponsoring postdoctoral fellowships, as well as graduate studentships. There are so many conferences every year that it's easy to build that part of your CV, and the community is great and very supportive. I doubt you could cultivate such strong research connections so easily in any other subfield. As for where to attend: with a particular focus on film, CUNY is the obvious choice because of Carroll, but you'll want to have a chat or two with students there about the funding situation, supervision, etc. For aesthetics training in particular, I think that CUNY, McGill, UBC, NYU, and Maryland College-Park are the strongest options in North America (though Santa Cruz will be pretty fearsome once their new hires are tenured). For Maryland, you'll want to ask around about Levinson's availability. But of those, I really think CUNY is far and away the best place for film-related stuff. Weirdly, I think that UBC might be my next choice for film-y things, just on the strength of film-y things usually being more about aesthetics proper than ontology or philosophy of art in particular, and their strengths in epistemology, mind, and philosophy of science seem nicely complementary. Aesthetics is thriving in UK departments, but getting hired in the UK is horribly difficult (it's horribly difficult everywhere, but the UK has some additional barriers for non-nationals). From memory (I don't have the time/internet access to check more thoroughly at the moment), Kent would be my obvious choice for film stuff, because Murray Smith is there. As far as aesthetics in the UK goes more generally, however, Manchester, Nottingham, York, Birkbeck, and Durham stand out to me as the strongest programs, depending on your particular interests. My advice to you is that if you go into aesthetics, cultivate a second, highly respectable, high-prestige area of specialization, preferably in a subfield with half-decent job prospects.
  12. It'll show up in your transcript once you've registered for it. I wouldn't worry about it. I doubt anyone will even notice before you've been accepted.
  13. One doesn't really specialize as an undergrad, at least not at the schools with which I'm familiar. One can write an honours thesis, of course, which would then take you to the entry-point for an area of specialization. If that's what you're talking about, though, then unless you're entering your last year, there's plenty of time for a path to suggest itself to you, and I wouldn't rush it. When the time comes, you'll need an area that you find interesting, and a problem you can sink your teeth into. You'll have to ask some kind of open question, and research your answer thoroughly. Doing this work at the undergraduate level does not require special skills, beyond the ones you pick up as a major in the subject. Knowing the relevant language could help, since it would open up more research outlets to you, and allow you to read the original, but it's not required by any means. At least, not usually; it would be very silly indeed to require it for unpublished undergrad research. For readers who might be thinking of ancient vs. modern as a PhD topic, I suppose I should point out that the ancient market is small, but steady, and that the modern market is sort of booming at the moment (but unlikely to maintain that momentum for more than a few years, at best, at which point it'll revert to quite small and more-or-less-steady). At that point, you'll need to learn the relevant language(s). Modern scholars often have a harder time, though, since it's not uncommon for supervisors to demand proficiency in Greek, Latin, and French, and often German, too.
  14. Normally, a student who's greenlit to go to oral defence is pretty much guaranteed to pass; the real question is how much revising will be required before final submission. That is to say, normally, the only thing that can sink you at this stage is a catastrophic failure (like: you don't actually do the viva, or you make it clear to the committee that you don't know anything about what you wrote, raising concerns about plagiarism). That sort of thing. The questions may be tough, but they just want to see you thinking through problems, applying your hard-won expertise to new scenarios and challenges. They want you to guide them through it; you're the expert now, not them. There are occasional exceptions, especially in countries with a more adversarial viva process/hands-off supervision, usually because submitting is entirely in your hands and not really up to your supervisors. Those can be pretty rough. But even then, failure isn't the end. One of my supervisors initially failed his viva at Oxford, but he's a very well-known international expert now. He just had to buckle down and resubmit. Like Spykeeboy said, everyone in that room wants you to pass. In fact, it looks really bad on them if you don't, because they didn't manage to weed you out earlier. Sending an unprepared dissertation for defence looks awful, and it's clearly not the student's fault. On the journal front, try not to sweat it. Referee reports are often mean-spirited. If it's too mean, I ignore it entirely; if it's mean but raises what seem like legitimate issues, I address the problems and tell myself that the asshole is an insecure prick who's posturing to make himself feel better about his own visible shortcomings. So fixing the problems and moving on just feels like taking the high road. I've had (and heard of!) some horrific reports for papers that went on to win prizes or be published in much higher-ranked journals.
  15. There are more PhD-granting institutions in the US than just about anywhere else, including more universities considered "tops" in the subfield rankings. These universities are older and better-established--especially within particular subfields--than many of their international competitors.This is almost certainly a big part of what's driving the high numbers of American PhDs outside the US (you'll notice that the non-American universities that make those rankings are also old, well-established, well-funded, etc.). It also goes some way towards explaining why so many people from outside the US pursue their doctoral studies there. Think of it as another case of the Matthew effect. Also an instance of the Matthew effect: in a lot of disciplines (I suspect most, but I don't have the data to support the generalization), most of the jobs at research institutions and fancy undergraduate institutions go to graduates of the top-ranked programs. In my discipline, for example, just three programs account for around 33% of all placements into TT jobs in universities with PhD or MA programs in the English-speaking world. It's worth remembering, however, that jobs outside the US aren't consolation prizes, even for Americans. They're not just there for people who couldn't get a job in the US. Uppsala,Tillburg, and Jean Nicod, for example, are very prestigious universities, and foreigners applying to those jobs face some extra disadvantages when compared to citizens. Those people are more than capable of finding jobs in the US, but they took very good offers outside it instead. The academic job market in quite a lot of disciplines (most?) is pretty horrible, and basically comes down to how widely you apply, and how long you manage to stay on the market. People who can't find jobs in the US don't tend to go looking abroad as a second thought. The people applying for jobs abroad are probably usually among the strongest candidates in the pool. This just isn't a safe generalization to make. In my discipline, for example, only a few Canadian institutions offer only 1 year of coursework, and none offer 0; everyone else (including McGill) offers 2.
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