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About Griswald

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    Double Shot

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    2014 Fall
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  1. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a great (online) resource, and it's free. Each entry is written by a professional philosopher who is an expert on the entry's topic. And the bibliographies are usually quite good, so you can use those for further reading references. I usually prefer the SEP to introductory textbooks, and most philosophers that I know use the SEP whenever they start to learn about a new area. Looking now, there are entries on Consequentialism, Deontological Ethics, Contractualism, Feminist Ethics, and Virtue Ethics, which would collectively provide a nice introduction to normative ethics. They also have an entry on Metaethics. As for applied ethics, there are many entries that look interesting: Business Ethics, Theory and Bioethics, Ethics of Stem Cell Research, Feminist Bioethics, and many more.
  2. As a 2nd year PhD student, my advice is: don't underestimate the importance of a department's being interested in its graduate students. Many programs, even top ones, simply aren't; and grad students suffer for it. I think that x's courting you counts strongly in its favor, though it's not decisive, of course. Try not to settle on a program until you've visited both places and talked with the students there.
  3. Of the reputable MA programs in the US that I'm aware of, none would require that you take more undergraduate courses before being admitted. Many MAs (in the US) explicitly welcome applications from people in your situation, with some exposure to philosophy but with undergraduate degrees in other fields. If you don't have letter writers from professional philosophers, however, then I would advise you to take some classes (you could just audit; I did this) with the aim of impressing the instructors enough that they'd be willing to write for you. That's speaking more towards graduate school applications though, and your question was about preparing for graduate school. Here, my advice is: read as much as possible in your areas of interest, but also take time to read outside your areas; write often, seek feedback, and revise; learn skills that are relevant to your areas of interest (e.g. foreign languages, mathematics, sciences).
  4. For what it's worth, I didn't submit GRE scores to a very highly regarded program that didn't require them two years ago, and I was waitlisted there. I wasn't admitted in the end, but I don't think that had anything to do with the GRE. I was told that most of the people who received first-round offers accepted.
  5. If it's not a huge financial burden, I see no reason why you shouldn't apply to the programs you mention. I won't try to estimate your chances, as this is an impossible exercise. Like most other applicants, your application has strengths and weaknesses. Based on what you've said, it seems like you'll have good letters of recommendation, but, as you mention, your grades might be slightly below average. Rather than trying to estimate your chances, I suggest you focus your efforts on your writing sample and the GRE. The writing sample, especially, is where you should try to outshine your grades.
  6. You should ask the department that offered you admission exactly what "waitlisted for TAship" means. It's unclear as stated whether you can assume a tuition waiver. The salient difference between these two results is that you now can choose to attend the first university, possibly without funding, whereas it's still possible that you will be rejected by the second university. If you can afford to pay your own way through the program at the first university, this is very good news. If you can't, and if the funding doesn't come through, then you will be forced to either decline the offer or find another source of funding, such as external fellowships or loans.
  7. No decision you make at this point will "secure" you placement in a top PhD program, so you needn't worry about that. Also, I'm puzzled by your judgment that GSU's program doesn't fit your interests. It's well known that the program there is quite strong in philosophy of mind. Anyway, my own opinion is that you should allow for the possibility that your interests may change during your MA.
  8. Tough decision. Regarding the consideration that UMSL is close to WUSTL, let me chime in with just one piece of advice, on the assumption that you plan on applying to PhD programs. While working with faculty at WUSTL may be intellectually rewarding for you, be careful not to overestimate the value that that will have when it comes to PhD applications. In my experience, having gone through an MA, the most important thing is doing really well in your program. Sometimes (not always, but often enough) students who pursue too much stuff outside of their department end up stretching themselves too thin and extra-departmental activities end up having and adverse effect. A two year MA goes by really quickly--you'll need to start thinking about your PhD applications during your first summer. It's hard enough to forge good relationships with faculty in your home department in that time, let alone make meaningful connections in other departments. Admittedly, I don't know much about the situation at UMST and WUSTL, but I will say that the most successful MA students that I know put most of their effort into doing really well in their home departments (i.e. standing out in seminar discussions, writing excellent term papers/writing samples/theses) and tended to minimize extra-departmental activities.
  9. I think that an attempt to provide valuable information to those participating in this otherwise opaque and sometimes alienating process shows a good deal of integrity and sound judgment.
  10. The story so far is consistent with you being number 2 on the wait list, which would make your chances pretty good. Don't despair! Also, I really doubt that the department is trying to mislead you by telling you that you might have to wait until the 15th. This is just how wait lists work: your fate depends on the decisions of those already admitted, and those decisions often happen on or around the 15th. It's absolutely common to get rejected from schools ranked lower than the schools that admit you. The explanation is simple (I assume by rankings your referring to the PGR). Your chance of being admitted depends on many factors, most or all of which don't correlate with faculty reputation, which is what the rankings track.
  11. I agree that AOI is important. I'm not sure I agree that it's more important than previously thought because, as far as I know, it's always been considered very important. Anyway, I think it's basically impossible to determine anything conclusive from such a small data set. There are lots of other explanations of what's going on. Maybe applicant 1 had a particularly high GRE score and Vanderbilt really cares about GRE. Maybe the reader of 2's glowing letter from Professor X is close friends with Professor X and knows that her students have always been good in the past. Also, do try to keep in mind that the application process contains a lot of randomness. Maybe the reader of 3's very solid writing sample was just sick of reading essays on Nietzsche that day.
  12. I doubt that all of the acceptances are fake. Ianfaircloud's close friend was admitted and told Ian about his phone call from Chalmers.
  13. Just to clarify, is the meta question whether you can promise that, if she's unhappy, you'll apply for UK programs which start in 2016? In order to make that promise you'd have to be prepared to apply out at the end of this year, right? And that means you'd need to start asking for letters from your new professors during your first semester in the program. Also, it gives your partner just a few months to decide whether she would rather return to Europe. It might be more sensible to plan on spending two years in the US, reserving the possibility of applying out again in 2016 for programs that begin in 2017. This would give you enough time to get an MA from your US institution and strong recommendations from the professors there, and your partner would have enough time to make a really informed decision about whether she can live in the US long term. Of course, this advice completely depends on the details of your circumstances, so take it with a grain of salt.
  14. Yeah, it was Yale. I think I might disagree with your last sentence, ian. But it depends on how much is a lot and what you mean by "follow." I'm inclined to say that, at least fairly often, not a lot of people post when a department releases. I only see two acceptances to Brown posted, but they must have made around 10 first round offers. That's just one example, though, and I'm sure for other schools you could make the case that there are a lot of posts. I don't know. Anyway, here's what might be a better argument. Let H stand for "Harvard has released first round acceptances (at time t)" and A stand for "There's a Harvard acceptance posted on TGC (at time t)". We want to know P(H|A). I claim that P(A|not-H) is very low: the base rate of fake acceptances is very low. Then, by Bayes' theorem, P(H|A) is close to 1.
  15. The "induction" in the first link doesn't work. Arguments by induction establish that certain properties hold for all natural numbers. And while it's true that 0.1 > 0.09999... with k repeating 9s, where k is any natural (hence, finite) number, it's false that 0.1 > 0.0999... with infinitely many 9s. This is why teachers of freshman calculus are always saying things like, "Remember, infinity is not a number." The claim you're trying to refute can be made quite precise using the definition of a limit. That's where you should be directing your arguments.
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