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Adequate Philosopher

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    2016 Fall
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  1. Would you guys mind elaborating a bit? Awaken me from my dogmatic slumbers.
  2. Hello bookofletters, I hate to be a Hume here--but you should be aware that, generally speaking, there is a bias against the philosophy of religion in the philosophical community at large. This is unfortunate, because I think philosophy of religion is the greatest! I want it to be an AOS. What is my evidence, you ask? Professors and my own experience (I do not deny that my sample size is limited, however). Regarding professors: I wanted to write my thesis on the problem of evil, and, even among the theistic philosophers at my department, I was advised against it. One professor told me that, when he attended the University of Notre Dame for his PhD (the philosophy of religion capital in the world, or at least the U.S., at any rate) famous philosophers there such as Alvin Plantinga and Peter van Inwagen would gladly advise students for their dissertations--as long as their dissertations focused on a more general metaphysical and/or epistemology problem--that is, not focused on an issue in the philosophy of religion. Apparently, students who do their dissertation on an issue in the philosophy of religion have a tougher time finding jobs, even more so than everyone else. I ended up doing my thesis on the problem of evil anyway, and got accepted into a decent graduate program. But I also got a lot of rejections! Regarding my own experience: Not all, but some professors seem implicitly (some explicitly) to be contemptuous of religion. Also, so did most of my colleagues at my undergraduate institution. You might be thinking, "I said that I wanted to specialize in medieval Islamic philosophy, not philosophy of religion, which you have focused on." Sure, but (please correct me if I'm wrong) religion and philosophy is a bit more difficult to separate in much Islamic philosophy, is it not? So what am I getting at here? The short version is this: Are your interests to narrow? Kinda. Now, you might get lucky, and get hired somewhere looking for a scholar in medieval Islamic philosophy. But those jobs are far and few between. It is my understanding that most of us get jobs teaching at smaller schools where the opportunities to teach our "pet interests," (or whatever you want to call them) are slim to none. I suggest broadening your metaphysical/epistemological/ethical interests, and this is likely to be strongly suggested if you are accepted into a graduate program. But still, by broadening your interests you may be able to use your expertise on medieval Islamic philosophy to contribute to current philosophical debates. Analytic philosophers have a short memory regarding the history of philosophy. (For example, my thesis adviser was writing a paper on Biblical interpretation basically identical to that of Averroes' view of how to interpret the Koran.) Let me know if I can clarify anything! But ultimately, you have to decide for yourself. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
  3. Congrats on your acceptance! I have not applied yet, but will probably apply to on-campus housing. Based on my research, all furnished apartments in the College Station area are around the same price. Nearly all (significantly) cheaper apartments are unfurnished. Some people I have spoken with recommend looking at apartments in Bryan, which is close to College Station. Apartments there tend to be slightly cheaper, but if you figure in driving and dealing with traffic it seems to me to even out. I hope this helps.
  4. Hello everyone! I'll be moving to College Station this fall. Does anyone have any recommended apartments? Any apartments I should stay away from? I'm currently leaning towards graduate housing in The Gardens. Has anyone on here lived there? How was your experience? I appreciate any help you have to offer!
  5. I'll be the cranky looking bearded white guy with glasses. That should be enough to separate me from everyone else. Right?
  6. Amen brother! I've had a string of bad roommate situations.
  7. I have declined my MA offer from Virginia Tech. I hope this helps someone. (Do they even do a waitlist?)
  8. I've been accepted into Texas A&M's MA program in philosophy. Will gladly be accepting!
  9. Does anyone have any information on Texas A&M? I'm on the waitlist for their MA program and would appreciate any information if you have it!
  10. From what I can tell, Virginia Tech usually offers a mixture of both. http://www.phil.vt.edu/courses/fall_2016_coursedescriptions_GRAD.pdf For example, this fall they'll be offering advanced introductions to the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language. However, they'll also be offering a seminar on David Hume's political philosophy and how it was influenced by Adam Smith. I suppose we can compare survey courses and seminars on particular topics to swimming in a pool. I prefer to start at the shallow end, dip my big toe in the water and make sure it isn't too cold (i.e., survey courses), then gradually swim to the deep end (seminars on particular topics). However, it's perfectly reasonable to prefer jumping in the deep end of the pool and splashing about a bit. There are virtues to both methods, I suppose.
  11. I've taken a few Spanish classes. Reading I found to be quite easy, but speaking Spanish was tough for me. However, I should note that I probably wasn't studying as hard as I should have.
  12. No. But thanks for deciding before the 15th!
  13. Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I suppose the short answer is: It varies, based in part on the language and the way one learns.
  14. I have a question for you historians of philosophy: How did you acquire reading knowledge of a foreign language? Did you take a class? If so, which one(s)? Did you study the language on your own? If so, which books did you buy and/or self-teaching services did you use? I will begin pursuing a terminal MA this fall, and my main interests are in the history of philosophy. I like it all, but if I had to specify, I would choose early modern philosophy as an AOS. One conspicuous weak spot in my CV is a lack of reading knowledge of the four main languages historians of philosophy need to know. (Ancient) Greek and Latin will be easy--classes in the classics are almost always geared towards reading knowledge of the language. However, for those of you who have reading knowledge of French and/or German, did you take college classes or study the language on your own? Classes in German and French typically put a considerable emphasis on conversing in the language. All else being equal, I'd love to be able to converse in French and German, but what I'm really concerned about is reading knowledge. I appreciate any help you have to offer!
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