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About lyellgeo

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    2017 Fall

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  1. I had a 4th letter from an English professor (since I had worked with them on some things), but submitted 3 philosophy letters for those schools that only accepted three. Unsure whether it helped or hurt
  2. Well, yes and no, mostly because very very few people have a "reasonable shot" with things being so competitive. I would place less pressure on a sample/letters being "excellent" (though of course they should be) and more on how your specific research interests and/or project syncs with certain people at universities you are interested in going to. This is hard to fake—usually you have to have read and/or at least be aware of the recent work of the people you are interested in working with, and have developed your some of your own thoughts on it. GPA and everything else is about 20% of the
  3. Two other MA programs to check out are Miami Ohio and LSU. Both are funded and could be a good fit for your interests. SUNY Stony Brook also has a MA program focused more on aesthetics, though I don't think it's funded.
  4. From my limited experience, there are plenty of people in "continental" departments who aren't particularly interested in Derrida or Lacan. (If anything, I feel like Derrida is falling more out of popularity, though that could be my own bias.) More generally, there will be a huge amount of difference from department to department about which particular people are studied and focused on, and which are ignored. For example, programs like Penn State, Stony Brook, Villanova, and Boston College each have very different approaches. But, especially given that there's at least a couple of hundred yea
  5. I don't know much about Plato, but I don't think there's anything wrong with having a narrow set of interests, provided that you can articulate them to a broader philosophical community. However, if that is the case, you should be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of the current state of scholarship and the problems people are working on. What readings are the most recent, and of those, which are standard and which are controversial? What universities have the strongest faculty working on topics you're interested in, and how do you feel about the work of various specific faculty? How has th
  6. I agree, but even just including just those 4, that's almost 25% of evaluators (4/17), which is quite a lot. And if we were to ask instead how many of those scholars primarily work in 20th century continental, you would get an even higher percentage. That amount of ambiguity just doesn't seem to hold true of any of the other specialty rankings. Yeah, I think it's an interesting problem, and I'm not sure how to work through it myself. When it comes to writing and reading I just ignore it (I've taken plenty of coursework in both "traditions"), but it's harder to ignore the sociologi
  7. There are two specialty rankings, one for 19th and one for 20th. I was specifically talking about 20th century continental. Of course there will be some overlap, but it's still a hundred or so years of differences to sort through.The 19th century rankings are much more helpful than the 20th century ones.
  8. Also, it's sort of odd that they still include Leiter's original "analytic vs. continental philosophy" guide, even though it's misguided about a whole range of points, e.g. that analytic philosophy is about style. (A much better explanation can be found here.) And, to use another example of poor thinking from Leiter's guide: Whatever the limitations of “analytic” philosophy, it is clearly far preferable to what has befallen humanistic fields like English, which have largely collapsed as serious disciplines while becoming the repository for all the world’s bad philosophy, bad social sc
  9. The specialty report ranking is more or less useless when it comes to 20th century continental, mostly because many if not most of the evaluators aren't even working in that area. Methodological problems aside, one would think that would be at least a basic criteria for including someone as an evaluator. So it would at least be nice if that bias—namely, that many people in the analytic tradition don't consider it to be "real" philosophy (I even had one professor compare them to a group of androids)—was more explicit rather than providing a ranking for 20th century continental that includes
  10. I wouldn't pay much attention to the Leiter ranks for continental programs, unless you plan on applying to a ranked (i.e. mostly analytic) program in the U.S afterwards. But I don't know anything about Kingston's program itself except that they have some very well known faculty.
  11. Other people on here may have more experience, but my sense is that Y would be better. But if you're less sure about your current interests and think there's a good chance they might develop into other areas (or if you want to develop a strong competency in other areas), then you may want to go with X, as the higher ranked school may have more options in those other areas.
  12. Depending on the program, those are good odds. Usually MA applicants are more likely to decline than phd applicants, as many if not most are applying to PhDs as well.
  13. It's sort of odd, because there are several more analytic places with someone working on Heidegger, even though he was for a long time (from what I can tell) viewed as mostly continental-gibberish from the perspective of analytic phil departments. Also, there's becoming more of a tolerance for Foucault—e.g. Leiter excludes Foucault from his list of French "nonsense," and Chicago has a person who works on Foucault (while still outside the mainstream strengths of that department). Meanwhile, continental programs have been (often for good reasons) moving further away from Heidegger, and are much
  14. Yeah, the 20th century rankings are especially odd. Partly this could be because many of the reviewers—e.g. Guyer, Leiter, Novakovic—seem far more at home in 19th century continental, and in some cases don't even appear to be publishing or engaging with 20th century figures at all. It's sort of as if they had a bunch of early modern people evaluating Kant departments
  15. While this is definitely true, there is one caveat to this as a strategy. As an applicant, one will likely have very little sense of whether any specific faculty member is accepting new students, planning on transferring to another institution, is viewed favorably by the other faculty members, is just difficult to work with, will even be on the admissions committee, and so on, all of which could affect the program's decision. But if one can make their application demonstrate a close fit for 2-3 faculty members (i.e. more specific than a broad area of interest but not specifically tied to one p
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