Phallosopher

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About Phallosopher

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    Decaf

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  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Program
    Philosophy
  1. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    I agree with this. When possible, it's great to take the opportunity to explain the value of something your conversation partner isn't as familiar with... you know, enrich both lives. Passive-aggressiveness is no fun. If I need to be aggressive I'm well practiced at turning my nose up at just the right angle.
  2. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    I don't acknowledge sarcasm. Yes, anyone else on the matter of... "how do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?"?
  3. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    Thanks, but I don't claim ownership of that adjective. If you reject my particular use of the label "sad", then you can't widen its applicability. You're applying it differently. You see, widening happens relative to a particular point.
  4. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    There's the valuable part of your post, the rest is a bit too defensive for my taste. Although what you're saying here is somewhat committing the act it labels as sad, I do agree with parts of it. Doing the things that intimidate people about philosophers is not going to make friends or sway a dissenter. And telling is generally inferior to showing when advocating for a particular identity. Philosophy would progress faster if we spent more time doing it than defending it. That's the case as long as it's not at risk for dying at the hands of those who can't/don't understand, and who dislike and try to squash what they can't/don't understand. At most if you're talking to a dissenter, you turn him into a philosopher. At least, you get out without being talked into a new cubicle by his/her side at some boring office building.
  5. Aspiring Phil. Student Help

    I'd say it's pretty clear (s)he's trying to be competitive for reasons other than the ones he mentioned for which he won't be competitive, don't you think? Also, we live in a rather credential obsessed world, so if he/she wants to do anything with philosophy that has a straightforward chance of reaching others and/or earning income, then a degree of some sort is necessary. Now, to the OP... fortunately, logic is within the domain of philosophy, so you can be pretty optimistic that the people reviewing your application will be more logical than just traditional/perfunctory in how they look at your application. The question in their minds is, "will this person succeed in our program and take the degree with our institution's name on it to do things that make our community look good?" Figure out a way to argue that the answer to this is yes, and since you don't have the perfect GPA, GRE, or degree in philosophy, come up with something else that has a chance of being a sufficiently concise way to advocate for yourself. What is/are your other degree(s) in? Develop something original within your own area of expertise, extend it to a relevant area of philosophy with which your particularly familiar... and submit it to some sort of conference. Then you can point to that, your writing sample, and say "look, I've already done philosophy before." In general, what is necessary is something by which you can be judged that is as straightforwardly relevant and measurable as possible. For the fortunate, that's a high GPA, GRE, and a degree in philosophy... but past admission to a program, what you still potentially have to offer is much more important in a career as a philosopher.
  6. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    I don't think I'm being silly, and I didn't suggest conducting a conversation in logical notation. Do you think that could actually be done? Perhaps asking about post-degree plans is initiating chit chat. Perhaps it serves another function. Do you really define "convention" as universal, context independent meaning of a particular question or other speech act? I don't. The topic is conventional, but a lot of other factors go into the meanings of words and phrases, and the evolving intentions of conversation participants. Generalizing about it is a bit silly, don't you think? My original question in this thread, was aimed at addressing misunderstandings and negative interpretations of academic career paths. So that excludes the many people whose questions or statements are honest curiosity or mere chit chat. Suggesting that those exist, and going on about it in multiple posts, seems to me to be an example of the adherence to political correctness that is so prevalent these days. And as for political correctness, the formula for that is almost always a pattern of deliberate misinterpretation, generalization, or change of scope... intended to impugn the other person's motives and suggest they said something with negative intention. So sad that we have become a society where people make themselves feel better by doing that to others.
  7. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    Now this part, I agree with. Should you have a neutral or noticeably receptive audience, I think it is our responsibility of academicians to show people how our discipline can enrich their lives even if they do not choose to go as far beneath its surface or spend as long there in their exploration as we do. As for gleaning the other person's intentions, I rely more on intuition than generalization / political correctness there. Some people are dicks. Some aren't. Over a lifetime so far exceeding two or three decades for most of us on this forum... I think we all have developed the ability to reliably distinguish one from the other and respond in accordance with our own moral codes. Humor is another occasionally useful response for which I have a recent anecdote. I'm currently dating the daughter of a medical doctor. When he started that conversation in a receptive way but also in the context of the "meet the parents" and get judged situation... I told him, "I'm studying to become a doctor as well actually, of philosophy. I'm hoping to help cure people of feeling ignorant, illogical, immoral, and a few rarer ailments." He laughed his ass off, patted me on the shoulder, and told her... "I like this guy, I like him."
  8. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    So all people ask a particular question for exactly the same reason? That's quite the generalization. I'd love for you to share your reasoning.
  9. Graduate Plus Loan, Anyone?

    What do you mean here by "regular" loans? Are you talking about loans other than student loans?
  10. How do you all defend your scholarly path to the public?

    What an excellent response. When I'm in a dismissive mood or especially when that's elicited by a particularly negative disposition from the questioner... I sometimes say something like that. Or something sarcastically basic and uninformative like, "philosophize, of course." Great answers in general though from everyone. @rising_star this is true, there are a lot of examples of the immediate real world relevancy of philosophical ideas, but that still fails to please the business types who don't like intangibles. I'm mostly talking about wholly unreasonable people who have a predetermined negative disposition. Of course, if someone asks me about my purpose in an open, actually inquisitive way, I'd give an answer like you mentioned. People removed from academia especially tend to like examples. Even questions that aren't pointed though, tend to come from the disposition "how does your field of study serve my hopes and dreams for my near future." Answer: Chances are it doesn't directly, but it does serve mine. As much as it's not false to look at the dissenters and realize they just don't get it and may never, and it's not our responsibility to explain it to them... I do think as academicians we need to spend some time showing the relevance of our field and its interconnectedness with other aims, otherwise it could get swallowed up in some other longstanding pervasive human need and thus done poorly (e.g. think about the swarms of IT people talking about how the internet is going to render formal classroom education obsolete). I'm not saying we should be defensive, there's no need for that. It's more offense, connecting our work to contemporary aims even if includes a lot of musings about the past or of potential wider application in the future. That's why I brought up timing as well.
  11. 2018 Philosophy Applicants, Assemble!

    This past season I got most of my recommendations from mathematicians actually. Philosophers study the underlying principles of things, so let's hope they think about what the underlying principles of being good at studying philosophy are. My recommenders (I was permitted to read one of the letters and actively encouraged to read and comment on another) were able to write about my logical reasoning skills, divergent thinking capabilities, and how much I am "at home in the realm of the abstract". So in my experience, recommendations are not restricted to "did well in my philosophy course" or the like. Can you get a recommendation from each of them? Most programs ask for 3 letters. I would think that would be best, as the non-philosophy professors can do what I described as valuable above, and the philosophy professors can give the more straightforward evidence that you will likely continue to excel in philosophy coursework and make their investment in your candidacy worthwhile. Hopefully that helps even if it's a bit of "if I were on an admissions committee, then..."
  12. I thought it would be interesting to post this here and see how others respond to the 9-5 materialistic public's reaction to the idea of philosophy as a profession. Perhaps I've just spent an unfortunate amount of time around the wrong people, but I often hear pointed questions/statements like... 1. "What's the point of philosophy? It's not practical." 2. "What are you going to do with that?" 3. "How is philosophy applicable in the real world?" I may have upped the eloquence on some of those questions/statements, and I'm sure I left out a few variations, but the gist of it is that people often try to suggest that philosophy is pointless, doesn't produce anything, is just an intellectual circle jerk or an infinite feedback loop of learn/teach. What I usually explain to them in response to their said or sometimes unsaid premise, is... The idea of what is "useful" is often biased by the need for instant gratification or tangibility. There is also often an elitism at different stages of the process of human endeavor. Theorists (philosophers are an example) frequently look down on those who apply the knowledge or those who carry out the process designated in application of the knowledge, e.g. mathematicians > physicists > engineers > factory workers who operate machines. But then, businessmen look down at professors: "what are they producing? where's the market for that? how many people care about it?" So in summary, I tell them it's an issue of timing and tangibility, not an independent evaluation of what is useful or not. Apologies for the long post; I wanted to give some clear examples. But yeah, back to the specific point... I'm sure many of you have heard the idea that philosophy has no real world application, but I doubt any of you believe it. How do you respond to the pointed questions/statements?
  13. Whoa, our interests are quite similar (find mine above). I said aesthetics rather than philosophy of language mainly because I am interested in what constitutes beauty independent of medium. So give "language" an extremely broad definition, and you and I are on the same page.
  14. Epistemology, logic, aesthetics. Just starting to figure out which programs might work for someone with my particular background... so far I've found Georgia State and UC San Diego.
  15. 2018 Philosophy Applicants, Assemble!

    Greetings everyone, I'll be applying to MA and MA/PhD programs in philosophy for fall 2018. I have a MA in a different discipline already, but given how frequently my research borders on philosophy, I have decided to redirect my gaze rather than keeping one foot in each country and looking around without enough certainty. My primary interests lie in the intersection of epistemology, aesthetics, and logic. I'm going to be looking at programs that are open to students with an interdisciplinary mindset or non-traditional background. So far the schools recommended to me by the philosopher I kept in touch with from undergrad are: Georgia State and UCSD. Any others would be welcome. On this site I'd be particularly interested in connecting with students who transitioned into philosophy from another background and conquered the institutional logistics thereof. I'm also hoping to talk to students from a traditional background (earned BA in philosophy) who would be able to give me some tips on what philosophy departments would worry I am missing, and how to get it or demonstrate that I have it.