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Spinozian

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About Spinozian

  • Rank
    Decaf

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  • Location
    Toronto
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    History and Phil of Sci and Tech

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  1. I think it depends on three things: the program you want to get into, the person's research, and their familiarity with your writing sample (your best piece of research). If you want to get into a program that does political philosophy, and your non-philosopher is a polisci person who does political theory stuff, and your piece of research is something they've offered constructive criticism of in a meaningful way, then I think that'd check off all the necessary boxes. In other words, if their particular 'social science' lines up with the content relevant for your AOS, if they do research related to it, and they are familiar with the importance of your writing sample (and it should be important, generally!) then there's nothing on paper bad about that. Especially if some political philosopher would be aware of the work of this political theorist. However, the initial intuitive drawback is going to be, "why didn't this person have a philosopher write the letter?" Even then, though, there might not be such a big problem. A lot of the time I've heard of third letters being written by profs people have TA'd for. That does show some good stuff committees look for (most of if not all funding packages come with the caveat that you've gotta do some TA-ing to some degree). If you've really shown some initiative and led a session or two as a TA, that doesn't look bad on an app! But again, I think this is less helpful than a third letter from a philosopher. tl;dr - it's less than ideal unless the person is super important in the field more generally (a political scientist/theorist writing you a letter for political philosophy program) but submitting a letter is better than submitting no letter.
  2. Spinozian

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    hi there, I can only speak from my experience at SFSU, but there are people there strong in social/political phil as well as feminist phil. Three faculty members come to mind, which is the perfect number for a committee for a MA thesis (req'd at SFSU). Feel free to send any questions my way, and good luck.
  3. Spinozian

    Final Decisions / Accepting Offers Fall 2018!

    Accepted Toronto! Declined offers from UC Davis, Western Ontario, Leeds, and Indiana (HPS). I also had a Cambridge interview but by the time that came around I'd already accepted. I feel really good about Toronto (IHPST), especially with some of the new faculty they've recently picked up. Going to be weird going international, but I'm excited for the change of pace and the fresh start. Pre-emptive 'congrats' to everyone posting here.
  4. Spinozian

    PHILOSOPHY M.A. ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION 2018

    Nice, sounds like you'll be a good fit there. And I'll be starting my PhD in the Fall. Piece of advice in SF - TEACH. You'll have the opportunity to teach a few sections of critical thinking or intro applied ethics/social phil/phil art classes if you have the time. That, imo, is a main part in what makes that program great. I can't stress how important that is for your own philosophical well-being. Also, you'll have the opportunity to take upper-level lecture courses in lieu of grad seminars in some cases, and I'd personally recommend against that. Fill your course load (2-3 classes per semester) with the graduate seminars (unless you've got pre-recs to cover, obviously). You'll not only get a better, more hands-on approach to the subject matter, but you'll be writing papers that might a.) turn into your MA thesis b.) turn into your writing sample c.) flesh out your AOCs d.) give you excuses to go present at conferences and network with other graduate students (essential for when you jump into applying for PhD programs!). Many times all of the above is what occurs. Finally, if you find that your area you really like isn't being taught that semester, feel free to ask for personal study projects for credit. Also, TA-ing is a good way to establish a report with professors you might want on your thesis committee that you haven't had a chance to take a course with (two years goes by fast). Ok, stepping off the soapbox now. Again, good luck, and congratulations. Most bars in SF are cash only and the ATM fees are a kick in the dick, so heads up on that.
  5. Spinozian

    PHILOSOPHY M.A. ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION 2018

    congratulations! a couple of weeks I think. what's your interests, btw?
  6. Spinozian

    PGR top programs hostile to MA's?

    I'll just say briefly (and anecdotally) that I received a terminal MA from a program listed on the PGR site, but let's just say it isn't near the top (by far). I got into a program in the recent global top 10 pgr. It really is about fit and what it is that the department wants. The more you can learn about those things (hit up grad. students there) the better your odds. And good luck.
  7. Spinozian

    PHILOSOPHY M.A. ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION 2018

    yup. usually it's a couple weeks after you've sent in your app.
  8. Spinozian

    Are MA programs' placement rates really that different?

    Just came here to say that I went to a terminal MA program not listed above (though briefly mentioned on PGR) and got into a top 10 program. I grant it to stronger phil letters of rec and a better writing sample than I'd have had just coming out of my BA. But also, I got rejected from places not even in the US top 50. Take that as you will.
  9. Spinozian

    PHILOSOPHY M.A. ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION 2018

    @PhiloStorian Just a heads up, van Fraassen stopped taking students a while ago. He's more emeritus than not these days. That being the case there's other philsci people there that are good. But, if that's your only reason you're thinking SFSU you should know that.
  10. Spinozian

    PHILOSOPHY M.A. ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION 2018

    Hey @PhiloStorian SFSU lets in just about anyone (which isn't a bad thing); if you're looking for funding ask and you'll get a TA-ship an/or a teaching position. That being the case, it's a welcoming and friendly department (if you hang with the right people). Not a bad choice if you're specifically looking for a very analytic program. If you're really into PhilSci that ISN'T cogsci-oriented, consider your other options. Source - know a person that knows a person.
  11. Spinozian

    Terminal M.A. Advice

    Hey, just finished a Terminal MA program and was accepted into a PhD program (along with a few others from the program). I'll try and take these in turn, and as usual, grain of salt. 1. If you don't find yourself wishing you were doing something else. Or, if it makes you unhappy. Not like existential dread, that's not bad and sort of part of the gig. But if you're wishing you were doing a 9-5 or bagging groceries instead of writing a paper on what you assume is your area of interest....well... 2. You'll do both in a terminal MA program depending on the program itself. You'll take some courses that'll make you research in your area of interest, and odds are you'll be TAing or taking seminars in things not directly related to your immediate interests that'll broaden you out. Also, you might have an exam depending on your program that'll require you to have a broad understanding of the history of philosophy more generally. That being said, yes, make time to get good in your area of interest. Ideally that's what you'll spend the rest of your life doing, now is as good a time as ever to get a foundation in it. 3. My program was large but wholly non-competitive; my closest friends were the ones sending the same apps to the same schools with the same committees doing work in the same fields. It's a lottery, and there's no real need to feel like you've gotta be better than the person next to you. That being said, that doesn't mean be lazy. Go to conferences, polish your papers, ask for feedback, and make sure to keep in contact with your professors in your area of interest. Do the work and do it as well as you can. This is your job now. 4. I don't have any immediate regrets, but I will say that once you find your 'niche,' find someone who does it and publishes in it and try to get some time in with them, even if it's just asking for a reading list (independent studies are also great for this). This might add a bit to my answer in #2. 5. Yes. Your life changes in grad school. The kind of work is different not just in degree of difficulty but in the type of work (production of knowledge instead of regurgitation). It is difficult for a lot of reasons that aren't academic. Have a support system in place and do not stagnate and dwell on the 'what could have been.' Don't be that person bragging about lack of hours of sleep and not having anything but coffee in your body. Take care of yourself - existence precedes essence, so make sure you're kicking ass at existing and then worry about being a philosopher (your essence in this not-well-formed-or-thought-out-but-still-maybe-neat-analogy). There's no reason to not try and be healthy (in all applicable ways and in light of all possible constraints) and happy doing this IF this is what you want to do. Good luck.
  12. Spinozian

    2018 Acceptance/Rejection Thread

    anybody know anything about moving to canada from the us?
  13. Spinozian

    2018 Acceptance/Rejection Thread

    any other news on Toronto hpst?
  14. Title gets the gist. Got a couple letters that'll be coming in about a week past the deadlines. What's the worst case scenario here? Thanks in advance.
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