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What is the Upper Bound for Number of PhD Programs to Apply To?


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"Defense tactic is to deflect."

 

Duly noted.

 

 

I agree with wandajune. But I'd like to add that my aim in pursuing an advanced philosophy degree is to, one day, teach courses that promote critical thinking and spend my days involved in the subject I find most fascinating. This is perhaps a selfish dream: I find I am happiest when the people making decisions are thinking critically and rationally. This is also a difficult dream: every one here is well aware of the obstacles we face (including attempting to create a beautiful writing sample). But, in my mind, life would be unlivable if we always prevented ourselves, or others, from pursuing dreams. As the great Drake once said, "Yolo".

 

I've come to believe that, within my life time, if I can convince at least one person (the goal is alwayd more) that thinking is a skill worth honing, and that questioning beliefs is important, then I think I can die happy. And if I can do this while connected to my favorite subject, philosophy, then I think I can retire very happy.

Edited by Happydays2
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God, the lockstep among your ranks is just stifling. I'm sure it works for rallying the troops when other areas begin to question why your field of study even exists academically.   I'm curious what

hi happydays, i hope you put something like that in your SOP. lessen the cmpetition a little bit. yours is an honorable ambition -- im quite the neoHegelian myself -- have you considered tea

Alright, can we just draw the line here and end this? Clearly Loric spoke out of ignorance, and everyone even remotely familiar with the applications process for Philosophy (emphasis for you Loric) PhD's knows the importance of the writing sample. The writing sample may be less important in other areas of the humanities, but it clearly isn't here (especially after all the evidence provided). With that out of the way, can we get back to less stressful discussions? This particular forum has become quite dramatic over the last month or so. 

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hi happydays,

i hope you put something like that in your SOP.

lessen the cmpetition a little bit.

yours is an honorable ambition -- im quite the neoHegelian myself --

have you considered teaching highschool?

(muwahahahahahhahah)

what is our WS topic?

(muhahahhah)

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I think that, overall, MattDest's comments seem pretty spot-on. Of course my opinions carry no substantial weight in this conversation due to this being my first time applying to graduate programs. For what it is worth, I have talked with three graduate admissions directors in programs I am very, very interested in (one is at my alma mater; the admissions director is actually a recommendation writer for me, and--be as it may--whose philosophy my sample is criticizing). They all told me, in different words, not to focus too much what makes me "fit" as in being a perfect formula for the school. In fact, they all said that this would be more likely to hurt at their programs--programs with distinct specialties receive tons of applicants wanting to study similar areas (thanks a lot, Leiter!), and all have the same (or at least similar enough) fit story as you do. They all suggested writing about what makes you different from everyone else who already has the same philosophical interests, and having your recommendation writers and CV (etc.) exemplify your fitting-ness. 

 

So, at least for certain programs (not rock star programs like Rutgers where everyone is applying, but good schools that have a strong presence in the area(s) you are particularly interested in), I think this needs to be taken into consideration. You've got to stick out too (programs do not want to be one-trick-ponies), and focusing on your "fit" might make you more bland when everyone else is applying there because of professors X, Y, and Z too. 

 

Thanks for that Jamc. It's made me seriously question what I'm doing at least four times, and those are thoughts I haven't had since I left the sciences two-and-a-half years ago. Not comforting/good for mental health. 

Edited by axiomness
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Thanks for that Jamc. It's made me seriously question what I'm doing at least four times, and those are thoughts I haven't had since I left the sciences two-and-a-half years ago. Not comforting/good for mental health. 

 

Heh? Oh, jesus.  Sorry.  :unsure:

 

Keep in mind, I'm applying to History Phd programs and, for our discipline, fit is crucial because interests among scholars are so broad (Antiquity, precolonial African culture, twentieth-century France, it goes on, and between military, political/diplomatic, social, intellectual and cultural history approaches, the permutations in terms of time, place and methodology are nearly infinite).  As such, it's important for us to demonstrate that the programs to which we're applying have the resources and faculty to reasonably support our projects.  I confess that I am completely ignorant as to the complexities of philosophical study and the number of approaches one might take (and consequently, the affect this might have on concentrations of the applicant pool around certain universities or certain professors).

 

I try not to interject my opinion if I think there might be a disciplinary disparity in terms of application procedures or the weight that certain elements of the application package carry with adcomms (Note: I stayed out of the WS discussion, although it turns out that Philosophy and History are pretty lockstep in terms of its importance  :)).  Sincerely didn't mean to rattle your cage.  Although…isn't questioning what you're doing part of philosophy? Eh?

Edited by jamc8383
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Hah, sorry that was quite poorly written. I meant thanks for your statement about being impressed with mental stamina. I meant 'it' as in the process of applying to all these programs.

 

Just trying to get that whole Loric-induced flame war behind us. 

:)

 

Heh? Oh, jesus.  Sorry.  :unsure: What did I say?

Edited by axiomness
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hi happydays,

i hope you put something like that in your SOP.

lessen the cmpetition a little bit.

yours is an honorable ambition -- im quite the neoHegelian myself --

have you considered teaching highschool?

(muwahahahahahhahah)

what is our WS topic?

(muhahahhah)

 

If by "what is our WS topic?" you're asking what my WS topic is, then I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I don't share information with jerks. Based on your posts these pasts few months and for the sake of students everywhere, I hope you are never given the opportunity to teach, anything, ever. And perhaps you aren't one to speak about applicants who lessen the competition.

 

 

To everyone else: I apologize for feeding the troll with this post, I couldn't help myself, there is much more I'd wish to say, but I see the absurdity in it, I'll stop here. Sorry, again.

Edited by Happydays2
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god i cant believe this stupid obsession with this forum.

PS BSG, i would have given you advice earlier if you werent such a prick, but comparing ethics between kant and hume wonr cut it either. its just as bad or worse.

they want analysis into RELEVANTmatters or topics in philosophy. kant/hume ethics arent relevant. at all. and nobody gives a shit. and they know damn well that your interest in such a topic is contrived at best.

so now that it really is too late to do another one, remember for next year you want to show promising work that illustrates genuine, personal interest in a topic or field.

(so i am kind of helping you out a little bit, not being a complete asshole)

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I think that, overall, MattDest's comments seem pretty spot-on. Of course my opinions carry no substantial weight in this conversation due to this being my first time applying to graduate programs. For what it is worth, I have talked with three graduate admissions directors in programs I am very, very interested in (one is at my alma mater; the admissions director is actually a recommendation writer for me, and--be as it may--whose philosophy my sample is criticizing). They all told me, in different words, not to focus too much what makes me "fit" as in being a perfect formula for the school. In fact, they all said that this would be more likely to hurt at their programs--programs with distinct specialties receive tons of applicants wanting to study similar areas (thanks a lot, Leiter!), and all have the same (or at least similar enough) fit story as you do. They all suggested writing about what makes you different from everyone else who already has the same philosophical interests, and having your recommendation writers and CV (etc.) exemplify your fitting-ness. 

 

So, at least for certain programs (not rock star programs like Rutgers where everyone is applying, but good schools that have a strong presence in the area(s) you are particularly interested in), I think this needs to be taken into consideration. You've got to stick out too (programs do not want to be one-trick-ponies), and focusing on your "fit" might make you more bland when everyone else is applying there because of professors X, Y, and Z too. 

 

Thanks for that Jamc. It's made me seriously question what I'm doing at least four times, and those are thoughts I haven't had since I left the sciences two-and-a-half years ago. Not comforting/good for mental health. 

 

Wow, that's pretty solid advice, I've never heard that before.

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Yikes. I tapped out but there's a gross misunderstanding of "fit" that needs to be addressed.

It is never meant to be about how you are a perfect fit for a program - but rather how the program is a perfect fit for you.

Obviously the majority of the think-alike brigade are going to have nearly identical backgrounds. And those who focus on the sameness and never think for themselves are going to be struck down. That should be very apparent to anyone who has taken two seconds to think about the process for themselves.

So it's not that the "fit" aspect that other fields talk about doesn't apply to you - it's that the fit has nothing to do with being the assimilated drone the rest of your training has prepared you to be. Most of you will fail this test and will not be accepted because of it.

I can take solace in that.

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If the 300 people applying were, even a majority thereof, actually qualified to do higher level meaningful work wouldn't there be positions and programs to support them?

No? It's not as if qualifications or fit determine the amount of positions available, the department does. And the department makes those kinds of decisions based upon the amount of funds available and the amount of time that faculty have to work with their graduate students. The economy and demand for philosophy professors, more than anything, determines whether or not there are positions and programs available to support applicants.

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ya loric.

i thought that the original arguments and concepts in my treatise, if acknowledged, would get me in no problem. and then the latest edition of my 'ontology of the elements' is CUT THROAT.

the real test though is not my work -- but the evaluating committees. are they genuinely intelligent or are they grown up versions of barscenegambler? ... will they throw out genius because of a low gpa ..? with or without acknowledging it?

will they have been bored to death by countless essays (comparing kant/hume jesus/lao tzu etc) before they get to mine and therefor not have the mental stamina to give my work the attention it needs...?

who knows..?

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Like I said - if enough people were capable of meaningful work the market would support it. There is not an over abundance of brilliance.

Unfortunately, that's not so. Philosophy is not generally profitable, so in a capitalist economy there isn't much demand for it. It's not how many competent philosophers there are, but how many interested consumers there are that determines the value of philosophy (again, unfortunately).

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Like I said - if enough people were capable of meaningful work the market would support it. There is not an over abundance of brilliance.

That's not really how it works. Capability does not affect demand. If the demand exists for a product, then someone will find a way to supply it, not the other way around. Philosophy is typically seen as one of the more "useless" disciplines in the humanities, and so there isn't much of a demand for philosophers. Philosophy produces no goods and no services (beyond education), so it's seen as ancillary to disciplines such as engineering, chemistry, applied mathematics, etc. (basically STEM fields).

Take the STEM boom. There was a sudden demand for people educated in science, technology, and mathematics, both in the public and private spheres, and so funding and attention increased for said fields. With more funding and attention, departments were able to hire more faculty. With the increase in faculty and funding, more spots were opened for graduate applicants, and so on. It's not that STEM fields suddenly received funding and attention because there was an increase in qualified applicants. Rather, it was because funding and attention increased, and so more qualified applicants were able to be admitted and more faculty were able to be hired by departments. 

Edited by bar_scene_gambler
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So what you're saying is that you're upset you were possibly given bad advice on how to get into a program that you readily admit serves no purpose..?

When did I claim that it serves no purpose? I said that it's typically seen as useless, implying that others typically see it as useless (I even included the scare-quotes for emphasis). As for why I'm making this point, bad advice is bad advice, and I wouldn't want someone actually following your bad advice if it potentially harms their chances of getting into a program.

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Come to think of it - doesn't the fact that most of you aren't going to get in mean that most of you are wrong in your interpretation of what to do, what's important, etc...?

 

We here in the 'biz call that a non sequitur. 

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