applicant655321 Posted February 24, 2014 Share Posted February 24, 2014 I am a recent graduate from a well-ranked terminal philosophy Master’s program (Tufts) which has a good placement record. However, so far, I’ve gotten nothing but rejections from schools. I was wondering what people’s thoughts are concerning whether or not there are certain writing sample topics that are simply a bad idea to write about given the current philosophical climate, and should probably be avoided by anyone interested in getting admitted into a PhD program. My sample this time was in the philosophy of mind/cognitive science, about whether or not the empirical truth of a particular variety of simulationism (a.k.a. “simulation-theory”) would render eliminative materialism (a la the Churchlands/Stich/etc.) unintelligible. In my paper, I argue (1) that the particular variety of simulationism standardly advanced to support this argument is incompatible with recent empirical discoveries in developmental psychology, and (2) that even if this were not the case, there are important conceptual distinctions ignored by the simulationist which leaves the eliminativist thesis substantially unaffected. Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t aware of the general distain contemporary philosophers of all stripes seem to have for eliminativism. (I met one person who referred to the view as the “galactic empire of philosophy of mind.”) My question is if people think it is likely that members on application committees would reject, or look unfavorably on, an applicant merely on the basis of the topic of their sample, even if the paper was clear, contained well-reasoned arguments, and demonstrated an engagement with a segment of the contemporary literature on a given topic. To be clear, I don’t want to come off sounding like a victim, and I don’t want to sound like I think there is some conspiracy to keep eliminativist inclined philosophers of mind out of academia. Rather, I am wondering what people’s thought are concerning committees’ philosophical biases and to what extent they can influence (or even determine) the outcome of admission decisions. If I decide to apply again next year, do people think should I plan on writing an entirely different paper, perhaps in an entirely different sub-field of philosophy? (Finally, if anyone would be interested in actually skimming over my writing sample to get a sense of whether or not it’s just a crummy paper, feel free to PM me for a copy.) Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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