Monday, February 28, 2011

Columbia University - From MA to PhD Advice

Columbia University suggests the following for MA students who wish to go onto PhD program

List High School Philosophy Text Books

This is a good look at many philosophy text books published
for high school level students.

Graduate School Application Timeline

Here is a basic timeline for applying to graduate school as well as an extended description of each month. The following time line comes from Mathew LuAssistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. It also contains updates and comments from my recent experience with the philosophy graduate school application process. Includes average cost of one university application all together.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Top Continental Philosophy Programs

 The top continental philosophy programs from, Brian Lieter responds. GonePublic is written by Noelle McAfee. He is an associate professor of philosophy at Emory University and the associate editor of the Kettering Review.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

An Open Access Epistemology Journal!

Thats right, an open access journal. "Logos and Episteme - a new, open-access epistemology journal "

Publishing Advice for Graduate Students - Thom Brooks

A lot of intro stuff but also some very interesting points. He suggests starting with book reviews among other things....
Check it out: HERE

European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) - Journal Rankings

This ranking system classifies journal's into either A, B or C quality journals. The following list is in alphabetic for use in finding journals of interest. Also Comments by Lieter, Thom Brooks ( Gualtiero Piccinini (

An Insight into Journal Publishing - Dialectica

An insight into one journal's publishing procedure. This very interesting PDF was sent to someone who recently submitted a paper to their journal.

Credit for Graduate Students on Co-Authored Published Papers

This is an article published on Leiter Reports, it is a question posed by a graduate student. The question is about how credit is divided when one co-authors. I have listed a quick summery of what seem to be the important comments.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Philosophy Professors Receive Raises

It seems there are two ways. 1). Get offers from other departments and ask your current department to match the offer. 2). Merit raises based on productivity.

Philosophy and Medicine - Pre-med

It seems what a department wants, is to have a flourishing local community of philosophers as well as interactions with philosophers at other universities. So, more philosophy students means more funding/positions, creating a more flourishing community. Developing "tracks" which utilized the tools we have in philosophy, but lead out side of philosophy, would be beneficial to the profession on many levels, while not making it more competitive than it already is.
Check out this pre-med track flyer.

Recruiting Undergraduate Philosophy Majors

This is a great post with tons of ideas about recruitment into philosophy departments. I'm working on another post right now about the same topic, more specifically how philosophy "tracks" (like pre-law, or bio-ethics) are the best option for the profession in general. Keeps student levels up, decreases new PhDs, and creates new jobs. Anyway.... There are some really insightful comments on this post about how to recruit quality undergrad candidates to your department.

Publications Can Count Against You...

Thats right, It doesn't make sense... or does it. Apparently there is a high correlation between "research" professors and inadequate teaching ability. If one is applying to "teaching" universities then having a large number of published works can count slightly against you.

Mentoring Teaching Assistants

This article is commenting oh how TA do not receive any "real" training before teaching a class or grading papers. Professor Samuel Gorovitz, professor of philosophy at Syracuse University, found this gap in philosophy and explains his 4 step method for fixing it.  This is the type of stuff I like to hear as someone applying to programs. Having professors who care this much seems important.

Commission on the Humanities - Helping Philosophy?

A new blue-ribbon commission has been assembled in a bid to put the humanities and social sciences on an equal footing on the public agenda with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.The commission's effort to bolster the humanities and social sciences also takes place amid hard times for those disciplines.  The commission’s 41 members represent a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds, including Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy at Princeton University.
 Will this help philosophy by creating more positions?

CFP: 2011 APA Mini-Conference on Philosophy for Children

The APA Mini-Conference on Philosophy for Children will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meetings of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association on April 20-21, 2011, in San Diego. 

NEH - Summer Program - For Teachers

Since 1967, the National Endowment for the Humanities has funded residential summer programs for college and university faculty and, since 1982, K-12 teachers. These include two- to five-week Summer Seminars and Institutes and one-week Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops. 

Inside the Hiring Process (Update)

The previously posted article (Inside the Hiring Process) has been summarized and commented on in American Association of Philosophy Teachers

The ranking criteria by order of importance:
1. Pedigree of PHD granting university
2. Research and publication
3. Evidence of undergraduate teaching ability as well as versatility.
4. Evidence of administrative service

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PhD Ranking - The National Research Council

While I have not done enough research to suggest whether or not this is a worthwhile ranking system they suggest some of the same "top ranked" programs as Leiter and Academic Analytics. It seems to give a great measure of user control to the process which is a plus. One can select the qualities one wants (funding, size, placement record etc...) when searching for grad school rankings.

Peer Review for Open Access Textbooks

Three reasons/options why/how philosophy text books could be published as open access.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Visual Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies

This is a beautiful hierarchy of fallacies. It's represented in a easy to follow way.  I use something along these lines to analyze arguments. While I don't think this design will work for my form of analysis, I thought others might be interested. It could also be a great explanatory tool for students.
Picture Link:

Personal Statement - Lieter and the Best Comments

Lieter Report answered a question about how to write a personal statement for philosophy graduate programs. The comment about masters applications I thought was interesting. If your thinking of applying to Grad school READ Warfield's comment. The majority of my research suggests that his weighting of the topic is basically correct.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Professor Richard G. Heck (Brown) - Critique of Philosophical Gourmet and Advice on Graduate School

Richard G. Heck, Jr, currently Professor of Philosophy at Brown University critiques The Philosophical Gourmet Report (PGR), particularly the problems in method. Secondly, he gives advice on how to choose a graduate program in philosophy without using the PGR. He points out some interesting flaws, but arguably might have a bias against the report.

Philosophy Now and Then: Employment

A "Folk" History of recent professional philosophy - posted in 2008, so its a bit out of date, some very interesting comments. Comparing 1997 to 2008

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ranking Philosophy Programs: Philosophical Gourmet Vs. Academic Analytics

"There are now two sets of rankings of Ph.D.-granting philosophy departments in the United States: Brian Leiter’s Philosophical Gourmet (PG) and Academic Analytics’ Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (FSPI). The latter only ranks the top ten, so I’ll stick with comparing both rankings’ top ten. Only two universities are listed in both rankings: Princeton and Rutgers. The rest are entirely different. FSPI ranks Michigan State first; PG ranks NYU first. Here’s the run-down:

Open Access Philosophy

This is an interesting movement, any ideas?

"Why are there still hard copy philosophical journals and books?  Why is so much on-line philosophy hidden behind subscription walls?  Why are universities, students and researchers being forced to pay for access to information authors would happily give away for free?"

Professional Organizations: What are they Good For?

Summery of responses to the following question:
"Is there any point to joining professional organizations?"

Tenure-Track and Postdoc Hiring by Philosophy Departments, 2010-11

The Lieter Reports has just posted an entry which people can post  news about Post-doc and tenure-track hires in philosophy departments for 2010-2011. This should end up giving a rough list of what type of applicants were hired this year.
This looks like it will be a great resource,  in the near future I will post some of the correlations I find among the newly hired philosophers. This should make for a very interesting study. I look forward to posting more on this later.

High School Philosophy: A response from Professor Mitch Green

Philosorapters posed a question to about Philosophy in high school here. This response came from Professor Mitch Green NEH/Horace Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Virginia. He is the Director of High-Phi Project, which supports philosophical inquiry in American high schools. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Free Study tools for GRE (Part I)

Some Free online GRE tools

1. syvum
There are a bunch of test questions here as well as online, non-printable flashcards for prefixes and roots.

2.  English test
This is specificaly testing you on vocab

3. Kaplin
A Free online test. These guys are the best at professional test prep in my opinion. Look into buying one of their books on the GRE.

4. Majon
This cite covers most of the information that the kaplin guide I have does.

5. Master Your GRE
There are some great free resources from this site. Mostly study questions (Thank you Pro)

"philosophyjobmarket" Blog

While written very informally, this should prove a valuable future resource.

"I'm a grad student in philosophy, and I went on the job market this year. I struck out big time. But I did learn a few things. One is that the process is so foreign to people outside of academia that it's actually very hard to explain to them. Another is that the philosophy job market is absurd. It'd be funny if it were happening to someone else. So in the coming year, as I do it all over again, I want to help non-academics understand what the hell this is about, and to document some of the more tragicomic aspects of it."

Ph.D. Program overview/expectations

 Description from Columbia University:

The purpose of earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy is to become an independent scholar and, also, a teacher of the subject. Perhaps the single most important accomplishment during the Ph.D. is the writing of the doctoral dissertation, which is typically a student's first substantial and original scholarly contribution to Philosophy. The coursework that is undertaken in advance of the dissertation is meant to serve as preparation both for writing the dissertation and for teaching. In addition to coursework and the dissertation, Ph.D. students at Columbia are required to assist in the teaching of undergraduate courses as part of their doctoral training.

Phases of Study:

Distinguish oneself in an MA

"What can I do to distinguish myself in a MA program, for my later application to a PHD. My hope is for a top 20 school, in my area of interest, what special activities are looked for coming from an MA? "

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grad School Publishing

The following is taken from
"A grad student at a top five philosophy program wrote me as follows:
What do you think of someone like me (i.e. zero publications) submitting things to very new journals, like "Review of Philosophy and Psychology" or "Philosophy & Theory in Biology"? It seems probably better to go for journals that are known to be of high quality, but if that can't happen, is it risky to get something published in new journals?

Description of honors thesis from WUSL

 Washington University in St. Louis
"The Honors Thesis is a particularly distinguished way to complete a B.A. degree. It also provides excellent preparation for those who intend to go on to graduate or professional schools. In the writing of the Honors Thesis, a student advances beyond the skills of writing papers to the ability to organize and complete a concentrated research project on a specialized topic. An Honors Thesis provides the opportunity to integrate much that you have learned in philosophy. The completed thesis is a solid statement of your status as a trained philosopher. "

Honors Thesis

"Why Should You Write an Honors Thesis?

Students generally opt to write an honors thesis to get the benefits it brings in addition to fulfilling the eligibility criteria for enrolling for higher degrees. When writing an honors thesis the relationships that are built with the academic staff will definitely help the students in many ways"

The Delphi Report - Philosophy (Critical Thinking) in High school

"American Philosophical Association Delphi Research Report"
Some of this report I find problematic but I agree with many of their conclusions.

"RECOMMENDATION 9:  Thus, CT [Critical Thinking] instruction should not be reserved only for those who plan to attend college.  Nor should it be deferred until college, since it is not likely to be effective if it were."  (page 15)

Tips for Creating A EXCEPTIONAL Graduate Application in Philosophy

Obviously you must be passionate about philosophy and that is the most important thing. Yet it is hard to show on paper that you spend 10 hours a week in the library tracking down obscure footnotes. Philosophy is unbelievably competitive, many 4.0 students don't get into the top 15 schools. Here are some things one can do to make your application look better on paper. Presented in an easy to follow list.

Committee on Philosophy in Education (High School)

"In 1958 the American Philosophical Association approved a report from the Committee on Philosophy in Education regarding teaching high school philosophy... What follows is a summary of some of the arguments considered by the committee and my observations fifty years later."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Information on Philosophy Honors Society and how to publish with them.

Philosorapters Blog Raffle

Win a  FREE copy of:

Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers

By Will Durant

"Easily the most engaging writer of Western intellectual history in the English language, Will Durant breathes life into philosophers and their ideas".

How to Enter:

Applying to MA Programs in Philosophy

There are essentially three types of MA programs:

1. Those that are part of PhD programs.

Comment- Unless they indicate otherwise, by and large these programs do not focus on placing students in PhD programs, including their own.

2. Those that are geared mainly toward awarding terminal degrees in philosophy.

Comment- These schools are not appropriate for someone wishing to go on for a PhD in philosophy.

3. Those that focus on placing students in PhD programs.

Link to Article: Applying to MA Programs in Philosophy

Teaching High School Philosophy

Two arguments for philosophy in high schools, and one article describing classrooms already engaged.

M.A. Students and PhD Applications

A great source of information for MA students looking for advice on going to a PhD.

Can applying from an MA hurt your Phd app?
1.  "It seems to me the only way an MA can hurt is if the student has done poorly in the MA program (thus revealing that they aren't cut out for PhD study), or if the MA program is quite poor."

How are parts of the application waited
2.  "As a general rule-of-thumb, I'd offer this:  GRE scores are probably least important, constituting a kind of floor (if they are too low, the school may be a bit nervous), but that's it--no one is being admitted to PhD programs based on their GRE scores.   GPA, and the institution the GPA is from, along with the letters of recommendation (esp. when they are from philosophers that the program knows), are very powerful screening devices, and will determine which applicants have their writing samples read carefully.   The statement of purpose can do more to disqualify than qualify a candidate for admission:   admissions committees to read it to see whether the student's interests are actually a good fit.  If they're not, an otherwise strong application can go by the wayside."

Lost of good comments on this post at the Leiter Reports site.
LINK: MA Students & PhD Applications

Information about Journals

    For more information on where to publish to get the best results see: Ranked Journals
      The following site gives information on philosophy journals listed alphabetically. The information is detailed but  short for easy reading.  

        Click read more for an example.


      Presenting papers is a great way to get experience in the profession as a graduate student if you can. It can also be placed on your C/V if that seems appropriate.

      Here is a guide to presenting papers:

      Advice from Graduate Students

      Here is some advice from philosophy graduate students:

      If there is anything else that you can do and be happy, do that.  If there is nothing else that you can do and be happy, then come join us.  You'll love it. But being a graduate student is a very difficult way to live. 

      Consider the decision with great care.  Graduate school takes more time, energy and thought than new grad students ever thought possible.  A Ph.D. is a massive undertaking that exceeds all predictions and estimates concerning the resources you have and will need.

      Reconsider your decision to pursue a Ph.D.  The job market in most fields is poorer than your professors will lead you to believe.  You could be making a decent living or making the world a better place in the years that you'll be scraping out a living doing arcane research and teaching for a fraction of what professors are paid for the same work.   

      Graduate Student Teaching

      A guide for grad students teaching their first class. Seems useful if your a grad student

      Teaching Philosophy in High School

      It really amazes me that philosophy is not offered in high school. I suggest in this article that a critical thinking class should be mandatory in public high school. I know that personally I would have benefited greatly if I ran into philosophy earlier.

      (Comments are extremely valued. I want to know what you think about this topic. Should it be pursued? ).

      We all know how stressful philosophy can be, Foucault would have us looking around every corner, Zeno would have us pulling our hair out in frustration and reading Heidegger for the first time can make anyone violent. While important for studying philosophy, reading authors does not get at the crux or my confusion.

      What I want to suggest is that high school students, and society, could benefit greatly from the intellectual and practical tools that philosophy has collected over its many years.

      At the very least, I think there should be a required critical thinking class, the tools learned in that class would be indispensable for high school students, both in other classes and beyond.

      Many people graduate from high school and don’t go on to college, that is why it is so important to our society that we teach these young adults how to think critically.
      I must say that I personally find it disturbing how many people believe, as is, what they hear on the news, talk shows, radio programs, etc.... Some of the blatant rhetoric that is included in these are so glaring it makes you want to turn away.

      If we live in a democracy, then we need to give people some tools to make informed decisions. We should educate the youth about fallacies and rhetoric. Aside from getting far more interesting conversations with your bartender or waiter, I believe mandatory critical thinking would better prepare our society for the future than most things taught in high school today.

      Particularly what critical thinking does is it gives one the tools to look at arguments or situations and be able to think through them. I hold that critical thinking makes one more adaptable. This is invaluable because in our technologically inclined world, our social practices change so fast that we must to be adaptable. 

      Can you imagine how different the world would have been without it. It almost doesn't make sense to someone my age, my world has been shaped from a young age to live with the internet, cellphones and word processors. The very thing we call society has radically changed in one generation. People our age will see just as large, if not larger, changes in our life time, and so will the next generation.

      The bombardment of our mind with mass media is increasing as well. It seems where ever we turn there is an advertisement, or a political candidate, or a TV show, and even *tada* blogs. This media overload is just going to get worse as technology advances. I don't know about you, but I want to live in a society where people have the tools to think about this media

      We live in a rapidly changing world and we need to provide our young citizens with the tools they need. These tools must be versatile enough to prepare them for problems that we can't even comprehend yet.

      I cannot think of a more applicable set of practical intellectual skills to give our young people then those methods found in philosophy, particularly Critical Thinking.


      Please comment, I'm very interested in feedback about this view.  

      Am I wrong, right, or just not getting the point?
      Were you in a high school philosophy class? what was it like?

      Do you feel you were mature enough to study philosophy in high school?

      As a parent would you want your 15 year old learning logic if you hadn't?

      Why are philosophers not suited to teach high school students?

      Do you know of any programs that are doing this?


      William Parkhurst

      Tuesday, February 15, 2011

      Notre Dame - C/V

      General suggestions for C/V, not specifically philosophy but there are some good points.

      Applying Twice

      This suggests that even if one is rejected from the desired graduate institution, one can still reapply later on.

      Grad Applications -- Reflections from the Other Side

      Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor at University of California Riverside (one of the better philosophy grad programs), writes about what the application process is like for the reviewers.

      Gives an inside view of the application process.

      Inside the Hiring Process

      This is a description of the hiring process from the college reviewer's point of view. It tells you what they look for in applicants, what gets your application discarded, and what is trivial.

      While expected, I was sad to read so many applications were tossed because of the schools prestige.

      Online Lectures (free)

      Audio books, lectures, videos and other free philosophy material.

      I personally like taking walks and listening to lectures.

      Graduate Study in Philosophy

      A realistic approach to Graduate school in philosophy.

      Researching and Applying for Graduate Programs in Philosophy

      Do something impressive before you apply.

      Everyone who applies to graduate school is smart, has good grades, and loves philosophy. You must do something to distinguish yourself from the other applicants. Academic honors helps; so does the academic prestige of your undergraduate institution.

      Look for resume building opportunities. Do an honors project or write an honors thesis. Work as an undergraduate teaching assistant. Or work with a professor as a research assistant. Serve as an officer in your student philosophy club. Present a paper at a philosophy conference. Publish an article. Any of these things will help your application stand out from your competition.

      Getting an Job in Philosophy

      Largely a description of Eastern APA, but also notes on putting together your C/V and job application. What order to put things in, how to present it etc....

      Job prospects and statistics

      According to A.P.A. data based on a 1994 survey, more than 70 percent of all U.S. philosophy departments offer the following courses at least once every two years: ethics, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, and logic.

      These would be a good direction for AOC (areas of competence).

      What is a C/V and how to write them effectively

      This is a decent guide to general C/V writing

      One thing they don't suggest here are professional associations. Its good to be a member of various organizations to keep you updated.

      Sunday, February 13, 2011

      Publishing Advice for Graduate Students

      Most graduate students are intimidated by both the pressures to publish and the barriers to publishing. This article explains step by step how they can begin successful academic careers.

      This paper was originally entitled "The Postgraduate's Guide to Getting Published"

      Resources for Students

      This site is really great links to all sorts of stuff.... I'm going to be pulling off this one for a while = ) here are just a few

      How to Write a Philosophy Paper

      How to Study and Keep a Reading Notebook
      How to Use Faculty Feedback
      How to Apply to Graduate School
      Philosophy Journals
      Whether and How to Publish Your Work
      How to Get a Job in Philosophy

      Should Graduate Students Publish Outside Philosophy Journals?

      "One publication in an artificial intelligence or other special science journal combined with two in philosophy journals would not hurt you, I believe. It may even help you by enhancing your bona fide scientific/technical credentials. But if the ratios were reversed, or worse, if all your publications were in non-philosophy journals, then some people might raise their eyebrows. "

      Why publish journal articles?

      1. Journal articles as a seal of approval
      2. Journal articles as an academic job qualification.
      3. Journal articles as academic brand awareness.

      graduate student publishing

      Graduate students should definitely be submitting papers to journals before defending their dissertations. The sad reality of the job market is still that the supply of fresh PhDs far outstrips the number of available TT jobs, and having a decent publication or two on your CV really helps you stand out from the huge crowd of ABDs and recent PhDs applying for the same jobs you are. And even if you don't get a paper accepted, submitting something can still be valuable experience because (i) you get experience in how the process works, (ii) you get in the habit of submitting papers to journals, which is a habit you need to acquire, (iii) if you're lucky you might get valuable feedback from the journal's reviewers.

      First Annual Classic City Undergraduate Philosophy Conference *CALL FOR PAPERS*

      The First Annual Classic City Undergraduate Philosophy Conference will
      be held April 8 and 9, 2011 in Peabody Hall at the University of
      Georgia and will be sponsored by the Undergraduate PHI SIGMA TAU
      Philosophical Society.

      PHI SIGMA TAU invites all those that are interested to submit a paper to be reviewed for consideration into the First Annual Classic City Philosophy Conference.

      We are looking for a wide variety of papers pertaining to philosophy; therefore, all original philosophical works will be considered.

      If you have a paper that you would like to submit please do so no
      later than March 11, 2011. Papers should be no longer than 3,000
      words or a twenty minute reading time. (Please include a word count
      with your submission) All submissions should be e-mailed, again, no
      later than March 11, 2011, to Mr. David Parker at Subject lines should read: Classic City
      Philosophy Conference Submission.

      On Publishing While in Graduate School (Gualtiero Piccinini)

      This is a nice piece on publishing in Graduate school, explains some of the subtleties of ranking. how publishing can hurt or help you.

      Ranked Philosophy Journals

      The Highest Quality "General" Philosophy Journals in English

      So with more than 500 votes cast, the earlier poll is now closed. Here are "the top 19" journals (after which there is a drop-off in votes). Some useful information here, also some surprises.
      (!--more --)
      1. Philosophical Review (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)

      Godels excuse

      Noesis - Philosophical Research Online

      This is quite a useful tool. I have found it really handy for doing research. It indexes many important articles which are not sorted in Philosophers Index.

      Award for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs

      "The Philosophy Documentation Center, in cooperation with the American Philosophical Association, sponsors an annual Award for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. The aim of the prize is to recognize programs that risk undertaking new initiatives and do so with excellence and success. The prize is also intended to publicize these programs so that they may inspire and influence others to follow their lead."

      Facebook group for Philosophy in highschools

      Members of this group support making a philosophical education widely available to American public high school students.

      4 R's - Reading, (W)riting, (A)rithmetic AND Reasoning.

      Philosophers football. Recreation of Monty Python's philosophy football. Also involved in the community.

      also attempting to show that philosophy is worth while in primary school education.

      Welcome to the world philosoraptors. This blog is created in order to keep others up do date with philosophical news. I usualy spend an hour or so a day researching professional news and updates about disciplines in general. particular focus is on the academic issues which departments seem to ignore if not evade. Such issues as; how to write a C/V, how to publish, what looks good in a graduate application, how to look get hired as a professor ect....