Friday, June 22, 2007

Preaching 'Bout the Better Life I Learned in School

Yesterday was an office-hours-marathon-plus-travel day, so I'm late jumping back into this discussion.

Yesterday PGOAT was talking about the legendary APA letter of death, which they stopped sending out before our time. (It's terrifying to think of a time when the job market was even worse--so bad that the APA sent out letters to grad school applicants basically telling them to forget about grad school and do something else with their lives.) But I'm not sure the APA's to blame here.

I'm with NS. I think most of the reponsibility has to lie with individual philosophy departments. If the bottom third of the PhD programs in the US could disappear without it making a difference to the profession, why are they there in the first place? I mean, we all know the answer to that question, don't we? Profs like teaching grad seminars, departments need TAs, and deans like grad programs. But the whole thing is a fraud. Grad seminars and teaching experience are supposed to be "graduate training." But training for what? You can't train students for jobs you know they'll never have.


Anonymous said...

This is just right, and emphasizes the point I was trying to make with the NFL.

What could justify the existence of these programs is if they could (somehow) get their graduates jobs in a field somewhat related to their study. But what field would that be?

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Anon. -- I see the point you're driving at. I'm just not sure what PhD in philosophy trains you for that a BA or MA in philosophy doesn't. Except of course, being a professional philosopher. There's lots of great reasons to get a philosophy education, but--as far as I can tell--only one reason to get a PhD in philosophy.

But that's just me. And I'd be happy--*very* happy--to be convinced I'm just suffering from a lack of imagination here.