Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I was bruised and battered and I couldn't tell what I felt

It's around this time of the year that mild depression tends to set in. Not only does Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) always hit me like a ton of bricks, but there's also the onslaught of grading/teaching (and the sick, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, non-mouth covering students that go along with it) and pressure from the committee to actually turn something substantive in (they should write the damn thing if they want it so bad) to be dealt with. It's the perfect shitstorm that gathers just in time to ruin the respite offered by the Thanksgiving holiday (I plan on entering a food coma atop a pile of student papers stained with turkey gravy).

Usually, I try to pull myself out of this funk by looking forward to the days of Winter break. My holiday drink of choice, eggnog spiked with brandy, doesn't hurt either. But, I found this strategy to be less effective this year. At first, I thought my tolerance had just gone up after years spent in graduate school. So, a few days ago, fancying myself an almost-Doctor, I increased the dosage on my (self) medication. On a particularly bad night (details revoked) I had four, maybe five, eggnogs instead of the usual two.

The next day, I woke up with a heavy head, reached for the bedside ibuprofen and glass of water, gulped down three red pills, and took a look at my planner. Noticing that my students were turning their papers in that day, visions of Winter break, hot chocolate, and fruitcake danced through my head. My spirits were temporally lifted, and I looked in my planner to the glorious days that lay ahead. It was then that the deepness of this year's depression made sense.

Anyone else looking forward to spending the last week of December in Philadelphia?

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be there. I'll look for you and maybe we can have a drink.

Also, since I don't know where else to go with this, I thought I'd just vent a bit about a referee's report. Ref misrepresents my thesis badly and then offers a set of rambling comments that suggests ref can't distinguish necessary and sufficient conditions. That was clearly worth the wait. I won't say which journal this is, but I've had three rejections in recent years and each time the comments have been fucking horrible.

Of course, the question then arises as to why I'd keep submitting there. Where else can I go? There are only so many good journals and right now three of them have had my work for 10+ months. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! How the fuck am I supposed to get out of my shit job with my fate in the hands of incompetent or negligent assholes!?!

Anonymous said...

C'mon, PGS did this post already, like, ten times last year.

kmosser said...

When W.C.Fields was on the market, he concluded "I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday."

Anonymous said...

In addition to anxiety and lurking depression, I predict time is going to warp in malicious ways: the 2 weeks between now and when we start seeing some serious activity on the wiki will creep along painfully slow, whereas the 2-3 weeks from wiki activity to the APA is going to zip by in a blur. Thanks a lot, space-time continuum. If you're going to fuck around, can't we just skip to the part where I've landed a job already?

And the holidays? Please. I can't afford to both fly home and go to the APA. So the APA it is. Yippy skippy. My cat and I will dine on canned tuna and cheap beer this Christmas Eve, as I keep refreshing my email and the wiki every two seconds to see if I get just one (one more?) interview before the fun begins in Philly.

Happy holidays, indeed.

A nony mouse said...

No (regarding your question concerning Philadelphia). For an entire discipline that prides itself on self-criticism and questioning doxa, this one stubbornly clings to having its major conference at the worst possible time of the year. In addition, a profession of paupers continues to hold their biggest conference in the most expensive places, which is a double-blow to those of us on the market. To paraphrase Woody Allen, it's amazing how people can be so intelligent in some respects, and have absolutely no clue about what is going on.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to it, but with two more jobs searched canceled TODAY ALONE things don't look good.

Anonymous said...

Eternal recurrence of the same

Oysters Rockefeller, The Employed Philosopher said...

A nony mous,

I think I was complaining about the same thing in another thread. Let me expand on this! I have a job, so I have no reason to complain about my own circumstances, but I'll complain on your behalf.

Employed philosophers get nice reimbursements for going to the APA to interview. So I think people know exactly what's going on, but don't mind it one bit. Who wouldn't want to go to NYC or Chicago or San Francisco?

I once was in Boston for the APA, on my first of a few years on the market. I overheard two senior philosophers complaining about their all-expense-paid trips to Boston. Why? They would rather be in New York. Why? The wives like going to the Broadway shows, that's why!

Skeptinautika said...

Here here. I'm giving the gift of "presence" this year to my family, simply because my profession has bankrupted me, and I just can't bring myself to knit beanies for everyone in my immediate family. It's just too close to what might end up being my future employment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:21: Every time I get comments like that, I try to think of how the ref could have gotten such a wrong idea. If you get this for every rejection (and have gotten no pubs in between) chances are you're not writing very clearly. Of course, that might not be the case, but it sounds like a definite possibility you ought to entertain.

mr. zero said...

Two things:

1. You're doing it wrong. Egg nog and bourbon. No brandy. Bourbon.

2. No, I am not looking forward to spending the last week of December in Philadelphia.

3. Jim Beam is adequate; Old Forrester's is quite good for the price; Maker's Mark is Ok but overrated; Knob Creek is the shit.

4. Seriously. Bourbon.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to Philadelphia. It's a great city; it's relatively easy to get to; the APA rate for the rooms isn't too bad for grad students; and while the timing is bad, the alternatives don't seem to be much better.

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah. Cheesesteaks, baby.

Best place: Abner's. (Hint: It's all about the roll.)

American, not whiz. Onions and peppers.

Anonymous said...

Boycott the APA Eastern!

(Yeah, right. We know that philosophers are socially inept and wouldn't be organized enough for a single act of solidarity, not to mention financial and professional desperation. And so the Prisoner's Dilemma continues.)

jhdeleuzian said...

I realize that as an undergrad, that reduces my right to weigh on your experience. But my god, I know just how you feel.

In a grad application, when they ask what has prepared me for graduate school, is it appropriate for me to answer "the unparalleled mind-bending torture of completing these applications has prepared me"?

Anonymous said...

"How the fuck am I supposed to get out of my shit job with my fate in the hands of incompetent or negligent assholes!?!"

The referee may have been an idiot. But did you ever consider that they gave your shitty paper to a shitty referee so as not to waste the time of a good referee?

Anonymous said...

Since we are sharing horror stories about referee's reports: I recently submitted an article which the referee admits to not even having read the paper! And I quote:

"The literature on this topic is so large, and the issues so familiar, that there is only a small likelihood that any given paper is going to contain something interesting and new to say about it and them. The first paragraph of this paper was so murky that likelihood had shrunk drastically by the end of it. I did look ahead to section 4..."

And it's not as if the paper is objectively so bad that it isn't worth reading. Everyone who has read it has told me it contains an interesting, original, and worthwhile idea. And I have heard this even from people I don't know (people who read it as part of my job application and then subsequently mentioned how interesting it was to someone I do know).

I really feel like I got ripped off on this. I was even very close to sending a pissed off email to the editor telling him what an irresponsible fuck he was, but thought better of it. I mean I'm sure this probably happens sometimes -- it's not an ideal world -- but surely, even if it does, it's not something you blatantly tell the author! Is it me, or does anyone else think that the editor and referee are just irresponsible here, or at least rude, or is this acceptable, or what? I am now thoroughly disillusioned with the refereeing process!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Anon 9:31, but that shit is your fault. You need to learn how to write for publication. If I can't tell what your on about from the first page, then I will likely carry a negative attitude through your paper. So while your idea may be slam-bang awesome and ground breaking, if you bury it in poor writing and structuring, then it is your own damn fault that the paper gets rejected. Journals don't publish ideas; they publish articles. So your idea may be good but your article likely sucks. Now factor in that three out of four referees are bitter or dismissive jackasses or just plain dipshits, all frantically looking for a reason to take a dump on your baby--poorly structured or poorly written papers, especially ones that fail to frontload, are basically invitations for rejection. So, if your referee is right about your first paragraph, your paper has little to no chance of being published.

Most folks fail to understand that you don't need to be smarter to publish, you just need to be a better writer... not aesthetically or stylistically better, but better at writing for publication. It may take a few years of retard rejection letters and countless revisions, but you will learn. Read more, revise more, rewrite more, and eventually you'll publish more.

someone has to say it said...

Anon 9:31AM,

Try not writing murky paragraphs.

Anonymous said...

The referee may have been an idiot. But did you ever consider that they gave your shitty paper to a shitty referee so as not to waste the time of a good referee?

I have a decent number of publications in comparable journals. I've been told that this piece is as good as the pieces I've had published elsewhere. You could be right, but it's unlikely. It's also odd that an editor would send out a paper and send along comments if that were the case.

That being said, I've wondered about the process of selecting referees. It might explain why students of certain editors manage to publish in a few journals with such frequency.

Anonymous said...

9:31:

I don't think it was kind or thoughtful for the reviewer to write that. But I do think that over-saturation of a topic is a legitimate reason to reject an article. Isn't there a certain marketeerism (I made that word up!) to running a journal, where you want to stand out and be competitive? As with any quasi-capitalist market, it's not necessarily Just in any deep sense to take demand into consideration when marketing your product (in this case, the journal's content = product and readership = demand). It's just the way things are.

Anonymous said...

Dear 6:19,

"I'm looking forward to Philadelphia. It's a great city; it's relatively easy to get to; "

No and No. It is not a great city. It's a moderately okay city. And it is a total pain to get to if you're not already on the eastern sea board. I'm coming from a major west coast city. Plane tickets are ridiculously expensive this year to Philly. If it were in NYC, I'd save the equivalent of one night's hotel on air fare, not to mention the time involved (which makes adding the same difference in train tickets from Newark not worth it). NYC, Baltimore, Boston, DC, even Atlanta are much easier to get to for people not already on the east coast. Philly? Total pain.

9:31,

You are not alone. It happens to most of us. It is rude and embarrassing professionally (for them), and it shouldn't happen. But aside from directly lobbying editors to send it out to someone else, the only thing we can do is try to be as conscientious as possible in our own refereeing, in order to raise the bar for what's expected.

Anonymous said...

This is anon 9:31am again. My point was that this paper has been seriously vetted by numerous people, and none of them, not one, had a complaint about the first page. It got me job interviews at some pretty good places. I am pretty sure that the paper is pretty well-written and clear. Certainly enough to go past the first page! I really think I just got a cranky, uncharitable fuck of a referee, and I think the editor really should have sent it out to someone else.

Nevertheless, I did try accommodating the referee's comments. I actually think it made the paper worse, but I've sent it off somewhere now. We'll see what happens.

About over-saturation: do you mean that a topic has just had a lot written about it, or that there is nothing new to say about it? Or both? I think it's pretty sad for a philosopher to be so convinced that there is nothing new to be said about a topic that she won't even read new papers on it!

Anyhow, as I said, this has given me a whole new, cynical, perspective on the refereeing process. And, I suppose, on at least some philosopher's attitudes towards new ideas. Probably someone who can't be creative themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:31,
Sorry, that's bad luck. I guess you should keep sending out and hope for the best. Please, ignore the asinine responses to your post.

Anon 12:51,
It's pretty pathetic to use a forum like this to attack someone who has tried but failed to land a publication. Seriously, pull it together.

m.a. program faculty member said...

Employed philosophers get nice reimbursements for going to the APA to interview. So I think people know exactly what's going on, but don't mind it one bit. Who wouldn't want to go to NYC or Chicago or San Francisco?

Er, no. I've been on both sides of the interviewing process a number of times, and being an interviewer is about 1000x better than an interviewee. But do you really I want to spend my holiday time sitting in a hotel room all day long listening to people deliver their job spiels, and then in the evening sitting at the smoker with a crappy beer in hand listening to some poor schmoe reeking of desperation trying to schmooze me? Ugh.

At my department, we've discussed the pluses and minuses of bypassing the Eastern APA and going directly to on-campus interviews, and everybody agreed that a big personal plus was not having to endure the interviewing.

R. Suave said...

Nevertheless, I did try accommodating the referee's comments. I actually think it made the paper worse, but I've sent it off somewhere now. We'll see what happens.

I understand this, but I wouldn't have bothered to make any changes to the first page in response to this referee's comments. You just got a dick for a referee, and an editor who's busy, or has plenty of papers that referees like, or is beholden to the referee for some reason, or one of the million other reasons why papers get rejected. It happens.

Sometimes the best thing to do after a rejection is just to send the paper to another journal, without making any changes. Just put a new stamp on the paper and put it back in the mail, that day. I've done this with rejected papers and had them accepted by other journals.

Anonymous said...

Anyone applying for the Memorial Medical Center Post-doc Fellowship in Clinical Ethics? Just curious. I might. But I looked at the qualifications for the post-doc they hired last year and he only has a law degree. I know that it is a "Juris-Doctorate," but does that technically count as a doctoral degree? There is no dissertation requirement for a J.D. and it usually takes two to three years longer to do a Ph.D. If they passed over applicants who had an earned Ph.D. and chose the applicant with a J.D., that does not seem quite fair. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 9:31, Why don't you make your sentiments known to the editor? I know someone that was in a similar situation and complained to the editor. The editor acquiesced and sent the paper out to a new reviewer. I guess it's a moot point now that you've re-submited it, but I think that sort of thing is acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 10:51--a thought: Like a lot of people on this blog, you're an idiot. Who cares that the guy has a J.D. and not a Ph.D.? A committee's hiring decision doesn't boil down to some simple algorithm of highest degree earned + granting institution + letters + publications, or some such. If that were how it were done, why would schools bother interviewing people, or flying them out? You tell us nothing about the person but that she/he has a J.D. not a Ph.D. and suggest that it's unfair to Ph.D.s that she/he got the gig. What if she/he's just a brilliant person? If you think you're a qualified candidate, just apply for the job and quit bemoaning someone-you-don't-know's success. You, like the other whiners, should quit calling shenanigans on a hiring process you clearly know nothing about.

Anonymous said...

10:51,

What's unfair about it? Having a Ph.D. doesn't automatically make you more qualified for a job than every person who doesn't have one.

I've also heard of corporate law firms passing over Ph.D.s in favor of J.D.s. Shame on them!

Anonymous said...

Anons 5:49 and 9:47 --

Are you deliberately ignoring the obvious? It was a postdoctoral fellowship. A JD is not a doctorate. No, it's not. Nope. Not. So even though this job was explicitly designated for individuals with a certain status, they selected a candidate who does not have that status. That's unfair.

Anonymous said...

5:49 am and 9:47 am (especially the former) - take it easy. The position was a *post-doc*. In my mind, at least, there's a presumption that a PhD is required for that sort of gig. 10:41 obviously thought the same thing (hence, their wondering whether a JD counted as a doctorate for the purposes of the job).

Even if we're wrong, the use of the word "idiot" is far from appropriate. There was no whining and no inappropriate assumptions of entitlement. Take a freaking moment and think before you hurl nasty accusations and engage in name-calling.

Anonymous said...

Announcement: As of today, everyone who spent 4 to 10 years earning a Ph.D. will have to compete for jobs and post-docs with candidates holding a J.D. (requiring 3 years of study and no dissertation). The two will be treated as equivalent qualifications. If a J.D. is the same as a Ph.D., why didn't all you fools start (and finish) a J.D. instead of a Ph.D. program? It would have been a lot easier, you would have had plenty of additional career opportunities and you could have made more money to boot.

Skeptinautika said...

Slightly off topic, but is anyone else following the discussion on job market smoking over at Leiter's? I guess my question is really: does anyone else think that the "issue" of smoking is actually a total NON-issue? I mean, really, who the fuck cares? What's it to the hiring committee whether or not you smoke? I don't smoke, and I absolutely detest it, but I would *never* not hire someone because they smoked, and I think it's completely unprofessional for anyone even to consider doing so.

Anonymous said...

If you consider a JD a lesser degree than a PhD, then you are committed to saying that a MD is a lesser degree as well, since it takes less time and doesn't require a dissertation, etc.

Of course, that makes no sense; therefore, it's reasonable to conclude that all three aforementioned degrees are difficult to compare with one another.

Now, an honorary or unearned doctorate is a different story! (Or is it?)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:31 -

You're right that this is annoying. You're right that reviewers like that ought to be publicly shamed. But I like to look at things this way.

If you're paper looks good, smells good, tastes good, looks good to others, etc., etc., it will get published. Good stuff eventually breaks through. Keep in mind, though, that at any particular journal, especially a really top journal, the likelihood that you'll get rejected is something like 95%. Some places it's more like 97, 98. The attitude you should take toward publishing is not commitment to a particular journal. You should expect to get rejected every time you send the thing out, just because of the odds. (Some of that 95% are bad papers, but certainly not all or even most, I would say.) But keep sending it out. Eventually, you'll come across a good reviewer. But be prepared to send the thing to upwards of five, six, seven journals. I know from experience!

Anonymous said...

Well, the wiki appears to be dead. Where's the best place to start a new one?

(At least at this point, not too much has happened yet...)

Anonymous said...

Hey! Anyone know what the fuck happend to the jon wiki? I tried to update the Caltech position (which says it is no longer a philosophy position, but rather a humanities position) but it's gone...

Anonymous said...

Guys, there are lots of law post-docs for law students (students with JDs). So it doesn't seem out of line to call something that requires 'only' a JD a post-doc.

Anonymous said...

Ack! Both the job and journal wikis are gone!

Doctor Doctor said...

A JD is a doctorate -- a "professional practice doctorate" -- as is an MD and a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) and a PsyD and an EdD and on and on: there are many doctorates that aren't scholarly. It would be weird to choose someone with such a doctorate for an academic post-doc, but given the description of the post-doc in question, a JD doesn't seem outré.

Anonymous said...

To all you who think that getting a J.D. is easier than getting a Ph.D., and who think you could have easily gotten a J.D.:

Why didn't you just get one instead of a Ph.D.? Presumably precisely because there is some aspect of law school that is less desirable than grad school (the workload? the cost? the material? the infantilization? the fact that so many more people do one?). Well, people who go to law school are putting up with this aspect in exchange for their J.D. and the jobs it makes possible. You also have this option, and if you think the opportunities for Ph.D.s given the effort, then go get yourself a J.D.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:20, you are speaking out of your ass. J.D.s and M.D.s are professional degrees for the sake of practice (lawyering or delivering medical services), not research. A Ph.D. is a research degree that requires a period of sustained research ending with the writing and defense of a dissertation. Lawyers who wish to engage in research can pursue a L.L.M. (Masters of Laws) or a S.J.D. (Doctor of Laws) in addition to the J.D. Likewise, those who have obtain a M.D. degree and wish to become medical researchers must complete at least two post-M.D. research internships. Often-times, a persons with a J.D. will teach and research in a law school, but only after significant experience as a practicing lawyer and demonstrated ability to publish in law reviews. So, the truth is: a Ph.D. is significantly better than a M.D. or a J.D. degree, but approximately equivalent to an S.J.D and perhaps a M.D. with the satisfaction of the further research requirements (two post-M.D. internships, though this can sometimes take in excess of 10 years to complete).

Anonymous said...

Re: smoking...um, it IS a good reason not to hire someone. While it might not be indicative of talent, philosophical or otherwise, it does suggest a lack of sound judgment or akrasia (in case virtues still matter); and if one is weak in health-related matters, then it is not unreasonable to think that s/he is susceptible to weakness in other areas, e.g., ethics. Smoking is also disrespectful to those around you (assuming the person does not smoke in seclusion). Also, a smoker has a higher likelihood of developing health problems, which burdens the department collegially and professionally.

Therefore, all things being equal, smoking can be a legitimate reason to not hire a candidate.

Anonymous said...

Check this webpage monitoring philosophy journals:

http://wikihost.org/wikis/philjinfo/wiki/start

And participate!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 4:40: I guess you would know about talking out of your ass.

First, a Ph.D. is also a professional degree; nearly everyone who pursues one intends to work in academia after receiving the degree. This is a profession. And yes, there are Ph.D.s, J.D.s, M.D.s, etc. who don't intend to work in their respective fields, but this is rare; this does not make any of those degrees less "professional".

Second, you seem to be partially agreeing with Anon 9:20 in that your position is that both a J.D. and M.D. are lesser degrees to a Ph.D. (though 9:20 really posed it as a conditional statement, not her or his actual position). But why is a Ph.D. more valuable than the others? Even if it counts as a "scholarly degree", what is the special value in it that makes it so much better than other degrees? Would you trust, say, your life to a Ph.D. over a J.D. or M.D.? Or how about trust about some ordinary, everyday matter: you think Ph.D.s have special insight into these matters? Do you even know any Ph.D.s? (I wouldn't trust most I know, especially those who smoke, following Anon 6:25's post.)

Again, echoing Anon 9:20, the various degrees in question seem to be incommensurable. They each demand rigor in different areas, making them difficult to compare. You really should think before you speak (or post).

Anonymous said...

On the journals wiki:

I really wish somebody would do the numbers on the correlation between "initial verdict: R" and "reviewer comments helpful: N." I love that wiki and I think it's existence is wonderful. But it's simply embarrassing how (at least from a first glance), a rejection automatically gets interpreted as "unhelpful comments." I guess it's possible that nearly all rejections come with unhelpful comments. But we all know that this isn't the most likely interpretation. Rather, it seems pretty obvious that people aren't capable of interpreting comments that accompany a rejection as being in any way helpful. Seriously--see how many times you can count an R corresponding to a Y under "comments helpful?" It just strikes me as really childish.

mr. zero said...

I've never received helpful comments along with a rejection.

all comments appreciated said...

For what it's worth, I put an R and said that the comments were helpful . . .

That wiki is great: thanks for the address, Anon 12:39pm!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:40, the point of 4:40's post is not that a Ph.D. is a non-professional degree and M.D.s and J.D.s are professional degrees. It is that M.D.s and J.D.s emphasize practice, while Ph.D.s emphasize research. In exceptional cases, usually involving additional degrees and training/internship experiences, M.D.s and J.D.s engage in research and teaching.

a Prof said...

If I knew that my grad students could afford brandy it might be time to look at how much we are paying them - maybe a pay cut is in order in these tight times.

Anonymous said...

The discussion about JDs and PhDs seems pretty sterile and far-removed from the original context. The job was described as a postdoctoral position, which makes it unusual that they would hire someone with a JD, but not inconceivable or ipso facto "unfair." So far as I know there's no code or set of established standards that would make it unethical to choose someone with a quasi-doctorate (JD) for a position described as a postdoc. Unusual, yes. Unethical, probably not.

Given the area, its obviously possible (and apparently actual) that someone with a JD has actually done research in that area, is up on the literature, and is in general a good fit for the job.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:01 --

You defend the decision to hire a JD for a postdoc on the grounds that you are not aware of a "code" or "set of established standards" that forbids this sort of decision. Are you thinking of an explicitly articulated set of standards, like laws or regulations that are encoded somewhere? If so, then the fact that there there are no such regulations hardly shows that the decision is ethically acceptable. On the other hand, if you are saying that there are not even implicit standards forbidding such action, then you are just begging the question.

I think the decision is obviously unfair, just as it would be unfair to announce a scholarship devoted to veterans of the US military and then turn around and award the scholarship to a "veteran" of the peace corps. He's a "quasi-veteran," right?

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I've also listed an R and said comments were helpful.

Prof. J. said...

Just one, peaceful point of information about the status of a J.D.

Sometimes a university cannot hire someone at a 'lower level' than it advertises. One example: if it advertises for a PhD and hires someone from England who has an M. Phil., there could be trouble with the INS, because the university has to declare that there was no US citizen as qualified as the alien they hired. Similar laws can come into play at a state university subject to more strict state government regulations.

For these purposes, a J.D. is in general a doctoral degree.

Anonymous said...

On the correlation between helpful reviewer comments and rejection - I'm currently putting a ton of work into writing a constructive response to a paper that I'm recommending for rejection. In spite of this, I'd imagine the author will qualify my comments as unhelpful, because I don't really think the paper has publishable content. In fact, I realise that I am only going to so much effort because I currently don't get asked to review all that often. No doubt, within a few years, I will send rejections back with only the most cursory comments. So it seems likely that it's true that most rejections give few useful comments, directly as a result of authors' tendencies to find negative comments unhelpful.

Anonymous said...

It is that M.D.s and J.D.s emphasize practice, while Ph.D.s emphasize research.

Umm, no. Most Ph.D.s in philosophy are teaching more than anything else. Those employed in research-only or -mostly or -equally positions are relatively rare compared to the far greater numbers of "working" philosophers schlepping away at non-R1s. Teaching IS the practice here.

Anonymous said...

A thought about the wiki and unhelpful rejections: in my experience, rejection comments typically aren't meant to be helpful. They can be - I've had some helpful ones. But the fact that they're usually meant to justify rejecting a paper rather than to suggest ways to make it better is at least a reason to expect that the unhelpfulness of rejection comments will be higher than the unhelpfulness of R&R comments. Typically, referees are forced to put more thought into R&R comments, so those are likely to be much more helpful.

Of course, all this is consistent with people taking rejection badly. I agree we should be really cautious about the info on the wiki. The only thing I really use it for is to get some vague idea about turnaround times.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:53:

Anon 3:01 is not begging the question if there is relatively clear burden of proof. And I can't see how the burden of proof does not fall on the one arguing that an exceptional candidate with a JD and no PhD should not, on the basis of some principle, qualify for a post-doctoral position.

In any case, (in the spirit of falling prey to informal fallacies), it seems to me that there is a great deal of ire and resentment accompanying most of the posts aimed at excluding JD's from the pool of possible applicants. Get over it. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

An M.A., not a Ph.D., is the minimum qualification to teach. A Ph.D. is a research degree. You might end up in a position where you teach exclusively, but what you are supposed to learn during the Ph.D. program is how to conduct research and make a contribution to the existing literature in your area through the writing of a dissertation. While some people who have a Ph.D. have never taught in their life, it would be impossible to find someone (unless that person has a degree from a diploma mill) who has never conducted research and written a dissertation. It amazes me that someone would be such an idiot to believe that they are earning a Ph.D. in order to learn to teach! If so, save yourself the time/effort, go back to school and earn a M.A., not a Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Is it the same two people having the J.D./ P.H.D. discussion for a couple of weeks now? You two should know that no one else cares.

Anonymous said...

JDs for some, PhDs for others, miniature American flags for everyone!

janus said...

Actually, there's only one person having the J.D./Ph.D. discussion: me. I have both degrees and am conflicted on the issue.

Anonymous said...

The above comments conflate two issues:

1) whether a J.D. is equivalent to a Ph.D., in which case we were all stupid for earning (or pursuing) a Ph.D., since a J.D. would have made us qualified for all the academic jobs we want (and cannot get) as well as some others (e.g. lawyer in a corporate law firm) that compensate much better than academic institutions.
2) whether someone with a J.D. should be actively discriminated against because s/he lacks a Ph.D. in a postdoctoral search.

Surely (1) is ridiculous. (2) sounds rather mean-spirited when you consider that people with a J.D. might want to do postdoctoral work too. One way to settle this is to consider that people with a J.D. have many more opportunities for employment (particularly outside academia) than people with a Philosophy Ph.D.. So, as a matter of fairness, it makes sense to at least give applicants with a Ph.D. the first shot at the postdoctoral opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Why care about fairness in the sense of equalizing opportunity? A postdoc is not a scholarship. A postdoc benefits the school that give it, by getting to have that person around, getting to put their name on the person's research, and (sometimes) getting to have that person teach.

So it makes sense that they'd want the person who seems best to them on all those fronts.

The only "fairness" principles that matters are not discriminating against someone on the basis of a feature that doesn't correlate with their performance, and making sure everyone with the potentially relevant qualifications is aware (insofar as is depends on the job-granters) of the job.

Anonymous said...

Brutal fact at my University -

PhD hire - asst prof of philosphy - 55

JD/PhD hire - asst prof of philopshy - 65 + an extra 10K for teaching one night course in the spring in the college of law

Anonymous said...

Yo, I just booked a room in Philly for the APA, for a steal at a sweet non-conference hotel. Now I'm psyched.

The only thing that would make me feel better is if I got an interview or two. :(

Anonymous said...

for the jd/phd add approx. three years opportunity cost of not making 55k per year as a non-jd philosophy professor, plus 150k in loans or whatever (including interest) to go to law school and you get an additional cost of 325k for a jd (assuming jd/phds have to pay tuition for law school and that it takes them three years more to finish on average - is that right?) versus a philosophy phd. if they make 20k more a year than we philosophy-only suckers do, it will take them approx. 16 years to earn back the difference. even if that estimate is way off, i'll pass on the jd/phd, thanks.

Asstro said...

I think your estimates of what a law professor makes are way off:

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2003/10/how_much_money_.html

Anonymous said...

I think 3:27 might be overestimating the opportunity cost of going to law school after a PhD.

First, the size of law school loans can be a bit misleading. Some law schools (top?) have generous loan forgiveness programs for those who make a commitment to go into education or do public interest work. (what effect the economy may have on this is anyone's guess)

Second, the increased job opportunities alone may more than make up for the opportunity cost. Those of us who want more choice about where to live and what sort of career to ultimately pursue may be more than willing to incur the time and debt. After spending years on a PhD only to end up in the middle of nowhere, I know I sure as hell am.