Saturday, October 31, 2009

Opportunity for Unempoloyed Philosophers

If you don't get a job this year in philosophy, I strongly recommend enrolling in The Werner Herzog Rogue Film School. Note that this school "will not teach anything technical related to film-making." The school instead "is about a way of life" which apparently prizes highly "the art of lock-picking," "traveling on foot," and "the neutralization of bureaucracy."

Apparently this is not a joke.

Make a film about trying to find a job at the APA. Not so different from trying to find El Dorado....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A New Low!!!

A friend wrote me yesterday to tell me that she'd been contacted by a stranger looking for a date. Apparently this stranger got her contact information from the membership page of a philosophical society that posts member information online! The letter runs something like this:

Hello Dear, My name is [redacted], and I found your profile on [link to philosophical society]. I'd like to get to know you. It takes only a moment to know someone. Race does not matter, only love and care. Please contact me at [creepy email address], and we can begin. I can send you a photo of myself. Yours Truly, [redacted]

I get kook emails not to far from this pretty regularly, but I've never had someone contact me in response to my profile on an academic website. A new high for desperation! In other words, a new low for the human race.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Poser Applicants" and other Job Market News

I just received the following from a colleague who works in a medium-sized Liberal Arts university with no graduate program. His department is hiring this year...

Our deadline is still a few weeks away, and we have more applications than we know what to do with. We now have more applications for this year's job than we had in total for the last search we did. Things are tough. At our meeting yesterday, we agreed to the following vetting procedure. We have a three pile system.

The first pile contains applications from unqualified persons. This category includes: (1) Anyone who does not have the Ph. D. in hand; (2) Anyone who does not fit the specified AOS and AOC; and (3) all poser applicants. (In case you don't know, "poser applicants" are applicants who don't really fit the specified AOS and AOC, but try to pass for it, and apply in the hopes that we won't notice. It's insulting.)

The second pile contains applications from qualified persons (viz., people with degree in hand who fit both the AOS and AOC) without publications in their AOS in a recognized professional journal.

The third pile contains applications fro mqualified persons with publications in theAOS in a recognized professional journal.

We intend to draw our APA list solely from pile three. We'll dip into pile two only if necessary.

I should also mention that only 15-20% of the applications fall into pile three. And there's a gigantic number of poser applications. I feel like sending out a nasty email to the posers.
Good luck to all the non-posers with the required publications!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just in Case...

If you've been looking for a hilariously incompetent Christian response to Bertrand Russell's "Why I am Not a Christian," check this bit of idiotic nonsense by someone named John Piper.

I call it to your attention because it could make a nice exercise in fallacy detection for your freshman classes. It seems the "wise Christian scholars" that were Piper's tutors did not succeed at teaching him how to craft an argument.

Oh... and don't forget to mention that, on any view of the matter that's not ignorant, A. N. Whitehead was not a co-founder of "analytic philosophy."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween, Doom

The body of 75-year-old man sat decomposing on his Marina del Rey balcony for days because neighbors thought the lifeless figure was part of a Halloween display and didn't call police.

More here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More Bad News for New Jobseekers?

I got a phone call last night from someone currently in her 3rd year as an Assistant Professor at a decent department without a graduate program. She's generally happy there, but believes (correctly, it seems to me) that the research profile she's built up in her 3 years makes her a good candidate for a move at the Assistant level to a department with a graduate program.

She called because, after looking at the JfP, she has decided to go on the market. Her view is that the conditions are ideal for someone like her who is looking to upgrade: She has a record of success as a full-time teacher and colleague, an established record of research productivity, and can be hired at the Assistant level. In short: she's a low-risk hire, and she thinks that ecomonic conditions are such that departments need to avoid taking risks with their faculty lines (or face the very real possibility of losing them).

This sounds plausible to me. I wonder if other mid-stream Assistants are thinking along similar lines?

Also: I'm inclined to think that the increase of ads which call for applications at either the Assistant or Associate rank is probably due to the kind of risk-aversion mentioned above: Departments who fill their current openings with people that turn out to not be tenurable after two or four years risk losing the line altogether.

UPDATE: I've since heard from two other Assistants who are midway to the tenure decision who have reasoned that their chances of landing a better job are heightened in this market.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I count at most 45 TT-jobs in the US in Philosophy at the Assistant Professor rank in the JfP.

APA, Round Two

So... The APA has issued a second "news alert":

SECOND Announcement-APA Website Construction. The APA National Office expects a smooth transition in moving our website to a new hosting facility. Though some services and features may be temporarily down during the move, we do not expect that this will affect on the APA publications that appear online. We have every confidence that all paid members will still be able to access the online issues of the Jobs for Philosophers as well as the JFP Web Only Ads during the transition. (The October issue of the JFP, Issue # 183, will be posted online tomorrow, Friday, 10/9/09).

Any interruptions to the APA website or its features will be only temporary.

I'm not impressed. I know enough about clunky crap websites to expect that these transitions are always more of a hassle than they should be. What measures are in place should the "confidence" that the transition will not affect the JfP prove to have been misplaced? Where's the explanation of why they chose to initiate this transition now? Did they simply overlook the fact that it potentially fucks up JfP access on the day it's published, in the same way they seem to have simply overlooked the fact that moving the Central to February eliminates one of the (previously) three opportunities to interview?

Gotta love the bit about "all paid members"... What a disgrace.

Tomorrow, if it's possiblle to do so, I'll download the whole thing, and I'll happily send a copy of JfP to anyone who emails me.

APA Website Down!!

I just received the following email from the APA National Office:
ANNOUNCEMENT-APA Website Construction. The APA National Office is in the midst of transitioning our website and its services to a new hosting facility. Due to the transition, the APA website may be temporarily down for a few days. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our members and the philosophical community and we’d like to thank everyone for their on-going patience while we continue with our new construction.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? The JfP publishes tomorrow!

As if it were not already utterly plain to anyone who's not an idiot, this goes to show that the APA does not give a shit about jobseekers. This is ridiculous. Stop paying your dues.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

JFP Rumor Mill

The crucial October Jobs for Philosophers hits the web on Friday. Prepare yourself for disappointment and humiliation. I've heard that the total number of advertisements (viz., including fellowships, non-TT jobs, and the handful of oddball positions that make it in every year) in this JfP is under 120. In the recent past, the Oct JfP typically had close to 300 advertisements.

120 advertisements probably means under 100 TT-jobs in Philosophy. Good luck to all. But, then again, someone once said that no victor believes in luck.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This sounds like a Monty Python skit. We should do something like this for job interviews at the Eastern APA...
Fights broke out as law students queued for up to 11 hours last night to secure the dissertation supervisor of their choice at Brunel University.

More than 100 students queued outside Brunel Law School overnight in the hope of working with their preferred academic, after the school introduced a first-come, first-served supervisor-allocation system. [...]

“There are some people you just don’t want. If everybody in the school were a good supervisor, we wouldn’t have to do this. You’ve no idea how distressing it was to see people punching each other in the queue,” said [a] student.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Has-Been with Son of Important Guy

Roger Daltrey is touring. Wait! But before you puke....

His band includes Simon Townshend on guitar.

Ok. Now you may puke.