The list has been updated, including with the retirement of Larry Sklar from Michigan. (Michigan still remains a top choice in philosophy of physics, with three tenured faculty, all significant figures in the field: David Baker, Gordon Belot, Laura Ruetsche).
The recent interview with Prof. Moss--in which she noted "I was a math major in college and was all set to go to math grad school"--reminded me of a familiar pattern in Anglophone philosophy, namely, that it appears to be full of almost mathematicians and physicists: hence this poll. Please only answer if you are presently a philosophy faculty member or philosophy PhD student at an English-speaking program. If you hadn't gone into philosophy (either as an undergraduate or graduate student), what field would you have pursued? So, e.g., if you majored in philosophy undergraduate, but almost went to law school, choose 'law.' If you were going to major in physics, but then majored in philosophy, choose "physics." If you were a math major before getting a PhD in philosophy, choose "math." If you in fact pursued a double major, or a double PhD, or a PhD and another postgraduate degree, choose the other field (e.g., I would choose law). And so on.
After going through some of the current students pages on philosophy department websites I'm seeing a lot of double majors out there at high-end departments. For example, virtually every other current Phd student at Rutgers has a degree in math in addition to the philosophy degree. I'm wondering if you could make a post and open it up to comments about the effects of having another degree, from what the degree is specifically to the simple fact of having one, etc.
I do not have the impression that double majors are anywhere near the norm. I would think a double major is an asset when it complements a student's philosophical interests: e.g., a double major with psychology for someone wanting to do philosophy of cognitive science; a double major with physics for someone wanting to do philosophy of science; and so on. What do readers think?
...has been updated with some recent moves. I had been moving that post to the front, but doing so changed the URL which then affects the embedded links in the PGR specialty ranking updates (which will be continuing soon). So henceforth, I will occasionally just post a link to it when there are some new additions (which are in bold).
The University of Chicago philosophy department's website seems to support Weirich's view: “Most often, [the writing sample is] a term paper written for a philosophy course -- one that reflects your interests, that you put a lot of work into, that you did well on, and, above all, that you're proud of.” (http://philosophy.uchicago.edu/prospective/admissions.html)
2) UChicago philosophy department website says that writing samples of successful applicants will have been read by as many as 8-9 faculty members before they are admitted. Is this also true at other schools? (Whether it's true directly affects the choice of one’s writing sample -- e.g. whether to submit a paper on a topic of general interest or a specialist topic; whether to avoid submitting a paper that makes an original contribution to a technical debate, whose originality may be overlooked by non-specialists; and so on.)
Heck's advice (surprise!) doesn't seem right to me--or it puts the point too strongly. The writing sample should bear some relationship to subjects that you are going to mention in your personal statement as ones you may want to pursue. The main evidence of a good "fit" with a department is how you describe your interests in the personal statement, but the writing sample should be related to one of those. At most programs, to my knowledge, writing samples are only read by the admissions committee, which usually consists of just 3 or 4 faculty. Chicago is unusual in circulating writing samples to faculty not on the committee but who work in the area.
It would be useful to hear from faculty who have recently done graduate admissions on these questions.
Following up on this post, and once again taking account of faculty changes since the fall 2014 PGR, it's not clear any update of the top (3.5 or higher) programs for History of Analytic Philosophy (incl. Wittgenstein) for 2016-17 is needed. Perhaps Irvine would now be in Group 1, but that's about it. This is an area with huge fault lines, so bear that in mind, and look at medians and modes as well. There is, crudely, the "Drebenized" view of the history of analytic philosophy and then the view of the history of analytic philosophy by those who very much think of themselves as still doing analytic philosophy. Programs in something like the first group would include Harvard, Indiana, Stanford, Chicago, Illinois/Chicago and Pittsburgh, among others; programs in something like the second group would include Brown, Oxford, UCLA, Texas, NYU, and USC, among others. I'm happy for experts--signed comments, full name and valid e-mail address required--to correct my perception, or to add nuance to it.
MOVING TO FRONT (ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 13, 2016)
Back in the old days (from 1989 through the late 1990s), the PGR consisted in my assessement of professional opinion about the quality of graduate programs in the form of an annual guide to prospective PhD students in philosophy in the Anglophone world. This was my assessment of professional opinion, not my own opinion about quality. I was sufficiently good at that that the PGR became hugely influential throughout the profession, so much so that faculty at departments not doing so well began protesting back in 2001. I gradually shifted to more systematic measurements--elaborate on-line surveys of senior and junior faculty--which just amplified the influence of the PGR. The results were not very dissimilar from when I was doing it from the armchair, but the evaluations of particular areas of specialization were clearly improved.
Brit Brogaard's plan is try to undertake new PGR surveys in fall 2017, but that doesn't obviate the need for some updated guidance. What follows is my best judgment as to how the faculty changes in the interim should lead prospective PhD students to think about the relevant hierarchy of PhD programs in the U.S. and elsewhere compared to the 2014 survey results. Rather than offer a guestimate about an ordinal rank, I put the PhD programs into "clusters" of what I think should reasonably be considered "peer" programs among which students should choose based on considerations other than "overall prestige." But I generally think it's reasonable to choose between programs in adjacent peer groups based on other considerations (financial aid, location, particular faculty, specialty strength etc.). I'll try to update the "specialty rankings" in the coming weeks. (Note: there are other moves that may transpire: e.g., Stanford is trying to recruit Philip Pettit and Victoria McGeer from their half-time posts at Princeton [they are also half-time at the ANU, which would not change]; Berkeley is trying to recruit Sally Sedgwick from Illinois/Chicago. I'll update things accordingly during the year.)
An * indicates a program that arguably belongs in the next highest peer grouping.
Group 1 (1) Anglophone Programs outside the U.S.
New York University
Group 2 (2-8)
Princeton University *Oxford University
*Rutgers University, New Brunswick
University of California, Berkeley
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Pittsburgh
University of Southern California
Group 3 (9-15)
Columbia University University of Toronto
Massachussetts Institute of Technology
University of Arizona
University of California, Los Angeles
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Group 4 (16-22)
Brown University Cambridge University
City University of New York Graduate Center Australian National University
University of California, San Diego
University of Chicago
University of Notre Dame
University of Texas, Austin
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Group 5 (23-27)
*Cornell University University of St. Andrews/University of Stirling Joint Program
Duke University University of Edinburgh
Indiana University, Bloomington King's College, London
University of California, Irvine University College London
Washington University, St. Louis University of Sydney
With over 565 responses to our earlier poll (limited, recall, to living philosophers over age 60), we now know whom readers think are the ten most deserving candidates:
1. Saul Kripke (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Noam Chomsky loses to Saul Kripke by 245–142
3. Derek Parfit loses to Saul Kripke by 260–113, loses to Noam Chomsky by 197–164
4. Thomas Nagel loses to Saul Kripke by 278–98, loses to Derek Parfit by 173–148
5. Martha Nussbaum loses to Saul Kripke by 272–110, loses to Thomas Nagel by 176–130
6. Jurgen Habermas loses to Saul Kripke by 273–108, loses to Martha Nussbaum by 154–141
7. Daniel Dennett loses to Saul Kripke by 282–98, loses to Jurgen Habermas by 150–145
8. Jerry Fodor loses to Saul Kripke by 292–64, loses to Daniel Dennett by 148–139
9. John Searle loses to Saul Kripke by 294–63, loses to Jerry Fodor by 142–124
10. Amartya Sen loses to Saul Kripke by 288–81, loses to John Searle by 148–121
Timothy Williamson and John McDowell were runners-up for the top ten. Allowing for the Anglophone bias of the readership here, these results aren't surprising and certainly seem defensible. I was, I confess, surprised how poorly Charles Taylor fared, even allowing for the Anglophone bias.
Several months ago, I learned, via the Chair of the Philosophy Department at British Columbia, that my old pal Carrie Jenkins had received an "offensive" package, and that the return address consisted in a mangled version of my Law School's address and a pseudonym attributed to me by a law blogger who had championed the idea that "law school is a scam" and whom I had mercilessly criticized for years (a short and sweet explanation of the whole background is here). That was weird, but I didn't think much of it, and no information about the "offensive" content was shared.
Then, in late August, David Velleman wrote to me as follows:
> A few people have received packages of excrement from someone using your law-school address and a name widely [sic] believed to be your pseudonym. I assume it can't be you -- which means that someone is trying to embarrass you. I don't know if there's anything you can do about it, but I thought you would want to know. Some of the recipients have reported the packages to the police.
Several readers asked me via e-mail for my reaction to the part of David Chalmers's recent interview where he talked about the fall 2014 smear campaign and the role of the Advisory Board; in case others care, here's my answer. I thought Dave's comments were basically fair; here's the relevant bit of his answer (I bold the part I agree with in particular):
[The threatened] boycott...was damaging the reputation and credibility of the report as well as dividing the profession. Board members started emailing about it and we obviously had to find a way forward. Brian himself had been making noises about stepping down, and this seemed the obvious solution. The board didn't take any stand on the merits of the boycott. Stepping back, I'd say that over the years the report had gradually moved from being Brian's hobby to being an institution in the profession, and it's not too surprising that eventually there was a perceived tension between Brian's institutional role (leading the arbitration of quality in the profession) and his non-institutional role (as an opinionated blogger carrying on many battles within the profession).
I am a student of philosophy and a refugee coming from a Middle Eastern country [name omitted]. I obtained my most recent degree from [a university in Canada]. Let me clarify that my current refugee status is a direct result of my “conscientious objection” to the military operations of the [name omitted] army which involve flagrant violations of international human rights law committed against [a] civilian population in [my country]. [S]pecial thanks are due to you for being the creator of the Philosophical Gourmet Report. The PGR has long been a guiding light especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds such as myself. I know very well that there are countless students sharing my thoughts on the extraordinary usefulness of the PGR.
I am a college graduate looking to apply to philosophy graduate programs this fall. My primary interests are in the fields of philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology, with a special interest in issues in the philosophy of mental illness. I have interest in other issues within these disciplines, such as personal identity, embodied cognition, memory and it's effects on sense of self, among other things, but I am especially interested in philosophy and mental illness. One of the reasons this issue in particular is so important to me is because I suffer from bipolar and borderline personality disorder. My struggles with these disorders, as well as my experiences with difference therapies and treatment theories, have incited an interest in the philosophical questions associated with mental illness. My question is whether or not I should mention my disorders in my personal statements or statements of purpose. I have succeeded academically for many years despite my disability, but I am worried mentioning it would scare off prospective schools and make me look weak or unable to handle the stress of graduate work. On the other hand, my disorders are a driving force behind my interests in the fields of philosophy of mind and psychology and also give me a unique perspective on issues within both fields. What should I do?
My own view, which I've already communicated to the student, is that it's not necessary to go into one's autobiography in order to explain a philosophical interest in this topic, and that the risks are precisely as the student notes, namely, that an admissions committee will draw unfair inferences about the student's ability to succeed. What do readers think?
The APA has released the 2016 edition of this document. I haven't had a chance to look carefully at it, so do not know how useful it is or isn't.
UPDATE: A reader who earned a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from state universities writes:
I’m a daily reader of your blog and I very much appreciate your services to the profession (philosophical news, the PGR, academic freedom watchdogsmanship, and so forth). Anyway, I hold an MA from one of the so-called Leiterific programs and turned down a PhD spot to go into the real world job market. Naturally I noted the APA post on careers outside of philosophy that you linked to with great interest, but was disappointed to see the backgrounds of the folks they profiled: Yale Law; Princeton and Columbia; Chicago, Berkeley, Cambridge; Harvard. I think it’s great that the APA has decided to take alt-ac careers seriously (since so many PhD students don’t complete the degree), but in a field that is already so hierarchical and pedigree conscious, it struck me as especially snooty for them to exclusively highlight individuals with such prestigious backgrounds. I only mention it because many of those people trying to make it in the world with a Philosophy degree are not coming from Harvard or Princeton, and if they were, they would not be having some of the difficulties that they are. As someone who attended state schools and already feels like the professional elites in philosophy think my kind are deplorable morons (since after all, pedigree is a quick heuristic for intelligence and whatnot), it just seems especially tasteless for what was putatively a community service project to read more like a who’s who of alt-ac royalty. Anyway, I know you aren’t even a member of the APA, but if they ever ask for your two cents, perhaps you could mention that many of us wish their research ventures would take them outside of the ivory tower more often. Thanks again for everything you do!
Just to be clear, I'm sure no one in philosophy thinks a student with an MA from Northern Illinois or Wisconsin/Miwaulkee or Georgia State or any of the other excellent terminal MA programs at public schools is a "deplorable moron," but the mindless pedigree effect outside those "in the know" is real enough.
The following law schools (listed in rough order of strength of the law school overall--though these are all major law schools) have a strong commitment to philosophy:
University of Chicago
New York University
University of California, Berkeley
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Virginia
University of California, Los Angeles
Law school hiring is extremely pedigree-sensitive (more so than philosophy), so the further down this list you go for the JD, the more difficult your prospects will be in legal academia, though all these schools have graduates who now teach in law schools. (See, e.g., this data.) Yale, NYU, Berkeley, Michigan, and UCLA all have "top ten" philosophy departments, though with differing strengths. Chicago has a "top twenty" philosophy department, though its strengths are primarily in the history of philosophy (esp. ancient and post-Kantian Continental), which could be a good fit for a student with strong historical interests (including the Continental traditions in philosophy). Penn has an established JD/PhD program, and a philosophy department with particular strength in political philosophy, which could be a good complement for a JD/PhD student. (Columbia still has the great legal philosopher Joseph Raz on a half-time basis, though he in his late 70s, and I don't know how much longer he will continue to teach.)
UPDATE: A student writes:
Thanks for your recent blog post about schools for a JD/PhD in Philosophy. I am looking to apply shortly for philosophy PhDs (and I already hold a deferred JD offer, though may reapply elsewhere if necessary) so this was very interesting. If you don’t mind, I would be very interested to know your answers to a few questions I have.
Firstly, neither Harvard nor Stanford appear on your list. Both are top law schools with top philosophy departments, so I was wondering what your rationale was for not including them? They also seem to be amongst the few law schools to fund (or mostly fund) the JD component if one takes a JD/PhD (unlike, for instance, Yale) which seems like a fairly important selling point.
Secondly, what are your thoughts on taking the PhD at a different institution to one’s law school? It seems to be theoretically possible, and there appear to be some obvious benefits — NYU, for instance, has a great philosophy department, but there are much stronger JD programmes. Similarly, I could try to sandwich a JD between an Oxford BPhil and DPhil (if I was lucky enough to be granted funded admission; though — as I did very well in my philosophy undergrad [in the UK] — that is not a negligible possibility). Those are just hypotheticals; but do you think that there are good reasons to only take the JD and the PhD at the same institution?
Since others may have similar questions, I thought they would be worth addressing here.
The website has been updated so that it is searchable in various ways. Unfortunately, there's still no distinction between the kinds of tenure-track jobs graduates secure, but perhaps that will come. (See, e.g., this.) Still, there is useful information here, including about AOS by department. A caveat: I've not double-checked any of this for accuracy, but perhaps someone will.
MOVING TO FRONT FROM YESTERDAY--MORE COMMENTS WELCOME
A senior philosopher elsewhere writes:
Over the summer, this blog hosted a brief discussion of how journals choose their editors-in-chief. As a follow-up to that discussion, I would be interested in learning more about the selection and duties of associate editors and members of editorial boards. I believe that associate editorships can be quite burdensome, since I'm told that the associate editors of at least some journals read and comment on a significant number of papers every year. But to be named an associate editor of a top journal is also significant professional recognition, and is therefore an honor. It would be interesting to know how various journals decide upon whom to confer it. And are members of editorial boards also expected to read and comment on submissions, or are positions on editorial boards entirely honorary? How are members of those boards chosen?
Please submit comments only once, they may take awhile to appear.
Peter Nennig, an MA student at Georgia State University, writes:
Since the graduate school application season is coming up, I am wondering if you could write a Leiter Reports post asking which philosophy graduate programs would be valuable for those most interested in teaching, especially at community colleges. I know from first-hand experience that Georgia State University has done an excellent job with teaching preparation. I think it would be great if there was a post that can lead to a discussion about other schools that (i) offer teacher training, (ii) offer courses on teaching philosophy, or (iii) have the goal of training teachers.
This from a young American philosopher now teaching outside the U.S.:
[My] sincere thanks for the many professional updates your blog provides. It's been a source of information since my early years as an undergraduate (at an institution where such information would otherwise be unavailable), and I'm glad you've plugged away despite professional opposition or whatnot!
Opposition to providing information to undergraduates who would not otherwise get it is one of the interesting features of our "profession"!
This does guarantee "post-doc" funding to those who finish the PhD program in 5 years.
The overall changes to graduate funding at Notre Dame that included as one component this post-doc program were *not* good for Philosophy PhD students. As far as I know, every active PhD supervisor in the Notre Dame department who took a stand on the overall package of changes opposed the changes. So did the current PhD students in philosophy.
There's nothing inaccurate in what was posted nor in the links to the Notre Dame information about the post-docs. But there weren't changes that were good for philosophy.
All the best suggestions for improving the PGR have come, without exception, from those who contributed to it over the years. Almost all the other criticisms were on the spectrum from self-serving to silly. The PGR was a fabulous resource, unlike anything else in any field, that let prospective students in on the secret sociology of the hierarchy in the profession. I hope it can continue, but the “slave revolt” in philosophy exacerbated by the Internet is now a real obstacle.
Could you explain the term "slave revolt" for folks unfamiliar with Nietzsche?
By “slave revolt,” I’m alluding to Nietzsche’s idea that our Judeo-Christian morality arose from an inversion of previous values, an inversion that was self-interested, but in the interest of the “slaves,” literal and otherwise. I do think what’s happened in the last few years is that people who aren’t very good at philosophy and/or feel otherwise marginalized in the profession have taken to the Internet, and under various high-minded sounding moralized banners—equality, fairness, inclusiveness and so on—have launched an attack on the idea of philosophical excellence and smarts.
Now along comes the latest example, a presentation on "Prestige: The first and final hurdle for a more inclusive philosophy," though it might just as well have been called, "Excellence: The first and final hurdle for a more inclusive philosophy." The author, philosopher Helen De Cruz, has a PhD from the University of Gronignen, and is, I am guessing, concerned that those, like herself, from non-prestige departments are unfairly excluded from professional opportunities in philosophy. Now she herself is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oxford Brookes University (not part of Oxford, but a separate institution in the same town), so she has done well, but might, of course, be doing better were if not for the supposed "prestige" bias.
Since I know nothing about her work, it may well be that Professor De Cruz is someone who has been a victim of pernicious "prestige" bias. Pernicious prestige bias is when someone thinks that because someone got a PhD from Fancy Pants University they must be competent (or, the reverse). That's bullshit and pernicious, of course, and the PGR upset that apple cart a long time ago. But what most cyber-complainers call "prestige bias" is that hiring departments prefer candidates from well-regarded departments. That's plainly true, but perhaps well-regarded departments are so-regarded because they are actually departments with very good faculty and very goods student? Prof. De Cruz never fairly considers that possibility. Non-pernicious prestige bias is simply a rational and time-saving heuristic for identifying candidates with excellent qualifications trained by excellent faculty, attributes that, in the PGR era, are well-tracked by what's now called "prestige." As Prof. De Cruz notes, "prestige" bias is a feature of academic hiring in all disciplines; the difference in philosophy is that it no longer simply tracks "brand name" universities, but now reflects where the strongest clusters of philosophers and students actually are. (In what other academic field does everyone know that two of the very best programs are at NYU and Rutgers? There is none.)
"Excellence" doesn't, in reality, exclude any demographic groups, except the mediocre.
A couple of weeks back, I had the privilege of visiting Springfield, Missouri, for a public lecture on "Why Tolerate Religion?", and then meetings with students at the three colleges there: Missouri State University; Drury University; and Evangel University. (As a sidenote, it was the Templeton Foundation and the Institute for Humane Studies that made my visit possible, plus the excellent organizing of Prof. Brandon Schmidly from Evangel. And if you're in Springfield, make sure to go to Bruno's, great linguine & clams, and apparently everybody else enjoyed their pizzas, calzones etc. [thanks to Daniel Kaufman from MSU for taking us there!].)
This is from the self-review by the UCLA Department of Philosophy in 2012 (which has been making the rounds on social media); it's a useful reality check on a lot of the blather in cyber-space:
This guides our approach to hiring: we place a premium on finding creative, talented people who can contribute to the intellectual life of the department. Like many top philosophy departments, we view raw intellectual talent as a sine qua non of an appointment; it's the lifeblood of any thriving philosophy department. Even so, we are mindful that there are specific areas in which we are understaffed....While different members of the department balance these needs differently, all are agreed that, in the matter of appointments, a first-rate department must give highest priority to quality of mind: better a gap than a stopgap.... (p. 3)
I think there's little question that the latter represents the actual thinking of almost all the top-ranked PGR programs. On the other hand, what follows seems to me more UCLA-specific:
Although much of the best philosophical work occurs in journal articles, we think it is important to avoid letting this create a bias toward quantity of publication. The best articles are rare creatures. It is our expectation that work of this quality will be done by our colleagues. This standard is shared by many of the best departments in the profession. It can create a problem for us, though, when authorities at a higher level of review are unaware of the standards that prevail in the better departments in our discipline: not only do philosophers tend to have fewer publications than those working in other disciplines (especially in the humanities), but very good philosophers often publish fewer--and more searching--articles than less good philosophers. (pp. 4-5)
Interesting piece, which helps explain why universities there seem to perform so much better than others in Spain. In our part of the academic world, we've seen this recently with the philosophers Carl Hoefer and Genoveva Marti, who recently moved to the University of Western Ontario, but are now returning to Barcelona.
The data and various charts are here. What I can't tell from this data is what is "held constant" when the authors say that women are more likely than men to get permanent posts all else equal. For example, does this analysis "hold constant" the quality of the PhD program from which the graduates come? I'm not sure. If more women are graduating from strong programs, proportionally, than men, then the result wouldn't be surprising. Comments are open for anyone who can clarify what's going on here.
A prospective graduate student asked me to share her, shall we say, "unusual" experience during the recently concluded admissions cycle. Here's how it started (prior to April 15):
I am a prospective graduate student currently considering offers for the following academic year. It has come to my attention that, in an attempt to gage the interest of wait listed students, some institutions may be inadvertently violating the rules set out by the APA -- that students should have until April 15th to accept or reject financial offers. On your blog, you have encouraged prospective students to report these violations. I have sent a brief sketch of this situation to the APA, and I thought it could be helpful to discuss this in the philosophical community.
I experienced the following scenario this afternoon: I am wait listed at a highly ranked institution. The GDS called me and asked, "If I were to give you an offer right now, would you accept it?" I felt strongly that if I were to say yes, an offer would be given to me instantly, and I would be bound to accept it (on April 11th). However, this institution is not my first choice, and as a result I was put into the awkward position of rejecting what I perceived to be a conditional offer, the condition being my immediate acceptance. I would still like an offer from this institution, but I would also like the courtesy afforded to me by the APA, which is to have until the end of the 15th to decide. I am on other wait lists, and wish to see how that comes out before making a final decision. However, I worry that I may have lost out on an offer that would have been mine as a result of this exchange.
I think that this experience should perhaps encourage the APA to investigate this notion of a verbal offer—or the promise of one—conditioned on acceptance prior to April 15th. Does this seem to you as it does to me to be against the rules? Or do you think I'm reading too much into a DGS' attempt to gage interest in my likelihood of acceptance?
I think this kind of conditional offer violates the APA rules. It's one thing to ask a candidate about their level of interest, it's another to frame an inquiry as reported here. In the end, the student went elsewhere, but with yet another wrinkle:
Interestingly, before I declined, they placed me in yet another cart-before-the-horse situation. This program guarantees a semester of fellowship and I had been told so on multiple occasions. However, they provided me an offer without any, and when I asked about it I was told that they had sent out more offers than fellowships, and that they would give them to those who accepted the soonest while supplies last. Perhaps this is less worrying than the earlier issue, but it still seems fishy that they would require me to sign a contract of the offer *without* a fellowship listed in order to potentially obtain said fellowship. Again, it seems rather against the spirit, if not the letter, of the APA deadline to take away previously guaranteed fellowship to those who execute their right to wait until the end of the day on April 15th.
I sincerely hope this does not occur in the future to others. It makes this more difficult and stressful for all involved.
UPDATE: J.D. Trout, a distinguished philosopher of science at Loyola University, Chicago, writes:
When I was fresh out of graduate school and on the philosophy job market, I received a call from a dean at a small rural college where I had interviewed. After exchanging pleasantries, the dean explained that they wanted to make a hiring decision soon, that they had winnowed the list down to two candidates, and that I was their top choice. He then asked, “What would you say if I were to make you an offer?” implying that I would get the real offer if I said yes to the hypothetical one. I explained that I still didn’t know; he hadn’t made me an actual offer. I told him that I would think differently about the attractions of a job if I had an actual rather than an imaginary offer. At the time, I think I was mainly interested in letting the dean know that I recognized his question as a low-rent hustle; they didn’t want to waste time on a candidate’s offer that might not be accepted (potentially losing their other candidate in the process). The dean made an actual offer and told me I had four days to decide. I took another job.
For nearly 17 months, we've been involved in an extended negotiation and appeals process, first with the University of British Columbia, now with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia, regarding requests filed under Canada's version of a "freedom of information" act (hereafter, "FIPPA"). The UBC Privacy manager, after taking months and months of extensions in response to the original requests, released highly redacted materials, offering what was, in our view, an implausibly generous interpretation of FIPPA's exceptions. The Commissioner's Office, in turn, upheld some of these exceptions, but not others, but again with multiple extensions of time for response (when we challenged one of the extensions, we were informed that if we challenged the extension then they wouldn't continue reviewing the case at all!). We have only just gotten the additional unredacted material.
PhilJobs seems to be collecting most of the tenure-track hires this year, and I encourage those who secured jobs to submit their information there. I still get occasional requests to post junior hiring information. Christopher Peacocke, the Chair at Columbia, for example, wrote to report two new tenure-track hires there:
Melissa Fusco (UC Berkeley) as Assistant Professor of Philosophy from July 1 2016
Una Stojnic (Rutgers) as Assistant Professor of Philosophy from July 1 2017.
Una Stojnic is deferring for a year to take up a Bersoff Postdoctoral Fellowship at NYU.
In the event, Department Chairs or Placement Chairs would like to post such information (often aggregated information from a single department is usueful), I'll leave comments open here. Otherwise, job seekers, please submit your information at PhilJobs.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)