Book Bag

The point of having a Kindle is not needing to carry a bag full of books on an airplane. Yet I still experience an overpowering need to stuff three books into my bag for a 3-hour flight. I just don’t feel right without them.


Today was very harsh, people. I went to see the doctor, and she said I have recovered from the operation and don’t need to come any more. On the one hand, this is good because I wasn’t hoping to have any complications from the C-section, but at the same time, it felt like this was now completely over. In 2013 I’ve spent more time at this doctor’s office than I did at work, so not having to go there is a huge change. So I had a depressive episode which was no fun. But then N. came home from work, and now I’m much better.

The difference between depression and grief is that depression is unrelenting. It tugs on your entrails all day and all night. Grief, however, comes over you in waves. This means that if pain doesn’t diminish for a significant stretch of time, your state is becoming pathological and you need to seek help immediately. (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include a little teachable moment here.)

Tomorrow we are leaving for a mini-vacation where we will try to recover physically and emotionally.

Philosophers Do Better Than Physicists

I had no idea people who got PhDs in philosophy did this well in terms of job placement:

Since 2000, approximately 39% of graduates received a permanent or Tenure Track position in their initial placement.  Temporary positions comprise 34% of initial placements, post-docs comprise 13% of placements, and 8% of students do not go into academic philosophy (6% are Unknown).  This means that approximately 61% of philosophy graduates do not receive a Tenure Track or permanent position in academic philosophy their first time around.  However, it does mean that 73% of philosophy graduates are teaching philosophy, and at least 86% of graduates are involved in professional philosophy in some way.

I keep hearing that philosophy as a field is in dire straits but this research shows that 39% of people get a TT job right after they graduate. This is a better employment prospect than in the field of theoretical physics! Back in graduate school we used to snicker at people who were in philosophy but it seems like they are getting the last laugh.

I really like the person who wrote the linked piece because he says the following:

For some people, it is very important personally to attend a prestigious school or work with a certain professor in philosophy, so much so that they are less concerned about getting a profitable job in philosophy after they graduate.  However, for me, getting a job after I graduated was more important than whether or not the school I went to was well ranked or if I studied with a certain professor in the field.

I’m an immigrant, so for me getting a job (and not letting the PhD take more than 5 years) was the only thing that mattered.

One surprising (to me) thing in this report is that the majority of people with a declared field of interest in philosophy specialize in ethics. Is there anything more boring than that? My motto in graduate school was, “I’ll explore any course in any field as long as they have nothing to do with ethics or aesthetics.”