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Hey,

Hey, I'm a freshman majoring in philosophy and economics. My question is: is this a good combination for graduate school in philosophy? Thanks

Yes! Especially if you are interested in the philosophy of economics, which is a small but vibrant subfield. Just make sure you've got enough philosophy classes (and letter writers) to present yourself well for grad schools.

Yes! Especially if you are interested in the philosophy of economics, which is a small but vibrant subfield. Just make sure you've got enough philosophy classes (and letter writers) to present yourself well for grad schools.

I've just graduated with a B.A. in the humanities and hope to attend graduate

I've just graduated with a B.A. in the humanities and hope to attend graduate school for philosophy in the near future. I didn't major in philosophy-even though I have taken many courses in the subject I know that it will be a challenge to get into a good Ph.D program. Would it best suit me to undergo a master's in philosophy first-assuming that I'm accepted to such a program- before undergoing a ph.d? I'm also interested in the subject of religion and am wondering whether a master's in religious studies- e.g. an MTS from Harvard- would hurt my chances at getting into a good philosophy Ph.D program? What do you think of undergoing a master's in religious studies in lieu of a master's in philosophy? Aside from religion my primary philosophical interests are in ethics, social philosophy (esp Marx),philosophy of science, Kant, the history of philosophy and feminist philosophy. Thank you for your time...

I would also suggest investigating the M.A. programs in philosophy that have a good track record of helping people get into top PhD programs. However, I'd also add that majoring in philosophy is not a requirement for admission to most PhD programs, and many strong graduate students in philosophy have majored in other fields. Whether you are competitive for the better PhD programs depends largely on your letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and, as already noted, your writing sample.

Given what you've described, I think your best bet would be to apply to some MA programs in philosophy (full disclosure: I think Georgia State has a good program!), looking for ones that are strong in your areas of interest, while perhaps also trying a couple of PhD programs that fit your interests well, assuming you can get 2-3 good letters from your philosophy professors and your grades in those classes is good (you'll need that for MA applications too). You can also pursue the MA in religious studies but it is unlikely to help you much in the PhD process in philosophy , should you decide to pursue that later (I don't think it will hurt you, and a Harvard transcript might help. Finally, for MA or PhD, you'll need a very good writing sample (12-15 pages) that demonstrates you can develop an argument. I hope this helps!

I am in the midst of applying to a master's program in philosophy and am

I am in the midst of applying to a master's program in philosophy and am wondering if a 5 page writing sample will necessarily disqualify me.

It might not disqualify you at some programs, but it will certainly count against you at most. The writing sample is the primary way of distinguishing applicants' philosophical talents, at least once they have been narrowed down using other criteria (such as coursework in philosophy and grades, letters--though for the competitive candidates, they tend to be equally gushing--and perhaps GRE). A 5-page sample is unlikely to provide evidence that you can develop an argument responding to a particular position that you have adequately and charitably explained. (Of course, Gettier's famous paper is quite short!)

I say all this with empathy--I was a philosophy minor (not major) and did not have a good, long piece of writing to submit when I applied to grad school. I had to use a mediocre, long piece, and was lucky to be accepted in the few places I was. But that was (too) many years ago when the competition was a little less fierce. I would try to work with one of your professors to develop one of your short papers into something more substantial (12-18 pages).

(On the other hand, people should NOT submit pieces longer than 20 pages.)

It might not disqualify you at some programs, but it will certainly count against you at most. The writing sample is the primary way of distinguishing applicants' philosophical talents, at least once they have been narrowed down using other criteria (such as coursework in philosophy and grades, letters--though for the competitive candidates, they tend to be equally gushing--and perhaps GRE). A 5-page sample is unlikely to provide evidence that you can develop an argument responding to a particular position that you have adequately and charitably explained. (Of course, Gettier's famous paper is quite short!) I say all this with empathy--I was a philosophy minor (not major) and did not have a good, long piece of writing to submit when I applied to grad school. I had to use a mediocre, long piece, and was lucky to be accepted in the few places I was. But that was (too) many years ago when the competition was a little less fierce. I would try to work with one of your professors to develop one of...

After researching on what it's like to be a budding PHD hopeful, I'm a little

After researching on what it's like to be a budding PHD hopeful, I'm a little scared at the thought of going for a PHD. Being in debt, along with the high drop rate, is a little intimidating. Combine that with the fact that I might be a nomad if I graduate. What I want is to be able to read cutting edge journals with some ease, and contribute to the discipline by writing in them too. I am aware that I'm able to do this without the paper, but how exactly would I know I'm not a crank? This is why I want the education. Would going for a master's give me the skills to read and write for journals? Is it much harder to read journals or write in journals with just a master's degree? Is that an area that is totally reserved for someone with a PHD (skill wise anyways)? As I've stated before, the road towards a PHD is very intimidating, and it seems there is a lot less to lose if i go for the MA.

You sound like you have a clear picture of the costs and benefits of getting a PhD in philosophy. You should continue to talk about it with your mentors in the field. You also sound like you might benefit from getting an MA (full disclosure: I teach at Georgia State in Atlanta, a terminal MA program). It would give you more background in philosophy and give you a better sense about whether you are interested in going on to get the PhD and whether you have the right skills, background, and demeanor to devote your life to professional philosophy. And if you do have those interests and abilities, an MA will enhance them and situate you to get into a better PhD program (the market is rough, so if you want a job where you have the time and encouragement to do research, you will be much better off going to a highly regarded PhD program). It will be difficult to be an active part of the field (publishing and presenting your work) without a PhD and an institutional affiliation. It can be done but you also risk being perceived as a "crank" even if you aren't one, and more importantly, you probably won't be able to devote the time and effort to the issues to be on top of the literature.

If you do decide to pursue an MA or PhD, I encourage you to do a lot of research about relevant programs, looking at their websites, their faculty member's research expertise, their placement record, and the perception of their quality (which is quantified on the Philosophical Gourmet Report, to be used as one source of information among many).

You sound like you have a clear picture of the costs and benefits of getting a PhD in philosophy. You should continue to talk about it with your mentors in the field. You also sound like you might benefit from getting an MA (full disclosure: I teach at Georgia State in Atlanta, a terminal MA program). It would give you more background in philosophy and give you a better sense about whether you are interested in going on to get the PhD and whether you have the right skills, background, and demeanor to devote your life to professional philosophy. And if you do have those interests and abilities, an MA will enhance them and situate you to get into a better PhD program (the market is rough, so if you want a job where you have the time and encouragement to do research, you will be much better off going to a highly regarded PhD program). It will be difficult to be an active part of the field (publishing and presenting your work) without a PhD and an institutional affiliation. It can be done but you also...

How can an amazing philosopher fall for something stupid like this?

How can an amazing philosopher fall for something stupid like this? http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/iconic-french-philosopher-bernard-henri-levy-falls-for-literary-hoax/19351050

Well, your question suggestions a modus tollens argument:

If one is an amazing philosopher, then one could not fall for something so stupid. Since Levy did fall for it, he must not be an amazing philosopher.

That seems to be the conclusion drawn here. However, I know nothing about this philosopher (except that he's trying to take down Kant!), so I don't know if there is some explanation for this bizarre behavior that might salvage the 'amazing' label.

Well, your question suggestions a modus tollens argument: If one is an amazing philosopher, then one could not fall for something so stupid. Since Levy did fall for it, he must not be an amazing philosopher. That seems to be the conclusion drawn here . However, I know nothing about this philosopher (except that he's trying to take down Kant!), so I don't know if there is some explanation for this bizarre behavior that might salvage the 'amazing' label.

Well, I am a math major. I am about to graduate, and I wish to attend graduate

Well, I am a math major. I am about to graduate, and I wish to attend graduate school in philosophy. I took one class in the philosophy of science. I know it is not enough, but I really have a deep passion for philosophy. I read alot on metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics and science by myself. It is to the point that I can understand much of the material in professional philosophical papers. I have a deep interest on the issue of ontological commitment to abstract objects, and the nature of the laws of nature. I really want to be a philosopher. What can I do?

I suggest:

1. you talk to the philosophy professors at your school and ask them lots of questions. Hopefully, there is someone that who has a good sense of what it takes to get into grad school in philosophy, to succeed, and to get a job.

2. you explore websites at some PhD and MA programs. There is also some useful information at http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/

3. if you remain interested (as I hope you do!), you consider putting off graduation one semester and taking more philosophy courses. I fear that only one course in philosophy will take you off the radar at many programs (I suspect it would take a lot--e.g., very high GRE and GPA--to get some PhD programs to consider you, when they have so many applicants that are philosophy majors or even have MAs in philosophy).

4. you consider applying to MA programs in philosophy to strengthen your background (though it will still help to have more courses in philosophy to get in to MA programs).

5. you will need a polished writing sample with a philosophical argument in it and you will need at least three letters of recommendation (and I think at least 2 of them need to be from philosophers).

None of this is meant to dissuade you, and your outside reading will be helpful (it's just a bit hard to make it evident in an application).

I hope this helps. And good luck!

I suggest: 1. you talk to the philosophy professors at your school and ask them lots of questions. Hopefully, there is someone that who has a good sense of what it takes to get into grad school in philosophy, to succeed, and to get a job. 2. you explore websites at some PhD and MA programs. There is also some useful information at http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/ 3. if you remain interested (as I hope you do!), you consider putting off graduation one semester and taking more philosophy courses. I fear that only one course in philosophy will take you off the radar at many programs (I suspect it would take a lot--e.g., very high GRE and GPA--to get some PhD programs to consider you, when they have so many applicants that are philosophy majors or even have MAs in philosophy). 4. you consider applying to MA programs in philosophy to strengthen your background (though it will still help to have more courses in philosophy to get in to MA programs). 5. you will need a polished...