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The “job market" doesn't start post-PhD

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This is a guest post by John Protevi, Louisiana State University This post has two sections. In the first, I take a wide view at employment practices in philosophy departments in American higher education. In the second, taking that analysis in hand, I offer some advice to people considering entering graduate school in philosophy. When philosophers talk about "the job market," they presuppose that the job market in philosophy begins post-PhD, that it’s all about people looking for a TT job.  I suggest that we change our frame of reference on these matters, and specify that when we talk about "the job market" in this way we are discussing only a small segment of the complete system of employment for philosophy instruction in institutions of higher education. So I'd like to suggest we call the analysis of the complete system "the political economy of philosophy instruction."  When we change the frame of reference like that, we see the context for the (post-PhD) job market includes post-BA labor of graduate assistants (either as TAs in charge of sections, or in charge of discussion groups, or as graders of essays) as well as part-time and full-time instructors with BA, MA, or PhD, and post-docs with teaching duties.  To put it in a formula that retains “job market”: the *real* job market for philosophy teachers begins post-BA, so that PhDs are not just competing against other PhDs but also against anyone else who teaches philosophy, holders of the BA and MA included.  When we talk about the "political economy of philosophy instruction" we can then explicitly talk about several factors that are only implicit in the discussion of the (post-PhD) "job market." First, we can see the role of university administrators, who are, after all, largely responsible for the shifts in employment patterns in philosophy instruction.  To an administrator, a section of Logic or Intro to Phil or Intro to. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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