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Doing better for our graduate students, making a PhD in philosophy worth it

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This story, by Rachel Williams, is simply entitled "A PhD in philosophy was not worth it".  The title reflects the contents well. The story's familiar, but that does not make it less sad:  Rachel Williams writes about the disillusionment, lost opportunities, low wages, and a profession that looks increasingly hostile and unattractive.  She lists the problems that plague the profession: the obsession with brilliance, the editorial buddy circles, publish or perish culture, the slim chances of getting a tenure track job out of grad school, or at all (after years of precarious employment), and the lack of support from peers or mentors.  Suppose you make it in the profession. By 'make it', we will typically mean that someone is in their mid or late thirties by the time they land a tenure track job in a geographical area they will often not have chosen to live in, working on a 3/3 or even 4/4 course load, and earning a starting salary of anywhere between 49 and 76k (often the lower part of this range), which only slowly inches up over the years. While that is still a decent salary, you have to take into account the years of lower earnings and the risk in the market.  What if you do not make it? Did you then just waste at least six years (at least, in the US) on graduate school that could have been spent better elsewhere? "You don’t really know what academic philosophy is really like before it’s too late." - Williams writes, regretting her lack of opportunities and lack of money in her retirement fund at age 32.  The solution, some might argue, is to just have fewer PhDs in philosophy. But I'm not at all sure that is a good idea. If we restrict the number of PhDs, the barriers to entry to the profession will shift to earlier on in the process, and it will be more difficult for people without the cultural, economic and social capital (middle class, white, etc) to do a PhD in philosophy. Moreover, I. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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