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…you come to us today on your bicycles after buying Girl Scout cookies and helping out Mother Teresa, telling us “We’re sorry, we didn’t mean it. We won’t do it again. Trust us”, well I have some people in my constituency that actually robbed some of your banks and they say the same thing.

-Rep. Michael Capuano giving the CEO’s of Wall Street’s banks hell.

Full Video here:

In my last post I gave my reasons for my not wanting to go straight into graduate school upon completing my undergraduate degree. Bill Vallicella has given me even more reason to stick to this plan of action. Over at his blog Maverick Philosopher, Bill Vallicella wrote two posts here and here chronicling his experience with the job market in philosophy and his thoughts about the worth of Ph.D. in philosophy in the job market. His assessment is sobering.

In the second post about the subject a reader asked him:

How could one make a living in philosophy and the humanities besides being a professor?

He answers:

The short answer to the second question is that one can’t……You might spend five or six years earning a doctorate only to end up teaching ten courses a year at slave wages as an adjunct professor in a community college in Fargo, North Dakota or Hibbing, Minnesota, or some such place. (I’m sure these places have their compensations, so please no irate e-mail.) Only slightly better would be the life of the gypsy scholar who after a string of one-year full-time appointments spread out over these United States ends up in Beirut or Ankara. To add insult to injury, you might find that your marginally intelligent colleagues at the community college have terminal Masters degrees, have never published a word, care not a whit about their subject except for moneymaking purposes, but get a substantial regular salary with benefits, while you with your doctorate and lengthy publication record must subsist on the crumbs from their table.

I love philosophy. Probably more than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather spend my time doing (brewing beer comes to mind as the only alternative). But faced with the true nature of the job market I’d say that I’m more and more inclined to give up hope of teaching and research as a full time job and begin to look for other career options. Again I’d still like to get my masters and possibly a Ph.D but this type of torture at the end of the process hardly seems worth it for a job that isn’t guaranteed.

Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education Thomas Benton (a.k.a. William Pannapacker) writes that

It’s hard to tell young people that universities view their idealism and energy as an exploitable resource

As I’ve been considering graduate school I’ve found this article to be a great help in deciding against going. It’s been a thought in my mind for quite some time and at present I think it might be best for me to consider entering the work force (though with the economy the way it is this prospect is also bleak). I suppose I will still either audit courses or enroll as a non-matriculated student at a local program, but for now going to graduate school full time will not be on the menu.

Part of the decision was based upon the size of my undergraduate loans (which are not small to say the least) and part of this decision to not go is based upon the bleak situation in humanities higher education jobs, which I assume will only get worse with time. It’s sad that for many years I was sold a proverbial pipe dream (one that involved teaching and research at the end of the tunnel).

I now realize there is no end of the tunnel for most grad-students, only disappointment and defeat (I have read TONS of articles chronicling Ph.D. success rates..etc). I do not wish to be 30+ years old with as much education as a medical doctor and make $30,000-$40,000 a year.

I’d still love to get my masters degree or even a Ph.D. and I would still love to teach/research, but I think it’s going to be best to take some time off to learn to work in the real world and develop a skill now just in case there is nothing for me when I graduate.

The 86th Philosophers Carnival is here. This one is worth checking out, the comics coupled with it are definitely fun.

I also wanted to bring PhilPapers to the attention of my readers. If you don’t know this is a great resource for finding philosophy papers online, including thousands of links to full text articles. This is a great resource.

Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal is a masterpiece of a movie. If you have a Netflix subscription or some other way to get your hands on this movie I would really suggest it. This scene is probably one of the most powerful in the movie.

The Knight has just entered into a church to pray and begins to pour out his doubts about God, life and death to “Death”, who the knight has mistaken for a priest.

2009_02_06t075729_450x338_us_cyprus_bibleHere

From the article:

Authorities in northern Cyprus believe they have found an ancient version of the Bible written in Syriac, a dialect of the native language of Jesus.

The manuscript was found in a police raid on suspected antiquity smugglers. Turkish Cypriot police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript could be about 2,000 years old.

Police say it could be about 2,000 years old? This is probably an example of journalistic hype. It happens all the time in science articles, why not in articles about the bible.

Experts were however divided over the provenance of the manuscript, and whether it was an original, which would render it priceless, or a fake.

Let’s use some common sense to think about this. For this book to be 2,000 years old and it would have to predate the writing of the Gospels (according to our modern dating methods) and almost all know Bible fragments (fragments mind you, nothing original).

I’m going to call foul play and shenanigans on the paper for quoting the police as “experts”. It still might pan out to be real but for now file this under fake but interesting.

What’s Up?

I’ve was out of the blogging scene during break so I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. I plan on getting back up with some new posts I’ve been working on and some other updates. It’s gearing up to be a busy semester so I hope this blog doesn’t suffer the neglect in the mean time.

In other news a paper I wrote has been accepted to be presented to an undergraduate philosophy conference here. I’ll be presenting it on March 1 and I might also be giving comments on a paper (the coordinator said he would get back to me soon about that). As it’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this I’m very excited to be participating and I hope that I will be able to do this sort of thing in the future.