Pursuing the PhD

From time to time we have students so enamored of philosophical inquiry that they seek to pursue it professionally as university or college professors of philosophy. Due to the ongoing scarcity of academic positions for philosophers, our usual response is to steer students towards law school or medical school. Watching extremely talented and productive colleagues desperately struggle to find even temporary positions no doubt shades our perceptions of the prospects of a building a career in philosophy.

To be sure, being steered one way or the other is not exactly the same as making fully informed decisions--particularly decisions which require extraordinary effort, self-determination, and self-discipline.

To that end, 80,000hours.org is carrying an impressively comprehensive discussion by William MacAskill (Oxford), further developed by Arden Koehler (NYU Philosophy Graduate Student) on careers in philosophy (not all of them academic!) and the pros and cons of its pursuit.