Where Philosophers Go for Talk and a Job

Article excerpt

Byline: Monica Hesse Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- The philosophers were in Washington last week for the American Philosophical Association's annual conference, at which the meaning of a great many things was debated, including the meaning of meaning ("What Is Meaning?"), and a great many thoughts were thought, including thoughts about thought ("Thinking About Thinking").

In one largish ballroom, a different sort of panel was happening. It featured the Dish's Andrew Sullivan and two other men. The panel was called "From Philosophical Training to Professional Blogging."

"Perennially, departments of philosophy are under attack," said Andrew Light, the George Mason University professor who organized and monitored the panel discussion. "We're always looking for better ways to sell the major."

There are jobs for philosophers. (There is, at least, "Jobs for Philosophers," a publication of the APA). But the irksome perception persists that a philosophy degree is only slightly more useful than an English degree, and so it was thought that a panel such as this might give frightened philosophers -- many of whom came to this conference in search of gainful employment -- a spot of hope.

Philosophers: If you are pinning your hopes of gainful employment on blogging, don't. …