philosophy meta-forum

What happened to this guy?

Anton

32 day(s) ago

http://philosophy.uchicago.edu/faculty/files/laurence/Laurence_CV_12_28_2016.pdf

Can someone explain what exactly happened here? Did Chicago hire this guy with absolutely no publications. Then he went on to publish nothing?

Bernard

32 day(s) ago

what do you mean no publications?

Anton

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Empedocles

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

Well, they very well may so long as you're a Freemason.

Bernard

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

You know nothing about his writing sample at the time, his letters, his work in progress... Also note he's only a lecturer now (I assume he didn't get tenure). And he has two papers forthcoming in top journals.

Empedocles

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

You know nothing about his writing sample at the time, his letters, his work in progress... Also note he's only a lecturer now (I assume he didn't get tenure). And he has two papers forthcoming in top journals.

Bernard

If we know nothing of his writing sample at the time, that's even stronger proof of the original poster's point. After all, had the sample been so glorious enough to earn the job, surely it should be published by now.

Ilkka

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

Well, they very well may so long as you're a Freemason.

Empedocles

Go on...

William

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

He also went from being an asspro to a lecturer in 2016. That's a demotion, perhaps for not making tenure/5th-year review. He's been granted a lectureship for a year or two as a soft landing while he looks for employment.

And since then, he has 1 in PPR and another in PI, which is pretty good. So his file is now much better than it was. Maybe not great for someone almost ten years out, but it shows he can publish pretty consistently, and his publication trajectory is rising.

William

32 day(s) ago

^^in case it wasn't clear, that was pure speculation. I have no actual information concerning why he was demoted.

Bernard

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

You know nothing about his writing sample at the time, his letters, his work in progress... Also note he's only a lecturer now (I assume he didn't get tenure). And he has two papers forthcoming in top journals.

Bernard

If we know nothing of his writing sample at the time, that's even stronger proof of the original poster's point. After all, had the sample been so glorious enough to earn the job, surely it should be published by now.

Empedocles

That's assuming a lot about the publication process

Ian

32 day(s) ago

Ok, so from 2008-2016 he has 3 chapters in edited books, 1 in a law review (peer reviewed by grad students). Stellar.

So yes, between 2008-2011 when he was hired he had 1 chapter in a book and a paper in a law review. Wow. Are these the standards for hiring? Chicago should hire me right now then.

Anton

Well, they very well may so long as you're a Freemason.

Empedocles

Go on...

Ilkka

You have to ask yourself: how can some people have the thinnest of records yet immediately find employment at a top school such as Berkeley or Yale or Chicago, while at the same time others with extremely impressive records go with nothing at all? There's two systems.

There's the public face presented to us (universities are free bastions of research) and then there's the hidden power structure that works behind the scenes (universities are weapons of social manipulation). That's why someone like Robin Dembroff can end up at Yale, or Kristin Primus at Berkeley, or Ben Laurence at Chicago--there are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of additional examples. These positions can receive up to 500 applications: we're to believe that these hiring decisions are based on research productivity and teaching prowess? Obviously not. Universities are a key piece of a control matrix designed to manage and shape public opinion, and that is why some people land at key places without any scholarly justification while others will never get anywhere no matter how accomplished their record becomes.

At its core, the modern university system is not about producing intellectual research. It's about social engineering. We're all seeing that now with the advent of what's called the 'SJW" movement. But this movement has its roots in the psychological warfare and mass psychology of think tanks like Tavistock and the critical theorists who took over key institutions like Columbia. It's all synthetic, which is why we have young woman walking around with purple mohawks saying they're a man, and if you disagree, you're now a bigot who will be publicly shamed. We are witnessing the deliberate dismantling of 2000 years of western civilization, and the outrageous philosophy hires we've been witnessing over the last several years are a part of that. The manipulation of the philosophy job market acts as a form of mass demoralization while simultaneously ensuring institutional control. They weed out the philosophers and install the hirelings.

Hassan

32 day(s) ago

Grand explanations aren’t needed to explain any of those cases. C’mon.

Laurence is mostly owed to the love affair between Pitt and Chicago. Where else can you dabble in Kantian darkness? And Primus and Dembroff had schools bet on their research potential. That happens all the time, especially if the candidate is from a group historically underrepresented in philosophy. Sometimes that bet pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. If you can get them early, you don’t have to compete for them later on. Both too were reasonable bets. Primus is a Princeton PhD who earned the Bersoff, post-doc that strongly correlates with future success. Dembroff is also a Princeton PhD, had a good publication, and had already secured large amounts of grant money.

William

32 day(s) ago

Ian, if you'd looked at Laurence's CV you'd see he was first a VAP, then Law/Philosophy fellow at Chicago-- not exactly "immediate" employment at a top school. I wouldn't group him with the groomed Princetonians you mention.

Wilhelm

32 day(s) ago

Primus writes on things like the intellectual love of God in Spinoza. Hardly the front line of social engineering.

Ruwen

32 day(s) ago

Primus writes on things like the intellectual love of God in Spinoza. Hardly the front line of social engineering.

Wilhelm

The focus of her work is not the social engineering. The fact that she was given the job is the social engineering.

Wilhelm

32 day(s) ago

Evidence? My modernist friends who've seen her say she's quite good. And she was hired early enough in her career for the hire to be made on the basis of potential.

Primus writes on things like the intellectual love of God in Spinoza. Hardly the front line of social engineering.

Wilhelm

The focus of her work is not the social engineering. The fact that she was given the job is the social engineering.

Ruwen

Piero

32 day(s) ago

the critical theorists who took over key institutions like Columbia

i just knew hiring john dewey was part of a long con but i had no idea it was this elaborate.

Ruwen

32 day(s) ago

Evidence? My modernist friends who've seen her say she's quite good. And she was hired early enough in her career for the hire to be made on the basis of potential.

Primus writes on things like the intellectual love of God in Spinoza. Hardly the front line of social engineering.

Wilhelm

The focus of her work is not the social engineering. The fact that she was given the job is the social engineering.

Ruwen

Wilhelm

Ah! The "so and so was hired based on potential" slogan. That motto has been introduced within the last two years or so, and I'm already very tired of hearing it.

It's funny: I remember being told when starting graduate school that the consensus was that, in order to be seriously considered for a "research" position, one would have to have publications. The one supposed caveat was if you came from a very top department, but even then, we were told, that may not be enough anymore, especially since there are plenty of candidates who are coming from top departments with publications. But now the story has been changed, and once again we have to throw our previous experiences into the memory-hole, and pretend that we never heard what we did.

It's classic doublethink.

Tell everyone for years that hiring decisions are based on research productivity, then when it becomes obvious to everyone that isn't really the case, just pretend you never said it, and say that hires are actually made based on "potential." That concept is elastic enough that no hire can ever be questioned, and so now everyone has to accept that any given hire is just. After all, the fact that a particular hire doesn't meet any of the criteria that we were once told determined hiring decisions no longer counts as evidence that the hire is unjust: we're simply told that none of those things are a deciding factor in hiring, because what really matters is "potential."

You see, the emperor has no clothes. It is clear as day that these hiring decisions have nothing to do with actual scholarship. And that's fine. But let's all be honest about it rather than living in a fantasy world where we keep trying to rationalize what we all know is a joke.

Ruwen

32 day(s) ago

It is a very childish view of the world that believes that universities are places that hire people based on their "potential" as scholars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYQ8d3vdI10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1wiblpsj-w

Adelard

32 day(s) ago

Are you new to graduate school, Ruwen? Are you at a low-ranked program? Your post betrays ignorance.

I can assure you that 10+ years ago we were advised not to published at my top program. Unless your paper was in Journal of Philosophy or Philosophical Review, we were warned that the search committee might judge our potential to be limited to the journals in which we had already published. Though this is less the norm, I'm told, it isn't an invention of the last two years.

And, again, the PhD-granting institution matters. These are Princeton PhDs securing top post-docs and $100,000 grants before securing top jobs. You make a bet, especially when they are the type of candidate you might have a hard time hiring once they have a bigger profile. Personally, I would take one of these candidates any day over a low-ranked PhD who had a handful of papers in places like Acta Analytica or Erkenntnis. As someone else pointed out on another thread, the worst that happens with candidates hired on the basis of potential alone is that they don't make tenure. If you're Yale or Berkeley, you can then try again. You can take bets because you have capital to play with. Having to try again is probably better than being stuck with a colleague who will never writing anything interesting or well-placed in their entire career.

Jacopo

32 day(s) ago

Look the prestige model is still operative, but it's lost some ground over the last ten years. Some people are lucky and benefit from the prestige model, others are lucky and benefit from the (slightly) more meritocratic model. And lots and lots of other perfectly good candidates just lose out. But it's not like hiring is all one way or all the other way. Conventions and institutions often change slowly, and in fits and starts. You especially have to remember that the emphasis on publications is still very new. It's been gaining steam for ten years, but boomers are slow to adapt to change. So it's hardly universal yet.

Besides, it's not like anyone posting here (myself included) has a profile sufficient--on either model--to get hired at Chicago or Berkeley in the first place. If we did, we wouldn't be quite so fucking whiny. Grow some balls, you fucking eunuchs!

Wilhelm

32 day(s) ago

Don't you understand that it's a black-and-white issue?! No subtlety allowed.

When Primus was hired at Georgetown, her colleagues called her job talk brilliant, and in public fora. So it's not farfetched to think that they, and Berkeley, were hiring partly on potential. Sometimes potential pans out, other times it doesn't. But as mentioned above, it's a bet top departments are in the position to make.

Look the prestige model is still operative, but it's lost some ground over the last ten years. Some people are lucky and benefit from the prestige model, others are lucky and benefit from the (slightly) more meritocratic model. And lots and lots of other perfectly good candidates just lose out. But it's not like hiring is all one way or all the other way. Conventions and institutions often change slowly, and in fits and starts. You especially have to remember that the emphasis on publications is still very new. It's been gaining steam for ten years, but boomers are slow to adapt to change. So it's hardly universal yet.

Besides, it's not like anyone posting here (myself included) has a profile sufficient--on either model--to get hired at Chicago or Berkeley in the first place. If we did, we wouldn't be quite so fucking whiny. Grow some balls, you fucking eunuchs!

Jacopo

Ruwen

32 day(s) ago

Patting one another on the back doesn't prove anything.

Wilhelm

32 day(s) ago

Way to address the substance of our posts. I'm sure your publication in Ratio will take you far.

Patting one another on the back doesn't prove anything.

Ruwen

Ruwen

32 day(s) ago

Way to address the substance of our posts. I'm sure your publication in Ratio will take you far.

Patting one another on the back doesn't prove anything.

Ruwen

Wilhelm

Judging from your comment, you're a very prideful and vicious person. I can see why you're doing well for yourself in this profession.

Wilhelm

32 day(s) ago

And judging by your comment, you can't engage with posts expressing views different from your own. But it's not to late for you. The darkness can still be escaped.

Way to address the substance of our posts. I'm sure your publication in Ratio will take you far.

Patting one another on the back doesn't prove anything.

Ruwen

Wilhelm

Judging from your comment, you're a very prideful and vicious person. I can see why you're doing well for yourself in this profession.

Ruwen

Ruwen

32 day(s) ago

And judging by your comment, you can't engage with posts expressing views different from your own. But it's not to late for you. The darkness can still be escaped.

Way to address the substance of our posts. I'm sure your publication in Ratio will take you far.

Patting one another on the back doesn't prove anything.

Ruwen

Wilhelm

Judging from your comment, you're a very prideful and vicious person. I can see why you're doing well for yourself in this profession.

Ruwen

Wilhelm

You're not very good at parody, professor.

Ilkka

31 day(s) ago

Ah! The "so and so was hired based on potential" slogan. That motto has been introduced within the last two years or so, and I'm already very tired of hearing it.

It's funny: I remember being told when starting graduate school that the consensus was that, in order to be seriously considered for a "research" position, one would have to have publications. The one supposed caveat was if you came from a very top department, but even then, we were told, that may not be enough anymore, especially since there are plenty of candidates who are coming from top departments with publications. But now the story has been changed, and once again we have to throw our previous experiences into the memory-hole, and pretend that we never heard what we did.

It's classic doublethink.

Tell everyone for years that hiring decisions are based on research productivity, then when it becomes obvious to everyone that isn't really the case, just pretend you never said it, and say that hires are actually made based on "potential." That concept is elastic enough that no hire can ever be questioned, and so now everyone has to accept that any given hire is just. After all, the fact that a particular hire doesn't meet any of the criteria that we were once told determined hiring decisions no longer counts as evidence that the hire is unjust: we're simply told that none of those things are a deciding factor in hiring, because what really matters is "potential."

You see, the emperor has no clothes. It is clear as day that these hiring decisions have nothing to do with actual scholarship. And that's fine. But let's all be honest about it rather than living in a fantasy world where we keep trying to rationalize what we all know is a joke.

Ruwen

Oh, I knew what you were getting at. I meant it more in the sense of: "Go on, I'm listening... How do I join?" I'm not familiar with your examples, aside from Dembroff, but I agree with what you say in general terms. I'm just surprised you said the Freemasons when there are other (((groups))) with a lot more influence in academia.

Saadia

31 day(s) ago

The practice of established philosophers hiring new philosophers based on how well they conform to the existing status quo, largely grounded in prestige and "pedigree", seems like it would result is uselessly insular and self-referential back-scratching which is of no consequence to anyone outside the field, barely anyone in it, and makes a perfect target for administrators who eye the yearly budget with a chainsaw.

Thank the great heavens that this hasn't happened to philosophy.

Carla

31 day(s) ago

OP here, I was just waiting for one of the prestige monsters to come out and make us remember that meritocracy was always a sham, it's only where you got your phd that matters. It means you're clever. A good job talk also signals you're clever. You make fun of publishing in Acta Analytica or Erkenntnis or Ratio, yet one of your wunderkind could only publish in a law review 8 YEARS after getting a phd in an instutitution with tonnes of connections, bright colleagues to critique and make your papers better and 2/2 teaching. I know people who work in a 4/4 with better publications 2 years out.

Maybe that tells us cleverness, or potential is just biased garbage.

People love talking about structural injustice, but god forbid we go after the structural injustice in our own profession, then the wagons circle.

I say we try to keep a long memory for once, let us do a longitudinal survey of all the people hired on "potential" aka with zero publications and see where they end up in 7 years

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