SV: [OPE] Philosophical development of graduate students today

From: Anders Ekeland <>
Date: Thu Aug 27 2009 - 09:20:09 EDT

Besides the question of which names to have on the list, I think the term "familiar with" is too open to interpretations, so I would try to measure the level of knowledge of the various scientist:

a) Do not know the name
b) Heard the name, but unfamiliar with ideas
c) Have heard about him/her and have general idea of main contribution
d) Have read a short presentation in secondary source (less than chapter/article)
e) Have read article/chapter in secondary source
f) Have read a book or more - secondary source
e) Intimate knowlegde - both primary and secondary sources.

Or less precise 1-7 (unfamiliar, intimate knowledge) - given cultural differences I wold prefer the more objective chapter/book approach, more invariant over time too. One might use "read about in lexicon/handbook/wikipedia" as an category too.

My two cents

> From: Paul Cockshott []
> Sent: 2009-08-27 11:13:52 CEST
> To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list []
> Subject: [OPE] Philosophical development of graduate students today
> This is slightly at an angle to the list topic but I am addressing list
> members as a selection of presumably philosophically aware
> academics, in the hope of useful feedback.
> I am concerned that a significant fraction of PhD students are
> reading and studying only within a rather narrow corpus. Talking to some
> of our doctoral students, I observe that some have not really
> appreciated that they are studying for a degree that is still called a
> doctor of philosophy.
> Advances in computer science have often depended upon either borrowings
> from other disciplines, or upon problems posed by other disciplines. One
> thinks of Turing's original work arising out of mathematics and logic,
> the development of neural nets, simulated annealing, genetic algorithms,
> agent based systems. None of these would have been possible if the
> computer scientists pioneering in this work had lacked a broad
> scientific and philosophical training. Today, research continues to be
> informed by borrowings from physics and biochemistry among other areas.
> We want our doctoral students to have an a conceptual lexicon drawn from
> multiple areas of science and philosophy. With such a lexicon, they are
> in a much better position to come up with novel solutions to the
> problems they will encounter.
> I would like to undertake an anonymous survey of PhD students to
> investigate the extent of their reading outside of their specialist
> subject area. This could initially be done in Glasgow CS, but I would be
> interested in the possibility of broadening it accross departments. This
> survey can serve two functions.
> 1. It will provide information about our students reading that
> we would not otherwise obtain.
> 2. It may also serve as an exhortation to students who are to
> narrowly focused, to broaden their horizons.
> Below I give an outline of such a survey questionaire. I would like
> feedback on whether the subject matter mentioned is appropriate or
> sufficient. It is inevitably the case that when one academic drafts such
> a survey, the corpus to which they refer will be partial and incomplete.
> Suggestions from colleagues as to additions or deletions would thus be
> welcome.
> The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401

ope mailing list
Received on Thu Aug 27 09:24:20 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Aug 31 2009 - 00:00:02 EDT