Re: [OPE] Philosophical development of graduate students today

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Thu Aug 27 2009 - 09:23:10 EDT

Damsma, D.F. wrote:
> Very good idea! Personally, I think Hegel should be listed among the philosophers and Gödel perhaps under 'general science'. But once you think of it, why if Kuhn and Feyerabend are mentioned, is Lakatos omitted? Or when mentioning Carnap, why not Wittgenstein? Have you perhaps thought about in- and exclusion criteria? Depending on these criteria, Nietzsche might have to be on the list as well.
> Kind regards,
> Dirk.
I was not wanting to be overly prescriptive, I think there is a good
case for including these people. I have been going round visiting the
doctoral students, and am somewhat struck by the fact that the only
philosopher whose works I saw on their shelves was Heidegger. I hope one
can do better than that.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf Of Paul Cockshott
> Sent: donderdag 27 augustus 2009 11:14
> 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
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Received on Thu Aug 27 09:28:24 2009

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