Thursday, 7 February 2019

New Initiative: Let's Write a Second Dissertation (Online!)

I was coming home from a conference at a small state school with my son and we were amusing ourselves by discussing what I would do if I had to write a second dissertation, and at first I was saying to Finn 'Yeah right! I'd rather read The Critique of Judgement in the original German - again!' But then I began to think 'Hey, there could be something in this'. I floated the idea on Twitter in the Fall and it just blew up. Grad students everywhere said 'This could really help us', and I though it could be a cool way to both help people navigate the profession and also maybe create some new research ideas.

So, enough background. Here's the plan:

- Every week one of us will post a new Chapter to a second dissertation (which can't be on the same topic as your real one!) and then we can all critique it together in the comments. Then we will go through and make corrections, playing something like the role of an examination or defense.

- Remember to cite approapriate sources, and show independence of mind.

- Try to pick a topic that engages with current debates and will actually change people's lives.

- Logic is fine but don't get lost in the woods!

- I will pick a winner once everyone's Second Dissertations are finished and we will send them all to Oxford University Press, but the winner will get a second Doctorate from me personally.

Have at it, use the Author-Date format, and use plenty of subheadings. (I don't want us to be sitting there going 'Where are we? What was the current point anymore?') I have a feeling this is going to be really fun. Some ideas for topics sorted into two Categories:

Modern: Embodied cognition, data visualisation, bioethics, Twitter, immigration, metaethics, AI, and self-driving cars.

Traditional: Malebranch, Spinoza, Graham Harman, Plotinus, and Isiah Berlin.

I'm starting mine tonight! Already have about a thousand words, and pretty good ones too.




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