[Marxism] The PhD trap
farmelantj at juno.com
Mon May 13 05:26:14 MDT 2013
More than a hundred years ago, William James warned about the dangers posed by the then newfangled practice of universities requiring that professors have PhD degrees in his essay, "The Ph.D. Octopus." Alas, nobody paid heed to James' forebodings, which have, since then, been more than amply justified.
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---------- Original Message ----------
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
Subject: [Marxism] The PhD trap
Date: Sun, 12 May 2013 22:40:05 -0400
Whatever its possessors may say to the contrary, the North American
doctor of philosophy degree is not so much about scholarly attainment as
it is about power: sheer, naked, inexorable economic and social power.
Originally intended as the certificate attesting specialized preparation
for research in the major scholarly disciplines, it has proliferated in
an unchecked fashion throughout our intellectual world, becoming the
mandatory qualification for teaching in higher education, employment in
research, and advisory work in business and government. Without the
Ph.D. degree, one cannot now hope to be permanently retained as an
instructor at most of the thousands of institutions of higher learning
on this continent, even in the teaching of junior undergraduates.
Without the Ph.D. degree, one cannot now hope to become involved with
formal research in most fields at any level higher than that of
technician or research assistant.
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