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The Music of Chance—An APA Diary

Any young philosopher who aspires to an academic career must, especially in these days of fiscal restraint and feminized privilege, include in his plans a trip to the annual American Philosophical Association (APA) Convention, a curious hybrid of frenetic job-hunting and highbrow hobnobbing widely reviled as "the meat market." Although Pacific and Central Divisions of the APA convene annual meetings, the East Coast gathering is especially crucial, following as it does on the heels of the first significant round of job announcements. The 1994 session was held in Boston at Copley Place, December 27-30.

Arrangements run roughly as follows: philosophy departments with positions to fill advertise in the APA publication, "Jobs for Philosophers," Young candidates review these positions and apply for those for which they are suitably qualified in the hope that they'll be interviewed at the convention itself. Their turkey barely digested, they travel to Boston on the 27th, cheek into a pre-booked room, register, and are assigned individual numbered files, located, along with a couple of thousand others, in the so-called Placement Centre. Ordinarily, interviewing institutions will have contacted those candidates whom they intend to interview prior to the conference. However, such arrangements are sometimes made at the conference itself, by means of completed forms placed in the candidate's numbered file.

It...

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