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mixed_biscuits
24-11-2009, 08:18 PM
If you were to do a Continental Philosophy PhD, what topic might you direct your energies towards?

grizzleb
24-11-2009, 08:32 PM
Hegel would be interesting to do. Been reading the Phenomenology and listening to some lectures on it, damned insightful.
Applying to go to uni next year, looking forward to doing philosophy. Just hope I get in having taken a few years off after school and fucked up some previous education!

Mr. Tea
24-11-2009, 08:35 PM
Time to wheel out the good ol' postmodern essay generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/)? :D

baboon2004
24-11-2009, 09:26 PM
i'd say the mind-body dichotomy as expressed through the actions of thierry henry last week, but that wouldn't be helpful...

mistersloane
25-11-2009, 05:20 PM
If I was beamed into a PHD right now, I'd do it on Edgar Varese's unrealised projects, L'Astronomer and Espace.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgard_Varèse

cos I think it would be really interesting to write about things that never happened.

Edit : cos then you could relate that to ideas of intentionality focusing on Husserl probably. Relating the fantasy of Varese's never-made symphonies to the idea of consciousness being conscious of itself only when that consciousness is based upon a fantasy. Varese spent ten years making unrealisable projects, I always wondered why.

marxbert
30-11-2009, 07:03 AM
probably something on hermeneutics and criticism. for example, people are always creditting saussure with the signified/signifier distinction. after picking up a 19th century text on biblical hermeneutics, it is obvious this distinction goes back quite some time. it makes me curious as to what other modern ideas could be found in the centuries of biblical criticism. for two millenia, the best minds dedicated themselves to criticism of a single text--it should not be surprising that contemporary philosophies of interpretation have been expressed before. maybe take some of the lesser read germans--novalis, schleiermacher--and draw a trajectory from them to ricoeur...

(regarding varese--i don't know how unrealizable his projects were. he was able to incorporate some of his work on Sirius into Density 21.5 (or Deserts? or Arcana...can't remember now) and part of Espaces became Etudes for Espaces. The latter was left out of Varese's catalog--but recently Peter Eotvos has taken to conducting the revised piece...in october, he , PM me if you're interested. oh, and try to read what Iannis Xenakis has to say about Varese if you get a chance. I used to have a manifesto Xenakis wrote on serial music (well, the crisis in serial music) and he wrote in glowing terms of Varese and his forethought/vision.)

3 Body No Problem
30-11-2009, 11:14 AM
TBH, you should reconsider doing a PhD if you have to ask others, especially one a music website, about suitable PhD subjects. Doing a PhD is difficult and painful even when it goes well, and the momentum to sustain one is usually drawn from a burning passion to do novel research. Also note that all the suggestions you received here (Hegel, Varese, Husserl, Saussure, Novalis, Schleiermacher) are about people (celebrities), rather than ideas. And about celebrities dead for more than 100 years (well, not Varese).

My suggestion is to find a subject that you are passionate about, and try to write about it. In my experience, no PhD student ends up researching the subject they initially proposed. The process of learning/researching towards a dissertation is disruptive and leads to new perspectives.

3 Body No Problem
30-11-2009, 11:39 AM
[...] people are always creditting saussure with the signified/signifier distinction. [...] schleiermacher

I think de Saussure studied under Schleiermacher (who was a theologian). Wilhelm von Humboldt introduced a distinction similar to that between signified and signifier much earlier, see e.g. here (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wilhelm-humboldt). There is no particular reason to believe v. Humboldt was the first to do so.

sufi
30-11-2009, 12:33 PM
(not sure if this was really a serious question, but...)
I've been thinking about PhD recently, to the extent that i attended an open evening at Birkbeck last week,

myself, i have a fairly good idea of what i'd like to research, based on my narrow academic & work background, i'm not sure which 'discipline' i fit into - devt studies, organisational psychology or applied linguistics!!! :rolleyes:

what i learnt was that you need to find a superviser, and set them on fire with your inspiration... they should guide your proposal, then you apply for the course

3 Body No Problem
30-11-2009, 01:06 PM
What's really important is to be clear how to finance the whole thing (parents, independent wealth, scholarship, part-time job, TAing, RAing, or some combination thereof). It's irritating to run out of cash while writing up.

mistersloane
30-11-2009, 09:41 PM
(regarding varese--i don't know how unrealizable his projects were. he was able to incorporate some of his work on Sirius into Density 21.5 (or Deserts? or Arcana...can't remember now) and part of Espaces became Etudes for Espaces. The latter was left out of Varese's catalog--but recently Peter Eotvos has taken to conducting the revised piece...in october, he , PM me if you're interested. oh, and try to read what Iannis Xenakis has to say about Varese if you get a chance. I used to have a manifesto Xenakis wrote on serial music (well, the crisis in serial music) and he wrote in glowing terms of Varese and his forethought/vision.)

I saw Eotvos was doing a 360 round show of Varese - there are bits on youtube which lookk great. Thanks for the info re the Xenakis piece, i'll have a look.

For me, the interest in this theoretical PHD would be to write about something equally theoretical - and also the idea that, for me, a PHD would be unrealizable, so I thought Varese's projects - and I kinda think spending 10 years on two projects that really didn't come out at all like he forsaw them is very interesting - would be a good metaphor for an unrealisable project; relating that to Varese becoming concious of himself only when working on projects that were too huge to be finished. And then relating that to my working practise lol. There's no way I'd finish a PHD at the moment.

I think it was 'Deserts' that L'Astonome became eventually, but minus the Artaud and everything else...

3 Body No Problem
01-12-2009, 11:24 AM
Varese

Mistersloane, do you know anything about Varèse's political affiliations? I was once told that he was a very high-ranking communist party official, but I've never been able to confirm or contradict this.

crofton
01-12-2009, 11:40 AM
people are always creditting saussure with the signified/signifier distinction. after picking up a 19th century text on biblical hermeneutics, it is obvious this distinction goes back quite some time

Todorov wrote a good book about the signifier/signified distinction in ancient/early christian thought. Cf. esp the discussion of the Stoics who had a subtle theory of hermeneutics:
e.g.
Sextus Empiricus, Against the Logicians: ‘[The Stoics say] that “three things are linked together, the thing signified and the thing signifying and the thing existing”’
A. the thing signifying = the sound (the name Dion, for instance)
B. the thing signified = the actual thing indicated thereby, intellectually apprehended (i.e. the idea of the person Dion)
C. the thing existing = the external real object (Dion himself as a person). What Saussure would later call the referent.

all this and more fun in Theories of the Symbol, Oxford 1982.

3 Body No Problem
01-12-2009, 11:47 AM
what i learnt was that you need to find a superviser, and set them on fire with your inspiration... they should guide your proposal, then you apply for the course

The point of a PhD is to demonstrate that you can do original research independently for extended periods of time. This is surprisingly difficult. The main difficulty is mostly psychological: to work on something for 3/4 years in near total isolation (as soon as you become a real expert on something, you realise that there are only 2 or 3 people on the planet who are expert enough in what you are doing that speaking with them about your research work is intellectually rewarding (and they are usually busy with something else). Moreover, working on your own stuff for a while, you realise that you are not as brilliant as you though you were, all of which can be hard to deal with. The real difficulty is to carry on in the fact of this adversity, and emerge victorious at the end.

What supervisors look for in potential doctoral candidates is not so much interest in this or that subject (which will change quickly anyway), but rather indicators of the right psychological makeup: the ability to work hard and to have tenacity in the fact of adversity. My advice if you already know what you want to work on, is to write it up in some form. Make it look good, so you have something to show off. If you can, try and publish it somewhere. It does not have to be in a peer reviewed journal.

Since doing a PhD is about independent research, the real point of the supervisor is for the students to have somebody to blame if they fail with their research (as most do in some form or another). A secondary function of a supervisor is to guide your research, propose promising and easy avenues of research, when the student runs out of realisable ideas (or doesn't have any), which is what happens with most students.

I'm very glad I pursued a PhD, although it was rather challenging when I ran out of funding during write-up and had to work full time, completing my thesis at night. The most difficult period of my life, now mercifully disappearing in mists of my decaying memory.

crofton
01-12-2009, 12:06 PM
That is sound advice imo.

NB doing a phd can be fun tho ... the real problems start afterwards ... if you want to continue with that sort of stuff.

3 Body No Problem
01-12-2009, 01:16 PM
NB doing a phd can be fun tho

Absolutely. Probably a bit like pregnancy. You need a big push at the end.

grizzleb
01-12-2009, 01:25 PM
What did you do yours on out of curiosity? Got to say your advice rings pretty true. I always thought if I was in the position of doing a phd there would be something that forced itself upon me rather than just pick something out of a hat. But hey.

nomadthethird
01-12-2009, 06:37 PM
If you were to do a Continental Philosophy PhD, what topic might you direct your energies towards?

Oh, that's an easy one. I'd rather shoot myself in the face right now than do a PhD in Continental Philosophy.

mistersloane
02-12-2009, 01:20 AM
Oh, that's an easy one. I'd rather shoot myself in the face right now than do a PhD in Continental Philosophy.

genius. what would you do one in though, now?

mistersloane
02-12-2009, 03:06 PM
Mistersloane, do you know anything about Varèse's political affiliations? I was once told that he was a very high-ranking communist party official, but I've never been able to confirm or contradict this.

I don't y'know - had a quick look around the net as well but can't find anything about it. They were all bloody commies back then though, weren't they? But yeah can't find anything. See, if I was doing my imaginary PHD...

Mr. Tea
02-12-2009, 05:23 PM
genius. what would you do one in though, now?

Shooting Yourself In The Face: The Fetishisation Of Nihilism Under Late Capital