A modest question: Should we abolish the PhD degree?
Tue, 28 Aug 2001 20:41:10 -0500
Jim Whitehead asks:
> If you know of a better vetting mechanism for determining
> whether someone is capable of doing original research,
> I'd like to know about it. ..
Why not look at the papers they publish?
> Why do you separate paper writing from the PhD
> process? For me they were inseparable.
You make my point for me. If they are so inseparable,
what is the point of anything else? I suspect that you
were fortunate. A lot of PhD students find there is
significant work turning published papers into a thesis,
and managing their way -- and their committee --
through the process. And not all of it has to do with
learning all there is about a specific topic.
> If you think about differences between our civilization,
> and those that came before (the Romans being perhaps
> the closest analog), the University stands out. Unlike
> *every* prior civilization, ours has a widely replicated
> institution whose mission is to create new knowledge
> as a public good, and educate the populace about that
> research. ..
I'm not arguing against the University. I merely raised
a question about how it structures the lower rungs of
its career ladder.