A modest question: Should we abolish the PhD degree?

Stephen D. Williams sdw@lig.net
Wed, 29 Aug 2001 12:31:47 -0400

Russell Turpin wrote:

> Several on this list are encouraging Rohit to return to
> school to finish his dissertation after his business
> ventures.  The question should be asked: Why?  Would
> This list is heavy with PhD's, and ABDs. So I'm curious:
> How many really believe in the PhD process? Obviously,
> I've become skeptical of it. But mine is from the
> University of Texas, where Frank Dobie taught. So maybe
> I'm unduly influenced by his view.

Being 100% self taught after high school (and mostly while in high 
school), I have to say that long years possibly wasted in academia don't 
seem productive.  I have however encouraged my daughter to continue her 
education as long as possible.

>  "The average PhD thesis is nothing but the transference
>  of bones from one graveyard to another." -- Frank Dobie
> Dobie was true to his views, and never sought a PhD. For
> that and other reasons, he was never quite comfortable in
> academia. If I were more Chomskian in my outlook, I would
> argue that one purpose of the PhD is to train people to
> the needs of the university as institution. My own view
> isn't that dark. But one has to wonder.
>  "I have come to value liberated minds as the supreme
>  good of life on earth." -- Frank Dobie

This resonates with me.

> Russell

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Stephen D. Williams
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