Let’s get past what the great programs are for Continental philosophy or what “pluralism” really means, or how much you may or may not hate SPEPers and various resolutions passed last week. This is a problem that we can all acknowledge (h/t Brian Leiter):
As I remarked several years ago in my series of posts aboutapplying to PhD programs in philosophy, it seems to be extremely difficult to gain admission to an elite PhD program in philosophy if you’re not from an elite undergraduate institution. Inspired by a comment on a recent post, I decided to look at this a bit more systematically.
Eric Schwitzgebel notes that not ONE student for various Leiter ranked programs at elite institutions such as Princeton come from the two largest public university systems–Scwitzgebel is a notable philosopher who teaches at UC Riverside—namely SUNY and the UC system. Are the dominant voices in our profession only to come from expensive, Ivy League institutions? Schitgebel himself is agnostic on whether or not it’s just a short-hand method for admissions committees or just simply elitism at work, but not one from all these institutions? Surely, if we take pluralism at all seriously, it must mean something other than reifying the class structures that operate in so many other areas of American life.
And yes, I was a SUNY graduate. So obviously, you should take this all with a grain of salt given my humble beginnings at somewhere other than the Ivy league school that I got into, but could not afford. Clearly, that lack of money is a mark of my own stupidity for having the wrong parents. (Sorry for that last snark.)