October 9, 2014

Function of the Gourmet Report

Essay about the relation between the Philosophical Gourmet Report and the job market: here.

The main point of the essay is that while the standard narrative about the PGR is how it helps students get into higher ranked departments, the function of the PGR is to expand the range of departments where the graduate students from the ranked programs can be placed in jobs. PGR is the way that the higher ranked departments unconsciously dealt with the problem of placing their graduate students in a tough job market.

But why then would unranked departments go along with the PGR? For the same reason why many poor people in America buy into the narrative that the rich getting richer helps everyone. If the "lower tiers" look to the "higher tiers" as better versions of themselves, then the former will assume that the interests of the latter are actually their own interests. This is a recipe for institutional stagnation: the forces at the top resist change in the name of quality, and others, in identifying with the forces at the top, embrace such resistance even at their own cost.

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