lta wrote:Why in JR's name are you applying to law school? Is it the currently miserable job prospects for philosophy profs?
Well, the job market for philosophers is quite bad, but that's not why I'm switching over to law.
I came to grad school to study philosophy because I thought it was important. I thought that I as an individual and human beings as social creatures had to address philosophical questions about how to live well and act rightly. But after almost a decade of working in philosophy, I've come to the conclusion that the level of abstraction and generality at which those sorts of questions are addressed by professional philosophers is not conducive to helpful, meaningful answers.
I don't think the level of abstraction/generality is the main problem. In fact, IMO practitioners in a number of fields should be abstracting a lot more than they are. I have in mind, here, people who work in cross-cultural contexts, where what we might consider to be ridiculously abstract questions (e.g. about communicative presuppositions, à la Habermasienne) are often the most urgent, practical questions you can ask. I think the main problem is an institutional one. You can't get anywhere in western academic philosophy unless you devote every waking moment to research and publication in "reputable" journals. In my ideal world, one could advance one's academic philosophy career while also working "on the ground" to address serious social problems. I think this would also help make philosophy more accessible to non-philosophers working in cross-cultural contexts -- although there's a-whole-nother slew of institutional issues in the fields of int'l dev, humanitarian aid, etc.
I totally back your decision to go into law, though. I think it should help you find meaningful work to do... I certainly hope so, anyway, since that's the main reason I've applied to law school.