okay, world. you asked for it.

First point: this is a total experiment. I'm not saying anyone will enjoy or agree with any of this. But here you go--I'm applying for the big bad Ph.D. experience again. After much and i mean much thought, consideration, prayer, mucus-filled hacking late nights, consternation, downright worrying, hand-wringing, etc., I am applying to the following and in this order of preference: 1. Florida State (don't laugh)--Philosophy Dept. 2. Notre Dame--History and Philosophy of Science 3. U of Wisconsin--Science and Philosophy in Society 4. Virginia Tech--History and Philosophy of Science Florida State is number 1 because of Michael Ruse, who I've been reading for a while now (Brad, you may remember he came up at L'abri). Second point: Here, then is my personal statement. It is supposed to be 250 words or less!!! How are you supposed to summarize your life and goals in that tiny amount of space?!? If you have any suggestions as to how to improve, please offer them. I'm serious. I don't care if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Well, yes, I guess I do care about that. In any case, please offer feedback. I'm like super-critical of my own work and can't evaluate whether or not this sounds too flippant or unfocused or whatever. Or if it is a bad idea to reference the professor i'm hoping to work with in the list of "books i've read". If it helps matters, both B and Liz Hansburg have weighed in on a longer, dumber version of the statement. Thanks to them, it's not quite as long or dumb now. But if you're Michael Ruse or Ron Numbers (Wisconsin) and you're reading this, what are you going to think? Here it is...hold your breath... __________ Personal statement Florida State University Department of Philosophy, Doctoral program History and Philosophy of Science, M.A./concentration October 22, 2003 What led me to FSU: Once upon a time, I was an archaeologist. I dug for Roman armor in Newcastle, U.K. I dug for Hopewell pottery in southern Ohio. I dug for WWII artillery shells by Lake Michigan. I knew something was missing. In 1997, I entered Ohio Stateís anthropology program naively assuming: (a) that there were ìlawsî governing culture analogous to the laws of physicsólaws I would study and discover as an archaeologist, and (b) that by examining the ìhard parts of the human cultural phenotypeî (the stones and bones), I would find applicable answers to current questions. I was misguided. Over the last five years Iíve explored Polanyiís Personal Knowledge, Gouldís Mismeasure of Man, Ruseís Mystery of Mysteries, Fukuyamaís Our Posthuman Future, Ellulís The Technological Society, Numbersí Darwinism Comes to America, and Ecoís Kant and the Platypus (among many others). Based on these books and my experiences since Ohio State, Iíve accumulated a few questions Iíd like to examine further. 1. What is ëhuman natureí and what role does the human genotype have on the human cultural phenotype? 2. Does a correct reading of Darwin et. al. lead inexorably toward genetic determinism? 3. To what degree do our epistemological commitments drive our understanding of evolutionís role in both social and biological sciences? 4. If, as Polanyi asserted, life does not simply boil down to chemistry and physics (i.e., Democritusís ëatoms and the voidí), then are we left with only metaphysical and religious explanations? 5. How do we differentiate ëprofessionalí evolution from the ëpopularí variety? And under what circumstances should professionals call ëfoulí to popularizers? Future hope: Ultimately, Iíd like to teach and do research in a university, perhaps coupled with some public policy work (assuming question #5 has an answer). Though I have little prior philosophy training, my interests appear to align with those of the philosophy departmentís and with Dr. Ruseís in particular. I have studied his work for the last couple of years and I would welcome the experience of academically apprenticing with him. ______


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