How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 14: Changing philosophy (aka the only PhD is a finished PhD)

Brian Harney

Abstract

‘Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophical thought has done its best, the wonder remains.’ (Alfred North Whitehead) I wish I had read the above quote earlier in my PhD journey, or, more truthfully, I wish I had understood what it meant a little bit earlier. For many students, the philosophy section of the PhD is one that causes extreme anxiety and a sense of mass confusion. Philosophy is grounded on the big questions of the universe, demanding big answers. When confronted with the philosophical greats and grand ideas like extreme logic (Auguste Comte), black swans (Karl Popper) or those founded on a more fluid disposition (Foucault), it is natural to feel inept, inadequate and frankly quite useless. The other thing one quickly learns about philosophers is that, while they may be beautiful writers, the dense nature of their work does not make for easy reading.

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