Peter Adamson'94

Graduation Year: ’94

Address: [Optional]

Occupation: Philosophy Lecturer

Email address: [email protected]

I began my PhD at the University of Notre Dame right after I graduated
from Williams in ’94. I got my PhD in 6 years, and am now a Permanent
Lecturer at King’s College in London. My areas of speciality are late
ancient philosophy (especially Neoplatonism) and medieval philosophy
(especially Arabic philosophy), which rank as pretty obscure of course.
One good thing about Notre Dame’s program is that it really emphasizes
breadth, so that if you go there you will come out with a good grasp of
all the basic analytic fields as well as the history of philosophy. This
breadth was very helpful to me on the job market, given that not too many
people are looking for someone who can only do, say, late ancient. I think
it is very important for anyone thinking of going to grad school to bear
in mind that they should get as broad a training as possible, because most
schools hiring (it seems to me) are looking for someone who can teach various
things, not just one thing. This is especially true at small schools, where
they might have (say) 3 faculty, only one of whom is supposed to do history,
or do analytic, or do continental. That means as an historian you want to be
able to do as much as possible. On the other hand if you are really after
a hardcore research career you could try to be really narrow and focused,
and shoot for a research job. But these are harder to get. I sort of played
it both ways, tried to be both broad and focused, and was lucky to get
a job that is really directed at my interests. But this is something you should
bear in mind if you are thinking of going to grad school in Philosophy. As far
as Notre Dame goes, I’d recommend the program wholeheartedly; they’re very
supportive and the Dept. gets along with each other very well, even though
they do a broad range of things. If you want to do medieval philosophy
it is the best program in the country, no doubt about it. It’s also very strong
in Ethics, Metaphysics, Continental, and Ancient. I’d be happy to hear from
anyone with questions about Notre Dame or anything else.