I spent some time looking at a few graduate programs today, and I’ve realised a few things.

I’ve really known this all along, but I’m definitely prefer being an annonymous student in the back of the class to the keener up front on a first name basis with the prof. Maybe just metaphorically. I still sit up front after all. The idea of defending a Ph.D thesis, for example, is a little daunting. But of course I know I certaintly won’t get myself anywhere if I don’t try.

Today I was concentrating on degrees which combine Philosophy and Physics. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive by any means, but it’s very difficult to find universities that have programs that deal with the connection. They all tend to be largely Philosophy programs concentrating on Philosophy of Science, whereas I would like a program founded mostly in current physical theory with philosophical considerations.

Yes, I am a scientific elitist. And though the term has negative connotations, I really can’t shake myself away from it. Philosophy without being based in science is, I think, completely uninformative. Even worse, I found myself scoffing at every Department of Philosophy web site that mentioned “research”. There are no discoveries in Philosophy. Indeed it’s a common criticism to call string theory philosophical.

I guess the main thing holding me back right now is just that — this feeling that anything philosophical is inferior. A Ph.D in Physics holds a lot more weight with me than one in Philosophy. Not just because everybody tends to be impressed at the difficulty of the former, but I really feel that you can say more with science.

Nonetheless, just as Philosophy without physics is meaningless, in some sense so is physics without philosophy. Maybe that’s what I can write my thesis about. For now I just have to see how my philosophy minor goes, and try to decide what to do for grad school.

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