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01/16/2020

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Eric Schwitzgebel

Thanks for the interesting critique, Eric! I feel the pull of what you're saying.

One piece of advice I also often give students is this: Spend half your time reading what everyone in your subarea is reading and half your time reading what no one in your subarea is reading. The latter. Although this doesn't quite map onto Point 1 from my post, part of the idea here is that it's important not to only read in a single area. Exposure to material beyond the usual run of what your peers and colleagues are reading helps keep your thinking novel, fertile, and fresh. I certainly wouldn't recommend that one commit early on to being a narrow specialist in the sense that you read ONLY in one narrow target area. And yet, if the target subtopic is narrow enough, and one's time is well organized, I think even first-year grad students can achieve expertise in that subtopic while still having enough time to read broadly.

Matt

"As an aside, some of this academic learning and curiosity driven intellectual development can happen in relaxation time."

I'm pretty sympathetic with this,and to a fair amount of this while walking. I walk a good amount, and almost always read when I walk. That's one of the times I use for reading things that are not, strictly speaking, "work" - things I'm not obliged to read, but want to. Sometimes it's fiction, but more often it just anything I want tor read - recently, Charles' Taylor's Hegel and Modern Society, but in the past things like Maynard Smith's _The Theory of Evolution_, or Cristina Bicchieri's _Norms in the Wild_ - often these are things I think might be useful for me, but that are not anything I'm working on, or that have direct connections to work I'm doing. (The current one is a book on this history of tort law in the U.S.) If people don't mind reading while they walk, it's a good chance to get modest exercise while also reading more widely.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.

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