Taking oneself seriously

I don’t really feel qualified to talk about imposter syndrome since it now has its own philosophical literature (Katherine Hawley: here). I do, though, have experience of it with students and colleagues and try to counteract it. It helps to be able to understand the thinking behind it. Now that I have grey hair, I might match the stereotype of a philosopher to some extent but I’m all too aware of the less visible ways in which I don’t meet that stereotype. I have often felt like an outsider and doubted my worth.

In academic circles, the problem is not simply feeling that one doesn’t deserve the markers of success one has already gained. There is also a lack of confidence and inability to take oneself seriously. If you don’t, others are less likely to do so too. In contrast, it’s not hard to find those whose self-confidence far exceeds there true ability, enabling them to sound sure of themselves and authoritative. As the cliché goes, it’s all the wrong people who have imposter syndrome.

I try hard to concentrate on the content of a person’s verbal utterances rather than their manner of delivery. This is an attempt to ignore matters such as regional and national accents versus English received pronunciation, hesitancy and tone of voice. Of course, you can’t be entirely unaware of those factors, and you don’t want to be since the disparity between content and delivery allows you to identify those whose confidence level is unjustifiably low.

Why bother? For one thing, it helps academic progress if we consider what people say rather than way in which they say it. In doing so, we then take others seriously and this in time allows them to take themselves seriously too. If they can do so, their confidence might come closer to matching what they offer, encouraging them to speak more freely.

This might sound like a worthy and noble academic ideal. There’s nothing wrong with that but in addition it is so absolutely joyous to see someone have their moment of realisation and awakening when they start to take themselves seriously. I’ve seen it in students and I’ve seen it in early-career colleagues. New entrants to academia often don’t realise just how good they have become. When that’s true, there’s nothing more beautiful than them seeing it. I’m aware of the social justice element to this, too. Lack of confidence and imposter syndrome are not merely individual pathologies: they have social determinants such as class, race, gender and disability. It’s a privilege to see those from traditionally disempowered groups demand a voice and assert that those factors should not and will not matter.

A personal library

One of the first things people often say when they visit my office is that I have a lot of books. True, there are bookcases on all the available wall space and they are pretty much full. My most precious and valuable books are at home where the shelves are full too. I soon will have no choice but to adopt a one-in one-out policy. When all the space is used, you have to think very carefully about any new acquisitions.

I grew up in a house without books but when I was an undergraduate, I shared with a mature student who was a real bibliophile. He introduced me to the joy of bookshops, both new and second hand, and that is where my personal library began. There are certain books that I have come to love both as physical objects and as intellectual treasures. I have a beautiful old copy of Hume’s Treatise, for instance, which I’ve read cover to cover, and the pleasure and stimulation it gave me outweighs the price I paid to an incalculable extent. I feel very lucky and, indeed, privileged to own the sort of personal library of which I once dreamed.

If only I could now sit back and enjoy my collection, carefully accumulated and curated, proudly display my Bertrand Russell first editions and complete works of Aristotle, and then recline in my armchair with a favourite volume. But things are never so simple in my mind. Recently, I saw a wonderful blog in praise of public libraries. I’m a big supporter of public libraries too and every word of that blog was correct. It puts me in a difficult position, though. Here I am, self-satisfied with my books, which I know function as signifiers of wealth, status and intellectual credentials. Public libraries are collectivist. Personal libraries are individualist. What on earth am I doing?

In theory, I would love to have no need of personal possessions. How can we not be inspired by the stories of Diogenes of Sinope, a true philosopher who lived for thinking alone and who owned virtually nothing? (OK, he owned a pouch, a stick and a cup, but upon seeing someone drink water from cupped hands, he threw away the cup since it was unnecessary.) As ever, I am torn. I want to enjoy my books but am not pleased or proud with my acquisitiveness. If only I could live on the public library alone. Then again, I wouldn’t then be able to lay my hands instantly on Russell’s Towards World Government or to smell a nice first edition of David Copperfield.

Whether it is the lot of a philosopher or simply a fact of my personal psychology to be permanently conflicted, I might never know. I fear I will never be able to experience carefree enjoyment of my own privilege: for that’s what it is. Living in a relatively wealthy situation while poverty and starvation are still a reality in many parts of the world, and now many parts of my own country, I think it’s quite right to have misgivings about possessions, of which my personal library is a conspicuous symbol. How much better I could enjoy my nice things if I knew that everyone else was enjoying theirs too. I don’t think I could ever be a Diogenes and nor do I think anyone else should have to be one. Collective rather than personal emancipation should always be the goal.

Good discussions

In my second undergraduate year, I got into badminton. I would go to the sports hall most afternoons and play against a few of my friends and course mates. Every single time I visited, there was a group of Indonesian chemical engineering students, who played constantly. They were obviously brilliant. One day, I plucked up the courage to chat with some of them and one invited me to have a game. Maybe you can guess what happened next; though maybe you cannot. Yes, he was clearly streets ahead of me. It was a mismatch. But, no, he didn’t annihilate me. Instead, my opponent effortlessly kept the rally going, seemingly standing still and whacking the shuttle to all four corners of the court while I ran hither and thither trying with all my might to return the next shot. Minute after minute I exerted myself, becoming increasingly hot, red and sweaty, until I just could go on no more. I had to stop. I think he didn’t particularly want to win the point, nor was he deliberately wearing me down. He just wanted to keep the game going as long as possible.

Badminton is no longer my passion but philosophy is. The best philosophy is discussion based. It’s an interaction between two or more of us wrestling with the same problem. I’ve noticed that some people are very good at discussion. By this, I don’t mean that they ‘win’ the discussion by being the cleverest or destroying an opponent with their irresistible argument. Those who are good at discussion have another set of attributes. The cleverest people are not those speaking loudest or trying to impress. They are generous instead. That generosity extends to interpreting the previous speaker’s point in as helpful a way as possible. The best discussant seems able to understand their interlocutor’s point, perhaps better than even its first speaker did. And then they offer something back, a new idea with which to play.

I sometimes mention as an example to others my experiences meeting the philosopher David Lewis. He would get asked a lot of stupid questions, or what could be interpreted as stupid questions. I might have asked him a few myself. I found, however, that he had an amazing talent for making any question a good question. He would always give it a good answer, pointing out something interesting and productive in it, which would allow a conversation to move on to new territory with us all feeling safe and satisfied. There was no “I don’t know what you mean” or “No, that’s irrelevant”. He would give a generous interpretation of the point and show what you could get out of it. A question is an opportunity. You can give the briefest of answers, and it might be true. But where’s the benefit in that? Instead, you can take it up and run with it.

I’ve had some beautiful discussions of late, which have prompted this post. I try to be the best discussant I can but I still meet plenty who are better than me. They look for agreement rather than disagreement. If they detect ignorance, they don’t point it out directly but gently correct it in their reply. Like my badminton opponent, they don’t try to win the point. They see that the value is in the activity rather than its conclusion. Let’s keep the back-and-forth going as long as we have the time. If we do it right, we all have a gain in understanding.

Ancient women philosophers

A little late to the party, I’ve been reading Peter Adamson’s A History of Philosophy Without any Gaps. It’s quite a promise to say there will be no gaps. There’s bound to be. All writers make decisions on what to include, which are also decisions on what to exclude (as Heraclitus said: the road up is also the road down). Still, I was intrigued to find a chapter on Ancient women philosophers. That certainly looks like a gap filled. I didn’t even know there had been women philosophers at that time. I assumed that they’d been excluded from the activity.

I had been looking forward to the chapter all through the book. It is near the end of volume 1: 42nd of 43 chapters. When I got there, my initial reaction was one of disappointment. There were only tiny surviving fragments and testimonies, though that applies to many of the men of the period too. But it was what those fragments said. It seemed that the Ancient women were mainly defending virtue, by which they meant running a good household, keeping their men happy, raising children, cleaning; that sort of stuff. There were no feminist trailblazers, like I was hoping. Nor was there any really interesting philosophy. One fragment has Theano talking about the relationship between nature and numbers but that is it.

Not all is as it seems, however. I’ve said elsewhere that the history of philosophy is written by the victor (which is not to be taken literally in this case: I’m not saying that Adamson has won philosophy). Everything that we know about Ancient women philosophers we know because of the reports of contemporaries and near contemporaries who were all men. The views of women philosophers are brought to us by the men who knew of them and those men were in a position to filter those views. Acting as gatekeepers, they chose what to include and exclude from women’s thought. It is men who tell us that early women thinkers were very concerned about keeping a good household. Were they really?

There are some fragments ascribed to women, such as one in which it is claimed that wives should permit the adultery of their husbands. Even if these words were truly written by the woman to whom it is attributed, we still find men acting as gatekeepers. Is it any surprise that out of everything a woman wrote, only the fragments men care to cite are the ones that survived? Might there have been somewhere a treatise on why women should rise up and destroy patriarchy? I suspect there would have been or, at the very least, some women would have thought it and discussed it. It is very likely that any such ideas would have been suppressed and destroyed.

A final case is where women’s thought is outright invented by men. It is possible that the character of Diotima in Plato’s Symposium was an entirely literary creation. If so, it is a case of Plato speaking on behalf of a woman, hence no reliable guide to women’s thought at the time. I am not claiming these as my own insights, by the way. Adamson has all these points and more and I warmly recommend his books (there are already five volumes in his ongoing History).

The powerful have always acted as gatekeepers of thought. I wish it were less true now than it was but I fear the opposite. With a mass media in the hands of a few, and now clear algorithmic manipulation of social media, it’s just as true as ever. That story all over the papers, radio and TV comes to you because a powerful actor has decided to allow you it. That inclusion is also an exclusion. Until we all have fair access, we are always going to have to dig deep to find the truly silenced voices. This is the Real Work and you will not find it in the newspapers.

The art of good argument

Most of us who write non-fiction will at some point desire to persuade our readers of some thesis. I see this as a natural extension of the persuasive dialogue into which everyone enters during daily conversations, trying to convince another interlocutor of some view. Writers have an uninterrupted space to themselves in which to develop a case at length. Perhaps they have a particular reader in mind, real or imagined, whom they hope to convince or impress.

There is an old, old battle between rhetorical and philosophical approaches to argument. As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently studying Plato’s Gorgias so this battle is on my mind. Some seek to persuade by their manner of presentation, appealing to the emotions of the listener, but with little regard to the truth of the matter. They wish merely to attract supporters. Others, the philosophers, are motivated by truth alone and think the only grounds for support should be a position based on good reason and argument. That seemed to be Socrates’, undoubtedly idealised, characterisation.

Philosophers are the true experts in good argument and the real specialists are the logicians. I’m not an expert logician at all, though I did once have to teach a logic module at short notice. My own logical training was idiosyncratic since it consisted only in the outdated ancient syllogistic. I enjoyed it as a student as it was the one part of my philosophy syllabus where there were right answers and it was easy to gain perfect scores. When teaching, I had to be more contemporary since the course content dictated I teach truth tables, predicate calculus and natural deduction.

It was natural deduction where I thought the fun really started. The decision procedures for syllogisms and truth tables were algorithmic: simply follow the steps and you would come up with the right answer. Natural deductions require more creativity. There are rules, of course, but you have to decide which rules to apply, seeking the most economical and elegant proof. I loved the way that logic could be seen as an art and not merely a science. With more practice, I got a sense of what rules are best applied in what contexts but it still felt like a stab in the dark. You sometimes have to go out on a limb and see if it works out in the end.

The appeal of this more creative approach to formal logic is that it reflects our real argumentative situation when writing to persuade others, as we sit down with that blank page in front of us. We have to invent the informal arguments. Should we argue analogically, inductively, by counterexample or reductio ad absurdum? Recently, I’ve enjoyed constructing inconsistent triads, where three claims each looks persuasive but they cannot be true together so at least one of them must be false. I’m realistic enough to recognise that argumentative creativity must extend to the inclusion of some rhetoric too, though. The way in which we present our arguments can play a major role in their success. I have a suspicion, for instance, that Humeanism is so popular because Hume was very good at writing persuasively, even though his philosophy is ultimately absurd. The balance I seek to achieve between rhetoric and philosophy, therefore, is that I’m willing to use rhetorical devices but only in the service of truth and validity. I guess, though, that almost everyone thinks that this is what they do.

Whereof we know nothing, pass over in silence

In recent months, and for the first time, I’ve been embarrassed to be a philosopher. Consequently, I’ve been hanging out with academics in other disciplines and keeping my background quiet. I had always assumed that philosopher was a noble vocation and the peak of intellectual achievement. Enough has happened lately to make me doubt this.

Philosophy has a problem and that problem is hubris. Philosophers pride themselves on their argumentative skills. They should have a better than average grasp of logic and a high capacity for understanding. Understanding of what? That is part of the problem. Philosophical skills are, in theory, general and transferable, so we can apply our techniques to any possible question. So far, so good.

Yet this can also generate hubris. Philosophical hubris is the belief that because of having general philosophical skills and mastery of reason and argument one is thereby qualified to pronounce on any subject whatsoever, even matters one knows very little about. Why read the literature and respect the existing traditions when one can take a razor-sharp philosopher’s scalpel to the problem and dissect it conceptually? One doesn’t need knowledge of a discipline when one can figure it all out a priori. One doesn’t need to engage with previous thinkers. Indeed, one shows one’s true genius more by ignoring and disrespecting what has come before.

Of course, I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past. I’ve written on philosophy of biology and philosophy of physics when I have no training in either biology or physics. In my defence, I’ve always tried to approach those subjects with a humble attitude and at least looked at what other philosophers of science have said. What I find difficult and problematic is when a philosopher wades in on some topic that has newly gained their attention and tries to pronounce based on First Principles, purposefully ignoring all prior work, even where it concerns an entire academic discipline. Failure is then inevitable, since it is likely that we repeat prior mistakes of other thinkers, overlook the breakthroughs that are already established in that field, or conclude something proudly that has long been known and argued in detail better elsewhere. The latter is likely the best we can hope. More probable is that we say something that was already, after due examination, dismissed for good reason. We repeat old mistakes.

Philosophers should not feel in a position to pronounce on anything that takes their fancy, and especially not matters with a long academic history. We should reject this hubris. Famously, the oracle at Delphi declared Socrates was the wisest man in Athens, supposedly because he knew that he knew nothing. For this, and other reasons, Socrates was my first philosophical hero. I’ve since had others besides but what I like about this version of Socrates is the humility. Contemporary publishers and journal editors like confident, controversial and categorical claims since they make a good read and provoke responses. But being provocative is not an automatic good in the current climate. Instead, I think it in the longer-term interest of our discipline to rediscover that Socratic philosophy of humility. A first step is to accept that whereof we know nothing, we should pass over in silence. This, I believe, is the way to rebuild the credibility and respectability philosophy once had.

Go slow

As the years roll by, I am becoming more and more of an ancient philosopher. When a colleague told me the Classics department were running a reading group on Plato’s Gorgias, I couldn’t resist. Last week we had our first meeting and I turned up not knowing what to expect. A few other philosophers were there and made to feel welcome though the group were mainly classicists, clutching their various scholarly editions and translations. I was a bit embarrassed by my 1980s Penguin paperback.

I guess I should’ve expected classicists to be thorough. Should we have read the text so we could delve straight into the analysis? No. Rather, someone led the group in the reading, a few sentences at a time, first in ancient Greek and then they improvised a translation. Discussion ensued over each line, sometimes over each word. It was a lively and thorough session but, above all, steady and measured. Progress was slow. Very slow. By the end of the meeting, we had covered a little over a page. Yet we were satisfied.

I’ve heard many people complain of being slow readers. I’d say that I’m one too. I have never been more aware than I was in that reading group, however, that this is a virtue, not a vice. I remain in awe of classicists. They have an ability not just to dissect a text but, above all, to savour it. Philosophers can do the same but not always. There is pressure to rush quickly through a book or article. Still, the best works are worth dwelling on, savouring, interrogating.

Good books are the ones we can use to assist our own thinking: those that stimulate you to pause and ponder as you go off on a flight of fancy. In that respect, philosophy is more like poetry than anything else. Two readers can see the same text and think very different interpretations or take ensuing thoughts in opposite directions. The reading group gave space for the participants to express the various associations they had garnered from the words. Plato is especially apt to be read poetically. Each line rewards your effort.

A couple of days later I was running a metaphysics discussion group and, I suspect, still intoxicated by the opening to the Gorgias. We had around five suggested discussion questions to get through. I was pleased that by the end we were still on the first one. Breadth of knowledge is fine but there’s no substitute for the feeling of depth. To get that, we have to overcome the pressures of the outside world and construct a safe cocoon in which it is allowed to go slow. With pressures on us all to produce as much as possible, as quickly as possible, it feels like nothing could be more subversive.

Citations, gender balance and disagreement

Philosophy has a problem with gender balance. It has the longest history of any academic discipline but that is a history set within millennia of patriarchy. And it’s a discipline that engages seriously with its history. We still cite Plato and Aristotle from two and half thousand years ago. With social progress, gender balance in the profession has improved, albeit from a most unfavourable and unjust starting point. We are at least now in a position where we can correct some of that injustice in our citation practices, engaging with women’s ideas and thereby challenging the stereotype that philosophy is a man’s preoccupation.

This being philosophy, though, it’s complicated. As I’ve read work from other disciplines, I’ve become more conscious of the idiosyncratic citation practices of my field and realised that they do not always make gender-inclusion easy. One feature is how few citations we make in philosophy. A typical philosophy paper will be 10-pages long with 15 citations whereas I’ve seen medical papers that are more like 3-pages long with 100 citations. When there are fewer citations to go round, the choices we make become even more important. But I don’t think this is the only problem. What I’ve noticed is that in philosophy around 80-90% of the citations we make are disapproving ones. We cite people to say that they are wrong: sometimes obviously wrong or stupidly wrong. Again, I don’t see this so much in other fields. Typically, they might say “there is recent work on X”, and follow it with 20 citations. More usual in philosophy is to say: “N has argued for Y and Y has obvious flaws. Y is plain wrong”.

As I’ve become more aware of matters of equity, diversity and inclusion in the intellectual endeavour, I have wanted and tried to include more women in my references but, to do so, I feel that I’ve also had to fight these conventions. I don’t want to cite women only to say how wrong they are. But I don’t want to not cite women either. The solution has been an attempt to break out from the disciplinary conventions and try to include more approving citations. This itself is hard, of course, given that philosophy as a whole tends to focus more on disagreement than agreement.

To give an example, I work a lot in metaphysics. We have some excellent women metaphysicians in Helen Beebee, Laurie Paul and Sara Bernstein. Unfortunately, for me, they all work in a neo-Humean/Lewisian tradition that I think is wrong. I feel uncomfortable citing them only to say so. In my new Absence and Nothing, I’ve instead tried to find women’s work with which I agree, such as by Heather Dyke and Geraldine Coggins. Again, the discipline doesn’t help me. There are very few instances where we accept what another philosopher says and, even if we do, it’s likely to be on a confined, isolated matter. It seems that there’s no point saying something if someone else has said it already.

I’ve found another gender-related matter when introducing women into the hypothetical examples that often occur in speculative philosophical writing. So many of these examples concern despicable acts or stupid beliefs, e.g. “John decides to torture a cat” or “Jim believes that 2 + 2 = 5”. The scenarios are so extreme that it could look misogynistic if I used women’s names (try thinking of those examples with women’s or non-Western names substituted). The difficulty here is that we often need absurd cases in order to make the point, such as for reductio ad absurdum or to demonstrate some moral precept. The more extreme, the clearer the point.

In part, the nature of philosophy has created these difficulties. It tends to be adversarial and I am of course aware of a view that this itself is a product of historical patriarchy. I’ve seen movement in the right direction here, towards philosophy as a more cooperative enterprise. Nevertheless, I don’t think it would be right to eliminate disagreement from our or any other discipline. It’s a vital part of the intellectual quest that we challenge each other and overturn established wisdom. The ideal would be if we pursued that quest in a context of justice and equality so that we didn’t have to worry about whether it was a man or woman whose views we were rejecting. We can only get there one step at a time, however, which means making changes now to the flawed system within which we operate.

New beginnings

Today I am taking my eldest to university for the start of the new academic year. It’s led me to recall my own start at Huddersfield Polytechnic, nervously walking through the campus entrance on the first day, back in 1986.

Opting to take a degree was a gamble. After school, I worked as a civil servant for almost three years. It was considered a much desired ‘job for life’ then and when I told my parents I was leaving it in order to study Humanities they were furious. My dad was staunchly anti-education and frequently said that it made people more stupid. He understood and respected a regular pay packet and thought I was lazy by reverting to student life, which he hoped was behind me. He made it clear that they wouldn’t give me a penny in financial support.

I left home and went it alone. For 6 months I was completely estranged from my parents. I had entered a different world: a world of dusty old books and ideas. Where it would lead, I did not know. It was certainly a new beginning and it changed my life. I started a process that continues to this day. Talk about life-long learning! I’ve remained a student for the past 35 years!

My lecturers were quirky and curious, including Mr Colin Parker, a Huddersfield legend, and my hero and idol of many, Dr Bill Stafford. Rousseau, feminism, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, existentialism, Marxism, Hobbes and more occupied my thoughts for three solid years (not enough women or non-Western thinkers). In January of ’88, I decided that I wanted to be – that I had to be – a professional philosopher. Of course, I couldn’t tell anyone about it for quite some time. It was such a preposterous supposition.

I hope others commencing their university courses find it just as significant in their lives as did I. The benefits can take a while to materialise but as I look back to that day 35 years ago, when I started, I see it as the pivotal moment of my whole life. It paid off. Good luck to all!

Writing without footnotes

Received wisdom on the use of footnotes in academic writing has shifted decisively during the course of my career. As a budding scholar, it was expected of me that I would use them. This was one of the markers of proper academic writing, I was told. Footnotes made it look scholarly such that an academic piece was visibly distinguishable from, say, a short story. In any draft paper, then, I had to make sure that I included footnotes. Preferably these would be more than just references, since there would be other ways of making those. Rather, you would have to think of some demi-substantial points so that your footnotes had content, though content the main argument of your paper could do without.

As we all now know, footnotes are a bit of a pain to read: a distraction that diverts us from the flow of the argument; an interruption, often for no more than a minor, orthogonal point.1 I realised that I rarely got something out of reading a footnote, though there were always tales of very important points made in footnotes,2 meaning that you could never just assume they added no value. I did eventually realise, however, that my favourite philosophy books were the ones that contained no footnotes, and barely any references, such as Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind.3 Such books allowed me, the reader, greater immersion in the argument, with which it was then easier to sympathise.

My rule now is to never use footnotes under any circumstances.4 I have a number of authored books under my belt that are entirely footnote-free. What is more, I think that the challenge of writing without footnotes has really helped my thinking. It forces me to order my thoughts in a strictly sequential form, to think hard about what really does, and really doesn’t, matter to my argument. It obliges me not to disappear down any rabbit holes, which, after all, are quite likely only to interest me rather than my reader.

Journal articles are a slightly different matter. I have seen practices change even here, though. Some journals were good, early on, at discouraging the use of footnotes to make substantial points. But practice still puzzles me since I still find some journals that like to use footnotes for the references, leading to scores of distracting footnotes per article. This means that some of my own work does still appear with footnotes, as is the editor’s choice. Why we can’t all just use Harvard referencing, I’ll never know.6

There remains a crucial test that I think is always decisive. Is it really worth saying what you want to say? If it is, then you should include it in the main text of your article or chapter. If not, then it’s not worth bothering your reader to go hunt for it in a footnote. It follows from this that we really should do without footnotes altogether.7 I used to think of footnotes as adding credibility to my work, since they were a way of showing that I understood the rules of the game.9 10 11 Now I feel confident enough to think the opposite. Footnotes detract credibility since I take them as an indicator that the author was not able to un-jumble their thinking at that point and order it sequentially. We are sometimes dealing with very difficult matters in our work, so I understand how it happens, but I do also think that footnotes might have been better just left as the author’s personal annotations and seen by no one else.12


1. We all know the problem. You’re following the train of argument, see the footnote, and then have to look to the bottom of the page and read what is essentially, a diversion and dead end. Then you have to find your way back to the main text and try to remember your previous place in the thread. Even worse is if the footnotes are relegated to endnotes, meaning that you have to go hunting in the back of the book, often for scant reward, and then recall where you had first come from.

2. Such as Bishop Butler’s devastating refutation of Hobbes.

3. Hutchinson, 1949.

4. The only possible exception I would make to this would be to credit an idea to someone who had given me it in discussion.5

5. Though even this can usually be accommodated in the main text (perhaps in a bracket).

6. Apologies to Chicago and Vancouver, but you just don’t cut it.

7. There really is only one exception I make to this rule, which is to give a list of acknowledgments at the end of the paper, since these are clearly not a part of the paper itself.8

8. There really is only one exception I make to this rule, which is to give a list of acknowledgments at the start of the paper, since these are clearly not a part of the paper itself.7

9. Obviously this raises questions of unequal power dynamics as early career academics feel they have to conform to the accepted practices of their field to be taken seriously.

10. I increasingly see the power of viewing such issues as Wittgensteinian language games: in this case a written language game rather than a spoken one.

11. Are we allowed multiple footnotes on the same point? That’s where it leads.

12. Maybe take this point out. I’m not sure it’s the right note on which to end.