1. What did you do on your placement?
During my placement at the Philosophy Department of New York University, I worked on my research project together with Professor Crispin Wright: the focus of my placement was to develop particular skills, which are necessary for the completion and success of my research project. In particular, I have been training in a specific epistemological methodology: I engaged with the epistemological theory of cognitive projects, developed by Professor Wright, and I started to learn how to apply this particular framework to the theoretical questions of my research project. In practice, we met on a regular basis at the Philosophy Department to discuss either (papers about) the theory of cognitive project, or to the discuss my projects questions, trying to figure out how to apply his framework to this area of philosophy. This meant that I had to read papers every week, write down my thoughts and notes, provide some structure, and then send everything to him as a preparation to our meeting. In addition, I also participated to the department research seminars.
2. How did you find the placement?
In general I am very satisfied with the placement; the aim of this placement was to start to develop particular skills in epistemology, which are very specific and cannot be learned elsewhere. I definitely fulfilled this aim. Now I know how the framework of cognitive projects works and I am starting to understand how it could be applied to my particular area of philosophy. In general, I am learning how to investigate my area of research from an epistemological perspective. I really liked the city, the university and the people at the Philosophy Department. Although working became considerably more difficult from March onwards, due to the Corona pandemic, I am happy with the level of training provided by NYU and with Professor Wright’s commitment to work with me.
3. What were the partners like to work with?
Working at NYU has been very demanding; it is one of the best Philosophy Departments in the world, so they expect a high level of commitment. But being one of the best Philosophy Departments both staff and students were very good. Everyone at NYU has also been very nice to me, understanding, and ready to help with anything research related by also on the personal level.
4. What advice would you give to other students seeking out similar opportunities?
My advice is to not be afraid not to be good enough and just trust yourself. Being “an outsider” for 4 months in one of the best centres for Philosophy, I have been afraid of not being able to be as good as expected. But the best thing to do in these situations really is to talk to the students, the staff, and just be a part of the group. My second piece of advice concerns the placement’s preparation: it is best to contact the institution where the placement is planned at least a year before the placement; it just takes so much time to get in contact with everyone involved.
5. What do you wish you’d known at the start of the placement that you now know?
I wish I’d known more about the living costs of a city such as NYC; this city can be extremely expensive.
6. What outputs will come from this opportunity?
During this placement, I didn’t work directly on my research project, but rather on the methodology needed to assess my research properly. Therefore, I would say that the outputs of my placement are methodological; during this training I started to learn how to address the epistemological dimension of objectives in theoretical philosophy. This methodology isn’t only relevant for my research project but is also applicable to general theoretical questions in the philosophy of mathematics, of logic and in the philosophy of science.
7. What was the impact of the opportunity (for your work and beyond!)?
In general, I think that having begun this training in epistemology at NYU is going to help me throughout my future research, even beyond this particular project. I think, the biggest impact at the moment is in terms of new possibilities: new possibilities and ways of developing my research, to develop further, future work in epistemology after my research project. But also new possibilities of collaborations, research and grow together with new researchers.
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