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PHD-DESIGN  August 2009

PHD-DESIGN August 2009

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Subject:

Re: Structure for practice based PhD

From:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 Aug 2009 08:43:38 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (103 lines)

Hi, Lubomir, 

While I agree with many of the issues you raise, I want to offer one
correction and a few differences.

The PhD is not an Anglophone invention, but a creation of the German
Humboldt university reforms of 1805. While Anglophone universities adopted
the PhD for many purposes and many fields, the Anglophone universities also
have a rich history of professional degrees -- MD, JD, ThD, PsyD, and so on.
The Germans and other Europeans also have other professional degrees, DIng,
DTech, and the like.

But "philosophy" in the sense of the award does not refer to philosophy as a
discipline or field. It uses the term philosophy as an organized body of
knowledge -- natural philosophy, for example, being the old term for natural
science. Prior to the PhD, many university systems awarded a degree DrPhilos
much closer to the higher doctorates, using such degrees as licensiate or
magister for the level above MA. The 3-year PhD is roughly equivalent to the
old Norwegian magister or the old Swedish licensiate, and the Germans
therefore required the habilitation as the higher stage above a PhD for
anyone qualifying for senior academic appointment. This, too, is slightly
different in different nations, as the licensiate qualified one to teach at
university before completing the doctorate.

So please don't blame this entirely on the Anglophones. The ancient British
universities refused to award the PhD until just about the 20th century,
believing that the MA was more than good enough. 

For that matter, Kant's Conflict of the Faculties -- the book that led to
the Humboldt reforms -- argued that the lower and fundamental faculty of the
sciences and philosophy was the core faculty of the university, while the
higher faculties of law, medicine, and theology were the specialized
faculties representing the professions rather than representing knowledge.
It is the lower faculty that awarded the philosophical degrees, where the
higher awarded the doctorates of law, medicine, and theology.

All this being even more confusing the farther back we go, when the terms
"master," "professor," and "doctor," we often somewhat interchangeable --
and at the least, they differed depending on where you studied.

On the key points, of course, I appreciate your note and thank you for a
valued clarification. I hope for the day when I will get my honorific title.
Thomas Aquinas was known as Doctor Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor), Duns
Scotus as Doctor Subtilis (the Subtle Doctor), and Roger Bacon was known as
Doctor Mirabilis (the Wonderful Doctor). Sort of like professional
wrestlers. My favorite was Anselm of Canterbury -- Doctor Magnificus (the
Magnificent Doctor). I'm quite sad that the title is taken.

Yours,

Ken

Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS
Professor
Dean

Swinburne Design
Swinburne University of Technology
Melbourne, Australia

Telephone +61 3 9214 6755 
www.swinburne.edu.au/design


On Thu, 6 Aug 2009 22:28:56 -0400, Lubomir Savov Popov <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

--snip--

The whole confusion stems from an Anglophone practice to use the term Ph.D.
(Philosophy Doctor) for everything. It is an anachronism. It has made sense
when it has been used initially. After that, it has been used in so many
areas, that in some areas it sounds strange and in others it is a misnomer.
Another issue is that the Anglophone economies and educations systems are so
strong that they practically wiped out any other competitors, different
conceptualizations, and practices. In such moments, I realize that a little
bit of diversity might be of great help to Anglophone culture, to realize
where it is, where it is going, and why it is going there. All that said, I
want to express my admiration for the achievements of that culture. It is so
powerful that even I oscillate terminologically between several conceptual
systems, as you will notice in this post.

--snip--

Of course, both in engineering and in architecture there is place and
actually there are a lot of "pure" Ph.D. dissertation situations. For
example, when studying basic science problems, theoretical problems, social
factors problems, and so forth. The professions have so many aspects and
levels that even in a single profession we can see a multitude of
dissertation types of different nature and tradition.

Another problem is the insistence of some faculty to accept an artifact as a
research product. The artifact or oeuvre by itself is not research. It is
not even practice-based research. And the artifact by itself doesn't produce
new knowledge. That is one of the logical fallacies that many people follow.
Or, maybe it is not a fallacy, but a deliberate promotion of personal
interests. The scholarly act is the act of knowledge production. In order to
have a scholarly act, we need to analyze, explicate, and present the
artifact and the process of making in accordance to particular
methodological standards and criteria that are developed in the
discipline/profession.

--snip--

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