Five years of my first Ph. D.: my experience at the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, UNED

On May 5th, 2017, I defended my first Ph. D., in Philosophy, at the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science (Spanish acronym: LHFC) of the National University of Distance Education (Spanish acronym: UNED), after four years of work thanks to a grant given by the Aragonese Government. Five years later, with much more life experience, I would like to express my views about my stay there.

First, I feel I could have done more at LHFC. Honestly, I did not arrive at my best personal moment, but personal reasons are hardly an excuse. With my current experience and in my present moment, things could have been different.

But at the same time, I did not receive proper support there. My advisor, Doctor Jesús Zamora Bonilla, was absent from his duties during the four years. I was lost, he gave me no path to follow -or better said, he gave me a different one every time we talked during the first year- and he was just trying to find a co-advisor to do his job. I only realized he was following my updates when he used them in a SEFA Congress presentation. And he seemed to be much more worried about political and writing development and promotion, than about researching, teaching, and advising. Luckily, he posed no trouble when I deposited the thesis. Honestly, I do not understand why to accept a Ph. D. student if you will not dedicate him time enough.

A different opinion deserves Doctor David Teira Serrano, the Head of Department at that time, with a bad reputation that I could experience in my first department meeting, when another professor and he told each other to “fuck off”. However, he was always helpful to me, he helped me so much with my first publication, and he gave me some pieces of advice that I considered useless at that time, but that turned out to be astonishingly useful over time.  

I was also lucky of meeting great researchers at the department, and one of them, Cristian Saborido admitted twice that “they could have done more with me” -honestly, if you are going to say that and then you will do nothing, it is better to shut up and leave hypocrisy away. It was also sad to meet great researchers and people that could not flourish in such a negative context.

One day I was talking to a Galician predoc colleague about how difficult was to live in Madrid with a salary of 1,000 euros. Last two years I decided to live in Zaragoza, and I went to Madrid once or twice a week. There was no other option: something people from Madrid did not take always into account in informal discussion.  And UNED is a state university, not a Madrid university -the same university in which I pursued my second Ph. D., in Philology, as an on-line student, in a better personal moment and with two better advisors, Doctor José Ramón Carriazo Ruiz (UNED) and Doctor Jorge Mojarro Romero (UST, Manila).

In short, after five years of amazing professional and vital experience in much better contexts (2017-2022), now I feel I arrived in a bad place at a bad moment when I did my Ph. D. in Philosophy at the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science at UNED. I feel I could have done more there. I feel they did not help me as they could. But far from being a trauma, it was another life experience to acquire both personal and research skills, to learn to differentiate among friends, enemies, and -the trickiest ones- false friends.

Note: Someday I will talk about the selection procedures there at LHFC.