Jill has a masters degree in philosophy. Her specialization is logic. She is employed by a mining company.
You may well ask why a masters in philosophy would be employed by a mining company. Joe, the COE of MM Mining has decides to take a chance. MMM has had a number of unsuccessful projects attributed to poor decisions. Joe intuits that bad logic, or even the absence of logic, is behind the bad decisions that have sunk otherwise potentially successful projects. He decides it is time to hire somebody who is a specialist in logic and clear thinking. Jill catches his attention, he decides to take a chance, and he hires her.
At the airport, on her first visit to a mine, Jill picks up a new book by her favorite modern philosopher, Daniel Dennett. The book is Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, a collection of seventy-seven tools for thinking clearly. This book will tell you how to clear away the clutter of sloppy thinking and decision making.
She also reads Steven Vick’s great book Degrees of Belief, Subjective Probability and Engineering Judgment. This is the book that started and still underpins any enquiry into the nature of tailings facilities and their management via an understanding of the role of probability, judgment, and ultimately decision making in the mining context. She learns a lot from it, and we urge you to get a copy and read it too.
Joe has lent her his precious copy of Judgement in Geotechnical Engineering: The Professional Legacy of Ralph B. Peck. He has recommended that she read it, for while it has nothing to do with mines, it deals with large geotechnical engineering projects, and, in his opinion, tailings, waste rock, and heap leach facilities are today the biggest geotechnical structures being built.
On the plane home, Jill reads The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell, probably the greatest philosopher of the last century. He writes on decision making:
When a difficult or worrying decision has to be reached, as soon as all the data are available, give the matter your best thought and make your decision, do not revise it unless some new fact comes to your knowledge. Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.
I wonder if any mining company will hire a philosopher.
PS. I do know a lady philosopher who works for a company providing services to the mining industry. She is amazingly smart. efficient, and able. I recommend mining companies seek out the philosophy graduates.