I stumbled on Tom Angier on his UCT page, but this page details his degrees more:

MPhil. in Philosophy (University College London, 1995), PhD in Philosophy (University of Cambridge, 2001),
PhD in Ancient Philosophy (University of Toronto, 2008).

  1. I grasp that a braggart may like the cachet of having 2 PhDs. But I'll assume that there are other modest reasons.

  2. Couldn't Dr. Angier have studied in Cambridge, whatever he studied in Toronto, by taking more time in Cambridge?

  3. In general, why'd you need 2 Philosophy PhDs?

  • 2
    Hmmm. Why do you suggest "braggart"? Seems both dismissive and presumptuous.
    – Buffy
    Mar 8 '19 at 12:07
  • 2
    His email is on the website you linked to. Why don’t you email him to ask him these questions instead of asking us to speculate about the motives of a person we know nothing about?
    – Dan Romik
    Mar 8 '19 at 12:37
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    When is 1 PhD in philosophy necessary?
    – Tashus
    Mar 8 '19 at 15:05

Just reading the two titles, those PhD's each have a different focus.

I assume that the Cambridge PhD is "modern"... And the Toronto one is prior to some defined date.

This means that Tom decided to augment or broaden his knowledge, perhaps due to interests gained in the first PhD. I'm guessing - only he knows why for sure.


Your wrong assumption may (or may not, as I don't know this person) be that he "needed" the PhD etc. Many people do PhDs because of interest to explore a new field -- not because they "need" it. There are people with 5 PhD degrees.

Also, why should someone have to study in Cambridge? Maybe he found the place boring after being there for so long or had some family reasons to live in Toronto. Or Toronto was cooler to him at that point. Many people put their private life before their studies.

Or the program in Toronto was just closer to his interests or he felt like the other program could give him an additional perspective.