My advisor recently mentioned that the point of publishing throughout your PhD is so your committee doesn't have to read your dissertation to determine whether it's sufficient for a PhD--if you have enough publications in peer-reviewed conferences/journals, the committee can just rubber stamp the dissertation without effort. For context, the field is computer science and engineering.
Is really the point? Obviously publishing work throughout the PhD is important, but to me this seems a dumb reason. I thought the point was to be continually learning and developing as a scholar, not to publish a series of half-baked papers so your committee can avoid reading your work several years down the line. Perhaps I am being idealistic.