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I read this question and the answers, and found it interesting: PhD thesis without acknowledgements

I would like to ask some follow-up questions to this topic.

Speaking for myself, I have a long time in front of me before finalizing my phd, but I would really like to skip the acknowledgements, for 3 different reasons.

1) I think there is something principally wrong for a phd student in thanking a supervisor. It is like saying thank you to your boss in public. Nobody can know if you thank him only because you are dependent on him. And to thank somebody in public that feeds you seems like selling your soul.

2) Everybody knows that a phd candidate can not do all the work himself. He doesn´t need to actually say to the general public that a lot of other people contributed. Everybody knows it. That doesn´t mean he is not a generous person, does it?

3) Regarding personal life, I´m not interested in sharing that with anybody in the acknowledgements. If you write acknowledges you must include your wife or girl-friend. So if you don´t have a wife or girl-friends, isn´t this a pretty good reason for skipping acknowledgements in your phd?

I´m not afraid of destroying my carreer by skipping the acknowledgements. What I am afraid of is to be looked at as a person who is not generous, or even a social moron.

I´m not a mathematician, I´m doing social sciences. Does anybody have good examples of people who have skipped the phd acknowledgements without being seen as ungenerous or a social moron witin social sciences or humanities? If so, could you paste the links to these theses?

Is it more socially accepted to skip acknowledgements for people who are unmarried/ single?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Wrzlprmft, EnergyNumbers, jakebeal, ff524 Oct 25 '15 at 19:01

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to Academia SE. Unfortunately there are several problems with your question: 1) You are asking many questions at once. 2) Your first question (Does anybody have good examples of people who have skipped the phd acknowledgements without being seen as ungenerous or a social moron witin social sciences or humanities?) requires evaluating somebody’s social status, which is opinion-based. 3) Your second question (Is it more socially accepted to skip acknowledgements for people who are unmarried/ single?) is either opinion-based or already answered by the question you linked. – Wrzlprmft Oct 25 '15 at 18:09
  • What you might ask about however (in my opinion) is about the possible consequences of skipping the acknowledgement, if you inform every person you would acknowledge of your opinion and that they should not take it personal (or similar). – Wrzlprmft Oct 25 '15 at 18:11
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    I think this question ultimately boils down to "Will someone who does not publicly express gratitude in situations where it is normal to do so be seen as ungenerous?," and that's not an academia-specific question. – ff524 Oct 25 '15 at 18:13
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    I'd say rethink it near the completion of the thesis.... you may think of all this questions as moot points (or moo points? it does make sense, right?) – Fábio Dias Oct 25 '15 at 18:36
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    It is like saying thank you to your boss in public — Yup. And not thanking your advisor in your thesis is like not thanking your boss in public. Which do you think would raise more eyebrows? Following a harmless social custom is not "selling your soul". – JeffE Oct 25 '15 at 20:51
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Some acknowledgments are mandatory for reasons of scholarly ethics: if anyone made a real intellectual contribution, then you have to acknowledge this to give credit (even if it doesn't rise to the level of coauthorship), just like in published papers. There's some wiggle room regarding what counts, but as a general rule you should mention anyone who contributed ideas, had lengthy intellectual discussions with you on your thesis work, or offered substantive feedback on a draft.

It's perfectly fine to restrict the acknowledgments to strictly academic matters. You don't need to mention friends, romantic partners, or family members, except to the extent they made academic contributions. They might feel left out if they were hoping to see their role in your life highlighted, but only you can judge whether that will be an issue in your own case.

It's common to thank your advisor even beyond what ethics requires, but this is not necessary. However, if you don't thank your advisor at all, it will suggest that you are disgruntled and feel your advisor's contributions don't merit acknowledgment (in particular, that your advisor didn't offer useful feedback or guidance).

And to thank somebody in public that feeds you seems like selling your soul.

Maybe it would for personal thanks (although this is very common), but academic acknowledgment is different. If it makes you feel better, you could try to word it carefully. For example, "This work would not have been possible without the supervision of [advisor], who guided me at every stage of this project: understanding the literature, carrying out field work, and writing the dissertation." It sounds pleasant and generous, while being a strictly objective description of what happened rather than expressing personal judgment or gratitude. (The other extreme is to write something fawning: "I am grateful to [advisor] for taking time away from more important projects to share his brilliant insights and wisdom with me, despite my unworthiness. I will never be able to repay this act of staggering generosity." I agree that this is problematic.)

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