matt is fun
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
  Two Views that Suggest the Primitiveness of their Supporters
1) The un-philosophical life is not worth living.

2) The Philosopher King is the ideal political leader.


Both of these views have origins in ancient philosophy, where cheerleading for philosophy was first included in the content of philosophy itself. I am more concerned with primitive people who are alive now and who subscribe to this shit, rather than with dead primitive people, so the following comments are aimed at the former, less dead group.

The first view 1) means either just “yah philosophy!”, or “yah philosophy and if you haven’t thought this also then your life is without value” or something in between.

People in other disciplines, it seems to me, are often too busy producing other things to spend their work time justifying their jobs. What is weird about this thesis, though, is not just the amount of time ‘philosophers’ spend defending it (when they could be doing work), but that philosophy is the kind of discipline with low enough standards to allow positive value judgments about it to count as philosophy itself.

I suppose evidence could support the weaker claim that philosophy helps people in ways x, y, and z. Guaranteed though, almost no one who advances this view has such evidence, and they probably wouldn’t even count it as philosophy if they had it.

View 2) is a combination of “yah philosophy” and an attempted power grab. It is very odd to me. I guess if you believe philosophy people are the smartest, best, and all that, then you also think that they should lead nations. This view, however, that philosophy people are so great (which certainly lacks empirical support), seems to be nothing more than the kind of shitty narrow discipline-egoism that you find in the mouths of many academic assholes. I am guessing that there are enough jerk-personalities in the sciences who would use science to advance the notion of Science Kings, if the discipline did not have strict rules that precluded such non-sense from counting as science.

So much the worse for philosophy—for 2000 years it has been unable to block self-congratulation from its content.
 
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