Psst. Come here. I want to tell you something.
Ready for it?
Here it is:
I hate reading philosophy.
I HATE READING PHILOSOPHY.
There. I said it.
There’s a perfectly legit reason for it.
Studying. Reading. Writing serious compositions about philosophy. I hate it.
It’s not because I don’t understand what I’m reading.
Except if I’m reading Bertrand Russell.
That mofo confuses me.
I hate reading philosophy because it’s boring.
Philosophy is boring.
It’s tedious and dull.
And there’s rarely any pictures.
Let’s face it, philosophy is boring. Philosophers are boring. People who aren’t philosophers but like to talk philosophically are beyond boring.
Nietzsche’s mustache is about as exciting as philosophy gets.
All philosophy might as well be written in comic sans.
Quick quiz: Who would you rather invite to a party, Ke$ha or Alvin Plantinga?
HERE’S ALVIN PLANTINGA:
AND HERE’S KE$HA:
Now honestly, who would you rather party with?
When I was a philosophy student, I would sit in class and think about anything other than philosophy.
I’d think about my growling stomach… My itchy right foot… How many names when singing The Name Game rhyme with cuss words… The uneven tile on the floor… Imagining what color and style of underwear my professors wore… Deciphering the lyrics to R.E.M’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”…
Why film adaptations of good Stephen King books rarely make good movies.
I’d do anything in class but read or think about philosophy.
I shouldn’t be saying this, but I managed to earn a degree in philosophy without ever actually reading a philosophy book. I’d rather watch philosophy on TV.
I honestly can’t comprehend a philosophical theory unless it relates to an episode of Star Trek.
Star Trek is awesome.
It’s interesting and exciting. There’s photon torpedoes, phasers, Vulcan neck pinches, android crew members, the Borg and Captain Kirk shouting, “KHHHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!”
It’s exactly the opposite of philosophy.
Ok. Do me a favor. Read this:
We may say, for example, that some dogs are white and not thereby
commit ourselves to recognizing either doghood or whiteness as
entities. ‘Some dogs are white’ says some things that are dogs are
white; and, in order that this statement be true, the things over
which the bound variable ‘something’ ranges must include some
white dogs, but need not include doghood or whiteness. On the
other hand, when we say that some zoological species are cross-
fertile we are committing ourselves to recognizing as entities the
several species themselves, abstract though they are. We remain
so committed at least until we devise some way of so paraphrasing
the statement as to show that the seeming reference to species on
the part of our bound variable was an avoidable manner of
Pretty boring, right?
I’m not going to tell you who wrote it other than to tell you it was written by a philosopher.
Ok, it was W.V.O. Quine. He wrote that.
Now read this:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Liked that, didn‘t you?
That’s because it’s Robert Frost. Frost was a poet.
The thing is, I managed to earn a philosophy degree without ever really reading a book.
Whoops. I shouldn’t have said that.
In case you haven’t figured it out or experienced it yourself, I didn’t read philosophy books because philosophy is boring!
To be honest, I can’t enjoy philosophy unless it relates to an episode of Star Trek.
Come on, admit it. You’d rather watch Star Trek than read ANYTHING philosophical.
Star Trek has EVERYTHING – there’s spaceships, space battles, photon torpedoes, phasers, the Vulcan neck pinch, the Borg, and Worf.
And if that’s not enough, there’s all those philosophical episodes:
The Measure of A Man
The Inner Light
Who Watches the Watchers?
In the Pale Moonlight
City On the Edge of Forever
All Good Things
That’s just a few.
With the notable exception of
that cinematic eye violation known as Star Trek: Insurrection, the philosophical undertones of Star Trek enhance the show’s excitement – it makes the show interesting.
Precisely the opposite of what you get in most philosophy.
Although you can intentionally mispronounce Immanuel Kant’s last name to sound like what Fifty Shades of Grey is all about, intentionally mis-doing anything else to Kant (or his name) won’t make reading Kant’s philosophy – or any other philosophy – un-boring.
Perhaps this means that philosophers should freshen things up a bit.
Maybe it’s time for philosophy to be a little less Plato’s Academy and go a little more Hollywood.
I would add the following suggestions:
- A reality TV show staring J-Woww and Slavoj Zizek
- Judith Butler would be as popular as Sandra Bullock if she showed a little side boob.
- An UFC match between Alvin Plantinga and Rampage Jackson
- Car chases
- A newly-discovered Martin Heidegger-Hannah Arendt sex tape
- A big-screen adaptation of Fear and Trembling staring Channing Tatum as Kierkegaard
- A Miley Cyrus concept album based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus
- A prime-time special of philosophical quotes delivered by Honey Boo Boo
I assume, if philosophers expect to enhance their reputation and increase their popularity, that they’ll abandon their academic ivory towers and follow my advice.
Ok philosophers, now it’s your turn.
I’ll tell y’all how it all works out.
1) Willard Van Orman Quine. “On What There Is” . From A logical Point of View. 1953, 1980. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Quine’s essay can also be found online at: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/On_What_There_Is.
2) Great American Poets: Robert Frost. 1986. Ed. Geoffrey Moore. NY: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. p34.