I’VE BEEN DOING this philosophy thing for a few years now.
I’ve done the college. I’ve done the book. I do the blog.
In fact, this isn’t my first philosophy blog.
I had another one. It was called The Kantian Egoist. I ended that blog to start up this blog, The Mindless Philosopher. I think I’ll be doing this for awhile.
Earning a philosophy degree, writing a book, and writing a philosophy blog for a few years – that’s a lot of years thinking about things. In particular, it’s a lot of years spent thinking about philosophy.
And after thinking about philosophy for a few years, I’ve come to a few conclusions.
Twenty five, to be exact.
Some of these thoughts I hold to with more conviction than others. Some are just thoughts that popped up in my head and I probably won’t believe in a couple of months.
I think these few things:
1. Don’t get into philosophical arguments with people who aren’t philosophers.
Philosopher/non-philosopher arguments never turn out well – especially for the philosopher. If you feel the need to use some philosophical jargon coming on, just stop talking. Things can only go downhill from there.
2. Everything ultimately is philosophical.
3. Philosophy isn’t dead or dying. It’s just having a really bad hair day.
The very act of declaring philosophy is dead is a philosophical statement. ‘Nuff said.
4. There’s nothing wrong with having a philosophy degree.
5. Everyone is a little bit of a philosopher, and not just when they’re drunk.
6. Philosophers drink way too much alcohol… and coffee.
7. There is a real problem with academic philosophy.
Academic philosophy is out of touch with what’s going on outside academia. Professional philosophers spend too much time focusing on theory and not enough time on real people in the real world.
8. Accept the fact that there will always be people who think what you do is useless.
Like they say, haters gonna hate.
9. Analytic philosophy will make you a better thinker, but continental philosophy will tell you what’s going on.
Or at least to figure out David Lynch flicks.
10. There is a real possibility that the postmodernists won.
11. Dropping Hegel’s name in conversation will never make you appear smarter. Even when talking to philosophers.
12. Whatever you think you know about Nietzsche’s philosophy, you’re probably wrong.
If someone tells you they’re a nihilist, they probably ain’t.
13. If you ever see these on someone’s bookshelf, RUN.
14. Nobody’s arguments are a declarative statement, supported by a set of premises. Nobody in the real world argues like that. Not even philosophers.
15. There’s more to philosophy than what you read in college.
16. Read the German philosophers. You won’t like it, but you’ll appreciate it after to do.
Well, at least try to read the German philosophers. We’ll understand if you skip Hegel.
17. Read some Eastern philosophy. Heck, read philosophy that wasn’t written by a man or a western European.
18. Don’t forget that you’re a part of all of this too. Philosophy is not a spectator sport.
19. If you’re on a bus and you want people to leave you alone, read Kant. Better yet, read Hegel.
20. If you want to start a conversation, read Marx or Rand.
21. Something may sound profound, but it ain’t always philosophical.
22. All philosophical theories/schools of thought have been depicted in at least one episode of Star Trek.
Name an episode: Second Chances, A Measure of a Man, The Omega Directive… any episode. IT’S ALL PHILOSOPHY.
23. Woody Allen is not the end-all, be-all of philosophical filmmaking. Its ok if you’re not a fan.
You can learn a bit from watching old Toho Godzilla flicks, too.
24. Consulting Wikipedia and/or watching YouTube philosophy videos is acceptable to explain/clarify a philosophical theory or concept (so long as neither is your only primary source).
25. And lastly, I thought this: Never let anyone make you feel like your well-reasoned, philosophy-based ideas, observations, or arguments aren’t relevant or are worth less because you studied “philosophy”.
Philosophy is the mother of medicine. Philosophy also is the mother of science. And philosophy is the mother of political science and economics. Plato’s Republic influence on politics stretches from ancient Greece to Washington D.C. today. Adam Smith called himself a moral philosopher. Aristotle’s philosophy not only shaped the Catholic Church but also shaped western civilization. Whether folks want to believe it or not, philosophers and their irrelevant, navel-gazing thoughts have shaped and influenced ideas and institutions since… well, since forever. If anybody gives me guff about studying philosophy or being a philosopher, I tell them to buzz off.
Or I can call the nay sayers “flat-headed, insipid, nauseating”, and “illiterate” – just like Schopenhauer said about Hegel.