Night of the Living STANS

IF I’VE LEARNED anything from my years spent interacting with folks online, it’s this: all fandoms are awful.

I’m not joking. Most are pretty bad.

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JUST SAY THE WORDS “RUNNING ZOMBIES” IN A ROOM FULL OF GEORGE A. ROMERO FANS AND WAIT…

Take a look around the interwebs and you’ll see there’s a good reason why they invented the phrase TOXIC FANDOM.

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NOT CALLING OUT RICK AND MORTY FANS EXCLUSIVELY (or this young man in the photo in particular), BUT THAT WHOLE MC DONALD’S MULAN DIPPING SAUCE THING WAS NOT THE FANDOM’S FINEST MOMENT…. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all fandoms are bad (although I just did).
Communing with others who share mutual interests is a good thing. More than half of
my Facebook friends are people I’ve “met” in Star Trek fan groups.
Yes. I’m still on Facebook.
Actually, Star Trek fans are pretty toxic, too.
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JUST SAY THE NAME MICHAEL BURNHAM IN A STAR TREK FAN GROUP AND WAIT…

Trekkies, Little Monsters, Swifties, the KISS Army, the Beyhive, Beliebers — just a few
monikers of popular fandoms. 

 

Question: Are Game of Thrones fans called anything? What about The Walking Dead

fans? What are they called?

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THERE’S GOTTA BE A NAME FOR SOMEONE WHO DOES THIS TO THEIR CAT

Some fandoms’ fans are so devoted they’ve shot past being mere fans;

they’re STANS.

A“stan”, according to Urban Dictionary, is:

crazed and or obsessed fan. The term comes from the song Stan by eminem. The term Stan is used to describe a fan who goes to great lengths to obsess over a celebrity.
These people are fans:
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THIS guy is a stan.
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I’m going to assume that most fans (and even most stans) are harmless, but there are
devoted fans out there.
Almost anything or anyone that’s popular has a fandom. Almost anything or anyone with
one notable exception: PHILOSOPHERS.
In all my years of mindless philosophizing  I have never once heard of or seen a
philosophy fandom.
I mean, Rule 34 of the internet says for every conceivable idea, there’s a porn of it.  I’m
pretty sure that there’s a fandom corollary — for every thing in pop culture, there’s a
fandom of it. Sounds like a reasonable to assume, right?
…and it’s not like philosophy has never been popular. I mean, Socrates had his fans
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ANY GROUP OF FOLLOWERS WHO’D SHOW UP TO WATCH A GUY KILL HIMSELF ARE A PRETTY DEVOTED BUNCH

Glaucon probably was a stan, tho.

 

I mean, think about it for a minute. Philosophy (well… Western philosophy, anyway) has

been around since at least the 6th century BCE, and is the mother of ALL disciplines, but

has there ever once been a PhilosophyCon? Do philosophy fans have clever fandom-

based nicknames? Socrateers, Aristotoholics, Hegelites…?

Is there philosophy cosplay?

Wait — there is philosophy cosplay. But it usually looks like this:

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NOT KNOCKING THESE GUYS. THIS IS PRETTY GOOD PHILOSOPHY COSPLAY

What happens when you put a couple of devoted Kant fans in a room? Do they disagree?

Do Kantian disagreements ever turn violent? Probably not.

Oh wait, they have*

I guess at least Immanuel Kant has stans.

So… at least Immanuel Kant has a toxic fandom.

In Russia, anyway.

 

Ok…. Russian Kantian gun fighting stans aside, maybe the reason why philosophy

fandoms aren’t like Rick and Morty or Selena Gomez fans is because philosophy fans

aren’t like Rick and  Morty or Selena Gomez fans. Philosophy fans, kantian Russians

aside, aren’t very enthusiastic people. They may feel passionate about philosophy, but

they aren’t very passionate about philosophers. And even when they’re passionate about

philosophy,  philosophy fans are pretty subdued about it.

 

Russian Kant stans aside.

 

That Slavoj Žižek-Jordan Peterson debate was hyped to hell and back and it pretty much

just looked like this: 

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TWO BROS JUST CHATTIN’

Ok… I’m pretty convinced Mark Hamill has been doing Žižek cosplay for a few years…
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Well… there is ONE thing Rick and Morty and philosophy fans have in common: but to
understand you gotta have a high I.Q.

Sorry kid.

You see, Tay Sway can shake if off
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Most of the “popular” philosophers are…we… dead. Aristotle has been dead since 322
BCE!!!
He’s not shaking much of anything.
…and shaking is what gets you fans.
Not every philosopher has the natural charisma of cigarette smoking Albert Camus.
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ALBERT CAMUS, THE ZAC EFRON OF PHILOSOPHY

So what should philosophers do  if we want fandoms?
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THIS MIGHT HELP

For starters, philosophy seems to be doing a pretty good job sneaking philosophy into
pop culture with movies like The Matrix and tv shows like The Good Place.  Lots of people
out there play Bioshock.
That’s a video game.
… and with the new Bill and Ted flick in production, maybe we’ll see the return of
Socrates, to introduce a whole new generation of youths to the teachings of the ancient
gadfly of Athens.
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ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND, DUDE

After all, we got all those Rick and Morty fans out there with their high I.Q.s  (and all
those Star Trek fans who fancy themselves philosophical),  isn’t it time philosophers
cultivate their own potentially toxic fanbase?
Kantian Russian firearm enthusiasts aside.
I say, it’s time for philosophers to claim their place in the pantheon of (potentially toxic)
fandoms. It’s time to stop wasting time yelling “Pickle Rick!” in public places and put our
high I.Q.s to some good use! Why let those nerdy Trekkers claim all the philosophy??? It’s
time philosophers get shakin’! It’s time for Diogenes cosplayin’ and PhilosophyCon. It’s
time for a tv show about a band of gun-totin’, philosophy-quotin’, kickass lovers of
wisdom and a Chris Hardwick aftershow.
Did you know Chris Hardwick majored in philosophy in college?
He did, you know.
BENTHAMHEADS UNITE!!!!
It’s time to start dressing up our pets like our favorite French existentialist philosopher.
Why should The Walking Dead fans be the only fans who get to do this?
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SERIOUSLY, WHO DOES THIS TO THEIR PET????

If Daryl Dies…. eh… I’m not even watching anymore

WELL, FOLKS… IT’S APRIL and April means the season finale of my favorite tv show.

I couldn’t tell you what happened, tho.

I didn’t watch it.

I haven’t watched the entire season, actually.

That’s because it used to be my favorite tv show.

Unfortunately, the fate that has befallen so many others has finally happened to me: I am no longer a fan of The Walking Dead.*

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MEMORIES OF BETTER DAYS… AND BETTER EPISODES

I gotta admit, it’s been a fun ride. I was genuinely impressed for a few seasons.

Most tv shows these days have only a handful of good episodes.

Don’t get me wrong, The Walking Dead has never been as impressive as Westworld or Game of Thrones (or its fellow AMC drama series, Mad Men), but for a tv show that is — honestly speaking — a soap opera about zombies, The Walking Dead has supplied a more than expected bounty of philosophical stuff (and thangs) to think about.

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RICK GRIMES IS THINKING… PROBABLY BAD DECISIONS THAT WILL GET PEOPLE KILLED, BUT HE’S THINKING

Listen: if kinda sorta doing philosophy for awhile has taught me anything, it’s taught me that philosophical stuff is everywhere. Literally everywhere.

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Buzz gets it.

A great thing about studying philosophical stuff, believe it or not, is discovering philosophy in stuff that isn’t explicitly philosophical. Sure, you can spend your summer boning up on Kant’s categorical imperative or slogging through Hegel (that nobody wants to read or actually reads), but wouldn’t you rather not do that if you don’t have to do it?

Wouldn’t you rather just watch tv instead?

FUN WITH PHILOSOPHY: if, by watching a tv show, we can not only learn philosophical ideas easier, but also expose a greater number of people to philosophy, we are OBLIGATED to watch the tv show!

How do we know it’s an obligation? 

Utilitarianism.

And, utilitarianism is PHILOSOPHY.

In the whatever-many years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve written posts entirely about or have mentioned The Walking Dead in no fewer than 39 posts. I’ve used The Walking Dead to write about philosophical topics including (but not limited to):

  • Determinism vs. Free Will
  • Moral Culpability
  • The Ethics of Pacifism
  • Hobbes’ State of Nature
  • Socrates’ Philosopher-King
  • Gettier Problems
  • The Meaning of Life
  • The Metaphysics of the Undead
  • The Ethics of Loyalty
  • Justifying killing
  • The Ethics of Veganism
  • The Utilitarian/Hedonistic Calculus
  • The Trolley Problem
  • Moral consistency (or, if I’m writing about Rick Grimes, moral inconsistency)
  • …And some other philosophical stuff

And– although I got my problems with Negan, I can’t think of another tv series that has inspired me philosophically.

Wait a minute there is one.

Star Trek.

Another tv show is Star Trek. 

The thing is, unlike The Walking Dead, Gene Roddenberty created Star Trek with philosophical subtext in mind. Classic Star Trek episodes “The City On the Edge Of Forever”, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, “The Measure of a Man”, “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, and “Thine Own Self” are extra philosophical.

And who can forget this philosophical as hell episode?

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The episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” isn’t merely philosophical — it also features one of tv’s first interracial kiss.

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And THAT’S the reason why I used to like The Walking Dead. The philosophy wasn’t served up on a platter like an episode of Star Trek or a philosophy-themed series like The Good Place.

If you wanted to get down and philosophical while watching The Walking Dead, you had to dig for it. You had to put on a yellow miner helmet with a little flashlight and mine every that-didn’t-happen-in-the-comic-book moment (like that whole fiasco of Glenn’s under-the-dumpster plot twist, aka the moment everybody yelled “you’ve got to be kidding me!!!”) to find the philosophical subtext. Episodes like season 4’s “The Grove” and season 2’s “Judge, Jury, Executioner” demonstrate the ethical dilemma — do we kill one to save many –– as well as any other Trolley Problem scenerio. The characters Rick, Shane, The Governor, and Negan depict examples of leadership guided by ethical principles and the justifications each uses for their individual leadership styles — the benevolent autocracy of Rick Grimes, the seeming utopia of The Governor, the violent dictatorship of Negan…

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YEAH. , AIN’T JUST LUCILLE

I could (believe me, I did) go on for hours explaining why The Walking Dead wasn’t the best tv show on the air — it was the most GOOD show on tv.

By GOOD, I meant The Walking Dead  wasn’t just “good” because it was entertaining, but GOOD because it was philosophically beneficial.

Like, watching The Walking Dead gets you all up in the eudaimonia –philosophically beneficial.

I no longer do that.

I’m no longer a fan of the show.

So I don’t watch the show anymore.

For all I know, season 9 might have been philosophical AF. 

I hope it was.

Not likely, but I hope it was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

* for the one of you that was wondering exactly why I’ve stopped watching The Walking Dead, I can only explain my dis-fandom by saying the show caught a bad case of The Dumb.

Y’all that also don’t watch any more know what I mean.

Thinking ’bout Being Thankful (a philosopher’s Thanksgiving list)

IT’S THANKSGIVING DAY here in the States. It’s the day to gather with friends and family to give thanks for what we have — to remind ourselves that we are healthy, wealthy, and wise — despite our (my) repeated and humiliating failed attempts to keep up with the Kardashians.

That was my New Year’s resolution for this year — to keep up with the Kardashians.

I didn’t.

And for that, I am thankful.

That whole Kanye/Trump thing….

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YIKES.

Anyhoo.

As I said, Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks. I’m thankful for my friends and family. I’m thankful that I’m in relatively good health (as good as anyone eating the average American diet can be). I’m thankful, despite what seems to be a severe case of global stupidity, that I still got enough scruples to think.

And to think about thinking…

And to think about thinking about thinking…

And even though the world is seemingly infected with the dumb, there’s plenty of philosophical stuff I’m thankful for.

In fact, I’ve made a list.

  • I’m thankful that I decided to double major in college. I know it ain’t nothing but navelgazing, but I’m thankful I chose philosophy. My old professor was right. I don’t regret it.
  • Speaking of a philosophy major, I’m thankful I went to a college with a philosophy department.

If those Purge flicks were about getting rid of unwanted college majors, philosophy definitely would be the homeless guy left on the street after 7 p.m.

  • I’m thankful that my professors (and most of my classmates) were the kind of philosophy people that proved that most movies about philosophy and philosophy people are full of crap.
  • I’m thankful for Harry Stottlemeyer.
  • I’m thankful for blogging and self publishing.

Did I mention that I wrote a book?

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*The Mindless Philosopher — available at Amazon

  • I’m thankful that the internet gives any and every armchair, amateur, and occasional philosopher the chance to become the next Wittgenstein (or at least to pretend we’re that smart).
  • I’m thankful that philosophy is finally breaking away from the professional academic philosopher’s club.
  • I’m thankful that there’s such a thing as pop culture and philosophy.
  • I’m thankful that tv shows like The Good Place prove that philosophy not only isn’t just a bunch of old white dead guys, but can also be entertaining and relevant.
  • I’m thankful for Star Trek.
  • I’m thankful for The Walking Dead and Rick Grimes — and the opportunity to write year after year about the most philosophical inconsistent character on network television.

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Don’t let the Socrates beard fool you. Rick Grimes IS NOT the wisest man in Alexandria. Not even close.

  • I’m thankful I live in a world that needs welders and philosophers.
  • I’m thankful that a philosopher can challenge the gods and corrupt the young, and that “drinking the hemlock” is just a figure of speech.
  • I’m thankful there are still folks out there determined to bring philosophy to the masses.
  • I’m thankful for Zizek videos on YouTube.
  • I’m thankful for dank Hegel memes.
  • I’m thankful for my philosophical muse and bestest furkid (aka, the cat).

 

She thinks so I don’t have to.

Lastly, and most of all, I’m thankful for every one of you reading my blog. Whether you liked what you read or not, you clicked on and checked it out.

And for that, I truly am thankful.

 

 

 

 

 

I AM THE MINDLESS PHILOSOPHER

YEARS AGO, I WROTE a book.

It’s a philosophy book. Or rather, it’s a book about philosophy.

…kinda sorta about philosophy.

I mean, I use the word “philosophy”. And I quote Nietzsche.

That’s all you need for a philosophy book, right?

Now, when I was a philosophy student, I used to lament (sometimes – ok, a lot of times − out loud) the fact that most of the philosophy texts I was reading – the books every philosophy student is required to read – THE GREAT PHILOSOPHICAL TEXTS BY THE GREATEST PHILOSOPHICAL MINDS – were… well…boring.

Positively dull.

If earning a philosophy degree taught me anything, I learned that reading Immanuel Kant is the perfect cure for insomnia.

Reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason = snoozefest.

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KANT’S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON CAN ALSO BE USED AS A PILLOW OR AS A MAKESHIFT  BLUDGEONING DEVICE TO BE USED AGAINST WOULD-BE AXE MURDERERS

It’s not just mind-numbing boringness that philosophy has to overcome; people just don’t like philosophy or philosophers.

Americans are notoriously anti-intellectual. The average stereotypical American doesn’t trust a guy who’s a smarty pants. And really, who can blame them?

Smarty pants people invented the atomic bomb.

They also created reality tv.

If it wasn’t for that smart guy Dr. Phil, none of us would have any idea what “cash me ousside” means.

and if you don’t know, god bless you.

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THANKS, DR. PHIL

To be fair, Dr. Phil isn’t a philosopher. He’s a psychologist.

William James was a psychologist. And a philosopher.

William James was one of the fathers of Pragmatism.

Dr. Phil is pragmatic.

Therefore, I think, Dr. Phil IS a philosopher.

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CAN’T BE ANY WORSE THAN NICOMACHEAN ETHICS

Anyway… generally speaking, there’s always been a certain amount of negativity directed towards philosophers and philosophy.

Popular culture depicts philosophers as mopey navel gazers.

If society is correct, philosophers are only good at contemplating things that, in the long run, aren’t useful.

Schopenhauer was mopey.

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THE MAN EXUDES MISERY, DOESN’T HE?

Wittgenstein realized logical positivism was a dumb idea – even though he was the person who invented it.

Here’s the thing: even though people think philosophers are good only for thinking about things that no normal person cares about, there’s always been a place for the philosopher in society.

No one wants to admit it; the lovers of wisdom are an essential part of the way things are.

Just think about our popular culture for a minute.

You personally might not give two poops about philosophy, but if you exist right now, your “life” is the product of a long list of philosophers including (but definitely not limited to) Hegel, Nietzsche, Leo Strauss, John Stuart Mill, Plato, and Ayn Rand.

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LEO STRAUSS: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PHILOSOPHER YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF, AND LIKELY WON’T GOOGLE, EVEN AFTER READING THIS BLOG POST

You won’t find a critically praised tv show or movie, a failed economic theory, a celebrity-slash-deep thinker, or a dumb politician who hasn’t quoted, misquoted, paraphrased, borrowed or stolen an idea from a philosopher.

Don’t believe me?

You’d think with all the philosophy everywhere, that we would, as a society, be a little more positive about philosophers and philosophy.

Nope.

and I’ll tell you why…

Are you listening? Here’s the reason why:

PHILOSOPHERS ARE NOT FUN.

Seriously, philosophy types are not a very fun lot to be around.

At the risk of being ad hominem-y, take a good look at the nearest philosopher. LOOK.

Look at him. Or her.

Now, ask yourself – am I looking at a person who looks like they’d be fun to be around for more than five minutes?

Sure, a professional philosopher will insist that they’re fun and funny and all-around interesting people, but do not be fooled. A fun philosopher is fun – for a philosopher.

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I’E USED MY POWERS OF PHILOSOPHICAL SPECULATION TO DETERMINE THAT MOST PHILOSOPHERS ARE UNFUN — EXCEPT FOR DIOGENES. DIOGENES SEEMS LIKE A FUN GUY

The reason why philosophers are un-fun has to do with the natural disposition of philosophers. Philosophers operate under the delusion that every conversation must adhere to a set of absolute bullshit rules on how conversations are supposed to go.

NO AD HOMINEMS ALLOWED.

Philosophers use fancy “philosophical” words like invalid, fallacy, and this is complete bullshit, why are you even in my class!?!?! to describe conversations that don’t adhere to The Rules.

Pffft!

As much as I love the love of wisdom, I got tired of not having fun.

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I mean, sometimes rules are great. Rules come in handy. Philosophy is a rigorous intellectual pursuit and strict rules are needed to produce coherent theories and arguments.

Makin’ rules is what made Immanuel Kant the greatest Kantian philosopher of all time.

But, every once in a while, even when doing philosophy, you gotta let one rip.
and not just figuratively.

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I had a philosophy professor who told a story about a conversation they had with another philosophy professor on a plane. My professor said that the conversation got so deep in arguing over theory that another passenger sitting nearby asked them to stop talking.

The professors weren’t using vulgar language. They weren’t looking at pornography. They weren’t defecating on the food cart or having an overly enthusiastic debate to settle whether Negan or The Governor was the baddest bad guy on The Walking Dead.

They were discussing philosophy.

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FOR THE RECORD, THE BADDEST BAD GUY WAS GARETH. GARETH ATE PEOPLE!!!

In the ears and minds of a pair of philosophy professors, a discussion about philosophy is something suitable to engage in around an airplane full of strangers. However, for the other passengers, being stuck in the fuselage of a jet aircraft (involuntarily) listening to a couple of philosophy enthusiasts talk about whatever it is that overthinkers talk about, had made an otherwise somewhat entertaining plane trip intolerable. UNFUN.

PHILOSOPHERS MAKE THINGS UNFUN.

Think about it: think of all the fun times you’ve ever had. Were there party hats? Yes. Mixed drinks? Probably. Strippers dressed as firemen? Undoubtedly. Was a philosopher involved? Absolutely not.

No fun time ever involves philosophers.

…except for maybe Diogenes.

In his 1748 treatise An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, the Scottish philosopher, David Hume (1711-1776), wrote, “Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.” Hume understood the necessity of philosophy, but he also knew that there’s more to life than philosophy. Namely, Hume knew that life is to be enjoyed – to have fun.

In his last days, Hume told jokes, played cards, hung out with his friends.

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ANY GUY WHO WEARS A JACKET THIS FLASHY PROBABLY KNOWS HOW TO HAVE A FUN TIME

And that’s what brings me to this. This blog.

Serious philosophers take philosophy things way too seriously.

There’s nothing worse than telling a good philosophy joke to a philosophy pro and getting nothing but a blank stare because the mofo takes philosophy too seriously to see the humor.

 

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IS THIS THING ON?????

 

Some people study philosophy for the sake of understanding the theory. Some people get their jollies discussing theories.

This is not that kind of blog.

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I think a part of enjoying anything you love is to be willing to take a bit of the piss out of it.

So, what would a philosophy blog written by someone who avoids deep theoretical philosophical discussions… someone who thinks skimming is sometimes just as good as actually reading an actual book… someone who thinks the answer for any philosophical question can be found in an episode of Star Trek look like?

You’re looking at it.

This blog is my philosophical mission. I call it mindless philosophy.

I AM THE MINDLESS PHILOSOPHER.

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I am a philosopher; but, amidst all my philosophy, I am still a man.

I’ve said, from the moment I decided to start a blog, the first aim of The Mindless Philosopher is to have fun. I love philosophical discussions, but, truth be told, The Mindless Philosopher is not above name calling, writing pedantic blog posts of somewhat-deep philosophical analysis based on a misinterpretation, emotion-based arguments or the tried and true ad hominem attack.

 

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IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM, “YOU’RE A FUCKING MORON!” ALWAYS WORKS

 

Yeah, I know it’s not PHILOSOPHY, but PHILOSOPHY isn’t entirely the point of my blog. I’m not a professional philosopher, I don’t have tenure and I’m not getting paid to do this. I’m just a schmo who got an undergrad degree in philosophy and decided to use it as an excuse to watch way too much tv.

And write a blog about it.

Listen:

You know what’s got a lot of philosophy in it?

TV shows got philosophy. So do movies.
And music
And books

And former reality tv show hosts who become president of the United States.

 

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CAN’T BE ANY WORSE THAN PRINCIPIA ETHICA

Sure, taking philosophy out of academia and applying it to your favorite tv show can be a daunting task. It’s messy. Theories sometimes don’t work, and sometimes you have to stretch a theory to fit.

Sometimes you discover that your brilliant philosophical analysis of the brave protagonist has been an exercise in how to misapply a philosophical theory.

In the end, I guess if I had to explain why I do this – why an amateur deep thinker (like me) would dare to venture into the world of philosophy − I truly think that anybody can be a philosopher. You don’t need to attend university or have a PhD to ponder life’s big questions. If we’re talking about the human condition, it makes sense to bring philosophy out of the academy and into the real world.

Because that’s where the people are.

 

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LOOK AT ALL THESE NOT-PHILOSOPHER PEOPLE WAITING TO LEARN PHILOSOPHY!

 

Thinking philosophically doesn’t require that anyone read the complete works of Bertrand Russell or understand the Hegelian dialectic. You don’t need to know who Slavoj Žižek is or that he’s called the Elvis of philosophy to do philosophy.

Anybody can do philosophy. Anybody should do philosophy.

You see, we can use philosophy to understand things.

 

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AT LEAST TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE HELL THIS IS ALL ABOUT

 

If a philosophy degree is an interesting path to poverty, I might as well have some fun with it.

…and do a little bit of mindless philosophy along the way.

 

I (don’t) spy with my little eye

I’M NOT ONE FOR taking long road trips, but I’ve been in a few cars and I know the kind of games people play when they’re on a long-distance trip.

Along with the classic (and often painful) driving game “slug bug”

 

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THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN A TIRE BLOW-OUT IS SEEING ONE OF THESE ON THE HIGHWAY

 

back seat passengers and drivers also play the guessing game “I spy with my little eye”.

If you’ve never played the game before, “I spy with my little eye” goes like this:

The “spy” says “I spy with my little eye”, and the other passengers have to guess what the “spy” is looking at.

FOR EXAMPLE: I spy with my little eye, something that looks like… Logan?

 

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PHOTOSHOPPED? YES. BUT STRANGELY FUNNY

 

I’m not in a car right now, but I’m still looking around, spying with my little eye.

And I can tell you what I’m not seeing a lot of around here: philosophers.

I don’t see them anywhere.

 

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NOPE. NO PHILOSOPHERS HIDING UNDER THERE (mental note: philosophers are not monsters under my bed)

 

Now, before you tell me that Slavoj Žižek and Peter Singer are popular and are all over the inernet, or that Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett are two of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, I’m gonna say this: can you name all the Kardashian/Jenner sisters?

Be honest, you can name all five of them, right?

Easy peasy, right?

 

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COME ON, YOU KNOW YOU CAN NAME ALL FIVE (AND THEIR MOM, KRIS)

 

Now, name five living popular philosophers.

Next to impossible, isn’t it?

Now ask someone who knows nothing about philosophy to name one living philosopher.

Now ask them to name the Kardashian/Jenner sisters.

Easy peasy, right?

Suddenly Žižek ain’t so popular, is he?

Seriously tho, where are the public intellectuals?

Why don’t I see them on t.v.?

And why aren’t philosophers leading the charge???

The question is rhetorical. I actually know why.

Listen: having gone through the trials and tribulations of getting a philosophy degree, I’ve come to understand a few things. To wit: American culture absolutely HATES intellectuals.

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The reason why we hate intellectuals is because when we think of intellectuals, we envision a smarty pants; the know-it-all, talks a bunch but doesn’t actually do anything, who lords his university degree over his perceived intellectual inferiors like a better-than-you, my-knowledge-is-ordained-by-god (with a small “g” because god with the big “G” doesn’t exist) cudgel.

We’ve all met that guy. We can admit he’s awful.

*Alright, I noticed that I’ve been using the words “he”, and “him”, and “that guy” to describe arrogant intellectuals. I know I should be using gendered pronouns equally (or just removing gender altogether), but let’s be honest here, have you encountered an arrogant intellectual who wasn’t a him?

Here’s another thing: when we talk about philosophers in the public sphere, it’s important that we understand that there are (at least) two different definitions of what a philosopher is: the academic philosopher and the pop philosopher.

Academic philosophers and pop philosophers are not the same thing.

Academic philosophy, to its own peril, looks down of anything that stinks of popularity.

lysol

This is a problem for academia in general.

I recall a conversation I had years ago with a former professor after I wrote my book.

Did I mention that I wrote a book?

Anyway, during the conversation with my former professor, I learned the harsh truth of writing about philosophy. You see, philosophy is an a-c-a-d-e-m-i-c topic − and writing about academic topics requires an advanced degree. I ain’t got an advanced degree.
Therefore, my book isn’t legit philosophy.

That kinda sucks.

My book is well researched. I have citations. At least some of my thoughts are original.
But in the end, I wasted devoted a year and a half of my life researching and writing a book that I would have had more success at philosophy doing Friedrich Nietzsche cosplay.

 

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AND YOU THOUGHT I WAS JOKING ABOUT NIETZSCHE COSPLAY

 

Alas, without an advanced degree, I will never be a professional philosopher.

Professional (academic) philosophical writing is relegated to the realm of peer-reviewed journals, and the price of admission into that world is a PhD.

For a group of people who deal with how people think, this is a pretty stupid thing to do.

Shouldn’t the love of wisdom be for everybody?

In his essay Philosophy for Laymen, Bertrand Russell wrote:

even in the time that can easily be spared without injury to the learning of technical skills, philosophy can give certain things that will greatly increase the student’s value as a human being and as a citizen.

Russell believed that philosophy should be accessible, if only to help people to make their lives better.

Russell died in 1970.

In Russell’s absence, philosophy has taken a turn toward the (even more) technical, and unfortunately, the philosophical nomenclature isn’t easily understandable to those who aren’t academically trained.

That’s not by accident.

Some philosophers, like the late German-American political philosopher, Leo Strauss (1899-1973), intentionally wrote in obscure and difficult-to-understand language to make their philosophy indecipherable to the average reader. For some philosophers, doing philosophy is a member’s only enterprise.

 

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DON’T WORRY, HOMER. YOU AIN’T SUPPOSED TO GET IT

 

In Strauss’ case, the members of his philosopher’s only club were his fellow University of Chicago-trained neo-conservatives.

In short, laymen philosophers need not apply.

The unfortunate, but intended result is, modern philosophers dwell nearly exclusively in the halls of academia. Academic philosophers don’t (or perhaps refuse to) engage with the public. Non-academic folks can’t understand academic philosophy (because they don’t have the technical training), so professional philosophers don’t bother teaching philosophy to people outside of the university.

The ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle established the first professional philosopher-making factories, the Academy and the Lyceum (respectively), to produce academic philosophers and that’s exactly where modern-day philosophers intend to keep philosophers and philosophy!

Any philosophy written or discussed outside of the academy or by unsanctioned persons is “pop philosophy”.

Pop philosophy is trivial; pablum for philistines. pandering to the lowest common denominator.

You ever have a “philosophical” conversation about an episode of Star Trek?

Yep. Pop philosophy.

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BTW: lowest common denominator = you and me.

Academia, on the other hand, is the REAL THING.

Spend any time with an academic philosopher and you’ll realize academia’s contempt for pop philosophy.

If you want to be a legit philosopher, you gotta get published in a peer-reviewed academic philosophy journal. Publishing is not just a goal, it’s the goal. One is a real philosopher if and only if a group of experts (aka, other academic philosophers) certify that you’re also an expert.

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Philosophy has become the Cult of the Credential.

Unfortunately, with the absence of academic philosophers in the public discourse, we’ve seen the emergence of bro philosophers.

Bro philosophers, mind you. Not PhilosophyBro.

Public intellectual/philosophical conversation is dominated by so-called regular Joes who champion the intellect of the average man. Bro philosophy prides itself on its rejection of the advanced degrees and academic standards “required” for critical thought*. It rails against the arrogance and political correctness of academia.

 

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PICTURED: BRO PHILOSOPHER IN TRAINING

 

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. In fact, I encourage regular Joes and Janes doing philosophy.

That’s what this blog and my book are all about.

Did I mention that I wrote a book?

But why aren’t philosophers doing this? Why are philosophers not jumping in and doing philosophy with the bros?

Why is it that there is not one academic philosopher as popular as Jordan Peterson or Sam Harris?

Perhaps money, a life goal in the non-academic world, isn’t an acceptable goal for the professional, academic philosopher?

Maybe it really is all about the wisdom?

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The wise academic philosopher, Daniel Dennett, is estimated to be worth about 700,000 bucks.

The popular philosopher, Jordan Peterson is worth $16 million.

FUN FACT: If you’re curious, Peter Singer is worth an estimated $2 million.

A decent amount of dough for an academic philosopher, but still considerably less than Peterson.

Although I think it’s safe to assume that academic philosophers, like anyone else who enjoys having a roof over their head, food in the fridge, and electricity, appreciate a nice paycheck at the end of the week, I also suspect that the lack of academic philosophers in the public sphere is really rooted in the academic philosopher’s avoidance of the perception as pop philosophers, not a rejection of fortune.

Unfortunately, because academic philosophers reject the currency of pop philosophy (namely pop culture), philosophers don’t keep track of pop trends. That makes it difficult to drop justified true belief bombs on the Dr. Phil show — especially when you have no idea who Dr. Phil is.

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I remember when I was a student. I did not have the most culturally astute philosophy professors.

Of course, I’m not saying that every philosophy professor should have a favorite member of One Direction

If your favorite member isn’t Zayn you’re not even worth talking to.

 

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SERIOUSLY, IF ZAYN MALIK IS NOT YOUR FAVE, DON’T EVEN BOTHER TALKING TO ME

 

but an awareness of what’s going on outside of the university may help with things.

Things like communicating with people…who don’t know or care who Wittgenstein is.

Or, if only to prove that philosophy is still relevant to popular culture.

(so that your philosophy department isn’t shut down).

The lack of academic philosophers in the public sphere has left an opening for others, sometimes less qualified, to slip through.

Philosophy bros.

 

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PHILOSOPHY BROS

 

You see, there’s nothing wrong with laymen getting involved with philosophy. A slave can be just as wise as a devotee of Socrates. However, there’s a risk we take when we the make average Joe and Jane popular philosophers – sometimes average folks have no idea what in THE FUCK they’re talking about.

 

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EXACTY, DR. PHIL. EXACTLY

 

And as any of us who has ever sat in a classroom with a fellow philosophy student who has no CLUE what they were talking about can tell you, people who don’t think right about things can end up doing more harm than good.

 

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NOT GONNA SAY AYN RAND….AHHHGGGGHHH!!!!! I SAID IT

 

Although philosophy should be for everyone, it’s also useful to get advice from the experts
…at least sometimes.

Academic philosophers know the formal rules of philosophy. Because they’re trained in the academy, academic philosophers are familiar with the theories and how to think about the theories critically, and more importantly — how to think about and apply the theories correctly.

And yes, academic philosophers know the correct philosophical nomenclature to use.

That comes in handy when using words like “valid”, “argument”, “logically follows”, or “intuition”.

If you’re talking to a academic philosopher, these words might not mean what you think they mean.

inconceivable

If I want to discuss refrigerator repair, I’ll go to a refrigerator repairman. If I want to know about the correct application of utilitarian ethics in a trolley problem scenario, I’ll look to someone who studied utilitarian ethics.

Just like churches realized that they needed to appeal to the masses to retain power popularity, academic philosophy needs to get hip with the times. Academia needs to ditch the ivory tower and jump into the pop cultural cesspool that is Dr. Phil, Star Trek, and YouTube clickbait thumbnail reaction vids.

Philosophers have a responsibility to teach the people.

And the people watch The Big Bang Theory**.

I think Žižek would be great on that show.

 

 

*it might be worth noting that Plato and Aristotle didn’t have college degrees. But then, it’s also worth noting that at that time there were no academic degrees.
** The Big Bang Theory (CBS) is the highest rated network English-speaking tv show in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:
https://networthtimes.com/richest-actors/daniel-c-dennett-net-worth/
https://networthpost.com/net-worth/jordan-peterson-net-worth/
https://networthpost.com/net-worth/peter-singer-net-worth/
https://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/br-lay-philosophy.html

WHY I COULD NEVER CUT IT AS A VULCAN

AS MUCH I ENJOY philosophy, there is one thing in philosophy that I truly hate: Logic.

I’m not talking about the kind of logic someone is talking about when they say that eating a hot dog without ketchup is the only logical way to eat a hot dog or when we say washing your hands after using the restroom is “logical”.

One “logical” act is just a matter of taste and the other is what any human being even the least bit concerned with being sanitary would do.

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WELL… AT LEAST SHE’S WASHING SOMETHING

There are plenty of things we say are “logic” or “logical” that aren’t logic or logical at all.

I’m talking about the kind of logic that philosophers do. Philosophical logic.

I hate THAT logic.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that logic is the bane of my existence. I’m not good at logic.

At all.

I flunked logic.

But they still gave me a degree in philosophy.

Remember kids: bullshit is better than logic.

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Despite my utter failure at all things logic, I still look for ways to use philosophy in my daily life while avoiding logic.
Which is a fairly easy thing to do on the internet, actually.

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However, instead of bringing me relief, my avoidance of logic has become somewhat of a problem for me.

You see, here in the U.S. philosophy is all about analytic philosophy.

The philosophy with all that LOGIC.

Our heroes are dudes like Frege, Carnap, Quine, and Russell.

Russell wanted to make philosophy more like math.

Something else I hate.

I. HATE. MATH.

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So you understand why sucking at logic can make things difficult when you’ve decided to take up writing philosophy as your somewhat full-time vocation.

Still… as much as I despise logic, I am more than well aware that logic is a necessary part of philosophy.

Logic is used to construct arguments.

Not the kind of arguments you have with bae.

angry-couple-arguing

Actually, I kinda suck at the other kind of arguments, too.

Oh no, couldn’t be arguments like that.

Nope. Philosophy is all about arguments that look like this:

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IN SOME PLACES, MAKING PEOPLE WORK DERIVATIONS LIKE THIS IS CONSIDERED TORTURE

So, lucky me. I went to college here in the U.S. where it‘s all about the Analytics and logic, and my reward for loving wisdom SO much was having to go to an ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY focused college and having to take logic classes.

Yeah. That’s pretty much what happened.

Yea…..

Philosophical logic is:

Logic (from the Greek “logos”, which has a variety of meanings including the word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason or principle) is the study of reasoning, or the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration, it attempts to distinguish good reasoning from bad reasoning.

Now, as a fan of philosophy it is almost required by law that I also like Star Trek.

Star Trek, Monty Python, and Woody Allen movies. Every philosopher is required to not merely like these things, but live by them. Required.

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WHAT 4 OUT OF 12 PHILOSOPHERS INNER PHILOSOPHER LOOKS LIKE

Doesn’t matter which incarnation of Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine – even Enterprise.

Well, maybe not Enterprise.

oh-cool-star

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Any philosophical question can be answered by watching an episode of Star Trek.

That’s why I was initially so disappointed that one of the series’ most beloved characters, the Vulcan First Officer of the USS Enterprise (in the original series), Mr. Spock, was a devotee of logic.

Vulcans are all about logic.

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The Matron of Vulcan Philosophy, T’Plana-Hath, says:

Logic is the cement of our civilization with which we ascend from chaos using reason as our guide.

Vulcan society is so devoted to logic that they purge themselves of emotions through a process called Kohlinar.

I swear that’s as far as I’m going to go with the Star Trek lingo.

Vulcans believe that they must purge their emotions so that their emotions don’t interfere with their ability to reason. The reason why is a complex story.

I’ll just say that it has to do with Vulcans being extremely violent and some guy named Surak.

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THIS IS SURAK. DON’T LET THE SMUG SMILE FOOL YOU. VULCANS DON’T HAVE EMOTIONS

Actually, Vulcans don’t so much purge their emotions as they learn to control them. Just in case anybody wants to call me on that.

Like I said, I suck at logic. And the thought that a TV show I was required to watch for my philosopher street cred included a character that was going to be a Carnap in space, made me want to ditch any philosopher cred I’d be awarded if I watched. I knew that every time I watched the show it would be a humiliation. I feared tuning in every week to watch some dude that I would find utterly incomprehensible. I’d have to face the fact that I had no place in philosophy. I knew that Mr. Spock would be just like my logic professor – he would speak in a language I couldn’t understand, even though he’d be delivering the dialogue in English.

Kind of like what happens when I read Bertrand Russell.

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Living as a Wookie would do me just fine, I told myself. I can get angry enough to rip a droid’s arm out of its socket.

But watching Star Trek, I feared, I’d have to face the chilling realization that I could never cut it as a Vulcan.

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So, despite my initial logic-induced trepidation, I watched the show.

I’m kinda glad that I did.

Because exactly what I feared would happen didn’t happen.

Listen: Vulcans claim that they’re all about living the logical life. The catch is, though, is that they weren’t really doing logic at all. At least not in the philosophical sense.

spock

Doing logic – actual philosophical logic – made me realize that Vulcans, at least
according to the Vulcan logic that Spock explained to Captain Kirk, isn’t… well… it ain’t logic. Spock’s famous admonition to Kirk, The Needs of the MANY outweigh the Needs of the FEW or the ONE, is positively utilitarian.

Anyone who has sat through a bull session of discussing ethical thought experiments knows utilitarian ethics can get us to some very unreasonable, dare we say, illogical outcomes.

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NOBODY NEEDS TO SAY THE WORDS “TROLLEY” OR “PROBLEM” TO KNOW THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH UTILITARIANISM

 

There’s no doubt Vulcans are intellectual. Mr. Spock hands-down is the smartest member of the Enterprise crew.

And not just because he was accepted to the Vulcan Science Academy and Starfleet Academy.

But it seems that the high-minded Vulcan logic that Spock (and every other Vulcan) adheres to should be described as “this makes sense” or call it what it is, some utilitarian ethics with a dash of everybody kind of thinks this way.

Spock often mentions his inability to lie – IS LYING INHERENTLY ILLOGICAL?

Vulcans boast (and they do boast) that the cornerstone of their logic-based lifestyle freedom from emotions and the irrational nature of emotions leads species (including humans) into behaving illogically.

vh42

According to Vulcan logic, emotion and rationality are presented as mutually exclusive; either you’re logical and emotionless or emotional and illogical.

First, Vulcans often are emotional. During the course of the original series and the six TOS (the original series) films, Spock occasionally displays emotion.

And don’t just blame that on the fact that Spock is half human.

Other Vulcans, including Spock’s betrothed, T’Pring, Spock’s half-brother Sybok, and the Vulcan on Voyager who had a bad case of Pon Farr were all emotional.

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GET THIS VULCAN A WOMAN, STAT!

And then there’s this thing: Irrational (or if you’re a Vulcan, illogical) behavior is based on how you act according to the information you’re working with, not necessarily upon your emotional state.

Contrary to what Vulcans believe, emotions are necessary for decision making.

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In neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s study of a patient “Elliot” (who lost part of his frontal cortex during tumor surgery) Damasio discovered that his patient’s intellect remained intact, however, Elliot had lost the capacity to experience emotion. Elliot was, Damasio described, “disengaged” from the world. The inability of Elliot’s brain to connect reason and emotion interfered with his capacity for decision making.

Damasio observed that patients like Elliot, people who had damage to their frontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls emotions, were unable to make even simple decisions.

Imagine having to choose between two relatively equal choices: On one plate you are offered a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread. On the other plate you are offered a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread with a slice of heirloom tomato. You like grilled chicken sandwiches with and without a slice of heirloom tomato. How do you choose which sandwich to eat? If you have emotions, you may choose by simply deciding that you don’t “feel” like eating a sandwich without a slice of tomato. But without the capacity to feel, you may be unable to decide which sandwich to eat.

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BOTH SANDWICHES LOOK SO TASTY. HOW CAN YOU DECIDE WHICH ONE TO EAT? WELL, FIRST — ASK YOURSELF, DO YOU HAVE EMOTIONS?

In an article in the Arizona State Law Journal, legal scholars Susan Barades and Jessica Salerno wrote:

Emotion helps us screen, organize and prioritize the information that bombards us… It influences what information we find salient, relevant, convincing or memorable.

I suppose it would be worth noting that I am a very emotional person.

And if I’m gonna toot my own horn here, I’m pretty good at making decisions.

Well, nine out of ten decisions.
I guess in the end, it’s ok if I’m not logically correct -according to Vulcans or to real philosophers. Sure, if I ever contact the Long Island Medium to channel the spirits of Godel or Quine, I might want to brush up on my derivations, but if and until then, I’ll still suck at logic, continue to enjoy watching Star Trek, and H.A.T.E. all arguments comprised of a set of premises supporting a logically inferred conclusion.
Besides… Vulcans aren’t really logical, anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_logic.html

phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/18/emotion-is-not-the-enemy-of-reason/

memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Logic

There’s No Way I Wasn’t Going To Write A Post About Star Wars

UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN LIVING under a rock, it would be quite difficult to avoid at least hearing about the new Star Wars flick, Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.* The film has already been declared the highest grossing film opening of all time and if those YouTube fan reaction videos are any indication of the film’s uberhype, Star Wars Episode VII may land on the list of top grossing films of all time.

 

Along with all the other Star Wars films.

 

star wars toaster

SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT TWILIGHT, IT NEVER SPAWNED A TOASTER

And really, what other franchise has spawned awesome cosplay like this?

 

excellent cosplay

SERIOUSLY, THIS DUDE’S COSTUME IS THE MOST EXCELLENT COSPLAY I’VE EVER SEEN

 
Since I’ve made it a habit of paying to attention to pop cultural crap – I mean, stuff other than Star Wars, I’ve also noticed something else going on in the zeitgeist that people who aren’t philosophy geeks might not have noticed:

Although not quite at the level of Star Wars talk, there’s also been a lot of talk about philosophers lately.

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But unlike most of the reviews of The Force Awakens, not all of it has been good.

Actually, quite a bit of it has been fairly harsh.

 

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And yes, just in case you were wondering, there is philosophy cosplay.

It looks kind of like this

 

philosopher cosplay

NOT AS AWESOME AS A STORMTROOPER COSTUME, BUT HEY, AT LEAST IT’S HISTORICALLY ACCURATE… KIND OF

 

Despite the fact that philosophers have been around more than a couple of millennia, we still haven’t convinced folks that we’re not just a bunch of irrelevant navel gazers. We’re not all high-falutin’ intellectual types who sit around reading Plato and over-discussing Wittgenstein.

second oldest profession

PHILOSOPHY ARGUABLY IS THE WORLD’S SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION – EXCEPT IT’S LESS RESPECTED AND IT PAYS MUCH WORSE

 

 

Not to say that there aren’t any philosophers like that.

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We think of philosophers as over-intellectualizing killjoys but there are plenty of philosophers who actually do more than read philosophy all day.

In fact, quite a few of us were first turned on to philosophy while watching decidedly un-philosophical things.
Many of us are also really into pop culture.

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To be fair, pop culture has always been a part of philosophical thought. After all, philosophers think about reality and the human condition – and our popular culture is a big part of that. Many philosophers are fans of well-known pop culture icons like Woody Allen , and the films of Wes Anderson, movies like Memento and The Matrix, and TV shows like True Detective, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Lost, and Star Trek.

 

doctor-of-philosophy

 

Believe it or not, a lot of folks who are into philosophy also like seemingly un-philosophical pop culture stuff like Star Wars.
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If you ask the average person to name something pop culture and philosophical, you probably won’t hear too many folks throw out the name Star Wars.

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TV shows/film franchises like Star Trek or films adapted from the works of Phillip K. Dick may make the top of the list of philosophically-oriented science fiction, but for those who can bear sitting through the prequels, the Star Wars saga is abundant with philosophical themes.
Ok, I know that some sci-fi purists out there don’t classify Star Wars as science fiction.
Science fiction is defined as

Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets
– Google

Even Star Wars creator George Lucas has described his films as “space opera”.

 

space opera

 

Science fiction enthusiasts can debate the merits of George Lucas’ space saga’s inclusion (or exclusion) from the hallowed halls of science fiction, but debate over whether Star Wars is science fiction or fantasy space opera doesn’t take away from the fact that the Star Wars saga is very philosophical.

Stop laughing, it is.

Just like Star Trek.

 

abrams on star trek

PRETTY MUCH SAYS IT ALL

 

Here’s a handful of philosophical themes you may also have noticed:

 

  • Determinism in the life story of Luke Skywalker
    Yoda’s stoicism
    Buddhist philosophy of the Jedi Order
    Hegelian themes in The Empire Strikes Back
    The political philosophy of Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine
    Christ-like imagery in The Phantom Menace

 

jedi zizek

 

Like any battle between good and evil Star Wars is, at its core, a morality play.
anakin skywalker, human disaster
So, in preparation for watching The Force Awakens, I binge watched all 13 some-odd hours of the Star Wars saga (It‘s harder to do than it seems). I kept a keen eye out for the moral themes in the films.

Let’s be honest, if you want to analyze anything philosophically, the easiest method of philosophical analysis is to go the ethics route.

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Here are a few moral lessons I learned while binge watching the entire Star Wars saga:

*Good not only is a point of view, but also any action may be justified from “a certain point of view”
*Deception is morally permissible
*Withholding important information from someone regarding one’s past (i.e. one’s father’s true identity) or other important info (e.g. the existence of one’s siblings) is in no way a morally incorrect thing to do

*It’s morally permissible to rig bets with one’s mental powers
*Using one’s mental powers to manipulate others is morally permissible so long as one uses one’s powers on the weak minded

 

obi wan kenobi

 

*Force choking people into submission is perfectly acceptable
*Cloning individuals and creating a clone army for the sole purpose of using them as cannon fodder is ok
*Mechanical beings (“droids”) that express sentient traits such as human emotions may be discriminated against or destroyed at will
*Making out with one’s siblings is permissible, so long as one doesn’t know he is swapping spit with his twin sister

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*Destroying a space station and annihilating thousands of innocent lives (aka people just trying to do their job) is morally permissible
*Same goes for destroying the pleasure barge of a single bad guy who was dead before the barge was destroyed
*Shooting womp rats for target practice is not in any way a bad thing to do
*Killing an entire village of men, women, and children is morally justified if said “animals” made you angry

scumbag han

 

*Cutting off limbs is ok
*Cutting off a man’s limbs, taking his light saber and leaving him for dead while he immolates is morally permissible
*Violating one’s pledge to the Jedi order is morally permissible (because Obi Wan is jealous and he’s just holding you back, anyway)
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In fact, the only thing I learned was absolutely morally impermissible in the Star Wars universe is this:

 

  • Imitating a deity is absolutely NOT morally permissible

 

For some strange reason, it is wrong to pretend to be a deity to a bunch of diminutive furry forest creatures to prevent them from cooking (and probably eating) your friends.

 

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I guess that’s what makes Star Wars a space opera and not science fiction, eh?

 

 

 

* This post is absolutely 100% spoiler free

I’m Not Saying It Was the Ship Owner but It Was the Ship Owner

The world is a pretty weird place.

In a world governed by natural laws and physics, some things defy logical explanation.

A two-headed anything.

Ball lightning.

Sister Wives. 

 

 

This is a two-headed calf:

 

2 headed calf

 

 

Weird.

This is Sister Wives.

 

 

 

 

Seriously, can someone explain the appeal of this show to me.

 

Ordinary events on planet Earth may seem strange enough to the casual observer, but when things get really weird, earthlings often look to the sky for explanations (and maybe for a little bit of comfort) for everyday weirdness of life here on planet Earth.

Some people look to the heavens for God.

Some people look for aliens.

 

 

ALIENS.

ALIENS.

 

 

Lots of folks are into aliens.

Lots of ’em.

Maybe too many.

 

 

AND NOT JUST GUYS WHO LOOK LIKE THIS, EITHER.

AND NOT JUST GUYS WHO LOOK LIKE THIS, EITHER.

 

Whether we’re talking about flying saucers,

 

 

images flying saucer

 

 

Mysterious lights,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or alien abductions,

 

 

alien abduction

 

 

We’re talking about these guys.

 

 

 

ALIENS.

ALIENS.

 

 

Whether you believe we’ve been visited by benevolent E.T.s, evil reptilians infiltrating world governments, malevolent xenomorphs, or in little green men…

 

 

marvin the martian

 

 

Or even your own first-hand account of an encounter with anal-probing, intergalactic sex perverts,

 

 

IMAGE UNAVAILABLE

 

 

We’re hooked on tales of human encounters with alien visitors.

 

images oh wait it's aliens

 

 

Did you know that half of all Americans believe life exists on other planets?

And a quarter of all Americans believe that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrials.

 

 

NOT JUST GUYS THAT LOOK LIKE THIS, EITHER.

NOT JUST GUYS THAT LOOK LIKE THIS, EITHER.

 

 

I’m a philosopher.

 

Philosophers, by nature, are supposed to be into philosophy.

 

We’re not supposed to be into aliens.

 

We look to the sky only when we’re contemplating the meaning of life and the universe.

We definitely don’t look to the sky for something like this:

 

 

images grey alien

 

 

I have to admit, I’m not too familiar of any alien philosophers other than the great Vulcan philosopher Surak.

 

THIS IS SURAK. HE'S THE GUY WHO CAME UP WITH THAT VULCANS HAVE TO BE ALL LOGICAL SORT-OF THING.

THIS IS SURAK. HE’S THE GUY WHO CAME UP WITH THAT VULCANS HAVE TO BE ALL LOGICAL SORT-OF THING.

 

 

 

If you look around (especially on the internet) there’s plenty of evidence that Earth has indeed been visited by aliens. From first-hand encounters to film footage of aliens. Stories of the alien spacecraft crash at Roswell, crop circles, cattle mutilations, unexplained phenomena, and ancient texts and monuments it’s fairly reasonable to conclude that some of the things that cannot be explained can be explained if we consider the possibility that the explanation is that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrial life.

 

 

 

but it was aliens

 

 

The possibility that Earth has not only been visited, but that aliens have played and continue to play an active role in human events, explains the popularity of shows like Art Bell’s Coast To Coast, films like E.T., the Star Trek franchise, the Predator series, and the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The search for extraterrestrial life is the reason behind SETI. It’s the reason why NASA wants to send a manned mission to Mars.

And it’s the reason why I know when exploring a space colony that has suddenly and inexplicably lost contact with Earth to stay clear of anything that looks even remotely like this:

 

 

images facehugger

 

 

 

Besides, if aliens aren’t real how does anyone explain this?

 

 

 

images alien autopsy

 

 

Stroll the aisles of any bookstore (if you can find an actual bookstore) and you’ll find books full of testimonials of alien sightings, contacts, and abductions. Really, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to find material about aliens. A Google search of the word “alien” will yield enough web stuff to keep a person busy for days.

 

Stories of alien contact, like the account of Travis Walton, who claims he was abducted by aliens in November, 1975, are compelling if not convincing testimony that claims of alien encounters.

 

 

images travis walton

 

 

 

With the exception of a few obvious hoaxes, we must admit that evidence gives us reason at least to question whether we are alone in the universe and wonder if any intelligent life has indeed visited Earth.

 

 

 

images but if not aliens

 

 

Ok, I know what the assholes experts will say sure, there’s a lot of “evidence” for believing in the existence of non-earthling beings, but when it comes to down to reliable evidence, most evidence of alien visitations is un-definitive at best and downright suspect at worst. Evidence is either purely anecdotal or the worst shaky-cam footage since Cloverfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird stories of cow mutilations and anal probing may make for entertaining television, but for many these accounts remain subject to skepticism.

 

What we want is proof.

 

 

ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH OF AN ALIEN LIFE FORM

ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH OF AN ALIEN LIFE FORM

 

 

And if you’re a philosopher, our beliefs not only demand proof; they demand justification.

You see, even if I find someone’s evidence of an alien sighting, encounter or abduction convincing, I may still have no business believing what they say. I don’t just have to take into account the fact that I believe their claim, I have to think about what reasons (i.e. justification) I have for believing the claim.

 

As a philosopher I must demand more evidence better evidence.

Certainly more evidence than some stories and bad camera work.

As a philosopher, I’m not allowed to simply say,

 

 

 

i don't know. therefore aliens

 

 

According to the English philosopher William Clifford (1845-1879) I am accountable not only for my beliefs but also for my justification of my beliefs.

 

 

 

This is William Clifford.

 

 

ALL YOU FOLKS WHO BELIEVE IN ALIENS: SEND YOUR HATE MAIL TO THIS GUY

ALL YOU FOLKS WHO BELIEVE IN ALIENS: SEND YOUR HATE MAIL TO THIS GUY

 

 

In his famous (well, famous of you’re a philosopher) essay a “Ethics of Belief”, William Clifford states:

To sum up: it is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

Clifford states that our beliefs are important because what we believe influences our actions. In Clifford’s essay, a ship owner believes that his ship is seaworthy when in reality it is not. The ship sets sail into stormy waters and is lost at sea. Everyone on board dies.

 

 

PERHAPS THE SHIP OWNER ASSUMED HIS BOAT WOULD BE OUT TO SEA FOR ONLY A THREE HOUR TOUR

PERHAPS THE SHIP OWNER ASSUMED HIS BOAT WOULD BE OUT TO SEA FOR ONLY A THREE HOUR TOUR

 

 

Worse yet, all the ship’s cargo is lost.

 

 

The problem, Clifford says, is that ship owner, despite his belief that his ship was capable of completing the voyage, had based his belief on bad evidence.* The ship owner has no epistemological right to believe that his ship was seaworthy. His belief wasn’t justified.

 

Ok, I know I’m truncating the hell out of Clifford’s essay, which is why you should read it.

 

 

reading is fundamental

 

 

In the case of Clifford’s ship owner, a belief based on insufficient evidence cost lives. We can clearly see the detrimental effect our beliefs have on our actions and potentially on the lives of others, but what about a belief in aliens? Is believing in the existence of extraterrestrial life even if the evidence for believing in such is insufficient necessarily harmful to anyone?

 

 

it was aliens

 

 

 

Surely, believing in aliens would not influence any sane person anyone to send a sea un-worthy ship into stormy weather (unless I assumed that aliens would rescue the crew and cargo). If I believe that aliens exist, even based on the flimsiest of evidence, who does my belief hurt? Am I allowed to believe some things despite the fact that my evidence may be lacking?

 

 

because aliens

 

 

The short answer is no. Even our trivial beliefs matter. Clifford says that it’s wrong to hold any belief based on insufficient evidence.

Morally wrong.

 

Because even a seemingly insignificant belief can influence the way we act.

 

Perhaps even in possibly dangerous ways.

 

 

WARNING: HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION AHEAD

WARNING: HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION AHEAD

 

 

Lets say that there is someone who believes that not only do aliens exist and have invaded Earth, but that aliens have successfully infiltrated the world’s governments and alien-human hybrids are hell-bent on destroying humanity. The person who believes this has based his beliefs on photographs like this:

 

 

images blurry alien photo

 

 

And like this:

 

 

face on mars

 

 

These pictures, he argues, are evidence of an full-scale alien invasion of Earth. Based on his evidence he has decided to wage a one-man war against the alien invaders.

Now, let me say this each of those photos can be used to make a compelling argument for the existence of alien life. But can these photos provide enough sufficient evidence to support the belief in alien life on Earth?

Remember, “evidence” of anything can be found on the internet.

 

Don’t forget that the internet is where photoshop lives.

 

Given the fact that his “evidence” consists of nothing more than blurry photographs or testimony supplied by a questionable (and often unverifiable) sources.

 

 

NO. THIS ISN’T EVIDENCE EITHER

NO. THIS ISN’T EVIDENCE EITHER

 

 

Because your undeniable evidence may be just another example of

 

 

 

images photoshop

 

 

Let’s face it folks, most “evidence” of terrestrial alien activity would not stand up to even the most basic epistemic scrutiny, let alone the kind of epistemological evidential proof that a philosopher requires. The kind of evidential proof that Clifford says everyone should require.

 

And if the evidence is insufficient, we cannot subscribe to a belief.

There is no good reason to believe what we believe.

 

 

not even aliens can explain this BS

 

 

We might not be aware of how beliefs negatively influence how we act.

 

If someone who believes the Earth has been overrun by malevolent, otherworldly beings acts violently against those he believes are the interspecies enemies of mankind, most of us would agree that his actions would not be the right (morally correct) thing to do.

 

 

it's the aliens

 

 

We can’t just say that the evidence seems true or that we have faith that our belief is true despite evidence that contradicts our beliefs.

 

 

SO FAR AS I KNOW, THIS GUY’S PARENTS ARE 100 PERCENT HUMAN

SO FAR AS I KNOW, THIS GUY’S PARENTS ARE 100 PERCENT HUMAN

 

 

Perhaps if that individual had questioned the veracity of his beliefs he would not have acted so violently.

 

 IN JAIL NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

IN JAIL NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

 

When we believe based on insufficient evidence we are deprived of truth, of how things truly are. And when we do not see things as they are, we can’t make correct moral decisions. This may seem a trivial concern, but it really means a lot. And not just to philosophers.

Beliefs grounded on a sturdy foundation are more likely to be true than false. Acting on true beliefs tends to deliver better results for us and for other people.

 

 

  THIS GUY IS SMILING BECAUSE ALL OF BELIEFS ARE BASED ON SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

THIS GUY IS SMILING BECAUSE ALL OF BELIEFS ARE BASED ON SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

 

 

You see, the point really isn’t whether we believe in aliens. Or invisible pink unicorns. Or clairvoyance. Or whatever. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t believe that there is life on other planets. Chances are there is. What we should be aware of is that the consequences of holding some beliefs isn’t entirely harmless. Our beliefs influence what we do and when we act, our actions are subject to ethical evaluation.

 

But then….

 

 

who needs facts when you have opinion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you’re interested in reading Clifford’s full essay, “Ethics of Belief” (who isn‘t?), you can access it on the web just about anywhere. Seriously, all you need to do is type “William Clifford” into any search engine and “Ethics of Belief” is certain to pop up. But if you don’t want to do the search, click on the link here:

http://myweb.lmu.edu/tshanahan/Clifford-Ethics_of_Belief.html

 

 

 

* While I was cruising the internet procrastinating researching this post, I came across this article. It seems that I may be too eager to dismiss belief in the supernatural and otherworldly things. Check it out for yourself and decide if the article is convincing.

http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/why-we-cant-rule-out-bigfoot?utm_content=buffer6a3ae&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

 

SOURCES:

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/21/alien-poll_n_3473852.html

http://myweb.lmu.edu/tshanahan/Clifford-Ethics_of_Belief.html

 

 

 

Yes, I’m A Philosopher (stop laughing, i’m serious)

Do you remember those “I’m a Mormon” videos?

You know, those videos of seemingly normal, average, people proclaiming their faith in the Church of Latter-Day Saints?

People like Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the rock band The Killers.

 

 

The point of the videos is to prove that there’s nothing wrong with being a Mormon.

 

I don’t know if the videos have improved the image of the Mormon Church, but if the ads have, there’s another institution that can benefit from a “we’re just like you” ad campaign.

Those institutions are institutions of higher learning.

 

There’s a lot of university education-bashing going on out there. Especially bashing those college majors that are usually described using the word “useless”.

English majors know what I’m talking about.

 

english-major

 

Ask around. It won’t take you too long to come up with a short list of “useless” majors. I mean we‘ve all heard the list. There’s English, ethnic studies, women’s studies, liberal arts, art history, communications, creative writing, fine arts…

Any major that has to do with studying or writing about the Renaissance.

 

Given America’s “if it feels good, do it” attitude, the proliferation of so-called “useless” majors on America‘s fine college campuses is not very surprising. I’m certain studying the major works of Conrad Faber von Kreuznach feels good to someone.

However, one major has the dubious reputation of being the most useless college degree of them all: philosophy.

What other profession would generate a meme like this?

 

finds work in ancient greece

 

 

Alright. English, Art … anything in the Humanities would.

 

Well, if you ask me (I know you did, I heard you), I think philosophy’s reputation is undeserved. And not just because I have a degree in philosophy.

 

TOTALLY WORTH TENS OF THOUSANDS WORTH OF DEBT THAT I WILL NEVER PAY OFF IN MY LIFETIME

TOTALLY WORTH TENS OF THOUSANDS WORTH OF DEBT THAT I WILL NEVER PAY OFF IN MY LIFETIME

 

 

rick's stuff n' thangs

RICK GRIMES: PHILOSOPHER

 

 

Listen: I know that philosophy has gotten a pretty bad rap. Why wouldn’t it? Philosophers spend their time thinking. About things. And stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Who isn’t capable of doing that? Is a degree really necessary to think about stuff? Or things?

Or whatnot.

 

Probably not.

But here’s the thing about philosophy. A career in professional philosophy probably won’t get your own reality TV show, but philosophy is not useless. What makes philosophy not useless has nothing to do with the fact that philosophers think about stuff and things. Philosophy is not useless because of what philosophers think about. Philosophers think about stuff and things like existence, reality, morality, and knowledge. Philosophers devote their time to asking life’s big questions.

You know, those big questions most people don’t think about until they’re either drunk, flat broke, or just had a near-death experience.

 

Or if you’re lucky, all three.

 

AS SOON AS THIS GUY IS FINISHED EMPTYING THE CONTENTS OF HIS UPPER DIGESTIVE TRACT, HE WILL BECOME AS ENLIGHTENED AS THE BUDDHA.

AS SOON AS THIS GUY IS FINISHED EMPTYING THE CONTENTS OF HIS UPPER DIGESTIVE TRACT, HE WILL BECOME AS ENLIGHTENED AS THE BUDDHA.

 

And at least some of the time philosophers come up with an answer or two.

Sometimes those philosophers write what they‘re thinking about.

I did.

 

Mindless_Philosopher_Cover_for_Kindle

 

Philosophers are generous like that.

 

I mean, take a look at this guy, you can tell he’s a giver!

 

I THINK IN GERMAN SCHOPENHAUER MEANS “ONE GENEROUS S.O.B.”. OR MAYBE IT DOESN’T

I THINK IN GERMAN SCHOPENHAUER MEANS “ONE GENEROUS S.O.B.”. OR MAYBE IT DOESN’T

 

Listen: don’t pay attention to what they naysayers say. They’re all STEM field people who wouldn’t know a deep thought if one appeared in front of ’em right alongside the Higgs particle.
We know deep down, despite anything he says, Lawrence Krauss knows philosophy is more than useful – it’s necessary.

 

 
In fact, philosophy is pretty awesome.

To make things easy for everyone, I’ve drawn up a little list of what makes philosophy awesome.
10 Awesome things about philosophy:

 

1. Since philosophy is the parent of several major disciplines (medicine, astronomy, psychology, sociology, political science, physics, theology, to name a few) you’ll know a little bit about everything.

 

smart

 

 

2. Philosophy departments always have the coolest professors.

 

 

garden of earthly delights

YEAH LASCIVIOUSNESS!

3. One word: hedonism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. You’ll know how to win an argument every time.

 

5. You can spend hours talking about the movie Road House and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but you can do it all philosophical-like.

 

FUN FACT: BADASS, THROAT-RIPPIN’ COOLER JAMES DALTON (ROAD HOUSE) STUDIED PHILOSOPHY AT NYU

FUN FACT: BADASS, THROAT-RIPPIN’ COOLER JAMES DALTON (ROAD HOUSE) STUDIED PHILOSOPHY AT NYU

 

 

6. You’ll be unemployed but you’ll be really smart doing it.

Philosophy indeed is the most interesting path to poverty. it's a philosopher's life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. If you studied philosophy, you’re in the same company as Harrison Ford, Steve Martin, Chris Hardwick, Susan Sarandon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jay Leno, Wes Anderson, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Jefferson, Phil Jackson, John Elway, Neil Peart, Ethan Coen, Alex Trebek, David Duchovny, Bruce Lee, and Wallace Shawn. They all studied philosophy.

 

YES, THE TALKING DEAD GUY WAS A PHILOSOPHY MAJOR. SEE? PHILOSOPHY DOES HAVE SOME USEFULNESS

YES, THE TALKING DEAD GUY WAS A PHILOSOPHY MAJOR. SEE? PHILOSOPHY DOES HAVE SOME USEFULNESS

 

8. You can do more than paraphrase Nietzsche. You actually quote the text and understand what he means.  Same goes for Ayn Rand.

 

9. You can totally school your family and friends on any movie’s philosophical undertones. You know The Matrix is really about  Descartes’ evil genie and Nozick’s experience machine. You revel in the knowledge that you can find deeper philosophical meaning in just about any movie and/or episode of Star Trek.

 

matrix pic

 

 

10. Last and most importantly, when you study philosophy, you’ll learn how to think. Critical thinking becomes a way of life. You’ll know to never stop asking questions even if you know you’ll never find the answers.

 

And you gotta admit, the toga looks good when you’re pontificating about the meaning of your big toe.

 

john belushi

 

 

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY PHILOSOPHICAL

 

The Philosophical Merits of Blaxploitation

I have a thing for bad movies.

I’m not just talking about marginally bad movies. Like odd numbered Star Trek movies bad. Or even movies that are so bad that they’re good.

I’m talking really bad movies.

Nicolas Cage bad.

This bad.

 

 

Sorry about that.

Everybody’s got their favorite worst genre or era of film. Personally, I have a thing for mid to late seventies schlock horror films. But if you ask a few true cinematic crapophiles, some of them may tell you that the 1970s was the lowest point in American cinematic culture. After all, the seventies was the decade that forced American theatergoers to endure Roller Boogie, Grizzly, Sssssss!, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, The Incredible Melting Man, The Exorcist II: The  Heretic, Big Bad Mama, Zaat, Myra Breckenridge, The Thing With Two Heads, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, It’s Alive!, Moment By Moment, Zardoz, Hercules In New York, and the Robert Stigwood-produced film adaptation of The Beatles’ 1967 concept album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (??????)

…. Starring the Bee Gees.

Really. It starred the Bee Gees.

(Warning: watching the following clip may produce a feeling of pity that John Lennon had to witness this cinematic monstrosity before he died and an extreme hatred towards Peter Frampton)

 

I’ll wait while you take a moment to recover.

Although most bad movies will certainly leave you with the feeling of a loss of faith in the human race, even the worst movie sometimes has a hidden lesson to be learned. The method to appreciating bad seventies cinema is mastering how to hold a barf bag while taking note of a film’s hidden philosophical subtext. Now, some people will tell you that a particular subgenre of bad film is where one is guaranteed to find lots of philosophical subtext.And there are certainly quite a few craptastic genres of 1970s cinema to choose from: slasher flicks, hard-core pornography, disaster movies (to name a few). Second to my love for schlock horror, my favorite philosophically instructive genre of seventies cinema is blaxploitation.

For those of you who don’t know, the word blaxploitation is a portmanteau of the words black and exploitation.

Black + exploitation = blaxploitation

Blaxploitation films are known for Bad Ass (i.e. excessively violent) characters, chic 1970s attire, hip soundtracks, not-so-good acting, loose and frequent use of the N-word, and white people (aka THE MAN) getting the hell beaten out of them. Better (and better known) examples of the genre are Shaft, Superfly, Sweet Sweetback’s Baad-Asssss Song, Cooley High, Three the Hard Way, Hammer, Foxy Brown.

That Shaft is a bad mutha --- SHUT YO MOUTH!

That Shaft is a bad mutha — SHUT YO MOUTH!

Just as physics teaches us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, unfortunately for any good film there is also often an equally (very) bad movie. Blaxploitation also birthed some of the worst films in history: Brotherhood of Death, TNT Jackson, Mandingo, Blacula (and its sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream), Blackenstein, Abby (a nausea-inducing, all-black, knock-off of The Exorcist), Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw, Disco Godfather,  and The Human Tornado.

Basically any movie starring Rudy Ray Moore.

Rudy Ray Moore is the African-American Nicolas Cage.

 

See what I mean?

 

Although it’s easy (and encouraged) to toss away bad Blaxploitation films to the dung heap of cinematic history, the fact that a movie is a Blaxploitation film (or any exploitation film for that matter) does not necessarily infer that a movie has no philosophical lessons to teach. A handful of Blaxploitation films are actually philosophically useful. One such example of a philosophically valuable bad movie is the 1974 Blaxploitation film Jive Turkey (Aka Baby Needs A New Pair of Shoes).

Ok, let’s ignore the obvious. This movie is terrible. It’s set in the 1950s but it’s filled with more anachronisms than one can count. The acting quality is at best shitty  questionable. And the actor playing “Serene” the cross-dressing hitman is fooling no one.

See for yourself.

 

If you couldn't make it through the clip, this is Serene.

If you couldn’t make it through the clip, this is Serene.

 

Shangela Laquifa Wadley he is not.

This is Shangela.

This is Shangela.

See what I mean?

If you’ve never seen Jive Turkey (Chances are you haven’t) here’s a brief synopsis:

Pasha (Phil Harris) runs the numbers game. Pasha’s former childhood friend and current rival, Italian gangster Big Tony (Frank de Kova) wants in on Pasha’s territory. Not only does Pasha have to deal with a bounty placed on his head by the big guys in Chicago, but internal dissention within Pasha’s ranks threatens to destroy his numbers empire.

If that synopsis hasn’t piqued your philosophical interest, here’s a short list of the philosophical questions and topics in Jive Turkey:

* Gender (In particular, Serene, Pasha’s cross-dressing hitman. Is she a transgendered woman who disguises herself as a man to evade her enemies or is she a man who cross-dresses to do his job? Serene is referred to as “she” but is that because she is accepted as a woman or because most people do not know Serene is a man? Is the notion of a female hitman so unacceptable/unusual that the part had to be played by a man in drag?)

* Aristotle’s idea of the magnanimous man (Is Pasha magnanimous?)

* Act vs. Rule Utilitarianism

* Race (inter and intra-race relations)

* Crime and virtue (Can good people do bad things, or does doing bad things necessarily make a person bad?)

* Is revenge morally justified? (If so, when and under what circumstances?)

* What are victimless crimes? Is there such a thing as a victimless crime (e.g. gambling)?

* Good vs. evil (Are Pasha and his gang good guys and the police bad guys or vice versa?)

* Is there such a thing as a “necessary evil”?

* Was Sweetman a jive turkey? What should be the price of disloyalty?

If you want to check out Jive Turkey for yourself, here is is.

 

ENJOY and HAPPY THINKING!

NOTE:

For further reading on Blaxploitation films see Wikipedia article on Blaxploitation at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaxploitation