Friday, March 05, 2010

Marginalizing Philosophy

I had a funny conversation with my niece, a college freshman, the other day.

Talking about which courses she's taken, done well in this year, etc...

She enrolled in a philosophy class first semester and found it *stupid*. Hah! I say join the club; we all did the same back in our day and came to the very same conclusion.

I feel like every freshman enthusiastically takes a philosophy course - because it's not offered in high school but more so because it sounds soooo exalted.

I myself have vivid memories of falling completely asleep in my freshman *human nature* seminar. And I wasn't in the back of the class....I was drooling on the square table that the class was seated around. It was 2.5 hours of pure insipid agony!

Similar to the philosophy trap I would have to put *psychology* - a class I think she also took. Innumerable college freshman get sucked into a course on that useless nonsense for probably the same reasons - because the subject sounds like it can explain soooo much.

I steered my niece, who's proficient at math and science, towards economics. I told her it combines logic and math with psychology and philosophy - AND it's grounded in the real world. (Though I forgot to warn her against the sophistry masquerading as *macroeconomics*...)


Taylor Conant said...


Well done. I KNEW you had more respect for econ than you let on! Maybe you should tell her to study the HISTORY of philosophy instead of philosophy itself... after all, philosophy deals with the theory behind why men do what they do, whereas history provides a factual record of the same... two birds with one stone, right? I'm assuming you told her of Durant?

Send her to, too. Also, feel free to put her in touch with me.

CaptiousNut said...


But not just philosophy...

I submit that EVERY subject should be taught/learned within a self-conscious history of itself.

For all my computational *math* aptitude, I learned nothing of its origins or its development.

It's a shame because the *whole story* is so much more interesting than disjointed episodes could ever be.

Alas, this is but one of multitudinous defects inherent in the Big Business of Big Education.

Sorry, can't put her in touch with you on account of the enthusiasm you displayed for the previous post.

Taylor Conant said...


I'd be worried more about you, frankly. What's that MOLESTATION STATISTIC that gets bandied about, something about "the victim usually knows the assailant because they're close friends or family"? Ha!

And I agree on the history of everything bit... you are right that it's pathetic to learn all these named Theorems and yet not be taught about the man (never woman!) whose name is atop the theorem. Why is it sequestered? Because these enlightened folk were always being chased down and murdered by the "educated" elite of the State!