Sunday, September 15, 2013

From Maverick Philosopher: Popular Conceptions and Misconceptions of Philosophy

From time to time I face the question of what I am studying as an adult college student. I have had a wide variety of reactions to my words "I'm studying philosophy", and sometimes around Boulder, I have to explain that it is NOT spirituality, as in "Oh, I've got this great crystal that helps me focus my inner eye."

So when I ran across this post by Bill Vallicella at 
Maverick Philosopher I decided to post a part of his words here.

Popular Conceptions and Misconceptions of Philosophy

If you are a philosopher or a student of philosophy, how do you respond when someone asks what you do or study? What sorts of misconceptions about philosophy and other disciplines have you encountered? [...]

1. When I was a graduate student I would sometimes deflect the question by saying'mathematics.' But then one day I received the reply, "Why do we still need mathematicians? We now have computers to do their work." The fellow apparently thought that mathematicians spend their time doing computations sitting under green eyeshades, with paper and pencil...

2. When I told an art historian at Cleveland State what I taught, he naively asked, "what's philosophy?" The man has no idea. Here was an intelligent man in the humanities who had not clue, not clue at all.

3. And R.N. in one of my classes was very surprised to hear that there are philosophy journals. "There are journals of this stuff?"

4. At a rest stop off an interstate, some guy asked me what I do. "I teach philosophy." whereupon the gent regaled me about the interesting philosophy they have up in Nova Scotia.

...And you will just have to read the rest here!

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