September 18, 2005

Things I find amusing

Third-hand amusing stories about close encounters of the philosophical kind:

This is second hand. There was a public lecture at Brown given by a famous philosopher (I think Ted Honderich), and a member of the audience presented a challenge to the speaker's thesis. [The lecturer] replied that [the questioner's] thesis could be better understood if a certain ambiguity was cleared up. "We need to draw the distinction between - " he began, but he was interrupted by the member of the audience: "I don't care much for distinctions."

One day, a coworker made a crack that I probably smoke a lot of pot because, as he said 'I know all you philosophy types do drugs.'

I didn't immediatly answer. Instead I pulled up a 30 page peer reviewed journal entry of a paper on philosophy of mind off the internet, one that featured a lot of bayenesian calculations. I walked towards his desk and laid my laptop in front of him. "Yea, this guy (the author of the journal article) must have been real high when he wrote this."

Needless to say, no one's made fun of me at work for my course of study since then.

I went speed-dating the other week, and spent a lot of time trying to disabuse my dates' misconceptions about philosophy. A typical conversation ran:

Me: I'm writing a Ph.D. in philosophy.
Her: Really? But there are no right and wrong answers there, are there?
Me: Well, yes, there are actually.
Her (matter of factly): No, but really there aren't. You can never say that one philosophy is right and another one is wrong.
Me: And why is that?
Her: It's all just what you think about stuff, isn't it.
Me: So, for example, you think that whether or not an action is good or bad is just a matter of what I think about it?
Her: It's just your opinion really, isn't it?
Me: So if you got raped and I said that was bad, would that just be my opinion?
Her: Silence

Needless to say, she didn't want to see me again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never date a moral relativist. I keed, I keed. Sounds like a painful experience. Hope there were a fair share of "So,like, do you like girl on girl stuff?" candidates in your speed dating too.