If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:
10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”
Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.
9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery
Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.
There are many problems in philosophy such as the problem of evil, the problem of miracles, the problem of historical knowledge, the problem of what there is (Quine), the Gettier problem, and several others in various fields. However, I’ve noticed a problem with the ‘internet atheist’ community.
Before I continue I want to give a general indication for what I mean by an internet atheist, which can include several agnostics as well. An internet atheist will have certain giveaways such as: trolling, one who cites Richard Dawkins as a philosophical champion, appeals to the tactics of PZ Myers (anyone who reads PZ Myers and is quite aware of logic, fallacies, and social etiquette may suffer from face-palm syndrome–the problem of excessive disappointment resulting in the face resting on one’s palm followed by a deep sigh), being completely oblivious of opposing views, as well as the following properties…
Internet atheists have this habit of coming out of no where. What I mean by that is they have the habit of plowing their way into conversations. For instance, while writing this last sentence I received a tweet from some internet atheist about some tweet I made several days ago in which I said that the OT law didn’t treat women immorally and that the problem was a societal issue. (Edit: 3 Nov. 18.08: Tweet removed. The individual didn’t really fall into the category I’m describing here.) I could provide more tweets but I honestly have no desire to go back and read them.
This was a debate on March 21, 2012 at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA. It was sponsored by the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech, Leopard Zeus Fan Club, Ask Big Questions at Virginia Tech, and the Department of Philosophy at Liberty University.
Max Andrews, Department of Philosophy Liberty University
B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science, completing my formal education in 1978. I’ve taken precisely two philosophy courses during my student days, both in Logic. I took a lot of math and science courses. I am now in I.T. middle management at a multinational oil company, with about 90 people reporting to me.
I’m 58 years old, grew up as a devout Catholic – attended Catholic schools in Houston for 12 years. I credit the free thinking atmosphere at my high school with opening my mind up and allowing me to look beyond the dogma I had always been taught. This led me to question, to become skeptical, and ultimately to develop into an agnostic. I lack a belief that a God exists, but I have continued to explore. I am impatient with dogmatism, from theists and atheists alike. My engagement in discussions such as this is out of pure self-interest. I’m not trying to prove anyone wrong, I’m just trying to see if I’m missing some truths or overlooking some credible argument. I do so by challenging the position of the person I’m engaging, which can sometimes give the appearance that my position is more extreme than it is. In the course of my pursuits I’ve been forced to look a little into metaphysics, because it seems this is where the arguments for God’s existence reside. I’ve also looked into historical methodology, because this pertains to the arguments for Jesus sit.