Philosopher Justin Tiehen (Puget Sound) writes to share this curious story:
You might be aware that the Ultimate Warrior, an extremely famous professional wrestler, died yesterday. (It's been in the news, and the guy was famous enough that people who don't follow wrestling at all are still sometimes vaguely aware of him.) Anyway, after retiring from wrestling he became a motivational speaker and life coach. For reasons that are somewhat opaque, this involved him creating a website where he posted a glossary of "the world's philosophies," with entries on behaviorism, consequentialism, deontology, existentailism, general semantics, and on and on. Just to give you a sense, here is the entry on Kantianism.
"This is the exact opposite of Objectivism. It's epistemology is faith-eaten and mystic- appeasing. It's metaphysics is subjective, it's ethics are altruistic and it's politics are collectivistic. Kant created the exact opposite of what constitutes a philosophy based on reason. His "argument" consists of equivocations, elaborate straw-men (the entire Critique of Pure Reason for example), etc. He was quite an evil person."
As you can gather, the Ultimate Warrior was apparently a Randian. Many of his other entries also come from a Randian perspective.
...a tenured philosopher (whom I may have met once in my life, not sure) bravely issued a call a few weeks ago for other philosophers on Facebook to "ostracize" me, and since then one tenured philosopher, whom I've never met, "unfriended" me on Facebook! (I used to 'friend' folks on FB I had never met.)
Fortunately, no one has yet called for other philosophers to give me a wedgie.
Philosophy cyberspace is like high school all over again, except with tenure!
This is very funny, from Cockburn's Washington Babylon
Leon Wieseltier: ‘You let me flap this bug with gilded wings/This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings . . .’ The Tartuffe of Babylon, stabled at The New Republic where he has led the life of a second-tier literary dilettante . . . paltering with the interns, whose duties included walking his dog. Fainéant, full of pathetic self-conceit, Wieseltier evokes London’s Grub Street of the 1890s, whose Bohemian poseurs were so well recorded by Max Beerbohm (though Wieseltier would not have the courage to make a pact with the Devil, as did Enoch Soames). Cover story for a life of marked, though no doubt merciful, lack of productivity, is that he is at work on a ‘book about sighing’.
This is very clever and amusing. I remember buying the book the week it came out, because it had a lot in it about Nietzsche, and I knew Bloom was a leading Straussian, so I wanted to get a better sense of that reading. It is worth remembering that Bloom conceived the book as a bit of scholarship, not a popular work, and yet the scholarship, including about Nietzsche was so piss poor, it defied belief. Anyway, Wolff's review is very funny.
We noted this, I think, several years back, but one of the law studenst here, Bart Quintans, sent a funny example:
Apparently, if you "go to a random article on Wikipedia and keep clicking the first non-parenthesized link in the body text of each article," there is something like a 95% chance of eventually ending up at the article on "Philosophy." (See http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Ilmari_Karonen/First_link, but the phenomenon has been discussed widely across different fora.)
I just tried plugging in "Banana" and sure enough, I reached "Philosophy" as follows:
D.A.S. stands for “ding an sich,” Immanuel Kant’s concept of the “thing in itself,” the object of philosophical consideration separate from human perceptions of it. The name and the restaurant concepts conjure a beer-hall-meets-lecture-hall philosophy—a Weltanschauung of Gemütlichkeit, with emphasis on Nietzsche’s concept of the Überschnitzel.
For the record the Überschnitzel is an even less important concept in Nietzsche's philosophy than the Übermensch!
AND ANOTHER: Gary Gutting (Notre Dame) writes with a solution to the "Tim" mystery: "Too bad no one recognized it as a subtle Dickensian Christmas reference, meant to evoke the famous line, 'Being bless us, everyone!'"
Philosopher John Corvino (Wayne State) kindly invited me to share this funny item:
“How Do You Solve A Problem Like My Vita?”
(To the tune of “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” from The Sound of Music. Written by John Corvino and Thomas Williams during their job-market days, with apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein.)
How do you solve a problem like my vita? How do you find a job that's tenure-track? What should I call myself here on my vita? A metaphysician, an ethicist, a quack? Many an area I've claimed to cover. Making up research goals can be a chore. But if they only knew, the "Papers Under Review," have been rejected sixteen times before . . . Oh, how do you solve a problem like my vita? How do you keep from feeling like a whore?
[Quickly:] At the smoker I feel sick, sipping free beer much too quick, And this polyester suit is getting warm. Unpredictable professors, awkward talkers, tacky dressers: It's the pure apotheosis of bad form. Did my interview go well? From their questions I can't tell. But the chair was looking at me very odd. When he started turning red, I should not have plowed ahead. I'm a moron. I'm a genius. I'm a fraud.
.... How do you solve a problem like my vita? How do I stand out from the current crop? How do I look as a potential colleague? An arrogant jerk, a scatterbrained dork, a flop? What if they ask me how I'd teach aesthetics? How can I fake an interest in Descartes? The salary is poor, the teaching load's 4-4, But at the APA you play the part. Oh, how do you solve a problem like my vita? How do you make a charlatan look smart?
Self-declared "pluralist" departments are not pluralist in any sense worth valuing. They are typically not open-minded diverse places where a vast variety of philosophical issues are worked on. They are more commonly enclave departments that impose on their students an especially narrow conception of what's going on in Philosophy, while also enlisting their unwitting students as pawns in a futile disciplinary crusade to invert existing norms and standards so that, conveniently, the things they do come out as the only kind of philosophy that really matters. Do not allow self-declared pluralists to use you and your professional prospects as chips in their play for disciplinary hegemony. Do philosophy instead. And the best places to do philosophy (of any kind) are the places that do not wrap themselves up in the ridiculous garb of "pluralism."
A journal recently sent me an automated request to referee a manuscript, which, unfortunately, I could not do within the parameters offered. From the salutation, I learned how the editors keep track of me:
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)