Nihilism and Revolution

The End of Philosophy

What happened to just thinking?
Rebecca Wolsak, Inter Pares

With only one class left, my degree from the prestigious philosophy department of the University of Pittsburgh is not far away. Since my first class I have muscled my way through philosophy’s greats. Plato’s Republic? Piece of cake. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason? Easy as pie. Even phrases like panta rei and cogito ergo sum are pushovers to me.

Yet despite all of this heavenly knowledge that has been bestowed upon me, I am left unsatisfied. My professors amaze me with their ability to clearly elaborate on any subject, but they never apply their timeless wisdom to reality. Instead of rigorously debating the problems of today, my professors lull the class to sleep with lackluster lectures on trivial topics. Do I possess a priori knowledge? What is the form of me? Am I a thinking thing? Let’s be honest: being lost in the clouds never saved a child from starvation and it never will.

My grades are determined by how well I can regurgitate uninspiring thoughts. I had a class last year, for example, which covered modern philosophy. One of our main subjects was Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. We found several flaws in Descartes’ arguments but instead of constructing our arguments against his conclusions, we were forced to merely summarize them. Such mediocrity and mental garbage drives me to one simple conclusion: philosophy is extinct.

If we are to believe that philosophy is some guy’s opinion, then we have forgotten the essence of philosophy. Philosophy is the touchstone of all progress. We must remember that philosophy is the purest form of dissent. If we do not ask questions, if we do not question authority, if we do not pressure ourselves, then society will never advance. All progress comes from change, and philosophers used to be the backbone of change. Whether we go back thousands of years to Socrates’ “corrupting the youth” or more recently to Bertrand Russell’s condemnation of the Vietnam War, it is obvious that philosophers used to take a stand against a callous system. Now they simply summarize and overanalyze all the irrelevant aspects of life.

This “magnificent” philosophy program I have experienced is a glorified course in writing book reports. Philosophy has been badgered to death by dogmatic opinions and shallow thoughts.

What happened to just thinking?
What happened?


Jordan Romanus

90 comments on the article “The End of Philosophy”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 90

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sid67

Interesting. You ask what happened to "just thinking", but then immediately jump to questions of applicability. If you want to know "just thinking" then some of the metaphysics you mention, Kant, Descartes, etc, are exactly that - just thinking; thought contemplating thought.

However, just as fundamental to philosophy are questions of ethics, knowledge, etc, and these form the cornerstone for these arguments of applicability. As a philosophy major, I can easily share your irritation for the rigors of memorization you have to go through. However, for the current, applied philosophy, a solid background in its history and currents is necessary. If you enjoy the structure, and the applications, then once you've gained the background you're gaining now you'll be able to take it back from the realm of pure thought to the world around you and apply it.

In other words, while learning Kant sucks more than just about any subject known to man, you really can't begin to discuss ethics until you've crossed him off your list.

sid67

Interesting. You ask what happened to "just thinking", but then immediately jump to questions of applicability. If you want to know "just thinking" then some of the metaphysics you mention, Kant, Descartes, etc, are exactly that - just thinking; thought contemplating thought.

However, just as fundamental to philosophy are questions of ethics, knowledge, etc, and these form the cornerstone for these arguments of applicability. As a philosophy major, I can easily share your irritation for the rigors of memorization you have to go through. However, for the current, applied philosophy, a solid background in its history and currents is necessary. If you enjoy the structure, and the applications, then once you've gained the background you're gaining now you'll be able to take it back from the realm of pure thought to the world around you and apply it.

In other words, while learning Kant sucks more than just about any subject known to man, you really can't begin to discuss ethics until you've crossed him off your list.

raymond

good luck.

an architect in X, where i live, has a ba in philosophy. it is this education that informs his process from the first meeting with a client to the final photography of their completed vision. there are quite a few architects in this area and i will argue that he is the best because of where he sheds his light.

what you have been given in university is an opportunity to learn to think and to formulate your argument. as evidenced by other comments here your argument here is half baked ... it is not your professor's job to take you down the path, just to show you the path. now, it is your job to pull them down the path & argue why it is relevant. your genius bores until you shed your own light ... you have to own it

applause you for putting your pen to paper and sharing with all of us.

cheers.

raymond

good luck.

an architect in X, where i live, has a ba in philosophy. it is this education that informs his process from the first meeting with a client to the final photography of their completed vision. there are quite a few architects in this area and i will argue that he is the best because of where he sheds his light.

what you have been given in university is an opportunity to learn to think and to formulate your argument. as evidenced by other comments here your argument here is half baked ... it is not your professor's job to take you down the path, just to show you the path. now, it is your job to pull them down the path & argue why it is relevant. your genius bores until you shed your own light ... you have to own it

applause you for putting your pen to paper and sharing with all of us.

cheers.

Anonymous

institutionalized philosophy is dead & these professors are just spittin' eulogies.

wake up & go outside,

barefoot in the rain.

no pain no gain,

my gym teacher told.

so i blame no one for the lack of gold!

i only blame him, for a heart so cold.

but i thank her, for the reason i've been born.

[no quotation's necessary, i made that shit up myself.]

Anonymous

institutionalized philosophy is dead & these professors are just spittin' eulogies.

wake up & go outside,

barefoot in the rain.

no pain no gain,

my gym teacher told.

so i blame no one for the lack of gold!

i only blame him, for a heart so cold.

but i thank her, for the reason i've been born.

[no quotation's necessary, i made that shit up myself.]

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