Dropped out of university, ending the blog

I “withdrew” from this university semester, and don’t plan on going back. Although it is unfortunate to quit before I can figure out whether (the vast majority of) philosophers are actually as staggeringly incompetent as they appear to be, or are simply playing an elaborate practical joke, I simply couldn’t stand it either way.

It’s technically possible that I’ll post more to here, but it’s unlikely. In any case, thanks to everyone who was supportive. No thanks to this discipline for turning what should be a worthwhile pursuit into a massive waste of time.


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33 Responses to Dropped out of university, ending the blog

  1. “[…] before I can figure out whether (the vast majority of) philosophers are actually as staggeringly incompetent as they appear to be, or are simply playing an elaborate practical joke, I simply couldn’t stand it either way.”

    Lots of apparently smart people think that contemporary analytic philosophy is not totally moronic, and yet this seems to be a position that you hold unwaveringly. Have you considered the possibility that you just don’t quite get it?

    • screwplato says:

      No Matt Harris, that had never occurred to me, and it certainly isn’t something I’ve heard a million times before! I’ll revise my opinion of contemporary analytic philosophy immediately!

      Quick question though, since I’m still new to your “if lots of smart people believe it, it must be true” approach to truth. What happens when lots of smart people believe one thing, but lots of smart people also believe another thing that contradicts the first thing? For example by my calculations I am currently believing about 90 religions simultaneously right now, as well as being both atheist and agnostic. I’m not sure how to resolve this issue and let me tell you it feels quite strange.

      • Dan in Euroland says:

        The fact that lots of smart people believe a field has something to offer is a reason to believe a field is not totally moronic. It is not a reason for truth of whether a field is totally moronic or not. (Ratio credentis versus ratio veritatis).

        Have you considered finance? Given the wage premium for graduating college why drop out altogether?

      • screwplato says:

        Well if you actually want to make that argument we will have to talk about our definition of “smart people.” I was assuming it meant something like the top 15-20% of the population in terms of intelligence. If that’s true then yes, there are many smart philosophers, but no, them believing something is not evidence that what they believe is not retarded. This is because most people, including most people in the top 15-20% of the population, cannot reason well. You would have to say that the Nazi movement was not moronic or terrible as well if you wanted to defend philosophy this way.

        If you want to say that “smart” means “good at reasoning” and that many people who do philosophy are smart in this sense, then you are also wrong because most philosophers are actually very bad at reasoning. In that sense there are not very many smart people at all involved in philosophy and so the fact that there are a few is obviously not sufficient reason for me to believe that philosophy is not retarded when I have such clear evidence to the contrary.

  2. Tristan Haze says:

    ‘I’m still new to your “if lots of smart people believe it, it must be true” approach to truth.’ – Dude, I’ve missed you, and that’s classic you.

    I hope you do post again. Feel free to write me sometime about life or philosophy or whatever: trist33anha3ze@g3mail.com with the 3’s deleted. I’m quite serious about this, and hope you do it. Needless to say, I’ll write back.

  3. Tristan Haze says:

    By the way, on the incompetence of philosophers: yeah, you could look at it that way. Or you could regard most professed philosophers as not real philosophers, but pretenders, or in the case of more honest ones, scholars of philosophy or commentators on philosophy – people who play a role in philosophy, but not the ones who really drive it. It doesn’t really matter, and I’m crapping on. What is important is that there have been real philosophers who have not been full of shit. In the abstract, it is possible for you to be one yourself. If that’s what you want to do, then by God you shouldn’t let this stop you. They didn’t.

    Of course, you might not want that sort of life. Whatever that means. Pardon this impulsive and disorderly comment. I don’t mean it to sound like I think I’m nailing anything. I think I’m jabbering, but my heart is in it.

  4. Shame, I found this blog an interesting and thoughtful perspective on a fair number of subjects I’ve come across in uni philosophy classes. This post came a bit late as I hadn’t checked the blog in a bit, but I’d love to see future thoughts.

    I’ve found most of getting good grades in philosophy (and other uni classes) is to repeat what teacher’s/the text argued in glowing terms with minimal added insight. Whoever grades it sees what they expect to see which makes it easier for them to fill in the gaps in the argument if needed. It’s comforting for them. Clearly that kind of sycophantic writing is not something you’re interested in doing. Sadly, when you’re more skeptically and thoughtfully inclined I think it’s hard to get quality grades without resorting to such.

    But that doesn’t mean your actual insight on things isn’t far more worthwhile and it was a pleasure to read your thoughts in this blog. Plus you stated some points very elegantly, I particularly liked the line “Nowadays we have invented the paragraph, which renders these other speakers largely obsolete.” That’s from the writeup on the use of straw men (almost entirely yes men) in Plato’s writings.

    Anyhow, this post sounds bitter, which is reasonable, but I wanted to inject some enthusiasm for the thinking you’ve done.

    All the best

  5. LairBob says:

    Yeah…I came here because Zite popped up your post on “intuition pandering” — which I really enjoyed — and then when I was poking around to read more, I was bummed to find that you had already quit.

    All I would offer is that there is a _huge_ gap between being a “philosopher”, in practice, and being a “philosophy student”. (Or “philosophy professor”, or any other academically-rarefied variation.) I majored in Literature & Philosophy as an undergrad, and I never had any inclination to keep pursuing it academically. On the other hand, I don’t feel any less philosophically inclined or validated than people I know who are “professional” philosophers — I read philosophy, I write about it on my own blog, and if I were ever to have something important enoug to say that a lot of other people would want to hear about it (outside the academic echo chamber), I think I’ve got as good a chance or better of getting my thoughts out there. I’m sure you know this, but many or most influential philosophical thinkers had some kind of “day job”, and wrote because they were driven to do it, not because it was they were officially designated as “philosophers”.

    You may be pissed off, now, but honestly, in the long run….that may be the most convincing sign that you _are_ a real philosopher.

  6. GNZ says:

    that is in a way a pity, at least in as far as you seem a little bitter about it – But I hope you find the path that suits you better. I found your perspective very interesting. If you enjoyed posting on this sort of thing you could still comment without actually studying the feild.
    Anyway, best of luck, although you may never see the post.

  7. LoveJoy says:

    Aww is philosophy too hard for da poor widdle baby? Sorry you couldn’t hack it.

  8. Sayyid says:

    To be honest, given that I’ve read most of your blogposts, I can say you dropping out is mostly your tutors’ fault, but partly your own. I’ll begin by criticising you.

    You started philosophy – like I did, actually – thinking that a lot of things are pretty straightforward and became very angry when it seemed people were fussing over “wrong” – or what you call “wrong” – theories and ideas.

    But your tutors are the most to blame.

    They should have shown you WHY you were intellectually arrogant in thinking a lot of these theories were “obviously nonsense”. They didn’t.

    They should have accepted your points about teaching good philosophy over bad, but they should have asked you to channel your efforts into developing a good method of demarcating good and bad philosophy.

    And they should have marked your essays better!

    I base this on what I’ve read from your blogposts. I’ve found a number of of bad philosophical mistakes in them, some which were pointed out by others, which come across as ironic, since almost in every post you are bitterly complaining about the incompetence of one or another great philosopher. Your tutors had the duty to put more time into your philosophical education, but they didn’t act on it.

    In the end, philosophy has a humbling effect; to run away from reading others is to run away from humility.

    • screwplato says:

      Interesting points, I do think that leaving philosophy was best for me though. If I had stuck with philosophy nothing really would have changed. I’d already been in there for 2 and a half years or so and it had felt the same way the whole way through. If the philosophers were wrong they weren’t going to learn and if I was the one who was wrong I wasn’t going to learn either.

      If I was going to learn humility the best way would be what I did, which is to drop the subjective field of philosophy, where a party can still insist they’re right when they’re quite wrong (as you said I’ve done) and go to a field where success is based on skill. That way if I was all that like I thought I was no one would be able to disagree and if I was arrogant and simple-minded I would soon find out.

    • Laticia says:

      I told my grmneaothdr how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”

    • Jerald, you are a brother indeed to me. Thank you for emphasizing some of the most important and overlooked words in the Sermon discourse: “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord…but he who does the will of My Father…” (Matt 7:21)Janine, welcome to the comments section! You were brave to wade into these waters but the water’s fine for all of us! Like Jerald, I hope more put on their floaties in time…Alan, I am glad you still consider me a friend and haven’t written me off!

    • sedat içli diyor ki:slm ben bingöldensedat alçıboya ve ısı yalıtım montalama ustasıyım 12 yıldır bu iiÅŸi yapıyorum kendime güvenim var yurtdışında çalışmışlığım var iÅŸ arıyorum güven istiyorum enkısa zamanda bekliyorum saygılarımla tlf :05318174573

    • The Absent Game…Between me and my husband we’ve owned much more MP3 players over the years than I can count, like Sansas, iRivers, iPods (traditional & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few a long time I’ve settled down to one line of gamers….

    • Hei Matthias!Jeg elsker initiativet og denne siden. Jeg elsker min sykkel og jeg elsker Ã¥ vite at vi er stadig de som drømmer og “kjempe” for en verden med flere sykler, mindre stress og mer smiler.I gÃ¥r var min første kritisk masse, og jeg var sÃ¥ glade, ønsker Ã¥ pedal stadig.Takk for denne plassen :)Aniko

  9. Geronimo says:

    Glad you’re gone. From reading your posts, you seem very simple minded, taking very simplistic views on philosophical issues. When people pointed out errors in your posts, all you did was try to refute them instead of trying to look at the problems more deeply. If you think this post is too simplistic/arrogant, etc., then you have missed the point. Good riddance.

    • screwplato says:

      Your response is pretty justified given my original post actually and I’m surprised I didn’t get more responses along this line. I disagree though.

  10. Cat says:

    Hopefully you’ve also killed yourself since dropping out. The world doesn’t need your arrogance.

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