I’m a 3rd year philosophy undergrad, and this is a blog where I’ll try to articulate my various frustrations with the way philosophy is taught and practiced. There are a lot.



8 Responses to About

  1. JW says:

    I love your blog. I’m a philosophy student and have been going through the exact same pile on with utilitarianism. It caught me completely off guard. I think I may have started a war in the department because of my interest in any value that utilitarianism may possess- say responsibility for consequences?! I’m thinking pragmatism will be where I find some philosophy friends! You are a bit ahead of me, anyone you have found interesting?

  2. screwplato says:

    Thanks for the comment! I remember how frustrating it was for me initially when professors would just say, “well, utilitarianism used to be popular, but it fell out of favour because we came up with thought experiments where utilitarianism was counterintuitive.” Gah!

    For recommendations, John Stuart Mill’s good (specifically his book Utilitarianism) . He usually makes good, sound, simple arguments, which is a rare talent to find.

    I can’t be of much help regarding pragmatism though. I agree with the basic pragmatic stance (as I understand it) that the worth of a piece of philosophy should be evaluated in terms of how useful it can be, but I don’t know much about it beyond that. The only pragmatist I’ve done is William James, he seemed smart enough but I don’t remember him too well.

    Both of them are pretty hard to read, but that’s a given for anyone born before 1900.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hey there, is there a chance that you would be interested in contributing articles for a new online magazine? I’ve been reading your posts, and I think this is exactly the kind of content/tone that we’re looking for. Hit me up at jlippy24@hotmail.com and i’ll give you more info.

  4. Gayatri says:

    I came across your blog this morning, and ended up meticulously reading through each and every post. I can’t believe you ‘withdrew’ from Uni, I would have loved for you to continue posting! I’m a 1st year student going into her 2nd year, and I’m taking a Philosophy specialist. I hope the degree doesn’t bore me senseless and induce such, for lack of a better word, frustration in me. I love your writing style and arguments, if only I could write like that! You seem awesome! =) I sincerely hope you come back! v(‘^_^)/

  5. screwplato says:

    Thanks a lot! I probably won’t be going back to university though. It’s possible that I’ll post some more things here, but I’m not planning on it right now. By the way, if you do want to be able to write and argue better, I have some advice that may or may not be helpful:

    When reading the material, don’t focus on memorizing it. Focus more on understanding it, and try to figure out whether or not you agree with it and why. Similarly when writing essays, rather than trying to get a high grade, work harder on making sure you’re making good arguments, expressed clearly and in as few words as possible. I could be wrong about this but it felt like a lot of philosophy students had the wrong priorities when doing philosophy, like they would just be trying to meet the course goals rather than really trying to do philosophy. If the course is graded correctly then you should be able to just focus on being a good philosopher and on understanding the course material and the grades will come naturally (unfortunately it doesn’t work this way in practice). Also, revise your essays a lot, and of course always think about how your argument or belief could be wrong. All this is easier said than done, but if you can work hard at them then your writing and arguing should improve a lot. The only downside is that your grades might not be as good, especially in the short term, haha.

    Hopefully this didn’t come off as condescending, for all I know you’re a better writer than I am, it just sounded like you wanted to improve so I said some stuff that might help. Good luck in your 2nd year!

    • Gayatri says:

      Hi! (´⊙ω⊙`) I didn’t check your response sooner since I thought you wouldn’t be all that active here anymore! Thank you for the advice actually! I will definitely keep that in mind once the new semester begins. (●⌒∇⌒●)

      I never took philosophy back in high school, I had never even heard of names like Kant, Hume, Nietzsche etc, so when I took Phl100, it was all really new to me. I guess thats why, in terms of my essay arguments, I never particularly had my own opinion on any of the philosophers, and would play it safe by following the argument styles that our TA’s taught us. I’m not sure how philosophy is graded at my university, I’ve only agreed with the philosophers in all my essays this past year, so I don’t know how they would react otherwise. I remember my TA saying once that, we shouldn’t disagree with the philosophers right away since ‘they’ve been around for a long time’, so they know what they’re talking about and that we’re studying them for a reason. Did you disagree with the philosophers in almost all of your essays? Also, I was just curious and hope you don’t mind me asking, what was your average grade in Philosophy, even with the course grading at your university?
      Had you not withdrawn from university, was there anything you were planning to do with the philosophy degree? I think its pretty cool how you withdrew because the course was frustrating, most people would stick on just for the sake of getting a degree and not because they actually wanted to learn something. (/•ิ_•ิ)/

      Thanks for the advice again! (◑‿◐)
      Oh! I just discovered recently that Hume and quite a few other philosophers were racist and sexist. Strangely enough, I was actually quite upset when I first found out, probably cause somewhere in my head, I thought they were all-knowing, wise, knowledgeable people(;¬_¬) . Do you think their sexism and racism kind of reduces their credibility? I feel like once I get back to University, I’ll probably be scornfully reading them, that will most probably make my papers look biased. (-’๏_๏’-)

      • screwplato says:

        I get an email whenever someone comments, so even though I don’t check the blog often, I know pretty soon after someone comments.

        I think my philosophy grades ranged from 70-90, with an average of about 80. About what your T.A. said, I disagreed with philosophers pretty often in essays. However, the times I agreed with philosophers were the essays I put by far the least effort into, and got significantly better grades on. So on second thought, trying to do what the grader wants is probably a better approach to class essays – it’s easier and gets better marks.

        I didn’t have any clear plan of what to do with my philosophy degree. One vague idea was becoming a philosophy professor.

        About the racist and sexist old philosophers, I’m sure most people would disagree with me here, but I do think it reduces their credibility. Someone who can’t get basic, extremely important ideas right probably isn’t going to be a very good philosopher. A possible counterargument is that it isn’t their fault since they were brought up in a racist and sexist society, but at best that just excuses them morally, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a philosophical blunder. That said, even though it reduces their credibility, the strength of someone’s argument is independent of the credibility of the person making it, unless they specifically use their own philosophical credibility as evidence. So, if you have to read them, try to approach their arguments objectively, without holding it against them that they were wrong about some other things.

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