Friday, August 15, 2008

Wherein it is established that philosophers do not need to eat.

From comments:
I hate the predominantly instrumental view of philosophy that some readers of this blog have. None of the great philosophers in history had become great with such a mediocre mentality. Do you think that Wittgenstein or Kant or Aristotle were worried about 'job prospects' or 'job markets'?
Yeah, we're all so fucking crass.

And I like your examples, dude. As it happens, Aristotle and Wittgenstein weren't worried about this shit because they were both independently wealthy. As for Kant, before he got the chair at Konigsberg, he was a privatedozent, which is to say, the old-timey version of an adjunct, for a whole lotta years. He got paid per student, and so busted his ass to teach as many students as possible every single semester. So yeah, every semester he was worried about the job market.

I guess the lesson to take away from all this is that if you set me up with a trust fund, I'll stop worrying about the job market.

-- PGOAT

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

good one, pgoat. made me laugh, too. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Wittgenstein beat his students? He'd better worry about his job....

Anonymous said...

(a) The claims that doing a PhD in philosophy is intrinsically rewarding, and that doing a PhD in philosophy is a means to a job, are not mutually incompatible. Nor does the first claim entail that the intrinsic reward overrides all other goods.

(b) Aristotle, Kant, and Wittgenstein wrote great philosophy because they were fucking brilliant. Sadly, most humans are not. (Or perhaps, happily. Probably the latter). There's a difference between pretty damn smart (which most philosophers I've met are) and being fucking brilliant (which the vast majority of us are not).

Anonymous said...

amen. it is annoying when people who already have jobs get self-righteous about the rest of us wanting one.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so that explains why Kant's three critiques didn't appear until his 70s. He was a freakin' adjunct for all those years! Damn! So there's still hope for me! Yay!

Sisyphus said...

There was more to the comment too:

anonymous, what do you mean by 'most phds won't get academic jobs'? of course they will, look at the statistics. Most of them do.

Is this even true? Do more than half (or perhaps even significantly more than half, depending on how you define "most") of philosophy PhDs get academic jobs?

Adjuncting doesn't count, as it neither pays a living wage nor can be relied upon from one semester to the ntext.

On the other hand, even though academia is pretty bad, it's not this bad. After all, I'm hardly ever confined with angry bears!

Anonymous said...

to be fair, Wittgenstein spent much of his money to secure the safety of his family in Germany and I believe he died rather poor. Aristotle did have job prospects to worry about. He didn't get to succeed Plato in as head of the academy so he had to go establish his own school. Then, when he returned to Athens, he had to book it so his fate wouldn't resemble Socrates'. So I guess he had more important worries than the job market.

Also, Wittgenstein beat his young students--i.e. the elementary school children he taught when he was hiding from academia. He did have to worry about that job since he left abruptly when parents were complaining (and if I'm not mistaken a child almost died).

By the way, Max Weber has a great article about the privatdozent system in Germany and I assure you it is worse than being an adjunct.

Anonymous said...

As it happens, even Aristotle wasn't immune to the vagaries of the job market. When Plato died, Aristotle was passed over for the top job at the Academy...which went to Plato's nephew. I'm not sure Aristotle took this too well.
I don't know if this is encouraging or just evidence that the job market has been a bastard for over 2000 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused... what does being independently wealthy have to do with it? Fuck, if all you want is a steady income you probably wouln't be a philosopher, right? Or do you think that there's some obvious connection between wealth and not having to worry about getting a job in the philosophy market? Sorry--I'm just not seeing it, unless you think Wittgenstein and Aristotle were buying off hiring committees?

Anonymous said...

Yay, PGOAT's back!

Ben said...

"The claims that doing a PhD in philosophy is intrinsically rewarding, and that doing a PhD in philosophy is a means to a job, are not mutually incompatible."

Very true; particularly because if philosophy (and not just a PhD) is intrinsically rewarding, and the PhD is a means to a lifetime of doing philosophy, then it's a case of an intrinsic good that brings more intrinsic good (fecundity in Bentham's calculus).

Anonymous said...

More precisely, Wittgenstein gave away all of his money quite early in life (to his family, but not, I believe, to secure the safe of his family...apparently they were already extremely wealthy and Wittgenstein's view was that since they were already corrupted, his giving them his fortune wouldn't corrupt them further).

And by giving away all his money, I mean he had trouble getting train fare to return to Cambridge, and then once there couldn't afford furniture, etc.

By the way, PGOAT, let's face it: the desire for a TT job is not the desire to eat. Making it seem as if a person who is critical of the career-desperate is really asking them to go without food is just poor argumentative strategy.

Anonymous said...

What about all the waitresses in LA who want to be professional actresses, but don't get to be. You all seem to have it pretty cushy compared to them, with your "funding" and your TAships and whatever.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Anon 7:39 helps me understand the people who profess not to understand PGOAT's argument: They're outsiders to academia.

A lot of people leave graduate school with negative equity (they owe a lot more than they own). If they don't get a job teaching, they often have to settle for jobs that don't require a college degree, and many of these (other than high-end waitressing and bartending) offer low pay. I'm 40 and I'm only this year making more than the average salary in the area in which I live (it's one of the poorer parts of the South), though I'm still below the national mean.

TAs and research assistantships pay in the range of $12-20,000 per year, and may be taxed. That's not too bad for a half-time job (generally they are nominally 20 hours per week) but hard to live on in a big city - and remember you can't moonlight much if at all without extending your time to degree.

Adjuncting gigs can pay around $2,000-6,000 per course, though you generally need to have the Ph.D. in hand to get much above the middle of that range. The average load of a tenure-track faculty member is anywhere from 4-8 courses a year, and to teach at that rate as an adjunct brings in $8,000-48,000. At the upper end that's not bad, but there's a lot of time involved in searching out those jobs, and they can be cancelled as late as a week or two into the semester. So there's no security of employment. And rarely insurance.

SO: if you're independently wealth, or have a rich spouse, you can go umemployed for a year or two here or there and not go hungry, maybe even keep up with publishing and stuff. If you're dependent on your earnings, you can be quite impoverished for a long time after grad school. So life is easier if you have money. How's that hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

having been both a philosophy grad student and a waitress, in LA and elsewhere too, I have to say that no, grad students in philosophy don't necessarily have it better than them. You make good money as a waitress, better than being a grad student by a ways. Plus, if you are feeling stressed that you are low on cash, you can just take an extra shift or something. You can do something about it *that week* to alleviate the problem. In academia, in grad school especially, if you are tight in the middle of a semester, there is jack shit you can do about it right then (short of, say, getting a job waiting tables). That adds a lot of life stress.

I got a lot of good reading done while working as a waitress. You go home and that's it, you are done. You have no prep before going.

I don't know why people have to try to take PGOAT down a notch - they seem to think she is uppity for pointing out that independently wealthy people don't need jobs and the rest of us do. yeah, if we were just looking for a steady paycheck, we could do anything. But the basic presumption is that we all love doing philosophy, and so we want to keep doing that AND have a job. Trying to point that she's spoiled or has unreasonable expectations just comes across as petty.

Captain Obvious said...

Why hasn't anyone mentioned Hume yet? He sepent his whole life worrying about the job market...

Anonymous said...

Waitressing is to acting like teaching is to philosophy

Anonymous said...

Though Aristotle had awesome recs and his research showed a lot of promise, Speusippus came from a PGR-ranked institution.

Ben said...

Surely part of the point is that if you were independently wealthy, you could do philosophy for its own sake on your terms, rather than for money - meaning you could research what you liked, when you liked, not worry about job-hunting or the tenure clock, pay for any conferences you wanted to go to, and maybe do a little adjuncting on the side if it was a course you liked.

Anonymous said...

"Waitressing is to acting like teaching is to philosophy"

Nope.

Anonymous said...

"Nope."

Yep

cristian said...

By "predominantly instrumental view" I mean those who do philosophy mainly as a mean to obtain a job, and are therefore much more interested in speculating on how much money they'll get, where they will work, etc. than in developing their philosophical views or in doing what they will feel passion for. I remember having read somewhere that Bertrand Russell lost his appointment at Trinity College for having participated in pacifist activities, Spinoza had to leave Amsterdam because the Orthodox Jewish community disliked his ideas, and Gramsci had to develop most of his political ideas in jail. Such a spirit is remarkably absent among some of the readers of this blog. But even if you do not feel such a passion, and prefer to be a slave of the job market, I would say that your situation is not bad either. I think that only somebody who has been systematically baby-sitted could consider a TA salary of $15,000 a year rather low. In a world in which half of the planet live on less than $2 dollars a day, and in a world in which only 12% of the people earn more than 12K a year, I feel that our situation is quite privileged. If not, what would you say to an intellectual or professor in Latin America or Asia who works earns three times less, and needs to have two or more jobs to support his family, and still enjoys what he is doing? Is his life unworthy?

Anonymous said...

1. WAITING TABLES : ACTING ::

(A) waking : dreaming
(B) talking : fighting
(C) teaching : philosophy
(D) keeping it realz : selling out
(E) adjuncting : hooking

The answer is (C). Though perhaps an argument could be made for (E).

Anonymous said...

"...those who do philosophy mainly as a mean [sic] to obtain a job, and are therefore much more interested in speculating on how much money they'll get..."

What a strawman. Nobody goes into philosophy just because they want a job. Or if they are primarily interested in money. And anybody who stays the course isn't there just to get a job. People are in philosophy because they love it. (Or, because it fills some psychic need to feel smart and powerful. But that's still not just about getting a job.)

And, as an ethicist who battles clinical depression, I am all too familiar with the "what about the poor and radically exploited?" line of thought. On a rational level, however, I think that when I use that line of thought to make me feel bad about wanting a decent life for myself, that is a symptom of mental illness, not an argument. Wanting a good life for oneself isn't the same as wanting a life built on the exploitation of others. And you can want a good life for yourself all while helping others achieve a better life. (Though if that is really such a priority for you, you might want to consider alternative career paths.)

solideogloria685 said...

Here is no myth: On the spring break trip back home from college: I drove past a man sitting on top of a parked car on the side of the highway. I backed up to where he was, and asked him if he needed help. His car indeed had broken down, and he asked me if I would drive him to a bus station. He said he needed to make it to a city where he was to run a construction project. I do not know if he was lying (and ironically, if he was, he would be well suited for the construction industry), but I tell the story from that, while eating a meal I had bought for him, he claimed two things. The first claim: that he had spent 100$ on that car that broke down, trying to get to a certain bus station in time for the bus ride upon which he had spent the rest of his money, and that the bus ride was to take him to a town where he would supervise that construction project for the government. The other claim was that he had published articles in a philosophy journal, one of which expounded his version of pantheism. He seemed like a pretty intelligent fellow (seeing as he spoke in Hindi to the Indian clerk in the hotel at which I left him), so I didn't doubt the claim so quickly.

I read this blog and it brought to mind my story with this poor guy who was either 1) a chronic liar; 2) a schizophrenic whose delusions were surprisingly down to earth -- who dreams that he had written articles in a journal, and that he was heading a 6-million-dollar construction project, which is not much money to play with in projects of considerable scale; or 3) the last option: that he was a real former member of academia, trying to make it to a real bus ride that would take him to his real construction project for the government. And you know: I'm inclined to put my pennies on the third option. And I ask: Why shouldn't I act more like this guy, or at least how this guy presented himself? Which is harder to believe over a soda and a hamburger with a poor philosopher: that he secured the funds to build the government's building, although he couldn't afford to pay for his own meal, or that he was trying to make it to a professorship interview? You see: my father's in the construction industry, and from his stories and by working with him I know of the crazy people one meets within the business; and I have read from your blog: how difficult it is to secure a job in the philosophy field. And so I retrospect: that I might have been less inclined to believe him if he had told me the latter tale. I would do this out of respect for that truth is stranger than fiction; for you people are that man, with barely enough money to pay one's way to a pie-in-the-sky job, and even a more difficult one it seems than the one he described to me.

And you see: "you people" are really 'we people', since I also intend to be a professor someday. I find irony then: in that I, a college student, picked up a man with no financial security. In clearer reflection: I didn't engage in a moment of charity, but one of community with another intellectual have-not, who ultimately must try to squeeze money out of the do-haves. Also: I am glad I broke the law of my state by allowing the man to hitchhike with me, since that in the event I learned to take care of someone who has to break his back over the soil as much as I do. One would think that one would find more of such concern for one's fellow among professional -philosophers-, but it seems that in the American educational system they have fallen in love with the not-so-fluid caste system of the capitalist market, instead of their own students who need jobs, too.

It's almost enough to convince me that I ought to stay single, learn a non-academic trade, and be an amateur philosopher. If American universities don't need me to teach in their classrooms, then why should I bother to give them thousands of dollars in return for the right to supply them a skill that they don't need? And if I, unlike them, teach without charge, then those who also cannot afford the company of professionals will be more freely grateful for my company than students who must demand quite a bit of me for their debt-incurring investments. (And, um, about that: asking people to pay a thousand dollars per semester to hear me ramble on about things that will not help them get into law- or medical-school – I wonder how philosophical one must be to agree to such a thing. I for one certainly felt cheated attending those of my 1000$ undergraduate classes in which the professor merely regurgitated what I had read in our assigned reading the night before.) One hopes that one will remember those who are still fare-less after one’s boat arrives. I don’t know if I will follow through with my afore-described sacerdotal vow of simplicity, but I’m trying to figure out how best to remember my former fellow have-nots. It seems from your ceaseless rage against the machine which is the American professional community of philosophy: that no one has shown such concern for earnest want-to-be teachers. At least for now, this is clear: I find it hard to accept that the economic system through which such professional community works is the best to foster teachers and students (that is: older and younger students) of philosophy. How does one conscientiously teach ethicists such as Spinoza, who advocated generosity even to one’s enemies (Ethics, pt. 3, Prop. 46, Demonstration), to a class of those who one knows by experience are co-investing to a system that won’t give them shit unless their dissertation happens to please -- over a large number of other dissertations -- someone’s disinterested opinion? What is the practice of such a body of educators teaching their soon-to-be peers: that a cycle of subjection of one’s apprentices to debt and economic strife is the best way to build a strong community? Such a thing is absurd. Q.E.Fucking.D. Surely a bunch of philosophers are creative – and caring – enough to figure out a way in which everyone in the field (and training to be in the field, or related fields) must contribute whole-heartedly, but at the same time be a collegium in which “to each is distributed according to one’s need” (The Bible, Acts, 2:45).

Anonymous said...

More colons, please! I've got fever: and the only prescription is more colons.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:28 -

You need all the ativan the world has to offer. Plus someone needs to do you a favor and break the colon key on your keyboard for you.

I could go on, but - unlike you - I won't.

Anonymous said...

solid: i feel ya, but unfortunately even philosophers can't fix a broken economic system, at least not by themselves.

and sisyphus: according to a bunch of research on the political economy of the academy, most of those who receive PhD's do not in fact get a job in the academy, so many of us are "training" (i.e., actually substantively performing) for jobs that we will never actually receive. and at wages that many waitresses laugh at.

at any rate, wev. the premise of this thread is plainly stupid. the commenter in question knows nothing about how much time and energy we devote to the practice of philosophy relative to how much time and energy we devote to trying to square the circle of the job market. but the name of the fucking blog probably should have clued johnny in on that one.

and in conclusion, waitressing is to acting as waitressing, and teaching, *and* temping is to philosophy. easy one.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Solideo...You had me at your misunderstanding of irony, and I knew it was love when you quoted the Bible. Although I want to hear the version where the dude beat you and took your car and money, leaving you only deep cynicism and a head wound, then you find out later the guy was Deepak Chopra. That would rule.

Anonymous said...

Idiot @ 8:37 wrote:

"Bertrand Russell lost his appointment at Trinity College for having participated in pacifist activities, Spinoza had to leave Amsterdam because the Orthodox Jewish community disliked his ideas, and Gramsci had to develop most of his political ideas in jail. Such a spirit is remarkably absent among some of the readers of this blog."

Guess what, imbecile: Such a spirit is absent among most people (tenured faculty at Princeton, Harvard, etc. included), who - alas! - are moved not purely by the True, the Good and the Beautiful. Do you think Thomas Nagel or Tim Scanlon (to pick a couple of completely random examples) would publish an idea if they knew that doing so would cost them their tenure, their jobs, their employment prospects, their pensions?

(Actually, I have no clue what those two particular individuals would do. Who knows - maybe they'd be the rare, brave exception, Spinoza-style? But most people, utterly brilliant philosophers included, wouldn't.)

Anonymous said...

"Spinoza had to leave Amsterdam because the Orthodox Jewish community disliked his ideas"

What nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"many of us are "training" (i.e., actually substantively performing) for jobs that we will never actually receive. and at wages that many waitresses laugh at."

What kind of "training" do people endure to become professional baseball, basketball, and football players? Olympic gold medalists? Rock stars?

philo said...

Well, at least my new adjunct gig includes free meals!

Of course, I haven't tried any of them yet...Not sure how that will work out...

mr. zero said...

By "predominantly instrumental view" I mean those who do philosophy mainly as a mean to obtain a job, and are therefore much more interested in speculating on how much money they'll get, where they will work, etc. than in developing their philosophical views or in doing what they will feel passion for.

Of course, there are lots of reasons to worry about that stuff, almost none of which are incompatible with professional integrity. It's not wrong to want to have enough money to live comfortably. It's not wrong to want to live in a safe area where there are things to do at night. It's not wrong to want to be a member of a department with nice people who help you with your research.

It is wrong, however, to suggest that it's wrong to want these things.

I remember having read somewhere that Bertrand Russell lost his appointment at Trinity College for having participated in pacifist activities, Spinoza had to leave Amsterdam because the Orthodox Jewish community disliked his ideas, and Gramsci had to develop most of his political ideas in jail. Such a spirit is remarkably absent among some of the readers of this blog.

Taken one way, such spirit is supererogatory in the extreme. Taken another, such spirit is obviously shared by everyone here: if it weren't, we wouldn't bother with this job market shit and would all become corporate lawyers.

But even if you do not feel such a passion, and prefer to be a slave of the job market, I would say that your situation is not bad either.

Obviously, it's not that bad. People who work at Wal-Mart, or in Malaysian sweatshops, have it way, way worse. So what? Not making enough money sucks. Not knowing where you will work next semester or next year sucks. having to move, possibly across country, every year sucks. Not knowing whether you will have a job a year from now sucks. Why shouldn't I gripe about it a little?

Anonymous said...

What happened to nth year? Did (s)he graduate?

Anonymous said...

"Gramsci had to develop most of his political ideas in jail."

Now there's an idea...free room and board, no teaching, no question about where you'll be living a year from now or whether you'll have a job. And if you start to long for your old adjunct office, you can always get yourself thrown into solitary.

Anonymous said...

when I use that line of thought to make me feel bad about wanting a decent life for myself, that is a symptom of mental illness, not an argument.

I love you.

solideogloria said...

"I want to hear the version where the dude beat you and took your car and money, leaving you only deep cynicism and a head wound, then you find out later the guy was Deepak Chopra. That would rule."

You beat me with your words, and took away the possibility of us riding together in this conversation. You may have my feelings and the right to decide whether we continue to converse, but I must politely refuse your gift of "deep cynicism".

Anonymous said...

Solid,

what people are using humor to signal to you is that your post was a serious violation of several basic norms of conversation. The number of colons was just an obvious symptom of that. If you aspire to be in this community, you need to work on that. No one will take you seriously if you write like that.

solideogloria1685 said...

I find it strange then that in the philosophy community: one is not allowed to critically think about the uses of certain tools within language such as punctuation. I substitute colons in some cases that commas are commonly placed because: the colon acts as a sort of pointer toward the next clause or phrase; the comma acts as a separation of sentences or clauses, often inappropriately, since the first use of commas is to replace conjuctions. For example: it is easier to write "the eggs, the toast, the milk, etc." rather than "the eggs and the toast and the milk and etc." I think that the colon has more force in directing the reader through the rest of the sentence than the comma. I haven't trained myself to mind my own rules consistently in writing but those are my reasons.

And no: I do not think that the anonymous comment was made in regards to grammar. However: I thank you for your politeness toward me and your concern for that I should learn to behave in a respectable manner.

keatskeatskeats said...

i want to teach "teh philosophiez" so i can bang out hot undergradz before they get to the frat house. Also so I can resurrect the cult of Priapos.

keatskeatskeats

"because it sounds like skeet skeet skeet"

Anonymous said...

I think that the colon has more force in directing the reader through the rest of the sentence than the comma.

You are wrong.

mr. zero said...

Solid,

No, you're not thinking critically about punctuation. You're just using colons wrong, and it's annoying, and it gets in the way of whatever your point was.

Anonymous said...

Many colons can be replaced by periods.

Some of them can be replaced by commas. But frankly I find a sentence that starts "Also: I am glad..." to be informal in the extreme, like power-point writing. If that's your intention, that's fine with me. There's nothing wrong with informal writing.

You can certainly think critically about punctuation. But "thinking critically" and ignoring rules are two different things.

beer stein said...

one is not allowed to critically think about the uses of certain tools within language such as punctuation.

One is certainly allowed to. But if one uses as many colons as you do one risks looking kind of stupid. Not stupid, exactly. To me it seems kind of narcissistic, grandiose. As if you think you're Gertrude Stein, or Wittgenstein. Or Frankenstein.

solideogloria1685 said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputes_in_English_grammar

I found these links from the article

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002625.html

and

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002897.html


Personally
I do not know what to do about punctuation
because points within that thing which is called standard grammar are
in a spirit similar to that of mr. zero
annoying to me
and so
I find it difficult to choose whether to swallow my annoyances
and be untrue to my reasons for why they annoy me
or to write in a way that is most pleasing to me
while perhaps annoying others on this or that given point of grammar
who may or may not also have taken a little time to articulate their strongly felt convictions

How one chooses between pleasing the conviction of another and that of oneself
I often find difficult

For another example
the avoidance of the appearance of pretense

Here's why
when confronted with a conflict situation in which someone claims that his writing makes him seem pretentious
a person humbler (less pretentious) than I is not so quick to assume that either the status quo of the value system of the claiming person or of himself is the one he should follow

Whoever can discern whether it is better to candidly manifest one's simple aesthetic desire to write in the noble-seeming syntax of the old rhetoricians
to please the eye of same self
or to write with language more common within one's day in order to avoid seeming arrogant or clownish
to please the eye of another self
let me know the name of this person

Whether one considers what I do as informal or formal does not matter much to me
although I thought that my grammar did indeed have form
since I could articulate the reasons behind a point of its shape
namely its use of colons

Any further discussion
if needed or desired for the fun of it
I am sure can be done elsewhere
and I say this thing because I do not know whether the owners of this blog allow discussions in the comments to veer too far from the subject of the respective blog

Anonymous said...

Or Frankenstein

LOLOLOLZZZZ

Anonymous said...

Well: we all know who is NOT getting
Published. Unless: there happens to
be a Journal of
Aesthetic Douchebaggery.

How about you slink back into the strange corner from which you emerged and go back to furiously pleasing your same self.

Anonymous said...

Solid -

You think you are some sort of poet with special insight but you are a narcissist, self-satisfied, annoying twit who can't write worth shit. Open your eyes. No one is coming to your defense. NO ONE. You write horribly and pretentiously. You have nothing to say that offers any insight to anyone. If you are only writing to 'please yourself' then fine, but understand that that is truly what you are doing and don't post it in public space.

People like you give those of us who want to be more inclusive and creative about what counts as legitimate philosophical writing a bad name.

solideogloria1685 said...

beer stein:

(That last line was pretty funny by the way.)

Anonymous said...

Solid: Philosophy is not poetry. See, e.g., The Republic. Now, you can clearly cast a revealing light on aspects of the human condition without doing philosophy. I'm sure most educated human beings even feel they have more to learn from reading a poem than an article from J Phil. But whatever the disagreements about what philosophy *is*, academic philosophy is at the very least defined by working in prose. Which requires punctuation. And some degree of clarity.

P.S. Were you an undergrad in my class last year? I thought we had a talk about the way you write.

Anonymous said...

hey - so I know PGS and PGOAT and STBJD and second suitor all have lives and dissertations to write and CVS to update and all. But many of us are starting the school year in which we will go on the market, and are already starting to get a bit nervous about the prospect of what lies ahead. summer's over.

so post again, please! PGS, I really want to hear what you are up to and what you are planning on doing this year.

you can't just get us addicted to this blog and then leave us hanging.

Anonymous said...

721p: Are you "Maurice Leiter"?

Anonymous said...

solideogloria,

I like it when people read what I write, which is why I try to make it as easy on my readers as possible, and why I follow standard conventions concerning punctuation and grammar.

You may find that stuff annoying, and I'm not going to argue with you. But the point of writing is communication, and you can't communicate successfully while you annoy the people you're trying to communicate with. You at least put yourself at a stiff disadvantage.

I understand that you were trying to accomplish something by flouting the rules. Your readers are trying to tell you that it didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/17, 1:45 PM here

Today I'm feeling less sanguine about the worth of our profession.

http://tinyurl.com/6y7549

She's an astounding little girl, but she nonetheless has to live *that* life.

Somebody else remind me why we shouldn't all be working in foreign relief. (Or, hell, in relieving the poor in our own country.)

Seriously. I'd appreciate the help.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of dividing utterances into meaningful parts -- solideogloria should be 'punctuated' soli deo gloria and abbreviated accordingly. Those referring to "solid" are revealing their own ignorance from their high chair of prophecy and punctuational superiority.

Anonymous said...

You don't need to be a PhD to be a brilliant philosopher. Just grind some lenses.

Anonymous said...

7:35 - Duh. People were making a pun at the poster's expense. I, for one, was also trying to resist the unwanted injection of religious crap onto this board.

Anonymous said...

their high chair of prophecy and punctuational superiority

What's a high chair of prophecy and punctuational superiority? Is that like a car safety seat of divine inspiration? Or a onesie of adequate general typography?

Anonymous said...

1685 is the birthyear of both Bach and Handel, both of whom used to end their compositions with SDG. So, I would have taken SDG1685 to be a reference to one of them.

nevertheless, "solid" seems like perfectly good abreviation.

Anonymous said...

Job ads are starting to surface, both officially and unofficially--why is the blog fucking around with colon debates and poetry, not getting prepping for and discussing the next round of job ads?

Anonymous said...

Yeah burn baby!!. .tell it, bache; und Handle'

Anonymous said...

Oh em jee, this blog fuckin' sux.

Anonymous said...

Who: cares: about: grammar:?: I: like: colons:.:

Anonymous said...

Unless there happens to be a Journal of Aesthetic Douchebaggery.

... try the LitCrit/Continental section of your University Library.

solideogloria1685 said...

anonymous @ 4:52 p.m.

"I like it when people read what I write ... which is why I follow standard conventions concerning punctuation and grammar."

Of course I understand your reasons; you desire to do what others think is right more than I do. (And I do not condemn such an attitude. You may get through life more easily than I will.)

"[T]he point of writing is communication..."

Yes; I communicated indirectly through the way I communicated directly that I did not care for some standard rules of grammar, and then explained that subtle point more directly...

"...and you can't communicate successfully while you annoy the people you're trying to communicate with."

Annoyance is a minor anger toward what one sees as a violation of their moral code. What they communicated in their annoyance, at least as it appeared to me, is that this violation of their moral code which they saw in my conduct was a heinous offense, something more urgent than the rest of the content of my message. I understand that my confession (that I have not figured out what is better: to please oneself or to please others) was criticized; the unspoken desire to reconcile myself to these anonymous annoyed (by said humble confession) was ignored or taken as a further sign of narcissism. (To take it so implies an odd, paradoxical demand, that those who are humble or try to do a humble thing -must- be ignorant of that they are humble.) They will continue to slander me as long as I stand in opposition to their moral code; every headstrong person is a vigorous advocate of oneself, and will enforce themselves upon others out of desire to self-propagation. It's easier to miss that someone is advocating the self when it's directed toward another rather than oneself. Ironically, by condemning me as "narcissistic" for holding to that one's ethics come from a desire to propagate the self, they ignore the doctrine of half of Continental philosophy since Hobbes, and condemn me for being headstrong and having little desire to speak exactly as they like -- but it's just two headstrong, "narcissistic" parties butting heads. They wish to fight off from their territory (this blog) all the pestilence that is not what they call "academic philosophy" (or that institution which apparently inoculates itself from religion, a peculiarly American invention by the Baptists and Thomas Jefferson and the recent wave of militant atheists) and what they hail as correct English for philosophy blog comments (or that form of English by which one writes formal essays and journal articles, NOT poetry). For my part I unwittingly wished to invade their city with my alien ways and to influence, by my movements within the logos, the people viewing this blog.

With all surface discourtesies on both sides aside, I've learned that beyond Daniel Dennett there really is animosity in academia toward people who quote the Bible (and may Nature convert or damn those Bible-quoting motherfuckers by the powers of evolution), and that using colons on purpose will get me mocked or completely ignored here. I think that in these respects the communication between myself and those who dislike me was clear and instructive. I have no interest in surviving within the pecking order in such a group (because I'm sure that the same people write the same scathing comments to everyone who gets out of line -- their line, that is).

And if you're wondering why I'm still commenting, I don't type for them, of course; if this comment even makes it onto the list, it's only pissing them off more. I do type this for you (anonymous @ 4:52), though, because you were one of the few who wanted to converse with me amiably, and I don't have an e-mail address for you.

anon 4:52 said...

Annoyance is a minor anger toward what one sees as a violation of their moral code.

Don't know what you're talking about. Didn't keep reading your post. Too long; too annoying.

Rabbit said...

"But the point of writing is communication, and you can't communicate successfully while you annoy the people you're trying to communicate with. You at least put yourself at a stiff disadvantage."

Socrates (470~ish BCE - 399 BCE)
RIP

Anonymous said...

I found this blog recently... and liked the comment about working in a different career field, but still doing work in philosophy. Surely it could be said to be a logical choice. In fact, I love it, but the economy of the decade and perceived future, I would be shackled with student loan debt or locked into a system of servitude by doing my love professionally. Given that I chose to do a different suitable career, I work in the non profit field and about to finish my MPA soon. Although I am not a professional scholar or teacher, I can still comprehend and write scholarly or very close to, scholarly work from time to time.
Didn't Albert Einstein do most of his physics work working as a file clerk? Many of the greats have done the same...
Being in academia isn't a precursor to being a great philosopher, I would actually say the opposite could hold true in many cases, that there are a lot of smart people, but not that many brilliant people.
It is kind of like the amateur photographer, that although isn't perfect all the time or know the latest techniques and work on it all day, they can sometimes come up with great work.
Cheers, and... good blog.