Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Philosophy? Don't Do Philosophy

Hey guess what everybody? I’m a philosophy minor. That’s right; as of Wednesday night I have a college degree in a subject that I know absolutely nothing about. It’s like inducting Justin Bieber into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. By the way, did you know that Justin Bieber is Canadian? As if I needed another reason to despise him.

Now some of you might ask why a journalism major would even pursue a minor in philosophy. It’s a long story, but the basic gist is that they made me. For some reason, journalism majors at CU must either have a minor or take a whole bunch of really hard classes in one subject area, which perplexes me. I always thought that the whole purpose of having a major was so that you didn’t have to ever learn about anything else. How else do you explain the fact that I haven’t done math in four years and can no longer do any math that doesn’t involve counting my fingers?

Anyway, I was looking at my transcript one day when I realized that I was only a few classes short of a philosophy minor without even trying. This is not because I’m good at philosophy or because I like it, because I don’t. But I figured philosophy classes were easier than other classes, so I used them to get all of my core requirements out of the way without doing any actual work. For instance, instead of taking a class like “Women in Film” (which would have inevitably lead to me making a sexist joke in a class full of angry feminists and most likely end with a very painful death), I took Philosophy and Race to satisfy my culture and gender sensitivity requirement. You see, introductory level philosophy classes are easy, because all you do is sit there and argue with each other. But in the upper division, they introduce a concept that I’ve always struggled with in college: right and wrong answers.

The classes stop revolving around what I think (a subject I am very fond of), to what other people think (a subject I am not as fond of). And a lot of these other people are dead. But sadly, before they went they had the time to come up with ridiculous theories about the stupidest things imaginable. And they always have names like the Schiffer, Lewis, Grice model of speech or the Kripke/Putnam theory of externalism, or Crosby, Stills and Nash: The Greatest Hits Collection. And most of these theories find the hardest way to say the most obvious things. For instance, I once spent an entire class period listening to a lecture on a theory that basically said that the sentence “the bunny is purple” is only true if the bunny is in fact purple. And these people wrote entire books on nuggets of wisdom like that.

This semester I was enrolled in a class called Philosophy of Language, which my roommate Chris, who is a philosophy major, convinced me to take with him. However, I began to think he just played an elaborate joke on me when I realized that Chris was not actually coming to most of the classes with me. Not that I blame him. He skipped the class and got to watch TV while learning nothing, while I went to class, fell asleep, and still learned nothing but I didn’t get to watch TV.

Also, you should see the type of people that take upper division philosophy classes. I wouldn’t be seen in public with these people even if I was dying of hunger and they were handing out free donuts. Most of them smell strange, wear shirts with video game sayings on them, and always have some sort of weird looking facial hair. And the men are even worse. In this philosophy class alone there is a guy named Jack who mutters to himself all class, a large black guy named Vernon who has the voice of a 6-year-old girl and the vocabulary of an 16th century English scholar and a skinny little nerdy kid named Travis who raves during class to invisible techno music and wears what appear to be ancient Greek sandals. But the weirdest guy is this one dude who sits in front of me. He always walks around barefoot and is constantly wearing t-shirts from Hawaii. But when I asked him if he was from Hawaii, he said no, and he looked genuinely offended and confused as to how I would have reached such a ridiculous conclusion.

Also, these people refuse to give straight answers to you about everything. In order to show how unique and intellectual they are they answer every question with some sort of snide remark or lame joke or random fact. For instance, I once asked for some guy to pick up my pen and he went into some sort of rant about how we could call pens cows before I was forced to stab him in the neck with my cow.

They also have an annoying tendency to argue about the stupidest thing just for the sake of arguing. They never argue about the important things, but rather choose to sit there and complain about the stupidest little things. It’s hard to explain this without getting into philosophical detail, but if they were Congressman writing a bill to legalize homicide, they would be arguing about the font the bill would be written in. Also, it is impossible to convince these people they are wrong. They won’t listen to arguments. For instance, let’s say Tim’s counter argument revolves around the fact that they Sun rises in the west. Now, we try to inform Tim that the sun does not rise in the west, but he will simply say “well that’s your opinion, I just don’t think that is true.” Now you can have opinions about things like movies and food, but you don’t get to have opinions about things like where the sun rises.

So needless to say, when the final came, the state of mind I was in could be most accurately described as “bleh.” After all, I drew pictures of bunnies humping on my midterm and I still passed (although believe it or not, the bunnies actually tied into one of our lessons). So instead of studying, I mainly alternated between drinking and air-guitaring the solo in Pink Floyd’s “Time.” But I still did pretty well on the final, and I now have a philosophy minor. Sure, a philosophy degree may be about as useful as an Amish computer programmer, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to come out of this experience empty handed. Besides, another piece of paper is always a good thing to have, especially since I ran out of toilet paper.

1 comment:

  1. LOL@the butt naked philosopher joke. I always say to my BF, foot-ball would be much more entertaining only if all the players were naked! HAH. Only I seem to think that though. Back on subject, I took a philosophy class this past semester and had some similar "type" characters in my class, but I had a wonderful professor that fully endorsed our OWN opinion and forced everyone to have one. He taught all of us that our thoughts and opinions are the most important and how to find STRONG one by weeding out the assumptions and stereotypes. Overall, I think philosophy classes are worth taking. - Emma