Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why I stopped philosophy studies

We were speaking about "mental masturbation" the other day, so here's a little story that really captures the rub of the thing...

In 2003 I completed the first year of a Masters degree in philosophy. I was doing really well and was convinced I was gonna finish the degree. But after a while I started getting a kind of underlying dissatisfactoriness about philosophy. And one day this came to a head. I was a subscriber to the British "Philsopher's Magazine" and they had just revamped the cover of the monthly edition. The new slogan: "Thought Provoking Thoughts".

Somehow this slogan struck a nerve with me. It captured the futility of the whole philosophic endeavour, eventually prompting me to send a letter to the editor:

Dear Sir,

Thought provoking thoughts lead one into an infinite regression of philosophical rhetoric permanently sealing the philosopher off in his/her lofty academic ivory tower. How about some "Action provoking thoughts"? (Yeah, get off our arses and actually DO something) Or maybe we can really be adventurous and participate in some "Thought Provoking Actions"??

The letter was published in the next magazine's "Letter's to the Editor" column with a smug editor's comment: "I rest my case"

Still can't decide who out-manouvered who in that skirmish, but ultimately it was a turning point for me and I decided to pack in my Masters degree, and reconnect with the tactile world.


hey Amanda , good 2 c u again :)


  1. "Actions speak louder than words"

    "The written word is mightier than the sword"

    A slight contradiction I believe.

    In your re-connection with the "real world" did you actually stop thinking?

  2. "I rest my case." ? For an editor, that was pretty lame. I'm pretty sure your point was well taken before being summarily dismissed.

    At least you pursued your Master's. I'm still contemplating mine...

  3. I'm not sure a turn towards Buddhism qualifies as a return to the tactile.

  4. Thanks. And I'm glad to see you're still around. :)


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