Are Philosophers Really Lovers Of Wisdom?
I’ve always been interested in becoming an academic philosopher. My interest is so profound that I even majored as one during undergrad, only to quickly switch to Psychology & Neuroscience. Here’s an article brought to my attention by a friend and philosopher.
Article Introduction (Via Philosopher’s Net)
Although academics will hardly raise an eyebrow about this “open secret”, it comes as a surprise to many others to learn that many philosophers, in fact an increasing number by my lights, are little devoted to the love of wisdom. In only a merely “academic” way do they aspire to intellectual virtue. Even less often do they exhibit qualities of moral excellence. On the contrary, many philosophers, or what pass as philosophers, are, sadly, better described as petty social climbers, meretricious snobs, and acquisitive consumerists.
I blush a bit now to confess that part of what drove me into philosophy in the first place was the naive conviction that among those who call themselves lovers of wisdom I would find something different in kind from the repugnant and shallow brutalism of the worlds of finance, business, and the law to which I had suffered some exposure in Ronald Reagan’s America.
Article Excerpts (Via Philsopher’s Net)
“Instead, I’ve found that the secret lives of philosophers are more often than not pre-occupied with status and acquisition.”
“Like debutantes at the ball, philosophers now often spend much of their time dropping names, gossiping, promoting their connections, hawking their publications, passing out business cards and polishing their self-promotional web sites.”
“Attitudes toward material consumption are not, I’m afraid much better. Philosophers seem to pepper their conversations more and more with remarks about the perks or bonuses they receive – how much money they have available for travel, what sort of computer allowances, how big their research grants are.”
“All of this suggests a philosophical culture that imitates the business world not only in its emphasis on product (publication) but also in its adopting the criteria and trappings of professional success characteristic of commercial life.
Conclusions (Via Philosopher’s Net)
“One implication of this little secret is that professional philosophers have become less and less egalitarian in their view of education.”
“Finding philosophers devoted principally to the love of wisdom and to sharing it broadly has become, as Spinoza said of all excellent things, as difficult as it is rare.”