Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to be a Philosopher

One of the great values of philosophy is that it can be a helpful tool for thinking through any question of deeper puzzlement. Philosophy is needed now more than ever in a world that seems to be changing quickly, and the field could enjoy a renaissance in wider popular application. The practice of philosophy need not be confined to experts but is accessible to all. Here is a short-list of how anyone can be a philosopher:

Level 1 
  • Study the ancient texts 
  • Claim a new read on the old texts 
  • Claim that no one understands what [old philosopher #1] really said/meant and explain it yourself
Level 2 
  • Find basic concepts in philosophy that no one has really thought through yet such as performativity ("...really performativitie...") Examples: Heidegger’s being and metaphysics, Deleuze’s difference 
  • Invent strange neologisms (really neo-spellisms) by spelling existing words in new ways that no one can understand, and use them brazenly without definition: “…this is to say not just Possibility Space, but really Possibilitie Space…” or "the conceptologie here..." Examples: Heidegger's existens and phenomenologie, Deleuze's differance and differenciation, Derrida's linguage
  • Invent new compound word combinations: "...the singularity of the self-other and the plurality of the group-crowd..." Examples: Foucault’s power-knowledge, Heidegger’s standing-reserve 
Level 3
  • Submit a paper to a philosophy conference with a title like: "Rethinking [ancient philospher]'s [important concept] in [modern philospher #1] and [modern philosopher #2]"
  • Offer a critique of the history of Western philosophy and propose a new/real metaphysics (examples: Heidegger, Deleuze)

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