With the exception of my students, who’ve commented that I’m the only one still teaching philosophy rather than how to be woke, pretty much everyone at the University of Lethbridge, myself included, wants me gone. I don’t need the money, and I certainly don’t need the stress. I’m 73 years old, with at most a couple weeks to live. So why not just walk away?
Well, three of my students want an Independent from me this summer. And my Game Theory and Advanced Ethics courses for the fall were almost filled on the first day of registration. So here’s my problem. I’m just vain enough – who am I kidding? I’m the Platonic form of vanity! – that if I left I feel I’d be abandoning my children to the who-needs-rigour? Department my Department has become.
Not unlike Captain Kirk of the original Starship Enterprise, I’m a moral coward. He couldn’t make a decision either, so he waited for the Klingon ship to run out of torpedoes so he wouldn’t have to decide whether to launch his own. But I think I might be just about ready to man up and do the right thing. Or maybe it’s the wrong thing. See what I mean?
I suppose the real question is, if I do retire, what will I do with those two or three weeks I’d be saddled with? Write the lectures I would have given? But then why not just stick around and give them? Wait a minute. Why not instead write the lectures I wouldn’t have given? They wouldn’t be wasted, since I wouldn’t have given them anyhow. They’d just be kinda, you know, for posterity.
At 73 and only a couple of weeks to live, lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this thing they call posterity. And one of those thoughts has been that, look, if I believe, as I do, in the Five Minute Hypothesis – the world came into being only five minutes ago – shouldn’t I also believe that neither will the future last longer than five minutes? So writing the lectures I wouldn’t have given would be a waste after all! It’s all just a Catch 22. In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, “I shall retire to Bedlam!”
Categories: Angst, Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Humour
The definition of philosophy has been changed. It used to mean thinking about all sorts of things. And exploring the thinking of others past and present.
Now thinking is only for AI and ChatGPT. What philosophy today is about is feelings. As everyone has feelings everyone becomes a philosopher, whether a teacher or a student, with little effort. And who wants effort rather than effortless philosophy.
So Ethics is obsolete and can be replaced by Victimhood 101 or Protestocracy 201 or Harm Prevention 301. And then everyone will feel good. Why would you want to interfere with that by expecting any of your faculty or more than a few students to go back to the demanding frustrations of the former definition?
You’d better not have only a couple of weeks to live, Viminitz. We’ve got a dinner date in May.