For someone who is apologizing, the defendant seems a bit defensive.

Plato’s Apology of Socrates, otherwise known as ‘Oh I’m sorry all right, sorry for you losers‘, tells the story of Socrates’ trial, the intellectual life that would eventually lead his fellow citizens to condemn him to death. By the way, ‘apology’ comes from the Greek word Apologia, which means a speech in one’s defense. So, if Socrates seems a little, well, defensive, that’s because he is.  

One of the key points of the Apology is an ideal of wisdom as recognizing one’s own ignorance. This may seem like a rather boring cliché. And indeed, it would not be that surprising if Socrates, probably the most recognizable figure in the western tradition, had turned into a cliché by now. After all, as a culture, we have had two thousand years to digest his message. 

I’m going to politely suggest that we are still suffering from a form of philosophical indigestion, and that Socrates’ message causes intellectual bowel dysfunction until this very day. 

Continue reading “Socratic Wisdom: Dying to Ask”

If you Google “philosophy degree useless”, you will find a good deal of protest. Kristina Grob, writing in America Magazine, maintains that philosophy not only prepares you for “a wide range of jobs, the kind that can lead to more skilled mid-level positions later on“, but argues that it is excellent preparation for standardized tests such as the GMAT, GRE and LSAT. Now, admittedly, America Magazine is a Jesuit publication and we would expect those troublemakers to speak up for the world’s oldest profession. But I couldn’t resist a quote that temptated me with the promise of a more skilled mid-level position in the indeterminate beyond.

A joint
Richard Price thinks this is just as useful as philosophy

Besides, similar arguments abound among the secular: George Anders, writing for Forbes, claims that philosophy degrees are the hottest in tech. Michael Austin, an ethics columnist for Psychology Today, cites shaky Payscale data to support the bold proposition that philosophy may be “not so useless” and moreover that it will lead to relatively high salaries mid-career (thereby worsening behaviour at pedestrian crossings). The Huffington Post’s blog reprints a quora answer by none other than Richard Price, the founder of, arguing that philosophy is useful for entrepreneurship in that it helps to “slow one’s mind down.

I know a more reliable, faster, and less expensive way to slow one’s mind down: and the best thing is, it’s a form of green technology…

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