Katla on Katja

I don’t have time to write, but apparently Katla has time for all kinds of marginally valuable activities. Here are her latest thoughts:

So apparently Katja has been learning about all kinds of fascinating philosophy stuff for like seven months. Am I the only one to notice that she hasn’t mentioned any of it here? Yes, she’s entitled to spend less time here now that she has more impressive avenues for failing to get her writing read. And it makes sense she would have less time to blog about other topics. But given that she purportedly spends all her time reading and writing about philosophy, I’d expect her to have the odd thing to post on it.

So I asked her what’s up with this. She said that since she’s reading like Ramsay and Quine and people who have been dead for years, presumably anything she has to say about them in her first half hour of thinking about it has already been said. Which just goes to show that she’s completely unfamiliar with philosophy, and strengthens my hypothesis that the whole story is a ruse to hide the fact that she’s run out of interesting things to blog about.

But more amusingly, notice that she doesn’t apply this argument to all the other things she feels entitled to have opinions on. I’m pretty sure she knows that people have studied psychology extensively before. Written about the very issues she writes about. And she hasn’t read them. Same goes for ethics, and public policy, and almost everything that she writes about. She’s nowhere near the cutting edge of these topics. She doesn’t even study them seriously. What’s the difference? Probably just that she doesn’t have to go and have lunch with the psychologists.

Here’s a logical argument for you. Either you readers are familiar with old philosophy or you are not. If you’re not, what does it matter to you whether someone else already wrote something long ago? You haven’t read it. What does it matter to you if what you read here is wrong? You’re probably wrong anyway, so you’re not going to get any wronger. And if you can’t even tell wrong philosophy from right philosophy by reading it, what hope have you got?

If on the other hand you do know about old philosophy, then you get to set Katja straight on it. Which will be fun for you, funny for the rest of us, and even funnier for the rest of us because she will insist on claiming is valuable for her too.

Sounds like win win! What could go wrong? Oh yeah, some philosophers might laugh at you. What a true intellectual. All about interesting ideas. All about saying what needs saying. Really all over that, except when there’s some hint that your status could suffer a teensy weensy bit. At least you’re on the mark about people being hypocrites.

9 responses to “Katla on Katja

  1. Katla’s sort of a bitch.

  2. Philosophy being the professional version of sophistry, is seldom worth commenting on, unless one sees someone else about to succumb to its deadly charms. We don’t need another century as bloody as the last.

  3. It doesn’t matter if something’s been written about before if one doesn’t know how to find those writings, or know whether or not those writings are of any value,

  4. “You’re probably wrong anyway, so you’re not going to get any wronger.”

    We could get wronger in at least two ways.

    1. We could be persuaded away from our current view toward the view Katja espouses, and if the view Katja espouses is further from The Truth than the current view, we have become more wrong.

    2. We could have our wrong view reinforced, P(wrong-view) updated in the wrong direction, if Katja presents arguments in favor of the wrong view.

  5. Since I am not taking a degree in philosophy, it would be interesting, at least to me, to know which old dead philosophers are considered of enough lasting interest to be part of the guided readings in a doctoral program. Anything explained about what they thought or why they might still be important, anything in slightly more depth than Wikipedia would benefit an armchair blog reader like me.

  6. There is also the extremely small but non-zero chance of a novel insight – even one of non-trivial utility.

    After all, it’s all been discussed before, but that was true before every previous novel insight, too.

    Katja (and indeed all of us) is (we collectively are) in a historical place nobody has ever been before – now.

    She (we) has a context of additional knowledge – and the insight that can provide, at least potentially, that didn’t exist last year, let alone a decade ago.

    Even if none of that gets us anything truly new and useful, talking about it might improve our various understandings.

    (Lastly, contra August, the idea that – as far as I can grasp his thesis from what’s provided – “horrible things like Fascism and Communism were philosophies”, while true at the most literal level of analysis, does not argue against “philosophy”, any more than the existence of pathogenic microbes means we should really drop that whole metabolism thing.

    Because without “philosophy” we equally have nothing to provide as an alternative to them – we’re going to have one, in that sense, or use it, in the other possible sense, no matter what we do.

    Even “what we’ve always muddled on and done” is, in that sense, a philosophy and guided by philosophy – being purely static or conservative is just as much applied philosophy as a Leninist revolution or the rise of Fascism.)

  7. Are you studying philosophy for Hansonian reasons? (I’ll have no status–no one will even care what I think–unless I have a Ph.D.) Or are you actually interested?

    What I’m surprised about isn’t your silence on philosophy while in a graduate program but, rather, before.

    I like your commitment to saying something original, even if not novel. Too many blogs trying to be textbooks.

    • Sadly I have little skill at doing things that don’t interest me. Happily, or biasedly, the things I am interested seem often useful. This is such a case. If it didn’t seem particularly useful I would find something else to do that did and was also interesting. Note that CMU philosophy bears little resemblance to philosophy elsewhere. Status is good too, as is this place, as is being paid. If the donations button on my blog became vastly more popular I might consider being a freelance thinker.


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