General Note: there will eventually be something other than this series again. I might even get back to talking about publishing, for those who like that—possibly even the next post! Just not yet.
Scotus, like Machiavelli, is another philosopher who might get certain people going after me with pikes for calling him “underrated.” After all, he’s probably the second most studied Scholastic philosopher after Aquinas, so how underrated or unappreciated can he be?
Well, Christopher Marlowe is the second most namedropped Elizabethan playright in high school English classes, yet I’d never read Edward II until after I’d specifically told my English tutor I wanted to read no Shakespeare at all in my Elizabethan drama tutorials. Just because people mention him as the also ran and occasionally make their students read the (very short) Doctor Faustus doesn’t mean he actually gets real attention. He’s still “not Shakespeare,” rather than ever becoming “Christopher Marlowe.”
Similarly, Scotus, along with Bonaventure, Ockham, and every other Scholastic, remains “not Aquinas.” Fat Tommy remains the default (and usually right) opinion, with everyone else judged correct by how much they agree with the Angelicus. Never mind that some of his positions were entirely unique (meaning everybody else ever must be wrong), some were condemned, and some get used as “it’s not a straw man if you can cite it!” canon fodder by every later author. Continue reading
Time for some philosopher shaming. Things I actually and truly believe, but know I probably shouldn’t:
- There is no way we can have anything worth calling knowledge of objective scientific truths. This shouldn’t bother us, though.
- We can have knowledge of moral truths. It may be that it’s not that hard to know what they are, even; it’s just that, since they make inconvenient demands of us, we choose to act like we don’t know them.
- I studied Thomas Aquinas mostly because I thought he was respectable and Blaise Pascal wasn’t.
- I really, really dislike reading Aquinas, and I don’t think burnout explains all of why.
- Thomas Hobbes is nowhere near as shocking, modern, or cool as Marsilius of Padua once you understand the latter’s philosophical context. Seriously, writing a work in the middle ages without a lengthy discussion of human nature or happiness? If that doesn’t start ringing all sorts of alarm bells, you evidently didn’t spend way too much time studying Scholastic political philosophy.
- Basically, Kant was right.
- John Duns Scotus may just be the most brilliant person who wrote during the 12oo’s. That’s saying a lot.
- Realizing I’ve always had sympathies with French continental philosophy was . . . well, I still feel kinda dirty about it. Also that I should have saved it for 11 October.
- I sometimes read feminist philosophy just for the great titles.
- The more Aristotle I read, the more I’m convinced he’s the third most overrated philosopher ever. One and two are Berkley and Lacan, by the way.
- On Tuesdays, I think David K. Lewis was right.
A year ago, I was an unemployed ex-philosopher who had just started a publishing internship. Now, I’m an unemployed philosopher who’s the senior intern and has a blog. Next year (hopefully!) I’ll be an employed philosopher, no longer an intern, and still have this silly thing. Continue reading
“Everyone” who does a philosophy-related blog has to talk about this topic at some point or other. One of the better philblogs, Crooked Timber, even includes a handy-dandy breakdown chart that shows us philosophers down near the bottom, below some of the famously male-dominate STEM fields. Continue reading