In a Facebook discussion about yesterday’s “Traits of the Greats” post, Liam Kofi Bright, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University, offers the following take on what is conducive to success in academic philosophy:
Just a personal guess at what it is I think philosophy selects for, and which I think may even be a good thing though I am sure to some this will sound cynical: I think we select for being interestingly wrong. The reward structure in philosophy, it seems to me, best rewards those who say things which other people think can’t be quite right, but who can’t agree on why this is so, and who further think that maybe with a bit of tweaking something true could be made of the initial claim, and this reformed truth would itself be a useful truth indeed. If there is any skill to finding claims that are wrong, but will be received in the above way, then I think this is the skill philosophy selects for. The reason, though, I think this might not be a bad thing, is that it may be that: trying your damndest to get things right is the surest way to be interestingly wrong, and further this is a reward structure that tends to encourage anti-triangulation (disagreeing with others).
Do people find this… interestingly wrong?
(Thanks to Liam for permitting me to share this on DN.)