Philosophy Reality TV


Philosophy has had turns on television talk shows, sitcoms, and sci-fi dramas, but a recent news item might prompt thoughts of the possibility of a philosophy-themed reality-TV show.

The news is that one of the women featured in MTV’s show Teen Mom, Amber Portwood, has decided to pursue an education in philosophy. I am not familiar with Ms. Portwood, nor have I ever watched an episode of Teen Mom, but I’ve been informed that calling this turn of events “surprising” would be an understatement. (As I type this I am informed that “calling this turn of events ‘surprising’ would be an understatement” is itself an understatement.)

According to Page Six, Ms. Portwood said, “I believe that educating yourself is the number one thing to help you grow and move forward… So I’m really into philosophers and philosophy right now.” Her favorite philosopher is Epictetus.

Reality television is one of the medium’s most popular genres. Could it be a new direction for public philosophy? As Epictetus could have said, strike while the iron is hot. Now is the time for you to pitch your idea for a philosophy reality television show.

Some ideas:

  • Naked and Afraid but instead of two people who begin their time surviving in the wilderness with just one tool, we have two philosophers who begin their time arguing in the wilderness with just one assumption.
  • The Real Spouses of Philosophy Professors Take The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but instead of following around rich women dealing with the challenges of maintaining suitably lavish lifestyles, it follows middle class people dealing with the challenges of being married to someone who can’t be bothered to wear matching socks but will scrutinize your small talk with surgical precision.
  • The Bachelor meets PhilJobs: job candidates compete against each other to woo a philosophy department into making a commitment to them.

Your suggestions?


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