The Pathologies of Philosophers
Pathologies of Philosophers
an incomplete list
Enthymemalysis – the inability to proceed with a conversation because one’s interlocutor has neglected to explicitly state a step in their thinking that any normal listener would have automatically filled in.
Megaphilomania – the delusion that philosophers are the only ones who have had something important or valuable to say about a subject matter.
Phillucination – a perceptual experience of simplicity in the absence of any external stimulus to that effect, mistakenly believed by the subject to be real.
Monoprinicipalis – the tendency of one party to assume that a second party’s set of views or behaviors is explained by a single principle, knowable to the first party, to which the second party must—on pain of inconsistency—be committed. (Often co-present with phillucination.)
Argumentarrhea – a condition in which arguments are discharged from the mouth frequently and seemingly uncontrollably.
The Stunning-Goober Effect: a cognitive bias in which high-ability individuals, often suffering from latent megaphilomania, say the gawsh darned stoopidest things and fail to acknowledge that they’re being idiots.Report
Enumarrhea: an uncontrollable need to present every argument as an enumerated lists of premises and conclusion, even though it’s more harm than help 98% of the time. Often accompanied by an insistence that the presented argument be valid in propositional logic. See: enthememalysis.Report
refutation-deficit induced aphilia (sometimes erroneously referred to as ‘van Inwagen Syndrome’): the inability to understand a fellow philosopher’s conclusion when it is incompatible with one’s own view and one does not know what is wrong with the fellow philosopher’s argumentReport
Ah yes! I recall fondly the closely related “van Inwagen Argument That P”: I do not understand not-P, therefore P.Report
I submit Dewey’s Philosophical Fallacies to this list (not “pathologies” but eh) http://fk.b5z.net/i/u/2167316/f/Dewey_s_Philosophical_Fallacy.pdf
Also I submit the “Phallusy Fallacy” – the belief that if a dead European or American guy said something it is worthy of being consulted no matter how anachronistic.
Also guys – what if philosophy itself is a pathology or kind of angst- the need to fill gaps in meaning and control over the terror of existence with theory instead of religion. What if the scientists are laughing at us… What if they’re right… (retreats to dialectical therapy)Report
Rigorosis: a disposition to regard any incautiously formulated position as equivalent to its refutation.Report
Omnopoly syndrome: The unshakable certainty that the existence of another view might, by that mere fact, monopolize one’s own.
Elenchophilia: The obsession with argument for the sake of argument per se, rather than argument for a philosophical purpose.
Scientific paraleipsis: The belief that because scientific knowledge has limits, one is at liberty to postulate virtually anything with impunity.
Hypertaurocoprometry: The instinctual or inculcated habit of identifying all opposing viewpoints as not just wrong, but actual bullshit.
Modal realism: Modal realism.Report
please consider that this post ultimately depends upon, and avails itself of, the fact that it is still widely regarded as acceptable (and humorous) to mock disabled people.
Shelley — Please consider the possibility that, in some cases, you are reading in considerations that simply are not there.Report
The humor of the post, to the extent that it works, does so by adopting the terminology of a domain we normally don’t or “shouldn’t” find funny (here, medical problems) to make a serious point about another domain (here, the interpersonal capacities of some philosophers). The former provides a framework for joking about the latter. The former is not the target of the joke. So I reject your analysis of the post.
Consider that the point of the post could have been made, with the appropriate adjustments, as “The Pieties of Philosophers” or “Philosophy Exercise Tips” or “If Dogs Were Philosophers” or “How Not to Talk to Women: a Guide for Philosophers” or “How to Build a Philosopher.” I couldn’t imagine that in response to such posts I would be hearing complaints that I am mocking religious people, jocks, dogs, women, or engineers, or, if I am, that I am doing so in a way or to a degree that is objectionable.
One can be serious without being somber. We should be glad that our languages allow for that option, I think, and not be too quick to see jokes that make use of certain traits or groups or individuals as objectionable. Sometimes they will be, sure. But I don’t think this is one of those times.
And yes, I realize that this reply may suggest I am suffering from argumentarrhea.Report
“The former provides a framework for joking about the latter. The former is not the target of the joke. So I reject your analysis of the post.”
Could the same not be said for someone uttering the phrase “That’s retarded”?
Note that I personally was not offended by this topic, but I am trying to see that others can reasonably find it objectionable.
Seems I just accused Justin of “Monoprinicipalis” 🙂Report
“Could the same not be said for someone uttering the phrase “That’s retarded”?”
Short answer: if it could, it wouldn’t be the only relevant thing to say about it.Report
If I understand right, this is a good reason not to get upset if people say something is retarded.Report
You’re phillucinating. Might want to get yourself checked for monoprincipalis.Report
Ok, I’ll try to get upset more;).Report
Plus, lots of these sound like skin conditions, and as a sometimes sufferer from a skin condition, I think it’s just fine and even good to make fun of such things. Better that than just scratching and crying about it, I’d say.Report
I think Shelley’s point can be taken as a reminder for us to simply take stock of the potential for these posts to read as being insensitive to those with disabilities. I’m not sure if her comment was intended to convey that we can never laugh at the effects of a disability (I frequently laugh at the effects of mine) but there is a subtle difference between laughing WITH someone about their imperfections, which most do about each other’s and their own (sometimes as an indication of acceptance), and laughing AT the fact that a person has a disability. However, Shelly, I think this post could actually bring some people with a disability some relief as well. It can help them see that some of the things they thought were effects of their disability are really effects of just being a normal person…or at least a “normal” philosopher. LOL.Report
Staturitis — the tendency to, in the absence of compelling argument, appeal to the stature of a philosopher within the profession as a whole as evidence for a given view.Report
As a corollary, megethophobia: the debilitating fear of a philosopher’s stature, such that one comes to believe that the philosopher is best left unquestioned in order to avoid feeling foolish. (To be sure, there are sub-clinical forms of this known as “prudence” and “intellectual humility,” but the community is rife with the more extreme form.)Report
Acronymphomania — the tendency to assume that readers will remember what the “CTRS” or “BBRY” is ten pages after you introduced that hugely space-saving abbreviation.Report
Savant Ratioalizophilia: The development of impressive reasoning skills that are used only for rationalization.Report
Pathological pathologicization: The tendency to pathologize people who hold different opinions.Report
Oppositional blindness: The belief that you don’t need to address objections to your argument, because you are right.Report
Italicitis: the condition whereby one routinely mistakes the use of italics for argumentationReport
See also, CAPSLOCKomania.Report
Ahistoria: The lack of knowledge that one’s argument, and the entire debate in which it is involved, has already occurred in the history of philosophy, because one is incapable of recognizing that philosophy, and philosophical arguments, existed before 1950 CE.Report
I know! It’s like everyone forgets that philosophy started in 1890, and that they really do need to read their Russell and Frege too!
Wait, that *is* the phenomenon you’re talking about, right?Report
Agnorexia: any minimalist position achieved by not taking on more substantial ones.Report
Arbitrarrhea: There is no non-arbitrary way to show conclusively that one of the competing philosophical views is correct, so philosophers argue about them with arbitrary premises, principles, and methods (intuitions, empirically unconstrained inference to the best explanation, etc).
Arbitrarrhea often leads to sophisticitis: a philosopher cannot epistemically justify (in a non-arbitrary way) why we should accept her theory instead of one of the competitors, but instead of abandoning her theory, she keeps developing it, making it more and more “sophisticated” in response to other philosophers’ objections.
This, in turn, leads to quagmiritis: philosophers suffering from sophisticitis start hallucinating that they are making actual progress instead of just pseudo-progress and thus keep the deeply stallmated debates going with no end in sight.Report
Farceimony: the tendency to confuse the epistemic virtue of simplicity (one can make sense of something using as few categories as possible) with a requirement for our general ontology (there has to be as few kinds of things as possible).Report
Omniparesis: ubiquitous appeal to the untreated syphilis/paresis example in discussing the nature of explanation and probability.
Transient right disorder: ending the bulk of one’s sentences at a talk with “right?”Report
Tenured induced marginal-hyperopia: found only in philosophers from non-marginalized groups that were hired, promoted, and tenured through certain standards and procedures. The condition arises when these philosophers realize the injustice of said standards and procedures, but only after (sometimes immediately after) they become tenured. They may even urge changing these standards and procedures, but only with prospective effect, of course.Report