An Unusual Ad for an Unusual Philosophy Job (updated)


Are you interested in philosophy, gardens, and profit? If so—and if you don’t think Plato is a better philosopher than Aristotle—then read on for details about an exciting opportunity [though be sure to see the update at the end of this post].

A reader sent in a recent advertisement at PhilJobs for a position as Director of Philosophy at Lyceum Gardens, a “for-profit enterprise” with a mission to incentivize people “to build gardens and host discussions for income.”

The ad provides some background:

During the first half of the 19th Century, a Lyceum Movement occurred across the United States, creating approximately 5000 Lyceums from coast to coast. Lyceum-Gardens intends to restart this movement by providing guidance and instructions to those wishing to sit down and discuss the world in reasoned and polite ways. We have conducted over 100 discussions already to very high praise.

Based on its success so far, they say,

we are developing a garden and philosophical guide and will take other steps to advocate for and assist with developing Lyceums of intelligent discussion spaces. Our premise is that everyone is a philosopher, and we only need a receptive forum for people to express themselves away from the satellite-type one-way broadcasts of our digital world. Our discussions provide feedback and questions in real time as opposed to the anonymous environment of our digital world. 

What’s the job, though?

This is the start of this organization with very grand expansion plans. Still, for now, anyone involved will be tasked with everything that needs doing from ordering paperclips to writing blogs, organizing and conducting meetings, and many other responsibilities, including travel and raising additional funds for expansion.

It’s a creative idea for a business, and the job sounds like it could be an interesting combination of philosophy and entrepreneurship.

Further, Lyceum Gardens says they’re “flexible about workload, location, and other aspects of the position.”

But there’s one thing they’re not flexible about:

Our approach is based on ARISTOTLE, and an in-depth knowledge of his Organon,  Rhetoric, and Ethics is REQUIRED for this position.

And in case that wasn’t sufficiently clear, an addendum was made to the ad:

No Platonists need apply.

You can learn more about the philosophical views of the founders of Lyceum Gardens here.

UPDATE: A philosopher shared with me their interaction with the founder of Lyceum Gardens, Steven Easley. Apparently he seems to strongly identify with Aristotle—perhaps as Aristotle. He expresses very negative opinions about professional philosophers. He reacted obnoxiously when this philosopher talked about their work, and when the philosopher sought to end the interaction, he called them names and made other insulting remarks. Applicants beware!

 

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Platostan
8 months ago

Doesn’t sound like a very Ideal job.

Jones
Jones
8 months ago

All gardens are just footwalks to Plato’s

Epicurus
Epicurus
8 months ago

Regarding garden philosophy, surely there’s only one authority.

Hermias
Hermias
8 months ago

This is so cracked. The Lyceum was a temple, vs. the groves of Academus. Plato gang rise up.

David Fideler
8 months ago

That is somewhat ironic because Plato encouraged dialogue and the private part of the Academy was his garden and home — while the Aristotle we know did not favor dialogue but the lecture and declarative treatise.

See my article A Short History of Plato’s Academy for the historical data on Plato’s garden and some nice photos of the nearby Academy Park.

Monte Johnson
Reply to  David Fideler
8 months ago

Aristotle wrote plenty of dialogues. We’ve just lost them. He even wrote a dialogue (the Protrepticus) defending Academic philosophy against attacks coming from Isocrates’ school.

Platostan
Reply to  Monte Johnson
8 months ago

You really want a teacher who loses his dialogues?

Monte Johnson
Reply to  Platostan
8 months ago

Yes, much more than I want a teacher unaware that any dialogues have been lost…

Daniel Nagase
Daniel Nagase
8 months ago

Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas…

Dirk Baltzly
Dirk Baltzly
8 months ago

Theophrastus is clearly the man for this job. Solid Aristotelian credentials. Knows a thing or two about plants.

Dale Miller
8 months ago

You don’t get an office; only a walking track.

Dale Miller
Reply to  Dale Miller
8 months ago

“Our premise is that everyone is a philosopher.” Except Plato.

V. Alan White
8 months ago

Think it coincidence that The Onion is grown in a garden?

Brad
Brad
8 months ago

So do I take this job or the job at Australian Catholic University? Tough decisions…

Plato
Plato
8 months ago

Hmm a philosopher not open to debate… What a good boss

Charles Coleman
Charles Coleman
8 months ago

These kind of folks usually think they are Socrates returned, so, I guess this is a nice change.

Nicholas Keller
Nicholas Keller
8 months ago

Someone send our friend Lloyd Gerson’s book Aristotle and Other Platonists

Anne Newstead
Anne Newstead
8 months ago

OMG I might be qualified for this job. I worked as an Aristotelian philosopher of maths, in an Aristotelian school in the philosophy of maths some time after presenting a paper on Aristotle at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and then visiting Aristotle’s birthplace in ancient Stagira to inhale the vibes & swim in the same Aegean sea. Is this Aristotelian enough? It is all true actually. 😉

Joshua Matthan Brown
Joshua Matthan Brown
8 months ago

It gets even weirder if you search for the Lyceum Gardens address on Google maps …

James Cummings
James Cummings
8 months ago

Please refer to the book titled Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf.

Charles E Emmer
Charles E Emmer
7 months ago

Not a philosophy listing, but still, a pretty eye-opening academic listing:
‘New flavor of depression just dropped – Here’s a teaching job minimum requirement: “At least one national literary award from a major literary organization (NEA, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, PEN Literature, Guggenheim Foundation, Poetry Foundation”‘
https://twitter.com/arah_ko/status/1707828541587599833