17 March 2009

The disappointment of Professor S.

I have just received an email from a somewhat gloomy and depressed Professor S, whose name I withhold because I don't have his permission to quote it ... and, while he would probably give that permission if asked (he is the kindliest and most generous of men), I'm sure he would prefer that I didn't.

At some time in the past twelve days, Professor S has read Unreal Nature's "Admiration" post, which notes that "We are, none of us, trained philosophers; it's done in good fun, and should not be taken too seriously" (a summary with which I wholeheartedly agree).

Why is Professor S gloomy and depressed? Because he was under the misapprehension that he had spent several valuable years of his life in training me to be a philosopher.

And so he did. Alas, it didn't stick. I'm sorry, Professor: I was too tempted by hands on hurly burly of the world, and I fell by the wayside. Yes, you are right: I do still teach philosophy, from time to time, to unsuspecting young minds; but I am not, in all honesty, a philosopher myself.

I am astonished (though undeniably flattered) to discover that Professor S reads The Growlery, three and a bit decades on. I am sorry to have disappointed him; but I am also happy that he is also reading Unreal Nature whose philosophy, trained or not, is so much better than mine. Philosophy is, ultimately, within the philosopher and not the training.