Philosophy: A Quiz

John Maynard Keynes is supposed to have said that those who consider themselves "exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist." Many are indeed his intellectual slaves today, now that he is also a defunct economist -- or he would be, if people were ready to admit that his systems don't really work.

In case you're wondering whose intellectual slave you might be, this little quiz can help you identify the broad school of thought that is informing what you think plausible. It won't help people who have put significant care into learning about philosophy for themselves, as they will already know, but it can be useful if you have not.

I've verified it with a couple of philosophers I know, and they report that it's roughly correct in its identification for them. My results were as follows:


That's accurate enough; metaphysically I follow a sort of Neoplatonism. However, I don't accept Plato's political philosophy -- though I do think it has important elements that we should reconsider, especially the role of honor in political life, I reject the basic notion that it's important for elites to lie to the people in order to manipulate them into civilized behavior.

11 comments:

Gringo said...

I was labeled a skeptic. I don't know why.

Grim said...

Heh. :)

It's not going to produce surprising results for a lot of people, but it might surprise you if you haven't been ordinarily interested in the question. I plugged in what I take to be the most common answers to these questions for ordinary good, church-going Christians around here; assigning philosophy to god/religion at every available occasion. The answer it came back with was "Humanism."

That's going to be surprising, but it's not wrong, because the core issue isn't "God wants me to be a good person" but rather "Being a good person entails doing things that help people" rather than "...doing what the Bible says." The Bible says a lot of stuff that ordinary Americans just outright reject, like not mixing kinds of threads in fabric, or not eating shellfish, or not entertaining thoughts of adultery. The real standard most people apply to figure out which of those are really acceptable isn't the Biblical standard, it's the humanist standard.

E Hines said...

Platonism for me, too.

Eric Hines

Larry Harman said...

Platonism for me, as well.

Elise said...

Platonism for me, too, which I found surprising.

jaed said...

Here too. I smell a rat. ;-)

Grim said...

The others I asked to test it were mostly existentialists.

Tom said...

It's interesting that some of the questions like "What is the meaning of life?" and "What is reality?" have no theistic answers available.

On a number of questions I was divided, so I took it twice. First result was Platonism, second was existentialism.

What is the "life is murder" thing all about?

Grim said...

There's an odd problem about the structure of reality, which is that animal life can exist only by eating other life. Thus, in order to remain alive, it is necessary to kill others.

The formulation of the assertion is tendentious, of course, since we haven't typically classified killing meat animals, or living plants, as "murder." Still, it is a form of intentional killing of the innocent; and it is ubiquitous, since even a vegetarian diet requires the robust slaughter of other animals that would eat the food you are growing for yourself (e.g., crows, deer, insects, etc).

douglas said...

Platonnism. I'd have suspected a lot of that around here, given the presumably limited choices for one to be sorted into.

Tom said...

Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense.