They really don't teach much anymore, do they?

So, this item, "How to be a Stoic" showed up in the latest New Yorker magazine, (hat tip to Instapundit), and in reading it, I am just sort of awestruck at the poverty of the woman's education.

I mean, she's got a PHD in comparative literature from Stanford.

Never heard of Epictetus until 2011? Really? I got a BA in history over 30 years ago, and while I freely admit my interests run much more toward de Brack's "Cavalry Outpost Duties" than Wittgenstein's "The Blue and Brown Books" or even Descartes "Discourse on Method", at least I know they existed, like Kant, or Rorty, or Shopenauer.

In the one philosophy course I took (sorry Grim), I actually read Aristotle and Plato, and we discussed some of the other Ancient schools like the Cynics, Stoics, Epicureans, Pythagoreans etc...which is probably where I heard of Epictetus, and picked up a used copy of the Enchridion, just to have it, but, like Frederick the Great, I ended up taking it with me everywhere for the rest of my life.

I guess what is bothering me is that I see this lady as a symptom of modern academia, where they seem to know and write more and more about less and less.


Douglas2 said...

I've lamented the amount of stuff I've lugged from state to state, country to country. But I never had to carry Frederick the Great with me when I moved house...

Grim said...

Philosophy's not necessarily best studied in the academy. There's no shame in having taken only the one course, provided that you can show good evidence of having made up for it elsewhere.

Eric Blair said...

Well, like Twain said, "I never let school get in the way of my education."

E Hines said...

Fred was an "it," was he?

Eric Hines

Eric Blair said...

Don't know. All sorts of rumors, from impotency due to STD caught at the Court of Augustus the Strong, to banging his aide de camps, to asexual music , poetry and political philosophy writing aesthete. (With a habit of invading his neighbors).

He tried to run away when he was a teenager, but was caught, and he was apparently forced to watch the execution of his friend and companion, who may have been more than just a friend and companion.

Never read any of his poetry. Read his "Anti-Machiavel" and it didn't really impress me. But his flute concertos are quite nice.

Here is an hour's worth of them: