Wednesday, May 14

Wittgenstein and market forces and universities

I spotted this article and was chuckling away to myself. So Melbourne Business School has appointed a Philosopher in Residence. And he will be "providing an additional set of intellectual survival skills" to business school students. And this is my basic problem with this argument that only Plato or Kant quoting people can be Philosophers. It is the same argument I had with some people who take off on "intellectuals".

To me, an intellectual is a person who uses his intellect. So if one is taking off and abusing somebody by saying that s/he is an intellectual, all it means to me is that the accuser does not use his own intellect and it is clear that he is a complete dope (he is a dope, but that's a different matter). But the same thing applies in the case of Philosophy. Philosophy is in every subject. Do you think there is no philosophy in statistics? Sure there is, there is an entire school of thought which gave rise to statistics, the school of thought which drives the theory and application of this, the school of thought which drives real world decisions, the school of thought which you will use do judge what is a good (based upon ethical, profitable, reputational...reasons) level of defects in your widget, just to take one small example.

There is a whole question of philosophy and thought in managing international teams, or putting in a bid process, or siting a factory, or putting together the company motto. I have studied epistemology (bloody tough, made my hair hurt!) and ruminating over the presence of black swans, empirical positivism and so on and so forth helped but not sure how much.

So, my gut feel is that this is a marketing gimmick rather than something that will really add value. If you do not believe me, go check out what most of the professors's have in terms of their highest qualification, its PhD, or a Doctor of Philosophy. There are already tons of philosophers in there, my friend, a special philosopher is like saying that that electron in that molecule is special...

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