Insofar As They’re Beings, Yes

The Rock of Eternity

Exchange last night in the elevator:

MY INTERLOCUTOR: What’s your field of study?

ME: Philosophy.

MY INTERLOCUTOR: Does that study, like, rocks and stuff?

19 Responses to Insofar As They’re Beings, Yes

  1. Kevin August 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    What was your reply?!

    • Roderick August 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

      I went with “No, it’s more like ethics.”

  2. Brandon August 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    “The little voice in my head is telling me not to talk to you anymore.”

  3. Anon73 August 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    Kudos to you Roderick, I probably would have just smiled politely and nodded.

  4. smally August 20, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    You could have replied that it involves studying the constitutive conditions of, like, rocks and stuff.

  5. da01tv August 21, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Shouldn’t you have replied, “No. You are thinking of natural philosophy” ?

  6. Neil August 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    What type of person asked this question? Was it a student, professor, or some groundskeeper? I’m assuming this was at the university due to the original question, but I am aware that there are elevators elsewhere in the world, contrary to popular belief.

    • Rad Geek August 22, 2010 at 9:54 am #

      Neil:

      I’m assuming this was at the university due to the original question, but I am aware that there are elevators elsewhere in the world, …

      Elsewhere in the world, maybe, but not elsewhere in Auburn, Alabama. Town doesn’t specialize in tall buildings.

      (I lived in Auburn for about 10 years growing up, and in all seriousness I can’t remember even a single time I rode an elevator anywhere in town other than on Auburn University campus.)

      • Roderick August 23, 2010 at 12:21 am #

        I lived in Auburn for about 10 years growing up, and in all seriousness I can’t remember even a single time I rode an elevator anywhere in town other than on Auburn University campus.

        I likewise hadn’t been in or known of any non-campus elevator in Auburn for the last ten years — until last month, because the Mises Institute now has an elevator.

        • Rad Geek August 23, 2010 at 10:46 am #

          I did know of a few others in town — the two-story classroom building at the high school had one, for ADA compliance purposes; I just never rode on it, as far as I can recall. I presume there are probably similar elevators for accessibility purposes in some of the other two-story buildings around town. I guess the new football condos that they built during the real-estate bubble probably also have elevators for the tenants, although I’ve never visually confirmed that.

        • Roderick August 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

          Oh yeah — that reminds me that I’ve been in the Tiger Suites condo at Magnolia & Glenn, and although I didn’t ride in the elevator I could see that it had one.

          And of course there are hotels around that have them. (Of course the Auburn Hotel has them, but it’s hard to say whether that counts as campus or not.)

    • Roderick August 23, 2010 at 12:20 am #

      What type of person asked this question? Was it a student, professor, or some groundskeeper?

      Well, it was late at night and they were carrying equipment, so I would guess custodial staff, although I didn’t recognise them.

  7. Anon73 August 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I don’t know what this popular belief is you speak of, I’ve seen elevators in plenty of non-academic places.

  8. Richard Garner August 22, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    The response I usually get when I tell people I do philosophy is that they ask me to do some sort of psychoanalysis of them. Either that or they ask me to say something philosophical, kinda like comedians are asked to say something funny, and with similar results!

    • James August 23, 2010 at 5:10 am #

      I get that as well, frustratingly it’s often while out around town trying to avoid deep thinking of any kind, so I usually just start by trying to show why they ought to stop insisting I talk philosophy.

      • Roderick August 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

        Annette Baier, upon telling the person next to her on an airplane that she was a philosopher, was reportedly asked “what are some of your sayings?”

        A philosopher friend of mine, when visiting her family, is sometimes asked at the dinner table, “tell us some philosophy.” (She works on the relation of causal dispositions to their categorical bases, so it’s hard to know what she should say.)

  9. Crosbie Fitch August 23, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    The most appropriate answer is surely “Yup: Life, the Universe, and Everything!”

  10. dennis August 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    So Roderick, how will the Auburn Tigers do this football season? Will Gene Chizick’s second season signal a return to SEC prominence?

    • Roderick August 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

      I am so the wrong person to ask about that. In the words of Doctor Who: “Football’s the one with the sticks, isn’t it?”

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