Philosophy in Questionable Taste

Cornell students obviously have too much time on their hands. (And very soon I’ll be able to do something about that…)

Back when I was a wee grad student, one of the jokes circulating the internet, and eventually stuck to the wall of the grad ‘office’ concerned the putative causes of death of various philosophers. (My favourite was Thales: Drowned.) The list seems to have grown under Hugh Mellor’s supervision, and the current version is here.

In a similar spirit, Cornell students have started work on break-up lines of the philosophers. They’ve mostly associated lines with schools at this stage, but I think expanding to individual philosophers would be a splendid idea.

Here’s the list (mostly below the fold) Paul Kelleher sent me, along with attributions. (My favourite, by the way, is the quasi-realist. I might yet use that one day.) Feel free to stick the list to the wall of your office, or to add more in comments. Unlike earlier threads, self-attributions are more than encouraged!

The Teleologist: We aren’t meant for each other. (P.K.)
The Deontologist: We aren’t right for each other. (P.K.)
The Consequentialist: We aren’t optimal for each other. (P.K.)
The Solipsist: It’s not you, it’s me. (P.K.)
The Empiricist: I think we should see other people. (P.K.)
The Rationalist: I’m not a priority to you any more. (P.K.)

The Rationalist, v 2.0: I’ve been doing some thinking… (Paul Audi)
The Rationalist, v. 3.0: If you can’t see your faults, there’s nothing more I can say. (P.K.)
The Content Externalist: Ever since we moved, you’ve changed. (Paul Audi)
The Continentalist: You’ve lost that love and feeling. (P.K.)
The Egalitarian: This is the best thing for both of us. (Paul Audi)
The Paternalist: In time you’ll come to see that this is the best thing. (Paul Audi)
The Humean: Just because we’re always together doesn’t mean we BELONG together. (Paul Audi)
The Humean, v. 2.0: Relationships need to be about more than just constant conjoining. (P.K.)
The Reliabilist: This just isn’t working anymore. (Paul Audi)
The Nagelian: You just don’t know what it’s like to be me. (P.K.)
The Functionalist: I don’t care about accommodating your feelings. (P.K.)
The Quinean: I’m sorry, but you don’t mean anything to me anymore. (Jacob Miller)
The Foundationalist: We have nothing left to build upon. (P.K.)
The Foundationalist, v2.0: I need to be able to branch out more. (P.K.)
The Relativist: It’s no one’s fault. (P.K.)
The Atheist: These things just happen. (P.K.)
The Kantian: You lied to me! (P.K.)
The Consequentialist, v 2.0: You should have lied to my mother about her pot roast! (P.K.)
The anti-Fictionalist: I’m sick of faking it. (P.K.)
The Cartesian: I don’t clearly and distinctly perceive a future together. (Kathryn Schubert)
The Hegelian: Do we have to go through this again? (Kathryn Schubert)
The Lockean: Our primary qualities simply aren’t compatible. (Kathryn Schubert)
The Lockean, v. 2.0: Compared to my last partner, I’m not getting nearly enough, nor as good. (P.K.)
The Cornell Realist: You no longer move me. (P.K.)
The Quasi-Realist: Of course we’re going to be together forever… (P.K.)
The Motivational Externalist: Even though I believed it at the time, I know now that I never really loved you. (P.K.)
The Behaviorist: I just can’t keep going through the motions anymore. (Brendan Jackson)
The Presentist: There just isn’t any future for us. (Brendan Jackson)
The Eternalist: At least we’ll always have that weekend in Paris. (Brendan Jackson)
The Modal Realist: This will never work—we’re from different worlds. (Brendan Jackson)

186 Replies to “Philosophy in Questionable Taste”

  1. This really is philosophy-geeky. Proud to be one ;o)

    The Coherentist: This just isn’t hanging together anymore.

    The anti-Infinitist: You always go on and on and on …

    The Satisficer: You just ain’t good enough.

    The anti-Epistemicist: I know you crossed the line!

    The Behaviorist, v. 2.0: This just isn’t working for you anymore, is it for me?

    The Moorean: The value of our relationship is less than the sum of its parts.

    The Humean, v. 3.0: I no longer have reason to be the slave of your passions.

    The Particularist: You’re still adorable, but somehow that makes it all wrong now.

    The (Lewisian) Contextualist: You should never have asked “But do you REALLY love me?”

  2. The Wittgensteinian: I’m just not happy with this form of life…
    The Leibnizian: This is all for the best.

    (So is the Thales joke about everything being made of water, or about falling down the well? I always thought those went together….)

  3. Perdurantist v. 2.0: There’s a part of me that isn’t comfortable with this relationship.

    McTaggartian: No, nothing’s changed.

    Quietist: I don’t need a reason.

    Liberal: I’ve become neutral on the question of your good life.

    Libertarian: Piss off.

  4. The Heideggerian: I’m just not comfortable with being-in-this-relationship.

    The Meinongian: I think we should break up, but we can still be together.

  5. Epiphenomenalist: I still love you, but it doesn’t make any difference.

    Fregean: I love you under an old mode of presentation.

    Projectivist: You’re not lovable anymore.

    Adverbialist: I feel terrible-about-this-ly, but…

  6. Virtue theorist: I’m being cruel, but only to be kind.
    Positivist: I can’t be wrong about this.
    Wittgensteinian: Don’t expect an answer.
    Heraclitian: I’ve had a change of heart.
    Communitarian: You’re not my type.
    Hard determinist: Let’s not play the blame game.
    Pacifist: Why don’t we just be friends?
    Substantivalist: Something’s come between us.
    Frankfurtian: Yes, I still love you, but I don’t think that I want to.
    Iris-Murdoch-ist: I think we should really see other people.

  7. Cartesian v.2: I’m having doubts about us.

    Kantian v.2: I just don’t think you’re universalizable.

    Logical Positivist: Any goodness of our relationship is unverifiable. It’s meaningless.

    Aristotelian: You make me less perfect.

    Korsgaardian: I’m looking for a new practical identity.

  8. The Eliminativist-You might have thought there was something between us and you might think there still is, but some day you will realize there was never anything there.

    The Eliminativist v.2- You will thank me later.

  9. The Speech-Act Theorist: I’m telling you it’s not working.

    The Gricean: There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.

  10. The Speech-Act Theorist v. 2.0: I hereby break up with you.

    The Error-Theorist: Even though we’re through, it may be useful to retain the illusion that we’re still together.

  11. McGinn-ian: I’m cognitively closed to your affections.
    (Or maybe it’s just “You’re not smart enough for me”?) 😉

    Kuhnian: We used to work well together, when everything was normal, but now we’re just incommensurable.

    Paraconsistent logician: I love you, but then again I don’t love you. Is that so wrong?

    Intuitionist: Well, it’s not that I don’t love you….

    Russellian: This just doesn’t make sense.

    Concept atomist: We don’t compose well.

    Prototype theorist: You don’t have the qualities I’m looking for.

    Sellarsian: Everything looks ok when we’re inside together, but when we go out, I feel blue & you look green.

    Goodmanian: You don’t bring me emeroses, you don’t sing me love prongs….

  12. Zeno: I can’t get across to you.

    Hume: I need to find myself.

    Parfit: You’re not the same person that you were.

    Brandom: I can’t make a commitment.

    Block: My feelings for you have changed.

  13. Chisholm: You just make me feel so small.
    Nihilist: Why? Well, there’s no one thing, really …
    Co-location Theorist: We’re just in different places, you and I.
    Russellian: ‘The relationship’ is meaningless.

  14. Here are some from the WWU Philosophy Club:
    Hobbesian: Go away, you’re nasty, brutish, and short.
    Trope Theorist: The love we feel for each other just isn’t the same.
    Anaximander: The fire is gone from this relationship.
    Parmenedian: Sorry, it’s the beans.
    Heracleitus: Flux you! Or: Things change.
    Kant: Our love is too synthetic.
    Pragmatist: This just isn’t working anymore.
    Aristotle: You’ve never asked “What’s the matter?”
    Neitzche: Sorry, it’s all uber.

  15. ok, its late at night.

    Contextualist: You are wrong. I never said I knew you were the one.

    Epistemicist: At some point I stopped loving you but believe me, there is absolutely no use in trying to figure out when that was.

    Churchland: Neuronal synapse 36789 with excessive activation of Potassium channels. Action potential delayed. Or was it the other way around? Damn it!! Im sorry, I am really confused right now.

    Tarskian (v1): You can’t satisfy what “I need __”.

    Tarskian (v2): Since we stopped being intimate, I have been trying to satisfy my own needs. But you know, this is absurd.

    Fregean: I can’t grasp your idea of happy relationship.

    Millian: Look, I have to tell you that you are too demanding, I am no Clark Kent.

    Russellian: I know that you have been seeing an arbitrary man.

    anti-supervaluationist: I can’t be more clear: I don’t love you and I never did.

    supervaluationist: I’ve had it with you! This is where I draw the line. But with you, I know it won’t matter.

  16. (Bad Russell scholarship—now its really late). The Russellian should say: I know that you have been seeing an ambiguous man.

  17. Chinese room: I know I’ve been acting like I loved you all this time, but, to be honest, I don’t even know what love is.

    Twin earth: It seemed like love, but it never really was. Let’s call it what it really is and move on.

    Dennett: I don’t have enough elbow room in this relationship.

    Dennett v. 2.0: All you ever wanted from me was physical, and I don’t intend to stand for it anymore.

    Fatalist: It was destined to end this way.

    Fatalist v. 2.0: There was nothing either of us could have done about it.

    Indeterminist: I just don’t love you anymore – there’s no good reason for it.

    Actualist: If only things could have gone differently…

    Many-worlds quantum theorist: You’ll still be with me in so many ways.

    Chalmers: It’s conceivable that we might get back together someday, so it might be possible. It all depends on if you’re positive or negative about it.

    Hofstadter: Go t’Hell, an’sure don’t come bach! (oooo, the pain of the corn 😉

    Goedel: Try as you might, you just don’t complete me, and you never will.

    Cantorian Shakespeare: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Cardinality 0.

    Strong-AI-ist: I’m just not ready yet. But call me later this century sometime.

  18. Weatherson(!): My love for you is true, but not as true as it used to be…

    Weatherson v. 2.0: I’m sick of your games, so I’m making a decision to get rid of them completely.

    Weatherson v. 3.0: See, there’s this envelope with a regular probability distribution over the levels of love from 0 (none) to 1 (perfect) that I might have with someone else, and then there’s us… it just wouldn’t be rational for me to stay with you.

    Leiter: You just don’t rank very highly with me anymore. (I need a top-tier kind of love.)

  19. Sartre: Hell is other people—you, for instance.

    Bradley: I feel disconnected from this relationship, because whatever relation between me and it would itself have to be related to me, and….

  20. Oops, Bradley was garbled. Should be:
    Bradley: I feel disconnected from this relationship, because whatever relation there might be between me and it would itself have to be related to me, and….

  21. Stage View Perdurantist: At this stage, I don’t love you.

    Russell: You gotta understand; things look different from where I am.

  22. The Heideggerian (v.2): Let’s face it: Daseins are on the wall.

    The Eliminativist (v.3): There never was a You-and-Me, only particles arranged You-and-Me-wise.

    The Anti-Emergentist: Our parts are greater than their sum.

    The Animal Rights-ist: Let’s stop eating each other.

  23. Plantingian: A possible world with you and I together for the forseeable future hasn’t been actualized.

    Chisholmian: The ideal definition, which I’ve taken seventy-five little steps toward, doesn’t contain your name. So hit the trail.

  24. Quinian – To you it might have appeared that we were really together, but our relationship was just a bunch of undetached dating parts.

    Paraconsistent logician v.2 – We can break up, but we’ll still be together… and that does not imply anything (everything).

    Polish Logician – BreakupYouMe

    Structuralist Logician – You and I do not satisfy what it is to be in a “going out” relationship.

    Hempel –
    People are only together when both parties want to be seeing each other. (General Law)
    I no longer want to see you (particular fact)
    Therefore we are no longer together. (explanation of why we are not dating)

    Plato – We no longer participate in the Form of dating.

    Leibniz (v2) Our relationship clearly did not make for the best of all possible worlds, and that is why we are no longer in it.

    Kripke – Our relationship does not exist in the actual world, but perhaps in some other possible world.

    Kripke 2 – I thougt I was going out with someone named “Schmidt”.

    Indeterminacy theorist – I was never able to quite pinpoint our relationship anyway.

    William James – Our breaking up is live, forced, and momentous. So take it on faith that we are no longer together.

    Anslem – p1 We can conceive of a most perfect breakup.
    p2 Whatever is conceived exists in the mind of the conceivers.
    p3 Whatever exists in the mind of the conceiver and also in reality is better than the same thing that exists only in the mind of the conceiver.
    C1 Therefore, a breakup conceived, than which no greater breakup can be conceived, exists in reality as well as in the understanding.
    p4 Ours is a breakup greater than which none greater can be conceived.
    c2 Our breakup exists in reality.

  25. Epistemicist: There was a line and you crossed it.

    Content Externalist: You’re not in my thoughts any more.

    Frege: If only I’d known who you really were, Jocasta…..

    Fodor: Aunty says you’re not my type.

    Lewis: Focus too hard on it and it’s gone… Love sure is elusive.

    Jackson: My intuition is that we are not good together and I think that this intuition is shared by the folk.

    Dretske: I hadn’t accounted for the possibility that you were mutton disguised as lamb.

    Wittgenstein: I think you need therapy.

    Kripke: You and I are essentially different.

  26. The disjunctivist: we’ve grown apart
    The functionalist: this isn’t working for me
    The modal realist: it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends
    The A-theorist: this isn’t going anywhere
    The expressivist: we need to talk

  27. the nominalist: I have a fear of commitment
    the perdurantist: Things are not what they used to be
    the contextualist: My feelings haven’t changed, but everything else has
    the non-cognitivist: You can’t rationalize these things
    the anti-hedonist: I’m getting to a point in my life where I’m looking for more than just good time

  28. Epicurean: This relationship is really great right now, but I anticipate many troubles in its wake.

    Platonist: I’m just getting sick of trading gold for bronze.

    Socratic: What do you mean by “I”? What do you mean by “Love”? What do you mean by “You”?

    Stoic: If you can’t get used to your status as a preferred indifferent, we’re going to have to call the whole thing off.

    Skeptic: I’m just not sure this is working for me.

  29. Berkelyian: Our relationship existed only in your mind.

    Leibnizian (2): Our relationship was not well-founded.

    Kantian: I thought I needed your love to make sense of anything. Now I realize it was just physiology.

    Anti-Universalist (in the theological sense): Our relationship can’t be saved.

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