Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Limping Onwards

969 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 28 29 30 31 32 39 Newer→ Last

  • Keir Leslie,

    To me the point of a university is to train people in areas that require higher learning to master them, ie: people studying economics generally need to study history, lawyers or mathematicians may need to study philosophy etc, and there’s been a huge amount of mission creep in which the subjects that were supposed to supplement an education become the purpose of (some peoples) education.

    This is precisely backwards. (And barbaric, of course.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    To understand broads - Jeez.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    To expand: philosophy is the foundational academic subject. Economics wasn't even a discipline you could learn at a university until the 19th century. The common law wasn't taught at universities until the 18th century.

    Philosophy was never supposed to supplement an education. Rather, philosophy was (and remains) the point of an education. That's why there's a painting of the School of Athens in the Vatican.

    Your history is merely wrong.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Modern philosophers (generally speaking) aren’t valued because what they say is incomprehensible. Noam Chomsky wrote about this: if he’s interested in a subject in contemporary physics or mathematics he can read about it, or find an expert in the field to explain it to him; but advances in post-modern philosophy are simply opaque to him as a non-expert, and no one in the field can explain them in meaningful terms. All they CAN say, seemingly, is that their work is very, very important, and requires public funding.

    I feel the need to point out that most doctorates - including almost all in the science, commerce subjects etc, are technically doctorates in philosophy - hence PhD.

    We certainly don’t require our science students to be well rounded. Looking at Auckland and Otago, neither do they. I find most of them are though, because if someone is intellectually curious they’ll read books of their own volition rather than pay a humanities lecturer to tell them what to read.

    All medical students at Otago have to study a humanities subject as part of the their training. The medical school requires it in order to remind them that treating patients is about more than science.

    You really want me to explain the premise behind professional qualifications to you?

    I can point you to a list of professors at my Law Faculty who would bristle at calling what they teach a 'professional qualification'. Many law graduates don't go on to be lawyers remember.

    Those poor people, reading Rowling on the bus instead of paying for a Professor to teach them how to analyse it within a critical framework.

    English at Otago teaches a summer school paper on magic in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and... C S Lewis I think. I haven't done it, but I think the lecturer puts a bit more into it than you get from just reading the books.

    unlike other liberal arts students in this thread who went onto diverse things, I didn’t find myself quoting the original text of the Iliad in my subsequent IT career. It was not a brilliant investment of the taxpayers money.

    I'm an IT manager working in a Humanities department at the university, and I wouldn't be anywhere near as good at my job if I hadn't also done a History honours degree. The biggest failing of many IT graduates is their lack of empathy and understanding of what the people they're working with are trying to do, and an inability to communicate their knowledge with them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    In responmse to Keir Leslie - There is so much philosphy - every one and everything has one.

    I consider you are confusing the ancient “higher” learning institutions of philosophical (and religious instruction) with universities.

    The modern western university originated in medieval europe (Western Europe) and were different in character being made up of associations of students and teachers which were their own corporate indentity wth legal rights and governamce set down under the charter and not (necessarily) set up by the religions to study the meaning of life.

    Advancing philosphy as the point of an education will only end in ruin. The point of an education is what one wants it to be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • glennd, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The biggest failing of many IT graduates is their lack of empathy and understanding of what the people they're working with are trying to do, and an inability to communicate their knowledge with them.

    But then if you made them all study more humanities, arts or whatever, chances are that you'd have a bunch of bored students doing enough to pass the requirement and a fraction who get great benefit. That reading such subjects makes you in general a more rounded person with a better appreciation for many things is not in doubt, but it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that such an education is beneficial to everyone in IT (and beyond). From what I've seen in my university life, there isn't much that various lecturers or subjects can do to change the underlying person of the typical age of university undergrads.

    Since Mar 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    And barbaric, of course

    Which reminds me: I wonder if the new definition of "barbarian" is "someone who wouldn't do an arts degree if you paid him."

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    English at Otago teaches a summer school paper on magic in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and… C S Lewis I think

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention, since it helps my assertion that these are mostly just hobby courses for the privileged and not valid investments of the taxpayers money.

    Anyway, I've made my points and short of any new arguments, I think we've covered the subject. I get that people are defensive about the premise, because my assertion means that they've wasted years of their life and quite a lot of money, but defensiveness, outrage and accusations of barbarism are not arguments. Ben - you've made some good arguments, and in making them make a good case for the validity of a philosophy degree.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I get that people are defensive about the premise, because my assertion means that they’ve wasted years of their life and quite a lot of money

    I get that your schtick on PAS is that you're a voice of reason and common sense against the out-of-touch elitists, or whatever, but this is a stupid thing to say. We're not 'defensive'. We actually think you're wrong.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    How sad that people ever would consider any of their lives wasted. All life is lived, all experience is valuable.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to DexterX,

    To understand broads – Jeez.

    Pffft. Like we'd ever let you know enough of the Secrets to to get coursework out of them.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention, since it helps my assertion that these are mostly just hobby courses for the privileged and not valid investments of the taxpayers money.

    If I may point out, in the case of Harry Potter, it got millions of children reading books. Isn't understanding how and why it did that a good idea? And couldn't study into that be a social good? The more children who read, the better, I'd have thought.

    I get that people are defensive about the premise, because my assertion means that they’ve wasted years of their life and quite a lot of money, but defensiveness, outrage and accusations of barbarism are not arguments.

    Dude, what Danielle said. And for the record, you haven't convinced me my education was a waste of my life and money. Rather the opposite, actually.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    . I get that people are defensive about the premise, because my assertion means that they've wasted years of their life and quite a lot of money, but defensiveness, outrage and accusations of barbarism are not arguments.

    For the record, you convinced nobody because as you correctly point out you have no argument - just a premise and an assertion, repeated ad nauseam, also known in the business as trolling. To which I still think that my original "bollocks" constituted the correct response, if I may so so myself.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    To which I still think that my original “bollocks” constituted the correct response, if I may so so myself.

    And that is why we are nominating you as New Zealand's Next Public Intellectual.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hah!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I'm glad others came in here, as I wrote a post this morning and then lost the will to give. You've convinced me that the world needs more philosophers, and that one day I'll finish my double major in Philosophy, and then maybe a Masters. Where should I send the invoice?

    We're not 'defensive'. We actually think you're wrong.

    +1

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    And that is why we are nominating you as New Zealand’s Next Public Intellectual.

    Whereas, a person who persisted in twatcockish sophistry would be a... Pubic Intellectual? (Can't think of any, but you know what I mean).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Jolisa,

    Whereas, a person who persisted in twatcockish sophistry would be a… Pubic Intellectual? (Can’t think of any, but you know what I mean).

    I am sure we can come up with a suitably Tyra-ish smackdown.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The biggest failing of many IT graduates is their lack of empathy and understanding of what the people they're working with are trying to do, and an inability to communicate their knowledge with them.

    True. Courses in Business, Public Policy and such could be useful. I'd also like to see the IT courses explicitly tackle communication as a core subject. Not expecting every developer to be able to slot into an account manager's role but a better shared baseline skillset and awareness would help.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    New Zealand's Next Public Intellectual.

    You will of course be required to pose (symbolically) with a sheep

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    And for the record, you haven’t convinced me my education was a waste of my life and money. Rather the opposite, actually.

    I suspect it's not your life and money Danyl is lamenting the wasting of, but of the taxpayer's. But totally agree on the Harry Potter comment, and going by the wit and energy of the whole thread, can't see anyone's education being a waste of anything.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Anyway, I’ve made my points and short of any new arguments, I think we’ve covered the subject. I get that people are defensive about the premise, because my assertion means that they’ve wasted years of their life and quite a lot of money, but defensiveness, outrage and accusations of barbarism are not arguments. Ben – you’ve made some good arguments, and in making them make a good case for the validity of a philosophy degree.

    Danyl, it would be polite to acknowledge that you made a factual mistake.

    (PS.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention, since it helps my assertion that these are mostly just hobby courses for the privileged and not valid investments of the taxpayers money.

    Are you seriously arguing that courses on the LOTR could have no monetary return to New Zealand? Seriously? Is this like `why study the Beatles in Liverpool'?)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I suspect it’s not your life and money Danyl is lamenting the wasting of, but of the taxpayer’s.

    Ah, but he's also giving us the 'you can't handle my torpedoes of truth' runaround. Which is clearly, if I may quote one of our foremost public intellectuals, bollocks.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    I suspect it’s not your life and money Danyl is lamenting the wasting of, but of the taxpayer’s.

    Thank God I stopped doing that then.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'd like to point out that my natural bent was never towards a subject like Philosophy. I learned programming when I was 10, and was a computer/mathematical geek, and very likely to specialize more and more into said geekery as time passed if left to my own devices. But my parents are both involved in education and basically wouldn't allow it. My Dad forced me into playing team sports and my Mum made me do Artish subjects. Both calls were long-run wins. I played representative level waterpolo and have enduring friendships all around the world from that. And without Mum I'd never have discovered Classics, by which I discovered Philosophy. But my computing was all me. Well, actually, if they'd never got me a computer when I was 10, I don't know.

    Of course I don't know how I might otherwise have been either. Perhaps it would have been really fulfilling to become a super computer/math geek. I nearly didn't study computing at all at University, but was talked around to it by an old (well, he was 29) Niuean guy who I played club waterpolo with. I told him I wasn't doing it because I didn't want to become the nerdy dorky kind of guy that the business seemed to encourage, that I'd done that when I was younger and it didn't make me happy. His response was the pure wisdom of experience - he said that there was no rule that said you had to go all super nerdy, that you could do general and specific studies, that the world needed both, that if I had a talent in computing I should develop it too. It was one of those funny turning points in life, you'd blink and miss it, two guys coming home from training and the pub, having one of those conversations that spans multiple car trips.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Anyway, I’ve made my points and short of any new arguments, I think we’ve covered the subject. I get that people are defensive about the premise, because ...

    Danyl, you do realise you do this all the time here?

    You make a provocative statement, behave as if the subsequent discussion is some sort of unusual response that only proves your point, then declare the debate over.

    Which would be fine if you didn't insist on being such a dick about it. A little respect and good faith would probably serve you better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 28 29 30 31 32 39 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.