To Fellow Thomists

I’m in college dealing with a pain in the a** philosophy prof. Anyway, I suck up to him (and surreptitiously make fun of him) by saying how much he has influenced me in Cartesian thought; especially the “cotigo”. I tell him how much he has enlightened me with modern philosophy and I act so thankful for helping me realize how “outdated” Aquinas and Aristotle are. It’s really fun, and he’s completely clueless. I know “Cotigo ergo sum” is a crock of malarkey, but he thinks he’s gained a disciple. He knew of my Thomistic thinking at first, but now I’m acting like he’s converting me. He’s so proud.

Oh, also, he’s pretentious and arrogant. So he deserves it. I’m also getting an A.

Aren’t I cool?

Call me out if I’m being mean. That’s what Socrates would do…

Kids, this is how you survive philosophy classes at secular universities :wink:

Wait. Why is “cogito ergo sum” malarkie?


Yeah, that’s not saying much. What do you find to be objectionable?

That was the way in which many of my classmates used to get their A’s in their classes. On my side, I never hesitated in questioning my professors trying to get more satisfactory answers from them and exposing my own positions openly. However, I never thought of them as “pains in…”; and I always earned their respect. I think that you, as a Thomist, should have the courage to defend your positions rationally.

Yeah, but either you agree with him or get a bad grade. I learned that early and adapted. I wish it was more like a true philosophy class like you’re explaining. I agree. A Thomist would hold true to his beliefs. I’m probably wrong in doing this, but I don’t know if I can get his respect any other way.

So get your A, then invite him out for a beer after your course is done and actually debate him on the merits of your views.

The fact that philosophy starts with the mind. According to Descartes, anything is plausible. I know I think, but how can my hand exist? Descartes’ conclusion can allow for arguments against external existence. It’s how people stereotype philosophy, and it’s because of Descartes.

A Thomist believes philosophy starts from the senses and goes from there, which should allow for objectivity.

Not a bad idea…

I understand I’m not a magister, and after observing my post I feel like a lowlife. Let’s just talk about the “cotigo” I’d love to hear some insight :slight_smile:

I made a new thread just on “I think therfore I am”. All philosophers welcome! I’d love to hear some insight!

Please don’t lie to your professor


I think you’re being a bit too hard on Descartes there. He was living in a time of extreme scepticism and looking for an anchor to philosophy. I don’t think he found it because while scepticism is good for cleaning up thoughts and systems in philosophy, it isn’t good as a basis for epistemology.

I opened a new thread on this. Please join us! I’d love to discuss this further :slight_smile:

Even if he isn’t the best teacher, making fun of him isn’t a good thing. I understand the want to get a good grade, but that grade should come because you did the best you could and worked hard rather than because you sucked up and made fun of him.

What I found amusing when I took modern philosophy was that my professor (who loves Descartes more than any other philosopher) would tend to praise him and suggest that he has continuing relevance primarily insofar as Descartes was indebted to Scholastics. He insisted, for instance, that Descartes’ preservation argument for God’s existence was not so bad, and that one of its strength was that it made use of a here-and-now causal principle, in contrast to those arguments of the Scholastics. But, of course, that is not at all in constrast to those arguments of the Scholastics…

I don’t think it’s necessary to pretend that you are buying modern philosophy. I have always found it possible to engage with the ideas of each philosopher. It’s nice practice to just argue against any philosopher you encounter; I don’t think any professor would assume that you have Scholastic sympathies if you do that, for the modern philosophers are jointly inconsistent anyway. I only showed knowledge of the Scholastics when the author or professor brought them up explicitly.

The tongue is a troublesome thing to tame.

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