Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about Philosophers – One

 

MTr 2 Jean Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher known for his thinking on politics and sociology. Early in his life, Rousseau fathered five children and abandoned all of them to a home.

He did this because abandoning children and sexual boasting was in fashion among his social circles, and men who had abandoned the most children were highly applauded.

Such despicable behavior isn’t quite what one would expect from a theorist on education and child-rearing, but that didn’t stop Rousseau from becoming one. His past didn’t escape the eye of rival philosophers – such as Voltaire – and he was severely criticized for being a hypocrite.

Anecdotes about Philosophers – Two

 

MTr 3 Demonax

Despite having the most evil name of all time, Demonax was a popular philosopher and celebrity figure. One thing that earned him that admiration was his love of solving disputes. According to a biography of his life, “he was fond of playing peace-maker between brothers at variance, or presiding over the restoration of marital harmony.”

So not only was he willing to use his ideals to solve the problems of squabbling couples, he did it for free because he enjoyed it.

When he got so old that he thought he couldn’t take care of himself, he just stopped eating until he died. He was nearly 100 at the time.

Anecdotes about Philosophers – Three

 

MTr 4 Alexinus

Alexinus was an ancient Greek philosopher you’ve probably never heard of – and for good reason. Alexinus thought he was good enough to start his own philosophy school, and he moved all the way from Elis to Olympia to do so.

When asked why he made the move, he said it was because he wanted the school to be called the “Olympian,” and that wouldn’t make sense in Elis.

Unfortunately, the school was not prepared, ran out of provisions quickly after students arrived, and wasn’t cleaned. The students decided the place was dirty and left, leaving Alexinus with one servant.

Anecdotes about Philosophers – Four

 

MTr 5 Jean Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was an existentialist and political philosopher in the ’60s and ’70s. Some of his work was so good that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964. The only problem was that he didn’t want it.

He claimed that winning the award would associate him with the Nobel committee forever. The press was very interested in someone turning down a Nobel Prize, but their attempts to contact Sartre went unanswered. Sartre hid in his sister-in-law’s apartment until they all went away

Anecdotes about Philosophers – Five

 

MTr 6 Rene Descartes

 

Rene Descartes’s “I think, therefore I am” is possibly the most quoted idea in all of philosophy. His ideas are said to be the grounding for most Western philosophy, and he may have come up with many of those ideas in an oven. Exactly when and where is up for debate, but according to Descartes himself, it did happen.

It wasn’t an oven as you might imagine, but a stone room where a fire always burned. Temperatures were raised when it was needed for cooking, but it was kept relatively low during other times of the day. They certainly weren’t designed for people, but that didn’t stop Descartes from sleeping in one and having dreams that he eventually turned into the grounding of his life’s work.

Anecdotes about Psychology – One

MTr 2

Johnny paid his way through college by waitering in a restaurant.

“What's the usual tip” asked a customer.

“Well,” said Johnny, “this is my first day, but the other guys said that, if I got five dollars out of you, I’d be doing great.”

“Is that so?” growled the customer. “In that case, here's twenty dollars.”

“Thanks. I'll put it in my college fund,” Johnny said.

“By the way, what are you studying?” asked the customer.

“Applied psychology.”

Anecdotes about Psychology – Two

MTr 3

A man was walking in the street one day when he was brutally beaten and robbed.
As he lay unconscious and bleeding, a psychologist, who happened to be passing by, rushed up to him and exclaimed, 

“My God! Whoever did this really needs help!”

Anecdotes about Psychology – Three

MTr 4

A psychotherapist returned from a conference in the Rocky mountains, where the delegates spent more time on the icy ski slopes than attending lectures and seminars.
When she got back, her husband asked her, “So, how did it go?”

“Fine,” she replied, "but I've never seen so many Freudians slip.”

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