Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Take the hemlock, Soc!

Here's what Socrates would have to put up with if he taught today: teaching evaluations from the drooling dolts before which his pearls of wisdom were cast. From The Chronicle of Higher Education's Hemlock Available in the Faculty Lounge comes this selection of "reviews" of the great man:

This class on philosophy was really good, Professor Socrates is sooooo smart, I want to be just like him when I graduate (except not so short). I was amazed at how he could take just about any argument and prove it wrong.

I would advise him, though, that he doesn't know everything, and one time he even said in class that the wise man is someone who knows that he knows little (Prof. Socrates, how about that sexist language!?). I don't think he even realizes at times that he contradicts himself. But I see that he is just eager to share his vast knowledge with us, so I really think it is more a sin of enthusiasm than anything else.

He's sooo arrogant. One time in class this guy comes in with some real good perspectives and Socrates just kept shooting him down. Anything the guy said Socrates just thought he was better than him.

He always keeps talking about these figures in a cave, like they really have anything to do with the real world. Give me a break! I spend serious money for my education and I need something I can use in the real world, not some b.s. about shadows and imaginary trolls who live in caves.

He also talks a lot about things we haven't read for class and expects us to read all the readings on the syllabus even if we don't discuss them in class and that really bugs me. Students' only have so much time and I didn't pay him to torture me with all that extra crap.

Also, I believe this Republic that Prof. Socrates wants to design — as if anyone really wants to let this dreadful little man design an entire city — is nothing but a plan for a hegemonic, masculinist empire that will dominate all of Greece and enforce its own values and beliefs on the diverse communities of our multicultural society.

I was warned about this man by my adviser in women's studies. I don't see that anything other than white male patriarchy can explain his omnipresence in the agora and it certainly is evident that he contributes nothing to a multicultural learning environment. In fact, his whole search for the Truth is evidence of his denial of the virtual infinitude of epistemic realities...

I learned a lot in this class, a lot of things I never knew before. From what I heard from other students, Professor Socrates is kind of weird, and at first I agreed with them, but then I figured out what he was up to. He showed us that the answers to some really important questions already are in our minds.

I actually came out of this class with more questions than answers, which bothered me and made me uncomfortable in the beginning, but Professor Socrates made me realize that that's what learning is all about...

I don't know why all the people are so pissed at Professor Socrates! They say he's corrupting us, but it's really them that are corrupt. I know some people resent his aggressive style, but that's part of the dialectic. Kudos to you, Professor Socrates, you've really changed my way of thinking! Socs rocks!!

An excellent class over all. One thing I could suggest is that he take a little more care about his personal appearance, because as we all know, first impressions are lasting impressions.

Socrates is bias and prejudice and a racist and a sexist and a homophobe. He stole his ideas from the African people and won't even talk to them now. Someone said that maybe he was part African, but there is noooooo way.

RELATED: Education, Philosophy, Humour


  1. http://www.newstatesman.com/199812110010.htm

    Speaking of Philosophy and the ancients...

  2. For just a moment I was worried that these reviews were for real.

  3. Your point is too subtle for me here PC... The piece obviously isn't sufficiently witty to be offered for it's humour value alone.

    Are you saying students in a user-pays environment shouldn't be afforded the opportunity to provide feedback for the service? That they are in no way qualified to assess their own educational experience? Or more simply 'who is the student to question the teacher'?

    The point that 'students are likely to trot out a bunch of PC shit' is not likely to be contested. If these were real feedbacks there might be a bit of a laugh intended, but as it stands I fail to see what you're driving at!


  4. The humour has nothing to do with students, or feedback. It's funny because it's pointing out how the modern world might look at Socrates if he didn't have his classical clout.

    Well, ok: I laughed at the comment from the student who wanted something he could use in the real world from a philosophy paper.

  5. Not sufficiently funny! I thought it was hilarious.

    All the "reviews" just subtly to refer both to what Socrates taught -- the metaphor of cave for instance -- the way he taught (remember the Socratic method?) or the way he was thought about by the good citizens of Athens, who if you'll recall put him to death for being a trouble maker.

    Too subtle, yet! :-/


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