Obama releases philosophy from strategic reserve
President Obama authorized the Department of Education on Monday to release 100,000 counterexamples from the Strategic Philosophy Reserve (SPR). The move follows worries that the nation’s friends, family members, and acquaintances are increasingly getting away with overgeneralizations, invalid inferences, and general bullshittery. This is the first release since 2010, when Obama tapped into the SPR in a failed attempt to head off $2,000-per-year subscription rates for Springer journals.
The broader context for the SPR release is provided by the nation’s ongoing philosophy work stoppage. The strike, which has spread to philosophy departments in all 50 states, is now in its fourth month with no end in sight.
“Until we get affordable journal subscriptions and the right to self-archive our papers, no more philosophy,” says Cynthia Lawson of Southern Washington University. While Lawson and her colleagues continue to teach classes and grade papers, they refuse to do any philosophy outside of the classroom. “Last year was the first time in memory when our university library decreased the number of journal subscriptions it maintains,” Lawson explains. “The sad truth is that, as a discipline, we can’t even afford to buy the content we produce ourselves.”
The strike started with a refusal to submit papers or serve as referees for journals with subscription rates and profit margins seen as excessive. It soon spread, however, to the withdrawal of philosophers from their wider role in society. “I was at the post office the other day,” explains Francis Ware of Biloxi College, “and I overheard someone say that none of us ever knows anything because we can never be certain that such-and-such is the case. And I didn’t say anything. Not a word.” A knowing smile crosses Ware’s face. “We’ll see how long this country lasts without us.”
The strike’s public image has suffered in recent weeks, however, after a 7-year-old girl was killed outside Seattle when an unbound variable attacked without warning. “That variable would have been bound if the philosophers had been doing their job,” Bill O’Reilly claimed on Thursday’s The O’Reilly Factor. “This is why striking should be illegal for all public sector employees, not just police and firefighters.”
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Obama acknowledged the gravity of the situation but expressed confidence in America’s ability to overcome the challenges posed by the strike. “In the past month, the nation’s concepts have gone unanalyzed. Intuitions unprobed. Distinctions undrawn. But we’re not doomed to the unexamined life. We’ve all got to chip in and do our part. If you can dispense a little wisdom to your neighbor, then do so. If you can dispel a confusion at work, go for it. If you can solve the hard problem of consciousness, then what are you waiting for?”
The new counterexamples are expected to enter circulation in early September, although whether they will be sufficient to stem the recent tide of bullshit remains to be seen.