I guess somebody somewhere in this country cares what kind of questions are on the French Baccalaureate exam. I don’t know why, and I don’t care. All I know is that Yglesias wrote about it earlier today, which means, I dunno, that it’s in the news. Kevin Drum writes the following:
“As for the question getting the most mockery — “Is it absurd to desire the impossible?” — I would use the standard dodge of philosophy students everywhere: please first define “absurd.” That should be sufficient to derail the conversation long enough for everyone to get bored of the whole topic.”
I predict that Drum doesn’t know enough philosophers to realize that “everyone”–if it includes the philosophers (which it does, because it’s everyone)–would not be bored by exploring that aspect of the question. He obviously hasn’t tangoed with existentialism in a while.
As for the questions Yglesias posted earlier, namely:
“— Does objectivity in history presuppose the impartiality of the historian?
— Does language betray thought?
— Explicate an excerpt from Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation
And from the science series:
— Are there questions that are un-answerable by science?”
Yglesias says: “no, no, I don’t know anything about Schopenhauer, and yes.”
Drum says: “no (but it helps); sometimes; I don’t know anything about Schopenhauer; and yes.”
I say: “no (and it couldn’t help because I doubt it exists); I doubt it, because it’s hard to conceive of what thought might be without language; show me the passage and I’ll give it a go; and yes.”
Where but the blogosphere could one find such rigorous debate?