Dretske's Last Interview

Brian Leiter has posted the text of an interview Fred Dretske did with undergraduates from the University of Copenhagen. It's quite good. Note particularly his closing thoughts. Apparently this conversation has been happening a long, long time.

Our conversation is moving towards the end, and before leaving we ask if Dretske has a piece of good advice for people who consider doing philosophy as a career.

“When I told my teacher at Purdue - the only philosopher who was there in 1954 - that I wanted to do philosophy, he said: “You’re an electrical engineer. There are jobs in electrical engineering.” I said, “Doesn’t make any difference, I want to do philosophy!” … I was pretty dumb!So I went into philosophy against the best advice of my teachers and of course my family. My parents were appalled. I just told them that it was the only thing I wanted to do, the only thing I could do. So my advice would be: If you’re going to do philosophy make sure you have got that kind of motivation, in which you say, “I don’t care if there are any jobs, I have to do this for four more years and then I’ll worry about what I’m going to do and whether or not there are any jobs”.If you’re going to do philosophy, make sure it is a consuming ambition. One so overwhelming that you are willing to say to yourself; “I don’t care if there are any jobs, I have to do this”.”

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1 comment

24
Nov

Thanks for this excerpt... =)

Thanks for this excerpt... =)