Opinion

A twitter tour of Western philosophy

What if Socrates, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Hume had been able to tweet their thoughts?

By

When both neocons and lit profs are all atwitter about the same thing, you know it's got to be big.

It seems that two young undergrads at the University of Chicago, Emmett Rensin and Alex Aciman, recently landed a deal with Penguin Books to publish their book "Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less."

Why plod through 3,000 pages of Proust, after all, when you can just get the gist while listening to podcasts on the subject with your iPhone? Just think how much more time you would have been able to waste in college if you hadn't had to splash through the stormy seas of of "Moby Dick"!

In fact, though, I think Mr. Rensin and Mr. Aciman could do better: Who has the time, these days, for a leisurely meander through 20 whole tweets about anything?

So here, for those of you seeking, between tweets, to plug some gaps in your education, is a brief tour of Western philosophy up to the 20th century, a very manageable one tweet at a time.

Socrates: Drinking hemlock; toes tingling; legs getting numb. Maybe unexamined life worth living? Guard!

Plato: Symposium 2nite 7pm, @ The Cave. Open mike, open bar. Under 21 admitted free.

Aristotle: 2 say of what is, that it is, is true; 2 say that it is not true, is false. And this is what is, and thus true; and there4 not false.

(Early) Augustine: In Carthage w/the Smashers 2nite total caldron of lust here XXX!

(Later) Augustine: John 3:16.

Anselm: God must exist, for otherwise that than which none gr8ter can b conceived would b 1 than which a gr8ter CAN b conceived, fool.

Aquinas: How many angels can dance on a pin? I answer that it depends on whether the tango, fandango, or the Mexican hat dance is in question.

Descartes: Check out the new Facebook fan page 4 my fav starchy tuber! I link there4 a yam.

Spinoza: Mind is God. Matter is God. I m God. Only thing not God is God.

Locke: Our minds @ birth are like blank slates, except 4 all the ideas, dispositions, and powers we are innately born with.

Leibniz: Optimist says this is the best possible world. Pessimist agrees.

Hume: No sense can b made of anything, nothing can b known, crud just happens. I'll b @ the pub.

Kant: The thing as it appears is white, creamy, and delicious; we cannot know whether it is, in itself, just mayonnaise.

Hegel: God's long path toward realizing, in His highest form, Himself, all of history is, namely German bureaucracy.

Schopenhauer: All is empty, pointless. Deep, dark despair. Could use snack.

Marx: Hegel wrong. It's not spirit that moves bodies. It's coffee.

Kierkegaard: OMG heartsick again today. OMG Regina, luv of my life, still hasn't called. OMG.

Nietzsche: Restraints too tight, barely wriggle fingers 2 type. Renfield brought some flies to munch, a real übermensch. But what, no dip?

For any acquisitions editors at Penguin who may be reading – follow me @60SecondPhilospher.

Andrew Pessin is the philosophy department chair at Connecticut College and author of "The 60-second Philosopher: Expand Your Mind on a Minute or so a Day!"

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...