Lawrence University’s philosophy department will launch a groundbreaking sophistry program starting next year.Thomas Ryckman, who will head up the program, gave a number of reasons for the decision. None of them, however, seemed to be his real opinion.
All potential sophists must retake Freshman Studies (four years in all), and argue from a different dogmatically-entrenched, intellectual point of view. Gender Studies must be taken twice as well.
Topics in Insincerity, the senior seminar to be team taught by Ryckman and Mr. Dreher, will be the culmination of this intellectual deception. Dreher explains:
“Ah…Say one year, you want to be a feminist? Huh? Maybe you want to be a feminst. ‘Achebe was bad. I’m a feminist.’ Then, eh, maybe next year you’ll pose as a zionist. ‘Israel ought to be a state.’ And who knows, maybe one year you want to be a VAMPIRE, and so you don’t read Frankenstein because you want to suck blood. The next year you’re a marxist Christian, and who knows, maybe you dabble in Zoroastrianism.”
The Lawrentian agreed to take part in the new interdisciplinary field: all potential sophists must submit at least five editorials/opinion pieces to The Lawrentian. Each must follow an internal logic, remain essentially impractical to anything outside of the confines of college newspapers, and simultaneously anger two opposing campus groups.
“All this is to underscore that philosophy is the bulemia of the humanities: it values eating for the act only, and denies the concept of nourishment. The only point of learning is to vomit it out,” added Bertrand Goldgar, Professor of the Humanities, who added that “Philosophy is alright for a bull session with your roommate, but for your MAJOR? Come on!”
The sophistry program is presented from an endowment that comes from Nathan Pusey, the recently-deceased founder of Freshman Studies, as Freshman Studies has provided the ferment to campus sophistry since the second world war.