The ugliness of philosophers

Andy Martin article called “The Phenomenology of Ugly” on why so many philosophers are ugly and how philosophy can save us from our ugliness.

“It is no coincidence that one of our founding philosophers, Socrates, makes a big deal out of his own ugliness. It is the comic side of the great man. Socrates is (a) a thinker who asks profound and awkward questions (b) ugly. In Renaissance neo-Platonism (take, for example, Erasmus and his account of  “foolosophers” in “The Praise of Folly”) Socrates, still spectacularly ugly, acquires an explicitly Christian logic: philosophy is there — like Sartre’s angelic curls — to save us from our ugliness (perhaps more moral than physical).”


Author: Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

One thought on “The ugliness of philosophers”

  1. I am impressed by the economic potential here. Perhaps profound thinkers are more likely to ask awkward questions if and only if they do not sate some human need prior to the need to investigate.

    Anecdotally, there are not many super-model caliber accountants. I reject the hypothesis that says the genetic marker for modeling precludes ability in figuring. However, as one chooses a career the ease with which one attracts people willing to photograph one’s self for cash interrupts other types of human capital investment. We know that football quarterbacks are smart, but the lower frequency with which they become Rhodes scholars seems to be explained by scarcity of time more than by the lack of a specific genetic ability.

    Is there such thing as a beauty curse?


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