Damn you Scott Adams

Who is the greatest philosopher of our time?

It occurred to me recently that I can’t name a single person still active today who is widely regarded as a great philosopher.  I’m not saying there isn’t one–rather just that I personally can’t think of one.  It seems to me that if there was one around today, their name would probably come to mind without too much thought.  Can you think of one?

Of course, it may be that the greatness of a philosopher can only be assessed in retrospect, and only future generations have the knowledge and insight to look back and say with any authority who the greatest philosopher of our time is, and anyone claiming to have an answer at the moment clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

I think it’s Scott Adams.  Also known as “The Dilbert Guy”.  The creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip.

If you know of him at all, you may only know him as the guy who draws funny comics about people who work in cubicles, but there’s so much more to it than that.  There’s also a talking dog.  And cat.  And rat.  And an intern.  The subtleties are boundless.

The comic aside, Scott Adams is also a very thoughtful and thought-provoking writer.  His book, “God’s Debris”, (a free, authorized copy can be found here) and his blog are full of profound philosophical musings.  What I like best about his philosophy is that it’s grounded in science, logic, and reasoning, without too much dogmatic acceptance or rejection of anything without verifiable evidence.

And that’s why I’m pissed off at him.  Because he writes about a lot of the same things that I want to write about, and in the same way, but he’s a lot better at it than I am.  His writing is clear, easy to follow, and most of all, entertaining.  And I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s so successful.  I also think he’ll be remembered as much for his contributions to philosophy as for his contributions to the Sunday comics.  At least I hope so.

Just one example of his contribution to philosophy (and incidentally another reason why I’m pissed off at him) is “The Adams Theory of Content Value.”  This theory basically states that the easier it becomes for us to find free media on the internet, the less likely we’ll be willing to pay for it.  This is bad news for someone like me who has (probably unrealistic) dreams of making a living as a writer.

Still, aside from how it affects me personally, I think it’s a good thing.  People with passion will still write and create music, and people with that elusive combination of passion and talent will get the acclaim they deserve, but those motivated strictly by greed will find it more difficult.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

And if you want a better description and analysis of this theory, I highly recommend checking out Scott Adams’ blog.  He’s a very funny, informative, and thought-provoking guy, and I think someday he will be recognized as the greatest philosopher of our time.



About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

2 Responses to Damn you Scott Adams

  1. Kevlar says:

    The theory on which Adams centers the theology of the book is formally called “Pandeism” — there are a good range of variations on it, some more positive than others, but the essential idea is the same: logic demonstrates that the Creator of our Universe in fact became our Universe, in the process ceasing to have the ability to act independently of it.

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