(I posted this article on Sunday last week to meet the deadline for this week, but I realized that it was counted as last week’s post? So I reposted this article before the deadline to make sure we didn’t miss completion prize… thx!)

My Dear Professor,

I confess that, when I told you how much I enjoyed your philosophy class, I was actually considering changing my major.

As a philosophy student, whenever someone finds out about my major, I receive many questions.

My father asks me: What is your life philosophy?

The taxi driver asks me: What do you think about The Philosophy of Politics? Specifically, what are your thoughts on the upcoming US presidential election?

A friend's child asks me: Who am I?

In fact, I also want to know the answers to these questions. Every day, all I do is read arguments like this: "let 'these' rigidly designate everything that there is, and read a as 'x is not one of these'. Apparently, there could have been something that is not one of these; indeed, there could have been more things than there actually are. It follows by BF that there is something that could have not been one of these. But whether it is one of these is not itself a contingent matter; if it could have not been one of these, it is not one of these. Thus there is something that is not one of these; but that is a contradiction, for by assumption 'these' designates everything that there is." (Tim Williamson, "Bare Possibilia") What is there? What is these? Why should I write a 2000 words essay on stuffs like this?

I envy my peers who study stuffs like math or biochemistry. Apparently, what they study is hard, but the good part is, no one reacts enthusiastically to their majors as they do to mine, saying things like: Oh, math! I've been reading some interesting group theory books lately! Or: I've recently found the transcription of a certain protein very fascinating!

See, it’s very easy to let people know what you’re struggling with when you're doing one of those stem subjects.

But almost every elder tells me that they are reading some philosophy-related books and trying to tell me about their life philosophy. When they try to get some feedback from me, the only thing I could say is, well I have no idea at all. All that I have learned so far is these these that that. This discipline is like wrapping paper on a gift; you can wrap almost anything inside, but after the gift is given, the paper is crumpled and thrown into the trash.

I have a teacher like this: he is knowledgeable, friendly, always wearing a striped shirt, and just starting his teaching career. You can see from his bright eyes and long, dense hair that he is still full of expectations for teaching and this subject. When you ask him a question, he stares at you carefully, considering his words to give you the best feedback, like a beginner parent.

So, I asked our Professor: Why should we learn Philosophy? There isn't a single thing we've studied so far that has a definite answer!

He said that question is hard to answer. But by studying philosophy, you can learn to answer many questions. Studying philosophy can give you excellent writing and analytical skills.

I think ChatGPT's abilities in this regard should be much stronger than mine. While I struggled to reach 1000 words for this confession, ChatGPT should have generated plenty of content already. I expressed this doubt to my professor.

My professor replied that Artificial Intelligence will never replace humans in philosophy.

Under his enthusiastic gaze, I nodded reluctantly, admitting that philosophy is such a noble and practical subject.

I admit that Artificial Intelligence couldn’t replace humans in many aspects (e.g the use of logic), yet, aren’t them some times good enough to replace us, or at least, me? I couldn't help but think: But ChatGPT can already replace many people as a philosophy tutor!

In fact, apart from being a philosophy professor, what else can philosophy students do?

If we ask GPT what modal realism is, it will carefully explain to you what modality is, what realism is. If you find it too verbose and headache-inducing, you can use this magical spell—if you need to explain it to a twelve-year-old—if that doesn't work, you can use an even more powerful spell—if you need to explain it to a toddler—eventually, you will find some explanation at hand that matches your level.

But university philosophy professors, unlike the authors of those great philosophical works (monks, engineers who switched careers, and university philosophy professors), are not the same. They will never have the function of "explaining it to a twelve-year-old." At least, they will never let you use that function. They will only instill some inexplicable textbooks (which look like alchemists using fried eggs and window glass to create their great works of human language) and some obscure terms into your head, and then hope that you will suddenly and inexplicably understand everything, just like in their thought experiments—but they don't know what everything you need to understand is.

What's worse is that after going through the painful step of being a philosophy student, they permanently lost the ability to empathize with those who have not yet been polluted by the discipline. It feels like in Sci-fi when your companion enters an evil organization's brainwashing machine, they still retain their original memories, but the structure of their brain has been permanently altered, filled with some mysterious chips. They lose many of their original good qualities.

I once tried to explain to a philosophy professor how difficult it is to understand things in philosophy. My professor said he didn't understand and asked me to give an example. Asking you to give an argument for why studying philosophy is difficult after you've studied everything is like asking you to take a photo to prove you didn't receive a package when you haven't received the package. So I gave him an argument and told him how terrible our textbooks are at explaining this argument.

He said: I don't think this argument is wrong. And tried to explain it to me in the same way as the textbook.

I said: I didn't say it was wrong.

He replied again: Your example can only illustrate that this argument is difficult to understand.

But, I just wanted to explain that philosophy is difficult for me to understand from the beginning.

To be honest, the scariest thing about studying philosophy is that at some point, you suddenly realize that you have also entered that dreadful brainwashing machine, and actually become those philosophers you've greeted in your late-night deadline, who never explain things clearly. I used to be a quite popular person before I went to uni, I would say, at least I do have some sense of humor. Yet, after I engaged in this discipline, I start hearing this comment: “no doubt you’re a Philosophy student”, then I started to realize I was asking what kind of conscious, if any, should lettuces have in the middle my friend’s birthday party. Even to this point, when I read this passage, I see in my words the shadows of many philosophers that I have once suffered from.