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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 11. July 30, 1947


The inaugural meeting of the VUC Philosophical Society was held on July 9. Apart from the election of officers, the adoption of a constitution, and some discussion on the functions of the club, the meeting heard a talk by Mr. Hudson, M.A., of the VUC staff. It was called "Philosophy?" and the main substance of it was rather as follows.

Two erroneous theories about philosophy were first discussed—tire "social inefficiency" theory, and the "academic pastime" theory. According to the first, philosophy is a compensation by the socially inefficient for skills that they lack in the more useful spheres of social activity. This is ridiculous, for philosophy is ultimately just as useful as any other sphere of social activity, and since, secondly, the great philosophers demonstrate by the influence they have had on society that they are not socially inefficient (in any useful meaning of those two words). The second theory maintains that philosophy is an academic pastime, lacking in use and in effect. This theory is ridiculous too: witness the influence of, e.g., Plato, Hegel, Marx on social movements: of, e.g., Voltaire, Spinoza, Hume on "religious activity; of, e.g., Herbart, Plato, Rousseau, Dewey on education.