Instant Philosophy Degree

The following is the general examination for a Doctor of Philosophy degree:


Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.  Be brief, concise and specific.

Public Speaking

Some 2500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom.  Calm them.  You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.  Your performance will be video-recorded.


Create life.  Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this life had developed 500 million years earlier, giving special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system.  Prove your thesis.


Write a piano concerto.  Orchestrate and perform it with flute and violin.  You will find a piano under your seat.  In the interests of time, you may omit the coda.


Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Moses, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Rameses II, Gregory of Myssa, Hammurabi, Freud, Hitler, Idi Amin.  Support your evaluation with quotations from each man’s work, making appropriate references.  It is not necessary to translate.


Estimate the sociological problems that might accompany the end of the world.  Construct an experiment to test your theory.  Use charts if appropriate.

Political Science

There is a red telephone on the desk beside you.  Use it to start the Third World War.  Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.


The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your desk.  You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili.  In 10 minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room.  Take whatever action you feel is appropriate.  Be prepared to justify your decision.


Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the National Debt.  Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist controversy, the wave theory of light, the automobile industry.  Outline a method for preventing these effects.  Criticize this method from all possible points of view.  Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.


Explain the nature of matter.  Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.


If X equals Pi times A squared, construct a formula showing how long it would take a fire ant to drill a hole through a dill pickle, if the length-girth ratio of the ant to the pickle were 98.17:1.


Sketch the development of human thought, and estimate its significance.  Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

General Knowledge

Describe in detail.  Be objective and specific.  Abbreviations are permitted.  You will be graded for punctuation and grammar.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, was why I decided to become a factory worker.  I tried to think….but nothin’ happened.  Mommy, my head hurts.

18 thoughts on “Instant Philosophy Degree

  1. benzeknees says:

    I ended up dropping Introduction to Philosophy in university because it made my head hurt too!


    • Archon's Den says:

      Philosophy is supposed to make you think, and realize various options. I took the advanced course at the University of Life. Sadly I was almost alone in the self-taught course. Almost everyone else enrolled in Dogma 201. 😦


  2. I loved my philosophy classes in college and took several upper level courses – so much to think about and no absolute correct answers.

    I love your course descriptions!


    • Archon's Den says:

      A philosophy professor is said to have given a final which asked only, “Why?” The most sucessful student wrote only, “Because!”, handed it in and left the hall. 😀


  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    Political Science (alternate examination problem)

    Write and deliver at the annual NRA convention in Austin a 10-minute speech in favor of universal background checks. Success requires that the majority give you a standing ovation.


  4. I think I’ll take Psychology for 100, Alex. Interesting post, Archon.


  5. BrainRants says:

    This sounds eerily like many of the questions from my finals in college. Yikes.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Just as the difference between a brown-noser and a shit-head is merely depth perception, the distinctions between this comedy and past reality sit on a knife edge. A little comme-ci, a little comme-ca. 🙂


  6. Sightsnbytes says:

    my head hurts just reading this post…think I shall ingest a two aspirin and call a doctor of philosophy in the morning


    • Archon's Den says:

      Take two shots of screech till you stop thinking about philosophy, and your headache will go away. 😦


      • Sightsnbytes says:

        thanks Dr Archon…I will try that… incidentally, Screech is horrible and cheap Jamaica Whiskey and I don’t care much for the stuff. I much rather Crown Royal and Ginger Ale….easier on the stomach. Round here we tend to use Screech as paint remover…


  7. Daniel Digby says:

    And now for a little plagiarism. It’s the first time I’ve ever reblogged — honest.


  8. Daniel Digby says:

    Reblogged this on The Infrequent Atheist and commented:
    I stole this from Archon’s Den. I have such an insufferably high opinion of my own writing (plus parking my head up my ass) that I can’t admit when I’ve been outdone. Enjoy.


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