Chmess, Abiding Significance, and Rabbit Holes

Peter Boghossian, Portland State University
James A. Lindsay, Portland State University

Copyright (2017) John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Chapter 5.

In his paper, "Higher‐order truths about chmess," Daniel Dennett argues that “[m]any projects in contemporary philosophy are artifactual puzzles of no abiding significance.” In other words, much contemporary academic philosophy is a waste of time. In this chapter, we use mathematics, models, and metaphysics, to expand and clarify Dennett's chmess analogy. We further the argument that some contemporary academic philosophy loses its way and chases chmess‐like endeavors – arguing that philosophy is bloated by extraneous, esoteric, and bizarre philosophical projects that aren't detached from reality but only related to it tangentially. Chmess‐like games, like some contemporary academic philosophy, nick reality and then shoot off on their own trajectory, often down intellectual rabbit holes.