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#1
Let me be honest, I've pretty much had it with this term/insult.

It seems like it's thrown out anytime you want to discuss anything from philosophy to politics. If you're young, say from your teens to your twenties, you'd better not be caught openly discussing the mysteries of life or having an opinion on anything, or else you're deemed a pretentious pseudointellectual. I feel like people who say these things are more annoying than so-called pseudointellectuals.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not denying the existence of pseudointellectuals. When you ask someone what a pseudointellectual is, they'll tell you it's someone who tries to appear intelligent when in reality they're about as sharp as a Jigglypuff's testicle. Here's my question though: how do you know? Why do you assume someone is unintelligent just because their topic of discussion is a bit ambitious?

Say you're listening in on a conversation a couple of hipsters are having at the coffee shop. They're discussing existentialism or some other subject stereotypical to the situation. Why is this considered repulsive? Ugh, they think they're so intellectual, they think they're god's gift to philosophy and art, you might be thinking. But don't you now respect yourself as someone who understands these topics better than they do, so far as to say they're doin it wrong? At that point, what makes you any better than they are (or what you think they are)?

Furthermore, what's wrong with trying to appear intelligent? I'd rather live in a world where everyone tries to be smart than one where everyone offhandedly dismisses any intelligent topic for the fear of being branded pretentious or a pseudointellectual. The term does nothing but stifle.

Anyway, that's my rant. Discuss, tell me what you think a pseudointellectual is.

(This topic inspired by the movie Waking Life and the subsequent criticism of it as pseudointellectual by certain friends of mine.)

EDIT: inb4 TS is a pseudointellectual
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Last edited by fail at Aug 9, 2011,
#2
Those who are humble/respectful are never called pseudo intellectuals. Its the pompous, pretentious, arrogant, disrespectful ones who have required use of the term.
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#3
It depends really, sometimes the people I describe as pseudo-intellectuals are people that I know for a fact aren't knowledgeable of said topic.


But then again, I don't find them annoying at all. They're better than the morons who dumb themselves down because being smart is 'lame'.

Also, I'm a total pseudo-intellectual, I know nothing of anything, but I think I hide it well...I'm just good at bullshitting people I guess.
#4
Oh you mean people that watch Zeitgeist and all of a sudden understand how the whole world works.
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#5
Quote by Dreadnought
Those who are humble/respectful are never called pseudo intellectuals. Its the pompous, pretentious, arrogant, disrespectful ones who have required use of the term.


I've heard it directed to people who aren't rude or condescending in the slightest. I got called pseudointellectual by my dad just for talking matter-of-factly about Friedrich Nietzsche. It's like because I'm not old and have no "life experience", I'm not allowed to talk about certain things. Also, I've heard it directed toward movies, as mentioned in the OP. How the hell can a movie or a piece of art be pretentious or pseudointellectual?
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#6
It's the people who believe they are experts in everything after skimming a wikipedia article about it.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wikipedia, and I often flick through articles if a conversation takes a direction towards a subject I'm not familiar with, but it's one thing to do that and another thing entirely to read the introduction to a wikipedia article then say "ACTUALLY YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each rest upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and events, asserting that these hold without exception. The wide variety of deterministic theories throughout the history of philosophy have sprung from diverse motives and considerations; some of which overlap considerably. All should be considered in the light of their historical significance, together with certain alternative theories that philosophers have proposed. At the same time, some forms of determinism may be empirically testable, and this page mentions some relevant ideas from physics and the philosophy of physics. The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called "Nondeterminism")."
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#7
Quote by fail
I've heard it directed to people who aren't rude or condescending in the slightest. I got called pseudointellectual by my dad just for talking matter-of-factly about Friedrich Nietzsche. It's like because I'm not old and have no "life experience", I'm not allowed to talk about certain things. Also, I've heard it directed toward movies, as mentioned in the OP. How the hell can a movie or a piece of art be pretentious or pseudointellectual?


Nietzsche is someone I'd associate with pseudo-intellectual kids who think that he's 'deep' or whatever. No offense intended if you really like Nietzsche, but a lot of hipster dicks on the internet bang on about him no end.
#8
Never heard that phrase before in my life, an I regularly talk with people about the above stated topics....
#9
Quote by Pagan-Pie
Nietzsche is someone I'd associate with pseudo-intellectual kids who think that he's 'deep' or whatever. No offense intended if you really like Nietzsche, but a lot of hipster dicks on the internet bang on about him no end.


You just don't understand him, man.

Nah, but I'd associate Marx with "pseudo-intellectualism" more than any other thinker. Simple philosophies are the easiest for youngin's to digest.
#11
Quote by Pagan-Pie
Nietzsche is someone I'd associate with pseudo-intellectual kids who think that he's 'deep' or whatever. No offense intended if you really like Nietzsche, but a lot of hipster dicks on the internet bang on about him no end.

This is true. I've read several of his books and done a school work specifically about his philosophy, but nearly every time I hear his name thrown around the people talking don't know shit and just pretend to know something. After having read the OP, I feel like a dick though.

I've never heard that word earlier (pseudo-intellectualism). I've never heard anyone imply it here where I live. Maybe it's a cultural difference.

EDIT: Oh, don't get me started with Marx, socialism and communism. Jesus Christ. That's just too much, sorry. Abandon thread.
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Last edited by Flibo at Aug 9, 2011,
#12
Jigglypuff's Testicle. Hahaha!

Also: Plus one on the Zeitgeist guys.
They are the unactive activists that seem to use Zeitgeist views as an excuse to sit listen to metal and live off the government haha.

Get off your asses you silly people.
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#13
Quote by entity0009
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each rest upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and events, asserting that these hold without exception. The wide variety of deterministic theories throughout the history of philosophy have sprung from diverse motives and considerations; some of which overlap considerably. All should be considered in the light of their historical significance, together with certain alternative theories that philosophers have proposed. At the same time, some forms of determinism may be empirically testable, and this page mentions some relevant ideas from physics and the philosophy of physics. The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called "Nondeterminism")."

I need to go back to school, man.
#14
If i am in a casual setting with my friends, i try not to discuss anything too heavy or intellectual with them, unless we both know what we are talking about, or if we both have fairly good theories on certain things. The reason why i refrain from such things is because for one thing, it neither of us knows much of what we are talking about, there won't be much point, plus it will bore the shit out of anyone who isn't taking part in the conversation.

Unless people actually know what they are talking about, they would sound like an ass on certain subjects, plus, there is a time and a place for such topics to be brought up, and unfortunately, some people can't sense the vibe at times.
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#15
Quote by fail


Don't get me wrong, I'm not denying the existence of pseudointellectuals. When you ask someone what a pseudointellectual is, they'll tell you it's someone who tries to appear intelligent when in reality they're about as sharp as a Jigglypuff's testicle. Here's my question though: how do you know? Why do you assume someone is unintelligent just because their topic of discussion is a bit ambitious?




When you ask someone what a pseudointellectual is, they'll tell you it's someone who tries to appear intelligent when in reality they're about as sharp as a Jigglypuff's testicle.



sharp as a Jigglypuff's testicle.


Jigglypuff's testicle.


I lol'd.
#16
Quote by entity0009
It's the people who believe they are experts in everything after skimming a wikipedia article about it.


Why assume they think of themselves this way? Can't someone speak with confidence on a subject without being blamed for thinking they're a know-it-all?

Quote by Pagan-Pie
Nietzsche is someone I'd associate with pseudo-intellectual kids who think that he's 'deep' or whatever. No offense intended if you really like Nietzsche, but a lot of hipster dicks on the internet bang on about him no end.


Mostly I just find him fascinating. But what's wrong with hipster dicks liking him too? It's as if people think that once an unpopular group of people likes something, it's been tainted. Hipsters go on about Modest Mouse and because of this, now (at least where I'm from) nobody likes them anymore, or wants to admit it. Bullshit, Modest Mouse is cool, hipsters be damned.

Even if you do sound like an ass talking about something you don't understand, you should be allowed to, because it invites opportunities to learn more about it.
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#17
A pseudo-intellectual is someone who hides their dumbass opinions behind a large vocabulary and philosopher name-dropping.
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#18
In after pseudo-intellectualism.


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#19
It's only when you talk down to other people that it becomes a problem.
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#20
I think a lot of people who use the term "pseudo-intellectual" use it incorrectly. Kind of hilariously ironic, when you think about it.

I can understand wanting to discuss things you aren't necessarily that well educated in -- it's a great way to learn about them. It just annoys me when someone engages in one such discussion but rather than openly stating, "Look, I don't know the first thing about this stuff," as I would in a discussion about politics or the economy, they take the prideful route and pretend they know what they're talking about, typically in a manner that's loud, showy, and violently argumentative.
Last edited by madbasslover at Aug 9, 2011,
#21
I've only called people that to annoy or confuse them. I like how it sounds. Soo-do.

I guess film or other types of art could be "pseudo-intellectual" if it's a pretentious, self-serving, vapid piece of shit.
Last edited by MakinLattes at Aug 9, 2011,
#22
Quote by fail
Why assume they think of themselves this way? Can't someone speak with confidence on a subject without being blamed for thinking they're a know-it-all?

No need to assume, their manner of talking to other people confirms it.

There are people who read books, articles, etc., because it genuinely interests them. Conversation with this kind of people is intellectually stimulating even if you disagree with them, because ultimately they seek knowledge as an end itself and are therefore more likely to be open to your own opinions.

Then you have people who read wikipedia, internet articles, etc., with the sole purpose of being able to argue with people and have some sort of factual basis for their arguments. Conversation with these people is a waste of time because they will just dismiss any opinion you have with some kind of snide comment.
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#23
The important thing about discussing those controversial topics is realizing that even if you are educated, you have no idea and can be completely wrong.

Empathy is knowledge in my opinion. But then again, I am an idiot and am probably wrong.
#24
Quote by fail
I got called pseudointellectual by my dad just for talking matter-of-factly about Friedrich Nietzsche.

So you made a thread about it...
Quote by Pagan-Pie
Nietzsche is someone I'd associate with pseudo-intellectual kids who think that he's 'deep' or whatever. No offense intended if you really like Nietzsche, but a lot of hipster dicks on the internet bang on about him no end.

Nietzche is deep if you've never had an independent thought before. He was relevant back in the day but now I just like reading him because his tone of voice cracks me up.

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#25
I'm so sick of pseudo intellectual SHIT
I'm so sick of pseudo intellectual SHIT
I'm tired of people talkin' 'bout
Things they don't know about
Words they don't understand
Oh yeah
#27
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So you made a thread about it...


No, that's just one in a long line of occurrences that brought me to this point
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#28
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I think intellectuals know what they're talking about. Pseudointellectuals directly copy thoughts from intellectuals. I remember way back when the Creationism thread was huge (before it was locked and we got a new one), I'd say about 90% of the evolution supporters, myself included, knew nothing about biology and were just basically copying arguments from talk origins.


Also, somewhat semi-related, but it seems like in order to win an argument in The Pit, you have to uphold left wing ideas like a massive jackass. I'm a pretty left-leaning guy, but there's no reason to be a dick and just insult the person you're arguing with just because they're more right-leaning and conservative.
#30
Alright, I have never heard of anyone being called a pseudo-intellectual anywhere other than here, and pretty much only in that other thread about it. Let people discuss what they want to, and if they don't know anything about it and want to be belligerent, then there a ****ing idiot. Not a pseudo-intellectual or some shit, there's no need to put another name on that to make your dick feel bigger, shit. Also, talking about shit you have no idea about is a good way to learn and it's ****ing fun, I don;t know why, but it really is and it;s one of my favorite things to do. But, I am and idiot, and have fun doing it.
#31
Those who are called Pseudo-intellectuals are usually done so because they are. I used to try and seem a lot smarter than I actually was. I got called that a time or two. The world hits you are some point or another.
#32
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#33
Quote by blackthought
You just don't understand him, man.

Nah, but I'd associate Marx with "pseudo-intellectualism" more than any other thinker. Simple philosophies are the easiest for youngin's to digest.


i was unaware that marx on capital was easy as shit to digest.
#34
Like has already been mentioned, I consider pseudo-intellectuals people who watch something like zeitgeist or skim through Wikipedia articles, think they now know it all, and then talk down to other people because of the bits of information they learned. And, if during an argument about the subjects they are now "experts" in they are stumped, they don't admit it. Instead they just copy and paste someone else's views on the subject.
#35
Quote by fail
Why assume they think of themselves this way? Can't someone speak with confidence on a subject without being blamed for thinking they're a know-it-all?


Mostly I just find him fascinating. But what's wrong with hipster dicks liking him too? It's as if people think that once an unpopular group of people likes something, it's been tainted. Hipsters go on about Modest Mouse and because of this, now (at least where I'm from) nobody likes them anymore, or wants to admit it. Bullshit, Modest Mouse is cool, hipsters be damned.

Even if you do sound like an ass talking about something you don't understand, you should be allowed to, because it invites opportunities to learn more about it.


this. i mean honestly, it would be like someone saying "man i really think income inequality is too great in this country." "oh man greg said the same thing." "greg said that? that guys a dick **** this theory, lets go top 1% wooooooooo."
Last edited by chud123 at Aug 9, 2011,
#36
I consider it a synonym for pretentiousness, people who are putting on a front to make them seem intellectual rather than actually being intellectual. Trying to prove themselves as intellectual.
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#37
Quote by SteveHouse
Nietzche is deep if you've never had an independent thought before. He was relevant back in the day but now I just like reading him because his tone of voice cracks me up.


I think he's deep, and I've had independent thoughts. Maybe elusive is the better word. I finished Thus Spoke Zarathustra the other day and it was like reading the Bible. By which I mean I felt like I took in some important things but my head was still full of fuck. Maybe it had something to do with--this tone--of voice!

So, am I right to gather that someday when I've learned my philosophy, Nietzsche will be childs play to me? Not gonna lie, I am disappoint. Dat moustache.
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#38
I don't know shit about philosophy or economics or anything that intellectuals (both genuine and self-proclaimed) talk about. However, I assume that anyone who is familiar with these subjects should be able to tell when someone has a genuine understanding of them, rather than merely quoting what they read on wikipedia.

The reason that "pseudo-intellectualism" has become such a common insult is not because of the subjects these people discuss, but because of their attitudes towards other people. They consider themselves intellectually superior because of their limited knowledge of a particular subject. When confronted by someone who actually knows what they're talking about, they stubbornly cling to their misinformed opinion, not because they believe in it, but because they cannot accept that they are wrong.

Whether they're talking about Nietzsche or Marx, they're still arrogant assholes.
Last edited by sashki at Aug 9, 2011,
#39
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#40
I think it has more to do with how they go about it that makes them pseudo-intellectual or not, if you are a dick about your views but don't seem to actually have a unique thought of your own then you really shouldn't be surprised if you are called a pseudo-intellectual. Now if you are engaging in conversation with a preset view, but are open to different opinions and don't just worship the ground certain figures in history are now buried under then applying that term does seem unfair. I don't think that you can call someone a pseudo-intellectual if their intent is only to learn more, instead of just wanting to appear smart.

Humility and tolerance are both values I think the pseudo-intellectuals (or those whom are branded it correctly) lack and they only seem to make up for it in volume. One of the most annoying things out there I think is the odd situation of disagreeing with someone who has more or less your views. As an atheist I actually find myself arguing with other atheists more than I do creationists now. There is something wrong when the people who don't believe in a father figure God sent to Earth via immaculate conseption to inhabid the body of a buff white man in the middle east are actually more ridiculous than the people who do.
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