The philosophy of the snob

Is there a philosophy of stupidness?

Is it just how it is tonally phrased?

2 Answers 2


Stupidity is genuinely an interesting philosophical problem; for instance Deleuze asks in Difference and Repetition, quite seriously: “how is it that stupidity (and not simple error) is possible?” That is to say it points to a problem for the characterization of learning and classification of knowledges — even if the terminology seems somehow ‘objectionable’, stupidity as a phenomenon of pure thought has a reasonable amount of philosophy scope (such that Avital Ronell could write an entire book on it..) The phenomenon of elitism and ‘snobbery’ is maybe more narrow and less related to the central concerns of philosophy, perhaps to its detriment in some ways; but note there are politico-philosophical critics of elitism in the name of equality of ideas; and overall of philosophy’s elitism and insular character etc; Laruelle would be one of these ‘global critics’ of philosophy tout court and its ambivalent posture with respect to victims of its own ideological and ‘sociotheoretical’ force.

  • That's an interesting reply, thanks. Quite why you seem to suggest that snobbery is elitism is peculiar. Probably just rudeness rather than anything
    – user63630
    Nov 30, 2022 at 12:29

Snobbery is more of a pedagogical problem in philosophy, one that can get glossed as 'inauthenticity' in undergraduate teaching. It's definitely not the same as elitism, and elitists certainly aren't snobbish in the sense of merely wanting to be seen as experts

A person who wishes to be seen as a member of the upper classes and who looks down on those perceived to have inferior or unrefined tastes

It is

"aping one's betters"

  • 1
    This is a good distinction — I may have the lexical fields conflated a bit (maybe a cultural point — in North America it seems like most of the resentment about snobbery is directed at perceived elites and so on)
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Nov 30, 2022 at 18:18

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