Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rubio wrong about welders and philosophers?

Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio made a stir with his debate-night claim that welders make more than philosophers.

A number of sources (Forbes and VOX, for example) have weighed in against Rubio on that claim.

PolitiFact joined the chorus with a fact check calling Rubio's claim "False":
Neither salary nor labor statistics back up Rubio’s claim. Statistically, philosophy majors make more money than welders -- with much more room to significantly increase pay throughout their careers.
We found Rubio's claim interesting from a fact-checking perspective before seeing PolitiFact's version of the story. We wondered if anyone who has a degree in philosophy counts as a philosopher. After all, a person could have a degree in philosophy yet work as a welder. Is that person a philosopher or a welder? The same goes for philosophy professors. Are philosophy professors paid for philosophizing or teaching?

We found a post at the conservative blog Power Line that expressed the argument nicely:
Polifact’s analysis is flawed. One doesn’t become a philosopher by majoring philosophy. John and I both so majored and we don’t claim ever to have been philosophers.

We became lawyers. Our pay reflected what lawyers, not what philosophers, make.
How would PolitiFact have evaluated the issue if Rubio's statement had come from a Democrat, we wonder?

2 comments:

  1. If what Rubio meant was that we should be training more welders than philosophers (certainly what I interpreted) because they "make more money" then the rating makes sense.

    If Rubio meant that we should have less people actually being professional philosophers - literally walking around in public spaces talking and arguing - than welders, then the rating is misleading.
    That said, if they failed to factor in all the trained, certified welders that went on to become lawyers etc - they may well be off.

    I suppose a bigger question is why an politician would want to say that our country needs fewer people who can think critically and logically, and more people who are skilled at joining metal.

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    1. "Unknown" (Ari Asulin?) wrote:

      **I suppose a bigger question is why an politician would want to say that our country needs fewer people who can think critically and logically, and more people who are skilled at joining metal.**

      Maybe PolitiFact used your latter reasoning (unstated) to justify going with the interpretation less favorable to Rubio?

      But the real question is whether a person able to think critically and logically is "a philosopher." Do you think so? Seriously?

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