|Source: Sun-Sentinel, January 16 2005
By John Kropf
It's been widely reported that scripted television is back in the ascendant, with the failure of all the reality TV shows introduced last fall. Worried about exhausting the reality TV concept, television producers have turned to the philosophy departments of major universities for help. Philosophers have assured them that there is no end to reality alternatives -- not just in life, but on TV as well. Certainly there is no shortage of theories about the nature or, indeed, existence of reality.
Deep thinkers around the country are ready to entertain with a full stock of metaphysical soap operas, existential comedies and Marxist game shows.
Since nothing attracts viewers like raising doubts about their empirical worldview, networks have embraced a development slate with the slogan, "I watch, therefore I am." Here are some of the projects awaiting a green light.
Deconstructionist Reunion: Sparks fly as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida must room together in a fully postmodern house and end up denying each other's reality, but still make catty comments about each other's appearance of reality.
Fallacy Factor: A logical positivist must lie on a bed of untamed metaphysical dilemmas for an unknowable length of time. Will he risk it all for this week's jackpot: empirical knowledge?
Queer Eye for the Utilitarian Guy: The boys make over out-of-date utilitarian John Stuart Mill with the help of a little black beret and give him an existential style all his own.
The Pedagogue: Aristotle uses his new teleological management techniques at Trump's Atlantic City Casino only to be fired by The Donald for stealing the idea from an earlier pedagogue, Plato.
TSI: Theoretical Subjective Investigation: After a series of disappearing metaphysical theories, Bertram Russell goes undercover only to find himself on the trail of his own student, a young Ludwig Wittgenstein.
This Old Marxist: Bob reworks the Hegelian foundation and updates the dialectical materialism of an authentic 1960s Berkeley Marxist.
Existential Celebrity Poker Challenge: In a high stakes game of Texas Hold 'Em, tune in to see if Camus can bluff Soren Kierkegaard with a bet of eternal nothingness and whether Jean-Paul Sartre folds pondering the absurdity of his inside straight.
Semantiques Road Show: This week host Noam Chomsky troops to the Continent, where he appraises an authentic Stoic and a collection of Cartesian Dualists.
Cooking with Kant: Guest chef Immanuel Kant spices up his classic recipes, cooking a delicious synthesis of rationalism, categorical imperatives and cayenne pepper.
Descartes Chopper: Paul Sr. is seriously alienated when it turns out Rene Descartes has installed his new bike with a deductive manifold instead of an inductive one.
Desperate Logicians: Things get hot and heavy when logicians swap sentential logic for predicate logic. You won't want to miss the steamy results of this syllogism.
Weltanschauung SmackDown!: Reigning champion Friedrich Nietzsche defends his title against spirited challenger St. Augustine. Find out if the German's killer "God-is-dead" move can make the holier-than-thou A-man regret his Confessions.
John Kropf is a writer who lives outside Washington, D.C.