Monday, 9 May 2011

Philosophy Conference Bingo

I’ve worked at a few philosophy conferences at my current job. I usually enjoy working at these conferences because it gives me a chance to interact and observe philosophers in one of their natural habitats (their other natural habitats being their favorite reading spots and coffee shops).

I think it is important if you are a spouse or partner of a philosopher to attend at least part of one philosophy conference with your philosopher, as it will help you understand why philosophers approach conferences with such strong emotions (horror, anticipation, fear, anxiety, excitement, hope, etc). To most non-philosophers, though, (including myself, after the excitement wears off) philosophy conferences can be amazingly boring things.

To make philosophy conferences a bit more exciting, I’ve created two games that are a combination of Where’s Waldo and bingo: one is a phrase game and one is a list of things that philosophers like to wear, carry, or display on their persons. I do not recommend yelling out “bingo!” when you cross off a row, but I do recommend treating yourself to a venti frappuccino or a glass of expensive alcohol (or two, or three, or four . . .).

The first game is called, “Philosopher Conference-Wear Bingo.” [click on the image to enlarge it]

The second game is called, “Philosopher Phrase Bingo.” [click on the image to enlarge it]

The Philosopher Conference-Wear Bingo game will be a bit easier than the Phrase Bingo game. If you do end up using these bingo games, be sure to let us know how it went and how quickly you were able to fill up your cards. I know I'll try this myself next time I attend or work at a conference.

Also, if you are still super-bored, I highly recommend going the Jesse Prinz route (click on the "Heads" link on the left sidebar).

You can follow me on twitter (@philosiologist) or friend me on facebook (Philosiologist Qed). You can also send me an email with a particular question or problem you have, or if you just want to chat about philosophers (left sidebar). 

~The Philosiologist~


  1. These are genius. But don't let your philosopher ever see them or you will end up in an endless debate about whether labels actually exist/are useful.

  2. Speaking of Jesse Prinz, if he was at the conference, you'd have a good chance of crossing off the "blue hair" bingo square, judging by his photos....

  3. These are a few of my favorite philosopher phrases. I think they might be more common among the continentals:

    "There is a way in which..."
    "Always already"

    "It is not at all clear to me that..."
    [this last one is used a lot by analytic philosophers in response to the continental ones]

  4. Anyone who follows me around at one of these will soon hear some version of "Need. Coffee. Now." And "Oh, they'll clean it up" is about the greatest combination of philosopher absentmindedness ("what? I should care about cleaning things at all?) and "this is going to be a story later" ever.

    I'm printing these out and passing them around at the next department event/conference.

  5. "One philosophers modus ponens is another philosophers modus tollens" HAHHAHAHAHA

  6. Suggestions to add to the word/phrase bingo:

    "I'm worried that ..."

    "It strikes me that ..."

    "I take it that ..."

  7. '"One philosophers modus ponens is another philosophers modus tollens" HAHHAHAHAHA'

    When I first heard a prof say that I was just blown away, thinking, whoa that's nifty, this dude's clever! It's a party trick that brings a smile to the face of naive young philosophers who have an inkling of logic.

  8. strikes me that this could be any academic conference...

  9. "I have a clarificatory question..." (meaning: I'm about to raise a devastating objection to your argument)

    "Thanks, I really enjoyed your paper..." (meaning: I'm about to raise a devastating objection to your argument)