Non-philosophers sometimes assume that because their philosopher is a complex person, that all of their tastes and desires must be complex. This is false. Philosophers do have some complexities in taste, but there are several, very simple things that make philosophers happy. If you are in a relationship with a philosopher, you may discover that they really appreciate these simple pleasures. Here are some of them that I’ve discovered:
1. A reading chair and a work space.
Philosophers do not need huge rooms or fancy furniture, all they need is a comfy place to read (preferably with a table for caffeinated beverages/alcohol and a bookshelf close by) and a sufficient place to do work. When my philosopher and I got our first place, we spent lots of time looking for just the right desk and reading chair. Because of the time we took to find the right furniture, my philosopher is perfectly content and happy to work at home.
2. Invest in a nice coffee maker.
Philosophers generally do not like bad coffee. Encourage them to do some research (philosophers are very good at researching things) to find just the kind of coffee maker they want, then purchase it. Simple, right?
3. Be prepared to invest in “good” coffee.
Once your philosopher gets a nice coffee maker, it would be a sin to make poor quality coffee in this coffee maker. Your philosopher will want to start purchasing good coffee (example: we buy a fair-trade, organic, locally roasted coffee). If your philosopher does not like coffee, perhaps they like tea or alcohol. Invest in quality beverages.
4. Surprise your philosopher by asking them about their research.
Philosophers love talking about their research. It helps if you try to learn a bit about philosophy on your own first, but once you know a little bit, you may even discover that your philosopher’s research subject is rather interesting. I recommend asking them a question like this, “I would love to know more about your research. Are there any parts of it that I might find interesting?” This will make your philosopher very happy (unless they are of the impatient, “Don’t bother me while I work” type). See my post on How to Get Your Philosopher Talking Without Much Effort.
5. Surprise your philosopher with food.
Philosophers are often too distracted to remember to eat food, let alone good food. If your philosopher is a graduate student, she/he will already be a scrounger (one who scrounges for free food), due to the nature of their poverty. Surprise your philosopher with baked goods, dinners out, and favorite snacks.
This is it, really. Some philosophers might like particular gifts or might like to take short road trips, but most philosophers I know also like a few simple things.
Any other simple pleasures I've missed? [Note: Keep it clean, please! Some of your children read this blog :-)]
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