One of my favorite memories from High School, is having been elected (during my senior year) Chief Counter-Argumentation in Science by my classmates in philosophy class, for my ability to go after our teacher on anything scientific or technological, which was in fact very pleasant (on both sides), despite the sounding of it.
Unfortunately, I have had, years later, a rather bad contact with the philosophers, or wanabe of, that I met because... they sounded stupid (and maybe they actually were...). I plead guilty of having dismissed the field and its practitioners during (cocktail) parties like you state a stereotype (for instance about a given ethnic group); which to my defence, is particularly easy to do when you are member of such an elitist field as pure mathematics.
Today's entry, a link to a two years old todo list item which just bubbled up in activity stream, First let shoot the Philosophers by The Epicurean Dealmaker,
is my attempt to ask for forgiveness...
Extract: This is a key point to understand: philosophy, as a discipline, does not provide answers. Notwithstanding the inference a naive reader might draw from Mr. Jones' discussion of physicians and detectives, there is no body of widely accepted answers to commonly encountered questions like reason for belief or standard of proof, such as might be found in a natural science, for example. Instead, almost every subsector of philosophy known is riven by multiple competing critiques, opinions, and worldviews, each carefully and exhaustively argued, which even professional philosophers cannot—and do not wish to—reconcile. Philosophy provides questions, plus the tools with which to try and answer them and persuade others to your point of view. As such, it can be rightly said that the proper effect of philosophy is to make people exquisitely alert to their assumptions, sensitive to the rigor of their analyses, and—truth be told—permanently uncomfortable about the validity of their conclusions. If anyone should realize that, an epistemologist should. If Professor Jones does not, perhaps he doesn't deserve to teach philosophy.
(...) the enlightened Athenian democrats of 399 BC sentenced their own leading philosopher, Socrates, to death for "corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of 'not believing in the gods of the state.'" Power has never enjoyed having truth spoken to it, much less the truth which calls its very existence and justification into question. True philosophy concedes the privilege of being right to no-one and nothing. It is the ancient enemy of authority of all kinds.