Excerpts from an email forwarded from a philosopher of my acquaintance:
Hello, I hope you are doing well! I am a casting producer for ABC Television’s hit reality show, Wife Swap. I am currently trying to cast families that promote philosophy as a discipline for a special episode of our show and thought perhaps you might know some scholars that would be interested in such an opportunity. An ideal family would have 2 parents that are both philosophers and children that also believe in the discipline.
Requirements: Each family must consist of two parents (you don’t have to be married) and must have at least one child between the ages of 7 and 17 living at home full time … This is a very unique experience that can be life changing for everyone. In addition, each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives a $20,000 honorarium for their time. Anyone who refers a family that appears on our program receives $1000 as a ‘thank you” from us. Please feel free to forward this email on to anyone that you feel might be interested.
In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the moms switch place to experience how another family lives. Half of the week, Mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. Then she introduces a “rule change” where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It’s a positive experience for people to not only learn but teach about other families and other ways of life.
Wife Swap airs on Disney owned ABC television on Fridays at 8 pm- the family hour! There is another show that copies ours. We focus on having fun, learning and teaching. They focus on conflict. I just want to make sure our show doesn’t get confused with theirs! I appreciate you taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, please email me at the address below. Thank you for your time!
If Freddie Ayer were still with us he’d probably be up for taking the show at its word. But failing this, I want to know what sort of occupation they have in mind for the other half of the swap. Do they think of philosophy as being about, say, atheism, and want some fundamentalists in the mix? Maybe not for 8pm family hour on ABC. Alternatively, is it supposed to be airy-fairy life of the mind vs huntin’ shootin’ fishin’? Logic-choppers vs Used Car Salesmen? I honestly have no idea.
An tempting alternative (though clearly one with no viable TV market at all) is to recruit families comprised of different sorts of philosophers. If they got a Wittgensteinian there could be endless arguments about the rule change and its relationship to the family’s way of life. Philosophical Metaphysics vs Barnes & Noble Metaphysics might be good, though would probably turn violent. Modal Realists vs Phenomenologists. (“I thought you said all the beer was in the effing fridge.”) Rawlsians vs Libertarians. John Emerson goes to live with John Hawthorne. That sort of thing.