Professor tells student "Australia isn't a country" and gives her a failing grade



I had a similar poblem with a high school art teacher and “subdermal”.


Was it an art project? Or a written paper for the art class?


IIRC, it was in the “thinking about concepts for art” diary that we were supposed to write throughout the semester.


That makes much less sense then the case that @scottchilcote noted. A journal that you’re keeping for a class for inspiration for work doesn’t need explication the way a jargony term uses in a essay for english class might. Sounds like she just felt like she needed to grade you on something and didn’t know what else to do.


You make a reasonable point, Mindysan33. I did attempt to discuss it with her, and she was adamant that she had never seen that word before. One of the things that I needed to learn in college was to frame communication for the intended audience, and this was a memorable lesson towards that objective.


the eye sees what you did there


the wheelie bin races can’t hurt!



A little philosophical advice to this professor with a PhD in Philosophy: Ya can’t win 'em all.

  1. The continent of Australia is only part of the country of Australia. There are 8,223 other islands (including the island state of Tasmania) as well as the big one.

  2. Always a laugh when Americans refer to any tutor or teaching assistant in anything from an Ivy League university to a bum-crack community college or institute of hamburgerology as a ‘professor’. Elsewhere the title is reserved for the head of a university department with the highest qualification in their discipline and an extensive list of publications.


Oh, I know this one! It’s a city, because it has a cathedral!


Splitters! Serves them right.


Not anymore.

In total there are 14 English and Welsh cities that have never had Anglican cathedrals within their borders – Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Nottingham, Plymouth, Preston, Salford, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, and Wolverhampton.

Basically in the UK, a city is a city because the Queen says it is a city.


The only places I know of (there then being a philosophy prof.) are places that have a degree as a hiring bar, but don’t specify which one. For a while Google only hired people with a degree, but it didn’t need to be CS, or even engineering. So in theory you could have had a decade or more industry experience, and great references, and been successful at a similar level in a peer company, but not get hired with no degree. If you had all those things, and an utterly unrelated to your work (i.e. philosophy) degree, then you could be hired. Google in specific has dropped that requirement (so suffice industry experience, and doing well at the interview questions, and maybe references, and such are sufficient, no degree required). I was told Microsoft had the same policy by a hiring manager, but was baffled because one of my friends who works there has no degree (I didn’t pursue it because I didn’t want to work for them).

Other then a position teaching philosophy I don’t know of any place where a degree in philosophy is even as good as some other degree, let alone better then it…

(but if someone out there knows, I’ll be thrilled to find out!)


I’m not convinced the original error is all that bad. We all have a few false “facts” rattling around in our head, either because we misheard them, or were told something that was wrong by someone we trusted (at least for that subject), or even because something was once true that no longer is. Oh, and also general confusion. Sometimes we are just inaccurately recalling things.

It is possible the prof. had once heard no continent was also a country, and didn’t apply too much critical thinking to it. Or he had heard it along with the exception (or exceptions), and forgot them.

The real problem is doubling down on the error. The appalling part is even after receiving the correction in a hard to refute form and pretending to accept it, they still insisted the student was wrong.

“Hey a prof. can be wrong!” is an important lesson to learn, but it shouldn’t need to be learned at that level of difficulty! (although navigating a bureaucracy is another good thing to learn how to do…but again, this doesn’t seem to be the best way to do it!)


Thanks for that! I knew it was true in just the way that you say, but considering this was part of a word game it was kind of annoying. Purtatoe. I like that one.


It sure is, when local news (county? state?) is as prominent if not more so than national news and international news is scarce. (And when the number of USAnians with a passport is as low as it is - an indirect but significant indicator, too, I suspect.). Let’s not have to dig out the links to all the stories about USAnians pinning the tail on the donkey’s nose when asked to identify various countries on global maps.


Então, Australia is a kind of Schrödinger’s territory. It is in a state of quantum superposition, so It could be a country or a continent. It depends on the observer to decide the fate of this Land. In this totally hypotetical case, a professor who can give you a good grade, If he is in a good mood.


That also makes firing them a lot easier, as we see here.