Iranians still study philosophy and go to lectures. I joined them to hear some philosophers lecture at the gorgeous Philosopher's Institute in downtown Tehran. On the way, my taxi driver asked me: "Are Iranian drivers good or bad?" (This is the most common question structure: Is America good or is Iran good? Do you like your father better or your mother better? Is Iranian food good or is American food good?)
"If they were good, there would not be so many accidents in Iran, would there?"
"We drive badly because of the mullahs."
"So, the mullahs are responsible for your driving?"
"Yes. Get rid of them, and we will be better drivers."
"Do you really think so?"
"Why not? We Iranians are without law. That's because of the mullahs."
Was my driver a philosopher of an idiot?
One of the philosophers speaking tried to engage the Iranians in a discussion of the ways in which Iranian philosophy could be used in the West. Unfortunately, there were too many academics in the room so instead of engaging in discussion, they spent time showing off their knowledge and making points of their own. Get a few drinks in them, though, and I bet you can have some interesting chats…