Being a tofu-brained kinda guy myself, I may not have the advice you want, but I'll give you my 2Â¢ for you to spend as you see fit. It matters not what sort of school you're in, nor what your political affiliation is. It doesn't really matter what your teacher's philosophical bent is, either...or, perhaps more to the point, what you think it is, since I'm not at all sure you have him pegged correctly. What is at issue here, I think, is the degree to which you are "bull-headed and opinionated." At your age, it is not uncommon to hold passionately to certain beliefs. However, you are not at a level of experience where you could possibly know all the answers, nor even all the questions. Moreover, the point of being in school is to learn, which requires an open mind. In particular, a philosophy class requires that you be open to examining your entire system of beliefs and the foundation on which it's built. If your beliefs and reasoning are sound, then they will stand up to any contrary ideas you entertain in the course of study. If you defend your beliefs by refusing to seriously entertain such notions, then perhaps your confidence in your own beliefs is not as great as you suggest. I implore you to take this invaluable opportunity to test your own philosophy against the philosophies of the acknowledged heavyweights in the field. The worst that can happen is that you will learn something. Now, I'm not intimately familiar with the philosophies of Clifford and James. However, I'm going to make a wild guess that you are studying Clifford's "The Ethics of Belief" and James' "The Will to Believe." If so, then I have an inkling of why your professor is so frustrated with you. To boil Clifford's essay down to, "we should not act unless we are completely positive on the outcome," is, as you might say, "a steamin-pile." What Clifford is saying is that it is unethical to base our beliefs"”and our subsequent actions"”upon insufficient evidence. Not only does Clifford not say that our actions should hinge upon the certainty of the outcome, but what he does say is that the outcome is immaterial; the rightness or wrongness of our actions is based solely upon the proper derivation of our beliefs, no matter what happens as a result of what we do. Whether or not you agree with Clifford, the key thing here is that you have interpreted him to mean nearly the opposite of what he actually says. That is almost certainly why you are the only one in the class who thinks as you do about Clifford, not because you're a Conservative in a nest of Liberals. Likewise, to dismiss James by saying, "He sounds like all the others, you have to make decisions for yourself," would make the eyes of anyone who comprehends James roll nearly out of their sockets. For starters, James does not "sound like" Clifford: in fact, James is arguing against Clifford. He takes issue with Clifford's arguments about acceptable methods of forming beliefs, and proposes that, when intellectual methods fail us, we need to inject passion into our moral judgment (specifically in cases he would classify as "momentous options"). For another thing, neither James nor Clifford are making the point that you should, or shouldn't, make decisions for yourself. What they are debating is the best foundation upon which to form beliefs. The real argument underlying this debate is one over religious faith. Clifford is an agnostic, who implies that faith in God is not only unsound, but even unethical, because there is insufficent proof of God's existence. James is a Christian, who believes that"”just as belief in other people is critical in fostering relationships with them"”if you reach out in trust, then you can have a real relationship with the Divine. James' key argument against Clifford is, "a rule of thinking which would absolutely prevent me from acknowledging certain kinds of truth if those kinds of truth were really there would be an irrational rule." To put it another way: if a thing that cannot be proven can still be true, then believing only in what can be proven can rule out belief in the truth. (While my own way of thinking is more aligned with Clifford than James, I have to agree that James has an excellent point here.) Now, it may be that the reason you are so far from understanding the subject matter is that your professor isn't a very good teacher. However, you've strongly implied that you're the only one who doesn't "get it," so I'm thinking that's not it. Your description of the half-hour grilling session as a "dick measuring contest" that you "won" is, I suspect, more indicative of what's happening. (I also suspect your classmates would only say you "won" in the sense of proving that you were, indeed, a bigger dick.) You seem very intent on being right. The irony is, philosophy is all about determining what is right or true, and how to make the most solid and persuasive argument for your case. However, you're too busy arguing to learn how to argue better. You dismiss ideas before making the required effort to understand them. If you continue with this approach to your class, you'll never get your A, and not because you don't share the same philosophies as your teacher, but simply because you won't have come close to earning the grade. What I would recommend is that you take a deep breath, then come to grips with the real purpose of your class: studying philosophy. As Clifford would no doubt say, it doesn't matter whether you come out of that class believing that Corporate America is The Great Satan, or "the most kick-ass place in the world." What matters is how you come to believe it, and then how successfully you can argue that belief. When you can debate your professor's points with reason rather than belligerence, you'll pass the class with flying colors.