Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Road to Hell
We serve ethics requirements for many majors, and what we do in those courses is NOT tell them what they ought to think about ethical issues, but introduce them to intellectual resources which, when used by people of good will, will help them to get closer to the truth concerning the hard ethical questions they will face as citizens, professionals, and in their personal lives.
Teachers of the humanities no longer know how to defend the humanities.
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"Aesthetics is for artists what ornithology is for birds." Barnett Newman
"Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds." Richard Feynman,

Not that I'm a fan of Newman...



(see here and here [update 5/2012| [PDF] p.18) but he and Feynman both have a point. And I want to say that Newman's claim is probably the stronger one. And again to philosophy and Broch
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On whether artists need aesthetics any more than scientists need philosophy. In a sense both are equally relevant or not: the primary relevance of philosophy is to understand that you have one by default. And the ability to recognize and then articulate that philosophy allows you to understand criticism of it or even to criticize yourself. And if you refuse to separate ethics and esthetics, then an understanding of your esthetic is just as important. Then the question is whether in either case an understanding of philosophy, and therefore of yourself, will make you a better practitioner or just a better person. They aren't necessarily related.

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