Sunday, July 03, 2011

"Philosophy is predicated on a dogma. The dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. That dogma I shall argue, is ill founded. One effect of abandoning it is, as we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between philosophy and other forms of description and imaginative literature. Another effect is a shift toward pragmatism."
The above is Quine, rewritten.

Experience is constitutive of consciousness. Well... Duh.
That's why a republic is defined as representative government and not the government of experts.

Academic philosophers, if they're concerned about the under-representation of women and minorities, prefer to be concerned as a matter of fairness, when they should be concerned as a matter of substance. Democracy isn't better because it's fair, it's better because more than any other form of government it's founded on the prerogatives of curiosity and free enquiry.

Fairness is a gift from the powerful (see Derrick Bell's dissent in Brown v. Board of Education).

Curiosity is to see not the other in yourself but to see yourself as other.

All literature deals in perspectives. Philosophy is a branch of literature, and one of the humanities, not one of the sciences. Philosophy as science is theology. Storytelling as storytelling is democratic.

"Society is always changing and representational systems ossify into formal systems that outlast their role as representation. Forms are still used even as they become brittle."

People always remain loyal to the forms of discourse that they know, or the social world they're a part of. Philosophers are becoming amateur psychologists while calling what they do a branch of philosophy.

Philosophy as an independent subject is dying, but not fast enough.
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8/04. One more and out.
This discussion is concerned with finding a way to preserve philosophy as a model of objective processes and objective knowledge, combined with the anxious desire that all people -or subgroups by any definition- have the capacity to access these "truths". If that capacity is equally distributed then all that's needed is a concern for "fairness". The concern is that if that capacity is not equally distributed then the model of liberalism and equality as you define it is founded on a falsehood. But the discussion is centered on philosophy not mathematics so what capacities are we talking about?

Most of what I read on this page -not just this post- argues though a mixture of language cribbed from the sciences and terms of abstract theology; that combination is the language of pre-humanist scholasticism.

The more scientific practice undermines claims for an objective knowledge of, or through, sense, the more desperate philosophers and theologians become to preserve their place in the imagined hierarchy. The Bible, must stand above secular literature; Plato must stand above Homer, and Kant above Proust. There must be a great truth of experience accessible to all. So every time science gives us more evidence of multiplicity you struggle to fit it into your model of unity.

In fact the proportion of biology to culture is secondary. The central fact is multiplicity, and the question is how we come to terms with that. Science tells us that we are creatures first of sense and as such are storytellers. You are storytellers from on high and the most important thing to you, though you struggle to deny it, is your imaginary altitude.

"Fairness" is a gift from above; curiosity needs to be multiform, and from below. Your politics are the politics of liberal superiority and condescension.

Hegel was not "right" and Jane Austen was not "wrong". Continental philosophers, to their credit, see themselves at least in part as literary critics. In the interest of your own self-preservation you're returning us to the moral universe of the 14th Century.

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