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PHILOSOPHY (UN )JUSTIFIED

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 35yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
PHILOSOPHY (UN )JUSTIFIED
The key, the most inescapable, most unanswerable question of philosophy is: why philosophise? Thought thinking itself, as Hegel called it; reflexion, in the parlance of literary theory; and, as I see it, the question is prescient insofar as it touches the uttermost depths of thought. So the question is not idle. But it is, in a very real sense, meaningless. Wittgenstein said that a question is only viable if it has a viable answer, but I believe that Kant had shown this to be otherwise with his antimonies, which constitute, in transgressing the logical boundary of thought, a kind of meaningful nonsense. Without wanting to peddle the familiar Anglo-American line, it seems to me that philosophy is concerned with tidying up the imperfections of ordinary language, with unwrinkling the paper on which it is written. And the question at hand is, to use Gilbert Ryle's much-used and much-abused term, a 'category error'. It is consonant with, and very roughly equates to, the even more promiscuous question of whether there is a meaning of life. The error in both cases stems from making the invalid move from the particular to the general: assuming, in other words, that questions which are applicable for the individual are applicable for the totality, a move as understandable as it is intellectually dangerous.

I should explain. Most philosophers assume, for aesthetic reasons as much as anything else, that the universe is an ordered whole (Plotinus called it the 'one') which it is the job of philosophy to disclose. I will note in passing that there is literally no evidence for this, although it is certainly useful heuristic for some purposes. But, that being the case, it cannot be denied that the universe as it presents itself to mind is discrete. It is delivered to us in ready-made bundles. The discoveries of quantum mechanics bear out this claim, but in philosophy Zeno's paradox is particularly apposite, demonstrating, inter alia, that there is a conflict between the ordering imposed by the mind and the logic which underpins it and which intimates, though dimly and obscurely, the reality which subsists independently of its trammels. This conflict becomes eminently evident when we deal the two problems just discussed: although ultimate problems of justification inexorably pose themselves, they demand us to conceive of categories which simply do not cash out in empirical terms. In the phenomenal world, there is no totality. There is no God's eye-view. As a corollary of this, philosophers like Hegel, and even Quine, may as well be tilting at wind-mills when they stress the whole as an irreducible category: and this is because they forget, as Kant affirmed, that the world conforms to the mind and not the other way around.

Philosophy, then, deals in useless contemplation. Shout it from the rooftops: philosophy is useless! But on this account, so is life itself. Do you see what I mean? The question is meaningless. It is a question which results from a logical cross-over,
figured forth by, and fugitive to, the imbrication of meanings wrought by ostensive
definition.

I do not apologise for the diffuseness, one might say the downright chaos, of my prose. I do not condescend to regiment my thoughts into symmetrical patterns: regimenting may be appropriate for an army, and with it one may win a battle, but no army ever painted a masterpiece.

Logic treads an uphill road, but commands downhill views.

Beauty shines a light on the soul.

In the end, virtue is measured by the honesty of the lies one tells.

Concerning death, there is nothing to fear except nothingness.

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PHILOSOPHY (UN )JUSTIFIED
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