Friday, June 06, 2008
The Failure(s) of Philosophy
Philosophy has never provided answers to anything.
The conjectures have always been convoluted, obscurant, and even senseless.
For instance, a Professor (D. Moore) at Indiana-Purdue University (IPFW) in Fort Wayne, Indiana had a lecture recently wherein he provided the usual canard that Plato was a realist and Leibniz was an idealist.
The actuality is that Plato was an idealist, as is obvious from his writings, and Leibniz was a realist, as accounts of his life and studies show.
But philosophy instructors and advocates always turn reality on its head.
Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God – that than which nothing is greater – convolutes the simple question “Is there a God?”
Hume and all other philosophers have beat the dead horse of God’s existence, with no denouement.
From the beginning of philosophical thought – Thales, Anaximander, et al. – the ruminations pertaining to the meaning of life have made the examination complex and confusing.
In an effort to appear wise and/or erudite, philosophers encrusted their arguments with questions that perplex but do not answer anything – have not answered anything.
Three thousand years of philosophical queries have produced not one iota of information or thought that has been helpful or beneficial to mankind.
Theologians, such as Aquinas or, more recently, Barth, haven’t helped either, and both (among others) were brilliant.
Philosophical conundrums posed by Aristotle, Boethius, Descartes, Vico, Nietzsche, and everyone else, have fallen flat when it comes to human destiny.
The Existentialists – Heidegger, Sartre, Jaspers, et al. -- recognize(d) the silliness of the philosophical pursuit but actively engaged in it themselves.
The great literary master, Herman Melville, provided an entertaining look at the nature of God (Moby Dick), good and evil (Billy Budd, Foretopman), and the existential dilemma (Bartleby the Scrivener) that settles (arguably) most of the philosophical questions posited before and after him.
Melville provided, in three works, the whole of philosophical questioning, and offered answers, of a kind, to all of it.
Socrates’ maxim – Know thyself – is pithy and not recondite but it tells us nothing.
Descartes’ offer – I think therefore I am – is also a concise statement of reality but it takes us nowhere.
More recently Gramsci tried to flesh out Marxist thought, but that time has passed.
The meaning of mankind’s purpose is still up for grabs.
Politicians can’t help. Theologians are up against a denial of God’s existence, in light of the absolute absence of God in the lives of humankind.
And philosophers are as defunct as the Roc, which makes us wonder why anyone would take up that educational mantle.
Philosophy is an arcane methodology, no better than alchemy, and more confusing actually.
So, please, let us move on to things more intellectually productive…whatever that might be.