Thursday, November 20, 2008
It appears to be World Philosophy Day. Who knew? I've never been able to decide whether I actually care about philosophy as it is conventionally defined. Much of it seems to consist of fantastically elaborate justifications for amazingly banal opinions. And, as the questions in the linked article demonstrate, there's also a nasty streak of futile cleverness - alarming simple folk with what are, in fact, mere games and misleading ones at that. Yet philosophy does, at its best, clarify and promote a healthy scepticism. Since it draws (or should draw) no final conclusions - a conclusion in the sense of a fact would not be philosophy but science - it makes us aware that inconclusiveness is very deeply embedded in our language and, therefore, our natures. Only people who understand this are worth knowing and so, perhaps, only philosophers are worth knowing, though such people are seldom philosophers by profession. Anyway, happy World Inconclusiveness Day. I think.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:19 pm