Saturday, March 27, 2010

philosophy pre- and post-quake

Long back in this posting trek, I quoted philosopher Philippa Foot quoting philosopher Normal Malcolm quoting his mentor Ludwig Wittgenstein on the latter’s deathbed, Ludwig saying he’d had a “good life”— not difficult when one comes from a wealthy family and has
the leisure to wander Cambridge, go away into the heights to write Philosophical Investigations, come back when he pleases.

I don’t recall that he gave a lot of attention to thematizing what a good life may be, as such—at least, he’s not known to have especially focused on that. Have it. Let others find in the record those general importances that gain one tenure.

There was a presumption for philosophy during his era—he may have initiated it—that seems to have belonged as well to philosophy in his wake—so-called Ordinary Language philosophy (my undergraduate entrance into philosophy)—that “we” intuit what a good world is; or intuit what a life going well is, such that philosophy is inquiry into the presumptions and implications of unproblematically presuming “the world as it is.” Philosophy becomes an excursion into understanding
the elusive character (or ”nature”) of an acceptable world (philosophy otherwise being a therapy of sorts—Wittgenstein’s sense of philosophy—against confusions and untenable presumptions about the world as it acceptably is).

Inasmuch as intense experience makes the world as it is fundamentally unacceptable (insert long story about radical individuation in the late ‘60s onward, relative to academia), then the sense of what philosophy is, as such, becomes part of aftershocks—which reminds me of days when a sense of “future shock” had not yet become so obvious that it no longer warranted mention.

An exponential curve, early on and close up, may look flat for a long time before a quake exposes a radical curve that had been presumed to be linear.

Remember Al Gore rising in a lift to dramatize the curve of our climatic sojourn. How many dimensions of exponentiation are we living that still seem to be ordinary lines?