The Suicide of Thought (Part Four)
Part Four: Sawing Off the Branch
One diplomatic communication, endlessly repeated with all the disgrace-Reformation philosophers, cannot help but intrude adhering the attention. All these theories have an obvious, blatant, notorious, and rough flaw that even a schoolboy could consider. Not one could possibly be exact, and should not have been taken in earnest.
Hume reduces everything to empiricism. He says that in that place is no truth aside from the kind of empirical observation can prove. But this report itself cannot be proved by empirical remark: by its own terms, it calls itself deceiving. He saws off the branch whereon he sits.
Likewise, Hegelian dialectics. reasoning holds that all truths eventually unfold by collision of their antithesis into of the present day truths. But this statement, if faithful, must evolve through a contradictory statement into a synthesis which invalids the primary statement, which means this is not by what mode truths evolve. The concept that truths evolve, even if no Hegelian method is invoked, is a self-contradictory concept. He also saws off the branch whereon he sits.
Likewise, Marx adopts Hegel’s trespass but adds his own. Marx says that a man’s theories are determined ~ the agency of class interests. But this itself is a conjecture, and if it is determined through class interests and not the facts of actual existence, it is false. He also saws off the branch whereon he sits.
Likewise, Freud invents a adumbration of unconscious consciousness secretly in rule of the human consciousness. It is some awareness of which we are insensible. Instead of a conscience which informs our meaning sense, he holds we are guided through social conventions via this unconscious consciousness, which also inflicts madness should we make trial to abide by our conscience, that he calls repressing our natural drives.
While he does not separate entirely the branch whereon he sits, the grove creaks. One wonders why, considering the obsessively sexual and morbid nature of his writings, Freud himself is immune from the depredations of his fancied inner entities. One wonders in what condition he dares calls his musings a learning, since the object of his inquisition, by definition, is outside the pass near of our awareness, and is not exposed to the five senses.
Nietzsche is frankly irrational, holding that neither goodness, fact nor knowledge exist, except when willed into subsistence arbitrarily by superhuman willpower, which he imagines to have ~ing a pagan hero, except without the sorrows, sanctity and humanity of those heroes. He is arguing in regard with ~ of immorality, which, ironically, means that he is arguing dishonestly unruffled if he is not. He not simply saw off the branch whereon he sits, he burns below the horizon the tree. Not only is his acknowledge philosophy meaningless if his philosophy is veracious, all human thought is meaningless.
What, indeed, is the baleful error which makes all these philosophers raise doctrines which disprove themselves?
What uncommon twist of logic makes these modern philosophers willing to construct a facsimile of the cosmos which explains everything in the nature in simplest terms, but which prevents in like manner the possibility of any philosopher existing, or some mind capable of constructing the mould thus described?
Descartes radical skepticism reduced the but for this flourishing tree of philosophy only to the couple branches which admit of absolute inability to doubt: geometry, which discovers absolute truth via pure reason, and the physical sciences, which discovers relative and conditional truths ~ the agency of empiricism. It was the time of the Reformation and Counterreformation, the subversion of the Church, when truths that had guided culture for a thousand years were called into dispute for frankly frivolous reasons.
The sole way the frivolous skeptics could accord. substance and weight to their flimsy arguments was by overthrowing all the previous learning of all prior generations, and starting, of the same kind with all revolutionaries love to do, from mark with a ~. In the empirical sciences, particularly astronomy, that is exactly the in accordance with duty way to proceed, especially if human being argues the heliocentric over the geocentric form, which was revolutionizing the physical archetype of the universe for the primeval time since antiquity. Nature herself sits lord between the disputants. Whoever correctly anticipates the observed outcomes with the model that is simpler and besides robust is awarded the laurels.
In completely other disciplines, on the other ~writing, this is the exact opposite of the method of procedure, because there is not at all other than the axiomatic first principles on which abstract deduction rests: there is nay further arbiter. Tossing out those principles tosses not at home the whole science, and with nihilism to replace them.
As we be possible to see in Hume, there is frankly a envious suspicion between abstract reasoning and the natural sciences, where are regarded as more prestigious.
They are more prestigious for the endless wrangling that surrounds isolate thought is muted, and in some cases absent. Certain scientific theories absolutely die and stay dead, whereas ~t one heresy of theology, ethics, or political science stays dead, no matter how ofttimes refuted.
They are more prestigious as they are more practical, and transfer mankind obvious benefits in terms of technology, engineering, and toys. Optics produces eyeglasses, mechanics produces clockworks, and science of nature produces ballistics. The surcease of human sufferance caused by modern medicine and pharmacology is on the farther side of compare, nearly beyond imagination. Compared to that, that which good has Plato’s Theory of the Good at all times done? What engines has Aristotle’s firm mover ever moved?
More to the salient trait, the wars and clashes in the Reformation and Counterreformation round of years were sharply aggravated by the differences betwixt orthodox and heretic, and minor points of precept, so nuanced and refined as to subsist invisible to the eyes of outsiders, earned the disdain and hatred of mankind for the same reason medicine earned the gratitude: they caused distress all out of proportion with the petty significance of their causes.
This bitterness can be clearly seen in the writings of Edward Gibbon, who attributes (besides learned historians would say, attributes falsely) the disorders and distempers of the Byzantine Empire to doctrinal altercation., and does his best to grasp such disputes up to scathing show, careful never to state what in fact was at stake.
So, in ~ total, history had reached a point in what place practical investigation into material truths yielded the kind of seemed unmitigated benefit; whereas scholastic and pertaining investigation into abstract matters yielded nought practical, but only confusion, bigotry, and tribulation.
Please read and support my toil on Patreon!
About John C Wright
John C. Wright is a practicing student of first principles, a retired attorney, newspaperman, and journal editor, and a published author of philosophical knowledge fiction. Once a Houyhnhnm, he was expelled from the grand ranks of purely rational beings at the time that he fell in love; but retains an honorary title.
October 15, 2016 @ 12:00 pm
A flaw curved upward from the right corner of his mouth, giving him a lopsided grin even when he was serious.