Saturday, September 18, 2004


A strong implication of my post needs elucidating and brought out into the open. I wrote:

“Philosophers indeed people would have to be to be able to understand the drawbacks of their habitualised worldviews, for what is it to try to think and talk of relativism and it’s implied nihilism in these ways and to not thereby be attempting philosophy?”

The reason for this post is to explain this section somewhat more clearly. Before I begin I feel that I need to admit an error in the above, since only specific forms and uses of relativism imply or lead to nihilism (and we are dealing mainly with those that do). The implication that I need to elucidate is the idea that philosophical questions and propositions, where important, require philosophical investigation. And indeed the question is not one of whether all philosophical topics are important to people – indeed I might say that this is the case, but it is an unnecessary argument which can be accepted or discarded without affecting the above statement (and to avoid confusion, saying that ‘no philosophical problems are important’ is not the same as saying that ‘it is not the case that all philosophical problems are important’, the latter of which is the subject here).

So I must make a case for this. An argument I am inclined to make is that it is true by definition that ‘philosophical’ propositions are governed by ‘philosophical’ explanations, much as fixing problems with one’s ‘plumbing’ would require the knowledge and skills of ‘plumbing’, and ‘mathematical’ equations are resolved through a ‘mathematical’ analysis. That we use the word ‘philosophical’ to attach to a problem or proposition means that the said problem or proposition is put into a ‘philosophy’ box. This is a linguistic tautology, I believe, and as long as ‘philosophical’ is said to apply (and of course where it does and doesn’t there should be reasons) to something, ‘philosophical’ investigation is appropriate (where that something requires it).

The question of whether ‘philosophical’ problems such as ones of meaning and value mentioned in my earlier post (i.e. relativism and nihilism, which underlie apathy) actually require the appropriate ‘philosophical’ investigation hangs on the extent of their problematic nature. Since they are very problematic - some say, the disease of our times – they do require appropriate philosophical investigation.

I continued:

“But philosophy, as it stands, is neither recognised nor sought as the legitimate investigation into these things.”

Which obviously must change. In writing this post I feel that I can add to my earlier statements 1) and 2), by saying that in statement 1), the subject matter of the reasoning when dealing with “those who can be reasoned with” is the legitimacy of philosophical investigation; and that the words in statement 2) of “new social discourses” now can explicitly be expressed as including this same goal.


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