PHILOSOPHY USES THE WRONG METHODS FOR ‘WISDOM’
Wisdom is about human life which philosophers are simple-minded about. They lack sensibility to human life, here.
They have always lacked that special intelligence and capacity for understanding that human beings have been blessed with Philosophers either lack it or leave it disregarded and fallow.
The birth of philosophy was in some ways a regression from the wisdom already present in the culture of ancient Greece with its myths and with its tragic sense of life, and has been so ever since relative to the current culture.
Perhaps I am exaggerating or wrong altogether about the culture of Ancient Greece having a ‘tragic sense of life’; but it seems to me that working out logically that ‘tree’ and ‘dog’ exist in heaven (Plato) or whether one oneself actually exists (Descartes) is a regression. A child wouldn’t make these mistakes, unless he were a precocious philosopher. Think too of the whole debate on whether Mind isn’t just Matter! – What little that is human goes on in the Minds of such philosophers? What kind of inner life of the mind have they got?
To repeat myself in slightly different words, and to repeat what may appear in earlier posts, here and here: Philosophers unscramble the wisdoms we already have, such as that we exist and that there is a world out there that we appreciate with our senses, and start again from the bottom, going back to a beginning that we never previously had even as infants. They start all over again from the bottom with the tool of logicking with words.
The wisdoms that were already developed and implicit in our lives and language are wiped away in this going back to logicking from the beginning as if one had learnt nothing. Philosophers wipe away what we already know, and go downwards and backwards to do logicking upwards and upwards on what has already been logicked. An intelligent, reasonable, rational stopping before that point is required. They are misled by the logic of words into a maze of abstractions winding upwards into nonsense, the very opposite of rationality.
Logic is mandatory in our everyday use of words so that we make sense. But it isn’t otherwise separately a source of Wisdom. Philosophers chase the sequential logicking of words, to lead them further up, up, up, into abstractions, far away from what the senses and immediate mental connections give, to the point of absurdity. It is a mistaken cast of mind. The wisdoms that were already developed and implicit in our lives and language are wiped away in this going back to logicking from the beginning as if one had learnt nothing.
What they call rationality is a putting aside of the human intelligence already present in our words, and ending up with something silly.
Besides, Wisdom for me consists of something else entirely than can be got by logicking. It consists of learning the truth about the ways of Man, his darkness, depth and deceptivity. It is learning the truth about what we get up to, how we justify it to ourselves and deceive ourselves, and how the rest of humanity does so too. This includes not only Man as individual, but Man moving ponderously as nations, for which other standards of judgment are needed.
How on earth can one get wisdom about oneself and other people and humanity through logicking, mathematicking, and scientificking? It has been a stupidity for 2500 years; it is amazing that no-one has objected. (I’m not sure without looking it up again, whether Erasmus did to some extent). How can people with minds similar to those of scientists give us Wisdom on human life? It is absurd, a gigantic Category Mistake. -What I mean by this big philosophical term is the application of mental methods appropriate to one field to others where they aren’t.
Logic, mathematics and science have been the extent to which the minds of philosophers work. They take these as comprising Reason, which leads them to a facile understanding of the life of the human self, and then to using it as a basis for step-by-step logicking into ‘abstractions’ which impress people as Wisdom on human life.
That certain something of human intelligence that philosophers lack hasn’t even got a name and is considered to fall outside Reason and Rationality. In an earlier post mentioned above, I use the term ‘Sensibility to the irreducible concreteness of human life’. Their minds don’t encompass it. No-one’s mind can encompass everything; but for my taste, their form of Wisdom makes them the arch-nerds of Western Civilization.
Philosophers are like those infuriating schoolboys who are good at undoing little bits of wire from each other, and at verbal and mathematical puzzles.
To me, what philosophers display is a mechanical kind of intelligence. No wonder it is said that artificial intelligence will one day emulate it. Philosophers’ postulating and logicking isn’t the way to understand oneself, or others, or humanity, or any form of life high enough to have a self. Yet, in Western Civilization, it is regarded as Highest Thought.
Understanding Adam and Eve, including oneself, is what I call Wisdom, not Newton working out that a ball keeps rolling for ever unless there is something to stop it, or that the sun goes round the earth, or that sugar causes tooth decay, very beneficial as these have been materially. Alright, these examples are from science which brought philosophy to fruition, but they still aren’t wisdom. They are technically useful, many of them saving us from suffering. One can know them, and still be a pedestrian fellow in life and in words, in feeling and in understanding.
Adam and Eve have subtle ways, subtle motives, subtle past histories of influences upon them, not apparent even to themselves, and knowing them takes other than logicking, mathematicking and scientificking. Even the ways of honest people aren’t understood by way of logic, mathematics and scientific method. Although they are called Reason or Rationality as if they are the highest form of thinking, they are simply inappropriate to understanding the life of humans, or to any form of life high enough to have a self such as my scraggy old dog.
Philosophy should simply be regarded as a hobby-horse of logicking for people of that cast of mind. This issue for me goes beyond the humanities vs sciences debate of the late 19th century. The logicking of Philosophy is very difficult, like science is; but one shouldn’t be misled.
I haven’t brought my exasperation with Philosophy to brevity, to precision, or to philosophical standards, because it is not yet completely clear in my own mind. I use rhetorical flourishes in places instead. Also, readers may notice that my references are not usually to respectable philosophy sites. I find that the latter, in which philosophy professors talk intra-philosophically to philosophy students, and pack their articles with ‘insider’ terms, to be very much the problem that needs to be unravelled. People can’t understand what philosophers are saying partly because they have a vocabulary all their own, so people accept that this is Philosophy and not just a precocious schoolboyishness. I would need to have the same frame of mind to be able to endure it. They speak from within the department of philosophy, an ever-growing skyscraper of thought that’s been going for two and a a half millenia, and is global and highly validated.
Even the simplest sites, rated as for kids or dummies, try to tell one how things really are, tell one what philosophers are saying really amounts to.
Also, some of my references may have been to sites that no longer exist because I read them some time ago.