Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I (Still) am not a Philosopher

Or, perhaps, Why I Continue not to be a Philosopher.  Then again, something like Why I Most Definitely am not a Philosopher, or Why I Certainly am not a Philosopher, or Why I'm no Philosopher or Why I Cannot be a Philosopher would serve as titles, as well, to this no doubt less than interesting because highly personal post.

I posted about this in the past, you see, and that should serve as an explanation of the words "still" and "continue not to be" if nothing else.  In that post, I speculated that a lack of patience and a stubborn disposition against matters which seem to have no immediate application to "ordinary day-to-day life" might be causes of my failings (at least that's what I recall of the post; I'm not going to read it again because, of course, I lack the patience to do so).

Now, however, I think there is more involved, in addition to my impatience and what I suppose a real philosopher would refer to as my naive views regarding some basic metaphysical questions.  I simply cannot deal with the kind of concepts philosophers apparently address on a regular basis.  This has become clear to me due to my return, after an absence, to a philosophy forum I've spent a significant amount of time in, which has resulted in a renewed determination to depart from it yet again this time, I hope (and suspect others hope as well) never to return.

"Deal with" covers quite a bit of ground, in my case.  It can mean something as simple as reading, to a certain extent.  People start using words like "being" and "essence" and "the self" and "becoming" and "protention" and something inside me seems to scream "Stop!  Stop reading this!  Now!"  Such words seem to not exactly frighten me, but to revolt me.  Reading them for me is like eating something I strongly dislike and have no need to eat.  One simply stops eating in that case, if one has any sense, makes a polite excuse and departs for home or perhaps the restroom.

Expressing strong dislike simply angers those who enjoy the food or concepts in question.  It may be said that in the one case matters of taste are involved, regarding which there can be no dispute, but in the case of philosophical concepts there can be and perhaps even should be dispute aplenty.  That may be so, though I feel taste does figure in a person's like or dislike for certain philosophy and philosophers.  But if it is so, it has become clear to me that I can't usefully participate in such disputes.  Life, I have found, is far too short to subject myself to the recriminations which result, for all I know justifiably.  I may be unable to comprehend such things, though I continue to suspect that those who can could, if pressed, communicate their thoughts regarding them in language a dullard like me would be able to understand, and even to suspect that if they did so nothing very remarkable would be made apparent.   Regardless, it's not for me.

I will continue to read those philosophers I can understand, albeit dimly.  I may even discuss them and their thoughts in this blog, for my own edification if not for that of others.   But I hope to otherwise stay off the wagon, as it were.  We shall see.


  1. If you like to read some applied Epistemology, check the first chapters of ET Jaynes' "Probability Theory: The Logic of Science". The text presents you with a surprising and wonderful model of knowledge and reasoning (and you may skip the harder formulas).

    A bit like Science -- born from Natural Philosophy due to pioneers like William Gilbert and Francis Bacon and extracted from Philosophy's cradle -- Bayesian probability (with Laplace and Harold Jeffreys as two important pioneers) plucked, imho, another branch from it.

  2. I recently departed from that nice forum that I often frequented (all too often, mind you). I hope the people there have fun and was delighted with your posts, Ciceronianus. I don't think there is much I can add without making this comment sound trite (as it already is becoming). Best of luck.