Philosophy needs a new definition

Philosophy redefined

Philosophy — not the bland academic sort, but the lasting, transformative variety that we come across in Lao Tzu, Pythagoras, Plato, Saint Augustine, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Spinoza, Marx, Nietzsche, Gandhi, Simone Weil — doesn’t come in a pure state.

SOURCE: The Los Angeles Review of Books


In much of contemporary philosophy, there is at work a strong purist assumption: the notion that philosophy is reducible to a purely logical exercise, conducted strictly by the rules of rational argumentation and debate: whatever is not translatable into argument is irrelevant. But philosophy has never only been about rational argumentation. It would be the saddest thing if it were, and it would not have lasted that long. What makes philosophy such an endurable affair is that it engages not only our cognition, but also our imagination, emotions, artistic sensibility, religious impulses — in short, our being complicated, messy, impure creatures. That’s why philosophy — not the bland academic sort, but the lasting, transformative variety that we come across in Lao Tzu, Pythagoras, Plato, Saint Augustine, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Spinoza, Marx, Nietzsche, Gandhi, Simone Weil — doesn’t come in a pure state. It always gets mixed with myth, poetry, drama, mysticism, scientific thinking, political militancy, or social activism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Just a test to ensure that a person is using this form *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Thinking | Teaching | Talking © 2017 Frontier Theme
SUBSCRIBE