Sunday, August 27, 2006

How to write philosophy

(...in lieu of actually writing philosophy, which is what I'm supposed to be doing...)

From the preface to Wittgenstein's Philosophical Remarks:
I would like to say 'This book is written to the glory of God', but nowadays that would be chicanery, that is, it would not be rightly understood. It means the book is written in good will, and in so far as it is not so written, but out of vanity, etc., the author would wish to see it condemned. He cannot free it of those impurities further than he himself is free of them.
And two quotes from Kant (via Hannah Arendt's Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy):
I would find myself more useless than the common laborer if I did not believe that what I am doing can give worth to all others in establishing the rights of mankind.
And most horrifyingly:
Every philosophical work must be susceptible of popularization; if not, it probably conceals nonsense beneath a fog of seeming sophistication.
Some nice standards to live up to, but, come on, that last one is just unfair, and also a bit ironic, coming from Kant.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Does Paris Hilton have to be able to understand it for it to be "popularized"? Or could just any person of average literacy and the ability to grasp basic concepts about life and the universe make it so?
you know..
without being hot..
in the universe..

Toby said...

Kant probably had the literate, generally educated public in mind.

And don't be so mean to Paris Hilton. She's got a lot of good ideas.

s said...

If you defend Paris Hilton, you can't be all bad! I'm not so familiar with the works of Paris Hilton, but the common laborer sure produces more than I do.