Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies by Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Thursday, November 22, 2018

"Beyond Good and Evil", chapter 1

Chapter 1 is a rant about what philosophers get wrong.  I don't have a lot of time, but he seems to make 2 big points, plus an ancillary one relevant to a hobby of mine:
1) Philosophers and scientists haven't really come to terms with the fact that humans and their brains are material things, operating by the rules of the material universe, and aren't really separate from the universe. So where do thoughts and sensations come from?  How do we separate our thoughts and sensations from the outside world?  How can we honestly consider thoughts as something of conscious volition?

2) A philosophy is what the philosopher wants it to be.  He might portray it as the inexorable consequence of some defensible assumptions, but those assumptions were chosen to give a particular conclusion.  If he didn't like the conclusion he would modify his assumptions.  Honestly, this sounds particularly post-modern.  "All ideas just reinforce your preferences in service to the power structure, man!"

3) He thinks the similarities between German, Greek, and Indian philosophies arise from grammatical similarities of Indo-European languages, and ventures that speakers of Uralic languages would philosophize differently.  That is an extreme version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.  Very extreme.  Since linguistics is a minor hobby of mine (I have a dictionary of Indo-European root words) I am amused by this hypothesis.

1 comment:

Philip Ebersole said...

My knowledge of linguistics is somewhere between virtually nil and literally nil. What is so amusing about the idea that the structure of thought reflects the structure of language?