Subject: Concreteness or Philosophy|
I am trying to decide what degree of study I should give to the often incomprehensible philosophic statements and references made by many of the obviously learned contributors throughout the On to Restoration Website (which I discovered only a few weeks ago). I have reasons for this indecisiveness: First, I have not taken one course on philosophy, and second, I do not have the powerful intellect of many of the commentators.
Third, there is a physician and best-selling author (Dr. David Burns) that practices cognitive therapy with his psychiatric patients, and he says that philosophers need to be healed. (His relevant comments are on his Website: http://www.feelinggood.com/. I cannot link to the specific discussion, and it is long. I will copy it if you want.)
Dr. Burns says that if someone asks the questions what is real(?) or is this desk real(?), these questions sound like English, but they are incomprehensible gibberish to him and, by implication, to everyone. Dr. Burns' point becomes concrete and comprehensible (for me) when he gives an example: "I can't understand any of 'and it is real.' I don't have the vaguest notion what it might mean. Is a 'real desk' different from a 'non-real desk'"?
Dr. Burns illustrates further with, "Now I can say, 'There really isn't much of anything that I don't understand.' Of course, I can also say, 'I really don't understand much of anything,' and that is even truer! I am talking, of course, about philosophical issues, and not practical issues such as how to tune an automobile engine."
Dr. Burns once majored in philosophy until his senior year in college when he read the theories in Ludwig Wittgenstein's book Philosophical Investigations. Wittgenstein was a philosopher who died around 1950. Dr. Burns thinks Wittgenstein's idea was that the great philosophic questions have no answers because the questions themselves make no sense.
Fourth, logic is heavily used on this Website, and logic might be undependable. My idea that logic is undependable is based on two reasons. One is I have heard elsewhere the idea that logic does not lead to truth but only to one kind of truth. A second reason is I heard on the Firing Line TV show many years ago about an eminent philosopher who was psychologically devastated after it took him many years and one or two volumes merely to define a single word. It does seem that for logic to be valid, one must define terms; but defining terms is an endless task.
What keeps me coming back is this is the only Website that I have found (after years of searching) that regularly and intelligently discusses whether it is logical and moral for people to protect their race, country, language, and ethnicity from mass immigration and anti-discrimination laws.
Thank you for this opportunity.
| RE: Concreteness or Philosophy|
It is possible that Dr. Burns' perspective has some clinical accuracy in his own practice. There are good reasons why Nietzsche died insane, it seems to me. On the other hand Mr. Kalb has argued (I think convincingly) that in order to counter the evils of modern liberalism an intellectual, rather than strictly populist, understanding and response is necessary. As a personal matter it of course depends on one's own interests, aptitudes, and vocation.