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What the hell is wrong with philosophers?

Prior to his roundly discredited and immediately rejected 'Meditations', DesCartes might have passed through history without harming the generalised western intellect. Somehow, despite being thoroughly dismissed even in his own time, this specific work of his has attained some sort of immortality in the so-called collective unconscious of westerners everywhere (though presumably mostly in the west, of course).

For Platocrates, knowledge was true belief. Aristotle, I believe, added that it required justification, as well. From this point on, the traditional view of knowledge stood for nearly two-thousand years without much trouble. And then DesCartes somehow managed to get people to implicitly tack on unsightly certainty as necessary to the beast. Knowledge, in italics and perhaps always with a capital 'K', needs must be certain, whereas there may be some sense in which lower-case, not-italicized knowledge does not--but we desire Knowledge, surely! Ultimate, unmitigated true facts are all that matter epistemically, nevermind the way we live our lives or the vast amount of epistemic work done without such a ridiculous and self-defeating tack-on.

"Self defeating?" you ask. Certainly, I reply.

For just how certain is the requirement of certainty? What proof does it hold which is denied lesser, and only so-called knowledge? If it is motivated (perhaps by skeptical worries most would not countenance in regular acts) but unproved and even maybe, somehow, possibly mistaken, then it fails to meet its own requirements, and thus defeats itself without ever getting us anything further than its supposed first step of "Cogito ergo sum."

How wonderous and desirable a way of knowing is this, brothers and sisters? Why would any one of us hold out on it, I wonder?

Fah. I am sickened by the adherence of even many philosophers to this four-hundred year old nonsense. It shouldn't even be taught in 100 level philosophy classes. It's already got a perilous hold on most people before they enter such a course; why should any seek to reinforce the grasp of such tenuous thought without first offering some strong and implicit defense or recourse?

What the hell is wrong with philosophers?


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Pointless Ruminations on the Absurd

The world around us is in no way required to conform to our expectations, beliefs, or desires. Rather, it is all but guaranteed to disappoint us, at least once or twice a lifetime. The loftier (or more deeply felt) our ideals, the more this may be true.

When we accept this incongruity and are keenly aware of it, but cannot change our thinking, absurdity steps in. The world no longer quite makes sense. It is untethered from rational or moral concerns, adrift in a bizarre joke told by no one.
Desire for normative order is often irrational and misplaced. Placing ethical constraints on amoral matters makes no sense. Yet these appear (sometimes, seemingly) inescapable conclusions. Hence the sensation of absurdity.

We can apply these incongruous demands to anything and anyone. But this is not a universal philosophy. It is a philosophy of the self, a diagnosis.

Well now.

I think I'm going to try to revive my online writing habits, outside of Facebook.

And what have I been thinking or feeling in the interim, across the last couple years or so? Well, I'm glad you asked.

In part, this.