B. Phil., Cornell College.
Ph. D., Syracuse University.
Thesis: Truth Verification and the Past: An Essay in Anti-Realist Metaphysics.
Philosophers, past and present alike, have invariably been prone
to be long on promises and short on performance. Priding themselves on
their 'solutions', they are in fact
remembered and cherished for the problems which they raised. Their 'solutions',
above all, have proved to be -for us- problems. I know of scarcely one
philosopher (Socrates always excepted) who ever raised a problem as a
problem. I mean terminally as a problem, not merely by way of entry into his
theme. Thus Zeno himself never viewed his paradoxes as problems; he advanced
them only as proofs calculated to establish the impossibility or unintelligibility of
motion. There have been dogmatic and there have been skeptical, but there have
never been any problematic philosophers. More precisely, there have been no
problematic philosophers eo nomine, though in fact none has succeeded in being
anything else. They have lacked self-knowledge. They have failed to understand
the true dignity of their achievements. For the problematic character of philosophy,
certainly of all the philosophy up to the present, need not be altogether a misfortune.
It is the happy suggestion of Leo Strauss that Plato understood the eternal Ideas to
be the great range of problems that preside over man's deepest reflections and that
it is in being open to those problems, as problems, that he acquires Socratic ignorance,
which is the same as Socratic wisdom."
Philosophy of Language, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of Biology
Cooking, Popular Music, Ecology
In general, progress in philosophy is not made by having better and better
hunches about the final outcome of a philosophical enquiry, but by deeper
analysis of the arguments and counter-
arguments that bring us towards that outcome. A philosopher's opinion about how it is likely
to come out in the end is worth very little; what matters is whether he takes us nearer that
ultimate goal. As we advance, the path twists and turns; by taking a few steps along it,
one may find oneself facing in the opposite direction to where the path will eventually
terminate, so that one's guess about where it will end is worse than before those steps
taken: but the important thing was to take those steps, without which we should never get
to the end of the path.
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