Tuesday, May 26, 2009

[philosophy] otherwise known as sophistry


Cicero, in De Divinatione, wrote:

There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.

Cruel but true. The essential problem of philosophy is:

1 That it seeks to explain that which is already explained; 2 It ignores the real causes of what is happening and why it is happening.

Sonus has written a series of articles [see my sidebar] which clearly explain what has happened to our society this time round. I could add to that my series of articles on the Morgans. There are quite a few writers who have pointed to what Hegel said in Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: Introduction, 1830:

What experience and history teach is this – that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

… and which Marx added to in Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852:

Hegel says somewhere that all great events and personalities reappear in one fashion or another. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Morse said to Lewis, in Death of the Self, 1992:

When will you recognize the undertone, Lewis?

Philosophy, particularly in the form of logical positivism [a misnomer if ever there was one], refuses to recognize the undertone, the recurrent truth, even when it bites it on the bum; truth is not pure enough, not sophisticated enough, not intellectual enough, not fashionable enough, it doesn’t create the ‘oh wow’ factor; it is earthy and low-class, it is for the down and outs, it is weakness to recognize truth for what it is.

Man must philosophize because in his view of the world, given truths must never be given, on the grounds that they have been given. The baby is given a rattle but throws it away because it was given it. He wants to find it for himself and falls out of the cot doing so.

Worse than this, truth must not be recognized because it stems from multiple disciplines which recognize both the complexity of life’s manifestations and the need to contain one’s base instincts in order to remain human, the basis for a social contract personally internalized rather than imposed from without; it includes not only philosophy but elements of the metaphysical, the sociological and the historical. Philosophy detests the impurity of those disciplines.

Philosophy has three main justifications for feeling guilt:

1 It has historically supported the risibly called ‘rationalist’ or satanic side in the real, eternal war between good and evil, shown clearly in the Sonus articles, the presence, in other words of a sentient and malevolent force against the best interests of Man;

2 It has been deeply cynical in doing this; it is mischievous;

3 It follows shoddy logic, based on false opening premises.

Take Voltaire, in Épitres, 1769, who said:

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Therefore he concedes, at a minimum, the possibility that He does exist. And Voltaire, deep inside, does know He exists, when he answers the priest who asks him to renounce the devil, 1778:

This is no time for making new enemies.

Philosophy is oft-times disingenuous and craftily ignores its own illogical use of its own logical syllogism by taking a false premise, i.e. that G-d does not exist and then immediately asks, ‘Well what is truth then, if G-d does not exist?’ without ever having established the first premise.

This is logic?

Coleridge, hardly a philosopher of note, wrote in Aids to Reflection, 1825:

He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth …

… thereby rendering his whole argument false before he even makes it, by means of simply beginning with an unestablished premise.

Even Lord T, no lover of Christianity or the principle of the existence of God, wrote in Is There a God, 2009:

I look at things logically and scientifically.

Oh what assumptions there are in that statement, m’lord. ☺ Yet he is forced to conclude:

They may even be right. I just don’t know.

Precisely.

The problem is not the existence of God but the anti-intellectualism of the idea, the lack of style in it, hence the attraction of Voltaire and others to the opposite idea. Dostoevsky touched on this in The Brothers Karamazov, 1880:

It’s not God I don’t accept, Alyosha, only I must respectfully return Him the ticket.

I argued in the articles on Christianity [accessible in my sidebar] that it is not a question of proof. It is a question of the ‘underlying tone’, the weight of where the evidence tends, a point also made by Agatha Christie.

Philosophy detests blacks and whites; they are gauche, not vibrant, not questioning, not subversive enough. Philosophy prefers grey on grey. As Hegel wrote, in Philosophy of Right, 1821:

When philosophy paints its grey on grey, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy’s grey on grey, it cannot be rejuvenated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.

From his own pen came the true disingenuousness of philosophy – the desire to obfuscate on the grounds of it being a jolly intellectual exercise and then to set it in concrete as a ‘truth’ but in so doing, causing immense damage in a world which confers on the ‘scientific’ and ‘logical’ the status of the new gods of society, when they are, in reality, nothing of the sort.

Wittgenstein wrote, in Philosophische Untersuchungen, 1953:

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language … [and] … what is your aim in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.

… and then philosophy goes and does the diametric opposite of what it claims. It obfuscates when there is no need to obfuscate, except over a pipe and fine wine in a smoke-filled room with convivial company and an open fire.

Philosophy lends itself to sophistry.

Philosophy can’t bear the idea of there being two eternal verities, good and evil, each having its sentient focal point, as demonstrated over and over and over in history [see Hegel and Marx above] for if it once admits those, then all it’s Sunday afternoon society discussions become meaningless, except in the context of niceties surrounding the general truth.

Take Nietzsche’s ridiculous:

Morality is the herd instinct in the individual.

… in Die Froehliche Wissenschaft, 1882.

No, morality is the feeling embedded within the self, which defines the soul and is inscribed in scripture, which in turn is only reportage of the ground rules which would ensure an orderly society [defined here as meaning the collection of individuals and families within a certain geographical area, in the context of their relationships with one another and their interdependence], should they be followed.

Unfortunately, the illogicality of the assumption that such a good plan would be voluntarily followed by sufficient sections of society [realpolitik] is partly what the Dostoevsky comment above touches on. And yet the test of the existence of G-d has always been laid down, for example, in John 3:16:

First believe and then the proof will be given.

Philosophy tries to say:

Give us cast iron proof first, then we’ll believe.

And in their smug inertia, each of them sits on some tiny throne and superstition holders are expected to come and lay down proofs at their feet when they themselves feel no onus to provide proofs of their own. They simply assert, noises in hollow tin cans.

Cast iron proof is not belief; it is acceptance of a given truth. Belief, on the other hand, demands the active participation of the believer and is therefore a useful tool for the betterment of the self, just as exercise and good diet are also efficacious in promoting good health.

It’s a good exercise to believe at least six impossible things before breakfast each day.

Philosophers detest ‘belief’ as a philosophical criterion, hence the vehemence with which they try to tear down ‘superstition’. Just how ‘belief’ becomes ‘superstition’ in their minds is not adequately explained.

It is assumed.

And philosophy attempts to call itself rational! Voltaire wrote, in Dictionnaire philosophique, 1764:

Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

Neat, easily remembered and based on outrageously false premises, the Goebbels principle.

There is the aim of philosophy in one – to ignore truth as evidenced in the history which societies themselves repeatedly ignore and instead to posit the diametric opposite as a new ‘truth’, resting on the reputation of the philosopher for authenticity and ignoring the sheer weight of other philosophers throughout the millennia who ‘recognized the underlying tone’ and wrote just as learned works on the matter.

The unestablished assumption is that the Christian message is a superstition. Yet it is one which has brought hope to millions, particularly those down and out. And what has Voltaire’s, Hegel’s, Nietzsche’s and Marx’s philosophy brought?

The extinguishing of the flames?

No, it has given weight to the crazed dreams of Adolph Hitler, Marx and their ilk who, in turn, were equally funded and abetted by the power of darkness in Europe and America [anyone dispute where the cash came from?], recognized by so very many researchers and visible, in part, in the Finance.

Churchill commented, in 1920, on one aspect of this:

"From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, to those of Trotsky, Bela Kun, Rosa Luxembourg, and Emma Goldman, this world wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.

It played a definitely recognizable role in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the nineteenth century, and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads, and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire."

This is but one example of the true crime of philosophy, throughout history, its political use against the common man, always acting as the running dog of oppression instead of nobly lifting Man above his station and freeing him from his chains.

In times of real trouble for citizens, does anyone recall Nietzschean soup kitchens or Hegelian help centres? On the other hand, does anyone recall the Salvation Army wherever and whenever there was a crisis brought on by Them?

And do Christians need to pay London Transport to daub signs on the sides of their buses proclaiming, ‘There is a G-d?’

The philosophers call it ‘humanism’ when it is anti-humanism, enlightenment when it is the sure road to darkness and rationalism when it is illogical irrationalism.

Why is it the sure road to darkness? Here’s why:

What experience and history teach is this – that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it. [Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: Introduction, 1830]

There’s a good reason. Because there’ve always been forces preventing the learning of those lessons. It’s been in their interests for the lessons not to have been learnt. It’s been necessary for the advancement of their jaundiced concept of ‘progress’.

I’ll always remember the Thunderdragon’s statement that ‘we’ve moved on from that now’. Y-e-e-es. A bit like Molière’s Le Médecin malgré lui, 1667:

Géronte: It seems to me you are locating them wrongly: the heart is on the left and the liver is on the right.

Sganarelle: Yes, in the old days, that was so but we have changed all that.

Was it mere coincidence that The British Empire was forged when bound by one belief system – G-d, Queen and Country, Rule Britannia? And what is it now, in the days when to utter the word G-d is anathema? As Margaret Drabble wrote, in A Natural Curiosity, 1989:

England’s not a bad country; it’s just a mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired, clapped-out, post-imperial, post-industrial slag-heap, covered in polystyrene hamburger cartons.

[I didn’t say it – she did.]

Was it mere coincidence that America, which so fervently used to believe in itself, in the American dream, the constitution and the flag, before it was sold down the drain by the CFR financiers and the Obamaclintonsocialists, when it was bound by a calvinistic work ethic and a common belief system, went on to become the supernation of the world?

Was this mere coincidence?

Now it has lost that, with the godless, humanistic socialists driving the wedge into American society – observe the result, people.

Observe what 12 years of ‘rationalism’ has done in Britain. Try to set up a business in this country and see how far the taxation lets you get.

When will people learn the lessons of history?

8 comments:

Deogolwulf said...

Interesting, but I think you are to some extent confusing the whole of philosophy with a prevalent attitude of modern thought: positivism. Certainly, that attitude stretches back further than Comte -- who named it -- through Hume and back to the early moderns at least. But it does not constitute the whole of philosophy, historically or presently. You seem, however, to share in that attitude's distrust of abstract philosophical thought. That is not to say that I do not sympathise with your broader point that abstract philosophical thought can leave us in a frightful mess if it becomes detached from the reality of life and from the natural ends and needs of rational-sentient beings, yet imposes itself thereon.

James Higham said...

You're right that I'm referring to logical positivism and its effect in Germany but that was because these sorts of philosophers were the ones we'd been discussing in previous posts.

I did say to my friend that I wasn't including Rousseau, Mill et al but didn't make it clear in the post.

god-free morals said...

The point I would have liked to have made has already been made by Deogolwulf and made better than I could manage. I'd just like to echo what he said, although I would replace 'to some extent' with 'completely'.

Richard Rorty characterises 20th century philosophy as a distinction between those that 'edify' and those that 'systematise'. Your argument seems to be mostly with the second group.

Sonus said...

I'll claim relevance of this comment since you mentioned my articles in your opening words.

Cutting edge Science is absolutely looking in the wrong places, and will find confusing answers.

The correct answers are being ignored because they are so apparent, and because highly qualified scientists, (cough!) are required to create complexities in order to obtain funding.

It's a crazy world, and the bigger fools pull the levers.

Time for common sense. Time to find the library!

Wolfie said...

I think it was a mistake to apply pure philosophy, in any form in the political sphere. Politics was once recognised as an earthy, visceral and empirical pursuit of compromise and fudge. Every time I see a manifesto with lofty ideals I shudder at the prospect of the cold hand of totalitarianism.

James Higham said...

Chris - most edifying. Can't be disproved though, can it?

Sonus - yes, the correct answers are being ignored because they are so apparent.

Wolfie - agreed.

Cassandra said...

Higham, you inattentive lager lout! Have you never read my stuff? My world is falling apart! Everything I have entrusted to Blogger over the last couple of years, I did in vain. Let me try to sum it up as concise as I can.
This goes to a far lesser extent to the mainstream Enlightenment, but specifically the thinkers of the Radical Enlightenment (primarily Deists like Spinosa and his followers), set themselves up in opposition to Church rule and revealed religion with the use of logic, I.e. philosophy. Philosophy thus became the alternative to Christianity and its main enemy.
Fast forward to Immanuel Kant, a Lutheran Pietist masquerading is a scientist and a man of reason, who made it his life's work to destroy philosophy from within. He called his new, enhanced logic “Pure Reason” (a form of early New Speak, meaning exactly the opposite). His perverted notion of reason is killing us to this day! Every nasty piece of so-called relativistic, speculative philosophy coming out of Linguistic Analysis departments and so on, is based on Kant's notion that man is incapable of knowing anything: because man processes knowledge through cognition he can only see reality through his own very limited prism. The next step in subjectivism was set by Kant's follower Hegel, teaching that “reality conforms to thought”.
What stands out in you post is that every thinker you mention is not just post-Kant, but is also a follower of some of other Kantian school. The link to Socialism and Communism runs through Hegel and Marx, that of Nazism through Hegel and Nietzsche. The connection with today's Postmodernism (encompassing every school of anti-human nihilism in fashion today, on the Left as well as on the far Right) is linked to Kant through the aforementioned and primarily ex Nazi Heidegger.
By the way, philosophy is emphatically not synonymous to sophistry. The Greek sophists were Pragmatists (moral relativists) who held that they were right because, well ... they said so. Funny enough today's Pragmatists say the same thing - hence we are all told to: shut up!
I'm doing a major series right now, of which you already read part I. Part II (on Positivism) will be posted this weekend.
Cheerio!

James Higham said...

Higham, you inattentive lager lout!

I'm cut to the quick, Cassandra - I'm a member of CAMRA and only drink Real Ale!

Have you never read my stuff? My world is falling apart! Everything I have entrusted to Blogger over the last couple of years, I did in vain.

You know I read all your 'stuff' religiously.

Other points

Spinoza went about it the wrong way. It's not about logic in the end, even though there is logic in the way it panned out.

Kant - He called his new, enhanced logic “Pure Reason” (a form of early New Speak, meaning exactly the opposite). His perverted notion of reason is killing us to this day!

Agreed - the man was well named.

What stands out in you post is that every thinker you mention is not just post-Kant, but is also a follower of some of other Kantian school.

I've already admitted this and the purpose of the post was to jolt people out of the notion that because a philosopher said it, it must be right. This is very much the case within universities.

philosophy is emphatically not synonymous to sophistry.

This is going over old ground - the provocative title was to spur people to think.

I'm doing a major series right now, of which you already read part I. Part II (on Positivism) will be posted this weekend.

Looking forward to it.

In conclusion, the point still stands about the positivists and I notice that with god-free-morals and in your opening barb, both resorted to ad hominem instead of addressing what was said.

Fortunately, Cassandra, you redeemed yourself further down.