Philosophy according to JoB: objectives
This is an experiment in which I claim no expertise. The previous sentence will be my only disclaimer.
The goal is to join together people to examine the justifications for a belief I have: progress is the nature of language. I hope this is not an original thought because if it would be its examination would have to rely on the unlikely coincidence that the right people would find me and join me in a sustained way despite my strenuous use of language. I further hope that people do join and, if so, that they join in the spirit of amateurism. Why the latter? Because my belief entails – or so I believe – that any true communication presupposes that amateurs, if sufficiently motivated, can contribute to it (call that “the grounding principle“).
Let me not get ahead of ourselves though: before we can get to the goal we have to cover our preliminaries. In this case, we have to establish a common context (a mental meeting place if you will) where we of course may see things differently but not because we see different things. This is the starting point as individuals can only come together after having established a common context i.e. after having formed a community. I know all this begs the initial question. That shouldn’t be an issue, I spoke of my belief as a belief and we have time to come back to whether it is justified or not (so I ask you to apply another corollary of my belief – one coined by Grice – “the principle of co-operation“).
The following three objectives are set for individuals aspiring to be part of this community:
- Accept the assumptions and goals set forth above,
- Understand the basic prior art i.e. relevant philosophy,
- Acquire the ability to integrate the prior art with the goals.
I will start with 1. and 2. as they can (and probably need to) be acquired in parallel. So let’s explore, in a very rough way I admit, what these two objectives concretely mean.
‘Accepting the assumptions and goals set forth above’ means that:
- you are interested in a potential link between progress and the nature of language,
- you have understood and can illustrate from the above my bias in this matter,
- you are willing to suspend your judgment on arguments for the time being.
‘Understand the basic prior art i.e. relevant philosophy’ means that
- you are able to pinpoint the basic claim to fame of following thinkers:
- I. Kant, H-G. Gadamer
- J. Habermas, J. Rawls
- D. Davidson, P. Grice
- H. Kyburg Jr., G. Gigerenzer
- you can understand why they are in four categories, and,
- you can inter-relate the main themes of their respective works.
I have purposely limited the number of references omitting people such as Wittgenstein, Darwin, Kripke, Quine and Mead. This mainly to make it easier for me. ‘What’s next?’, you ask; ‘Patience!’, I answer. So get to it, read them or read the mostly reliable wikipedia sources on them. There’s no such thing as getting unmediated access and making up your own mind.
The third objective only makes sense after reaching the first two. One cannot progress by jumping to the conclusion. One needs at least four different movements to climb higher and this specific one is only the first of them. If I am right then, at the end, cultural optimism is justified. Not too shabby, eh?
I would welcome any sign of life (whether ‘hit-and-shut-up’, comment or like) but will not be stopped by feeling alone as I am anyway in the company of great men. I might be stopped by being bored though.
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