Philosophy according to JoB: objective 2
I left it here at stating the first two objectives with the second one 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.
Assuming you have completed the first bullet, I owe you some explanation on the last two bullets. Here goes: According to my idiosyncratic views and taxonomies each duo is a representative (non-exhaustive) sample of different sub-fields in philosophy. We have basic continental philosophy (say metaphysics), political philosophy (neo-Kantian as – in fact – all of my quotees), analytical philosophy (or philosophy of language if you will) and finally we have philosophy of probability (or philosophy of induction and/or science).
The order of the categories is not haphazard. It is not only, roughly, chronological but it also is according to the accepted progression of human insight from general, over political to linguistic and scientific. It is top-to-bottom and in some way it has to be so for one has to first understand the basic concepts before one can make sense of more specialist topics (and although Gigerenzer may be more ‘available’ to the layman for sure a study of the topic of probability requires settling at least provisionally a number of conceptual and terminological questions of a so called ‘higher order’). I hope the reader is seeing the connections (and in fact objective 3 will a.o. be about demonstrating these connections are in fact seen).
So much for the second bullet above, let’s proceed to the third.
Whilst to really grasp the totality of the pyramid it is important to be above it and look from the top down, the reality is a pyramid is built from the ground up. Remember the ‘grounding principle’ of the original post, one of many assumptions I am making in all this is that to understand how the pyramid is built one has to look bottom-up starting with actual human inference and working yourself up to an integrated view of human political action based on human communication which cannot but lead to the conclusion of progress based on critical human thinking.
To advance to the end in a couple of brief sentences: based on the chronology of philosophical discovery we are tempted and trained to see there is an ideal truth from which the actual ‘right’ action can be deduced. The reason why we fail at the deduction is because our humanity is fallible with respect to this ideal view and governed by induction, uncertainty and lack of knowledge. This leads to a pessimistic outlook on life and language because, even if we discover some stuff, we are doomed (by original sin or something corresponding to it) to falling back to a ‘natural’ state of beastliness whenever there is a lack of pressure from the elites to ‘keep us honest’.
My outlook in this is the reverse. The reason why we discover things philosophical (and deductive) is because we’re good at induction and working from uncertainty and lack of knowledge. By being good at this we discover the simple deductive truths first and on that basis – by continuous critical thinking, communication and linguistic improvement – can discover from the top down more complex fundamental truths on e.g. probability. This is a basically optimistic outlook which has it that, because of the way that we are, we cannot but discover more fundamental truths; said discovery being never-ending and therefore never complete but being robust in the sense that it does not allow regress in knowledge (insofar as we find a timely way to avoid physically annihilating the carriers of knowledge – because knowledge is like music and we are the air in which the music moves).
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