The Gray Lady Does the Gay Science

Well, not specifically the Nietzsche book, but philosophy in general. And no, it doesn’t really have anything to do with GLBT anything, person who clicked over from Twitter or Facebook thinking that was what I was writing about. Gotcha!

To be more specific, the Times just started a series of blog posts about philosophy from various academic philosophers. Brian Leiter, who I suppose you could call academic philosophy’s foremost new media ambassador, is unimpressed.

Now I can’t comment on his allegations of hackery against Simon Critchley, writer of the series’ first entry, but I can say that the entry didn’t do a whole lot for me, and did not, I think, come close to adequately explaining what philosophy is. Will Durant has a far more succint definition on the first page of his excellent history, The Story of Philosophy:

[...] philosophy will again be understood as the synthetic interpretation of all experience rather than the analytic description of the mode and process of experience itself. Analysis belongs to science, and gives us knowledge; philosophy must provide a synthesis for wisdom.

All of that being said, I’ve got high hopes for the series. I’ve argued again and again that philosophy is a fundamental human endeavor; everyone does it, and the more they understand what it is they’re doing, the better. Kudos to the Times for even attempting to spread some understanding.

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One Response

  1. Re: Sara Palin
    I didn’t know how to write you on Salon.

    Your article was at least different although I thought it quite silly. For one thing Obama is such a weak and ineffective leader that I think anyone could beat him who the Republicans run with the possible exception of Romney who is too liberal and sadly too Mormon.

    Contrary to your implications Palin was a very centrist governor who would be the darling of the media if she’d had an abortion or two and a D after her name. Having said that I will readily admit that Salon is about the most honest of the liberal publications, as it seems to actually have convictions although most seem absurd to me.

    Palin is a highly charismatic politician and she is not extreme in the slightest. She is very mid range for Republicans. I doubt if she will run this time but I suspect she will eventually become president.

    I would like to ask you a question. If Palin is such a zero dingbat moron, why doe your ilk write savage article after article after article about her?

    By the way, I am not some Christian Evangel (which she isn’t either actually) but I am urban, Jewish, and graduate of the University of Chicago. I just happen to know who our friends and enemies are and have the good fortune to be economically literate.

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