I am not a philosopher. I haven’t got that kind of mind. I was repelled by Socrates sitting on the stone in the market-place in the early morning and asking questions that would have left me agape. It was a mistaken methodology of thought, and by the wrong kind of minds – bursting with logic, with mathematics, and later with objectively sensed facts and an admiration for science. This all is what amounts to Rationality. ‘Philosophy’ is synonymous with it. This kind of mind has done great things in science and its applications, but when it comes to Wisdom (which to me is a wisdom about the human mind, the human heart, and human affairs) it is the mind of the nerd. I unfortunately can’t find a better word than that. It is a mind that lacks human intelligence, lacks ‘human sensibility to human life’. (These last words I have derived pretty well from F.R. Leavis whose views on literature are far beyond me; and who wasn’t against philosophy himself but regarded it as another approach by another kind of mind.)
Wisdom for me is discovering truths by way of human sensibility to human life, understanding oneself, understanding others, and these just don’t come by way of logicking. How can logicking, maths and science add up to Wisdom!
Having a canny understanding of oneself, including what a salty old sinner one is (i.e. primarily interested in benefitting No. One) and a canny understanding of others too, is Wisdom.
Philosophers are a far more thinking type of person than I am, and I don’t think that thinking is the way to Wisdom; nor their specifically logicking kind of thinking either. Human sensibility to human life is the way to widsom. It is human intelligence.. A university campus is a very depressing place to be.
What Philosophers have always conspicuously lacked is human intelligence, otherwise known as Wisdom. They show no awareness of the darkness and depth of the human self. Their own minds are in the realm of those infuriating schoolboys, the young Sheldons, who are brilliant at mental arithmetic and at undoing puzzles made of squiggly stiff wire, and who keep asking Why.
Philosophy’ of course means ‘Love of Wisdom’. It has also been seen as the study of Humanity and of the Universe. To use such words to describe what young Sheldon is doing is idiotic. It needs to be called something that says what it actually does. Apparently it is more than just Logic.
Philosophers’ minds are similar also to those of scientists.
‘Human sensibility to human life’ is human intelligence, is rationality applied to human life. Philosophy hasn’t got it.
Philosophers also trusted the logicking they did with words to reach a higher truth than what came to them in their senses. They still do it to some extent. But, for me, words are lame things that we have inherited or created, to express what comes to us in our senses. To then make inferences from these words to give us reality, is contradictory and idiotic.
Many people come to Philosophy expecting something high and deep, from the depths of human experience and self-knowledge, something to rival and supersede Religion, but what they get is logicking! They were right in their original expectations of what Philosophy should be. (That makes me sound like someone yearning for the metaphysics of religion, but I don’t believe in that kind of thing.)
I am sorry to use the word ‘nerd’ but can’t presently find anything better for their logicking, mathematics and science, and for their lack of human sensibility. It is too disrespectful a word for a lineage of people going back to 580 BC whose thinking is of a highly rigorous standard, of impartiality in thought, of being honest with themselves in this area of mind, and of not letting anything sloppy past them. They are impartial and tolerant, and able to appreciate other world views. But, but, but…they don’t deal in Wisdom.
‘Lack of human sensibility…’ is a rather un-concrete term but the closest I have so far found for the mentality of Philosophy. I got it from the F.R. Leavis of many decades ago who had applied it to what literature had got.
Just look at what Parmenides (whom I summarize as a whole here) said, ‘Being is being and can be thought; not-being is not being and cannot be thought.’ Brilliant! Descartes (whom I summarize as a whole here) said: ‘I think, therefore I am’. Even more brilliant! He even resurrected this brilliant logic of Anselm’s: ‘We think of God as the greatest. Existence is part of being great. Therefore He exists.’ (Unbelievable!) Look also at Bertrand Russell’s wisdoms on human matters, see here. They aren’t the wisdoms of sophisticated minds. They’re idiotic.
Philosophy is dignified by an impressive vocabulary. We are brainwashed by society’s validation of Philosophy. Did Philosophy from the beginning set a way of thought for intellectuals evermore?
I haven’t gone for my understanding of Philosophy to sites by philosophers for learner-philosophers. They are lectures from inside the world-wide department of Philosophy which has been going since before 500 BC. One would need to have a mind like theirs. I have gone to sites that explain him to other kinds of mind, even ostensibly to kids or dummies.
After Wittgenstein’s own diagnosis of the mistakes with words that Philosophy had always made (my understanding of his thought as a whole is here and here), philosophy in half the Western world became a linguistic analysis. But it was still listed under Philosophy, and became even more lacking in human sensibility to human life. Just look at Quine, here, and Kripke.
If one uses rationality consisting of logic, maths and science, it can give one knowledge of things, even of heavenly bodies and the forces that move them. But this to me isn’t wisdom. The examples from human life and speech that philosophers have always come up with to illustrate their thinking, have always been banal. They lack the subtlety, complexity, concealment, falsity, deception, self-deception, irony, tragedy, comedy, that human beings are made of and get up to.
gThis has been so from the very beginning. The only example I can presently think of is this rather developed one from Bertrand Russell: ‘the barber who shaves all but only those who do not shave themselves’, (from here). This is the kind of thing from human life that Philosophers deal with!
No, here is another example of banalities of human life that occupy philosophers: They make such an important thing out of the ‘Principle of the Excluded Middle’ – Either it will snow today or it will not snow today, but not in-between. They call this one of the Three Laws of Thought. An ordinary person just accepts it as not worth talking about. What would Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope have made of it? It’s what you would expect from the logico-mathematical mind. (No, perhaps that’s not actually an example from human life or speech; it’s an example from Logic. I hope to find better examples of philosophers’ simple-mindedness about life later.)
Philosophy should simply be regarded as having always been a hobby-horse of logicking for people of that cast of mind. This issue for me goes beyond the humanities vs sciences debate of the late 19th century. The logicking of Philosophy is very difficult, like science is; but neither of them is wisdom.