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Philosophy Is Good Only If You Can Laugh About It

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Posted by Aurino Souza on April 10, 2003 13:39:33 UTC

Hi Tim,

"do you really view philosophy as nonsense? or was that just a manner of speaking"

I can't say it better than Richard Feynman does:

" There's a tendency to pomposity in all this, to make it all deep and profound. My son is taking a course in philosophy, and last night we were looking at something by Spinoza--and there was the most childish reasoning! There were all these Attributes and Substances, all this meaningless chewing around, and we started to laugh. Now, how could we do that? Here's this great Dutch philosopher, and we're laughing at him. It's because there was no excuse for it! In that same period there was Newton, there was Harvey studying the circulation of the blood, there were people with methods of analysis by which progress was being made! You can take every one of Spinoza's propositions and take the contrary propositions and look at the world--and you can't tell which is right. Sure, people were awed because he had the courage to take on these great questions, but it doesn't do any good to have the courage if you can't get anywhere with the question. "

" It isn't the philosophy that gets me, it's the pomposity. If they'd just laugh at themselves! If they'd just say, "I think it's like this, but Von Leipzig thought it was like that, and he had a good shot at it too." If they'd explain that this is their best guess.... But so few of them do; instead, they seize on the possibility that there may not be any ultimate fundamental particle and say that you should stop work and ponder with great profundity. "You haven't thought deeply enough; first let me define the world for you." Well, I'm going to investigate it without defining it! "

[end quote]

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Aurino

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