Friday, April 29, 2005

Through With Buzz


Farewell to an idea … The cancelings,
The negations are never final. The father sits
In space, wherever he sits, of bleak regard,

As one that is strong in the bushes of his eyes.
He says no to no and yes to yes. He says yes
To no; and in saying yes he says farewell.

Wallace Stevens, from “The Auroras of Autumn”
How might one say farewell to philosophy?

Kant imagined that the feverish hallucinations of metaphysics could be resolved into transparent principles of thought, and he undertook to expose the illusions of philosophy as the play of a finite set of articulable concepts. But Kant’s logic of mental activity inspired two centuries of speculation more wild than any he could have imagined.

The cancelings, the negations are never final.

There’s no way to quit philosophy from within philosophy, for it reinscribes itself endlessly.

Wallace Stevens knows this. He is no stranger to the metaphysical impulse, and he recognizes the impossibility of its desires—which include the desire that there be a way out of philosophy that philosophy recognizes.
In my room, the world is beyond my understanding;
But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.
Philosophical problems cannot be solved, only walked away from, out into a world that is the stuff of action and not the object of thought, and this walking away cannot be rendered philosophically responsible.

“The real discovery is the one that makes me capable of stopping doing philosophy when I want to.” Yes, Wittgenstein, but this is not a philosophical discovery.

“There is a danger of falling into an interminable oscillation. But we can find a way to dismount from the seesaw.” Yes, McDowell, but philosophy will not show us this way.

Anscombe writes that for Aristotle, a practical syllogism concludes not with a proposition but with an action.
Dry food suits any human
Such-and-such food is dry
I am human
This is a bit of such-and-such food
Therefore… [the agent eats the food]
We shall see whether my conclusion—to let philosophy be—will be an action or just a representation. But for now I declare Fort Kant done with philosophy.


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