Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Philosophical Scratch-Pad (bis)

Continuing our wildly successful “Scratch-Pad” feature,  we now inaugurate an on-deck circle for stray philosophy-related quotations,  pursuant to their eventual incorporation into the appropriate Host Post.

[Cf.  Causality]

In The Decline of the West [Der Untergang des Abendlandes]Spengler had argued that the idea of destiny was the answer to the narrow and lifeless theory of causality  used by historians, and that ‘the destiny-logic of the world-becoming’ was to be preferred to ‘the causal logic of notion and law’.
-- Gordon Craig, Germany 1866-1945 (1978), p. 492

That is mistily/mystically worded;  to decipher, consider the metaphor of embryonic development  (largely pre-programmed -- ‘destined’) versus the vicissitudes of post-uterine life.  -- That observation is not necessarily to defend Oswald Spengler’s dark doctrine -- indeed, my initial purpose in quoting it  was mere mockery -- but simply to render it parsable to the contemporary mind.
And yet and yet -- as we watch history  before our wincing eyes unfolding, in all its irrationality, its mad rush to doom, we must wonder:  mayhap he was right.

[Cf. What is Truth?]

The objection is not only false, but very much the reverse of the facts.
-- G.K. Chesterton, All Things Considered (1908)

(This is more than wordplay -- it is the difference between contradictory and contrary.  Something can fail to be strictly true, based on a triviality.  Chesterton is here after bigger game.)

The intellectual structure of micro-economic theory  is very similar to that of theories controlling the behavior of perfect gases in physics.
-- David Berlinski, The Deniable Darwin (2009), p. 129

(This is probably hogwash;  but still, it’ll wash your hog bright ‘n’ shiny.)

Egyptian engineers  working under the pharaohs  knew that the angles of a triangle  sum to more or less one hundred and eighty degrees.  The number appears as a free parameter in their theories, something given by experience and experiment.  The Greeks, on the other hand, could prove what the Egyptians could only calculate.
-- David Berlinski, The Deniable Darwin (2009), p. 268

No comments:

Post a Comment