A Filofacts on … Philosophers

 

Thanks to (the Rev.) Giles Fraser, Guardian 19.8.13, for his contribution to an upcoming Filofacts which will sum up as All You Need To Know About The Great Philosophers In  A Couple Of Paragraphs Each …

WITTGENSTEIN

“Thinking is about language and language is a rule-following practice. And rule-following is a necessarily public business. As Wittgenstein concludes: ‘It is not possible to obey a rule privately: otherwise thinking one was obeying a rule would be the same thing as obeying it.’ In other words, thinking is a social activity. This does not mean that that there is no such thing as private thought. Rather, it means that in terms of what constitutes thinking, the public realm has a basic sort of philosophical priority over the private and inner. We comes before I. The most important thing is what you do not who you are ‘inside’. Wittgenstein urged a great many of his students to give up philosophy and go do something useful. At best, the job of philosophy was nothing more than clearing up intellectual muddles – to ‘show the fly the way out of the fly bottle’ as Wittgenstein famously put it – but it doesn’t change the world in any substantial way. Moreover, there is no need first to develop a coherent philosophy of something in order to go on and do it.

“I realised that I didn’t need to solve all my intellectual worries about Christianity before I acted on a growing sense of calling. It remains a profoundly liberating idea: my faith is not premised upon the sure foundation of coherent philosophical position. I remain happy with a lot of loose ends and ‘I don’t knows’ – which is why those people who play philosophical games of ‘I gotcha’ with regards to faith are puzzled that, armed with convincing arguments to the contrary, they still don’t necessarily change people’s minds.”

Sounds good to me but there is a lot of better-informed comment at http://tinyurl.com/lv2wmsx /

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