Thursday, February 16, 2006

To be critical of critical thinking; or, a return to Socrates

And now for some philosophy...

Aspazia at Mad Melancholic Feminista has written a thoughtful post (cross-posted at Majikthise, a blog written by a fellow Tuftonian) expressing ambivalence towards 20th-century continental philosophy -- the phenomenological, ontological, proto-existentialist philosophy of Husserl, Heidegger, and others: "I would rather read people's stories and personal accounts than I would read Heidegger or Husserl."

And so would I. In their post-Nietzschean efforts to articulate a conception of Being that transcends history, that explains history, these postmodern philosophers neglected the real-world experiences that form the basis for philosophizing in its most comprehensive form.

So you think critically? But what kind of a human being are you? Do you truly understand the human condition? How do you seek to understand the human condition without turning to actual human experience?

As usual, such questions turn me back to Socrates, via Plato. Socrates, more than any other, understood what it means to be human. No other book has influenced me like Plato's Republic.

Be sure to check out Aspazia's post.

Bookmark and Share


  • Wow, enlightening read.

    Critical thinking is something we all want to have and yet it means little when it is mearly a means to "play the game" better, as a hollow methodology sitting on top of our preconceived notions. Without empathy it appears we really are trapped in a cave within a cave.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:42 AM  

  • Not bad. How do you separate the human from the human condition without invalidating what it is you're trying to say?

    By Blogger Bruce -- Harper Blue, at 1:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home