Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Preserving nonidentities

After seeing Gwillen's tweet, I swung by Fleetingpages. It's located in the space where the Borders near Wholefoods was, and until the project dismantles, it's a spiffy indie bookstore. There is T'd'O there! Also: a set of really interesting books, neat customers and volunteers. and workshops/talks. We should have plenty of places set aside in our civilisation for community projects/places like Fleetingpages. I'm going to volunteer there, I think, to sip a bit more of the cup of community before I leave Pittsburgh.

I'm reminded how when volunteering in the past I've generally met really interesting people; they were not all intellectuals, but I usually liked them in other ways. Staying involved with community (but carefully so I don't blow my introvert social-fuses) is important! Anyhow, everyone, go check out FleetingPages if you're in town. I think they'll be open until the middle of June.

Moving: I should have keys to my new apartment soon. This means I can devote more attention to finding a job. I might try to spread my time more evenly between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia if I can figure out a way to still drive back and forth without renting a car for 4 days at a time. Much of the work I do I can do remotely.

Interesting philosophy idea I've been thinking about (idea is from Badiou), from a PDFbook I'm reading on my Kindle:

There are three dominant orientations of modern philosophy: hermeneutic, analytic, and postmodern.

  • Hermeneutic: Interpretive tradition, what does speech/writing mean?
  • Analytic: What rules can create consensus about meaning
  • Postmodern: Deconstruct unity of thought and reliable methods to truth
His analysis: These schools reject the idea of a single metaphysics of truth, and focus on language/perception because that is the modern notion of meaning.

Badiou claims that these trends make modern philosophy impotent to solve the chief problems of society, namely:

  1. Discontentment - the need for philosophy to change the world
  2. Logic - Power of reason to solve problems
  3. Universality - Philosophy addresses human problems and is useful to all people, because it is concerned with thought and all humans think
  4. Risk - Entering the sphere of philosophy, people are not guaranteed to tread the same ground; philosophy is divergent
I'm still thinking about these ideas; I have little to add right now, except these claims of traits and categories are not necessarily the only way to divide either the problems of philosophy or the characteristics of modern philosophy. Also, the problems of philosophy remind me a bit of the three marks of existence (Buddhism), which are (again) not the only way to approach fundamental issues of existence, but seem (at least to me) to be among the best way to do so. (as I've said before, I agree with Buddhism on many foundations/concerns, but don't agree with Buddhism on what one does to address those concerns).

Recently I've been wondering; if I were stranded on another planet with, say, 30 infants that I could raise any way I saw fit, how would I raise them? I think I could preserve a reasonable subset of the human knowledge they would get naturally, raised in a more normal community on Terra, and it would be great fun to be the parent of a new civilisation. The current question I've been asking myself for this scenario concerns religion and philosophy. Apart from my own philosophy (an atheistic constructivist empiricism with a socialist/communitarian political bent), what would I teach them about ideas that are not mine? Would I teach them about Christianity/Judaism/Islam? Probably not, although if for some reason I decided to, I probably could construct the narratives and some of the theology/traditions of one or all of them. Would I teach about other secular philosophies? Or would I just leave a giant question mark beyond the borders of my philosophy as I passed it on? Teaching only what I believe/hold/have concluded would feel wrong, I think in the way that a lot of communities maintain their philosophies by virtue of not letting people see other ways of thinking seriously until they're already adults and set into a perspective (Judaism and Islam are pretty bad about this). I think it would also feel wrong to recreate "enemy" philosophies. The tension between the desire to make room for differences of opinion and the desire to define perspectives in the absence of other influences: interesting. I suspect I'd have to look for a middle ground with which I could be minimally uncomfortable.

Tags: philosophy

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