Saturday, 30 December 2006

Philosophical gas

We can think, perhaps, of philosophy as such as a metaphorical air: which is to say, not as the medium through which ‘concepts’ or ‘truth’ are carried, but as the possibility of concepts themselves. Schopenhauer said: “I have never professed to propound a philosophy that would leave no questions answered. In this sense philosophy is actually impossible; it would be the science of omniscience. But … there is a limit up to which reflection can penetrate, and so far illuminate the night of our existence, although the horizon always remains dark. This limit is reached by my doctrine of the will-to-live that affirms or denies itself in its own phenomenon. To want to go beyond this is, in my view, like wanting to fly beyond the atmosphere. We must stop here.’ [Schopenhauer, vol II, p.591-2]. It can be agreed that the philosopher flies on the air, and cannot fly without the air. But what if the air does not come to an end, only thins to one degree or another? Can a Philosopher fly this infinitely attenuating medium – to the moon?

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