The price of freedomof individualityis attention to politics, careful planning, careful organization; philosophy is no more a barrier against political disaster than it is against plague.
Constantine declared his own will equivalent to a canon of the Church. According to Justinian, the Roman people had formally transferred to the emperors the entire plenitude of its authority, and, therefore, the emperors pleasure, expressed by edict or by letter, had force of law. Even in the fervent age of its conversion the empire employed its refined civilization, the accumulated wisdom of ancient sages, the reasonableness and subtlety of Roman law, and the entire inheritance of the Jewish, the pagan, and the Christian world, to make the Church serve as a gilded crutch of absolutism. Neither an enlightened philosophy, nor all the political wisdom of Rome, nor even the faith and virtue of the Christians availed against the incorrigible tradition of antiquity. Something was wanted, beyond all the gifts of reflection and experience a faculty of self government and self control, developed like its language in the fibre of a nation, and growing with its growth. This vital element, which many centuries of warfare, of anarchy, of oppression, had extinguished in the countries that were still draped in the pomp of ancient civilization, was deposited on the soil of Christendom by the fertilising stream of migration that overthrew the empire of the West.
I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.
Of these two literatures, as of the intellect of Europe in general, the main effort, for now many years, has been a critical effort; the endeavour, in all branches of knowledge theology, philosophy, history, art, science to see the object as in itself it really is.
Like Nietzsche, he rails at romanticism, but it is evident that what they both mean by the word is the clichs of second-hand romance. Historic romanticism is in fact the ground-work of their philosophy.
Generalities would have been soon forgotten. But the story that had its roots in everyday human existence and need, lives and will live forever. It condensed the philosophy of Christianity into half a dozen unforgettable paragraphs. The parable of the Good Samaritan is the greatest advertisement of all times.
Philosophy, which formerly raised man to feel conscious of himself because he was a thinking being and to say, I think therefore I am, now raises him to say I think, therefore I am not, (unless he takes thought into consideration only in that humble region where it is confused with action).
As for types like my own, obscurely motivated by the conviction that our existence was worthless if we didnt make a turning point of it, we were assigned to the humanities, to poetry, philosophy, painting the nursery games of humankind, which had to be left behind when the age of science began. The humanities would be called upon to choose a wallpaper for the crypt, as the end drew near.
All that has sensation and growth all matter, in short will pass through man. When that has happened, the great Day of Judgment will come, and that is the end point of the mysteries in the philosophy of the prophets.
I am against the Treaty of Rome which entrenches laissez faire as its philosophy and chooses bureaucracy as its administrative method.
The essence of philosophy is the abandonment of all authority in favor of individual human reason.
The word 'philosophy' carries unfortunate connotations: impractical, unworldly, weird.
Plato would have united with Rousseau against the bourgeois in his insistence on the essential humanness of longing for the good, as opposed to careful avoidance of the bad. Neither longing nor enthusiasm belongs to the bourgeois. The story of philosophy and the arts under Rousseaus influence has been the search for, or fabrication of, plausible objects of longing to counter bourgeois well-being and self-satisfaction.
Neither party has God on its side, a monopoly on good ideas, or a lock on any single fiscal, social, or moral philosophy.
The highest activities are always essentially lonely and private, and these men had a robust sense of their independence and the ultimate self-sufficiency of the mind. In this they were just like Socrates. The only change they operated was to bring philosophy out of the closet into the open, instead of seeking protection behind a little wall like men in a storm. Of course, in so doing they made philosophy, on the one hand, more vulnerable to the public if the hopes of controlling the public are not fulfilled, and, on the other, put at risk that inner intransigence which is the necessary condition of the quest for truth. Not only the rewards but the new responsibilities might prove irresistible temptations to compromise.
Plato says a multitude can never philosophize and hence can never recognize the seriousness of philosophy or who really philosophizes. Attempted to influence the multitude results in forced prostitution.
I am now even more persuaded of the urgent need to study why Socrates was accused. The dislike of philosophy is perennial, and the seeds of the condemnation of Socrates are present at all times, not in the bosoms of pleasure-seekers, who dont give a damn, but in those of high-minded and idealistic persons who do not want to submit the aspirations to examination.
There are two threats to reason, the opinion that one knows the truth about the most important things and the opinion that there is no truth about them. Both of these opinions are fatal to philosophy; the first asserts that the quest for truth is unnecessary, while the second asserts that it is impossible. The Socratic knowledge of ignorance, which take to be the beginning point of all philosophy, defines the sensible middle ground between two extremes.
As it stands, philosophy is just another humanities subject, rather contentless, without a thought of trying to take command in the crisis of the university. Actually it contains less of the exhilarating presence of the tradition in philosophy than do the other humanities disciplines, and one finds its professors least active of the humanists in attempts to revitalize liberal education. Although there was a certain modesty about ordinary language analysis We just help to give you clarity about what you are already doingthere was also smugness: We know what was wrong with the whole tradition, and we dont need it anymore. Therefore the tradition disappeared from philosophys confines. ... [Todays jargon] was produced by philosophy and was in Europe known to have been produced by philosophy, so that it paved a road to philosophy. In America its antecedents remain unknown. We took over the results without having had any of the intellectual experiences leading to them. But the ignorance of the origins and the fact that American philosophy departments do not lay claim to them are in fact just as ignorant of them as is the general publicmeans that the philosophic content of our language and lives does not direct us to philosophy. This is a real difference between the Continent and us. Here the philosophic language is nothing but jargon.
Philosophy was architectonic, had the plans for the whole building, and the carpenters, masons and plumbers were its subordinates and had no meaning without its plan.
Gullivers Travels is to early modern philosophy what Aristophanes The Clouds was to early ancient philosophy. Swift objects to Enlightenment because it encourages a hypertrophic development of mathematics, physics and astronomy, thus returning to the pre-Socratic philosophy that Aristophanes had criticized for being unselfconscious or unable to understand man. But, unlike pre-Socratic philosophy, which had no interest in politics at all, this science wished to rule and could rule. The new science had indeed generated sufficient power to rule, but in order to do so had had to lose the human perspective. In other words, Swift denied that modern science had actually established a human or political science. All to the contrary, it had destroyed it.
The toleration of philosophy requires its being thought to serve powerful elements in society without actually becoming their servant.
The world men incline to see is full of benevolent and malevolent deities who take their cases seriously. Poetry to succeed must speak to these passions, which are more powerful than reason in almost all men. Because poetry needs an audience it is, in Socrates view, too friendly to the enemies of reason. The philosopher has less need to enter into the wishes of the many or, as the wise of our time would put it, into the drama of history, or to be engag. This is why Socrates heightens the enmity between philosophy and poetry.
Why are the gentlemen more open [to philosophy] than the people? Because they have money and hence leisure and can appreciate the beautiful and useless. And because they despise necessity.
It is not so much stupidity that closes men to philosophy but love of their own, particularly love of their own lives, but also love of their own children and their own cities. It is the hardest task of all to face the lack of cosmic support for what we care about.