"Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy." What do you think?

Jon Brooks (@JonBrooks) 7 years, 3 months ago

This infamous quote comes from the following passage:

Those in the crossing must in the end know what is mistaken by all urging for intelligibility: that every thinking of being, all philosophy, can never be confirmed by “facts,” i.e., by beings. Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy. Those who idolize “facts” never notice that their idols only shine in a borrowed shine.

~Contributions to Philosophy (from Enowning)

Here, Heidegger reacts to the rise of logical positivism, which he claims is a ‘degeneration’ of thought; the fulfillment of the forgetfulness of Being. ‘Those in the crossing’ are those thinkers, trying to cross to a philosophy not confined to the metaphysical assumption that all that is ought to be measurable, perceivable, calculable, &c. [In other words, to take Being as beings.] I think intelligibility, for Heidegger, means reducing philosophy to talking about facts. This would reduce philosophy to science, rendering philosophy superfluous, because science is superior performing this task. Philosophy should be something ‘more’ (or, at least: something ‘else’), to differentiate itself from science.

However, it does imply intelligibility is somehow inferior, as if philosophy is beyond or above science and ‘normal understanding’. Furthermore, philosophy could slip into obscurantism (and Heidegger certainly balances on this verge). I would personally love everybody to study philosophy, but the reality is that not everyone cares about many of the philosophical investigations. So why reduce philosophy to the level where it is intelligible for ‘the common man’? This sounds terribly elitist, I know. But, playing the devil’s advocate, doesn’t the record show the most influential philosophers in history were so brilliant, they only become fully intelligible after a long and rigorous study? Isn’t this a good aspiration?

(this question was originally asked by outisemoigonoma on reddit)

June 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm
Anonymous (2) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

All original perceptions are legitimate data. The more one tries to be validated by university scholars or famous studies, the more you’re denying the source of the knowledge. Why do people need to quote socially revered people to revere their own intelligence? It doesn’t matter if you’re intelligible since groupthink defines what is intelligible. I don’t know why people feel safe with the thoughts of dead men as their foundation for considering themselves legitimate. Was that intelligible? 

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Ego (9) (@scurley) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Because people that rely solely on their own perceptions run the risk of becoming completely ungrounded. If you don’t look to other people or science for confirmation or denial of your perceptions you strengthen your own confirmation bias and run the risk of being crazy because basically live completely in your own mind. Now that said just because scientist or other intelligent people say it’s right doesnt mean it is but to not consider it would be foolish, and honestly if you come to a conclusion on your own and then find out someone who’s intelligence has been remembered for hundreds or thousands of years had the same thought you wouldn’t find that reassuring you might be using your brain properly? 

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Anonymous (2) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

I tend to think that whatever is true exists as the ground already and won’t be distorted if you don’t make yourself crazy looking for confirmation. I don’t think I should say anything else since you were “trying to be an asshole”. I didn’t really notice though. 

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Bryan (104) (@Substratum) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Who are the “most influential philosophers in history”…and what was there influence and upon whom? How is the word “philosophy” being defined here? It seems to me the main thing being communicated here is the authors dislike of making a subject “intelligible”… obscurity is a very safe place to be when one is motivated by the need to “be right” at the expense of being authentic.

 

 

 

 

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Ego (9) (@scurley) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

pseudo intellectualism

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JustinDanger (41) (@JustinDanger) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

He must been right because philosophy is DEAD.

R.I.P. Philosophy

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tablogloid (4) (@tablogloid) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

No, philosophy is not dead. You just revived it by making a philosophical statement about it.

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JustinDanger (41) (@JustinDanger) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

It could be revived if the tradition was willing let in some ideas from outside the box, but it’s in a pretty sorry state at the moment.

It’s not the first time it “died,” dark ages anyone?

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Anonymous (328) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

I think a common misunderstanding is that you don’t just “take philosophy” or “be spiritual” and later on just throw it out and be free of it. This way of thinking creates a dichotomous view that somehow areas of thought cannot overlap or complement each other. This one sided thinking also has roots in Fascism, whether it would be religious or political, or anything at all. It encompasses all subjects and life itself.

My understanding of the quote is that he is saying that in our hopes to be familiar with things that aren’t concrete, we blindly use categories as a reassuring idea of progress and theater to convince people which one to hold in high standard. Of course the more people flock to one side can convince each other of “facts” that weren’t there in the first place. Mass hysteric placebo.

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Ego (9) (@scurley) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

All I have to say about “being spiritual” you say it’s not something you just throw away later on, but what about the Buddhist proverb that Buddhism is like a raft once you cross to the other side of the river you don’t carry the raft in your back. Or something like that it’s seems like eventual you kind of leave “spiirituality” behind.

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Anonymous (328) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

If you read it literally. Sometimes you are not meant to. Why are you asking me? Ask yourself. What does it mean to you? The proverb could mean a lot of things depending on your situation in life, and that is part of my point. These things are too memetic that nowadays it all resembles a joke.

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Ego (9) (@scurley) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Yeah I kind of hate spiritual culture. But your reply to this thread was actually the only one I didn’t answer trying to be an asshole. I wasn’t really asking you the question just kind of contributing to the thought. But the “why are you asking me? Ask yourself” is a cop out haha anyways not trying to rub you the wrong way. Like I previously said yours was the only post I replied to that I wasn’t trying to ruffle some feathers 

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Anonymous (328) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Is that a compliment? It’s not exactly saying “hate spiritual culture”. It’s the way people engage in it as said with the topic quote. You could say he’s actually talking about science and also spirituality. Philosophy that is far removed from both is a modern invention.

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