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Friday, March 15, 2013

Reading Notes – Rosen (3)


"What we require in philosophy is not a new system, or solutions to puzzles, but a deeper and more comprehensive grasp of the problems.  This 'grasp' is not a concept or system of concepts, but a dream, albeit a reasonable and lucid dream  The dream loses its reasonableness and lucidity if we attempt to analyze it with the instruments of modern science, or still more fundamentally, if we forget that analysis is itself a dream. .... The attempt to answer the question 'Who am I?' leads one sooner or later, and rightly so, to define oneself in terms of who I am not.  We go wrong, however, when we forget the initial distinction.  The Platonic Socrates is the first to elaborate this distinction as one between human and divine or cosmic nature.  What is called 'Pre-Socratic' philosophy shares with modern scientific thought the failure to distinguish at a conceptual or epistemological level between these two dimensions.  As a result, human life is conceived as an epiphenomenon of essentially homogeneous cosmic processes, regardless of how poetically the conception may be expressed.  This oversimplification results inevitably in a powerful but crude doctrine of reason.  Pre-Socratic and post-Socratic cosmology, one could say, forgets its poetic or dreamlike origins, and rhetoric hardens into technology.  As a consequence, increasing technical mastery is accompanied by a corresponding vulgarization of the human spirit." (p.257)

Stanley Rosen