Thursday, April 19, 2012

Philosophy as a Sport

My interest in philosophy, if it has to be assigned to some social sphere, has much more kinship to navigation, as at sea. For me it is an activity of orientation in non-spatial reality. But like all activities principally centered in the mind, philosophy may also be viewed as exploration, archeology, cathedral building, belle lettres (now that is rare), and also as sport. A champion performer in that sport is Edward Feser, with an eponymous blog, an Aristotelian-Thomistic philosopher who takes great relish in entering the fray. Occasionally, just to enjoy the game, I visit his site. I did so most recently to read his “Reading Rosenberg, Part IX,” which I take to be round nine of a championship boxing match with one Alex Rosenberg, the author of The Atheist’s Guide to Reality (link). What surprises me is that it has lasted so long—seeing that Rosenberg’s thesis is “that neither our thoughts nor anything else has any meaning whatsoever,” to quote Feser’s summation. Thoughts are neurons, neurons are ultimately just fermions and bosons and haven’t a clue. One wonders, then, why Rosenberg wrote a book, intending (or rather not-intending, because there is intention either) to communicate meanings, his fermions and bosons addressing Feser’s presumably, and neither being home. That should have been the first punch thrown, and it should have been the end of things. Thus ran my thoughts after delving rather too long on Feser’s post—and the wonder arose why I was doing it. Then came the realization (Feser is such a great writer) that I was doing so for the love of the sport alone. It doesn’t serve for purposes of navigation.  Feser is saying that a discarded left shoe is not a compass.

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