In this post, I was struck by the quotation from Hume (it's from Book I, part III, section XIII of the Treatise, according to a quick Google search):
to use another of Hume’s examples, common prejudices such as an “Irishman cannot have wit, and a Frenchman cannot have solidity.”If wit means intelligence then these exact prejudices are still around (or were when I was growing up) almost three hundred years later. (I assume that having solidity is the opposite of being a cheese-eating surrender monkey.) Which all ties in with the idea here that "we still seem to be up to our necks in the slavery heritage." That kind of heritage dies hard.
And now for some good news: fun. Or funsterism. Here is a defense of philosophers who boldly go against common sense. It's weird (not exactly unusual, but disorienting) to see things from that point of view. In comments there, dmf writes that "If memory serves Rorty reads Davidson, after Kuhn, on "living" metaphors as non-sensical creations (perhaps provoked by encounters with the unassimilated)that evoke paradigm shifts and then are slowly incorporated into everyday use and slowly “die”." I don't know whether Rorty would have liked calling such things nonsensical (maybe that's just the word that Davidson uses, I don't know), but otherwise this idea sounds fine to me. It's hardly the same thing as philosophers claiming that possible worlds are real, though, or that nothing is a part of anything. Or so it seems to me. If only because this kind of metaphysics is not likely to appeal to the people who turn nonsense into dead metaphors.
That post links to this one, which says that philosophers create concepts. Of course this is true (qualia, anyone?), but it's hard to think of any good concepts that philosophers have created, or ones that have caught on with non-philosophers. Newton and Einstein have been influential in fruitful ways, but have any philosophers? I suppose they have, but the names that come to mind are either hundreds of years old or else in the continental tradition. If contemporary analytic philosophers think that what they are doing is being creative in the way that, say, Einstein was, then I suspect they are mistaken. But even as I type I'm becoming more and more aware of how ignorant I am about the subject.
Finally, speaking of lumping things together, here's a new blog to check out: Lump and Split, by J. Jeffers.