There may be many forms of thoughtlessness. One form of many is that in which people are thoughtless about the sense of the words they use (as when they confuse “accidentally” and “inadvertently”); even so, what they are *trying* to say may be perfectly in order.This is undoubtedly true. But it reminds me that philosophers sometimes, perhaps often, are thoughtless about the sense of the words they use even when they try to be most thoughtful about them. (Over-dramatic italics, sorry.) I think this is what people mean by 'logic-chopping.' Imagine a less careful version of Aristotle dividing goods up into three categories (external, of the body, and of the soul), virtues into two (intellectual and moral), and so on. But, being less careful, getting it wrong and overlooking important points. This isn't simple ignorance of the meanings of words, but it is a kind of ignorance (a kind of ignoring). It seems to be a kind of weakness of will, like someone drunkenly forgetting what they already, usually, know. It's something that I think Wittgenstein tries to discourage (take your time!). Being slower to jump to conclusions, being more aware of what we already know, is not thinking in the usual, active sense preferred by philosophers. It's more like sobriety, not-forgetting, remembering both in the sense of not forgetting and in the sense of putting back together what the logical butcher has hacked, or is about to hack, apart.
Friday, March 15, 2013
What is called thinking?
Two things: first, this list of world thinkers (you can vote on them!) struck me as odd (for instance, are Nussbaum, Sandel, and Zizek really the most important philosophers in the world?), and second, Lars Hertzberg has written that: