Philosophy: Who needs it?

A propósito deste disparatado comentário do Hugo Garcia, é sempre bom lembrar “quem precisa” da filosofia:

Now some of you might say, as many people do: “Aw, I never think in such abstract terms — I want to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems — what do I need philosophy for?” My answer is: In order to be able to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems — i.e., in order to be able to live on earth.

You might claim — as most people do — that you have never been influenced by philosophy. I will ask you to check that claim. Have you ever thought or said the following? “Don’t be so sure — nobody can be certain of anything.” You got that notion from David Hume (and many, many others), even though you might never have heard of him. Or: “This may be good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.” You got that from Plato. Or: “That was a rotten thing to do, but it’s only human, nobody is perfect in this world.” You got that from Augustine. Or: “It may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” You got it from William James. Or: “I couldn’t help it! Nobody can help anything he does.” You got it from Hegel. Or: “I can’t prove it, but I feel that it’s true.” You got it from Kant. Or: “It’s logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality.” You got it from Kant. Or: “It’s evil, because it’s selfish.” You got it from Kant. Have you heard the modern activists say: “Act first, think afterward”? They got it from John Dewey.

(…)

Now ask yourself: if you are not interested in abstract ideas, why do you (and all men) feel compelled to use them? The fact is that abstract ideas are conceptual integrations which subsume an incalculable number of concretes — and that without abstract ideas you would not be able to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems. You would be in the position of a newborn infant, to whom every object is a unique, unprecedented phenomenon. The difference between his mental state and yours lies in the number of conceptual integrations your mind has performed.

You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract ideas, i.e., into principles. Your only choice is whether these principles are true or false, whether they represent your conscious, rational conviction — or a grab-bag of notions snatched at random, whose sources, validity, context and consequences you do not know, notions which, more often than not, you would drop like a hot potato if you knew.

But the principles you accept (consciously or subconsciously) may clash with or contradict one another; they, too, have to be integrated. What integrates them? Philosophy. A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation — or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown. – Ayn Rand

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5 pensamentos sobre “Philosophy: Who needs it?

  1. O pragmatismo tão em voga, defendido ad nauseam nada mais é do que a medíocre capitulação intelectual, e a recusa do ser humano na sua plenitude racional. O pragmata apenas se preocupa em resolver o problema no imediato, sem querer saber por que motivo o faz, numa lógica irreal segundo a qual os acontecimentos no universo se sucederiam cronoligicamente de forma aleatória. Sem qualquer efeito causal entre as decisões de hoje, e as suas implicações futuras. Confrontado com a deriva da sua estratégia, apenas se preocupa em mergulhar na espiral do imediatismo autista.

  2. ” But the principles you accept (consciously or subconsciously) may clash with or contradict one another; they, too, have to be integrated. What integrates them? Philosophy. A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence.”

    Indeed, Madam, indeed.
    É precisamente por isso que, sempre que me deparo com a força integradora de qualquer sistema filosófico eu, por instinto, deixo sempre um pé atrás.
    Influências Humeanas? Talvez, talvez…

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