What is philosophy? In spite of the fact that I can be quite a terrible student, I always feel a certain love for philosophy. I’ve learned, sometimes heartbreakingly, what others expect it to be. Now, I do not claim to know anything about you, although I do not rule out us having some things in common. I get the idea, like me, that you find yourself asking time and again what the value of philosophy is? So, I thought I share a good book that gets me turned on. (click the pic to read the book).
excerpts from Introduction: The Question Then…
…philosophy is the art of forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts…The philosopher is an expert in concepts and in the lack of them. He knows which are not viable, which are arbitrary or inconsistent, which ones do not hold up for an instant. On the other hand, he also knows which are well formed and attest to a creation, however disturbing or dangerous it may be.
More rigorously, philosophy is the discipline that involves creating concepts… Concepts are not waiting for us ready-made, like heavenly bodies. There is no heaven for concepts. They must be invented, fabricated or rather created and would be nothing without their creator’s signature. Nietzsche laid down the task of philosophy when he wrote, ‘[Philosophers] must no longer accept concepts as a gift, nor merely purify and polish them, but first make and create them, present them and make them convincing. Hitherto one has generally trusted one’s concepts as if they were a dowry from some sort of wonderland’
Plato said Ideas must be contemplated, but first of all he had to create the concept of Idea. What would the value of a philosopher of whom one could say, ‘He has created no concepts; he has not created his own concepts’?
We can at least see what philosophy is not: it is not contemplation, reflection, or communication. This is the case even though it may sometimes believe it is one or other of these, as a result of the capacity of every discipline to produce its own illusions and hide behind its own peculiar smokescreen… It is not contemplation, for contemplation are things themselves as seen in the creation of their specific concepts. It is not reflection, because no one needs philosophy to reflect on anything… Mathematicians, as mathematicians, have never waited for philosophers before reflecting on mathematics, nor artist before reflecting on painting or music… Nor does philosophy find a final refuge in communication, which only works under the sway of opinions in order to create “consensus” and not concepts… Philosophy does not contemplate, reflect, or communicate, although it must create concepts for these actions or passions… To create concepts is, at the very least, to make something. This alters the question of philosophy’s use or usefulness, or even its harmfulness (to whom is it harmful?).
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