[lit-ideas] Re: Malt, Coffee & Chuck Taylo

  • From: "John McCreery" <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 19:12:14 +0900

On 6/17/06, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

--- wokshevs@xxxxxx wrote:

> Quoting Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>:
> > One question that one might put to the
> > historicists/culturalists is, do they think that
> their
> > own ideas are only valid within their own
> > geo-historical location ?
> You render the question as an empirical one, and,
> hence, it is without any
> philosophical interest. The interesting
> philosophical (epistemological)
> question is whether they have an epistemic right to
> believe otherwise.

*I think that most of us here are old enough and
literate enough to see that this is what I was getting
at. There is however an empirical element to the
question because I would be interested to hear what
they think about this.

We have, I believe, reached a fundamental disagreement. Walter's demand for absolute, nonempirical knowledge is, outside of mathematics and other forms of the glass bead game, something I outgrew around 1965, when I looked at what I'd learned doing a B.A. in Philosophy and decided to go for a Ph.D. in social anthropology.

I recall a famous joke about three men on a desert island. All they
have to eat is a can of beans. The Chemist calculates how hot their
fire will have to be to make the can explode. The Physicist calculates
how far the beans will fly and places leaves to catch them. The
Economist says, "Assume a can opener."

The Philosopher imagined by Walter strikes me as being very like that
Economist, with this important difference. The Economist's assumed can
opener reminds me that there may be something else, a rock for
example, that will serve in place of a can opener. The Philosopher's
"Assume a transcendental" points to nothing at all.

Or, if it points to anything, it points to the human habit of making
assumptions, a pretty solid matter of fact, which leads to the useful
question, "What are they assuming?" The answer depends on empirical
evidence, words and things, and is rarely found by navel-gazing.

John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN

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  • » [lit-ideas] Re: Malt, Coffee & Chuck Taylo