5.0036 Philo-logy (1/27)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 13 May 91 22:03:36 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0036. Monday, 13 May 1991.

Date: Fri, 10 May 91 10:47 PDT
Subject: Re: 5.0023 Philo-logy

for Willard McC., Is it a striving for "excellence"that makes for the
constrict ion of intellectual freedom of imagination, or is it a
pseudo-excellence that v aunts its "professionalism," that is, its
refusal to contemplate the uncertain and the vague, the penumbral, which
you call "mediocrity," and which I think wo uld be an unfortunate term
for what you are suggesting. There is the old French term,"deformation
professionelle," that perhaps describes those who make a fet ish of
their skills or craft, or competence. You are right to suggest anxiety,
I think; we all know the tremendous anxiety in the face of words that
the typic al engineering student, or professional engineer too,
exhibits, and that may be a whole psychic type, for engineering is very
exacting, and they do tend to co nform their psyches to their metier, in
which the safety of precise measurement s lie. You see my drift? Some
types of philosophers are like that in their con tempt for the
layperson. I was on a committee once for an appointment and there was
ayoung philosopher, which at UCLA, means language and analytical logic,
Ca rnap & Co., and little to no history of philosophy, and when I
complained that the book in question had 150 pages of utter miscontrual
of what the Bergsonian idea of elan vital was saying, he dismissed the
issue with a curt remark that B ergson was no philosopher at all, so we
should move on in the discussion... He had never read him, because that
was metaphysics, and nonsense. When I asked if he had read through the
hsitory of philosophy, he dismissed that as all nonsen se anyway, and
there was no time or usefulness in such reading. And he was a te nured
young hotshot! Oh well...you see what the mediocre humanist is up
against when confronting the professional? Jascha Kessler