Logical Illiterate Back On The Trail

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Mr G (who has been sand-bagged so many times at this site even I am beginning to feel sorry for him) is ever keen to prove he is quite capable of making an ass of himself in public without my help, thank you very much.

 

Anyway, he has returned to the fray (as predicted). Those unfamiliar with his earlier attempts to plumb the depths of idiocy can check them out here, here, here, here, and here.

 

In a discussion of the use of clear language over at Lenin's excellent blog, I posted this comment:

 

As part of a drive toward clear language, may I propose that we honour Hume's principle, and consign Hegel, Heidegger and much of French 'philosophy' to the flames?

 

One or two comrades replied, but Mr G (predictably) posted an irrelevant comment from Alasdair MacIntyre in response, alleging that I in fact accept Hume's reactionary social theories, to which I replied:

 

JohnG:

"Rosa is quite right to raise Hume in relationship to this discussion given his importance in more modern ideas about clarity of exposition. MacIntyre discusses here the source of these ideas, which Rosa seems to have imbibed so uncritically"

Once more, Mr G substitutes invention and innuendo for argument. Nowhere do I endorse Hume's political or social views (although, as one of the Scottish School of Historical Materialists, he was heavily influential on Kant, Hegel and thus on Marx).

He might just as well argue that Tony Cliff was a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte simply because Cliff once quoted him!

 

True to form, Mr G then posted this, his latest homage to irrelevancy:

 

Hume's philosophical views are heavily informed by his social and historical situation. When he discusses the human understanding and human sentiments it is very particular kinds of understanding and sentiments he is discussing.

Rosa can't understand this because she is so locked into the tradition that Hume represents. She repeatedly denies this because she doesn't recognise that it IS part of a tradition, a tradition, as MacIntyre notes, explicitly concerned with defending a particular kind of social order at a moment of historical transition.

Rosa cannot even admit of the possibility because to do so would be to undermine the whole point of her anti-philosophy, and some of her wilder claims about the role of philosophy in history, which are if anything even cruder then Dawkins's account of religion.

In fact Rosa represents not only A philosophical tradition, but THE philosophical tradition of capitalist modernity (added to of course in the period of social change and upheaval that comprise philosophy's development post-Hume).

And given the relationship between this country and the development of capitalism the connections between Hume and contemporary ideologies ought to be glaringly obvious, even if Hume was considerably sharper and more fearless then the ideologues who succeeded him.

Hume was explicitly concerned, as MacIntyre argues in the passage quoted, and indeed demonstrates in the book from which the passage is drawn: 'whose justice, which rationality?' that his whole theory of sentiments, identity etc, whilst aimed at an older tradition of philosophical thought, was also aimed against the very possibility of any appeal to justice independently of property rights, and of course the superiority of the kind of Whig order that prevailed in England.

This was not some additional add-on to his philosophical thought. It was its very basis and rationale (for which of course in his time there were comprehensible reasons).

Reading Hume you get a sense of the tremendous boldness of the times in confronting an older order but also the deep attachment to the kind of emerging order which MacIntyre describes. You also see, as you do with Adam Smith, an intellectual contemporary engaged in much the same project, how deluded he was about the likely outcome of such social transformations which his theories were designed to speed-up. To detach his philosophy from this context is to fail completely to understand what its actually about.

Rosa's Dawkins's like philosophical position (no doubt she claims not to be interested in philosophy, but its not unusual to be mistaken about your own actual position) is sufficiently hysterical and wrongheaded to be a good case study of contemporary delusions both about philosophy and 'clarity'.

 

Apparently Hume was not as transparent as all that. Not to Rosa anyway. [Spelling errors corrected.]
 

What this has got to do with any of my beliefs we will leave to Mr G's psychiatrist to tell us. But, Mr G has never been one to allow facts to spoil good fiction, so it is no surprise to find he hasn't quoted a single passage of mine from this site, or from anywhere else for that matter, in support of his fabulations. Apparently, Mr G is psychic and can read minds. So, readers must take care not to post anything critical of him at Lenin's blog, or they will risk accusations of being in collusion with shape-shifting lizards.

 

Taking each item of fantasy, one at a time:

 

Hume's philosophical views are heavily informed by his social and historical situation. When he discusses the human understanding and human sentiments it is very particular kinds of understanding and sentiments he is discussing.

Rosa can't understand this because she is so locked into the tradition that Hume represents. She repeatedly denies this because she doesn't recognise that it IS part of a tradition, a tradition, as MacIntyre notes, explicitly concerned with defending a particular kind of social order at a moment of historical transition.

 

But where is the incriminating evidence? Mr G does not say, he just repeats the same thing, over and over. And it is no good asking him to provide proof; I have done so many times. The result is the same: yet another repetition of the same old mantra. However, while he is keen to point fingers at me, he conveniently forgets that he is quite happy to be taught philosophy by that well known working class theorist, and one time coal miner, Hegel. Even so, if we have to chose ruling-class hacks, give me Hume any day; at least he is comprehensible, and so his errors are easily found.

 

Now, in full cry, spittle dribbling down his double chin, we get this:

 

Rosa cannot even admit of the possibility because to do so would be to undermine the whole point of her anti-philosophy, and some of her wilder claims about the role of philosophy in history, which are if anything even cruder then Dawkins's account of religion.

In fact Rosa represents not only A philosophical tradition, but THE philosophical tradition of capitalist modernity (added to of course in the period of social change and upheaval that comprise philosophy's development post-Hume).

 

But, he hasn't read my account of "philosophy in history" since I haven't published it yet! To be sure, I have posted very brief summaries of some of my ideas in this area (for example, here), but they were written for comrades who told me my essays were either too long or too difficult. Picking holes in them (but he doesn't even address what I say there, so I apologise for attributing to Mr G a modicum of rationality) would be like complaining that Marx did not fully explain the capitalist system in Wage, Labour and Capital.

 

The middle section of the above lengthy advert for Mr G's capacity to bore for his country seems to be so irrelevant to what I said that it is in danger of bringing discredit on the word "irrelevant". So, I will pass over it in silence.

 

But what of this?

 

Reading Hume you get a sense of the tremendous boldness of the times in confronting an older order but also the deep attachment to the kind of emerging order which MacIntyre describes. You also see, as you do with Adam Smith, an intellectual contemporary engaged in much the same project, how deluded he was about the likely outcome of such social transformations which his theories were designed to speed-up. To detach his philosophy from this context is to fail completely to understand what its actually about.

Rosa's Dawkins's like philosophical position (no doubt she claims not to be interested in philosophy, but its not unusual to be mistaken about your own actual position) is sufficiently hysterical and wrongheaded to be a good case study of contemporary delusions both about philosophy and 'clarity'.

 

Apparently Hume was not as transparent as all that. Not to Rosa anyway. [Spelling errors corrected.]

 

Again, where have I claimed "to be interested in philosophy"? And where is my hysteria? [Note this sexist comment by the way.]

 

And whether or not Hume is clear, in comparison to Hegel, he is like crystal. But, Mr G prefers that logical incompetent and mystic to Hume. They deserve each other.

 

By the way, anyone got some matches?

 

Er..., perhaps not; the last time Mr G was given some matches, this is what he did with them:

 

 

 

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