Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Irreducibles

Irrespective of the content, how is philosophy even possible? What facts on the ground and principles in the clouds presuppose and justify its existence?

Perhaps you say it is not possible. However, supposing I understand your non-philosophy, one still requires a philosophy to account for the communication of meaning from one person to another.

So, it seems that one of our irreducibles is subject-to-subject communication of meaning. According to Stanley Jaki,

for all their differences, philosophers are at one in a crucial and fundamental respect, be they skeptics, dogmatists, realists, idealists, rationalists, empiricists, positivists, phenomenologists, deconstructionists, materialists, or what not.

How so?

They all use tangible means for the delivery of their respective messages. The means may be the spoken word, a clay tablet, a scroll, a parchment, a codex, a broadsheet, a book, an email projected on the monitor..., but it has to be a means, that is, something tangible.

"If philosophers are logical" -- admittedly a big if -- then

their strictly primary concern should be about the extent to which their particular philosophy justifies the use of any such means, indeed its very reality and all the consequences, both numerous and momentous, that follow from this. 

Supposing it is not justified, or is (more likely) simply taken for granted, then

the philosopher will be guilty of a sleight of hand, however sophisticated. He will have to bring in the back door the very objects the use of which his starting point has failed to justify.

But let's be real(ist): "The use of means, of any means, obligates the philosopher to recognize the objective truth" of such means. Nor can this truth 

be evaded, let alone refuted, because the refutation itself is an act of communication, an implicit falling back on objective means whereby alone can other philosophers be reached.


the first duty of a philosopher is to endorse the reality of the book (or the physical reality of discourse) which is the means making his message available.


So, here is a seeming irreducible without which one cannot take the first step into philosophy. But how is it here, and can it be further reduced to a deeper principle? 

In Christian metaphysics it can be, because what is the immanent Trinity but an endless communication to, and reception of, the Word? And supposing we are in the image and likeness of this interpersonal goround, well, there you are: just what one would expect.


Open Trench said...

Good Morning all, pip-pip, cheerio and all that; how are we doing? Spring is in the air! Love! Romance! Intrigue! Wonderful sights, sounds, smells!


Lets talk about olfaction, an under-rated signaling channel. How important is the sense of smell in the communication of philosophy? More than you might suspect.

Evidence: Patrick Suskind, nice German author. He wrote "The Perfume" in 1985. Yes, it is fiction, but any reader soon realizes the novel is also philosophizing madly. The nature of Good, Truth, and Beauty, are portrayed as seen through the lens of the nose. The novel puts forward the notion that smell can influence and control others. In the novel, the protagonist even beats conviction on multiple counts of murder by the clever use of his custom-made perfumes in the courtroom. Preposterous, you say? Hmmmm.

The protagonist then goes on to become an influential leader. Hmmmmm.

Our organization was interested enough to perform studies and blew a considerable sum on the mission. The findings were jaw-dropping. Smell controls or influences all of the following:

Philosophy. We found a person's Weltanshaung could be manipulated by scent. It was almost unbelievable. Atheists were reversed in a matter of minutes in some cases. In others, Kantians were stumbling over themselves to admit to a reality outside of themselves. Some wept they were so moved. A full-blown Stoic became an Epicurean in under 30 minutes and began to demand gourmet treats. Its all documented.

Sex: We found that mate selection was as much as 90% dependent on olfactory attraction via pheromone molecules that did not even register as odors to the subjects in the experiment. These molecules flew under their sensory radar and went straight to the amygdala. This finding was so disgusting we did not even need to complete the full experiment. The hypothesis was confirmed in a matter of days.

Music and Art: We found that both liminal and subliminal scent cues affected how the subjects both judged art and created art. An author who had never wrote a word of fiction in her life banged out an imaginative short-story in about 20 minutes. The story went on to be published in an anthology with good reviews.

Warfare: We have developed and refined scents which could either whip up aggression or tone it down. We developed smells to dismay an enemy, and smells to bolster morale among our own forces. We found a scent that would cause reckless courage in ordinarily prudent men. It was a wonderland. We are continuing to churn out different varieties for our use in conflicts. Our prize find was an area-denial scent practically as effective as a mine-field.

Well that's enough of that. I hope you have enjoyed the little tit-bit I have offered to you; my only regret is that odors cannot be transmitted online or I would treat you all to the best of the best in stock.

With Love, the Trench.

julie said...


Having established that, nobody can claim that reality is a figment of the imagination. Which is kind of ironic, really, since even imagination would be strictly impossible without the physical reality of the means of interpersonal communication between brain cells.

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