There is an interesting analogy between the illusions of Don Quijote and the Socratic vision of philosophy. Both envision a divine-like object to which they are completely devoted. Socrates saw philosophy (as he practiced it) as being a divine mission and the greatest good available to humanity. Quijote saw his lady as nearly divine in virtue and beauty.
I read a statement (“We create history by our observation, rather than history creating us.”) like this one and I ask: who has gone insane, the great physicists or me? But it is not just the theoretical physicists and cosmologists who try my sanity of late. The philosophers also have their role in this mad comedy.
Contrary to political and religious topics which are important and controversial, there are some which, although somewhat trivial, provoke much dispute. One of this was the question that some of us posed before the turn of the century: When does the new millennium really begin? As most of you recall, the world in general celebrated the start of the new millennium on January 1, 2000. But this bothered a few of us. We took on the role of spoil sports and pointed out that the world was premature in their celebration by one year.
Most people are surprised to hear there’s such a thing as philosophical humor, since most philosophy and philosophers, with a few exceptions, seem humorless. Well, it may just be a way of keeping their sanity, but some people in philosophy do have a sense of humor and can poke fun at themselves.
I prefer to avoid the term “free will” because it suggests some mysterious faculty of mind which operates independently of genetic and environmental factors. I don’t think there is such a thing; and it seems to be a mistaken turn in discussions of problems of freedom and determinism.
I prefer to talk about freedom in relation to choice and actions that humans do. I don’t know what it means to talk about a ‘free will’ which does not result in some degree of freedom in deciding between alternative actions, and in sometimes being able to do what we desire to do, or what we judge to be in our best interest.
I heard an exchange concerning some of the mysteries of theoretical physics. Two friends, Raul and Samuel, exchanged views on one of the paradoxes of Quantum Physics. It was all beyond bewildering.
Anyone who reads the continental philosophers following Kant knows that Kaufmann was correct. Many of them, primarily German and French (with some notable exceptions, e.g. Frederick. Nietzsche, Albert Camus), imitate Kant in producing the type of obscure writing that surely has caused many students headaches and sleepless nights! I give you Hegel, Heidegger, and Sartre (in his philosophical works where he imitates the Germans). Can anyone really render clear, coherent interpretations of what these people are saying?