Friday, 7 October 2016

Philosophy and life

Yesterday the whole morning I spent reading a book of Richard Rorty, as preparation for the class. I had missed a couple of classes and was therefore trying to reach up to the page to which we were expected to read before this week's class.  Somehow I never managed to reach that syllabus.  More than once, I felt like shutting down the computer (if it were a printed book in hand, I'd have thrown it out the window)!  It was truly very very high or intense ... very intellectual.

While in class, the professor who was keen to finish reading the text but gave much room and space for all the doubts and objections raised by the students, said something very honestly.  He said Rorty himself felt disgusted with "philosophizing" after some time.  In fact, he made some very cutting remarks again philosophy - after he had written a couple of books, including the one above-mentioned book.  Towards the end of his life he spoke more plainly and in very simple language about democracy!  Those books were read by different groups of people but the first one was only picked up by the philosophers.  And which did make a real difference in life, the professor asked.  Certainly the latter, he himself replied.  The professor went on to say, it is guys like me who write books and publish them are called philosophers, but the one's really making a difference in the world are someone else.  Surely the issues of Brexit, or Aleppo or Haiti are far more important and meaningful than mind, and epistemology and language.

After a brief pause, one of us, softly stated, perhaps we've to find a balance to which the Professor replied, "Hopefully!"

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