Hayden White and History


Hayden White is renown for publishing two books that has changed the discipline of history forever: Metahistory: the Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe and The Content of the Form which boils down to the demonstration how the claim of a precise distinction between history (the narrative form which describes what happened in history) and the philosophy of history (the schema that legitimizes the narrative) is naught but a methodological blunder. Continue reading Hayden White and History

Reconstructing philosophy

This blog is a summary of Rorty’s salient points in his essay, The Historiography of Philosophy.

There are several ways to reconstruct the writings of philosophers: the rational, the historical, and the holistic. The paradigmatic examples are, respectively; P. F. Strawson of Kant, John Dunn‘s of Locke, and Heidegger’s Question of Being. Continue reading Reconstructing philosophy

Sartrean atheism

Sartre walking away
Sartre walking away

Some comments on Jean-Paul Sartre’s stance on God (or lack of). Sartre never meets the problem of God’s existence. Nowhere does he discuss the traditional arguments from religious epistemology. Interestingly, Sartre does not arrive at atheism after undergoing a philosophical expedition, in the rationalist fashion of the thinker who presumes every position he holds must be the solution to a philosophical problem. Continue reading Sartrean atheism

Analysis of Philosophy#1: Sartrean phenomenology

On a thread at the Internet Infidels about Jean-Paul Sartre, I thought it was best to explain his philosophy before attempting a criticism. Moreover, I will not assume my audience is naïve enough to require spoon feeding from the popular work, so I will start with several summaries from the actual work of philosophy, Being and Nothingness. (BN hereafter) Continue reading Analysis of Philosophy#1: Sartrean phenomenology

Theoretical weakness of Freudian psychoanalysis

Freud by David Levine
Freud by David Levine

This is a brief summary of existential psychoanalysis. Admittedly, Sigmund Freud was ahead of the times, and quite possibly the greatest psychologist of all time (discounting Nietzsche). However, since he was a philosopher of sorts, its only fair to rip his theory philosophically and attempt to demonstrate its absurdity without invoking a strawman. Continue reading Theoretical weakness of Freudian psychoanalysis

Is there a point in/to/of philosophy?

by Nathaniel Mellors
by Nathaniel Mellors

Interlocutor #1: I hate philosophy! It never gets to the point, because it is a bunch of talk stuck in a perpetual circle! If philosophy ever truly got to the point, then we can use it and apply it in life, and hopefully become better people.

Interlocutor #2: Well, this may come as a shock to you, but there is a point in philosophy. It is to articulate reasons, examine how our thinking works, and account for the beliefs we hold. Philosophy does not preoccupy itself with “what” questions, because that is being engaged with the immediacy of experience. A philosophical frame of mind requires a contemplative state at the level of reflection. Within reflection, “why” questions emerges and philosophy ensues. Pending culture, philosophy employs many different types of languages – metaphysical, religious, logical, or even aesthetics – to talk about the point.

By the way… “the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.” — Bertrand Russell