Summarizing my philosophy

I have never really made an attempt to summarize my own philosophy.

Mostly I just describe and explain the world from the standpoint of that philosophy. This is no accident. It actually connects to a central principle of my philosophy: My philosophy denies that philosophies can be described directly. Certainly philosophies have content, but the essence of a philosophy is practice. In philosophy (or at least the kinds of philosophy I favor) the content serves as a medium for practice.

For this reason, philosophies ought to be viewed primarily as demonstrations of alternative ways of thinking. A person who wishes to understand follows a thought, not only in order to grasp the factual content of that thought, but in order to learn how this kind of thinking is done. This is analogous to how a person might pick up a tune or join into a dance without explicitly thinking, memorizing and self-instructing. Of course, different people with different talents find intuitive participation easy with some types of activity and difficult with others, and this is true for intellectual subjects.

So in philosophy, comprehending the content of the philosophy is the goal of the work but not its purpose. The purpose is to learn how to do a particular kind of comprehension — a philosophical motion — so that kind of comprehension can be applied to similar problems. (This is why when scholars argue over what a philosopher really thought on this or that topic, it seems like what they are doing is only tangentially related to philosophy. And this is why I steer people away from reading surveys of philosophy. Such surveys tend to focus on the content of the thinking but omit the practices.)

I am going to go ahead post this as a possible first installment in an attempt to communicate my philosophy. More to come.

 

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