I’ve rediscovered my love for Philosophy.
I’ve taken up reading Foucault again with the idea of writing a short review of The History of Sexuality, and rediscovered what I loved about reading his work when I studied it at Uni. Foucault has a freshness of style and a willingness to have a crack at thinking things through from a completely new angle – it’s an attitude that is the heartbeat of all that is good and right in Philosophy.
During the last few years I’d started to absorb the general skepticism towards Philosophy that is pervasive in our culture. Philosophers are regarded as intellectual hippies, dropouts in search of a justification, destined to bludge, in some way or another, off the Responsible Adult World.
What a genuinely sad society we have built., where we no longer have the aspiration to know things differently.
Philosophy holds the mirror of critical reflection up to our thoughts. It is thought thinking about itself. All the other sciences seek to know the world, only Philosophy seeks to know how we know.
For this reason, Philosophy is the queen of the sciences. All the other disciplines of knowledge are arrayed about her as her offspring. (The only science above Philosophy is Theology: theology draws upon all other forms of knowledge in pusuit of the One who is the fulness of all Being and Knowledge.)
A society that has no regard for Philosophy can only be moments away from childish gullibility, intellectual sterility, and is defenseless prey for would-be dictators.
… Coming soon to a country near you.
So I fell in love with Philosophy again, when I read this:
There are times in life when the question of of knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all. People will say, perhaps, that these games with oneself would better be left backstage; or, at best, that they might properly form part of those preliminary exercises that are forgotten once they have served their purpose. But, then, what is philosophy today – philosophical activity, I mean – if it is not the critical work that thought brings to bear on itself? In what does it consist, if not in the endeavor to know how and to what extent it might be possible to think differently, instead of legitimating what is already known?
Michel Foucault The History of Sexuality: The Use of Pleasure, p.9