Tuesday 21 September 2010

the pigeon of ealing spreads his wings after lunch

I came to the conclusion some time ago that I am much less philosophical than many of my fellow cafe goers.By this I mean I prefer to think and talk concretely rather than abstractly or devote too much time to definitions, both worthy exercises of course.However and this is a contradiction when the discussion is more overtly political or sociological I look for the philosophical principles underpinning it.Contradictions are I believe the motor of both history and personal development so I am not too troubled by playing host to them. All this is a slightly nervous prelude to suggesting that there are three main conflicts, dichotomies call them what you will that provide the intellectual base to our discussions. Conscious of Hegel's dialectic as few cannot be after spending their Saturday mornings in that oasis of thought that is the cafe I put forward my ideas in the hope, no expectation let me show some confidence ,that others will take them forward if not actual penetrate them with opposites to a higher plane. The three are free will and determinism, cultural relativism and universal values and the third nature versus nature. Now I was wondering if it is possible to establish a hierarchy in the sense that one of these conflicts shapes the course of the others or are they totally autonomous in terms of their battle grounds or more tantalising is there an ur conflict from which all three have sprung. A pretty strong case could be made for determinism, if its validity could be established, but as I cling to the belief that free will does play its part in human affairs I am reluctant to let it crush all opposition that has the temerity to stand in its way. Of course others may suggest other such conflicts.I thoiught about faith and reason but decided this was not a conflict of interpretation but a difference in approach, similarly with deduction and instinct (not sure that is one?) and so on. I await enlightenment.
On a completely different subject.Would members be interested in keeping a record of topics discussed as well as those which were proposed but not discussed. If so I am happy to use this blog to do so if Sherry can come up with the means.

1 comment:

  1. Gerry,
    I am sure you are just as much if not more philosophical than other cafe-philosophers. Your essay above demonstrates a highly sophisticated abstract-thinking mind which I found myself utterly confounded to understand. Keep on with Hegel and Kant, with "relativism" and "determinism", the wings of pigeon of Ealing will spread even wider... (No offence intended)

    Good point about the "lost topics". I will do my best to keep track of topics proposed but not discussed. But as you know my presence at the Cafe is sporadic so I can't guarantee a regular record keeping. Like you, I often found the topics voted by minority far more interesting than the ones voted by majority. I was particularly disappointed sometime ago when I proposed the topic of "clash of civilisations" only a handful of people voted for me. Well, we must respect the opinion of majority as this cafe-philo represents a microcosm of "democracy"! Too bad! I am not even sure if it's worth blogging about last week's topic: "Shyness"? Perhaps I am too "shy" to talk about "shyness"...