Saturday, March 13, 2010

If as a philosopher, pragmatism and especially Santayana strikes a chord, is there a way to reconcile with Plato's forms which seem extraordinarily inspired by the concept of God yet disturbing familiar?

I don't know Santayana very well, but I think that the crucial thing to note is that Plato's forms are not inspired by a conception of God (or anything we'd recognize as God, pace Nietzsche) as they are by the good. There is, I think a subtle difference.

I tend to think that both pragmatism and phenomenology are promising directions for post-Darwinian philosophy because they recognize that thinking is guided by what Plato called the good or what we could call in the language of German idealism the absolute (or normative posits), but gave room for those to be temporalized. I think (and here I know that I'll get in trouble with pragmatists, but I'd esp. target James here) that pragmatism recognizes that, but doesn't give adequate tools to understand how the good changes in the course of our thinking about it, whereas phenomenology does.

The phenomenological thinker who gives us the best resources to do this, through the notion of differance, is Derrida. I think I've mentioned him earlier.

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