PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS ISSN 2043-0728
Issue No. 206 16th November 2016
Edited by D.R. Khashaba
I. 'Philosophy as Poetry' by D.R. Khashaba
II. 'Becoming as Creativity' by D.R. Khashaba
III. 'Eternity and Freedom' by D.R. Khashaba
From the List Manager
IV. Prize for Charles Taylor
V. Dangers lurk in the march towards a post-modern career
VI. Afterword by Geoffrey Klempner
EDITOR'S PREFATORY NOTE
Honestly, I do not feel like apologizing for my egotism in taking up the whole of this Philosophy Pathways Issue for myself. I wanted to take the opportunity generously afforded me by Dr. Geoffrey Klempner to present a summing up of my philosophy. Having entered my ninetieth year it is high time for that. Indeed it is because I cannot now reasonably expect to have much longer to live that I sought to make all my books freely available to all readers, first on http:--- and then on http:--- [search: D. R. Khashaba]. I shall be obliged to anyone who would care to download any or all of them [...]
(c) D.R. Khashaba 2016
About the editor: https:---
I. 'PHILOSOPHY AS POETRY' BY D.R. KHASHABA
There is no agreed answer to the question: What is philosophy? If we try to apply Wittgenstein's the meaning is the use to philosophy we get nowhere. Wittgenstein's notion of family resemblances may be more helpful, though in the case of philosophy the family members are an odd discordant bunch especially if we take in the youngest generation. Let us try the historical approach, though here too we have more diversity than affinity. Even if we confine ourselves in time to the flicker between the sixth and the fourth centuries BC and in space to that tiny speck in the north-eastern Mediterranean, who would say that Thales and Xenophanes, or Heraclitus and Anaxagoras, or Empedocles and Socrates represent a homogeneous genre of thinking? [...]
(c) D.R. Khashaba 2016
II. 'BECOMING AS CREATIVITY' BY D.R. KHASHABA
What makes a thing bring about another thing different from itself? What sense is there in saying that what has become comes from what was before? We are so immersed in change that our sense of wonder is blunted and we come to take the becoming of one thing out of another as the most natural of things. Yet reflection should make it plain that for one thing to produce or to become another thing different from itself is truly mystifying. To describe in minutest detail the stages through which the sprout passes in coming out of the seed only gives us the delusion of understanding but the mystery remains unfathomable; and such is all so-called scientific explanation [...]
(c) D.R. Khashaba 2016
III. 'ETERNITY AND FREEDOM' BY D.R. KHASHABA
The conceptual intellect is the glory and the doom of humankind. It is in virtue of our conceptual thought that we have our special character, distinguishing us from all other animals, and it is in all probability, as it now seems, by this same intellect and our vaunted reason that the human species will be led to its final annihilation. So conceptual intellection is the peculiar property of human beings but it is not what is best or what is most valuable in them. There is in us a deeper, purer, intelligence in our body, in the tranquility of serene solitude, in moments when we are struck with awe and wonder, in the gasp we eject at the sight of beauty, in the gush of love when soul opens to soul, in the flow of tenderness towards a helpless creature, in the happy giggle of a baby, in the exuberance of poetic creativity -- in all of that there is a deeper, purer intelligence, a state of pure internal joyful illumination, and I find that deep, pure, intelligence in the warbling of the bird and in the dance of the butterfly [...]
(c) D.R. Khashaba 2016
IV. PRIZE FOR CHARLES TAYLOR
From the Daily Nous:
Charles Taylor, professor emeritus of philosophy at McGill University, is the winner of the inaugural Berggruen Prize: http:---
The prize, awarded by the Berggruen Institute http:--- is $1 million. The Institute says:
The Berggruen Prize is awarded annually to a thinker whose
ideas are of broad significance for shaping human
self-understanding and the advancement of humanity. It
seeks to recognize and encourage philosophy in the ancient
sense of the love of wisdom and in the 18th Century sense
of intellectual inquiry into all the basic questions of
human knowledge. It rewards thinkers whose ideas are
intellectually profound but also able to inform practical
and public life across the range of world civilizations.
Professor Taylor was chosen for the award by a nine-member jury headed by Kwame Anthony Appiah (NYU).
As a New York Times article about the prize reports http:--- this isn't the first large award Professor Taylor has won:
Mr. Taylor's previous honors include the 2015 John W. Kluge
Prize for the Achievement in the Study of Humanity (shared
with Jurgen Habermas), the 2007 Templeton Prize for
achievement in the advancement in spiritual matters and the
2008 Kyoto Prize, regarded as Japans highest private honor.
Both the Templeton and Kluge prizes also carry cash awards
of more than $1 million.
The prize will be bestowed on Professor Taylor in a ceremony in New York on December 1st, the Times reports:
Given the timing of the award, the Institutes founder,
Nicholas Berggruen, may be hoping that his eponymous prize
becomes known as philosophy's Nobel.
[Article originally posted on Philos-L http:---]
V. DANGERS LURK IN THE MARCH TOWARDS A POST-MODERN CAREER
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
A bushwalker found his body at the bottom of a cliff in the Blue Mountains in early August. The previous day he'd caught the train from Summer Hill where he lived and travelled to Blackheath. CCTV camera footage showed him with the bicycle and backpack that the police later found locked up at the top of the valley. John -- the 'unknown scholar' -- philosopher, contrarian, a member of the academic precariat had taken his own life.
Lack of tenure means many academics are left to drift through university life, piecing together work contracts each semester.
It was a solitary death: no living relatives, no partner, no will or suicide note. The legal process was complicated and a small group of friends dealt with police, coroner and funeral arrangements. It seems that nobody was very close to him in the last months and that he confided little to anyone about his state of mind.
But we know enough to tell his story. In his mid-40s, John had worked as a casual university tutor since finishing his PhD in philosophy 15 years ago. Passed over a few times for tenured jobs, he was a long-term member of the academic reserve army, the members of which perform around half of the undergraduate teaching in Australia's universities.
But this semester no offer of work came through from any of the universities he had worked for over the years. Without income to pay the rent, and deprived of institutional anchorage for his vocation, we can see now that his predicament was dire.
When a full-time worker loses their job their employers must at least give them notice and pay them their entitlements. But for casuals, there is nothing. No acknowledgment of their long-term service, no indication of their future prospects. For John, and other victims of this year's downturn in university enrolments, there was just silence.
[Extract originally posted on Philos-L http:---]
VI. AFTERWORD BY GEOFFREY KLEMPNER
It has been a moving experience for me, to read Daoud Khashaba's summary of his life's work as an independent philosopher. I find it impossible to disagree with Khashaba's claim that viewing ultimate reality as a Parmenidean One -- a blank 'necessary being' filling all of reality, leaving no room for time, change, creativity, good or evil -- would be the death of philosophy, a starting point that leads nowhere.
What is the alternative? Khashaba's answer is: Creative Eternity. Although I cannot think of any solid objection to such an elevated vision of ultimate reality, I am still searching for an answer that fully satisfies me. And so my work, my attempt at philosophical creativity, goes on.
I told Daoud when we arranged this issue a couple of months ago that there might be some items of news. I hadn't bargained on there being two items from the professional Philo-L philosophy e-list that encapsulate in the starkest terms the conditions of existence of those who aspire to be philosophers in a world ruled by money and the cult of celebrity.
I had the fortune to meet Charles Taylor once, back in 1976 at a session of the Bentham dining club at University College Oxford. The organizers of the Bentham liked to play 'musical chairs'. For first course I was seated next to Gareth Evans, for the main course I enjoyed the company of Professor H.L.A. Hart, followed by Charles Taylor for dessert. Taylor confided in me that writing his celebrated book 'Hegel' (1975) had given him a stomach ulcer -- which explained why he was sipping milk while I enjoyed a glass of red wine followed by port.
Those were the days. Whisky is my tipple now.
Charles Taylor and the late 'John' were both fortunate to drink from the ancient well of Philosophy. They lived the life of the mind. Yet there could not be a greater contrast in their material conditions.
I am sure that Taylor will spend his prize money wisely. Perhaps he has already donated a generous amount to deserving causes. I doubt very much whether he will splash out the money on a Ferrari. Yet I cannot help but feel that there is something wrong with the world, when those who have an aptitude and talent for philosophizing and have something to give society -- instead of receiving the minimal support they need to continue their work are driven to suicidal despair.
(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2016