I scandalized my philosophy professor (the great UC Berkeley professor JosephTussman) by interrupting his listing of the professions that a philosophy major might pursue. He began “Law, Business…” and I broke in “…and Physics!” The assertion was formed in classes where so many students treated the subject matter as engineering: the application of mathematical methods to predict system behavior.
When asked to explain “why” the theories were the way that they are, many physicists respond “because they explain the world,” without realizing how deeply theoreticians are corralled by abstract principles such as “gage invariance.” Without such grounding in abstract principles, science is as susceptible to fads, group-think and self-interest as religion and politics.
Philosophy, which has spawned so many other fields of knowledge over the centuries, still persists in the rather unique goal of teaching people to think meaningfully about the fundamental human questions. If we can’t avoid the influence of fads, group-think and self-interest in leading us away from truth, as least we can be conscious of their danger, and recognize when a coherent alternative is being represented. These are universal concerns, and our current political discourse is proof of our failure to heed the wisdom of the great humanist philosophers of the past.
Although of course, as concerns philosophers, “great” is predicated by the fellow-concern of “humanism,” to the degree that Jesus and Buddha are sometimes adopted into the community of philosophers.
The posts that follow are valuable in that the document my intellectual journey to the final post “In Coherence,” in which I humbly propose a model for the philosophical program that we have struggled with for so long. (The word “humbly” is not gratuitous: I recognize that much of what I write here has been revealed to me by what Christians would call the “Holy Spirit”: the repository of ideas that have taken root in love – ideas that hold that citizenship only because they correlate with truth.) The challenge, simply put, is to create intellectual barriers to the three vices listed above. To those seeking a comprehensive exploration of the principles that I have applied in attaining whatever wisdom has been granted me, it is at my web site, www.everdeepening.org.
So then, the most important writings are:
With the culmination and reconciliation of:
- The Moral Arc
- Can ‘We’ Be Selfish?
- The Struggle for Truth
- Flirting with Trust
- Intelligence and Creativity
- Beyond Evil to Good
On Political Discourse
- Executive Privilege, Restrained
- The Most Painful Choice a Woman Can Face
- The Conservative Agenda
- Dawn of the Dread
- The Currency of Understanding
- Amartya Sen on the Necessary Distinction Between Austerity and Economic Reform
- SCOTUS on Marriage Equality
- Freedom from Government through the Governance of Love
- America Through the Papal Lens
- A Matter of Character
- Private Property as a Principle of Social Terrorism
- The Inevitability of Appropriation
- The Faceless Donor