Monday, April 2, 2012

Philosophical Courage

I've started readings some Schopenhauer. I'm pretty excited about it.

He is often labeled as a pessimist. But I'm not sure what I'm seeing in him so far.

I've definitely seen a concise defense of compassion in his essay 'On The Suffering Of The World'.

But what I'm really gaining from him is courage.

Courage to keep going on thinking and living and choosing.

Sometimes things are confusing.

But it helps to commune with these dead minds that had the courage to ask the tough questions, to face the meaninglessness of life, to look into the abyss.

I recently also read Collingwood's lecture 'Goodness, Rightness, Utility'. It was most excellent, and has greatly improved my grasp on the main arguments of The New Leviathan.

As I was reading it I would occasionally remember that it was delivered as a lecture. I couldn't help but imagine myself sitting in a room, listening to Collingwood speak. It was so interesting. I've seen pictures of him. I roughly know what he looked like in 1940, when the lecture was delivered. He even tells you that he is wearing a cap and gown, as the occasion required.

Reading that lecture, gave me a sort of energy, a sort of courage, a much needed breath of fresh air into my thinking.

Because lately my thinking has felt stale. I didn't know what I was thinking about. I wasn't reading anything in particular. Glancing at a book, Women, Fire, And Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About The Mind. I was looking at it today. Interesting sort of linguistic cognitive science from 1987. Prototype theory. Expanding on prototype theory with the theory of mental modeling.

Mental modeling is something I've already explored in Claxton, Humphrey, and Frith. Very interesting stuff.

I digress.

My recent reading of Collingwood and Schopenhauer has given me a remarkable intellectual energy. I can feel all kinds of thoughts moving towards something more coherent.

It gives me hope for my thinking. And for the possibility of some serious writing in the near future.

But I'm not sure what it means for my graduate school decision making.

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