<= 2004.10.12

2004.10.18 =>

the genealogy of the mire

By the autumn of 1770 Hume was engaged in the building of "a small House," as he informed Strahan; "I mean a large House for an Author: For it is nearly as large as Mr. Millar's in Pall-mall. It is situated in our new Square," that is, St Andrew Square, one block north of Princes Street. During the following winter and spring, Hume actively supervised the erection of the dwelling-house, coach-house, and stables. As the North Bridge was not yet open, he customarily took the short cut to the New Town left by the draining of the Nor' Loch. On one of his daily trips to St Andrew Square during this period, Hume slipped from the path and fell into the bog, where he struggled in vain to extricate himself. In time, he was able to attract the attention of an old fishwife who, as she recognised "Hume the Atheist," doubted the propriety of helping him.

"But my good woman," expostulated the helpless man, "does not your religion as a Christian teach you to do good, even to your enemies?"

"That may well be," she replied, "but ye shallna get out o' that, till ye become a Christian yoursell: and repeat the Lord's Prayer and the Belief." Much to her astonishment Hume readily complied and was forthwith pulled out of the bog. Henceforth he was ever ready to acknowledge that the Edinburgh fishwife was the most acute theologian he had ever encountered.

—E.C. Mossner, The Life of David Hume.

Philosophy: what good is it? [1] [2]. It's true that I'm more comfortable with literature, or simply with the telling anecdote, that doesn't venture to say more than "certain people, in certain situations, act like this"—and then we chuckle or weep, depending on what happened. Beyond that I'm leery. I always assumed that I disliked the "novel of ideas" because it's an oil-and-water mixture, but it might actually be that I don't like ideas, period.

So how good to discover, at this late date, that philosophers can be just as uneasy with them. Sure, the Wittgenstein Group is an odd place to begin looking at the discipline, but it's either that or Socrates chasing pretty boys, right? I don't know; I don't know anything, and I'm hungry.

 

<= 2004.10.12

2004.10.18 =>

up (2004.10)

The Warm South
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