self-criticism

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy and self-criticism

Everything should be grist for the philosopher's mill or fat for his griddle, not because everything can be or deserves to be exploited as an illustration useful to reinforcing some abstractivism or a priorism but rather because we must be perennially and in 360 degrees vigilant against the one-sidedness of the architectonic resources with which we infuse our intelligence. "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer"-and so too with the things we believe and disbelieve, trust and doubt: the more self-evident or obvious or indubitable or cogent a thesis or theme may be, the more prodigious the firepower with which it needs to get tested, and point-blank, in an undodgeable form. The ideas and values you love need to be as bulletproof as humanly possible, so anytime you can catch them off-guard, fire away.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, doubt, self-criticism, skepticism, ego, imagination, understanding, self-mastery, and thinking

All that the posture of skepticism accomplishes is to freeze the ego in an ignorantist poverty that never stretches or diversifies its resources of imagination or understanding.  Any uncultured cretin can close his eyes and try to reduce the issues down to linear simplisms and say, "I am doubting, I am proving my magisterial or sovereign control over my own mind."  Doubt is a useful and significant test of one's critical powers, but by itself it bears little if any significant cultural charge of enlightenment or satori; indeed it is the very opposite kind of thing.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, thinking, and self-criticism

Thinking is the subtlest form of self-polemics, the art of a certain finesse in psychological self-vivisection and self-crucifixion (Hegel of course called the path of self-disillusion the via dolorosa or "highway of despair," in Baillie's fine and florid rendering, like Jesus' route to Golgotha).

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, human nature, education, teaching, diversity, individualism, self-mastery, and self-criticism

What we actually learn from trying to carry out the program of philosophical education or teaching in the humanities or liberal arts (no matter how it may be done or via what materials), is demonstrably a lesson in diversification:  if there is anything "universalist" or "uniformitarian" about human nature, it defies being evidenced.  Students as individuals and as groups are very differentially susceptible to learning the arts of self-mastery and self-criticism:  if every human being were equitably competent to penetrate and discompose his own illusions and delusions, not just philosophy classes but education at large would be mostly superfluous.  People in general could just sit and think for themselves. 

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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