Quora answer: What is the difference between modern philosophy (found in American universities) and the ancient philosophy done by Socrates?

Apr 07 2013

Philosophy found in American Universities, at least in Philosophy Departments is mostly Analytical Philosophy, which is like the bones of dead animals discovered in the desert beside a road that leads nowhere compared to the philosophy of Plato, in which he masqueraded as Socrates, which in spite of being more that 2300 years old is more alive than any other philosophy in the whole history of philosophy.

Bernstein in his taped lectures which I have been listening to on Kant’s Critique of Judgement says that it is this book that marks the dividing point between Analytical Philosophy and so-called Continental Philosophy. The question revolves around whether Philosophy should be interested in Life and Art. Did Kant merely dispose of the issue of Life and Art, or was his attempt a critique of that very disposal at the heart of philosophy? In Europe they just call ‘Continental Philosophy’ just Philosophy, they are merely carrying on the European tradition.

English and American Analytical Philosophy, the handmaiden of Science, is just a dead-end, child of the Cold war which is no longer necessary now that it is over. Child of McCarthyism, and thus a stepchild of American Fascism. Meanwhile in Europe a renaissance where Communists in France built on and struggled with the Nazi Philosophy of  Heidegger, you know the Heidegger that betrayed his teacher Husserl who was classified as a Jew even though he was a Christian because his family was Jewish. We put De Galle in charge in France, but it was the Communists who won as the resistance fighters and went on to become the cultural heroes, and some of them were heroes who could spell the word philosophy. And so Fascist Philosophy morphed Communist values outside of the Soviets Bloc into something wild and wonderful that surpassed anything that had existed previously in philosophy and which we will be coming to terms with for a long time, even though now it is showing signs of waning with the likes of Zizek and Badiou as the only highly celebrated philosophical personas left on the scene.

Compare that wild and wonderful excursion into the jungles of thought to Analytical Philosophy which is boring as all get out, and it is like comparing life to death. Because Continental (European) philosophy is concerned with the richness of our cultural life, not just winning pointless arguments long forgotten except in the halls of Academe.

Plato runs the poets out of the City, and decries art as mere illusion, but he uses art and writes poetically and mythically carefully hiding his references to the Egyptian roots of his philosophy. Philosophy seems to have taken Plato too seriously, and did not get the irony concerning Art and Life and his rejection of it. Did Kant in his Critique of Judgement reverse this trend by bringing back Art and Life into the picture, a hint that both Hegel and then Nietzsche took literally. Or did Kant seriously believe that he could deal with Life and Art and return to the loftier yet necroleptic world that Analytical Philosophers live in. In Europe Continental Philosophers started taking life more and more seriously, and their thoughts continued to revolve around cultural and psychological life, rather than merely returning to the dead who haunt academic halls and say philosophically significant things that no one else will ever hear. Do we want to continue with this zombified view of Life and Art that is called philosophy in America today. English students say no and so they have adopted Continental Philosophy whole hog, and when we consider the number of English students and programs versus those in Philosophy we can understand why Analytical Philosophy is dying a well deserved death. English departments do not send letters to prospective students warning them that they will never get a job if they study English, as Philosophy departments do when they are honest. Why well deserved because it is really an anti-philosophy, it does not believe in Metaphysics, wants to reduce everything to simple English sentences, has as its only goal the winning of arguments rather than understanding life, the universe and everything and wants to remain the slave of Science, forever pursuing the casuistry for the inhuman which is destroying the lifeworld as Husserl said in Krisis.



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