The university president sighed as he went over the proposed budget offered him by the head of the department of physics.
"Why is it," he said, mournfully, "that you physicists always require so much expensive equipment? Now the department of mathematics requires nothing of me but money for paper, pencils, and erasers."
He thought a while longer and added, "And the department of philosophy is better still. It doesn't even ask for erasers." (Source: Asimov, The Humor Treasury.)
There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.--Daniel Dennett / Darwin's Dangerous Idea, p. 21.
[A]lthough Plato and the other teachers at the Academy disagreed on points of doctrine, they nevertheless all accepted, to various degrees, the choice of the way or form of life which Plato had proposed. It seems that this choice of life consisted, first, in adhering to the ethics of dialogue of which we have just spoken. ... Moreover, [philosophers] also experienced that love of the good which is presupposed in every attempt at dialogue. From this perspective, the object of the discussion and its doctrinal content are of secondary importance. What counts is the practice of dialogue, and the transformation which it brings. ... To live in a philosophical way meant, above all, to turn toward intellectual and spiritual life, carrying out a conversation which involved "the whole soul" -- which is to say, the whole of moral life.
Brunner argues that Kant’s rationalism has ironically fallen prey to what Spinoza criticizes as superstition and anthropomorphism. How can we account for a superstitious Kant? Brunner pinpoints Kant’s superstition in his belief in progress (Entwicklungsglaube). He traces the way how “the transformation of superstition out of religion emerges in the doctrine of progress as part of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy.”—Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity / Michael Mack, p. 8.
And we say: Spinoza or Kant! And we find it more agreeable if, when we say this, the Kant-people, in their fancy, seize us, break us and annihilate us, than if they were to do the opposite, and pamper and flatter us.--Brunner
The truly interesting thing is not the spirit, but rather the world. Is it not so? There is nothing at all to the spirit. One can say nothing about it: if you wants to speak about it, you have only a single word-: One!—And that's it. The spirit thus is boring, no? Only the world is interesting; that is, varied and multi-hued and complicated and very exciting. And it is also mysterious; where does it come from, and where do all its individual things come from? But also in the whole: how does it actually come to pass that the world is in the world? It is all in essence entirely obscure—in spite of all science. We can find so much within it, and where would we be without it?! But finally all is nevertheless a mystery; the entire relative world is pure mystery. Only the absolute spirit has not the slightest mystery. The absolute is entirely clear. It is precisely that, the Absolute, that is: it is without all relations and therefore—simply boring.--quoted in "Nirwana und die Substanz" / George Goetz. In his Philosophie und Judentum. My translation.
Why did the most prominent Kantians—Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, the best philosophical brains Germany has ever produced, become Spinozists? One will try in vain to find an answer to this question in our histories of philosophy, which do not even ask that legitimate and obvious question. And there is no other answer to it than this one: that it could not have been otherwise, since these truly philosophical men necessarily saw and felt how different Benedict Spinoza's stance within philosophy was from that of Kant, who—to say it in my blunt way—had nothing in common with philosophy.--Spinoza contra Kant.
I said that it was not clear to me how Goethe's scientific theory of evolution could be compatible with his Spinozism, and asked whether Spinozism would not exclude any thought of evolution. Father answered that this way of thinking arose first with the decline of theology. Within the theological system, one would have nothing to seek because therein the human counts as the highest, around which all other creatures are subordinated. Spinoza had had therefore no occasion to explain himself specifically against evolution. In his doctrine, evolutionary thinking has no place at all, no point at all where it could have been broached. "And especially with my view of the attributes as relativity, of which each is locked solely and uniquely unto itself, there can only be constancy of the species [Arten], no passing over of one into the other. Goethe was not aware that, with his morphology, which is already a theory of evolution, he is already in contradiction of Spinoza; and therefore stands by himself. Naturally, he could on the faulty metaphysical grounding of his scientific work still obtain for himself singularly magnificent results, just as the Ptolemaic or any other religious system (all religion encloses metaphysics in itself) can be scientifically fruitful, because science does not arise from understanding, but from orientation.
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