Friday, June 25, 2010
From the obit of an Anglo don, Lord Quinton.
What he loved about analytic philo- sophy was its solid appeal to "our common capacity to understand" and "our common agreement as to the obvious truth of some matters of fact" – just as what he hated about continental philosophy was its scorn for "the decencies of logical explicitness". Sartre, Heidegger and other "prophets of irrationality", he said, were guilty of "hypernegation", unable to deny that human nature is fixed, for instance, without asserting the absolute, hyperbolic opposite – that we are ineluctably creatures of non-being, forced to create ourselves with anguish. But "one's present non-being is a little hard to pin down," he objected.

And why should angst have metaphysical priority over the mystic's sense of unity with the universe, or over "the practical man's conviction that the world is his oyster"? For him, philosophy was "an essentially social undertaking", and dialogue "its bloodstream". Yet despite his bonhomie and clubbability, he himself was hard to pin down.
No kidding. What's the hyperbolic of hypernegation? Way to not read someone else, yet carry on criticizing them, merely demonstrating what you don't know, your Lordship.
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