Thursday, 20 December 2018

Five Christmas Profs and a Paradox in a Pear Tree


(repost)
At this time of the year philosophers visit their own personal grotto in Flatland where the ‘Christmas Lie’ is impugned. Usually they slay the myth of the sleigh: brace yourself Virginia. In 2010 I I watched:
philosophy tv
on the theme of Xmas. Of the 5 profs only one had any sense of the supernatural aspect and he reserved himself to the notion of the feast as a spur to reflection. No doubt he could have said more but there is the tacit rule that we must stay within the bounds of the naturalistic. A couple of the others chose to reflect on the Xmas lie which might mean Santa or Sanctissimus and I now understand why the common run of philosophers prefer science fiction. It is the only way they can immerse themselves in myth. Roy Sorensen, well it's the way he tells them, sorites as recursion. Ho, ho; ho, hum. Professor Brennan presented theodicy as the legend of Uncle Theo. It's essentially the present you get every year in a new wrapping. If we look at God and what he gets up to without the nouministic empowerment of the scriptures we are left with a cosmic tyrant. He told this story effectively and well and of course within the schema of naturalistic explanation he is entirely correct. It is true after its own fashion but it is also true that there is a larger truth that is self confirming which becomes more established the more we turn our faces to it. I read elsewhere that "We have the intelligence and the scientific and technological knowledge to avoid or escape many natural disasters." This childlike faith that under the tree of science will be found the counter-balance to the evil and mayhem that is facilitated by science is misplaced. In the crib it is to be found. (Without prejudice to Balarama, Balakrishna etc)


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