“Elements of a Credo” was probably the first piece I wrote for my antique (i.e., not mobile-friendly) philosophy site in 2004. (Compare the edited version below with the original.) I wrestle with its applicability to my current thinking. That is, I’m unhappy with its pretension to theological “neutrality.” But reading it as though it were written by someone else, I think it good enough to share in the hope that it might provoke conversation.—AGF
“He who tells me only what I already know, what I already believe, and what I like to hear, may please me, but he does not contribute to my grasp of the subject. Whereas, he who compels me to face aspects of the matter which I would like to avoid really does something for me.”
I am a philosopher. That is, I seek to “frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted.” (Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality).
I am also a commentator on the passing scene. Apart from any degree of success I may enjoy as a philosopher, I feel compelled to venture provisional, qualified judgments in advance of the completion of my speculative philosophy.
As philosopher and commentator, I seek the truth. To do that, I need the cooperation of some and, more importantly, the noninterference of all.
Some may not refrain from interfering. They would even coerce my cooperators into shunning me. For the unfettered seeking of truth invariably leads to the expression of particular truths, or just the exposure of falsehood, which threatens to harm the (at least short-term) interests of the coercers.
That has ever been the nature of the truth-seeking business. It has never been merely about straightening out someone else’s muddled thinking within the ambit of a journal article and then repairing to one’s study for a cigar and a glass of sherry. Socrates made that clear. Nothing has changed since his day. Continue reading “My philosophical “credo”: all right (mostly) after all these years”