The limits of man
Posted by Helen on January 15, 1998 at 09:42:39:
In response to Not really, but some Hume and Locke, written by Erin on January 14, 1998 at 14:35:32
] What can I say? I can't write. :-(
Yeah right ;-)
]The author (of the letter), a recent college graduate claimed that too many of his lit. professors were bogged down with these influences, so much so that any analysis was perceived as dubious. (Stop the evil forces of relativism and Derrida!)
Right on, sister! Down with Derrida!
] That said, I thought I should post some philosophy, which undoubtedly influenced Austen's worldview. The first passage is from David Hume (who's the 'real' Kant, THE father of modern epistemological thought).
Philosophically an interesting thought: what do we mean by "real"? and what do we mean by "Kant"? ;-) Do you know the story about Hume, known as some kind of dangerous sceptic to his local village, getting caught in a swamp and being found by a little old woman who wouldn't help him out until he'd said the Lord's Prayer... always brings a smile to my face ;-)
] I've spent a few days re-reading some Enlightenment philosophers (including Hume and Locke) and I can't help but be struck by the similarities between their assertions and 20thc. existential thought, in particular the notion of finitude and the inevitability of boundaries to human experience and knowledge. It's similar to Nietzsche's theory of the Eternal Recurrence. Experiences seem to play themselves over and over again because there are a finite number of ways to perceive and interpret them, e.g., we will
] always understand reality in three dimensions --that's lmiting enough!
When you read the sources of a school of thought, it's amazing how good they are - the trouble is the way in which they get taken up and simplified by their followers - the transmutation from the philosophers who begin their enquiry into reason with an acknowledgement of its limits to the school of thought which takes their comments in praise of reason as proof of its all-sufficiency.
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