Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Best Description of a Philosopher Ever

"The jester makes jokes, he ridicules. But if his ridicule is based on sound ideas and thinking, then he can proceed to the second stage; he becomes a philosopher. And if he does these things with dazzling language then he becomes a poet too."

--George Carlin



At 10:53 AM , Blogger Dennis said...


At 11:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't recognize what I do when I am at my best as doing ridicule at all. Maybe I just don't understand what ridicule is. It seems to me that ridicule is a kind of put down aimed at making others feel badly. Or a kind of smugness. That's not what I am doing philosophically. Lani

At 10:00 PM , Blogger Joseph Orosco said...

Lani: You may be right that ridicule is too strong. I think that this might be an attitude more appropriate to the idea of a "jester" (as Carlin was) in the sense that the idea is to mock, usually with malicious intent. I took his remark more in the sense of what some call "Socratic irony". Socrates went around to the most influential men in Athens and, in the eyes of some, made them look ridiculous. Of course, the intent (according to The Apology) was not to humiliate them, but to demonstrate how they did not have the knowledge they claimed to have about wisdom. In this sense, philosophical practice can be about deflating people or ideas when they overreach or are unsound.

At 4:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This interpretation of course makes sense. On the other hand, one of my favorite professors in grad school was of the opinion that Socrates was not a nice person at all and that there were/are other ways to dialogically seek truth rather than setting others up for ridicule, or mockery or comeuppances of some kind. I haven't given it a lot of consideration whether I agree or whether I even care. However, when I run into philosophers who practice "philosophy" in this manner, I try to stay out of the line of fire. Otherwise, I'd feel like I was just taking the bait. That's what I learned from the Socratic dialogues where he's at his best/worst. Lani

At 7:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only True Philosopher is the one who has thoroughly understood the meaning and significance of death.
And who thereby has a Real basis for what he or she says and how he or she thus lives.

All other philosophies are based on the unresolved problem of death---no exception.





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