Filosofi och samhälle

I söndagens Filosofiska rummet diskuterade Torbjörn Tännsjö och Hans Ruin ”den djupa klyftan” mellan kontintental och analytisk filosofi. Diskussionen var egentligen inte särskilt bra eftersom såväl Tännsjö som Ruin var mer intresserade av att peka på bristerna i den andres tanketradition. För mig som lyssnare och hemmahörande i den kontinentala tanketraditionen innebar det bara att jag höll med Ruin och tyckte att Tännsjö hade fel. Här hade kanske Dan Zahavis strävan att se likheter mellan de två filosofiska skolorna gjort gott.

Hur som helst. På en fråga om vilka råd Tännsjö skulle ge i frågan om eutanasi (aktiv dödshjälp) svarade han att han inte ville ge något svar utan hellre hjälpa till att tänka kring frågorna. Det må vara en fördom om analytiska filosofer, men det är just detta distanserade och bortkopplade ”professionella tänkande” som tycks karaktärisera den analytiska filosofin snarare än det genuina intresse för det mänskliga livet som varit vägledande alltsedan Platon. Alasdair MacIntyre skriver träffande om detta i sin bok om Edith Stein, och jag kan därför inte låta bli att citera ett ganska långt men läsvärt avsnitt:

For philosophy, if it is to be recognizable as philosophy, must always be understood as a continuation of Plato’s enterprise. And Plato’s conclusion that engagement in the life of philosophy necessarily involves a radical critique of the everyday social life of political societies, and a consequent withdrawal from that life into a particular type of philosophical community, remains one with which, explicitly or implicitly, everyone who engages in philosophy has somehow or other to come to terms. One way of coming to terms with it is of course to endorse by making explicit the dominant contemporary view [of philosophy as a specialized, professionalized, academic discipline] and so denying the relevance of philosophy to everyday practical activity. But this has a clear initial implausibility. How so?

That implausibility derives from the fact that our everyday activities, including our political activities, often presuppose and give expression to beliefs which already have an evidently philosophical character. Characteristically and generally the rules which tacitly or explicitly guide each of us in inferring from past experience to the legitimacy of future expectations, the grounds upon which we rely in ascribing to others those thoughts and feelings to which we respond in our own cooperative or uncooperative actions, the frameworks in terms of which we order our experiences, the type and degree of authority which we concede or deny to particular moral standpoints, the patterns of the reasoning which supports our evaluations of a variety of religious and political claims, and the relationships between all of these are such as either to accord with or to be at odds with theses and arguments debated within philosophy. Partly this is because the very language that we cannot avoid speaking, our everyday vocabulary and idiom, is itself not philosophically innocent, but to a significant degree inherited from and still informed by past philosophical theories whose presence in our modes of speech, belief and action is no longer recognized. What, for example, are taken to be prosaic maxims of mere common sense are often enough fragments of past philosophies, still carrying with them some of the presuppositions of the contexts from which they were abstracted. But it is also because our everyday idioms, beliefs and assumptions, even when not informed by past philosophies, are, to an extent that is not always remarked, theory-laden, committing us thereby to unrecognized philosophical allegiances. So that someone who avails her or himself of some opportunity to participate in systematic institutionalized philosophical enquiry is always apt to find some degree of tension and incoherence between the beliefs and modes of reasoning which she or he has brought with her or him to that participation and those conclusions and arguments to which she or he has come to give her or his allegiance in the course of philosophical enquiry. Such tensions and incoherencies can of course always be disregarded by resolutely turning away from philosophical enquiry. (Alasdair MacIntyre, Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue 1913–1922, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, 2–3)

MacIntyre kritiserar inte bara den analytiska filosofin, utan all akademisk filosofi som så att säga skurits av från all relevans i samhälle och människors vardagsliv. I dag är det många som hävdar att filosofin helt enkelt spelat ut sin roll och ersats av vetenskapen. Vad de själva inte kan se är att även varje vetenskap grundar sig på antaganden med sin egen idé- och begreppsmässiga historia; det finns ingen perspektivlös kunskap.

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