By I.C. Jarvie, N. Laor
I guess Joseph Agassi's most sensible and dearest self-description, his cher ished want, is to perform what his 1988 booklet delivers: The light paintings of Philosophical Polemics. yet for me, and for therefore many that be aware of him, our Agassi is tough-minded, no longer smooth, now not so light. precise to his loved serious pondering, he's ever the falsificationist, trying out himself after all up to everybody else. How, he asks himself, can he interact others of their personal self-critical exploration? worsen? query their common sense, their evidence, their presuppositions, their rationales? Subvert their reasoning, discover their factors? aid them to lose their stability, yet continuously support them, cause them to do it to, and for, themselves. Out in their personal mouths, and minds, and mind's eye. a special instructor, in school room and out; no longer for everybody. Agassi isn't relatively a good textual Talmudist disputant, no longer really the competitor available on the market of rules provided for persuasive sale, no longer fairly the smart cross-examining attorney suggest, now not fairly a philosopher-scientist, now not a sceptic greater than precious, no longer relatively embat tled within the bloody global yet by no means above the conflict both . . . yet a great deal of all of those, and steeped in intelligence and reliable will.
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Additional resources for Critical Rationalism, Metaphysics and Science: Essays for Joseph Agassi, Volume I
Criticism had best be retrospective. What rules the process of speech, how does the ruling work, and for what reason or reasons is it initiated? It is easy to ask and hard to answer why we use just the words we do rather than familiar synonyms for them. Are the particular choices of words made because of associations of sounds or meanings? And why do the words come out organized in one allowable sequence rather than another equally allowable one? Do the alternative possibilities of words and word sequences increase the possibilities of thought by increasing the range of its possible transformations?
But Newton had not used a single principle, he had used many; his success was not due to a coherent procedure, but to numerous ad hoc adaptations and, besides, there were still many unsolved problems. A chimera, not a real thing rattled the bystanders. II Interestingly enough the generalities that emerge from scientific practice (as opposed to the global generalities the older philosophers used when talking about the sciences) are also contingent features of this practice which linger for a while, then change and eventually disappear (example: the disappearance, after the arrival of large scale experimental enterprises, of the demand for repeatable experiments).
And does the suppression of what is genuinely subjective not already start in personal relations and then even more so in the realm of politics which cannot exist without something that is shared by all? "Speaking with understanding they must hold fast to what is shared by all, as a city holds to its laws, and even more firmly" writes Heraclitus (fr. 114, Charles H. ). Agreed. But all depends on how "what is shared" is reached and how it rules once accepted. In a dictatorship "what is shared" is imposed; it rules because its subjects are not allowed to act otherwise.