Topic: 4. MODERN PHILOSOPHY VERSUS "GERMAN METAPHYSICS": THE ROAD TO PURITY

Post-World War II philosophy has the stated goal of purifying philosophy of bad thinking.  This is simply janitorial work and cannot serve as a long range statement of philosophical goals.  There is a suspicion of political aims above and beyond philosophical ones.  We aver now that this trend strives actually to purify philosophy of bad politics.  The corruptions of politics are seen to be the downfall of thinking about truth.   To strive for basic truth by seeking to achieve directness and simplicity in thinking would be an admirable objective--to remove what is superflous and extraneous to the main objectives of philosophy. We applaud this objective.  Art and religion have their own moments and movements of purification, as in abstract expressionism where (citing the painter Guston) art attempts to remove "corruptions" of real life. As stated, Positivism's goals of simplicity and directness are worthwhile.    I am suggesting here that Positivism, as heir to German philosophy, has been the outcome of postwar Western politics in general.  Philosophy along with art outdid itself in Germany to, in theory anyway, repudiate its own "acts of war."  This is what happens to the culture of a defeated nation.   The issue I have now is that to limit philosophy to what is logically and empirically certain is a self-defeating restriction.  The great truths of philosophy are always those that are beyond philosophy.    Again it must be inserted here that as a blog on Philosophical Anthropology we are wandering a bit out of our own subject matter.  In any case, a corruption of philosophy from outside sources, from that is the real world, are not just thinking errors, it is thought by Positivists, they are fascist political errors.  Positivism removes itself from anything like real everyday existence.   It is easy to understand Positivism in this way.  Positivism rightly rejects so-called Truth as an objective of philosophy; Positivism substitutes for Truth, on the other hand, "Certainty."   2 + 2 = 4 is a valid proposition, altogether certain knowledge.  The Positivist wants this absolute confidence in his knowledge.  But how often are human beings allowed to be certain?  Is there any certainty at all in the choices human beings make in everyday life.  Living is possible only for people who can come to terms with the uncertainty that is there.  To demand certainty in our choices, in other words, would be to cease to function in the real world.  Philosophy must be this way, too--at home, virtually, in a reality that is uncertain.  Truth indeed is a very distant goal for philosophy, which in the meantime must sort through the uncertainty that there is.  Logical Positivism and its American cousin Pragmatism simply quit speculation at the time certainty ends and uncertainty starts.  This is virtually to cease to live.  Force Theory answers Positivism the way Nietzsche answered it:  affirm life.  To live is to be uncertain, to fight uncertainty even where there is only more uncertainty in view.   Even as Truth is the perhaps unattainable goal of philosophy, "Certainty"--which is the default reality for Positivism--is the corpse and coffin of a philosophy that is dead.  Force Theory steps forward to answer that challenge!

The end in mind of philosophy under leadership of Positivism has been to achieve a kind of "virtue."  This is the virtue of impotence and withdrawal from life.  Such a philosophy would never, under this leadership, commit "acts of war."  Today's philosophy professors see fascism in the most banal acts of everyday existence.   This for Positivism is virtue.  But this view contradicts itself in making a virtue out of withdrawal.  The contradiction of Positivism consists in its very assertion that virtue is not subject matter for philosophy, even while, on the other hand, this view invents a new view of virtue.  Force Theory is ideologically alien to Positivism, but on the other hand can learn from Positivism.  Force Theory accepts life (bejaht Leben--Nietzsche) while on the other hand searching for the real source of value.)  Value and virtue, along with other subjectivisms, are rejected as "meaningless metaphysics" (Carnap).  Bruno Bauer says "the critique of religion is the history of religion"; we can say the same of traditional bourgeois values.    In the effort to purify language, to lay bare language's logical basis, all sorts of impurities--impure facts, impure reasoning and moral ideas--are thrown out as "meaningless."  Some positivists, like Carnap (who is perhaps their clearest thinker), does concede to metaphysics a certain emotional or poetic value.  Carnap calls metaphysics "concept-poetry." 

But such poetry is anti-truth and anti-certainty, which Carnap calls the goal of philosophy.  But in the rejection of value by Positivism there is laid bare, also, an anti-fascist agenda.  By Positivism's own conclusions,  fascism--which we have identified here as an everday event in the life of every person--should be accepted or rejected on an equal footing with every other "impure" reality.    Force Theory is comfortable with the everyday facts of life which prefigure, in crude form, the higher refinements of an evolved fascist society.  Force Theory is built upon the accomplishments of Hegel and Engels.  This is the  German "metaphysics," which Positivism infers is evil.   Force Theory rejects such considerations, choosing to avoid the whole subject of who or what is guilty of what acts of war;  we are mindful nevertheless that philosophy does contribute to real life.   Philosophy went through a moment where preceding the two world wars it surpassed itself in imagination and ambition ; then it subsided into defeatism and lethargy.  The great classical philosophers--Hegel and Schopenahuer to mention two--were implicated, as I say, along with many Germans,  of "acts of war."  Hence what Hegel said, or seems to have said, was itself an act of war.  I fail to see how philosophy cannot be an act of war.  That is because philosophy along with every human thought and act connects at some point with what people do.  Philosophy is human assertiveness and, in that sense, already fascist.  I have already talked [cite] about what I've called the fascism of everyday life, amoral and assertive.  Philosophy itself would be party to this primal human state of mind.  This--an expression of life rather than an enemy of life--is how philosophy stands from the vantage point of Force Theory.  Positivism and pragmatism, as "pure" forms of thinking--purified of any contamination by anything real and living--are rejected by Force Theory.  Following the positivist point of view we would have to conclude that there is a "fascism" of cooking, or a "fascism" of gardening.  These acts--cooking and gardening--are real facts of life capable of "corrupting" philosophical thinking. Any thing real can from the standpoint of posivisim be called fascism.
   
I have said that modern philosophy for its part aims at a "purity of thinking."  I will shortly try to describe what is meant by purity of thinking.  "Purity" can well be sumarized as logic on the one hand and "direct" observation on the other.  Hence modern positivistic and prgamatic philosophy tries to become, itself, either pure logic or pure science or a mix of the two.  "Certainty" in this context means purity.   1 + 1 = 2 is a pure thought.  Thoughts that are inferences from this simple equasion are pure thoughts.  Any thought that is not a pure thought in the sense of logic or arithmetic is relegated to the domain of "corrupt thoughts"--such impure thoughts however are what human beings ordinarily think.   To accomplish this goal of purity philosophy has tossed out whatever "corrupts" understanding.  Philosophy in these terms would set itself outside the entire sphere of normal, everyday activity and thought.   What is being asserted here is that thinking may be "absolute" where uncorrupted; but thinking on the other hand has evolved as a way to process and organize real issues of everyday life.    I will give an example.  We have the symbol A, in itself a pure symbol.  But the symbol to be useful needs to attach itself to something, some object or animal or idea, say. 

Logical Positivism has assumed its present high role in the universities following the political setback of Fascism and Fascist Theory.  German metaphysics was it seems implicated in alleged German and Fascist acts of war.  I want to look back on the history of philosophy to see if anything of the past can be saved.  Force theory does not accept responsibility for any "acts of war."  One line of recent day thinking that we affirm here in Force Theory (essentially Neofascist social theory) is that any course of major historical action assumes some philosophical premise.  We affirm the notion, popularized by Logical Positivism, that the Germans committed these alleged acts of war "as though" motivated by, say, something Hegel or Nietzsche said.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-24 18:59:29)

Re: 4. MODERN PHILOSOPHY VERSUS "GERMAN METAPHYSICS": THE ROAD TO PURITY

Force Theory takes from Positivism some of Positivism's assumptions and rejects others.  Force Theory says the following: 

1. The quest for so-called Truth is pointless because the word Truth cannot be defined.

2. To pursue "certainty," as Positivism does, is silly because nothing in life is going to be certain.

3. To reject value, or what is the same moral principles, as a proper pursuit of philosophy is a sound principle.  The reason why Force Theory and Positivism alike reject considerations of value as "impossible" is that "should be" can never an issue of fact, logical or empirical.

4. Force Theory realizes that Truth is perhaps an impossible goal:  but FT also does not object to its own metaphysics as being characterized, by Positivism, as "concept-poetry."  The mythology, if you will, of FT is an extension of life in general.   FT "metaphysics" of race is part of the "business of living," and in that sense a theory to be taken quite seriously.

5. The notion of Positivism as to the "need" to "purify" language, and to reduce language to its basic logical foundations, is a point well taken.

6. Language however periodically purifies itself.

7. The basis of culture is language; and as language purifies itself so also culture is purified.

8. Language--and the culture which bases itself on language--is purified by a process of self-negation.

9. Culture always negates itself.

...to be continued

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-08-26 18:58:00)

Re: 4. MODERN PHILOSOPHY VERSUS "GERMAN METAPHYSICS": THE ROAD TO PURITY

I had a moment of (feigned) surprise when I ascertained that, as per my internet search, no one out of thousands had anything good to say about fascism.  roll  Oh dear!  It seems only from my internet reading that fascism is a favorite schimpfwort applied to all sorts of people, from so-called "capitalists" to college deans and so forth.   Fascism would be presently some sort of spook that certain parties enjoy railing against as "the enemy."  "Fascism" appears to be more an epithet than any clear idea.   Now, the meaning of a word can often be found in the history of the word.  We may look at the history of the word fascism with this in mind.   The history of the word fascism is itself a moment of history.  We may go on to say that all words evolve from some common and vivid experience; that--this original perception--is what we are looking for here.  We search in vain for writers who use the word "fascist" and identify themselves as fascist.   In this fascism distinguishes itself categorically from communism, whose proponents could be--Engels is my main example--highly literate and even brilliant.   We cannot find what fascism is without looking for its source, and we must find this source not in literature but in history itself.  That fact makes our search more difficult.  We are left to interpret history.   Lacking as fascism does a clear definition, it is also unquestionably true that something in the past of Western man imparted a high emotional sense to this mere word.    I want to find, if only superficially, these "roots" of fascism.  Unfortunately there is no definitive document, a piece of writing or "manifesto" that spells out the objectives of this movement. 

The purely intellectual sources of Fascism are in conservativism.  We may list several thought trends in literature, from the racial philosophy of Lathrop Stoddard to the "organic" theory of Culture of Oswald Spengler.  Nietzsche's "heroic" philosophy may be mentioned.  There has been an apologetics of capitalism and of certain Christian ideas (though other Christian trends are in the direction of communism and liberalism).  Some anarchist thinkers, Stirner and Proudhon for instance, were decidedly proto-fascist.  Simple conservatism, which is often mere bovine stubborness and resistance to change, is the stock and trade of newspapers and television commentary.  We may call television conservatives the "loyal opposition."   But these writings and utterances that come from everywhere and everyone are just shreds and patches which--in the way simple conervatism has of doing--cannot be reduced to a cogent system, plan or body of doctrine.  Conservative ideas largely conflict with one another with no core of unity and, finally, come to nothing but ineffectual chatter for armchair spectators of history. 

From my adolescence onward I have read and cherished Spengler, Stoddard and Nietzsche.  I have pondered the Social Darwinists.  I have read the right-leaning anarchists Stirner et asl.  But those writers are in my past.  I have purused William Pierce's Thunderbolt.  "When I was a child I read childish things," to paraphrase the Biblical passage.  But that was my past.   My present intellectual inspiration comes largely from the communist writings of Friedrich Engels, who, after the great Hegel himself, turned "dialectic" into a coherent way of understanding historical events.    I personally have little interest in history or the past, or who was a good guy and who was a bad guy.  My interest is in theory, and here, in that area of literature, I have to say that Engels was the master and great teacher.  I will wind up saying finally that Mussolini was a greater force in history and one whose influence has scarcely begun.  Engels though was a man of my own stamp, "an ineffectual intellectual" as my father once called me.  We have the same aspirations and will have the same impact on history--none at all, probably.   

Engels' writings have been a great revelation for me.  Was not he an outspoken enemy of early fascism:  he congratulated Lincoln's victories over slavery and the South?  I think Engels was wrong in his assumptions and logic, merely, but exhilerating in his way of framing ideas.  Were I too capable of such feats! I think this great philosopher was wrong, merely, in his assessment of blacks and stupid white people.  The proletariat--and we are talking about the white working class--is for our purposes too challenged to assume leadership.  But these are all things I want to talk about shortly.  For now we may mention that Engels is now regarded [cite] as author of The Communist Manifesto.  This is a breathtakingly brilliant piece of thinking.  I must mention also, particularly, Engels' Socialism:  Utopian and Scientific.   Engels' great service was to reject the old Christian and liberal idea of "moral progress" and substitute in its place a notion of irresistable historical force.  The underlying (Hegelian) logic of that history Engels called "dialectic."

What does seem to be true of fascism is that, at one brief moment of history, there was some sort of basic conception, centered upon the personality and ideas of Benito Mussolini, as to "something that must be done" at, again, this moment of history.  The scholar almost does not exist who could research this subject with anything like objectivity.  Is there any need today for a clear, organized Fascist theory.  I am not saying there is a need.  All I am saying is that Force Theory would come closest of any idea or ideology to vindicating Mussolini and his brave mission.  We are not talking about Fascist practice here, but only of theory.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-08-28 16:37:35)