Sunday, February 5, 2017

EAIM: Modes of Experience

"You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together."
- Deuteronomy 22:11
Your sense of sight is color and form. Your sense of hearing is sound.  Though they both inform you about the nature of your world of experience, we can't thereby say, "I am hearing the color blue." It's a confused idea. The world of hearing has nothing to do with the world of sight. They are separate worlds of experience.

While this much is obvious, Michael Oakeshott clarifies other, less obvious, kinds of confusion. By the way he sees things, the worlds of Science, History, and Practice are towards each other like sight and hearing are towards each other.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Practical Man Looks Up

"What's this? Am I falling? My legs are giving way," thought he, and fell on his back. He opened his eyes, hoping to see how the struggle of the Frenchmen with the gunners ended, whether the red-haired gunner had been killed or not and whether the cannon had been captured or saved. But he saw nothing. Above him there was now nothing but the sky- the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with gray clouds gliding slowly across it. "How quiet, peaceful, and solemn; not at all as I ran," thought Prince Andrew- "not as we ran, shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last! Yes! All is vanity, all falsehood, except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing, but that. But even it does not exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace. Thank God!..."
- Tolstoy, War and Peace

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oakeshott Quote #1

"The modern history of Europe is littered with the projects of the politics of Rationalism. The most sublime of these is, perhaps, that of Robert Owen for 'a world convention to emancipate the human race from ignorance, poverty, division, sin and misery'--so sublime that even a Rationalist (but without much justification) might think it eccentric. But not less characteristic are the diligent search of the present generation for an innocuous power which may safely be made so great as to be able to control all other powers in the human world, and the common disposition to believe that political machinery can take the place of moral and political education. The notion of founding a society, whether of individuals or of States, upon a Declaration of the Rights of Man is a creature of the rationalist brain, so also are 'national' or racial self-determination when elevated into universal principles. The project of the so-called Re-union of the Christian Churches, of open diplomacy, of a single tax, of a civil service whose members 'have no qualifications other than their personal abilities', of a self-consciously planned society, the Beveridge Report, the Education act of 1944, Federalism, Nationalism, Votes for Women, the Catering Wages Act, the destruction of Austro-Hungarian Empire, the World State (of H.G. Wells or anyone else), and the revival of Gaelic as the official language of Eire, are alike the progeny of Rationalism. The odd generation of rationalism in politics is by sovereign power out of romanticism."

- Michael Oakeshott, 1962