On the faults of arcane philosophy

When philosophical writing reads to an intelligent non-philosopher as circuitous or mired in jargon at the expense of meaning, it probably is. I take it for granted that philosophy should be intelligible though not simplistic or reductionist—which complicated language or jargon does not avoid, in any case—and that the effort required to understand it should be a necessary function of what it describes and creates for the reader, and not generated by the detours and cul-de-sacs of its own language. Clarity in writing and the precise composition of thoughts are essential steps toward understanding one’s own ideas, so without them, what business does a philosopher have writing for anyone else?

Moreover, the subjects to which the philosopher is led indicates whether he or she has any business writing for others instead of entertaining himself or herself with ideas of personal fascination or preoccupation. If the importance of matters of great concern to the philosopher is not equally clear to the reader as the argument unfolds, that philosophy is probably far less weighty than the philosopher imagines. The reader disagreeing with that philosophy indicates little, as he may have failed to understand it due to a lack of attention, or misattribution. But the reader should at least grasp why the subject was committed to words.

Philosophy is a creative task as well as a union of scientific knowledge; it is the poetical science, if it is the poets who compose the spirit of the future. Thus the faults of tedious writing are faults in a philosopher.

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One response to “On the faults of arcane philosophy

  1. Pingback: Jargon in Philosophy | Wisdom Dancer

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