A Philosophical Testament

A Philosophical Testament

A Philosophical Testament

A Philosophical Testament

Synopsis

Gadfly, heretic, persuasive expositor, and illuminating teacher, Marjorie Grene has been writing about philosophical issues and influencing philosophical debate since the 1930s.

In this unrepentant and provocative essay, Grene brings together some of the themes in philosophy, biology, and other disciplines which have influenced her other work, together with recollections of her contacts with some of the thinkers and ideas which have most impressed her.

Excerpt

What is this book about? It's an apologia pro pbilosophia sua, I suppose. But why? Purely out of self-indulgence, perhaps, because it's fun to sit at one's computer and chatter on without responsibility to any allegedly scholarly commitments or teaching or publishing deadlines. I have already been accused by my critics in British philosophy of having a 'chatty style', and rather than making liars of my colleagues I may as well justify their complaint with bells on. I never claimed to be a scholar in any case; so I haven't that reason to write stuffily. And by now (or at least for now) I might as well give up all pretence and appear as what I am: a very aged, rather weary teacher of the history of philosophy. There are three things I remember very clearly about Davis, where I taught, with some spells off for good (or bad) behavior, for thirteen years -- my longest term in any of the twenty institutions I've taught in -- back in the long ago days when we had our offices up on the top floor of UCD's only quasi-skyscraper. One is the way, when the smog lifted, the Sierra suddenly appeared at the end of the corridor; another is the time Ernst Mayr (who was there as Storer Life Sciences Lecturer) came to see me in order to tell me that I knew nothing about biology (which, effectively, is true) and should stay away from tinkering with evolutionary questions (which I didn't). Now, I'm proud to proclaim, Mayr agrees that it was all right that I didn't; even relative ignoramuses can sometimes do useful conceptual analysis, as long as they respect and listen to some people who do know. And the third -- which is what I was after here, still explaining who I am, professionally speaking, and why (if it's not a wholly 'irrational' enterprise; I have never understood what 'rationality' means, so perhaps don't understand its contrary either) I am writing this -- the third is a conversation with Bert Dreyfus on the tie line from Davis to Berkeley. I said something about not being very confident about giving graduate seminars, and Dreyfus replied, quick as a wink, "That's right, Marjorie, you and I have upper-division minds." I'll even settle for lower-division, if it's history, preferably early modern, and not Intro, which I dislike and have never learned how to do right.

But then the obvious question is, who cares about the reflections or . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.