At present, when the prevailing forms of society have become hindrances to the free expression of human powers, it is precisely the abstract branches of science, mathematics and theoretical physics, which ... offer a less distorted form of knowledge than other branches of science which are interwoven with the pattern of daily life, and the practicality of which seemingly testifies to their realistic character.
Although the formulations of science now offer the most advanced knowledge of nature, men continue to use obsolete forms of thought long discarded by scientific theory. In so far as these obsolete forms are superfluous for science, the fact that they persist violated the principle of the economy of thought, that characteristic trait of the bourgeois temper.
The endeavor of scientific research to see events in their more general connection in order to determine their laws, is a legitimate and useful occupation. Any protest against such efforts, in the name of freefom from restrictive conditions, would be fruitless if science did not naГЇvely identify the abstractions called rules and laws with the actually efficacious forces, and confuse the probability that B will follow A with the actual effort make B follow A.
Whoever desires to live among men has to obey their laws this is what the secular morality of Western civilization comes down to. ... Rationality in the form of such obedience swallows up everything, even the freedom to think.
The inversion of external compulsion into the compulsion of conscience ... produces the machine-like assiduity and pliable allegiance required by the new rationality.
Calvin's theocentric irrationalism eventually revealed itself as the cunning to technocratic reason which had to shape its human material. Misery and the poor laws did not suffice to drive men into the workshops of the early capitalistic era. The new spirit helped to supplement external pressures with a concern for wife and child to which the moral autonomy of the introverted subject in reality was tantamount.
With the abolition of otium and of the ego no aloof thinking is left. ... Without otium philosophical thought is impossible, cannot be conceived or understood.
The world is so possessed by the power of what is and the efforts of adjustment to it, that the adolescent's rebellion, which once fought the father because his practices contradicted his own ideology, can no longer crop up. ... Psychologically, the father is ... replaced by the world of things.
If the subjectivist view hold true, thinking cannot be of any help in determining the desirability of any goal in itself. The acceptability of ideals, the criteria for our actions and beliefs, the leading principles of ethics and politics, all our ultimate decisions are made to depend upon factors other than reason. They are supposed to be matters of choice and predilection, and it has become meaningless to speak of truth in making practical, moral or esthetic decisions.
Reason has never really directed social reality, but now reason has been so thoroughly purged of any specific trend or preference that it has finally renounced even the task of passing judgment on man's actions and way of life. Reason has turned them over for ultimate sanction to the conflicting interests to which our world actually seems abandoned.
In most cases, to be reasonable means not to be obstinate, which in turn points to conformity with reality as it is. The principle of adjustment is taken for granted. When the idea of reason was conceived, it was intended to achieve more than the mere regulation of the relation between means and ends: it was regarded as the instrument for understanding the ends, for determining them.
Subjective reason ... is inclined to abandon the fight with religion by setting up two different brackets, one for science and philosophy, and one for institutionalized mythology, thus recognizing both of them. For the philosophy of objective reason there is no such way out. Since it hold to the concept of objective truth, it must take a positive or a negative stand with regard to the content of established religion.
Spinoza , for example, thought that insight into the essence of reality, into the harmonious structure of the eternal universe, necessarily awakens love for this universe. For him, ethical conduct is entirely determined by such insight into nature, just as our devotion to a person may be determined by insight into his greatness or genius. Fears and petty passions, alien to the great love of the universe, which is logos itself, will vanish, according to Spinoza, once our understanding of reality is deep enough.
The quality of the human that precludes identifying the individual with the class is 'metaphysical' and has no place in empiricist epistemology. The pigeon hole into which a man is shoved circumscribes his fate.
As soon as a thought or word becomes a tool, one can dispense with actually 'thinking' it, that is, with going through the logical acts involved in verbal formulation of it. As has been pointed out, often and correctly, the advantage of mathematics the model of all neo-positivistic thinking lies in just this 'intellectual economy.' Complicated logical operations are carried out without actual performance of the intellectual acts upon which the mathematical and logical symbols are based. ... Reason ... becomes a fetish,
The more the concept of reason becomes emasculated, the more easily it lends itself to ideological manipulation and to propagation of even the most blatant lies. ... Subjective reason conforms to anything.
Once the philosophical foundation of democracy has collapsed, the statement that dictatorship is bad is rationally valid only for those who are not its beneficiaries, and there is no theoretical obstacle to the transformation of this statement into its opposite.
The pathfinders of modern thought did not derive what is good from the law. ... Their role in history was not that of adapting their words and actions to the text of old documents or generally accepted doctrines: they themselves created the documents and brought about the acceptance of their doctrines.
When the great religious and philosophical conceptions were alive, thinking people did not extol humility and brotherly love, justice and humanity because it was realistic to maintain such principles and odd and dangerous to deviate from them, or because these maxims were more in harmony with their supposedly free tastes than others. They held to such ideas because they saw in them elements of truth, because they connected them with the idea of logos, whether in the form of God or of a transcendental mind, or even of n
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