Ideas of David Roochnik, by Theme

[American, fl. 1990, Professor at Iowa State University.]

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
You have to be a Platonist to debate about reality, so every philosopher is a Platonist
     Full Idea: Everyone who enters into a debate about reality automatically becomes a Platonist. Since such debates are the essence of philosophy, every philosopher is a Platonist.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.199)
     A reaction: This is correct
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / b. Philosophy as transcendent
Philosophy aims to satisfy the chief human desire - the articulation of beauty itself
     Full Idea: Philosophy, the attempt to articulate the vision of beauty itself, is the attempt to satisfy the highest human desire.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.120)
     A reaction: A million miles away from modern philosophy, but still an ideal to be taken seriously.
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 2. Logos
'Logos' ranges from thought/reasoning, to words, to rational structures outside thought
     Full Idea: Logos can mean i) a thought or reasoning, ii) the word which expresses a thought, iii) a rational structure outside human thought. These meanings give 'logos' an extraordinary range.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], Intro. 12)
The hallmark of a person with logos is that they give reasons why one opinion is superior to another
     Full Idea: What is supposed to identify the person of logos from the one without is the commitment to giving reasons explaining why one opinion is superior to another.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], Intro. 17)
Logos is not unconditionally good, but good if there is another person willing to engage with it
     Full Idea: Logos is not unconditionally good, but good contingent on there being some other person (out there) who is willing to talk with logos, to approach it even as an opponent.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.175)
In the seventeenth century the only acceptable form of logos was technical knowledge
     Full Idea: In the seventeenth century only a certain type of logos was deemed legitimate, namely that identified with technical knowledge (or 'techné').
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], Intro. 15)
Human desire has an ordered structure, with logos at the pinnacle
     Full Idea: Human desire has an ordered structure, with logos at the pinnacle.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.109)
Logos cannot refute the relativist, and so must admit that it too is a matter of desire (for truth and agreement)
     Full Idea: Logos cannot refute the radical, consistent and self-conscious relativist. Therefore it must admit that, like the relativist, it itself is essentially a matter of desire. It wants to say what is right and wrong, true and false, and for others to agree.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.108)
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 4. Aims of Reason
We prefer reason or poetry according to whether basics are intelligible or not
     Full Idea: Is the arché (basis) intelligible, or is it chaos? Upon this question hinges all, for answering it determines whether poetry or logos is the form of human speech that best does justice to the world.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.139)
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 8. Naturalising Reason
Modern science, by aiming for clarity about the external world, has abandoned rationality in the human world
     Full Idea: The modern scientific world view, with all its hope for clarity and precision, has a flipside, …which is its abandonment of rationality in the world of human significance.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.74)
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 9. Limits of Reason
Unfortunately for reason, argument can't be used to establish the value of argument
     Full Idea: Unfortunately for the logos there is no argument that can, without begging the question, establish the goodness of argumentation.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.106)
Attempts to suspend all presuppositions are hopeless, because a common ground must be agreed for the process
     Full Idea: To debate about suspending all our presuppositions requires a common ground which, upon being established, immediately renders the debate superfluous.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.144)
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
Reality can be viewed neutrally, or as an object of desire
     Full Idea: There are two extremes: the Aristotelian views reality simply as reality, and the sophist or poet view reality only as an object of desire.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.199)
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 6. Relativism Critique
Relativism is a disease which destroys the possibility of rational debate
     Full Idea: Relativism is disease, is pollution, for it negates the efficacy of logos. It destroys the possibility of a complete rational debate of fundamental questions.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.41)
19. Language / F. Communication / 1. Rhetoric
Reasoning aims not at the understanding of objects, but at the desire to give beautiful speeches
     Full Idea: Logos originates not in a cognitive capacity for the apprehension of objects, but in the desire to give birth to beautiful speeches.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.124)
     A reaction: It is hard for us to grasp this, but it might be quite life-enhancing if we could return to that old way of thought.
If relativism is the correct account of human values, then rhetoric is more important than reasoning
     Full Idea: If relativism offers an accurate description of human values, then rhetoric replaces logos as the most fundamental human activity.
     From: David Roochnik (The Tragedy of Reason [1990], p.47)
     A reaction: Or putting it another way, logos (reason) becomes meaningless. I suppose, though, that a relativist can conduct conditional reasoning (but must belief in some rules of reason).