Friday, July 29, 2011

Why I Am An Erosopher

The goddess Sophia
It is rare to find your own view's mirrored by another, some might call this the Zeitgeist, something simply in the air at a given moment of time come to ripeness and given expression. 

The occasion for these sentiments comes from the reading of a friend's recently published prize winning paper, Philosophy as the In-Between.  In it, Professor Kristof Vanhoutte explains that to "do" philosophy is inseparable from the doing of history of philosophy for, as Heidegger maintains, we create dialogue with the past to renew "momentum" in the present.  It is a return of philosophy back to its beginnings with the Greeks, and the renewal of that sense of wonder they called Eros.

Of the four ancient Greek words for love, "φιλία" Philía, describes a virtuous love, and is of course that love, conjoined with "Σοφíα" Sophia-wisdom, that gives us the word philosophy.  In contrast, "ἔρως" Eros is sensual desire and longing, and it is this conception of philosophy as almost a lust for wisdom that Vanhoutte makes explicit for us in his discussion of Plato's Symposium:
Eros is a philosopher, a lover of wisdom, because he finds himself between wisdom and ignorance. He is a philosopher because he loves one of the most beautiful things that exist: wisdom. In fact, by doing philosophy, by philosophizing, he can calm the continuous dissatisfaction in himself that is caused by the fact that he does not possess wisdom. As such, Eros is a philosopher because he participates in the love of wisdom: philosophy.
Again, the concept of "momentum", an energetic description for the lustful conception of philosophy as Eros, is the faculty for wonder that made the philosophic enterprise come into being in the first place.  It is a faculty all lovers of wisdom must cultivate, developed through conversation with the past, and why I call myself Erosopher.

2 comments:

J Ellis Cameron-Perry said...

Splendid.

Lancelot Kirby said...

Thanks! I'm glad to see someone is still reading these old posts.