A Philosopher's Humanity

CRITIC AT LARGE

The desire to portray great thinkers as disembodied argument machines remains a powerful force in analytic philosophy. Think of it as a slice of amour-propre, part of the arrogant wish to be seen as timelessly, noncontingently right about everything. It can move acolytes to depict thinker-heroes as dynamos of pure intellect rather than peers, mere featherless bipeds whose thoughts bear clear markings from their beliefs, fears, and weaknesses.

This distinctive