In the commentary to my post on "This God Business" I was admonished - and how! - by my e-pal, Deogolwulf, and instructed sternly to read the words of wisdom that flow from Mr. Edward Feser, a philosopher much admired by him. Always an obedient pupil, if not a very bright one, I did as I was told. How was it for me? Well, in my heading I ask whether philosophers are more like lawyers or car salesmen but I think I should have added footie fans to the list of possibles! The first few paragraphs consist mainly of Mr. Feser booting and nutting his philosophical opponents. Now I know that so-called high-minded swots just love going in with boots and bottles (it must be the unrequited yob in them) and vicious university common-room rows are the stuff of legend, but it is more than somewhat tedious for a reader seeking knowledge. To give you the flavour these are some of the words that occur in Mr. Feser's first few paragraphs: hacks, mediocrities, intellectual rubbish, this stupid argument, silly argument, utterly contemptible and sleazy, the feeble argument, intellectually dishonest and sleazy, stupid, a slimy debating trick - and needless to say they are aimed at those who disagree with his particular 'opinion'. (I slightly stress the word 'opinion' because that, at the end of the day (or the last two and half thousand years), is what it amounts to because, as far as I can tell, almost every philosophical thesis put forward suffers with an antithesis that simply will not go away!
Of course, Deogolwulf abjures emotion and warns us all against indulging in it but, alas, we're all human and the fact is that Mr. Feser's tone pisses me off! Rather like watching a pub fight on Saturday night, one is tempted to put the boot in against this hectoring bully boy. Mind you, I have a suspicion that his opponents are equally bitchy and it is that sort of constant handbags-at-dawn slapfest that was part of the reason I gave up on philosophy years ago.
I have yet to finish Mr. Feser's blogpost and reached only his first point of contention - after wading through all the nonsense in the first few paragraphs. His complaint against those who attack him, and his ilk, is for suggesting that what he, Mr. Feser, is proposing is that everything has a cause. Mr. Feser is outraged, I tell you, outraged! That is absolutely and definitely not what he is proposing, far from it. What he is actually putting forward is - now pay attention - what comes into existence has a cause. Yeeeees, quite! Well, I have read it, first with one eye and then the other, I have stood on my head and looked at it, I even gave the computer-thingie a slap and took another look, and still I can detect no difference in the essential meaning between the two phrases. If Mr. Feser is only concerned with things that do not come into existence, well, good luck to him, I say, but it is of no concern to me, I want to know about things that do exist. But you see what I mean about lawyers and car salesmen. I do think that all philosophical writings should henceforth come with a government health warning and a reference to the Sale of Goods Act!
I am short of time this morning - it's my 46th wedding anniversary and a posh lunch is called for - but if any of you swots out there can explain the difference I would be most grateful. However, I should warn you that I may be even less sensible this afternoon than I am this morning.
ADDITIONAL: For God's sake don't tell 'er indoors' that I said it was my 46th wedding anniversary because, of course, it is actually my 48th but then, time goes so quickly when you are enjoying yourself!