Saturday, August 3, 2019

On The Myth of Original Philosophy

When a school of philosophy makes the claim that the ideas of its founders are fully original and fully correct, then it's announcing to the world that it's led by immature thinkers and that it's philosophy has very little merit. No one cares whether a philosophy is original or not—what matters is whether the philosophy well argued? No one accepts a philosophy merely because it's original, but they may accept it if they are convinced that they can benefit from it. None of the major philosophers in history — Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Hume, and Kant — have claimed that they are propounding original ideas. In their treatises we find them making efforts to connect their ideas with the work of other eminent thinkers in their own time and from the past. A wise philosopher will always acknowledge the intellectual debt that he owes to the great minds of the past—he will respect his predecessors even when he is disagreeing with them. Aristotle begins every book with a discussion of what the thinkers before him have stated on the subject.

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