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Philosophy Notes



63 The harm supposed to have been done by philosophy, Some of the accusations levelled against Aristotle, Descartes, the dissociation for which they are held responsible, actually provide a new motive for admiring these thinkers. Perhaps errors of such magnitude are even more valuable than truths? Creativity of Maya.

115& Capra’s book The Tao of Physics. Illuminating on physics, weak on oriental mysticism. No study of western philosophers, no mention of Kant. Mysticism has been linked up with science before, and far more effectively, as by Sidney Klein in Science and the Infinite.

Looking to sub atomic physics for the ultimate truth of things. is fatal. Everything throws itself back into the same confusion and the word is confusion. Blake’s image of Newton.

Hippy oriental mysticism is a rabble philosophy. A rabble philosophy ought to transmute into a hierarchical one, which is paganism. Then it would not grasp for such things as are beyond its comprehension but pay them due respect.


Philosophical problem of the nature of explanation. Wittgenstein, Nietzsche and Hegel, all think in terms of overcoming tensions. Hegel by new synthesis, Wittgenstein by dissolving problems, Nietzsche by overcoming poisons. Perhaps the diet of the enlightened man should consist largely of poisons, like Paul’s epistles. But no problems are solved simply pointing to some mystical authority, Leary style, suggesting the solution lies in faith and obedience. That is a very crude mode of thought, a form of rabble philosophy. Hippy oriental mysticism, a new Church of Beulah.


Our concepts used for handling our everyday experience, time, matter, space etc, contain an intrinsic connected logic/grammar of their own. The pain of philosophical confusion springs from not knowing our way around our own concepts. Scientists apply new and special meanings to our everyday concepts and find mathematical connections between these new forms,


Too many people are happy to live with paradox, and look for simplistic magical style solutions. Science fiction perpetuates these half understood confusions. Thus the notion will persist of unfathomable mysteries and paradoxes, opaque to all but a few top physicists...



51 Solipsism

116 Philosophy and self deception. The basic root of self deception the obsession with being. To find people hateful is seen as false and as a lack of correct perspective. From certain perspectives people are hateful. Self deception here consists in viewing this as the permanently valid attitude. But the normal person here is as much self deceived as the one he considers jaundiced. Thus the Wittgensteinian notion of philosophy as a return and also a deepening. The idea (Gellner and Marcuse) that linguistic philosophy gives all its support to the established values is nonsense.


188& The philosopher it is said must communicate his wisdom, write it down. Why? That he may clearly be seen to be a philosopher? Otherwise no one will believe that he is, and his persistent unreasonableness will be seen as self delusion, or will even be such.


194& Sorel on the scholastic and the mystical (in Reflections on Violence).

Kant and Einstein.

Deism of Newton and Locke, heirs of Democritus and Leucippus. Blake’s hostility



53 Feyerabend quote on modern science and its abandonment of philosophy for business considerations.

Defence of Popperian analysis.


90& Dishonesty of Feyerabend introducing left wing presuppositions unacknowledged.


97 Post Galileo, neutrality of reality. I am suspicious of any supposed advance in pure philosophy which dismisses all this as merely mistake.


193 Thought can so to speak underpin experience. When thought is free it really can do this, which is what Plato really means, it can create experience itself. Matter in the Gnostic sense becomes the faeces of necessity, as when the possibility of thought appears bound and restricted by practical considerations to a particular social and cultural framework.. Platonic and hermetic traditions,


226 Idea of private meanings criticised.


232& Nature of meaning. Philosophy should open us to all possibilities of thought, feeling and experience. Opening the door to all viewpoints, breaking down limits rather than setting us tasks. Antimetaphysical philosophy seeks to establish the right and solidity of ideas and purposes independently of metaphysical justification, it thus supports freedom and the right to deviate,


Russell’s conception of philosophy was to make empiricism work logically. This to him was what generated interesting philosophy, he claimed not to understand late Wittgenstein because Wittgenstein bypassed this aim.


261 Modern ideas, plebeian ideas, idea which only scratch the surface of things, ideas to which the mass are attracted.

Philosophy dominant and recessive. Recessive when allowing different possibilities, even shallow ones to work. As when we hold that the possibilities really are incompatible and that no attempt can be made to combine them…In its political form it becomes dominant In this place it is intolerant, ruthless in the protection of its recessive sister.



129 I do not see it as my will to be merely a philosopher in the sense of one who has produced a set of intellectual concepts ingeniously strung together, the opium aim of Coleridge and others. (Note the feeling under opium that opium is a lie). I want to be able to guide people, by inspiration to a mode of life a game, if you will, which is perfect in itself, ie perfectly satisfactory, that feels satisfactory. Philosophers generally manage to achieve this, insofar as they do, not by associating some feeling or other with their thought, in a Pavlovian or Lockian sense, but through their ability to convey the feeling that truth has been found.


135&& The ultimate oracle. Philosophy and the claim to ultimate truth




51 Art is something largely outside the conscious will of the artist, a language to express what has to be expressed. The philosopher is a being cold and abstracted, often he is inhuman. He is like the mathematician in that he deals with abstractions. The philosopher is not really to be thought of as slave of the truth in the way that nay authentic artist must be. He is the juggler in the Tarot pack, he makes the intangible manipulable.

When he seems to impoverish the world, he is merely condensing it, and when his abstractions are unpacked we have a new range of intangibles.


67& 2 functions of philosophy, the determining one and the understanding one. It is important not to confuse them. With determining concepts everything depends on the words as with the devisers of logical symbolism. With the other kind words are merely means of expression, helpful or unhelpful. They can be judged for their accuracy. Philosophy as determiner rather than as understanding. Trees of will and ideas.



12& Gilbert Ryle The Concept of Mind. Compelling as his account is, one still feels drawn to the idea of Collingwood and Feyerabend that philosophical truth is somehow philosophically relative. What are we to count as philosophically satisfactory explanation? Satisfaction with ordinary language is certainly compelling, particularly because it is so pure, so simple but it does seem to presuppose a serenity and freedom from frustration peculiar to Oxford. Another idea could well come along which takes philosophical argument to a new level of intensity and if it is original and clever enough it will win many adherents . I that is it appeal to our will to power, if it opens up unimagined and enthralling new vistas of thought it will appear compelling realistic etc,


17 Gilbert Ryle’s book falls off towards the end. He is unsatisfactory on psychology. He is wrong to let in Freud as he does, permitting us to speak of the unconscious causes of your behaviour. Of course psychoanalysis is not a philosophical phenomenon, strictly speaking, but philosophy itself has effects in other spheres. It can resolve perplexity, but can it also anaesthetise enquiry?


35/37& A state of perplexity. A key somewhere in the past. Self reflect. Confront. Does an animal have philosophical contentment? Not a philosophy, just a means of ensuring contentment. Philosophy does not have to be at an impasse. It can envisage itself creatively. The philosopher entangles himself in a web of concepts. The way he views those concepts can vary a great deal. They are closely analogous to his desires and inclinations… with an urgent present desire it seems that it must be satisfied before any kind of contentment is possible. To have philosophy can come to seem an urgent necessity. Pouring contentment into ordinary language. To take away the contentment is not to create discontent and confusion, at least not necessarily. Contentment is not only the result of satisfactory philosophical theories. There are other ways to get it.



151 The dreams of philosophers. In the beginning was the word, the aim of exhibiting reality as following a logical pattern. Russell and Wittgenstein as arrogant as any metaphysician. Do we need presuppositions to think? Does everything we think depend on an underlying presupposition? Then one of the aims of philosophers is impossible. Suppose I come up with a general metaphysical description of the universe that I claim is complete, it will yet possess an underlying incompleteness in that it will presuppose that such a description is possible. Suppose I come up with a description that I claim to be only one possible description. In that case it is incomplete, I must include the premise that makes it possible. What grounds do I have for assuming that possibility? If the one true, what grounds can I have for accepting that? Both of these contingencies generate new complete descriptions which face the same problem.

Possible answer to this. Take the possibility regress only one stage back, and we take as our fundamental proposition one which asserts possibilities. Take it another stage back, or any number of others, and nothing further of any interest is generated. Perhaps at most the first two states of an infinite regress draw out what is interesting the others are purely repetitions of the same thing. So we construct an argument which closes up the regress by saying we are justified in taking up a stand.

‘To say that there are infinite possibilities presupposes that it is possible to say that’. No says the argument, it does not presuppose anything outside itself. Its possibility is, and can only be demonstrated, in the steps of the argument itself, if we wish to accept it. The argument is that given certain facts and observations which can be presented, then we are fully justified in adopting the philosophy.




70/80 …Self assertion itself is channelled, after the initial successful rebellion, into socially conformist channels. It is then that the great spirit must choose solitude, must distance himself from the mass, otherwise he is lost. But though the dry soul may be the best, as Heraclitus tells us, its defensiveness is liable to lead it into excessive rigidity. When it finds it is secure, that its standards are firm enough, to be safe against adulterisation, when it can come back into the world as a teacher, then it may relax.

The defensiveness, the criticism. He finds that he has to distance himself from others. On his criticism depends his whole security. He feels he has to have theories, beliefs, to justify himself, confusing self assertion with beliefs and theories. Any bliss is assumed to be the reward of his thought.

Yet even his thought is only another possibility, one could have an alternative thought. Why therefore is this thought true? It is his paranoid defensiveness that leads him to try and justify every single thing, every thing that he is. He feels he is in a condition that depends on his ideas about it, Without his ideas he feels, he is in danger of going under.

Thus arise the confusions about eternity He feels that as the very precondition of his being he must have a theory. He closes himself off from simple direct experience because he is afraid of it, he needs defences against being swamped, drowned. Time comes when he finds he can swim, he is able to assert himself again because this time he is confident…. His ideas can be a means of self justification rather than a justification of his existence…. A possibility of especial cultural interest and importance. A possibility aspiring almost to the status of a fact, not just a belief to fill some gap. Something to be incorporated into our whole body of knowledge. A particularly good and desirable possibility important because undermining so radically the moral order of experience.




7 The tremendous originality of Greek philosophy lay not in the finding of bad reasons for what we believe by instinct but in capturing in a form acceptable to the rational intellect some of the important insights of religious intuition. From Orpheus to the Pythagoreans to Plato. Thence to Apollonius of Tyana. It is a mistake that philosophy is a quest for ultimate truth pursued by purely deductive steps. As such it comes to seem a futile quest, symbolised by Magritte's painting of the philosopher’s pipe. Rational criticism is a means of reconciling conflicting outlooks. An outlook that cannot defend itself rationally must fall, reason is the ground of all dialogue, but one that presupposes insistent and intuition, makes their discoveries explicitly intelligible. A metaphysical discovery is not arrived at by deductive logic but elucidated thereby


25 Civilisation at its best has a profound respect for philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Lao Tsu, the Upanishads, the Buddhist canon, where fundamental questions are discussed profoundly. Currently there is hardly any reference to any philosophical authority less it be to the essentially dogmatic tradition of Marx, and we are simply confronted with a mass of judgments and attitudes an a assumptions which might as well be taken as resting on thin air.


60 Philosophy as the supreme organising rational principle, which undercuts objections perhaps to some of the more particular methods of the revolutionary concepts.

What is the programme? A culture which flows down from the supreme rational principle, or the field of the freedom to instinctual fulfilment through a form of educated experience, in which the educated elite maintain a constraint sense of responsibility to the people, instructing them in the manifold forms of freedom, but who above all maintain the position of their philosophy within society.


113 Rhodes Boyson says, and I agree, that simply presenting alternatives and telling a child that he has to choose is ridiculous. For the child, qua child, belongs to the under privileged and thus has a distorted view. Boyson says the child must be instructed in the fundamental principles of our society. But what are these? There is something much open to dispute.


148 Many contemporary leftists, I think of non Marxists, despite their supposed intellectual roots in the empirical tradition supported by Russell, nevertheless are influenced by a strong Hegelian element. The’ public game’ the emasculation of intellectual conflict. The idea that centuries of conflict can somehow be overcome, synthesised, in some public body of knowledge in which all may share. Philosophy’s concepts may be intellectually interesting, but are not to make any difference to the individual life, the basis for which is agreed, ie is stronger than any intellectual idea. Will and collective will. Emasculation of concepts.

Take the Chandogya Upanishad as model of philosophising. Perhaps what the philosopher is looking for is a special kind of certainty. His argumentation leads us away progressively from the things of this world where it is not to be found to the mystical realms where it is.



61 Note for the history of philosophy. Some philosophers, like Pythagoreans, seem to derive much of their inspiration from the flash of mystical illumination. Where this is the case the philosophy is often an attempt to explain the illumination, and should not be interpreted as if it were merely built up from observations made on the mundane level, as if even the concept of enlightenment is something that was devised by analogy with mundane.


68 Reincarnation contradicts the verification principle, and the falsification principle of Popper. Meaningless as a scientific proposition. What as a religious proposition? By later Wittgenstein if we can find a use for such a belief it may be permissible. Ideas which cannot be proved scientifically may yet be there ready for believing if needed. We do not have to believe them, but we may. But what deformation of the believing faculty is here asked? Belief of the status of certainty is only attainable in moment of beatific vision.

Further. All science proceeds by unproved hypothesis. The aim of pure science is theories that satisfy the imagination.


95 The main question to ask of a religion or purported whole philosophy of life is ‘how adequate, how comprehensive, are its concepts’? No system of concepts is wholly good or wholly bad, but some seem to make only scant allowance for certain very important sides of experience. Each particular vision is limited, sometimes allowing no Heaven, sometimes no Hell.


180 Metaphysics, what ultimately is. Kant says things in themselves, yet suggests that in a sense we may create realities by the exercise of the moral will. Schopenhauer, reality is determined by the demands of the human will. Nietzsche, ideological conflict, springs from conflict of instinct. I believe what my deepest instincts tell me to believe. Hegel reality is immanent but not a matter for the individual instinct more a mater of society and its authority. …etc etc



159 Wittgenstein, Ryle. Philosophical ‘discoveries’ in what sense are they ‘discoveries’? The aetiology of philosophical errors and problems. In what sense an aetiology? An historical one perhaps? I admit its very great attractiveness and value. Is it true? Imagine that in principle it could be true. However, Ryle and others do tend to enshrine conventional beliefs What are we to think of life after death? Ryle brings us back to the ‘commonsense’ view that persons die and are no more when their bodies die. But is this even the most natural view? Surely it is a bit of a wrench to accept that there is no form of survival and the doctrine is itself rooted in certain philosophical assumptions.

Also, given that language is a tool, even if we accept the aetiological explanations, we are under no obligation to feel that problems have been dissolved. Making a positive statement by examination of the mere counters of discourse. Counters which may be used to express the opposite of what you are saying. A positive statement, in that it is expected to have some effect akin to that of a truth claim. But it is impossible that it could be an effective truth claim. The aetiological explanation might be a sound matter of fact. But it must be quite wrong to expect this to expect this to make any difference to people’s attitudes to these problems and errors. Any such expectation must unfortunately be a mere prejudice. That is why nothing can be solved. But can it be ‘dissolved’? We naturally tend to think it can, until we ask ourselves why it should be, what justification for making the step or whatever we want to call it. The thing can jump either way.

Philosophy runs itself into a weird paradox. We assume everyone wants to jump the same way. But the person who jumps the other way is not being at all irrational. In a way he is necessary.

As for life after death, the most natural belief  is probably the most primitive, first codified by civilised man as the Egyptian theories about Kas and Bas etc.



11 Philosophies of energy v those of desiccation. Orc cycle


51 Class of enlightened men dedicated to a rational idea fully conscious of all methods of conditioning and persuasion, individual and mass. Fully resistant to demoralisation. Accepting that there is no idea that we could not somehow come to believe.


97 Winch said that it would be a reason for worrying if philosophy ever became a popular subject. That is perfectly true. But there is also a danger of its becoming an ineffectual subject, of everything that is done being done by unthinking extraverts who follow public opinion.


186 Do I feel threatened if my ideas are rejected? But that would be putting the cart before the horse. I do sometimes say to people that if my ideas are worthless then I am worthless. Perhaps that is a perverse feeling, it is one I take a certain perverse pleasure in taking up. But it has its disadvantages. If I stand or fall by my ideas. Where could either of us begin? But that is nonsense.



157 From Frances Yates. Descartes guilty of a most superficial dismissal of the problems of mind because he wanted to establish mechanism as the principle of science. Often philosophers uninterested in some particular field make a few dogmatic remarks about it, giving rise to subsequent great confusion among their followers.


55/9 One thing my philosophy aims to make more easily possible is the joy of letting go, of yielding to the fascination of innumerable different ideas without getting ensnared by them


91 Compare Upanishads and Plato


134 Superior rationalists turn themselves into a ruling class propound the principles of our philosophy and fight for them, so that we may survive and flourish.



26 Enlightened ones as revolution sires. Limitations of love and peace.


46& Philosophy not a mere piece of metaphysical knowledge. Requiring revolution to find true fruition. Necessity for the individual to find institutional backing for his valuations

For reason, the form of the rational that should rule without specifying what it is.


102 The history of ethical theory moved via Hume, Stevenson and Ayer to positions more satisfactory to those who want to make ethical judgements. Yet Sidgwick, Ross and the intuitionists are unsatisfactory from another point of view. Intuitionism is unjustifiably dogmatic, and does not allow for the infinity of different points of view.

Philosophy in general. There are philosophers who simply offer us a set of concepts which they think fruitful. The Scottish School of Commonsense. Simply plumping for one side in a controversy without seeking to find common ground.


173 Ordinary people do not live under false philosophy, they live under no philosophy. It is not the job of philosophy to criticise experience nor yet to restrict experience in any possible way.


178 Subjects like philosophy as taught today are good, pure thought, intellects, unobstructed by arbitrary power structures.



193 The impressionability of youth & what they look to philosophy for. One thing they look for is wisdom. One looks for guidance in how to live life. Some might say this is not the role of philosophy but of religion. Point to understand why Heidegger is so attractive.

Artists offering such wisdom. See how traditional philosophy derives conclusions about the purpose of life from reflections about the nature of the world… Oriental tradition of sages. Existentialism poetic vision. A type of emotion.


341 Reading Scruton. How much philosophy continues, even after Wittgenstein is supposed to have dissolved it.


343 Scruton’s book on Modern Philosophy. Some illuminating points. Antirealism. Dummett, almost as obscure as deconstruction. Anti realism as a sort of transcendental idealism. The point that Kripke’s answer to his scepticism about meaning is a form of antirealism. A parallel with Kant’s answer to Hume and what that lead to?


363b Scruton on Kojeve’s famous paper, dismissing it as without intellectual merit. Philosophy, diversity of opinion. How content should we be that that remains? Philosophy as career structure. Frustration, resentment, discontent. The aesthetic solution. All kinds of motivating discontent. The aesthetic solution. What right do we have to dismiss someone to his private hell unless he has committed some serious crime, some offence against others? Diversity of opinion, that which philosophers of the past aspired to bring to an end. Searing discontent that is the motive for philosophy. Aesthetic consolation. Starting off with the premise of a massive disharmony. One commends analytical philosophy as intellectual discipline, but is likely to be rejected by it… Philosophy as career structure, the professionalisation of the subject. The new scholasticism.

In support of my argument I bring myth, motivation, a fundamental and radical discontent. The basic myth being Gnostic. Persecution by God, so called. Aesthetic pleasure as overcoming these massive obstacles.



10 Descartes. Much of Descartes seems obvious and natural. Is this just because it has penetrated so thoroughly into our culture and education that it seems natural? Note the scholastic elements in Descartes. Elimination of final causes. Descartes is even a scholastic type philosophy, concerned with science and possible knowledge.


49 Urge to say something earth shattering and profound. Sexual excitement. Philosopher’s will to persuade, the nature of his creative work. Unable to accept a place and position required of him Thus an issue about specifically the philosopher’s sexuality. His work different from that of other creative people.


225 Communicators of philosophy to the people. A job perhaps as necessary as that of the philosopher himself. Is it less communication of philosophy as communication of the role of the philosopher? Transmitting a respect for the role of the philosopher to gain for him an appropriate sphere of power.


249 Medical totalitarianism. Science worship and the authoritarian personality. Hospitals prisons, armies. People who attack philosophy do so because they wish to enshrine some philosophically questionable assumption under the seal of authority. The place of the authoritarian for ideas he does not agree with is pain and frustration


277 To some of my own generation I might be able to speak. But I think my strictly philosophical work should appear anonymously. Originality may appear free spirited. Humbler work, expository work, may seem a form of thraldom. There is submissiveness, humility & submission to certain values. This in the realm of philosophy where there are more choices perhaps than in some other disciplines.

In whatever work you are expected to do, how much of your true feelings are to be expressed and how much repressed? People justify themselves by a claim to virtue. Is the will to communicate the same as the will to dominate?

The suggestion that the more negative aspect is the product of inevitable frustration of unrealistic hopes and ambitions. But is that possibly unduly pessimistic? Could I get people to see things my way, say if I can present my message simply and clearly enough?

If someone could show me I were wrong, that would not be unbearable, to me, nor even especially painful, it might perhaps come as a kind of relief. But if someone tells me I shall come to see myself as wrong only after some acutely painful crisis involving repression and denial of what I most strongly think and feel the I resist that as much as I can. Society is like this. In my resistance do I appear a Hitlerian figure, aiming to overcome others with the force of my will? Every alternative seems to me deeply unsatisfactory. Yet my formula, what a strange and useless thing it is? Could it be the completest folly? How could I envisage it taking effect un the life of the individual or of society? In a religious sense it makes pathways for desire. It is meant to provide a means of reconciliation between opposing viewpoints.


280& One resists what seems wrong. Yet in society it seems that there is tremendous pressure on the individual not to resist what seems wrong to him. A belief that its proponents find attractive will ask for the allegiance also of those who do not.

Try and express that neatly. The proponents of a belief who find it attractive. An idea makes demands for the belief of those who find it attractive and those who do not. Why should I accept any idea which I find unattractive, or expect anyone else to accept ideas which I find attractive but which they may not? In many cases the reasons are clear cut. What we may call reality or the material world may obtrude. But in some cases there are a great many alternatives on offer. What we have to make clear is the extreme offensiveness of inadequately grounded authority.


308 James and his ‘stream of consciousness’ ie his attempt to describe the nature of the contents of consciousness. Rejecting Locke’s classification of ideas under the different headings as both breaking the continuity of consciousness and imposing a sameness on things that are unique and different. One could almost say that from this point of view the Lockian account lends itself to Platonism. But James assimilates the contents of consciousness far too closely to things. Does introspection reveal the things he says it reveals and if so what is its significance?

Even a mental image cannot should not be thought of as a copy of a material thing as a print or a photograph is. If Pierce’s philosophy of signs were intended as a rebuttal of this, its point would be very clear. The linkage with brain physiology is obviously very valuable but the mental contents are not objects in the sense presented. Simply to attempt to observe them is an unusual act, which will produce experiences of an unusual nature. . Nor is an experience anything like a material object. These things are evanescent. What is the truth about an experience? What was felt at the time or what it is to memory? And we cannot bypass memory to find what it was like at the time. And even if we could, there would always be the medium of the present interpreting mind. James suggest we can understand physical causation better than mental indeed that physical causation might be the only kind. But Hume dealt with this one. Mental causation and physical causation are not radically different in kind, the idea of causation is the same in each case. James found the idea of physiological determinism distressing, but perhaps there was no real need to It might explain too little rather than too much. All his talk of brain activity associationism etc. Seemingly no place for a will to power, or even a pleasure principle as rigidly interpreted. The will to power intermediated as a development of the concept of the pleasure principle. Ie as taking into account the contexts of value systems.

James represents the best of the American world view, the tradition inherited from Locke..



83 Philosophers to be seen as guardians of the conditions on which discussion is carried on, not even so much as umpires as points of reference. One might wish to see philosophy maintained as the highest wisdom of age. It is an understanding of the conditions of wisdom so to speak of the conditions of many kinds of highest aspiration. It is uncommitted not because it does not know, it knows as much as needed. If a philosophy makes no difference to anything that has been said before, how can it be an answer to any intelligible question? It makes no difference to the truth of anything that has been said before, it occupies a new position. However certain practical consequences flow from its acceptance.


100 Distinctive pleasures of philosophy. Desire for a kind of leadership, to prescribe in advance what is to be said and done. Exploration , to be at a point to which one will return at their most civilised moments. To emancipate oneself, if desired, from certain depressing thoughts. To increase the freedom and possibilities of one’s own mind, as those of the minds of others.


132 Collingwood


151 Formulae a guide to understanding not a replacement for it. ..To make philosophy itself into a joy is to dogmatise, to psychologise where one should only philosophise, to jeopardise the purity simplicity and rationality of the philosophy itself.



228 Very often a philosopher will not state explicitly what might seem to us to a core question. Our way of putting it might seem excessively crude. One thinks of Wittgenstein here. Temptations to say certain things, often best avoided. Certain things that may appear to be sayable turn out not to be so.


250 What is the greatest joy in life? Genghis Khan had his own ideas on the subject. Of life patterns, ideals, most on offer in society are simply not sufficiently satisfying One could say that it is pre-eminently the philosopher who is able to understand a life ideal in its satisfying potential.


275 The trouble with Feyerabend. The lack of a clear argument to be criticised. The dubious philosophical coherence, the evasiveness. He is very suggestive and I agree with a lot of what he says. But he consciously removes himself from the place of philosophical argumentation to that of rhetoric. Therefore he is a gadfly rather than a philosopher I would say that he should be a philosopher because he raises philosophical questions. His thought provokes argument and much of the argument he evades. Other features. Lack of sympathy for imperialism, which is a form of life after all. Likewise with sadism. There are deep seated assumptions pervading his scepticism. Presumably, he would put this down to his tradition, but others might want to question them. In speaking of other cultures that manage quite well on their own, he might be accused of lacking sympathy for all the victims.

And some of his tolerance seems to derive from other principles than his philosophy. Assumptions one might attribute to Christianity, or to tolerance, or an American anti-imperialism.

Clearly he is leftish, and would want to exclude racism, for example, from his list of current live options. Scepticism often to make itself workable often needs to conceal other assumptions.



197 Value of philosophy in promoting spiritual states, scepticism and mental paralysis.



22 These philosophical confusions. Philosophy as an attack on religion. On one’s own beliefs insofar as they seem to depend upon philosophical arguments. Questionable ones. Say anything can return as language game


54 Applying Nietzschean analysis & ad hominem arguments to the ambitions of philosophers.


55& Thinking of philosophers, how much mutual intelligibility is there? How much do different schools of thinker not even grasp what the other is talking about? Self referential paradoxes. This particular perspective. The ambitions of philosophers to overcome these. Various ways they do it. Seeking out the positive doctrine in terns of something that might be taught. Think of philosophical thought and how acceptable the ad hoc solution is,… A Philosophical solution may be still sound though doubts still plague it. But what does it mean for it to be sound? And philosophy could turn into religion.


59 Heidegger. This religious atheism. The memento mori. Like when people find they have cancer and it wakes them to finding intense satisfaction. So one function of philosophy is to reawaken hidden possibilities. Philosophers repeats older patterns that cannot in their original forms be relived.


92 Bringing mythology into philosophy. Oedipus, the crucifixion, the Great Boyg. Thought of philosophy as engaged in an am impossible task. Like a diabolic task. Curiosity and its paralysis. Then the various solutions. As if something that can work for others but not for the philosopher



32 Way & personality of the philosopher. Kant, Wittgenstein. A constant and continual prey to doubts, which he repels by argument. In this sense the philosopher is not like the sage, he is not serene but plagued by doubts.


60 Corbin Alone with the Alone. The middle realm of angels etc, the realm of imagination and mysticism. But even Corbin uses expressions like ‘real self’ which seem to make metaphysical assumptions. Yet how can you do without them? You have to do your best with the best philosophy available to you. Doing without the orthodox or ecclesiastical hierarchy, of course we must accept that he is right there.




145 Philosophy. Impossibility of knowing anything more than a small segment of it. Therefore inevitably much ignorance, even on matters one wants to talk about. Bryan Magee.

He does have a grand narrative which finds expression in Schopenhauer. Anti rationalism. Defending what does not deserve to be defended. What is strong, apart from rational attack? An authority that comes from other than reason. Whether or not you accept Wittgenstein’s argument would not be a mere matter for choice. Like the resistance on a basis of intuition, a reversion to a lower level of argument. Interesting that Wittgenstein said Ryle was the only one who properly understood him.


284 Philosophers great and not so great. What makes greatness. A great thinker has a power in him that greatly transcends his capacity to be understood.

A great philosopher is influential for something other than what he really means to say. Thus the peculiar feature that someone can maintain that a great philosopher has been completely misunderstood and that he really meant the opposite of what everybody always took him to have been saying.

So if he didn’t really say what everybody admired him for, shouldn’t that mean he is irrelevant, that the didn’t really speak for his time at all? But no, he is of more interest than ever.


344 The philosopher, the art student. The philosopher in search of something. The mystic also in search of something.
Searching for mysteries, trying to uncover mysteries, going the wrong way about it.
Simpler people may get to mystery towards which you struggle earnestly and fruitlessly.
Learning philosophy, attaching yourself to some power structure. Learning the defensive arguments.



3 Descombes. For one thing, most of this philosophy seems to take its initial points of reference from Husserl. Husserl does not interest me, he seems preoccupied with exploded problems using badly outdated methods. France after 68. The educated public, half educated in a philosophical vocabulary. Is it a case of people educated beyond their intelligence? Marcuse, fashionable for a few months. To think for the French public, which demands a denser philosophical basis. What really underlies all the intellectuality? What is the basis of its appeal? Something not really philosophical, a kind of game played with bits of philosophies.


32 Dennett on mind and consciousness, Philosophical problems. He does not solve philosophical problems simply by taking an antireligious stance. The relation between mind and matter is massively puzzling. The puzzle is not just the product of those with some religious axe to grind.


61 What is so enraging about postmodernism. This granting of authority. Some of the Frenchmen may be admirable enough. But giving them authority is restrictive rather than liberating. Not just taking on authority that it is philosophically respectable. Like precisely what one wants to get away from, the power of mediocrity.

Literary idea of philosophy. Idea that the function of philosophy is to provide something interesting for literary studies.


300 Anti postmodernism. Lust for power of the thinker. See how politicians talk of themselves as servants:- ‘all I ask is the right to serve’ sanctimonious crap. Say I present my idea as if with the best will in the world. As if all I want to do is to contribute to the good of mankind. Always an element of disingenuousness. Even if I am not pretending to some kind of ground. Think of where truth has no part to play. Where there is a free run. Possibilitism is like in that position. It can hardly cope with a strong motive against it. But why would there be a strong motive against it? No constraint, it is like a thesis in the air. Truth is more constraining than the very best of arbitrary hypotheses. Its negativity Accusing an opposing view of actual falsehood, falsity or whatever,.



90 Nature of philosophy. Claims to metaphysical truth. This one can hardly accept But then philosophy is not to be entirely dismissed. It may rid of depressing and demoralising ideas like equal rights.


177 So much philosophy is ugly hateful ideas that have to be repelled.


187 Sudden panics, fear of a insanity, of a solipsistic universe, as understanding proceeds and insight becomes clearer. There are only a few philosophies that have real grandeur and greatness. Nietzsche’s does, Schopenhauer’s does, Hegel’s does to speak of the moderns. One can think of aesthetic grandeur. Deviate from these and one may wind up in some pygmy position that is pedantry and little more


240 Philosophy has been brought to an end over and over again by whoever does not rise up to it and rests happy with a dogma that is not subjected to argument.


253 Overcoming nazi propaganda. Like why Britain went to war in 1939. Think of English philosophy and Locke, rationalism, liberalism. Contrast with the European view of Germany defeated. Different attitudes to the dangers of thought. Put the right interpretation on things, avoid the Hegelian idea of a zeitgeist. See that what was fought for was an idea of power, clear rational interest, ideological interest. Not the idea of some moral restraint which can hardly inspire anyone. Goebbels idea of what Britain was fighting for. His idea of English liberalism as a kind of weakness, rather than a clear expression of power. Etc etc


266 Need for genuine philosophy to break the hold of spurious metaphysical arguments. Metaphysics ‘seriality’. The paranormal. How to justify it. Attack on all metaphysics. Compulsive nature of metaphysical arguments. In retrospect Dunne seems a curiosity, so historically limited. Popular philosophy for 20 years or so. The impact of such bad arguments is philosophically interesting. And I would not rule out the paranormal on principle. If it does work it does on principles which cannot be regularised. I mean hard headed materialism can never be disproved.


276 Reid on freewill, perhaps better than on other subjects. Like an approach to the Winchean Wittgensteinian philosophy where the most enticing philosophical speculations are to be refused in favour of ordinary usage. Use, will, purpose. Amateurs in philosophy perceived as the most utter wasters one could imagine. Upholders of exploded arguments.

Necesitarianism and determinism. The former actually more attractive. Freewill showing how people can say what they want to say. Meaning of ‘say what you like’. Reid mostly appearing second rate.


290 Philosophy and its significance. Efforts to think beyond the limitations of the ordinary. Illegitimate logical and grammatical error, say Wittgenstein and Winch. But look at the value of philosophy for eighteenth century Britain. The culture was philosophy driven.


295 Levy’s book comparing G E Moore to Prince Myshkin. Stressing this side of his personality, his lack of the perversity of mind that inspired Bradley or Mctaggart. Importance of this for philosophy and English culture generally. I can appreciate this while loathing the preciousness of Bloomsbury and its heirs. I just value pure intellect, the destruction of Hegelianism.


312 Dennett and his philosophy of mind. He is not fully convincing. To him his philosophical position is satisfactory, because he is not fully philosophical. The same problem with tolerance. One feels tempted to adopt an extreme reactionary position and believe in all the soul forms of the ancient Egyptians. Dennett. Why does he need to try and argue Wittgenstein’s points all over again, and less effectively? It is like a waste of paper. Etc etc. Philosophy began with Thales saying all things are full of gods. Imagine philosophy moving to a new belief system whereby machines are considered animate. Etc etc



18 What Nietzsche did, we can say, was to write about these issues in a much clearer style. Therefore his concern with style and admiration for the clarity of French thought. In this great movement of 19th century German metaphysics minor figures like Stirner and Hartmann are actually extremely important. Academic philosophers take the matter differently and treat them as negligible. Mainstream philosophy ignores such minor figures, quite often because it comes to embody vast assumptions, ie it presupposes the rightness of one side in the argument, To look at just the major figures as if they represented the whole philosophy of the time is to miss out crucial minor figures who were essential to the whole discussion that was being carried on.


81 Perceiving the self in terms of will to power. Once again overcoming a negative judgement. To understand the power, to understand the extent of what has been accomplished, the degree of power and overcoming. The self as object of reflection. Just one other possible object of reflection. …Say what one wants of power is that it should be something immediately repeatable. Repeatable pleasures of reflection. But any pleasure must involve an opposing resistance. You take pleasure in power involves a contrast with the sense of its lack….


183 Whereas the propositions of e.g. William James can be easily understood and contradicted. Freud and the others lend themselves to an extraordinary number of moves. Does not Wittgenstein? Is it just that I think I understand him? The various philosophies he generated in England and America. For different types of people philosophy appears to have different aims (Foucault says that).


344 What philosophy has become. Like ceasing to be philosophy, presiding figures like Heidegger and Foucault who are interesting in themselves but who, grafted onto a whole academic culture, come to express something different.



8 Careers in philosophy


137 Say we compare GE Moore with Thomas Reid, logical positivism and phenomenalism with David Hume. Then the later Wittgenstein becomes another Kant and the way seems clear for another Hegel,



41 Causes being fought in modern philosophy. Those who believe that Descartes can be unravelled and some of the deep problems of our culture can be thereby be solved.


102 Different ways of expressing my thought, my philosophy. Some kind of database. But everything depends upon the central point, which is why one should think this rather than that. All hinges upon a central argument. Which may or may not be made. Derrida’s ‘metaphysics of presence’. So regularly philosophers try to identify unjustified metaphysical assumptions. With the idea of making things very different.


149 A society that is distributative rather than creative. Each of us is thankful for what he has been distributed. Symons on Dowson:- ‘at Oxford his chosen drug was hashish’. Sounded exotic in those days. How could you be exotic now if that is what you want? So some philosophy is widely distributed. Knowledge of philosophy. but what of real involvement in philosophical problems? Is that not so rare? ‘One good man in a thousand’ said the preacher. I see myself really as more than a humble commentator on Nietzsche, more an a mere annotator. I am a clarifier. As Mallarme clarified Baudelaire.


171 Eliot, Aquinas, Dante. Eliot’s dislike of Milton. To find Aristotelianism satisfactory philosophy, to find any system complete and satisfactory, is like abandoning the philosophic impulse. Orthodoxy here is perhaps even more classic than what we find in Hegel. What can we say to someone who does not feel oppressed by the completeness of this system? There is nothing to be said, To him Dante is perfect and Milton is perverse.

To others, though an adequate philosophy will repress and contain this dissident impulse.


196 Rhetoric. Who is content to be simply persuaded? Where rhetoric ends philosophy begins. Philosophy can only arise from extreme combative aggression. The philosopher is more than the politician. Being accepted, finding admirers, finding a niche for yourself. Being able to get away with what you say. What is it that provokes you to go the whole way? Some kind of trance. Consciousness of opposition. The philosopher must not be like the politician, content with a limited following and prepared to disregard those who oppose him radically.

See the temptation in the path of an original thinker.

Argument should convince even those who do not want to be convinced.


239 Wittgenstein and his assault on philosophical pride. Although his philosophy from one viewpoint is an assault on sceptical doubt, from another it is quite the opposite.

What experiences depend on what discoveries. Denial of all that is not ‘ordinary language’. Attack on all pretension, all aspirations all exceptional experience. Extreme philosophical scepticism directed against any comforting faith. That it all may rest upon an illegitimate assumption, and illegitimate extrapolation. Pursued to a logical extreme this is disturbing, even terrifying.

What philosophy suggests. The ugly chaos instead of present beliefs. The Sartrean contingency. Like the very disturbing atheistic thought. Imagine undermining all the assumptions that make for the comfort of religion. Imagine that even your sexual pleasure is alleged to rest upon unjustified assumptions. Any healthy, straightforward delight.

Philosophy undermines with doubt. Yet certainty is not a psychological impossibility. Paralysing doubt rests upon an assumption.

Dispute that most people know anything.

Ways of doing philosophy. Return to the appeal to authority. The simple ‘scholarly style’.

Philosophy is a ruthless criticism of experience. ‘Ordinary’ experience it may well leave in place, it may see it as its purpose to leave it in place. Extraordinary experience, however, is another question. Philosophy may appear as some brutal instrument, Attack on religion, dialogue of the deaf.

So try and look at the conclusions of philosophy and see what they offer. Yield ourselves up to philosophy as it if it were the greatest truth.

Gudmunsen. What Wittgenstein or Nagarjuna would do to the philosophy of the dharmas.

And yet… Nothing need be lost.

The whole Gnostic struggle. That a Question has to be answered, that an opposing idea has to be considered. This is itself a form of assumption. Idea that every act of will has to be justified by truth. Once on this track there is no escape,. ‘Let because be damned for a dog’.

That there is another way of being is known from experience. One that resists or ignores the moralistic assaults. That shelves all such questions, refrains from approaching them.

The assaults of philosophy upon experience. Yet these assaults are valuable lessons. In them there is great power.


Not to lay oneself open to considering every opposing idea. One’s right not to consider every opposing idea. Derive that from an original aggression, not from a search for ‘truth’ outside the self.

Philosophy makes you consider every opposing idea to those in which you take comfort. Every adjusted mode of being.



36 Only intense aggression makes for discontent with dogma, refusal to submit to its jurisdiction. With this motive ones sees rule, one sees power. To see this is to see a reality that others deny. Could one say that p[philosophy will come to and end if there are no more geniuses? That established views will no longer be challenged.

Mediocrity even of most philosophers. Lack of ambition


107 Giddens book New Rules of Sociological Method. Disagreeable after taste. Philosophy is plundered to create a methodological foundation for a from of knowledge. …Philosophy gives birth to sciences, but perhaps some sciences should be reabsorbed. Philosophy begets sciences but some perhaps are misbegotten. Pseudo science firmly enough established, has a life of its own,


116 Suggestion I find from Ryle that a logic can be found for any belief. Basic implication of Wittgenstein, one way of looking at it. From this the need to repel ideas that are self defeating and threatening.. Proposed ways of doing this. 1 arbitrary convention, 2 some kind of linkage to what has to be agreed. The trouble with positions like Kuhn’s is that they are insufficiently philosophical. Argument cannot cease. Reader and writer are closely involved, they each have a position. I must argue that my position should have a hold on you. Absurdity of rejecting a concept of truth. Even the humility of not venturing a truth claim. Philosophy is not science, it is not that it is less complex, rather that it is more fundamental. Persuasion is not a question of tricks, it must seem inevitable. It must relate to the indisputable, not to some questionable theory that may or may not be accepted, its antithesis being no less plausible.

There is no room for free choice. If there were then that there is free choice would be the determinate fact.

To rest content with any gulf of disagreement is inherently unphilosophical.

Philosophical theories are not hypotheses to be picked according to taste. To leave philosophical theory at the level of hypothesis is a failure of the aggressive impulse. Contentment with something just left in the air. Happiness to take a position when an opposite position holds an equal claim.

Anyone who says there is nothing but persuasion and includes himself in that confesses himself to holding beliefs on inadequate grounds, and to be content to do so. That is unphilosophical and slavish, both retreating from the challenge.



199 Reservations on George Steiner (Heidegger). His hobbyhorse of music. Quite unnecessary to introduce it. It could be that the idea of the music culture is antithetical to what Heidegger intends. The ‘they world’ as about the totalitarian state. I don’t think it is about that at all. …the national way of thinking is understandable. The Germans are in an unfortunate position. As a people they are the equals of English and the French. To mention it may seem to be dangerous.

To get down to foundations, to get down to basic argument against opponents. However interesting it may be to disregard that. However seeming philosophical however much intellectual food may be provided to satisfy a basic hunger.

Making belief available, making grand dreams available.

Hobbyhorse of the holocaust. Idea that the Germans are capable of the heights of the spirit in philosophy and music) and perhaps therefore also of the depths (the holocaust). He admits he is not a philosopher, but it is largely philosophy he is talking about. If he lacks competence for some highly technical issues that is not much to the point.

But he does seem willing to follow ideas as if they were music. Perhaps that is an error….. The whole idea of great philosophers can be misleading, a kind of tendentious disengagement.

Heidegger Freud, Marx, Derrida, could sweep us along. I admire Russell, who was rooted in logic.

Pretentiousness begins with Hegel, who tried to replace religion.


237 Plato’s tyrannical rationalism, almost Chinese in its appalling cruelty. At the very beginning of philosophy when speculation had no competitors there was freedom to tyrannise.


243 Take Wittgenstein’s philosophy as a whole as a way of removing perplexity. Philosophy as database. Like the kabbalah, sephiroth and paths. The only access from one to the other must be along a path. Possibilitism comes across as a way of preserving Wittgenstein’s insight, while avoiding the vicious regress to which he gives rise. From this we can get referred back to Russell’s way of dealing with paradox. His ad hoc rules.

Digressing into Nietzsche, we find a better means of securing our position, namely one rooted in the facts, the reality of the world.


369 A great philosopher is like a fractal, a Mandelbrot programme. Zoom in on some small part of his system that seems clear enough, and it will be revealed to be far more complicated and fascinating.




147 Philosophy, the professionalisation of the subject. In some ways a bad thing. How can intellectual ideas play among society and have effect? The shifting doctrines that dominate society, the constraints on thought and freedom of expression, have little to do with the best thought of the day. But modern thought ought to be able to accomplish something.

Claims made for academic philosophy. The quasi religious claims. That all ambition should be satisfied therein. Even that there is a kind of official wisdom. Reconciliation to the status quo.



21 Similarities between democracy and communism. Democracy, egalitarianism, and its antirational tendency. Anti-elitism, the attack on any claim to superior wisdom. ‘Equal rights’, the insistence that A has as much right to his opinion as B. I would not call this irrationalism, for it does have a logic behind it. But it is illiberal in that this logic is not meant to be in dispute.

The logic of equal rights undermines the intrinsic logic of cultural values.

People are filled with a vast conceit and complacency. Their confidence in their opinions comes from this basic premise of modern society, ‘equal rights’. To insist upon the internal logic of a position is elitism and a conspiracy against democracy. What x feels is a as good as what y thinks. This is almost the one thing that is felt to be known for definite.

It is said that the modern English have no time for philosophy. They need it urgently, if this society is to be made intellectually coherent. This society is oppressive without even realising it. The prohibitions of other societies may even be more bearable insofar as they are at least based upon intellectually coherent principles. When Christianity was supposed to be the foundation of society at least that made sense.


43 Nationalism as argument against Freudian pessimism. One can do without the sense of belonging to a people if one has a philosophy.


196 The use of reason and right philosophy enables mystical and aesthetic experience to be enjoyed without fear, without childlike dependence. God, Lord, Adonai, Yahveh. Heavenly Father adored as one mysterious who can do harm as well as good. The mystery who is worshipped.

The philosopher, Platonist, Pythagorean, Kabbalist, wishes to penetrate as far as possible into the heart of the mystery.

Knowledge casts out fear.

Faith in God as father. State of childish dependence. Enjoyment limited by a terrible insecurity. The use of reason or right philosophy, enables us to overcome the insecurity without in any way diminishing the experience. It is a mystical path, not a mundane one. No mere ‘logic’’ or ‘cold reason’.


209 In practice, as Copleston, said Rousseau’s ideas led to a revival of Catholicism. Emotional abandonment presupposes an intellectual framework which is not questioned. Myself as philosopher, as reformer. My philosophy as involving a way of life, namely mine. Therefore it is important that life should be satisfactory. Therefore ideally I need to enjoy luxury.

In my philosophy, my survey of possibilities. Some lines I find intensely absorbing, as no doubt everyone finds something, My ideas, the way I think. Much preoccupied with the question of authority.


216 From Copleston. Interesting section on Wolfian scholasticism. Wolf, an unoriginal follower of Leibniz, who put Leibniz into a highly systematical form as a kind of educational programme. Such an enterprise is interesting in itself.

Insofar as a great philosopher produces system, a finished set of ideas, one may view this from various points of view 1 as part of a never ending search for final truth. Such an idea tends to render all philosophy futile or 2 as a possible programme, a foundation for cultural possibilities.


225 ‘Bacon’s philosophy has ruined England’. If we look at philosophy as Collingwood sees it, as description of absolute presuppositions, or if we see it simply in terms of its cultural fertility, Bacon’s philosophy can seem very limited, encouraging the kind of technologically obsessed shallowness that besets the modern world. But then he is useful for eliminating undesirable trains of thought and all the feeling associated with them, like paranoid constructions.


233& What America needs, what the west needs is philosophy thinking of something like neoplatonism. Philosophy can have a number of different roles to play There is the finding out role, the resolution of intellectual perplexity. There is the Baconian ideal, ie a programme for applied science and technology. Then there is a further possible role, the seminal role, that of supplying the concepts which are to underlie all the various aspects of a culture.. I do not include Collingwood’s conception, that of describing absolute presuppositions


239 Lewes’ History of Philosophy…. Etc. His penultimate section, that on Comte, is unfortunate. It makes amusing reading. We see how people’s critical faculties can forsake them when they come to their own time. Comte is not the Bacon of the 19th century. One thinks of M. Homais. But Lewes comtianism, about the most dated thing in the book, does enable him to present the history of philosophy as a kind of moral tale, it gives dramatic unity to the story.


379 Copleston's history. This is a very interesting volume. It reveals much of the seemingly arbitrary structure of much post Kantian German philosophy. Even Schopenhauer’s will as thing in itself is attractive, but there hardly seems sufficient ground for accepting it.

Then there is the moral obsession that runs through so much German philosophy, from Kant, Fichte and Hegel through to Feuerbach which seems so misguided.

Feuerbach’s humanism, the same kind of coercive moralism that derives from Rousseau and of which there is no trace in predecessors like Hobbes. Nietzsche traces it back to an eighteenth century fashion for the antique, in this case the theatrical Stoic virtue.



54 Reading Mind. Curious nature of British academic philosophy. An article justifying it, a competition winner by J LH Thomas. Etc long quote. “ but for those who would attain the reality, and not the mere appearance of the philosopher’s office, the path is the familiar academic one through lectures and seminars, discussions and debates, essays and exercises, examinations vivas and degrees.”

How about that for an elitist put down? Scholasticism, as he himself admits. I would not say there is nothing in it. As Bernard Williams said, when philosophy is not boring it may be bogus. Modern academic analytical philosophy is quite a remarkable tradition. It sets high standards of argument. Such standards can be very easy to lose. We may and up with the arbitrariness so much continental philosophy with so many competing claims to wisdom. One does need to keep in mind the idea of one path to truth.


One might desire to be recognised as a genius. In British philosophy a genius is successful revolutionary. Academic philosophy in Britain is about as antidemocratic an institution as it is possible to get. That is part of its appeal. The rewards of the genius are so much the greater. Russell overthrowing Bradley. Then Wittgenstein. The path of the rebel is most difficult of all, but the reward of success is like absolute power  …. British analytical philosophers area strange set of people. A ‘we’ curiously limited in some respects. Drenched in a particular tradition, of which Russell’s papers on Bradley were one crucial part, Almost in some ways suffering under it. There is tremendous conformist pressure. And while a great many impulses can be satisfied there are a great many more that cannot.

Ridiculous preoccupation, to be creatively original. Who can be that? But I am not to criticise anyone for considering it ridiculous presumption.


116 Will to power of the philosophy student. Plato and mental tyranny. The role demanded by the philosophy student in society when he looks at what appear to be power structures currently in place. Irritating irrationality and tyranny of them, the questionable assumptions upon which everything appears to proceed. He is sure that he could do better, he aspires to a kind of power, making his ideas have effect in society. He imagines a society of likeminded friends with him who have come to essentially the same conclusions.

Those who can do those who can’t teach.

Consider the use that may be put of all I have learnt. If I were to restrict myself to teaching it to others that would be to defer to some future generation the use to which it is to be put.


209 What is the ultimate ambition of a philosopher? To be the originator of a great system, perhaps. Aquinas, Lull, Kant, Hegel. Giving expression to the type of preoccupation one finds interesting. Wittgenstein imposing his presumptions upon a culture. Metaphilosophy. the quasi legal question…. All great systems are good, but in dialogue with one another. Self justification as in Aquinas or Hegel, seems like dishonesty, failure to discriminate what there is to discriminate for a suspect motive.

Powered of ideas, sovereignty of ideas. Sovereignty of kings. Overthrow of Christianity. To what avail? A Free Man’s Worship “ Russell’s’ limitation. But some would say that the sovereignty of Christianity is best treated as a symbol, or figure, of that which ought to be sovereign we know not what.


231 Thinking of European civilisation and its superiority in what can we say this consists? What is the truest manifestation of a power of a civilisation? Its philosophical systems? Is this its current superiority to Africa? Philosophical systems are the basic programmes for life and development. All else flows from this. Understand these and we understand much of why civilisation is as it is. {per derives from this+

As in the middle ages from Aristotle whose doctrine of substance provides the foundation of thought.



48 Bergson is a very bad philosopher. Anti intellectual philosophies that emphasisies intuition tend to relapse into dogmatism, the pursuit of unexamined assumptions. Both Bergson and Schelling end up with conceptions remarkably close to the God of faith. Anti-intellectualism is a call for the suspension of the critical intellect. The only ‘discoveries’ we make though intuition are dependent on intellectual presuppositions which we refuse to criticise. This is the antithesis of philosophy. Bergson’s conception of mysticism is very shallow, though it has been influential and there are traces of it in Leary. ‘Energy’ as the supreme thing. It is an unphilosophical narrowly Christian mysticism, full of pseudo science. A mysticism that does no more than fill out the dogmas of the Christian religion. Bergson is an anti philosopher, philosophically negligible because unable to rise above the clichés of his time and place. Intuition gives certainty when presuppositions are unexamined.


124 Article in the Guardian by Martin Walker accusing British philosophers of intellectual bankruptcy and insularity. The great currents of modern thought, he says, come from France, and the great dominating figures of Marx and Freud have been insufficiently understood in England.

The trouble with present continental philosophy is its arbitrariness. It is all very well coming up with ideas that are attractive and interesting but they cannot be entirely acceptable if the attempt is not made to show why they are logically compelling.

There is a form of guru shish relationship between continental philosophers and their students. Freud and Marx produced attractive enough systems but there is not sufficient reason to embrace them. Perhaps there is a difference between Catholics and Protestants here. Catholics revere spiritual authority, Protestants insist on the unmistakeable voice of conscience. To become a Marxist or a Freudian is from someone of intellectual ability and potential a surrender of integrity, a kind of corruption.



104 Relations between philosophy and mysticism. The One of Plotinus may be a worthy object for philosophy. The One may be characterised as the resolution of perplexity. Take Gilbert Ryle’s programme for the resolution of perplexity in the philosophy of mind. The One could be characterised as that philosophical insight or the object of that philosophical insight that resolves philosophical perplexity concerning the nature and origin of that which is. Yet insofar as the One is postulated as existing it generates its opposite.

Mysticism, the idea that such doctrines are only to be understood from the vantage point of certain abnormal states of consciousness. I am led to disagree up to a point. The idea of the One can be grasped and conceived philosophically. The basic concepts around which mysticism works are constructed or revealed by the intellect. But the complete removal of perplexity will be an intense subjective experience.

Perfect understanding after its intellectual delineation remains in a sense an object of aspiration, a kind of image of fulfilment and ecstasy.

So philosophy comes to involve itself with the postulation of a psychological condition. ‘Complete understanding’. The One, the insight drained of all possible predicates. (though still perhaps too much).

Gilbert Ryle, the Madhyamika, neoplatonism, all coming to the same conclusion. The ‘One’ the insight, is in a sense void, it is nothing. It is a state of understanding, but that is all that could be said about it. Understanding, philosophical understanding, is just understanding. It has no particular content. Certainly it is the antithesis of perplexity, and it gains its strength from this, for we are most of the time at least moderately perplexed and it is the overcoming of this resistance.

Such understanding has long been conceived as desirable as indeed it is. But then what more is there for philosophy to do?

Other states of mind can be conceived which are also desirable. Can we be helped onto those? The attainment of conditions of intense happiness. Philosophy as magic, philosophy linked to desire.



61 My argument for immortality essentially an argument to prove the impossibility of mortality. It need not convince. Zeno’s paradoxes appear to prove the impossibility of motion yet we all believe that motion takes place, that Achilles does, in fact, overtake the tortoise.


169 Reading Whitehead. (Adventures of Ideas)Whitehead is more amiable but much shallower than Collingwood. Collingwood has the priestly ingenuity, one sees how he feels a affinity for St Augustine. Whitehead a kind of Platonist positivist. Plato deriving social forms from the needs of the individual soul, as revealed in contemplation. But more than that, Whitehead has this almost teleological conception, as if the ideas enunciated by Plato themselves offer a true form or essence to which human institutions ever since have ever less imperfectly aspired. Thus he justifies Christianity as the source of modern humanitarianism and democracy, as if all Christianity were was something aspiring to the realisation of this Ideal, an ideal which even Plato but dimly adumbrates and which is closer to realisation in the modern west than ever before. His is a secularisation of religion much cruder than Collingwood's. Collingwood sees religion as enunciating through symbols the scientific presuppositions of a period. Whitehead views it teleologically as the attempt to realise the Platonic ideal in its full potential. Reality is thus an imperfect approximation to this ideal, which has a kind of continuing existence throughout. And all this ideal amounts to in reality is the liberal democratic humane positivist ideal of freedom and equality for all. As if there were nothing more desirable than that.



29 The comprehensiveness that is traditional rationalism and Marxist rationalism is probably neither admirable nor necessary. Psychological matters have become involved with philosophical questions. The question of how your soul is to find peace is not strictly a philosophical question,  What philosophy can do is to act as a tool of power, and therefore the enjoyment of power, which can be that extra final ingredient which brings happiness.

But consider the Marxist attitude towards relativism, of which I would no doubt be accused, and which remains the easiest standpoint from which to attack Marxism. Programme of attacking the Marxist by showing him alternative points of view. He reply he is aware of a plethora of alternatives and that only Marxism makes sense of the chaos.

Radical Philosophy does have a certain attraction and appeal. One finds that what in fact orthodox philosophy does say about values is distinctly unsympathetic to someone like me. Bourgeois values, as distinct from mere abstract intellectual questions, do not interest me. I can see the emotional appeal of Marxism as an understandable expression of resentment, and as linking up intellectual and emotional needs quite effectively.

My own philosophy has no academic basis or connection. What could I offer in the way of emotional satisfaction? Emotional satisfaction can be derived from the advocacy and promotion of an idea as such, Our idea may be a singularly abstract one with little direct emotional content, yet there is much emotional satisfaction to be got from the mere activity of promoting it.


Radical philosophy and its Marxism etc etc.


47& Philosophy as the exposition of diagrams. Concepts cutting a swathe across experience.

Ideas can be effective on any level of refinement or vulgarisation. Constant opposition, even war, between the few and the many, and formed as tools in this war, often with the effect of promoting the ends of vulgarisation over refinement or vice versa. All interpretations of ideology are simplifications, because intelligible meaning is never closely defined. On the level of ideology, the philosopher is entitled to simplifications, partly because the world of ideology is indeed a world of simplification, and these simplifications are engaged in a proved and continual conflict, the results of which are of profound importance to everything.


58 Anselm. Roscelin, nominalism. In Anselm, for the first time for many centuries, a voice reminiscent of Plato’s dialogues, as he argues against nominalism. Return to arguing about fundamentals rather than just working out what is already given.

The radicalism of nominalism, an attack on Platonism. Platonism, universals, doctrine of causation.



26 Refutation of idealism. The point is that idealism has, in a sense, all my life been my enemy. Giving the devil his due, recognising the infinite defensibility of any position.

My philosophy is emphatically not a variety of idealism. Creating your own reality. The status of an ultimate truth is taken away from all the particular perspectives. Respecting everyone’s point of view is a form of idealism relativism and scepticism. Concept of what is true ’for you’..

Idealist doctrines, the paralysing of masculine strength. Idealism as a means of undermining the basis for discriminating between psychological truth and lies. In a sense it does increase the variety of life. A form of life is not in itself false and it may somehow arrive at enlightenment.

Forms of idealism. Platonic Berkeleyan, Hegelian, Crocian. Perhaps we may ignore the platonic. I stick my neck out an invent a new philosophy because I have no place in a university hierarchy. Who would have the impudence to invent a new philosophy unless he were right at the top of the university hierarchy.

Gentlemen used to do it. Are there still gentlemen about today? There are some who give a few signs of it. One should have a reasonably enjoyable life



3 To oppose will to power as manifested in oneself is ex hypothesis impossible. Consciously, however, one may oppose it. On the philosophical level we have Schopenhauer with a doctrine of explicit opposition to will. To be in favour of the will to power, life affirmation. If you understand the primacy of the will to power, you cannot set yourself in opposition to it. Is this to say that life affirmation is inevitable, life negation impossible?


46 Kripke, Pindar, Socrates.


157 Wittgenstein as guru, ie much of his influence has little to do with the cogency of his argumentation. He sets the agenda through the sheer power of his personality. Would I could do the same. Tractatus as a way of avoiding the class paradox through concepts of saying and showing. Whatever the brilliance of the Tractatus quite obviously flawed. Every philosophy contains fairly obvious flaws and weaknesses, a strength of personality is required to ensure that these are not immediately fatal and that the agenda can be shifted onto the problems now seen as important. Parallels between Wittgenstein and Crowley. Starting off with a fortune then disposing of it to die in virtual poverty,


274 Wittgenstein, Grayling, Anscombe.


333 Abelard, Averroes. Abelard as systematising, summarising, the realist/nominalist controversy. The great master of the eleventh century. Averroes, the commentator, as producing a marvellous heretical liveable system, of interest to Christians Jews and Arabs.


356 Different aims of philosophy. Scientific, anti scientific, religious. Bradley, Russell, Descartes, Bacon, Wittgenstein. Scientifically orientated philosophies following seventeenth century manifestos all the way down to modern scientistic philosophies such as those concerned to incorporate the latest ideas of physicists into philosophy.

Some people argue that modern physicists conceptions of time and space will one day seem as obvious as that the earth is round. Others dispute this.




259 Criticisms of the kabbalah as an idea. As if Descartes is better, or some other philosopher. Philosophy as managing to grab hold of your real innermost beliefs, take you by the scruff of your neck, ravish you. How much else, which seem to offer thrills and excitement, still hold you in reservation,

Reservation. a holding back. a spectacle, something viewed and enjoyed as an idea not necessarily believed in, admired for its ingenuity. The trouble with this the thinness, the limitation, of the experience. Enjoying what one does not wholeheartedly believe. How much further one wants to go. Into some kind of genuine commitment, into mere cleverness. But I think one does move beyond Nietzsche, makes something more of his hints and suggestions, builds something like a temple of one’s own.

One uses him. could he have consciously wanted to be used in that way? Theoretically perhaps. …


 Two kinds of philosophy, that concerned with exploiting the sweetness of life and that concerned with alleviating the bitterness. Aristocratic communists like Blunt would fall into the first category if they were free sprits, otherwise they are dangerous decadents, infected with moral obsessions


 It is not that my will to power is any the less, or that I grow more tolerant a personal sense. It is a different kind of understanding from what one might understand as greater tolerance. It is not to say there was anything wrong with the focus of my interest, with the nature of my intolerance. It is just that there are so may other perspectives, so may other forms of intolerance that are equally admissible, In some of these I would be included,. I cannot share, I do not desire to understand.

XX 16, "Some people grow narrower as they grow older. Other, like Mr. Gladstone, more liberal.” … It is not that one grows more tolerant, that one likes people any the more. One simply sees the unfeasibility of trying to change or suppress them. There is the root of the unpleasantness of so many of the effusions of youth. (Russell History of Western Philosophy)


It is not that one grows more tolerant, that one likes people any the more.. One simply sees the unfeasibility of trying to change or suppress them.

There is the root of the unpleasantness of so may not the effusions of youth. Fascist fantasies one might call the,

Surely this bears some relation to what Spinoza is talking about. Bertrand Russell is wrong to see him as such a saint. His acquaintance with malevolence and frustration seems quite profound. Putting ones feelings, one's passions, in a wider perspective. Perhaps the philosophical type itself is one that feels strong frustrating passions. Socrates, Spinoza, Nietzsche. Broadening perspective on all one's interests and passions.

Spinoza's Nietzschean psychology. Happiness as resistance overcome. What is more objectionable than to think of oneself as one of mankind in general? One wants to be a god, not simply a human being. Envy between equals. A shared ideology shared values, somehow reduces, imposes a natural pecking order.



88 Philosophers of the future. Bringing all values under surveillance. The aim of a philosopher to be a philosopher king. Superficiality of the world of imagery. The masquerade is played, can only be played, within the context of an agreed set of values. To seek success for its own sake is an extremely superficial type of behaviour. Far better is contemplation, But the trouble with this is that it is likely to be practically ineffective. Worldly success and power tend to come to those who immerse themselves in a world of images.

Thus one primary object of the philosopher is to establish a power base for himself. Manage this and he will be stronger than anyone. Entering the world of images he may come to seem a bad or wicked person. Seen two dimensionally his aim is to the confutation of others, and he wants to wreck the show. …  




A certain asceticism belonging to the conditions of a philosophers (Brahmins) existence. As much as anyone he wants wealth and women, it is the means of getting them from which he shies away. To other people it is evident that he has shifted his energies away for these objectives. He does not see it like that however and may have what to others seem like unrealistic desires. He does desire the world of success, but on this own terms. His image is that of a power seeker. And he will appear as intolerant. To those who happily play the masquerade he will appear as an offensive fellow,. He does into want to play by the rules.

He insists on rejecting the value judgments by which everyone has agreed to play and by which they understand their purpose and function. He is a disrupter.


267 Possible reasons for accepting a philosophy. Its intrinsic interest. This cannot be really sufficient. Take the idea of the market mechanisms as a guarantee of truth. It does not work this way. The majority have conformist impulses that are extremely effective.

Consider how rare has been true freedom of thought, how rare and precious for example is a Heraclitus. See the real reason why classical western science is something so much to admire.


296 A plan for the general reformation of civilisation through philosophy. Also philosophy as psychopomp, as a guide for the individual. Marxism, the silliness of students. The culture of the left… Association of Marxism and sex. Then sex and chic. The chic is always very sexy in tendency. … Philosophy offering the individual access to a perspective outside the prevailing ideas and values of his society, and a point from which they may be effectively resisted.


304 A philosophy gives consistency to and authority to a set of values and attitudes.

Role of philosophy as a means of criticising authority. The judgments delivered by various forms of professional authority. Architects, lawyers, journalists, politicians, art critics, many of whom assume a form of spiritual authority that can be seen as depending in upon philosophical assumptions that when analysed are highly open to criticism

 Hegel as the philosopher justifying all spiritual authority.


308  Philosophy undermines the esoteric secrets of the separate professions. Atomisation of opinions, the great threat.



115 Humphrey Berkeley said something very strange about Enoch Powell, that because he has difficulty living communally he identifies himself with abstract concepts. I identify myself with an abstract concept, my philosophy. My racism is something I can detach from, look at it as one of my emotions. I have chosen to make it none of my business,


162 Proclus was one of the most directly and indirectly influential philosophers in the history of thought, yet he is so little known. He presented his philosophy in a systematic logical format that recalls Spinoza. Considered as philosophical argument, his work is of high quality, though it arouses little interest as his fundamental orientation is not one people find sympathetic these days.

The upper classes traditionally are uninterested in ideas. It is ideas that threaten to rob them of their privilege. Yet any proposal for a reordering of experience must be interesting, as it would bring about a prospect of rational conscious control, as against sheer inertia. Point that philosophy is more exciting, than debauchery. How so? One is disturbing, offensive and destructive. But they are shallow, one dimensional.


232 Crude ambition pursues success according to the current scale of values. It profoundly resents philosophy as the attempt to put into question that scale. Such questions throw into doubt the whole value of achievement, threaten self image.

The criticism is made that philosophy springs from envy and resentment as if that is an unnecessary motive that we can well do without. But are not the ideas and values which govern society of very great importance? Is not the rational control of these a most noble aspiration comparable to the western scientific endeavour or the urge to the finest artistic achievement? Are not philosophy and aristocracy effectively the same?


234 The priest, in our normal understanding, has a repressive function. He is a monopolist, he wants to monopolise the avenues to religious experience. He wants to dogmatise, to suppress heretical opinion. His alliance with the philosopher may happen when heretical opinions seem to stand in the way of philosophical activity. The philosopher may support the priest insofar as the latter works to stamp our revolutionary movements. Every politician realises that sometimes repression is expedient even essential. But there is the type of the essential priest who values repression as an end in itself, as an exaltation of his god.


298 Lukacs, Marxism. Idea of the ‘rationalistic programme’ as the aim of a complete rational explanation of reality. Kantian programme coming up against the ‘constringency of fact’. My answer is that when the rationalistic programme has to take refuge in concepts like ‘praxis’ then there is something wrong with it, perhaps it should be abandoned.

The ‘solutions’ Lukacs style Marxism comes up with seem to me to have a magical character.

Philosophy as self indulgence’. ‘praxis’ versus the contemplative. But it is the contemplative that set the question. ‘To abandon contemplation’ is like dissolving the problems of philosophy by taking up another activity.

381 Hume on belief. Perhaps because I do not believe Hume’s philosophy his ideas strike me with les force and vivacity than they would if I did. Scepticism can reach much further then he takes it, But in 18th century England this was actually believed.

Much of the difficulty with causation in his account springs from the atomisation of impressions and ideas. Related to the desire for a quantifiable science.

Is it only this peculiar perspective that may one day seem bizarre and exotic that gives rise to what seemed such an intractable position? Is it natural to think of perception in terms of the atomised ideas and impressions? Does such an account really make perception any more comprehensible? Is perhaps the idea of causation something to do with the understanding of continuity?. Hume admits that an object may be extended. This means it is made up of continuous parts, atoms or minima. Does not extension provide a similar problem to causation? Part of the problem is what there is in the idea beyond constant conjunction. The idea of extension contains more than the conjunction of a lot of minima.



13 Philosophy and authority. In various spheres of our society noticeably in certain professions, one is more or less forced to accept various questionable philosophical ideas as part of the training. Philosophical ideas certainly have a most influential part to play in society, but they are often used in a most authoritarian way. The principle of dogmatic authority is widely used, en in a society which professes not to believe in it.

Hume’s philosophy. Even is if we take a Wittgensteinian line against him, he is surely saying something of universal significance. His importance for science, his influence on Einstein. How we fit our experience into a map of reality. How we arrive at our various conceptions, or how we can justify them logically.


37 Philosophy and the natural man. Biologically human potential is tremendous. The difference made by philosophy… To lead a normal life, but guided by philosophy.

Modern values, modern lifestyle. With infusion of philosophy that in a sense changes everything. Normally any set of values any lifestyle may be thought of as embodying some or other set of assumptions. The way of the philosopher is to question everything. The philosopher may come closer to realising human potential. Badly expressed. Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains. What is natural human potential, what is it to do with? It has much to do with mastery of this complex environment we have largely created for ourselves. For such mastery the right concepts are needed. For mastery of anything the principles on which one works have to be effective. If one’s concepts are inadequate it is impossible that one can succeed. The philosopher approaches life with far more flexibility in this respect than the ordinary person. How much of our perception of human potential is subjective feeling?


I like Hume’s psychology I like his logical systematic analysis, his eighteenth century honesty about what would now be called the sadism intrinsic to society. He is not as profound as some because he is socially at ease or gregarious, but he is more profound and honest than most twentieth century psychology with its built in need for falsification.


57 Hume’s lapse, when speaking of justice he blames the fact that men continue to commit injustice on the weakness of the mind in preferring the immediate to the remote. Is this perhaps the characteristic eighteenth century superstition, that reason makes the interest of each coincide with the interest of all? Exploded comprehensively be De Sade.


89 Philosophy, linguistic analysis. The Vienna circle and its legacy. Carnap, Quine in America. Strawson’s justification of this. Triviality of much Oxford philosophy. Verbal investigation said to be valuable and interesting, the big questions having been settled by Wittgenstein.

Warnock, Strawson. Their philosophy surely can only be interesting if you really are convinced by Wittgenstein. Otherwise is it not even a rather arbitrary study? When pressing philosophical questions press of a traditional type it will seem irrelevant.

Carnap, Strawson, Quine. Verbal games, sub scholastic pedantry.

Constructing artificial systems, Looking of patterns through simplification,. Try to understand Oxford philosophers as a class. Mutually friendly and cooperating. The history of philosophy remains.

Warnock on Berkeley, Wollheim on Bradley (though Wollheim is interesting), Pears on logical atomism.

Oxford necessarily one of my opponents. Magisterial figures, Warnock says how he finds linguistic examination for its own sake intensely interesting But is it this not because he holds beliefs which assure him of its worth? Surely his first task must be to convince everyone else of these beliefs, to bring them out as explicitly as possible so they are not open to doubt (if true).

Modern philosophy as lifestyle. As historians of philosophy Oxford philosophers are admirable enough.

Modern philosophy. Criticism thereof. Gellner etc. Radical philosophy, Marcuse. The call for interest can lead to the arbitrary and the arbitrary is the type of the oppressive.

Future of philosophy question. Approach it from the question of linguistic philosophy. The programme sketched out by Strawson and Warnock. Here the great questions or the greatest questions are supposed to be solved, or dissolved. Where could one go for here? Where is the genius needed to set a new direction?

It is up to me to show it. Infinite possibility. But in a sense only one possibility. The claim of ip to supreme authority.

My affinity with Leibniz. He too sees all possible views as perspectives parts of a whole. My point is to exalt the view of the whole, or the idea of the whole.

Leibniz too was concerned with church unity. In an esoteric sense I am too. If you have the right to adopt any position, any opinion you please, this only depends upon acknowledgment of IP. If this is denied your right goes too.

You may have a practice, a form of life, but it has no just claim to authority because it can always be oppose by the opposite idea We cannot even begin with a concept like ‘freedom’, if our only grounds for recommending it are is inherent attractiveness.


101 Faults in our society and culture, aesthetic flaws as in architecture, and political flaws, as with liberty. It all comes down to basic philosophical questions. Only these can generate adequate authoritative judgments. Otherwise there are only opinions to balance against other opinions. One may put religion in place of philosophy but that is controversial enough.

Take the idea that capitalism or property speculation is the cause of bad architecture. This is pure magic. Property speculation in the eighteenth century created beautiful London squares. What is bad is bad aesthetics and this springs from bad first principles or philosophy.


140 Philosophy as ‘raising consciousness’. Intellectual activity as helping to secure pleasure and satisfaction by helping to overcome some of the great mass of tension that oppresses the mind. Such tensions are created by the oppressive clichés and inadequate half truths that are constantly thrust upon us, ideas that do not fit either our desires or our perceptions but in which we are pressured to acquiesce for the sake of others. For some class of people spiritual freedom is of no concern They do not feel the oppression because they value something else more highly, the removal of doubt and the power of action.

Think of the communists fighting the anarchists in the Ukraine.  


184 ‘Actually the formal structure of a system is mere surface’

any position ideology or outlook expresses itself through certain logical arguments.

‘Inconsistencies may tie the clue to a deeper understanding of the author’s thought and the separate ideas have each their own specific relation to the whole philosophical structure in which occupy now a more, now a less significant place’ (Krsiteller)

Modern leftism. Logical argument all as serving the ulterior purpose Perhaps all argument is such. If the rules you have set out on expounding your position are used effectively against you, then they are not to be regarded as adequate. They do not cover your real position, which needs to be differently expounded. This is how we are to understand concepts like ‘positive discrimination’. Within the rules given people should be allowed absolute freedom. If this is denied then the rules them are clearly inadequate. The ‘rules’, the exposition of any philosophy or outlook.


283& Augustine on judgment in the law courts, and the frequent inhumanity and cruelty in it. “Surely there is something finer and more humane in seeing and detesting his wretchedness in this necessity and if he is a Christian in crying out to God ‘deliver me from my necessities’’. I could not disagree more.

Augustine, partly because of his great learnedness, imposed his repellent personality on subsequent centuries. Perhaps he was able to do this because his personality was so similar to Paul, the original Christian. He was conscious of certain oppression ie the big oppression of classical civilisation, the penalties attached to failure, but his own doctrine was acutely oppressive in other respects. Suppression of heretics, contempt for the consciences of those who disagree. Augustine’s pessimism recalls much in Buddhism, but it s tenor is different. There is the dogmatic arrogance, the Jewish pride of the jealous God, Where in ?Buddhism is that spirit of mental coercion, of humble submission to an arbitrary cosmic tyrant?


Hollingdale writes of Schopenhauer that obstinacy is the key to his philosophy and his personality. Perhaps obstinacy is the key to every philosopher. Unless one clings on to what one once knew one will be swept along in the great tide of conformism. Women of course will expect one to mature, ie compromise.

Hollingdale sees philosophy as the expression of personality. My personality, my self divinisation my narcissism.


295 What is my remedy for the ills of civilisation? Philosophy. That is to say a particular kind of philosophy which I call e possibilitism. In philosophy, as Kristeller points out, originality should not be thought of as the most important quality.


310 Aristocratic pride. Intellectual and philosophical systems as ways of producing equivalents of this. Is consciousness to be thought of as a symptom of disease? The philosopher as the physician. And is there not an especial delight in the overcoming of such disease? Consciousness we may perhaps think of as a delight, rooted in the overcoming of threat.


353 Of institutions. Newspapers, governments universities, Oxford.

Gilbert Ryle. For all his brilliance and persuasiveness there seem to have been certain repellent elements in his personality. He writes in (The Revolution in Philosophy) of how philosophy has become a completely specialised professional discipline restricted to the universities, particularly of course to the old universities.


The book on Wittgenstein rather gives the lie to that. It is said that the secret of Wittgenstein’s great influence lay in the fact that a at Cambridge he access to so many highly intelligent yet highly naïve and inexperienced young men. Real originality works quite outside the orthodox institutional framework. Wittgenstein himself was influenced by all kinds of freelancers like Kierkegaard and Weininger.



98 Utilitarian philosophy seen as providing the foundation for British industrial civilisation. Enlightenment doctrine that psychological egoism. Yet another proof of the importance of philosophy. Philosophy as programme for civilisation and culture. In Rome stoics v epicureans. In England intuitionists versus utilitarians.

Increasing democratisation means that such philosophical ideas cease to have directing force. Popular conceptions and misconceptions acquire the same weight as clear philosophical ideas. Nevertheless philosophy does have a huge potential force. Our culture is not as sophisticated and evolved as a lot of people think.


129 Without some philosophy criticism of modern society can seem purely negative and destructive. ‘What alternative can you offer?’ is the inevitable response.


285 Hegel trying to put the excitement of the French revolution into philosophy. The shallowness of progress philosophy. Arbitrary intellectual constructs. All the more offensive for that they represent a principle of arbitrary authority,. A Jehovah principle. The French brilliance, which is distasteful sophistry.



1 Parallels between Buddhism and western philosophy should not be pushed too far, as they may tend to demean Buddhism. Buddhism it must be remembered a form of mysticism, always it bears in mind the possibility of achieving the pearl of great price the hidden source of a rare and total satisfaction. Nearly all Buddhism a form of esoterism... therefore Buddhist not capable of the extremes of pedantry to which his European counterpart may sink. Russell, Kant. Take Russell for example. What is the value of his philosophy beyond the fascination of certain intellectual problems? Of course it is a fundamental human desire to be put in touch with ultimate truth. Any philosophy we believe does that will excite us.

But truth itself is very doubtfully achieved. People find Kant so great insofar as they believe him, they think he was right.. I do not feel he puts me especially in touch with the nature of things. I find Leibniz and Hume more interesting. Kant's thing in itself does not seem to me to resolve many difficulties.


11 Nazism was a deliberate attempt to found an order upon hierarchy and inequality. The answer to this is not mea culpa and total surrender to the spirit of democracy. It is to build up a philosophy as a counter force. This not with he object of radically restructuring institutions. It comes down to the question what right do certain ideas have to hold sway? This is a philosophical question that takes us right down to basics. Neoplatonism, Buddhism also in a different way mediaeval Catholicism and Marxism have all been concerned with this question.

From such philosophy may derive productions of art and culture which seem profoundly mysterious to those of a purely modern outlook.


26 Scherbatsky's book Buddhist Logic. It would not normally be read nowadays. I think because much of the western philosophy it uses for the European parallels is now considered outdated and not worth reading. Sigwart, for example. And this is relevant to his assessment of the value of Buddhist philosophy. The interest of the book remains because the idea of Buddhist philosophy and logic is itself so interesting. But to bring out this interest we are drawn into byways of western philosophy largely of recondite historical interest. trying to demonstrate the truth of the Buddhist ideas, or their superiority to certain western ideas. From our point of view no longer committed to these tags ends of Kant and Hegel, this explicit purpose of his enterprise is largely irrelevant. But insofar as he illuminates what the Buddhists are actually saying, the philosophical aspect as it were, these philosophical excursions are actually very useful.


62 Philosophies. We cannot argue about fundamentals all the time. But fundamentals should be made clear. My philosophy therefore is the foundation for a systematic type of judgement To force ideas on people on the basis of fundamental assumptions that are dubious and contentious is itself very dubious and contentious.


242 Towards a philosophy of the future. Tractatus, How far can language picture reality How far can it escape the circularity of a web of concepts? Affirmationism resulting from the total pessimism resulting from the total pessimism resulting from a thoroughgoing atheism. The atheism itself clings onto a here and now as something immediately known. Look at how Schopenhauer legitimises his thought. Genuine progress brought about through Locke and Kant attachment to reality. But we cannot do this. In justifying our present position it is not on to run through as catalogue of old errors. Somehow or other we have arrived at a set of new concepts which we recommend.

I would put possibilitism and will to power together, both spring from a programme of enlightenment, one as the philosophy the other as the psychology. This programme in its full objective is to produce a self sufficient science, ie one does not have to keep referring back to affirmationism. The philosophy and the psychology are intended to stand by themselves. So there is no need to refer back.


290 The enemy The philistine, the comfortable bourgeois. The attack is always on the philistine. The philistine is happy and comfortable. He appears to have no need of art. In a world ruled by the philistine hw can one demonstrate the need for something else? One may try to make use of established religion, or one may try to make use of philosophy. Or art.

How is one to counteract the philistine position? What is there to oppose to it? How can it be shown that at certain points it clearly contradicts demonstrable truth>

There is that in the nature of which the philistine psychology does not take into account. What we propose for society is philosophy, that is to say our philosophy, which must have more of an inspiring guiding role in society than it has at present.




322 Winch is under the spell of Wittgenstein which is all right because Wittgenstein appears to him to have advanced philosophy by means of logically compelling argument. It is not arbitrary attachment to a guru. Stawson on Kant. Strawson's attempt to justify much of Kant may be misconceived but it is very interesting because it makes a claim to logical compelling argument, to reveal a measure of metaphysical truth. Pedantic interpretations of older philosophers in Wittgensteinian terms, going over Hume, Aquinas, or does one and reconciling it with linguistic philosophy, doing a Wittgensteinian job on it, strikes me as too easy and essentially boring.



16 Philosophy is necessary to uproot presuppositions. Philosophical ideas intimately involved in the progress of civilisation. Where there is not good philosophy there is bad philosophy and dogmatism Bad philosophy and dogmatism are an oppression on the mind.


20 History of esoteric ideas used as means of expounding my own philosophy which will not be presented as merely my own philosophy. Esoteric ideas as a sort of shortcut. Free to pursue what path I like and to express all kinds of ideas.


Quinton’s’ book Thoughts and Thinkers shares a lot of my concerns. Faults, One, he is crudely on the wrong side in the generation war. He despises the old student radicals too much. Inevitable defect of sympathy. Two, something he is conscious of as a criticism, that of being a supporter of the present order of things, a criticism frequently levelled against analytical philosophy. A philosophy of the included. I can see the force of that criticism. What attracts me to analytical philosophy is its tough mindedness about value questions. In a sense it leaves you more free. The Anglican as distinct from the Calvinist or Catholic traditions it odes not attempt moral or spiritual coercion.

Yet the criticism is made that it does not attempt important problems. Accusations of Tory complacency. Of stupidly approving a repressive order, of holding that the objections to it do not really matter. Of tacitly approving a dulling conformity, career seeking and bourgeois satisfactions.

This is often made as a criticism of the Anglo Saxon mind. Is true enough. But is there not in it something of a commendable delicacy. ‘We are not competent to give definitive answers to such questions’. And for all the interest I might have taken in existentialism, I would have resented any attempt by my academic elders to guide my rebellion. Perversity is one of my fundamental values. Students as a body turned on by Marxist fun revolution. I do not have a gregarious spirit. The only kind of thought that appeals to me as a form of instruction would be one that keeps its distance. Anglo Saxon reserve or coldness.


53 In reality my philosophy is far from nihilism and far from naively millenarian revolutionary hopes. I advocate complete imaginative unrestraint, including the most destructive instincts subject to ultimate magical control within an intellectual philosophical framework. The most unbridled freedom of the imagination subject to ultimate philosophical control. Buddhism, the necessity for a guru to keep the mind on the right track.

No doubt given a certain training it would have been possible to keep my ideas within the bounds of some orthodoxy. For I am great heretic. To curtail the will to heresy. But perhaps the will to heresy is the will to life, whereas orthodoxy is the will to death,


98 Philosophy the question of what counts as an explanation. Social research, statistical atomism. Everyone has opinions. On some survey anyone may answer every question. What is the significance of this? One may take away questions of rightness or wrongness. Coercive power of hells and prisons to impose society’s will, to crush the spirit. The question of solving problems involving false ideas all to do with the function of philosophy in our society. Not a question of getting right an innumerable series of separate atomised ‘opinion’ questions. ‘Public opinion’ something different from public will which is perhaps a more worthy phenomenon.

To treat public opinion as something statistical and atomic and statistically variable. Scientifically I suppose this sound enough,. Take a mass of data and look for statistical regularities. Out of the whole picture you select what you consider relevant. What you are prepared to count as an explanation. Forget the ‘meaning of the whole’. So how can we deal with this type of approach? How could it be refuted? Only be being concerned about the establishment of some philosophical principle. For this so called scientific explanation is brutally dismissive.


The wisdom of immaturity, Every point of view is in its own limited way sound. Wisdom does not come with age, it is available to the young. Our culture must permit them to seize it. It is even available to the child.



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