To the Fine Folks at the PPCC Philosophy Club

I feel like a point is at hand where any of you who have observed or participated in the conversation between David Arnold and me, including David, deserve a pause for breath. The two of us have come to dominate the message board, it seems to me, and this has never been my intention. So I’ve given the thing a little thought and here’s how it comes out, extemporaneously for you all to consider.

I love Philosophy. I think it’s fundamental and unavoidable–an existential imperative–that is, intrinsic to the condition of existing as a live, conscious human being. No matter how we live, or what we do or do not do, it depends directly from how we think. I also believe that we have little, if any control over what we believe, that being further dependent from what we think. I find the whole business of such dramatic import that I obsess over it all the time, and seek out forae like this one from which to further explore the mutiple, if not infinite facets of the jewel.

Having said that…this board is a tool for the furtherance of education for students enrolled at PPCC. Neither David nor I are any more than interlopers, guests in your house. I am grateful to the club for the experience as it has already unfolded, and I truly hope to continue. I believe I have a couple assets to offer and I hope you’ll all receive me with the humor with which I intend myself. Please–argue. I will not fight.

David, whom I address here personally, though I will continue in the second person for the group’s sake, has suggested that I am guilty of unspecified errors in reasoning. I would love to treat those errors specifically here, hoping the rest of the club will engage as well. In fact, given the best of all possible outcomes, I’d like to be allowed to invite David and the entire Stanford University Philosopy Department to debate the question of Materialism v Theism as the conversation has been tentatively labeled in our previous chatting, and to have the thing judged by an unbiased panel, right here on the PPCC club’s site.

I WILL NOT be an imposition here. I insist on explicit permission from the club, its officers, and Bruce if he considers himself in a position to arbitrate. This is about your education far more than it’s about mine. I’ve seen to my own learnin’ for some while now. It’s working out plenty fine for me. I’ll go away quietly at the simplest word from one with a legitimate say.

You’ll notice I carry on about what I “think,” and my “opinion,” quite a lot, and that’s part of what David finds elusive in me, I think. I don’t “know” very much at all, and I think you all will discover soon enough that nailing knowledge down is a very slippery business indeed. I do think I have something of interest to the average PPCC philosophy student, though, if not the average Stanford variety. Though the halls of Stanford may be filled with a rarified air too thin for my blood to endure, I ain’t ascairt.

Spread the word David. Even if they’re not game here at PPCC, Stanford’s been called out publically by an insousciant housepainter with a full 8th grade education. It’ll be FUN!

(Reprinted from Hipgnosis)

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