Thursday, November 10, 2011

Philosophy is a Joke


From my title, most can already tell that I am being extremely provocative, especially as someone who thinks itself a philosopher. I admit it too.

Contrary to popular opinion, philosophy is not simply serious. It is a joke, which most philosophers do not even realize. There is a barrier to their understanding, which prevents them from seeing the joke they themselves perform.

The View of the Over-human: 

The over-human is a pretend role philosophers perform in which they envision the human and its condition from outside it. In other words, the over-human is the meta-level which underlies philosophy. This is not to be confused with Nietzsche's overman, though I do draw inspiration from that.

The joke is that a philosopher has to do the impossible (be something other than human) in order to pretend to be a philosopher. It does what is in principle what it cannot do, or rather it has to pretend to do the impossible to do philosophy.

There are three levels of philosophers. Level one maintains the paradox of being human and over-human in its game of philosophy without knowing it. Level two pretends to be merely over-human in a dehumanizing philosophy. Level three is the cynical recognition of the paradox and the even more cynical continuing to play at philosophy.

Take meta-ethics. The level one philosopher will unconsciously do the ethics of meta-ethics, in which it appeals to a normative criteria in the game of selecting or creating a ethical system. Of course, this is a joke because there can be no criteria, especially normative criteria, at the meta-level.

The level two philosopher will do meta-ethics without bringing in an ethics. It is essentially unhuman. This philosopher looks at those ants called humans. It looks down on social immune system or social program called morality, and this philosopher begins to describe it. This is the science of the over-human.

Level three realizes the flaws of both level one and two. It does not give any credit to putting the human in the over-human as with level one nor does it believe that the philosopher can actually be the over-human in case of level two. Upon achieving level three, one could abandon the philosophical game in despair that comes when any grand narrative falls from underneath the human. The philosopher could also embrace game playing because there was never anything else to do and perhaps it was a bit bored.

The Ultimate Joke: 

Some may have already realized a major flaw in the analysis of the philosopher. It seems to be a level two analysis or perhaps level one if one thinks the levels are normative. This is intentional because to reject my argument and the paradox that I maintain in order to play at it is to simultaneously reject philosophy. This is the ultimate joke on philosophy. To discover that philosophy is a joke, one must use philosophy, but philosophy is a joke so the conclusion that philosophy is a joke is a joke. Since philosophy depends on the pretending on being a over-human, this joke is a necessary conclusion of any serious philosopher who plays at the over-over-human.  

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