In “Computer Software as a Philosophical Pathology” I call for a dynamic and holistic approach to philosophy which refuses specialization and “focus”, because any one philosophy is tripe, malarkey, horse feathers and nonsense considered in itself, even Kant and especially Plato, whose “philosophy” considered in isolation is a childish fable, but considered good enough for government work by authoritarian thugs.
Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations illustrate my point. We think that clunky waltz that starts the Variations was written by Beethoven because it “sounds like” Beethoven, but it was written as part of a contest by Anton Diabelli, whose only immortality lies in the Beethoven work.
The waltz is illuminated as a work of art by what follows, even as Plato’s fable has value as illuminating how we think of ideas and why the sculptor, sculpting nothing more than a Doric column (the simplest column form) polishes the column even the parts not visible.
A work of art can be changed by factors completely outside the work of art. For example, utter vulgarity, philistinism on broadband, and that silly movie the DaVinci Code has literally destroyed La Joconde and I avoid going anywhere near it at the Louvre…not least to avoid having to listen to idiotic comments in several different languages. Marcel Duchamp only anticipated its deconstruction by adding a moustache as a final artistic gesture.
Likewise, Platonism makes what sense it makes only starting with Aristotle.
There is in fact a great deal of progress in philosophy although your typical barbarian technician thinks not. The claim of theology is that fallen man can know the truth, but few ask of the God-wallopers, if I am fallen how could I know the truth? And if the truth is revealed only on the day of judgement, why am I responsible? Philosophy does not make this claim.
For example, Husserl revives Plato in light of Hume, who found no place for Ideas in his system: yet we have shared notions, some of them scientifically claimed and verifiable, or at least falsifiable such as Chomsky’s “universal grammar”.
Of course, for grammar to be hard wired as it appears to be in Chomsky’s linguistics, we either need an Idea in God’s mind to give us language, or an evolutionary reason such as “pure chance, selected because language is useful for species survival”.
But as it happens, there is a sort of last man standing in this philosophical shoot-out. If Platonic Ideas are destroyed by immanent criticism, if they explode from within, note that the only way we have to destroy them is by way of … other and more powerful Ideas.
If universal grammar is explained by evolution, then Evolution is a “Platonic” idea unless it is not axiomatic. Of course, we might be able to derive Evolution from chemistry by way of microbiology, and chemistry from physics, and physics from the Big Bang: one of the nice things about doing philosophy as opposed to science is that you can take such a tour d’horizon from the philosopher’s armchair or Barcalounger without spilling your drink. You don’t have to labor at Princeton weak and weary as a bitter, twisted, and prematurely aged graduate student.
Plato to my knowledge has nothing to say when confronted with implication relations amongst Ideas which would seem to diminish the grandeur of certain Ideas, and enhance the grandeur of more logically fundamental Ideas. There is, in other words, war in Plato’s Heaven, with Rebel Angels conspiring to show that they are “more fundamental” than other ideas. The Lucifer Idea becomes cosmology?
My point being? Plato, while completely discredited by his star student, provides loads of fun for the entire family in the form of speculation. This speculation goes nowhere only in the sense that the Diabelli variations return home.