Thursday, 17 December 2009

The tree of life

The late Fr Jean de Marneffe, SJ, who taught us contemporary western philosophy at JDV, I think, used to talk about Dilthey, Nietzsche and one other as "Philosophers of Life." Something I never did quite understand.

Now it becomes luminously clear, especially when I read Fred Lawrence's account of Jean Greisch's option between 'the tree of knowledge' and the 'tree of life'. Hermeneutic phenomenology, in contrast to Husserlian phenomenology, chose the tree of life over the tree of knowledge. It recognized that pure perception is something derivative; normal everyday perception is thoroughly soaked in meaning, constituted by meaning. It is linguistic. Implicitly and performatively, all our thoughts, words and actions are either discovering or missing the insight into the right way to live, is the way Fred puts it.Thanks Fred!

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