Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, July 28, 2017

In conclusion...

I've enjoyed our conversation this summer, and am looking forward to your final posts. It feels too soon for finals words in our short course. Maybe it's always too soon for final words, period. That was in fact William James's borrowed final word, in an essay that appeared shortly before his death in the summer of 1910:
“Ever not quite!”— this seems to wring the very last panting word out of rationalistic philosophy’s mouth. It is fit to be pluralism’s heraldic device. There is no complete generalization, no total point of view, no all-pervasive unity, but everywhere some residual resistance to verbalization, formulation, and discursification, some genius of reality that escapes from the pressure of the logical finger, that says “hands off,” and claims its privacy, and means to be left to its own life. In every moment of immediate experience is somewhat absolutely original and novel. “We are the first that ever burst into this silent sea.” Philosophy must pass from words, that reproduce but ancient elements, to life itself, that gives the integrally new. The “inexplicable,” the “mystery,” as what the intellect, with its claim to reason out reality, thinks that it is in duty bound to resolve, and the resolution of which Blood’s revelation would eliminate from the sphere of our duties, remains; but it remains as something to be met and dealt with by faculties more akin to our activities and heroisms and willingnesses, than to our logical powers. This is the anesthetic insight, according to our author. Let my last word, then, speaking in the name of intellectual philosophy, be his word. —“There is no conclusion. What has concluded, that we might conclude in regard to it? There are no fortunes to be told, and there is no advice to be given. — Farewell!”
So, no conclusion. To the endless conversation!


  1. Although the summer course did go by REALLY quickly, I'm glad to have been exposed to different philosophers I had never heard of, and also glad to have been able to think outside the box. The course gave me a chance to reflect on my ideas of truth and independence/freedom and how the definitions are continuously changing for me as I grow older, have new experiences, and I am exposed to different things. Thanks for the flexibility with the course and allowing students to think and respond in an format that is outside the box. It was very refreshing, especially for academia that is usually only done one way from K-College.

  2. I'm glad this format works for you. I've never understood the attraction of academic boxes, when the whole point of learning is supposed to be expanded horizons and more light.

  3. Your words bring to mind the closing song at the end of "Fast & Furious 7." "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth paints a melodic picture of a journey that has not ended, but has rather been placed on pause. No matter where our individual journeys take us, I find joy in the thought that when our paths cross again, we shall pick up the conversation again.

    1. And in the meantime, until our paths cross again, we can continue the silent internal monologues that prepare for the resumption of overt conversation whenever that may be. Philosophy is that kind of conversation, always in process, always in preparation, always appreciated AND anticipated. Looking forward!

  4. Anonymous9:50 PM CDT

    This was the first Philosophy class I have ever taken and I liked it. I thought at first it might be boring but when I read Mill that did it for me I really enjoyed the class and the different philosophers and all my classmates inputs and writings , I would have to say I will be reading more philosophy . and probably taking classes when one opens thank you everyone for making this a pleasant experience . It really went by fast!