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Bryan Magee

Data di nascita: 12. Aprile 1930

Bryan Edgar Magee , scrittore, filosofo e politico britannico.

„Non capisco come un uomo dotato di ragione che abbia letto la critica di Popper a Marx possa essere ancora marxista.“ citato da William Bartley III in Karl Popper, Simposio, Simposiums, traduzione di Dario Antiseri, Rusconi Editore, Milano 1989

„Like the character Moliere who discovered to his astonishment that he had been speaking prose all his life, I discovered to my astonishment that I had been immersed in philosophical problems all my life. And I had been drawn into the same problems as great philosophers by the same felt need to make sense of the world... The chief difference between me and them, of course, was that whereas they had something to offer by way of solutions to the problems, I had failed even to formulate very rich or sophistocated versions of the problems, let alone work my way through to defensible solutions for them. In consequence I fell on their work like a starving man on food, and it has done a geat deal to nourish and sustain me ever since.“ Confessions of a Philosopher: A Personal Journey Through Western Philosophy from Plato to Popper

„I had a pupil who turned in a couple of well-crafted essays on Descartes, subjecting "cogito ergo sum" to effective and damaging criticism... This was the sort of thing the best students did, and it was thought to be Oxford intellectual training at its most sophistocated. But I said to him, "If all the criticisms you've made of Descartes are valid-- and on the whole I think they are-- why are we spending our time here now discussing him? Why have you just devoted a fortnight of your life to reading his main works and writing two essays about them?... More to the point: if all these things are wrong with his ideas--and I think they are-- why is his name known to every educated person in the Western world today, three and a half centuries after his death?... [text].. The pupil saw my point straight away but was at a loss to answer... [text].. Along such lines as these I made it a conscious principle of my teaching, whatever the subject, to get the pupil first of all to do the necessary learning, and the detailed work of analysis and criticism, and then to raise "Yes, but what is the point of all this-- why are we doing it?" questions. And students almost invariably found that it was only when that stage was reached that the really exciting interest and importantance of what it was they were doing opened up before their eyes.“

„Ignorance is ignorance, not a licence to believe what we like.“ The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

„To take, for example, my own death: what I consider most likely to be true is that death will be the complete and utter end of my existence, with no successor existence of any kind that can be related to me as I now am. And if that is not the case, the next most likely scenario, it seems to me, is something along the lines indicated by Schopenhauer. But neither of these is what I most want. What I want to be true is that I have an individual, innermost self, a soul, which is the real me and which survives my death. That too could be true. But alas, I do not believe it.“

„Uniquely specific, direct, non-linguistic experience is the element in which we live, and it is radically different from conceptual thinking, which can go on only in universals. This is why works of art, embodying as they do unique particulars and insights that cannot be conveyed in words, and cannot be mirrored in conceptual thought, have their roots in lived life and also cannot be translated [into words]. It is why, if someone responds to art predominantly with his intellect, he has already misunderstood it.“

„Human knowledge as it actually is and can only ever be is not a revelation of something objectively and timelessly true, an assured grasp of something existing 'out there' independently of ourselves. It is what we have the best grounds at any given time for believing. Because this is what it is, it does indeed provide the best possible basis for our suppositions and actions. But it always remains our belief, our, conjecture, our hypothesis, our theory; and as such, fallible - and also, as such, a creation of the human mind.“ Confessions of a Philosopher: A Personal Journey Through Western Philosophy from Plato to Popper

„Men presumably always have looked at flowers and been moved by their beauty and their smell: but only since the last century has it been possible to take a flower in your hand and know that you have between your fingers a complex association of organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and a great many other elements, in a complex structure of cells, all of which have evolved from a single cell; and to know something of the internal structure of these cells, and the processes by which they evolved, and the genetic process by which this flower was begun, and will produce other flowers; to know in detail how the light from it is reflected to your eye; and to know the details of those workings of your eye, and your nose, and your neurophysiological system, which enable you to see and smell and touch the flower. These inexhaustible and almost incredible realities which are all around us and within us are recent discoveries which are still being explored, while similar new discoveries continue to be made; and we have before us an endless vista of such new possibilities stretching into the future, all of it beyond man’s wildest dreams until almost the age we ourselves are living in. Popper’s ever present and vivid sense of this, and of the fact that every discovering opens up new problems for us, informs his theoretical methodology. He knows that our ignorance grows with our knowledge, and that we shall therefore always have more questions than answers.“ Karl Popper

„Something else I learnt... is respect for reality as against all the many alternatives to it--conventional assumptions, fashionable ways of looking at things, ideologies, social or personal aspirations, fears, intentions, wishful thinking, religious claims, and the rest...“

„It follows from Schopenhauer’s analysis that evert genuine work of art must have its origin in direct perception; that is to say it does not originate in concepts, and concepts are not what it communicates. This is what more than anything else differentiates good art from bad, or more accurately authentic from inauthentic art. The latter often originates in a desire on the part of the artist to meet some demand external to himself – to win approval, say, or be in the fashion, or supply a market – or else to put over a message of some sort. Such an artist starts by trying to thin what it would be a good idea to do – in other words, the starting point of the process for him is something that exists in terms of concepts. The inevitable result is dead art, of whatever kind, whether imitative, academic, commercial, didactic or fashion-conscious. It may be successful in its day because it meets the demands of its day, but once that day is over it has no inner life of its own with which to outlive it.“ The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

„Even if it could be shown that all explanations can be reduced ultimately to those of science, and even if all the reductions were then to be carried out, the mystery of the world as such would be as great at the end of the process as it had been at the beginning.“ The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

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