Thursday, March 8, 2012

What is intellectual progress (Cahoone quote)?

The child says something about what happened between Jane and Johnny.  You saw the same thing.  You explain it differently and in a more complicated way.  The child cannot understand your explanation but you can understand the child’s explanation because yours includes…the child’s explanation as a possibility….  This is rational progress, and its why hopefully adults still get to teach their children. 
Rational progress therefore remains conceivable wherever we can articulate within our new improved understanding of things…(an improved understanding of things), and still articulate the older way of understanding, and still explain its inadequacy along with the greater adequacy of the new view: that’s rational progress, and there’s nothing we’ve seen to say that can’t be done.
—Lawrence Cahoon.  2010.  The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida.  Lecture 36: Philosophy’s Death Greatly Exaggerated.  The Teaching Company.

Blog Archive