Friday, July 7, 2017

Philosophers are the true flaneurs

"Anaxagoras used to say that he came into the world to admire the sun," explains the Skeptic Gringoire to Frollo, when the latter urges that he get himself hanged in Esmeralda's place - his latest plot to carry her off, though all unwilling, for himself.

Gringoire - Edmund O'Brien in the 1939 film - refuses, saying "I don't see why I should be hanged in another person's stead," and Frollo protests, "What makes you so fond of life?"

"Oh, a thousand things," answers Gringoire, in the manner of a man who has and needs nothing to live for, no "reason to live", no "cause greater than himself".

At the end of a list of examples including the air, the sky, and moonlight, and the reference to Anaxagoras, he says, "And besides, I have the pleasure of spending all my days, from morning till night, with a man of genius, to wit, myself, and that is a mighty agreeable thing."

And as to fate, an episode of Supernatural on Netflix has the Archangel Michael telling Dean he and Sam cannot avoid their destiny, "all roads lead to the same place."

That is one of at least three different ideas of fate, another being that you must do what is fated (or what is fated must befall), and the last merely that you will do it (or what is fated will befall).

The last is a consequence of logical determinism, the doctrine that all contingents, including future contingents, are true or else false.

Many philosophers consider it - but not the other two - a conception of fatalism compatible with human freedom of choice, though not all would say the same for causal determinism.

Reading The Hunchback.

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