Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reconciling The Vulgar And The Learned

Tom Rosenstiel wrote two days ago that journalism's future is collaboration between citizens, technology and professional journalists towards deeper and wider public intelligence. A theme that reminds me of a the excellent article The Scottish Tradition in Economics and the Role of Common Sense in Adam Smith's Thought in which Flavio Comim quotes Davie (1976):
 'the central problem of Scottish philosophy'(Davie 1976): the problem of reconciling the vulgar and the learned'

Flavio Commin's essay on Common Sense in Adam Smith's thought refutes the claim by Gawkin Kennedy that Thomas Reid is merely a parochial philosopher. In this context of reconciling the vulgar and the learned 'contesting the theory of rationality and justification implicit in Hume's skepticism' (Michael De Moore) suddenly makes a lot more sense.
'we should either trust all our faculties, or distrust them all'  - Thomas Reid
Collaboration between 'the vulgar and the learned' is what Princeton's thoughtleadership under Samuel Finley and John Witherspoon aimed for. It's the reason John Witherspoon,  in his "Answers to the Reasons of Dissent", rejected the moderates in Scotland and why he wasn't interested in 'instilling the classical knowledge essential to a scholarly gentleman'.

Hans Joachim Störig's writes in 'History of Philosophy':
'Thomas Reid's 'School' uses common sense to avoid having to digg deeper into the criticism of the mind is, to quote Immanuel Kant, 'ultimately no different than relying on the judgement of the masses, a round of applause for which the philosopher is ashamed.'
Incredibly unconvincing statement considering the fact that this was precisely the central problem Scottish Philosophy was working on. You get the impression from this statement that Kant, instead of entering the field and engaging Scottish philosophy, he just runs of with the ball.

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