Border Patrol

Summer                                                          Summer Moon

A contemporary philosopher and novelist, Rebecca Goldstein, defends philosophy as a discipline whose task is “…to render our human points of view ever more coherent.” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 14, 2014. In order to do that she says, in the same article, that philosophy must patrol “troubled conceptual borders.” 

This perspective attracted me. A discipline that walks between worlds, the worlds of physics and that of biology, say, or that law and justice, literature and culture, anthropology and privacy or of worlds within worlds, say, between baseball fans and football fans, or materialist scientists and vitalist scientists. It is, as used to be said, the queen of the sciences.

Her examples in the article are abstruse, philosophical all, but her point extends well beyond the the lives of the mind and into the streets. Who negotiates the place between color theory as a branch of optics and the application of it by a painter? Who walks along the lines Wagner proposed long ago, those lines attempting to make a wholistic art form, one using music, painting, literature, poetry, acting all in one, a meta-art? Who mediates between the anti-free will and the free will camp in the borderlands of psychology, experimental psychology and neurology?

Long ago in my college days I found sort of border realm thinking very attractive. I took psych theory, anthro theory, soc theory, philosophy and might one day have gotten around to econ. My interest lay in the roots of these disciplines, in their founding ideas, how those shaped their work, limiting them while defining a discipline’s proper area of study. These areas of thought still fascinate me though I have less opportunity to investigate them.

Not even sure what I’m saying here, just throwing up a flag that says, hey, I’d like to talk more about this.

This entry was posted in Humanities, Letters, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.