Coursera-Princeton: Paradoxes of war. June 2014
subject: American Sociology and its Philosophical WEAKNESSES
Coming from more classical studies I am VERY SURPRISED to find in this thread mentioned ROUSSEAU and HOBBES.
WHAT IS SO MUCH EXTRAVAGANT WITH THIS OBSERVATION?
Well, the thing in MY perception is, that there is NEARLY NO PHILOSOPHY INVOLVED in this entire course.
So it is STRANGE thing, that SUDDENLY we hear of Rousseau and Hobbes!
I may go further down this line of argumentation in SEARCH FOR PHILOSOPHJICAL implications of this course and found the following:
If I understood the last weeks lectures, this course is mainly focussed on war as phenomenon of SOCIOLOGY, but not sociology in GENERAL, but sociology of the MODERN AMERICAN TYPE, which is sociology based on EMPIRICAL METHOD, which is applying InDUCTION to SINGLE EXPERIMENTS to produce some sort of GENERALIZATIONS or “more general insights”. (Which is not taking into account, that ARISTOTLE is said to have a PROFF, that INDUCTION CANNOT FUNCTION, see Bochenski, 1950)
Well, there would be nothing wrong with this sociological-empirical approach, if not ARTHUR KOESTLER has SEVERLY CRITISIZED it, that is: critisized it to the very foundation and bottom of this approach.
For people, that would like laughter and entertainment, I may go as far as to report one main point of Koestlers critizism, which was:
If we find in MODERN sociology LOTS and LOTS of RAT – experiments, this NOT NECESSARELY WOULD LEAD to “theories” to TRULY understand HUMANS better. Koestler says something like: THE OLD CRITICS WAS, that humans tend to ANTHROPOCENTRISM and ANTROPOMORPH, but it is not really helped the matter, if we find this TODAY REPLACED by RAT-morphology and Rat-centrism.
I may now add what was expected from my Centraleuropean traditions and backgrounds in studies, that we once had in Europe a PHILOSOPHICAL-JURIDICAL APPROACH for to RESTRICT WARS, the main exponents of which are NO LESS than THOMAS OF AQUINAS and HUGO GROTIUS. It is however conceded, that we from history cannot DECIDE without heavy debate, what should be a JUST WAR, around which until 18th century was tried, to HUMANISIZE war-events. As supporting argument I may take British General J.F.C. Fuller “On the degenerated art of warfare”, German, Cologne 1964, who has it, that EVERYTHING since the FRENCH REVOLUTION and the “levee en masse” armies of Napoleon is a DECLINE IN HUMAN BEHAVIOR IN WAR.
There is ANOTHER point, which became more clear to me during my experience in EASTCHRISTIAN-ORTHODOX environments, which is:
We have not only in this course EXCLUDED an ELDER CHRISTIAN TEACHING ON WAR, but missing is as well the CONNECTION of “war-theory” to the elder CHRISTIAN TEACHING ON STATE. It may really ALIENATE our so much MODERN “feeling”, but we have in St.Augustin (of Hippo) something like an “utopia” about “state” under the title “De civitate Dei” and we find again THOMAS OF AQUINAS contributing to the problem of PROPPER CHRISTIAN STATE. So far as I can understand this really demanding OLD discussion, there is especially one topic, that may puzzle the modern observer, which is, that the 1st millenium after Christ understood the socalled “profan secular history” UnDER A GIVEN TOPUS of “APOCALYPSE”, which was some sort of REAL FELT expectation of “end of days”, MAKING EVERITHING ELSE PROVISORY, not really counting in some way.
This we may CONTRAST with TODAY, where we find something quite different, which is an EXPECTATION, that it would be possible to have some sort or other “HEAVEN ON EARTH”, which is NO GIFT of some superior to humans “GOD” any more, but is expected to be possible as MANMADE CONSTRUCTION (on which topic of “protestant confession mentality” has worked MAX WEBER, who for some strange reasons today seems to be out of discussion, which however should not be so)!
MY GENERAL QUESTION TO EVERYBODY now would be:
IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE, that we sometimes set apart all the old stuff of old times. The question however is: IS CHRISTIAN TEACHING so much oldfashioned, that we can pretend, AS IF ITS TEACHINGS ON WAR AND PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY have become ENTIRELY USELESS AND MEANINGLESS???
Tell you what: IT MIGHT BE A MISTAKE, to declare someone DEAD, who is ALIVE!
Or to put it slightly other:
If we see in history of sciences a CATHOLIC TEACHING ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (German: Katholische Soziallehre), which in praxi is a list of topics to be dealt with by a truly Christian STATE, dating from 19th century to approx. the 1970ties, I cannot quite understand, what our T’ODAY approaches are SO MUCH BETTER, so that NOBODY SEEMS eager to take into account those TREMENDOUS efforts in LEARNING and STUDY any longer??!!
Sincerely Bruno Antonio from good old Central Europe