On Philosophy's envy of her four sisters (series: notes to myself)

Philosophy has four sisters: Mathematics, Poetry, Religion, and Science. She envies all of them.

She would like to be as powerfully abstract, and rigorously demonstrative, and practically useful, and timeless ... as she believes Mathematics to be.

But failing, she ends up calculating the qualitative, formalising the undefinable, inferring the trivial, and missing the obvious: useless, empty, self-referential.


She would like to be as delicately perceptive, and existentially fine-tuned, and meaningfully profound, and experientially rich ... as she believes Poetry to be.

But failing, she ends up blathering obscure intuitions, prophesying in an esoteric language, playing with words while disrespecting facts and reasonings, obsessed with invented etymologies but oblivious of actual meanings: unhinged, nonsensical, unaccountable.

She would like to be as methodologically driven, and systematically explanatory, and epistemically foundational, and progressively cumulative ... as she believes Science to be.

But failing, she ends up being factually biased, logically hairsplitting, stuck in her ivory tower, entangled in pointless formulae and abstruse thought experiments: unanchored, arrogant, irrelevant.

She would like to be as compassionately consoling, and spiritually elevated, and otherwordly revelatory, and ultimately salvific ... as she believes Religion to be.

But failing, she ends up pontificating, acritically dogmatic, culturally parochial: untenable, intolerant, unquestionable.

Only when she stops aping her sisters can Philosophy succeed as conceptual design that answers fundamental questions that are intrinsically open to informed, rational, and reasonable debate.

Then, she can reason more deeply than Mathematics, to which she can show the foundations of logic.

Then, she can control language better than Poetry, to which she can show the grammar of thoughts.

Then, she can be more insightful than Science, to which she can show the critical understanding of any factual presupposition.

Then, she can be more ethical than Religion, to which she can show how to build a better world here.

Philosophy is the elder sister. She should lead by example, not follow her envy.

Only then, can Philosophy be in charge of the human project.

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