I first read the following by John Gray a few years ago:
"Contemporary philosophers are not so bold as to claim that philosophy teaches us how to live, but they are hard put to say what does teach."
After reading that humility, imagine my shock when I read the following:
श्रीनिवास हेमाडे, लोकसत्ता, June 5 2014:
"...आता, जर तत्त्वज्ञान ही सर्व ज्ञानाची जननी असेल; तर तिचा संसार कोणता? तिचा संसार म्हणजेच ती अनंत संकल्पनांना जन्म देते, त्यावर आधारित जीवन व्यवस्थांचे पालनपोषण करते आणि दुष्ट, अधर्मी मुलांना प्रेमपूर्वक पूर्णविरामसुद्धा देते. म्हणून उदाहरणार्थ, प्लेटोचे राज्य अस्तित्वातच आले नाही आणि मदांध ब्रिटिश राज संपुष्टात आले, चेंगीजखान अन् नाझी भस्मासुर अखेर भस्म झाला.
तत्त्वज्ञान हे रामकृष्ण परमहंसांच्या कालीसारखे दुष्ट मुलांचे निर्दालन करते..."
(Prof. Shrinivas Hemade:
"...Now, if philosophy is the mother of all knowledge, what is her world? Her world is that she gives birth to infinite concepts, and nourishes life-systems based on them and terminates, with affection, the evil and irreligious kids. Therefore, for instance, Plato's kingdom never came into existence and arrogant British-Raj came to an end, Genghis Khan and genocidal Nazism in the end burnt down.
Philosophy like Ramkrishna Paramhansa's Kali obliterates evil kids...")
After quoting a baloney like this, I offer you an antidote on it: John N Gray's book 'Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals', 2002.
If only I knew about the claimed powers of philosophy, when I finished my middle-class schooling in 1975, I would have majored in philosophy and, more importantly, used it against one or two 'evil' kids who used to mildly rag me in the high-school!
Instead my father a college teacher in anthropology and English told me to stay as far away from arts as possible if I wanted to be employed. He also said philosophy departments in most colleges, indeed universities, were closing down. If at all one still wanted to do arts, one should major in sociology or economics.
Prof. Hemade's claims can be challenged on several fronts but I will restrict myself to only a couple.
I love philosophy the way I love many other things in life. But my problems with it are fundamental because I don't feel humans are very different from animals.
The claim has been made that 'Plato's kingdom never came into existence' (प्लेटोचे राज्य अस्तित्वातच आले नाही). Maybe but just count the cost humanity has paid in just pursuing it.
Does philosophy attempt to reach the truth or peace of mind/ tranquility?
"...The ancient Greek philosophers had a practical aim – peace of mind. As it was practised by Socrates, ‘philosophy’ was not the mere pursuit of knowledge. It was a way of life, a culture of dialectical debate and an armoury of spiritual exercises, whose goal was not truth but tranquility. Pyrrho – the founder of Greek Scepticism – did not need to go with Alexander to India to discover philosophies whose goal was inner peace. The ancient Greeks were at one with their contemporaries in India..."
And is tranquility itself overrated?