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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 15, Issue 1/2, 2005

Wisdom: Research, Education, Implementation

Beata Stawarska
Pages 59-70
DOI: 10.5840/du2005151/264

Philosopher and Dispassionate Scientist

Philosophia means love of wisdom. If the way of access to wisdom is love, then the quest for wisdom does not appear as a purely cognitive enterprise but also and primarily as an affective one. Rather than reducing the one who searches for wisdom to a pure contemplative mind, it engages the entire person in the inquiry; the affective, and correlatively, sensitive and corporeal being of the self are put into play. Put simply and naïvely, one needs to be implicated in the philo-sophical quest with one’s heart and one’s body. Still, does not such implication prevent this quest from being “scientific”? Should not the inquiry be dispassionate if it is to remain “objective”, for otherwise it may obscure the hypotheses we formulate and the experiments we perform with subjective, personal input and cloud them with a halo of affective indeterminacy? After all, the thesis of objectivism stipulates that we should efface not only all preconceptions and presuppositions in order to have an unprejudiced view of the matter in hand, but also dispose of the entire affective baggage of the individual engaged in a scientific enterprise. This procedure of bracketing of affectivity allows one to scrutinize the object of study from the standpoint of an external observer who adds nothing to the object in order to let its inherent character manifest itself. Hence the supposed detachment and disinterest typical of the strategies employed by science, living and inanimate beings alike being all ranked amongst possible objects for study.

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