<철학자들의 도구상자 The Philosopher’s Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods>라는 책의 첫 장은 철학에서 ‘논증’이 어떤 역할을 수행하는지에 관해 간략하게 다루고 있다. 철학에서 논증의 위치는 무엇인가?
The place of reason in philosophy
It is not universally realized that reasoning comprises a great deal of what philosophy is about. Many people have the idea that philosophy is essentially about ideas or theories about the nature of the world and our place in it. Philosophers do indeed advance such ideas and theories, but in most cases their power and scope stems from their having been derived through rational argument from acceptable premises. Of course, many other regions of human life also commonly involve reasoning, and it may sometimes be impossible to draw clean lines distinguishing philosophy from them. (In fact, whether or not it is possible to do so is itself a matter of heated philosophical debate.)
The natural and social sciences are, for example, fields of rational inquiry that often bump up against the borders of philosophy (especially in inquiries into the mind and brain, theoretical physics and anthropology). But theories composing these sciences are generally determined through certain formal procedures of experimentation and reflection to which philosophy has little to add. Religious thinking sometimes also enlists rationality and shares an often-disputed border with philosophy. But while religious thought is intrinsically related to the divine, sacred or transcendent – perhaps through some kind of revelation, article of faith or religious practice – philosophy, by contrast, in general is not. Of course, the work of certain prominent figures in the Western philosophical tradition presents decidedly non-rational and even anti-rational dimensions (for example, that of Heraclitus, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida). Furthermore, many include the work of Asian (Confucian, Taoist, Shinto), African, Aboriginal and Native American thinkers under the rubric of philosophy, even though they seem to make little use of argument.
But, perhaps despite the intentions of its authors, even the work of non-standard thinkers involves rationally justified claims and subtle forms of argumentation. And in many cases, reasoning remains on the scene at least as a force to be reckoned with.
Philosophy, then, is not the only field of thought for which rationality is important. And not all that goes by the name of philosophy is argumentative. But it is certainly safe to say that one cannot even begin to master the expanse of philosophical thought without learning how to use the tools of reason. There is, therefore, no better place to begin stocking our philosophical toolkit than with rationality’s most basic components, the subatomic particles of reasoning – ‘premises’ and ‘conclusions’
그러니까 논증에 기대지 않는 종류의 서구 철학’적’ 전통도 있다. 이러한 전통은 그런 점에서 공자나 노자 등의 사상과 유사하다. 동양철학이라는 말이 버젓이 사용되는데, 논증이 없다고 하여 ‘철학’이 아니라고 비난할 수는 없다. 그냥 서구화된 유사’동양철학’을 하고 있는 것이라 생각하면 된다.
1985년 호주의 과학철학자 데이빗 스토브(David Stove)는 “세상에서 가장 형편 없는 논증 찾기 경연대회(Competition to Find the Worst Argument in the World)”를 개최했다. 이 경연대회의 우승자는 스토브 자신이 차지했는데 그의 논증은 다음과 같다.
스토브의 논증처럼 최악은 아니지만, 비슷한 수준의 논증이 있다. 마이클 데빗(Michael Devitt)의 다음과 같은 논증이라고 한다.
이런 종류의 논증으로 스토브가 비꼬는 이들은 누구인가? 혹은 이런 논증조차 사용하지 않는 소위 ‘철학자’들은 누구인가? 제임스 프랭클린(James Franklin)의 말로 들어보자. (논증은 생략한다. 이것도 최악의 논증일 수 있겠다.)
Let us not attempt to say what deconstruction or postmodernism are, to express their essence or true nature. How crude and unsympathetic that would be. Still, as in negative theology, it is possible to say what they are not, or at least to make a few playful gestures in that direction. There are obvious difficulties with presenting the arguments in the original works of Derrida, or Lacan, or Baudrillard. They do not write in any natural language, they do not put the premises before the conclusion, the conclusion is distributed over the text rather than appearing in any one sentence, positions are assumed to have been established outside the texts one is actually reading, in previous texts, or perhaps future ones, and so on.
나는 라캉을 이해했다고 말하는 철학자들을 진심으로 존경한다. 그들의 독해능력은 이미 하늘에 닿았다.