THE SPHINX AND THE PHOENIX
The papers posted to this weblog up to the end of 2008 will shortly appear, with little correction and amendment, in a volume under the title The Sphinx and the Phoenix. The following excerpt from the preface explains what is meant by that title:
“This is a collection of philosophical essays written during the period from 2000 to 2008 and published in various online journals and/or in my website and weblog. So why the Sphinx and the Phoenix?
“To philosophize is to question everything; to question the world, our experiences, our beliefs, our motives, our ends; to subject all things to What? and to Why? There you have the Sphinx, and thus far few will be inclined to disagree.
“What about the Phoenix? Here I expect much and strong opposition. I maintain that no genuine philosophical question is amenable to a definitive answer. Philosophy is concerned with ultimate mysteries — the mysteries of being, understanding, and value. By raising questions about these mysteries we create for ourselves intelligible worlds, real in their own right, but which, in seeking to represent the ultimate and the absolute in finite and determinate formulations of thought, necessarily falsify what they set out to reveal. When philosophy fails to acknowledge that its best pronouncements do no more than stammer out the ineffable it turns into dogmatic superstition. That is why true philosophy, as Plato saw clearly, can only speak in allegory and metaphor and myth and must constantly, as Plato insisted in the Republic, destroy it own foundational postulates. True philosophy must burn in the fire of dialectic that from the ashes new intelligible worlds may arise bringing with them enlightenment and insight, but only if they are prepared to burn in their turn on the altar of dialectic.”
D. R. Khashaba
Cairo, 20 January 2009.