Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Art of Thinking

Frederick C. Kolbe on the Art of Thinking:

Text not available
The Irish Monthly By Matthew Russell

The whole essay, published in 1893, is actually fairly interesting. In it he traces a set of analogies between the art of thinking and the fine arts, and argues that the art of thinking, like the fine arts, must be characterized by the following features:

(1) "Art-work is not the work of individuals, but the outcome of the united efforts of a school." As he says elsewhere, to have a genuine art of thinking, you need to "begin in reverence," i.e., to allow some room for apprenticeship to great minds.
(2) "Every art has its own drudgery. That of thinking consists in the elementary practice of formal logic."
(3) "Art is concerned with things, not with notions; and there are things of the mind every whit as real as tables and chairs." Thus part of the art of thinking is learning to deal with realities rather than getting mired in purely verbal disputes or sticking merely to knowledge of theories about realities.
(4) "We must love our art, for its own sake, not for anything it can bring us....We must be real philosophers, lovers of wisdom: otherwise we can never become artists in the domain of Thought." It takes "undying enthusiasm."

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