by Robert Priddy, Oslo University. 1983

Lecture study notes for a post-graduate course in comparative Western American history of philosophy

 Original cowboy lyric

Notes and References

Now, lemme tellya sumthun'
of the ole West's his-toree...
'n don' think this ain't no party, friends
this is phi-los-o-py.Jus' like some empty barrels
that maksa lotta noise
or some coy-ote howlin'
out orn the wiiiide prarie.
(An' it sure stirred folks up wors'n a dust devil)

lit. '(and) think not that this is not no party'
= triple negative, equivalent to a single negation.
A reaffirmation of the contra-philosophical Cowpoke
Argument "Too much hootin', not enough shootin'."

Philosophy is to stir up any dust settling on the brain

Ole Socrates begun it
'n gave it all he'd got...
preachin' law 'n order
to try'n stop the rot.
All for the honour of the West...
till they brought him in fur questionin'
'n sent him to his death.
(Gee, but did that dude say some purdy words at the trial!)

law 'n order = theory of the rational
the rot = Sophism

see Plato "The Apology"

While still measurin' up his corpse
Young Plato jus' said 'Yup'
'n swore he'd take revenge
- get justice evened up.
He rode out to confound the world
- tough when he was on form
- a real smooth justice-talkin' man
to see State law reformed.
(All this was long ago in ole Athens, Arizona State)
Plato present first shortly after Socrates' death
i.e. the purpose of writing The Republic
To Syracuse, where he was virtually made 'deputy'-

until the despot Sheriff there took away his badge
A slick young critter rode to town
A-ristotle was his name
My! Did he have the Final Cause
zat put Plato to shame.
Why, he was the fastest thinkin' gun
that ever hit the West.
He shot down everyone in sight
to prove his reasonin' was best.
(But his young side-kick Alex was a bad 'un!)
'critter' lit. 'creature' or animale rationale
ref. Aristotle's theory of entelechy
and his wide-ranging critical destruction of others' arguments
i.e. Alexander the Great, Aristotle's pupil
Now, Ah cain't tell ya ev-er-y-thin'
that went on in them days
but folks say they remember
Black Doubtin' 'Des' Cartes
He was a wise guy... loner,
ridin' up noo trails
and surely noo himself to be
of clear and certain aim.
(Yes and Des had 'God' branded into his cowboy brain)
i.e. leaves a blank of 1,900 years between Aristotle/Descartes!
Black is the Jesuit colour & of shadows of doubt.
A loner who withdrew from the world to doubt it,
living alone in a stove. 'Noo' = modern.
Descartes claimed a new beginning with the cogito,
a proof 'clear & distinct to the mind'.
Descartes' claim that the idea of God is inborn,
and is impressed on every mind.
Then Davie Hume did call him out
for layin' down the law
and met him close to sundown
outside the One-Up Bar.
Hume sez: "Stranger, mah impressun is
you' mind was blank from birth"
while he drew his Smith and Wesson
an' blew him off this earth.
(When they laid out his body, it was separate
from his soul)
Hume's critique of rationalistic certainty as
a basis for laying down dogmatic Jesuit moral theory.
the well-frequented philosophical locale where
points are scored in rational or physical arguments.
An emotive argument to avoid the counter claim,
namely, one can have no impression of the mind's blankness at birth.
But as for his pineal gland, who can say?
Hume's barrel was still smokin'
when Johnson's posse came to lynch him
his alibi: "You cain't prove
no nec'sury connection!
Plain ornery doggone reason
won' tell ya what AH ought
so look out for ma passions
'n pour another quart!
(Yessir, Davie was a hard-drinkin' man)
Samuel Johnson's posse.

The famous argument against causal certainty.
Plain ornery reason = common sense
Hume wrote, "Reason is, and ought to be, the slave of the passions"
Reason cannot therefore prescribe what one ought to do.

Port is mentioned in some of Hume's works,
though he himself was Scotch.
The dust had hardly settled
when Manny Kant blew in
ridin' a posteriori
to smooth out ev-ur-y-thin'.
That man sure noo his duty
defendin' what is right
ridin' down them mavericks
to bring 'em in alive.
(Manny wouldn't harm a hair on their scalps)
The 'dust' of the scholastic vs. empiricist arguments,
lit. 'on the posterior' or 'on the rear seat'.
to reconcile rationalisn & empiricism.
the Kantian 'noo' = 'to intuit with apodeictic evidence',
as a priori synthetic.
"regarding them as an end withall, not just a means"
Fichte, Schiller, Schleiermacher
quickly hit the trail
'n George William Freddy Hegel
was close upon their tails
and Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx
- all shot it out in vain -
'til ev-ur-y-one had bit the dust
wid nothin' more to say.
('Ceptin' Karl 'the Marksman' still speaks from the grave, they say)

The German hill settlers whose elevated ideas caused real trouble for the Law.
The great decline in German idealism, leading up to Hitler, Nazism's Gotterdamerung & Stalinism.

In Highgate Cemetry, they say & in a few remaining Socialist States.

Now, none 'o them had reckoned ohrn
that hustler from down-town
with phe-nom-e-nal renown.
Sure! Ed the Hussler was the name -
a desperate one with certain aim -
known as 'The Crisis of the West'
standin' in a natural way
to clear ole Black 'Des' Cartes' name.
(Ed the Hustler slung a real essential gun)
"The Crisis of European Philosophy"
'Husserl's aim to revisit the 'natural attitude'
Phemenology aimed to justify Descartes' approach.
i.e. famous for his method of throwing a gun.
The Marshal called the troopers in
to put the Hustler down
but Eddie got 'em, one by one,
his method won all round.
One glance of his could soon re-dooce
the existence of that town
but he had no kinda prejudice
'gainst puttin' prejudices down.
Husserl's phenomenological method won over Heidegger, Sartre and many more,
Re-dooce = the phenomenological 'reduction' or epoché.
Préjuges - Husserl aimed simply to describe things & values etc. & be neutral on ethics.
Well, things had reached a lawless state
- cattle thieves out rampagin'
State Marshall White-gun-stein arrived
ridin' shotgun on the stage:
"Ah'm gonna putta stop to this
dis-grace-ful state 'o affairs
all this primitive language
and foul talkin' ev-ur-y-where...
eg. Bertrand's Rustlers
Wittgenstein's return from Norway, to put things straight
in Cambridge etc.
primitive language "Philosophical Investigations" p. 7.
Jus' hold you' peace, or speak up clear
- don' use no empty words -
'cause I cain't stand no contradiction
O.K.? So now y'heard!
This world is all that is the case
- it's that and plenty more -
'N any-one don' agree with me
can try'n outdraw mah draw!

"What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."
Contradictions must go and only 'propositions with sense' are strictly meaningful.
The first main proposition of Tractatus requires plenty of explanation - a whole tractatus!

Does 'outdraw my draw' picture an object or is it just a challenge or (empty) boast?

If what Ah say is meaningless
Ah sez it jus' the same
to fool durned Bernie Russell
- takin' cattle with no shame!
But ah'm a man of action
- no time for fancy talk -
Ah change mah mid just when I like...
Form now on, Ah'm the Law!"
Tractatus contains no propositions with reference, so all of it is,strictly speaking, meaningless.
Tractatus eclipsed Bertrand Russell's similar work,
so Wittgenstein was humiliatingly examined by Russell & Moore for his Ph. D.
W.'s preference for 'ordinary language'
The alleged change of opinion after Tractatus -

Who can challenge his authority now?
And so the modern world was made,
the Pride of all the West
with Eu-ro-pean phil-o-so-phy
put to the trigger test.
Right now the dollar's ridin' low
'n reason's in decline
but trigger-happy action men
are doin' mighty fine!
Insert 'high' for 'low' when Greenspan advises-
(Orchestration: basic melody 'Ghost Riders in the Sky')
The above material is the copyright of Robert Priddy, Oslo. 1983. However, it may be quoted from freely in the appropriate accent.