On Philosophy

1 Long & 4 Short

by Edward N. Haas



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 10/04/2001

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 392
ISBN : 9780759616639

About the Book

There are professional philosophers and there are amateur ones. They are, in most cases, very different from one another.

Professional philosophers usually have college degrees in philosophy and, to keep abreast of their profession, they rather faithfully read one or more philosophy journals. Understandably, then, for them, philosophy mostly means what some professional philosopher has written by way of a commentary upon what was lately said by some other professional philosopher in a philosophy journal.

Amateur philosophers, if they have college degrees, have them in some other field. They rarely if ever read philosophy journals. For them, philosophy is a kind of recreational vehicle to which they turn because, being thinking individuals, they delight in reflecting upon several of the highly interesting questions raised in some classical books they have read or provocative conversations they have enjoyed.

Because this book is written by an amateur philosopher, it is not likely professional philosophers will find anything appealing in it. Possibly, it shall appeal to amateur philosophers interested in hearing what a sixty-five year old member of their group has to say on such diverse issues as knowledge, concepts, certitude, "the unknowable," the scientific versus the philosophical method of searching for ultimate realities, relativity, time, space, matter, Zeno of Elea’s bit about Achilles and the tortoise, and paradoxical statements such as: "This statement is not true."

To be sure, because amateurs are self-educated, it is difficult for them to avoid using terminology of their own making, and that necessarily means the amateur is all too often in the awkward position of speaking a tongue known to no one but himself. Curiously, though, those interested in something "off the beaten path" generally find that situation more of an exciting challenge than they do a barrier not worth surmounting. In this, as in every book written by this author, those interested in something off the beaten path will find exactly what they crave.

About the Author

Born April 13, 1936, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the author graduated from Jesuit high school, in New Orleans, in 1953. A single fruitless semester studying music at Loyola University of the South in New Orleans was followed by almost two years of floundering in a sea of confusion, and the author then joined the U. S. Air Force on Dec. 7, 1955. Honorably discharged in April of 1960, the author underwent another two and a half years of floundering so severe, he came extremely close to a mental breakdown. In desperation, he gave away everything he owned and, for thirteen years, took to the life of a wandering hermit. In search of as much time and energy as possible for inner reflection upon self, God, and the nature and purpose of reality, he criss-crossed the United States on foot four times. At first, he lived off of whatever food and clothing he could beg; but, after learning how to live on a dollar a day or less, he turned to working at various monasteries in the winter time in exchange for the two to three hundred dollars required to feed and to clothe himself during the next spring, summer, and fall of walking. The monasteries also provided access to libraries in which he could read, and extract notes from, the great writings of the Catholic Church. In the course of that thirteen-year odyssey, there was a four year period during which he refused to speak to anyone (except on very rare occasions) and communicated only by means of written notes.

In August of 1975, the author’s father lost his mind, and the author’s siblings insisted he was the only one in the family with the time and ability to tend to their father in his hour of need. Thus, after thirteen years, the author’s preferred lifestyle came to an end. Dire poverty then gave way to economic independence, and total seclusion gave way to what little privacy can be enjoyed by bachelors who prefer to avoid partying and to stay home and--as much as possible--to bury themselves in as much reading and writing as the world around them will allow.

After his father’s death in 1981, the author took care of his mother until her death in 1996. In this book, the self-educated author of dozens of mostly unpublished books and pamphlets seeks to share with others the avenues of thought down which his mind was lead by thirteen years of heroically intense inner concentration followed by twenty-two years of moderately intense inner concentration.