Retrieving Reason Episode 4: Common Ground

Retrieving Reason Episode 4: Common Ground

Retrieving Reason Episode 4: Common Ground
— Read on

First I will say that I totally love this series. 


In counseling we are taught to engage openly, to question in a manner that elicits a response from clients that is more than just yes or no.

One of the ways that we can do this is to try not to exacerbate feelings in the client which cause her to repel or reject or “fall back” into her self, basically, we try to interact with the client to create a welcoming space, a space where she is accepted for who and what she is.

And one way to do this arises When we come upon a very typical situation where the client is presenting about themselves something with just obviously contradictory, something which is yet upheld there in equal forms by the client but yet to the counselor are obviously contradictory. Basically, for something that the client is not seeing of herself we do not engage the client, or we are not encouraged to engage the client, by suggesting that they are wrong or incorrect necessarily. And we can do this by not saying “but”, as in “you did a good thing but then you were wrong”. The conjunction “and” is more effective at carrying on a therapeutic discussion because it points to the legitimacy of the being of the client in exactly the way that she is presenting.

And so to this particular podcast about common Ground, about philosophical common ground in particular, I say that I totally love this particular episode…and…

It is filled with so many assumptions of common ground that it nearly contradicts itself in the proposal that she makes over the 20 minutes. But honestly I don’t have time nor the energy right now to pick apart the podcast.

And you should remember that I said I absolutely love what she is saying. And not because I think she’s wrong. But because what she is saying is correct and has been shown to be highly problematic.

Was it Nietzsche or Wittgenstein Who said that we climb the ladder only to throw it away.

(Perhaps I am misquoting )

Yet — I didn’t say “but” lol — I use an analogy which brings up a more current philosophical Point,  namely, that philosophy extends no further than itself.

In order to conceive of this point one might take it Just as an analogy and not as a definitive argument. So here it goes and then I’ll shut up for a while.


Excellent music can be learned and played without any knowledge of the theory of music. One does not need to know, say, keyboard theoretical logistics, or various ways to move the hands over the keyboard of a piano in order to make excellent music. One does not need to know the names of the notes. One does not even have to play the piano “correctly”. And yet the music resonates, people listen to it and love it, the musician plays the music, all of which occurs completely absent of any philosophy of reason or knowledge.

Hence, when we talk of common ground in philosophy we are basically setting aside the “musical aspect” of philosophy itself for the sake of an assumption that there indeed exist something that is common or that can be common as a ground.

Now, this is not the same as what Dr. Fitzsimmons proposes as rebuttals to what she saying. For example, this is not asserting a contradiction or denying identity. By her estimation, I am having no integrity by my suggestion; but I submit that I am. I am engaging in good faith: I am simply saying that what is dialectical is the effort to find common ground. And I would submit that the assumption of a philosophical common ground which is stretched back thousands of years, like a thread that links all of humanity, is it itself and ideological power-play. But this is not to say that there is no thought or that thinking is bad or that logic is bad Or reason doesn’t exist or that we are not reasoning or that Dr. Fitzsimmons post is incorrect.

But what it does suggest is that something else is going on that has to do with Philosophy, that Philosophy itself is missing something through a certain appropriation of what philosophy “already is”.

I feel the first question for philosophical common ground, a question that is routinely set aside and basically ignored, is: for what purpose are we working philosophically?

This — I feel might be the case — is the question which moves us out of the general phenomenological metaphysical ontological proposals into the question of object ontological orientation.

OK. So that’s enough for me for a while. Hopefully I will only be re-posting other peoples posts without any further commentary.

Thank you for being. 

Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

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