explaining away

achille7

New Member
french
Quelqu'un aurait-il une suggestion motivée pour le sens de "explaining away" dans la phrase suivante :


"Philosophy destroys its usefulness when it indulges in brilliant feats of explaining away. It is then trespassing with the wrong equipment upon the field of particular sciences."
J'ai d'abord traduit ainsi : "[...] prouesses de la justification. [...]."

Mais je ne suis pas du tout satisfait. J'ai déjà consulté les fils précédents sur cette expression (chercher de excuses, minimiser, expliquer en long et en large etc...). Mais la question reste entière, à mes yeux, pour ce passage. Je mets la phrase suivante parce qu'elle me semble importante pour éclairer l'optique de l'auteur. J'ai pensé à des alternatives : "des explications sophistiques", des "explications laborieuses", "compliquées", "spécieuses"... Mais je suis toujours perplexe.

Merci de bien vouloir essayer de m'éclairer.
A7
 
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  • ufoseeker

    Senior Member
    France Français
    N'y a t-il pas là l'idée d'échappatoire? (on fait une pirouette pour ne pas avoir à expliquer quelque chose?) Ou peut-être est-ce que je me trompe?
     

    achille7

    New Member
    french
    En effet. Je comprends que cette idée soit suggérée. Mais comment le rendre ? Des explications "obscures" peut-être... Mon problème est de trouver quelque chose qui colle avec la phrase suivante.
    Mais merci de votre réponse.
     

    achille7

    New Member
    french
    Bonjour cher monsieur !
    Oui, c'est vaste. Eh bien, je peux vous indiquer tout l'alinéa, car il me semble que la fin donne peut-être une indication sur une interprétation possible du passage litigieux. Quant à l'intention globale, c'est une tentative de définir ce que Whitehead appelle sa "philosophie spéculative", par comparaison avec la tradition et d'autres conceptions plus récentes de la discipline. Je ne peux guère en dire plus.

    Voici l'alinéa :


    Philosophy destroys its usefulness when it indulges in brilliant feats of explaining away. It is then trespassing with the wrong equipment upon the field of particular sciences. Its ultimate appeal is to the general consciousness of what in practice we experience. Whatever thread of presupposition characterizes social expression throughout the various epochs of rational society must find its place in philosophic theory. Speculative bold- ness must be balanced by complete humility before logic, and before fact. It is a disease of philosophy when it is neither bold nor humble, but merely a reflection of the temperamental presuppositions of exceptional personalities.



    La philosophie sape son utilité quand elle verse dans les brillantes prouesses de la justification . [...]
     
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    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Possibly "palliation"?

    I'm afraid the context didn't help me at all because I don't see the link between sentences 1 and 2 and sentences 3 to 6, the latter don't seem to mean much apart from indicating the author doesn't like Whitehead.
     

    achille7

    New Member
    french
    The question is as following : does "explain away" means a kind of attempt to exculpate oneself ? In this case, the last sentence means something like : don't look (you, philosopher) after psychological legitimacy, don't try to justify yourself through your philosophy. This is a wrong way, cause philosophy must be a picture of the world, not of the painter.
    One meaning of "explain away" is "justify", and it can have a deep resonance for who (a professional philosopher) care of significance ant tasks of philosophy.
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Normally one "explains away" something, and the object is stated. Here I took the object to be (implicitly) something to do with the sciences and philosophy thereby trespasses. Otherwise what is the second sentence doing there? (The exact "something" is unknown, perhaps it is stated beforehand).

    I would not expect "explaining away" to be used to mean "self-justification" because the latter term is clearer and there is no gain in words.

    Mind you, if it is a quote from Whitehead then he has a reputation for opacity or even unintelligibility. (Makes Hegel's "Phenomenology" read like Winnie-the-Pooh?)
     
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    achille7

    New Member
    french
    Normally one "explains away" something, and the object is stated. Here I took the object to be (implicitly) something to do with the sciences and philosophy thereby trespasses. Otherwise what is the second sentence doing there? (The exact "something" is unknown, perhaps it is stated beforehand).

    I would not expect "explaining away" to be used to mean "self-justification" because the latter term is clearer and there is no gain in words.

    Mind you, if it is a quote from Whitehead then he has a reputation for opacity or even unintelligibility. (Makes Hegel's "Phenomenology" read like Winnie-the-Pooh?)



    I beg your pardon : I was held back by professionnal duties these last days. I realize that there are too much implicit ideas in my last post. Justification has a link with "foundation", which has often been taken for the primary task of philosophy, since modern times...
    Yes, I know that Whitehead has this reputation. And at present, I can't entirely disagree with this...
    Thanks for your answer

    LM
     

    achille7

    New Member
    french
    lorsqu'elle s'égare dans les méandres de ses explications


    Merci de votre suggestion. Je pense cependant que le reproche doit toucher à quelque chose d'assez fondamental dans la philosophie, passée et contemporaine et que la difficulté est de savoir quoi, car ça peut être différentes choses.
     
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