Sabbath for thought

In his classic Leisure the Basis of Culture , Josef Pieper notes that Kant considered knowledge ot be “discursive” rather than “receptive and contemplative.” Against romantics like Jacobi, he insisted that “the law is that reason acquires its possessions through work.” Romantics don’t really do philosophy, but only a counterfeit of philosophy “in which there is no need to work; one only has to attend to the oracle in one’s breast and enjoy it, and so possess that wisdom whole and entire, which is the end of philosophy.”

Pieper noted that this was a sea-change in philosophy: “The Greeks -Aristotle no less than Plato – as well as the great medieval thinkers, held that not only physical, sensuous perception, but equally man’s spiritual and intellectual knowledge, included an element of pure, receptive contemplation, or as Heraclitus says, of ‘listening to the essence of things.’”

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