Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thinkers and disciples

A comment I made here.

A common problem with thinkers and disciples is the disciples going beyond what the original thinker thought appropriate. Marx was not as Marxist as some Marxists, Freud as Freudian as some Freudians and Kuhn as Kuhnian as some Kuhnians.

Etienne Gilson expressed the problem quite well when he wrote:
… whereas a master holds his conclusions as conclusions, his disciples receive them as premises, with the consequence that their own conclusions can never be the master’s conclusions.