Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Plagiarized by the Past

"All that you can do in your life is decide--assuming that there is any part of your mind capable of free action and not entirely overdetermined by unconscious drives, ideological programming, or deterministic biological processes--to what larger historical tendency--of which you may not have any real knowledge--you will contribute your individual effort, while keeping in mind that every aspect of that tendency, including the efficacy of your own actions in and upon it, remains fundamentally outside of your control."
- Bill Clinton, If You Can Read This You're Lying, 2011

"Humans in modern societies are driven by a perhaps desperate hope that they might find some way of mobilising their theoretical and empirical knowledge and their evaluative systems so as both to locate themselves and their projects in some larger imaginative structure that makes sense to them, and to guide their actions to bring about what they would find be to satisfactory (or at any rate 'less unsatisfactory') outcome or to improve in some other way the life they live. Furthermore, many modern agents would like it to be the case that they form of orientation which their life has is, if not 'true,' at least compatible with the best available knowledge, and they would like the principles by which they guide their action to be in some kind of contact with reality, although anyone would be hard put to say precisely what was meant by that. Both the extent to which this hope is present in a certain group and the extent to which it can be realised are empirical matters, although one would have to be extremely sanguine to expect it to be realised to any significant extent."
- Raymond Geuss, Philosophy and Real Politics, 2008

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