Article

Quietism

Stelios Virvidakis and Vasso Kindi

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online February 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0184
Quietism

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
  • Epistemology
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Non-Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Social and Political Philosophy

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Quietism in contemporary analytic philosophy is the view or stance that entails avoidance of substantive philosophical theorizing and is usually associated with certain forms of skepticism, pragmatism, and minimalism about truth. More particularly, it is opposed to putting forth positive theses and developing constructive arguments. It is directly related to a certain construal of Wittgenstein’s early and late work emphasizing the therapeutic purport of his thought. Quietism has been invoked recently mainly by Wittgensteinian and neo-pragmatist thinkers, while it has been criticized by defenders of realist positions. In most cases, the term is used incidentally and sporadically in a variety of dialectical contexts. The term originally referred to a certain tradition in Christian theology and religious practice that can be traced back to the earlier Eastern orthodox “hesychasm,” from the monastic technique of prayer since the 4th century to the theological teaching of St. Gregory Palamas in 14th-century Byzantium, and to the kind of mysticism elaborated by the 17th-century Spanish priest Miguel de Molinos, which spread in Spain and in France. The first conception of philosophical quietism in the history of Western thought is encountered in the approach of Pyrrhonian skeptics of the Hellenistic period, who pursued imperturbability, quietude or tranquility of mind (ataraxia) through suspension of judgment (epoché) and refused assent (synkatathesis) to any philosophical thesis. In fact, Pyrrhonian quietism provides the first combination of a more or less therapeutic goal of philosophizing with an antitheoretical stance. In contemporary discussions, the notion of quietism is often presented in vague, elusive, or ambiguous ways. Its defense is quite controversial insofar as it is often thought to imply intellectual idleness or laziness and objectionable conservatism. One can distinguish among various forms of quietism on the basis of the scope, the strength, and the motivation of the claims advanced, and of the argumentative tactics employed to develop and sustain them. Regarding scope, one can contrast local or partial versions, which restrict the rejection of theorizing to one or more particular areas of philosophical thinking, such as philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, ontology, ethics, or political philosophy, and to global versions, which entail jettisoning philosophical theory in all areas. Moreover, there are stronger and weaker expressions of quietist commitment and different reasons sustaining them at the beginning or at the end of philosophical inquiry. Philosophers advocating quietism of a global or more ambitious form sometimes find themselves in a paradoxical situation when they endorse theoretical positions and proceed to the construction of arguments involving a kind of pragmatic self-refutation.

Article.  7551 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.