My Tribute to the Philosopher, C. D. Broad My Tribute to the Philosopher, C. D. Broad

  Charlie Dunbar Broad                   Charlie Dunbar Broad

According to The Strangest Man ,  a biography about the great theoretical physicist, Paul Dirac, one of Dirac’s greatest early teachers was the philosopher, C.D. Broad.  According to  The Strangest Man , a biography about the great theoretical physicist, Paul Dirac, one of Dirac’s greatest early teachers was the philosopher, C.D. Broad.

Aside from being a fairly influential philospher, Broad was, and is, known as a extremely lucid writer.  Aside from being a fairly influential philospher, Broad was, and is, known as an extremely lucid writer.

According to Dirac’s biographer, Graham Farmelo, “C. D. Broad was a wonderfully idiosyncratic lecturer.    According to Dirac’s biographer, Graham Farmelo, “C. D. Broad was a wonderfully idiosyncratic lecturer.  He always appeared with a carefully prepared script, and he read every sentence twice, except for the jokes, which he delivered three times.  He always appeared with a carefully prepared script, and he read every sentence twice, except for the jokes, which he delivered three times. . . .  Trenchency was one of his strongest suits.  Trenchency was one of his strongest suits.”

For those of you not familiar with Broad, I would like to quote, what I consider, some of his more precious statements.  For those of you not familiar with Broad, I would like to quote, what I consider, some of his more precious statements.

I have an extreme dislike for vague, and oracular writing; and I have very little patience with authors who express themselves in this style.  I have an extreme dislike for vague, and oracular writing; and I have very little patience with authors who express themselves in this style.  I believe that what can be said at all can be said simply and clearly in any civilized language or in a suitable system of symbols, and that verbal obscurity is almost always a sign of mental confusion.  I believe that what can be said at all can be said simply and clearly in any civilized language or in a suitable system of symbols, and that verbal obscurity is almost always a sign of mental confusion.

I tend naturally to take a somewhat gloomy view of the world and its inhabitants; and I have a particular horror of all attempts to argue from what ought to be, or what we should like to be, to what is or will be.  I tend naturally to take a somewhat gloomy view of the world and its inhabitants; and I have a particular horror of all attempts to argue from what ought to be, or what we should like to be, to what is or will be.

I also intensely dislike and profoundly distrust all strong group emotions. (I think that this may be an excessive reaction against an unacknowledged tendency to feel them rather strongly.)  I also intensely dislike and profoundly distrust all strong group emotions. (I think that this may be an excessive reaction against an unacknowledged tendency to feel them rather strongly.)

I am fundamentally sceptical, and I feel no confidence in any elaborately reasoned system of metaphysics.  I am fundamentally sceptical, and I feel no confidence in any elaborately reasoned system of metaphysics.  Even when I cannot put my finger on any definite flaw in it, there is a still small voice within me which whispers “Bosh!”  Even when I cannot put my finger on any definite flaw in it, there is a still small voice within me which whispers “Bosh!”  A great deal of so-called sccpticism is simply a particular kind of dogmatism which leads men to reject all alleged facts which do not come within the sphere of recognized science.  A great deal of so-called sccpticism is simply a particular kind of dogmatism which leads men to reject all alleged facts which do not come within the sphere of recognized science.

I am almost wholly devoid of religious or mystical experience.  I am almost wholly devoid of religious or mystical experience.  This is combined with a great interest in such experiences and a belief that they are probably of extreme importance in any theoretical interpretation of the world.  This is combined with a great interest in such experiences and a belief that they are probably of extreme importance in any theoretical interpretation of the world.

Is there is joke here somewhere?  Is there a joke here somewhere?  Is there a joke here somewhere?

No. No. No.

 

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