Sunday, October 10, 2004

Brisk and The Philosophy of Science

It occured to me that the Brisker chakira shares something in common with the deabte over the philosophy of science in the first half of the 20th century. Many of those from the "Vienna Circle" such as Rudolph Carnap in "Der Aufbau" struggle with the notion of science and metaphysics. There was a concerted effort within the Vienne Circle to flush metaphysics from modern philosophy, with only this vague "philosophy of science" remaining. This would allow the world of philosophy to stick to talking about what they know (the red of a traffic light) and not what we don't (how the red of the light appears to us). I first encountered this form of analysis with the nafka mena. So Brisk, in some simplified way, appears to do just this. If there is not practicle or decernible difference between two outcomes (there states cannot be disentangled) then in fact they are the same and do not constitute a valid chakira. It is more insidious than it sounds though, because our whole Brisk-world is confined to-and-by the chakira. It is as if we were in a world where all the doors were locked with the same key. Movement is only completely restricted by doors that did not accept the key. So in effect all our intellectual mobility is constrained and defined by this unique Brisker tool. The "meta"-halacha (not to be confused with Moshe Kopell's meta-halacha) becomes and inaccessable world eternally locked by the lack of the proper key.
In the 20th century this Brisker-derech has made vast strides because it is able to use this powerful and keen tool to plow through halachik underbrush. At the same time I miss the irrelevant "what if" that I as a 2nd grader (and still) enjoy asking. I guess it is the price we pay for saving oursleves countless hours of snot-drippingly boring arguments about what I perceive the traffic light to be.

2 comments:

Lo said...

Zev...tried to see you--maybe your ringer doesn't work? Have a good 5 months, love Batya

ps. you're pompous as shit.

Josh said...

And lets not forget its impact on Structuralism