Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heard of this guy?

Walking into a giant Wall-Mart at 6 p.m. on a Saturday evening, you can have one of several mindsets. You can be focused, intent on whatever it is you want to buy. Or, you can be oblivious, deeply into your own head, not really there until a bargain presents itself. Or, like me this evening, you can be on laser alert.

There, ahead of me in the aisle, was the Huge Family - four of them, a collective 850 pounds if an ounce. There, ahead of me in the checkout line, a four-year-old "helping" pull the shopping cart, cute as is it is possible for a human being to be. And, as you leave the store, you notice a nice smile from the elderly "greeter" lady. You grin back. You're on laser alert.

You are thinking like Thomas Reid, 1710-1796, the philosopher who was a big critic of Hume and Locke. He's a dude I've just been learning about. He advocated a "common sense" philosophy - one that observes human nature, as well as animal nature, and learns from it, rather than tries to reject it.

Reid, a big deal among his Scottish colleagues - not to mention among America's founders - liked to think that a "common sense" philosophy about such things as altruism reveals, as shown by the proper Newtonian method, a God that cares about us. As I recall that little gal helping her mother by pulling the shopping cart, I'd sure like to think so.

No comments:

Post a Comment