chapter  4
16 Pages

The Sources of Serialism

It is now over forty years since Gilbert Ryle first prodaimed to the Aristotelian Society his own reluctant conversion to what was later to become a quite widely shared view about the main if not the only proper business of philosophy. Philosophy is, or ought largely to be, 'the detection of the sources in linguistic idiom of recurrent misconceptions and absurd theories. 2 1 shall not, however, consider this general thesis about philosophy here. Instead, 1 propose to examine one particular example; and to do this without prejudice to any such sweeping questions about the nature, or the true nature, of that discipline which 1 too am with Ryle paid to profess. The example to be examined is an example of an absurd theory. It is an absurd theory, the main sources of wh ich in fact lie in, and can be convincingly identified as, picturesque idioms. Yet, despite warnings from its author, it is in all probability taken most often not as a philosophical exercise, but as a contribution to the science, or the would-be science, of parapsychology.