Work in Progress Seminar: Bjørn Ramberg
Bjørn Ramberg (IFIKK)
Costs of Clarity?
There’s general agreement in philosophy that clarity is a central virtue. However, as Alison Stone notes, “Clarity is not the only virtue that philosophical writing can display, though, and clarity need not override other virtues.” (Stone, 2015, “The Politics of Clarity,” Hypatia, (vol. 30 no 3), p. 618) But might clarity really be in competition with other virtues? Might there be an optimal level of clarity in philosophical writing that is less than maximal clarity? Put in other words, should we sometimes not try to be as clear as possible? In my talk I will explore prospects for a positive answer to these questions. I begin by trying to get a little clearer on clarity, by considering possible antonyms and contrasts. Then, drawing on considerations from Davidson and Gadamer on the intersubjective generation of meaning and communicative understanding, I offer reasons to think that the demand for clarity in philosophical writing may legitimately be constrained by other aims.