November 25

WHEN we see anyone handle an axe awkwardly, we do not say, "Where is the use of this art? See how ill carpenters perform." But we say the very contrary, "This man is no carpenter, for he handles an axe awkwardly." So, if we hear anyone sing badly, we do not say, "Observe how musicians sing," but rather, "This fellow is no musician." It is with regard to philosophy alone that people are thus affected. When they see anyone acting contrary to the profession of a philosopher, they do not take away his title; but laying it down that he is a philosopher, and then assuming from the very fact that he behaves indecently, they infer that philosophy is of no use.

"What, then, is the reason of this?" Because we pay some regard to the preconception which we have of a carpenter and a musician and so of other artists, but not of a philosopher, which being thus vague and confused, we judge of it only from external appearances. And of what other art do we take up our judgment from the dress?


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