Friday, August 29, 1952

I am starting to fear that the more I immerse myself into henry bugbee’s philosophy, the more I need to embrace irrationality and related concepts. I hope not. It seems that this is inevitatable as I set myself to study a different brand of philosophy—one that isn’t analytical but lyrical (lyrical philosophy).

In August 29, Bugbee shifts his discussion from certainty to wonder (later, he returns to certainty). He agrees with Aristotle and Plato that “wonder marks the inception of philosphy.” However, he felt like Aristotle, in particular, failed to elaborate this notion in a manner it deserves. Bugbee seems to propose that wonder and Curiosity are opposites, which I think makes sense. When you wonder, you may continue to question but you become contented with basking in those questions. When you are curious, you are propelled to answer the question; you believe that there is an answer and you don’t stop until you get it.

Aristotle thinks differently. He sees wonder as what we experience when we feel we cannot articulate why we are moved to research something (?). He also thinks that philosophizing diminishes the initial wonder that started it in the first place. And so, once we begin to articulate the reason for our curiosity, wonder starts to fade away. Once we realize that the object of our wonder is in fact explicable, our wonder diminishes.

There are objects of wonder however that cannot be explained, and in these we experience the “ultimate occasion for incorrigible wonder” and the “irrelevance of explanation.” Bugbee uses the example of Aristotle’s unmoved mover.

This unmoved mover has no beginning or end. It is unchanging and immovable. This unmoved mover, which Aristotle is prepared to call God, Bugbee argues, would make reflection eventuate into endless wonder. For the unmoved mover, explanation becomes irrelevant. Bugbee also calls the unmoved mover as “self-caused.”

This notion works perfectly well with a finitist view of the world (Infinity cannot exist). I get it now. We cannot explain where this unmoved mover came from. We only know that for everything to move, for logic to make sense, this unmove mover must exist.

And since it is probably platonic or in a completely different realm, we have to surrender to the truth that we cannot completely grasp it. So we can explain all we want but when we reach that point—the unmoved mover—explanation becomes irrelevant, mystery takes over, and we are just let in wonder.


Bugbee, H. (1999). The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form. The University of Georgia Press.