My post on combative clarity (immediately below) was in part, and roundaboutly, a reaction to a point made in the closing sections of Marcel’s Introduction to The Mystery of Being. He summarizes the point so: Philosophical research is “research wherein the link with the result cannot be broken without loss of all reality to the result.”
I want to attend again to that Introduction. It ends in a way particularly appropriate to the Nativity season. Marcel mentions the notion of good will found in the Gospels, and goes on:
It would be folly to seek to disguise the fact that in our own day the notion of ‘the man of good will’ has lost much of its old richness of content, one might even say of its old harmonic reverberations. But there is not any notion that is more in need of reinstatement in our modern world. Let the Gospel formula mean “Peace to men of good will” or “Peace through men of good will,” as one might be often tempted to think it did, in either case it affirms the existence of a necessary connection between good will and peace, and that necessary connection cannot be too much underlined. Perhaps it is only in peace or, what amounts to the same thing, in conditions which permit peace to be assured, that it is possible to find that content in the will which allows us to describe it as specifically a good will. ‘Content’, however, is not quite the word I want here. I think rather that the goodness is a matter of a certain way of asserting the will, and on the other hand everything leads us to believe that a will which, in asserting itself, contributes towards war, whether war in men’s hearts or what we would call ‘real war’, must be regarded as intrinsically evil. We can speak then of men of good will or peacemakers, indifferently.
A philosophy of peace, a weapon of peace–that is Marcel’s thinking. Marcel writes philosophy so as to seek peace and ensue it. –There are less noble motives.