To the editors:
Irving Thalberg did lead a philosopher’s life [June 3], but was it a meaningful one? He decided not to produce films like his father in favor of living a philosopher’s life. By “philosophy” he meant primarily “decision theory.” This is a completely theoretical study with little application to daily life. What point is there in such a life except to other “professional” philosophers? A philosopher’s life should be devoted, as it has been at its best in the past, to providing guidelines for living and rules for the direction of one’s life. In short, a philosopher’s life ought to prescribe no less than the meaning of life. It is either intellectual timidity or a mind that lacks an empirical fit that causes philosophers like Thalberg to forsake a creative vision of the whole in favor of a life devoted to the analysis of mere words for their own sake.
Robert H. Lichtenbert