I really value the ability to produce such an emotionally coherent philosophy in humanistic thinkers. One -- not the only, nor even the most important, but one -- valuable thing I think we can offer as humanists is placing facts, arguments, perspectives, into such a light as they provide a kind of unified perspective on the world, that they can shape and guide a coherent approach to life's many problems and joys. I don't think this need be the explicit subject matter of what is done, indeed I think it is often best done kind of obliquely as one focuses on more immediate or precisely formulated problems. Indeed, a lot of what I say here is shaped by my reading of Carnap, who I think also deliberately did this obliquely, and ends up painting a very different picture from Williamson. But some of my favourite thinkers are such precisely because they have the ability to conjure in me a window into their lifeworld. I think analytic philosophy has greater potential to contribute to this kind of humanistic project than even some of its own practitioners admit; and as I develop as a thinker I aspire to have such a vision emerge from my own work.
Eric Schliesser's post... does a great job of not just pointing to Williamson's lifeworld but also exemplifying what it would be to live in it. One gets the sense that even in the face of personal and social catastrophe, even where others cannot be brought to see it, there is still a value to be found in discovering the world as it is and acclimatising to it, terrible tough it may be. The determination to gain that knowledge and comport oneself accordingly just is a good, and that value is invariant across the waxing and waning of fortune---The Sooty Empiric.
In the concluding paragraphs of his generous* and insightful post, Liam Kofi Bright boldly proclaims (in partial response to my post) that he wishes to develop a unified perspective on the world, which will be, perhaps, obliquely available to his discerning readers as well as "shape and guide a coherent approach to life's many problems and joys." He will reveal this perspective as he addresses other philosophical challenges. Articulating such an aspiration is a means of binding future selves -- assuming these selves value internal consistency over time --, and an invitation to witnesses to become complicit or co-constitutive of the enterprise. It is, however, not mere consistency, but also a claim to a kind of existential philosophical integrity, which, demands from us not just (recall) that our the way(s) in which one's professional arguments, professional credit, and public utterances and comportment cohere, but that these (public philosophical integrity) are anchored in what he calls an "underlying emotional basis for their work."
It is worth noting that systematicity and an embrace of obliqueness both have a complicated status within analytical philosophy. Systematicity bumps up against the tradition of conceiving philosophy as puzzle-solving in the context of an intellectual (and non-hierarchical) division of labor (#noheroes); while deploying hints offends our fondness for clarity and direct/assertoric speech and our distrust of polysemy. For most of my education it never even occurred to me that obliqueness would be deployed in the pale gray threads of our intellectual elders until I learned from Abe Stone the significance of hints in Carnap (recall and in David Lewis, who -- together with Jody Azzouni (recall) -- may be the only major systematic philosopher analytical philosophy has produced).
One way, I think, to distinguish analytical hinting or obliqueness from vulgar Straussianism (which is verboten) is precisely the demand to adhere to the two-fold coherence that public and existential philosophical integrity demand from us. By contrast, a Straussian is allowed to embrace a noble lie or an esoteric doctrine that contradicts the exoteric doctrine.
It was especially kind of Liam Kofi Bright to note that I was aiming to convey even exemplify what it would be to live in Williamson's lifeworld. Recall that I quoted him as follows, although language is a human construct, that does not make it transparent to us. Like the children we make, the meanings we make can have secrets from us. One can recognize this while holding on to (recall) the ideal of clarity as a kind of property or by-product of formal systems, of constructed languages, that is, to aim for transparency in one's inferential practices, one's commitments, and the use of terms (etc). In fact, Williamson could have said (but didn't) although formal language is a human construct, that does not make it transparent to us even if it simultaneously can be a means to greater transparency in many respects. When we construct languages we gain control over some matter, but we also (often unintentionally) produce secrets for ourselves. A continental philosopher would be inclined to start talking about hidden-ness, but here I'll resist that temptation.
There is quite a bit more to be said about Williamson's remark. But here I wish to close by noting that I have often found my analytical training a hindrance to the task of (to quote Liam Kofi Bright) placing "facts, arguments, perspectives, into such a light as they provide a kind of unified perspective on the world, that they can shape and guide a coherent approach to life's many problems and joys." By this I do not mean that analytical training is a hindrance in constructing such a lifeworld for oneself or close peers (I think it is not); rather I find my training and the intellectual and emotional dispositions that accompany them a hindrance in recognizing the lifeworlds of others with a different orientation (recall also this post). (This is especially so if I am correcting another person's fallacy also generates an incapacity to listen to the emotional basis of his words.) One way one can understand these daily impressions is as hard exercises in placing other people's "facts, arguments, perspectives, into such a light as they provide a kind of unified perspective on" their "world," which they may, or not, share with others.