The Purpose of Philosophy
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15-05-2013, 06:05 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
Ghost,

I'm not against philosophy, but there is a hell of a lot of crap mixed in with the worthy and worthwhile. So much so that I don't think you can say in any kind of general terms whether philosophy is good or bad, useful or useless, etc. I think the term is too broad to use usefully. Tell me, which branches of philosophy do you have time for? Whose voices do you respect?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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15-05-2013, 07:00 PM
Re: RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
(15-05-2013 06:05 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  Ghost,

I'm not against philosophy, but there is a hell of a lot of crap mixed in with the worthy and worthwhile. So much so that I don't think you can say in any kind of general terms whether philosophy is good or bad, useful or useless, etc. I think the term is too broad to use usefully. Tell me, which branches of philosophy do you have time for? Whose voices do you respect?

I think the issue is too often people connect philosophy to just academic study if philosophers and the schools of philosophy.(at least I think some people brush it off for that reason)

That's part if it, but so is simply basic searches for answers and questioning without adherence to formal studies. Philosophizing can be a very effective internal study.
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15-05-2013, 08:31 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
(15-05-2013 07:00 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  That's part if it, but so is simply basic searches for answers and questioning without adherence to formal studies. Philosophizing can be a very effective internal study.

I couldn't agree more. Well actually I could. I would argue that "everyday" philosophizing, especially of the introspective sort, is orders of magnitude more valuable to human life than everything that takes place in a brick and mortar university.

Socrates said long ago that we must first know ourselves. If we don't, we cannot know the world around us. We can only think we do.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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15-05-2013, 08:53 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
Hey, Hafnof.

There's a lot of crap mixed in with everything. We're all taught math, but most of us couldn't point to a cosine if we had a pack of Sherpas with pocket protectors. Philosophy is difficult. It's a discipline like any other with a very long history, one that takes a great deal of study to understand on even a surface level. Like most disciplines, it relies on a great deal of jargon which seems impenetrable to the outsider; as impenetrable as the intricacies of brain surgery are to me. The problem is that some people look at the impenetrability of philosophy and decide that they don't understand it, therefore it's valueless. Which, of course, is retarded.

You can't look at the grade seven philosophy class at the autoshop school and say, "well, these guys suck, so it's impossible to know if philosophy is good or bad or useless etc..."

There are a lot of philosophers that I respect. Camus, Chomsky, Plato, Beaudrillard, Foucault, just to name a few off the top of my head. And I am by no means an expert in philosophy. I've had the fortune of being exposed to their work and my life and my work have both been enriched. And yeah, there are times when philosophers go off and I get lost. But the same thing happens with physicists and doctors and for sure, with mathematicians. That's not a fault of the fields, it's my lack of education.

Fortunately, the world at large doesn't have to learn all of the jargon and learn everything there is to know to benefit. I benefit from x-rays without knowing a thing about how to build an x-ray machine. In the same vein, billions of people benefit from Democracy without knowing anything about the ancient Athenians.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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15-05-2013, 09:08 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
Philosophy is useful as long as you let logic take the reins and go all the way to an entirely logical conclusion. Logic is what turns philosophy from opinion into truths, but people often don't employ logic to a perfect conclusion. Many people stop half-way, thinking they have discovered some truth.

You should barrage your arguments with whys and hows to be sure that you are making sense. Why is this true? How do I know that? Why do I think I know that? How can I be sure I am correct? Why is my method of analysis effective? How can I be sure of that? et cetera... Analyze your analysis of your analysis, not just your arguments.

An example of bad reasoning;
1. If I press the button, I will not die.
2. I do not want to die.
3. If I do not want to die, I should press the button.

Easy decision. But what are we forgetting? Oh right; all we know is that pressing the button will not kill you. After you press the button, perhaps the room fills with cyanide gas. We also are not told what will happen if we do not press the button. If I forget to wear pants I will not die. So maybe I should go without them to extend my life.

Half-way philosophies are just like that. If you don't go all the way you might as well not have gone anywhere at all, and you end up with a steaming pile of shit like the kalam cosmological argument.

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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15-05-2013, 09:22 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
(15-05-2013 09:08 PM)Elesjei Wrote:  Philosophy is useful as long as you let logic take the reins and go all the way to an entirely logical conclusion. Logic is what turns philosophy from opinion into truths, but people often don't employ logic to a perfect conclusion. Many people stop half-way, thinking they have discovered some truth.

You should barrage your arguments with whys and hows to be sure that you are making sense. Why is this true? How do I know that? Why do I think I know that? How can I be sure I am correct? Why is my method of analysis effective? How can I be sure of that? et cetera... Analyze your analysis of your analysis, not just your arguments.

An example of bad reasoning;
1. If I press the button, I will not die.
2. I do not want to die.
3. If I do not want to die, I should press the button.

Easy decision. But what are we forgetting? Oh right; all we know is that pressing the button will not kill you. After you press the button, perhaps the room fills with cyanide gas. We also are not told what will happen if we do not press the button. If I forget to wear pants I will not die. So maybe I should go without them to extend my life.

Half-way philosophies are just like that. If you don't go all the way you might as well not have gone anywhere at all, and you end up with a steaming pile of shit like the kalam cosmological argument.

I highly recommend going without pants. Oh and, going commando is a must. If you're wearing underwear, going without pants is really only going half way. Tongue

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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15-05-2013, 10:45 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
Frankly the most common source of exposure I get to "philosophy" is from figures like William Lane Craig or Ravi Zacharias, people who I probably don't need to tell you give the word a bad name... or people like the Cartesian Theist on youtube, whose defence of Christianity essentially amounts to: Philosophy is good. I like philosophy. Therefore my views are correct.

Although I haven't studied formally I have exposed myself to various areas of philosophical thought. I did study pure mathematics formally back in the day, but my feeling is that mathematics has become its own discipline such that people who talk about and care about philosophy today no longer have a legitimate claim to it. I think the same of science, I can't see that people (in general) who claim to be philosophers can make any legitimate claim on either the product of science or process of science, at least as it has been practiced in the last few hundred years. I am formally trained as a computer scientist and software engineer (no surprise there, right? this is the point I usually stop listening to someone talking because software engineers tend to think they have expertise well outside of their fields that they often don't really have a firm grasp on). Chomsky and a number of other "philosophical" figures have contributed greatly to software, but I don't know too much beyond their contributions to my field. Russell has contributed significantly to modern atheism, but I don't know much about his general philosophy either.

I quite like Alain de Botton and his presentation of philosophical issues such as meritocracy, and on issues that impact modern life. I feel these certainly have value, and whether or not he can be considered a significant philosopher in his own right I think he is a reasonable philosophy communicator, as some among us are reasonable science communicators.

The last book I read was a summary of metaphysical positions of significant philosophers over the last few thousand years, and I have to admit I came away frustrated - not with a lack of understand of the topic or the jargon, I think I am familiar enough with those to absorb the relevant content... but I think that the actual metaphysical positions are badly reasoned. You mention Plato, but I would point to his "forms" idea as evidence that he didn't have a good basis for believing many of the things he believed.

My core metaphysical position is roughly this:
* A statement can only be considered meaningful if it makes predictions that differ from alternative statements and which can in principle be tested
* ...
Ok, I'd better finish this after I pick up the kids.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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15-05-2013, 11:28 PM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
Quote:Although I haven't studied formally I have exposed myself to various areas of philosophical thought.

Quote:Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.

Consider

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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16-05-2013, 01:36 AM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
(04-11-2012 12:43 PM)robotworld Wrote:  Just curious here, what is the exact purpose of philosophy? Does philosophy develop a new way of thinking? Is philosophy just conjecture and language play? Or does philosophy help us understand the world better?


The purpose of philosophy is to expose gaps and holes in peoples mode of thinking. The filling in of these gaps is not the goal of philosophy, Philosophys creativity is a negative creativity in where holes and gaps are pointed out, then are filled in by other sections like politics, science, economics etc etc.
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16-05-2013, 05:42 AM
RE: The Purpose of Philosophy
Hey, Hafnof.

Quote:Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.
-Voltaire

The men who promoted social Darwinism, an idea of staggering retardation, called themselves scientists, were called scientists and spoke in the name of science. Everyone has their Craigs. It says nothing of the field itself.

As for Plato, well, there's a reason that he's still taught ubiquitously 2 500 years later. He's one of the most intelligent men to have ever walked the Earth. If you don't dig on his stuff, that's cool. But he's got it goin on Cool

PS: I don't think that's your metaphysical position. It sounds more like your scientific one.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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