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The useless questions in philosophy

 
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 04:43 am
I think that many people spend so much time discussing things which are absolutely useless for them. Moreover, they become enemies because of disagreement between each other. So what are those useless questions in philosophy: I may indicate only the general line but everybody can easily further it. "Is there such thing as God?" Why do we need to know that? What will it change if the question would be resolved in the positive side?

O.K. there is God, why should I obey him? -- Because he will punish thee for thy disobedience. -- What if I am not afraid of punishment? -- ...
O.K. there is no God, we descended from apes, we are biochemical robots. What does it change again?
People generally think that if there is something like God or the World Order, this gives them the sense of life, whereas no one said that we should obey that order.
Another questions are: is the world knowable or unknowable, real or unreal etc. Neither solution of these questions adds something to our well-being.
When people defend either side of discussion they actually defend their life style: believer defends his adherence to the commandments of his church, he thinks that if there is no god, he will have no power to struggle against his lusts. Materialist defends his hedonism because if there is something more than this reality, he thinks, he will have to obey that ruler and give up his pleasures.
The only thing that matters is our happiness. Thus we need to understand what contributes to it and give up useless speculations which may be held out of mere curiosity when essential questions are resolved.
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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 05:50 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;87817 wrote:
I think that many people spend so much time discussing things which are absolutely useless for them. Moreover, they become enemies because of disagreement between each other. So what are those useless questions in philosophy: I may indicate only the general line but everybody can easily further it. "Is there such thing as God?" Why do we need to know that? What will it change if the question would be resolved in the positive side?

O.K. there is God, why should I obey him? -- Because he will punish thee for thy disobedience. -- What if I am not afraid of punishment? -- ...
O.K. there is no God, we descended from apes, we are biochemical robots. What does it change again?
People generally think that if there is something like God or the World Order, this gives them the sense of life, whereas no one said that we should obey that order.
Another questions are: is the world knowable or unknowable, real or unreal etc. Neither solution of these questions adds something to our well-being.
When people defend either side of discussion they actually defend their life style: believer defends his adherence to the commandments of his church, he thinks that if there is no god, he will have no power to struggle against his lusts. Materialist defends his hedonism because if there is something more than this reality, he thinks, he will have to obey that ruler and give up his pleasures.
The only thing that matters is our happiness. Thus we need to understand what contributes to it and give up useless speculations which may be held out of mere curiosity when essential questions are resolved.


But look at all the other things people spend time on which are useless: Watching baseball, going to concerts, playing chess, falling in love, eating tasty food instead of plain food, going on vacations, going to museums, reading, and last, but not least, discussing the question of why people spend time discussing things that are absolutely useless for them. In fact, doing anything other than trying to get the basic necessities of life; I mean those things that make life worth living.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 06:03 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;87817 wrote:
I think that many people spend so much time discussing things which are absolutely useless for them. Moreover, they become enemies because of disagreement between each other.


This will happen with any discussion. The world is not black and white. There is pretty much nothing that everyone always agrees with one hundred percent of the time. The stuff that is agreed upon is rarely if ever even a discussion, so what do you expect? You want people to debate weather or not eating food is essential for life?

Eudaimon;87817 wrote:

The only thing that matters is our happiness. Thus we need to understand what contributes to it and give up useless speculations which may be held out of mere curiosity when essential questions are resolved.


This is pretty much why people discuss things in the first place. Since there is usually pros and cons for both sides of the issue, it is difficult to convince anyone and comes down to pointing out which one has the fewest amount of flaws or cons.

I do agree that certain aspects do not make for good discussion. Like if you had a time machine would you go back in time and murder Hitler. I think they are childish questions and they really don't do anything productive except determine who justifies murder and who doesn't.
Lily
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 08:47 am
@Krumple,
What's the point of anything, really? There might be stuff I regret, but discussing philosophy isn't one of them. I just can't help asking.

kennethamy;87822 wrote:
But look at all the other things people spend time on which are useless: Watching baseball, going to concerts, playing chess, falling in love, eating tasty food instead of plain food, going on vacations, going to museums, reading, and last, but not least, discussing the question of why people spend time discussing things that are absolutely useless for them.

Tasty food is important!Smile Imagine life without chocolat, fruit, home made cookies, pasta sauces, vanilla, berries, advanced french cooking, italian food, cookie dough, beaf, yoghurt, layer cakes, home made bread, tea, avocado...

Krumple;87823 wrote:

I do agree that certain aspects do not make for good discussion. Like if you had a time machine would you go back in time and murder Hitler. I think they are childish questions and they really don't do anything productive except determine who justifies murder and who doesn't.

What if questions are fun!!:a-ok:
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 09:02 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;87817 wrote:
I think that many people spend so much time discussing things which are absolutely useless for them.


For me, it is just something else to explore. I ask the questions, and I never know what I might learn. Often, I am very surprised. Sometimes the way people answer is as interesting as the answer itself. I think there is always something new to learn.

Rich
VideCorSpoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 09:38 am
@richrf,
Eudaimon,
0 Replies
 
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 09:53 am
@Eudaimon,
The practical benefits of pondering, debating and researching a question such as "Is there such thing as God?" are limitless.

First of all, the question itself is as natural to humanity as shitting brown. From our knowledge of our own mortality, we develop a self-awareness which in turn develops a rationality. Applying this rationality to our environment, we can overcome the sense of chaos of the world by applying reason and discovering patterns behind the natural order. How did those patterns come to be--and why were we humans, of all the animals, the ones to have the reason to discover and talk about those patterns? Are these not natural questions to ask?

Also, the broader amount of answers/positions you have heard about or come up with expands the consciousness to varying degrees. A question about God is about as abstract as it can get. The more abstract you push your brain, the wider its capacity for seeking patterns in everyday life, the better you become at applying abstractions pragmatically. This is how the human being gains power. You also begin to apply Ockham's razor to the issue itself, allowing you to see through the endless amounts of excess verbiage out there, and you are less liable to be fooled by semantical mystification, not only in spiritual matters but even in politics and society.

You cannot hide from the God-question, as I outlined above. Therefore, is it not to your advantage to contemplate the question above and beyond the average person's depth of thought into the issue?

Not to mention it is simply a rewarding aspect of life, to ignite the brain in attempts to conceptualize what could be. Stretch the limits of your imagination.
RDanneskjld
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 10:07 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;87817 wrote:

Another questions are: is the world knowable or unknowable, real or unreal etc.

Questions about knowledge and how we can gain Knowledge about the world have significant pratical application and in part have lead us to accept what we could call the modern 'Scientific method'. The relatively recent rise of empiricism which said that we could gain knowledge about the world through observation, has lead to some of the most radical improvements to quality of life that we have witnessed the history of mankind.

Also surely if something has a even purely recreational use, it still has a use. If not we would have to abandon a significant part of what brings us happiness & value!
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 03:33 pm
@Lily,
Originally Posted by Krumple http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
I do agree that certain aspects do not make for good discussion. Like if you had a time machine would you go back in time and murder Hitler. I think they are childish questions and they really don't do anything productive except determine who justifies murder and who doesn't.

Lily;87839 wrote:

What if questions are fun!!:a-ok:


Yeah, they can be fun but I still wouldn't consider them philosophical even though they can be argued to count. Because do you really want to play my game? If gremlins were real (which they are) how many does it take to take down an American made car?

Yes the above is a trick question and no need to respond to it.
0 Replies
 
Psycobabble
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 10:52 pm
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;87845 wrote:

Also surely if something has a even purely recreational use, it still has a use.



An excellent point. When we discuss or ponder a set subject we draw assumptions from the range of experience and information we have input. So in discussing the mundane or frivolous we are gaining input and perspective that aids us in our deliberations on "serious" subjects.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 11:01 pm
@Eudaimon,
I think philosophical questions are only useless when people think that they are the path to truth.

Philosophical questions are useful when people see them as opportunities for personal growth and authenticity, and they're useful when they can be applied (like in ethics).
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 03:17 am
@rhinogrey,
Dear collegues, I appreciate your contribution to the discussion but I have to clear the air so to say. These "useless question" may well be discussed, if one feels like very much. The other point is the importance we ascribe to their solution. I see that many-many people even here on the forum become really angry defending their position. I think that if one were only curious about those ontological things, there would never be so much quarrels. It's like in science: "You maintain something to be true? So try to prove that, that is bring it to what we know. If you can't, what's the point of discussion?"
But we get angry. Why? It's all because we think that a certain solution, either positive or negative, affects our life.

Krumple;87823 wrote:
This is pretty much why people discuss things in the first place. Since there is usually pros and cons for both sides of the issue, it is difficult to convince anyone and comes down to pointing out which one has the fewest amount of flaws or cons.

I think such a discussion might be held when we, say, have to decide whether or not it is right to high taxes and how it will affect economy. But if we are discussing reality, how can there be "pro et contra"?

rhinogrey;87844 wrote:
First of all, the question itself is as natural to humanity as shitting brown.

Go to, rhino, I think this statement is very dubious. If thou hadst been left in jungle in thy childhood, such a question would never come to thy mind.

rhinogrey;87844 wrote:
From our knowledge of our own mortality, we develop a self-awareness which in turn develops a rationality. Applying this rationality to our environment, we can overcome the sense of chaos of the world by applying reason and discovering patterns behind the natural order. How did those patterns come to be--and why were we humans, of all the animals, the ones to have the reason to discover and talk about those patterns? Are these not natural questions to ask?

What benefits can I receive from them?

rhinogrey;87844 wrote:
Also, the broader amount of answers/positions you have heard about or come up with expands the consciousness to varying degrees. A question about God is about as abstract as it can get. The more abstract you push your brain, the wider its capacity for seeking patterns in everyday life, the better you become at applying abstractions pragmatically. This is how the human being gains power. You also begin to apply Ockham's razor to the issue itself, allowing you to see through the endless amounts of excess verbiage out there, and you are less liable to be fooled by semantical mystification, not only in spiritual matters but even in politics and society.

O.k. I see that the God-question is of the same level as mathematics -- an exercise for brain. But frankly speaking I think that mathematics with it's logic can give us much more benefits than contemplating on such uncertain things.

rhinogrey;87844 wrote:
You cannot hide from the God-question, as I outlined above.

Who gave thee right to speak like that:)? I really don't care whether there is such thing. And why should I?
0 Replies
 
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 05:14 am
@Eudaimon,
It is the here and now, Eudaimon. Resolution. What you read is chaos, everybody making the same point as the last poster. Didn't they read each other and see there was nothing to add, as the point was made. Don't you think the first response said it all. Why would you want to say the same thing as the last poster, in your own words. Well maybe because the meaning of philosophy includes, that it is to broach any direction, rather than assume there is only one solution.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 06:02 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;87973 wrote:
I think philosophical questions are only useless when people think that they are the path to truth.

Philosophical questions are useful when people see them as opportunities for personal growth and authenticity, and they're useful when they can be applied (like in ethics).


I doubt that people who discuss these questions are doing so for "personal growth". It people thought that the only point of discussing those questions was for "personal growth" they would not discuss those questions. Imagine someone saying, "yes, let us discuss these questions. There is no answer to them, of course, but while we are doing so, we are growing personally".
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 01:37 pm
@Eudaimon,
Shared values and shared goals are generally more important than shared metaphysics or philosophical assumptions.

However, one's underlying assumpitons about how the world "really is" or how things "really work" often get reflected in their values and goals.

In effect one's wordview (philosophy) can not be separated from ones "values and goals".
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 01:48 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;88009 wrote:
I doubt that people who discuss these questions are doing so for "personal growth".
Some are, some aren't. Call it enrichment or intellectual stimulation if you want, they're close enough concepts. I think you really can get a great deal out of philosophy if you see abstract thought as a reflection of the way your own mind works.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 02:13 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;88090 wrote:
Some are, some aren't. Call it enrichment or intellectual stimulation if you want, they're close enough concepts. I think you really can get a great deal out of philosophy if you see abstract thought as a reflection of the way your own mind works.


You mean that they try to answer philosophical questions with the motive of intellectual stimulation, and not to try to answer the questions? Maybe. But I have never met such people.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 02:22 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;88096 wrote:
You mean that they try to answer philosophical questions with the motive of intellectual stimulation, and not to try to answer the questions?
Is that what I said? Nope.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 02:29 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;88102 wrote:
Is that what I said? Nope.


Well, I guess I don't get you. What is their motive for answering philosophical questions if it isn't intellectual stimulation.? Didn't you say that?
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 05:11 pm
@Eudaimon,
Forget it Kenneth, scroll up if you want to see what I said.
0 Replies
 
 

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