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Is philosophy metaphorical?

 
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 10:56 pm
Is "God" an amphetamine buzz? Is "God" a feeling ? What is "truth"? What is "real"?

What are words made of? Other words? And what are these words made of? At point the caveman pointed and made a sound. The sound caught on.

Does the atheist underestimate religion when he describes it only as lies? Or were myths never meant to be taken literally in the first place?

How do words such as "god" and "spirit" get created in the first place, if they cannot be pointed to?

Is psychology any less poetic than myth? Is the "ego" more real than the "soul"? Or are both just words?

Have we taken scientific jargon as language that is not metaphorical? Can what is called soft science do without metaphor? Or is scientific jargon merely metaphor so ossified and polished by use that it deceives us as to its poetic roots?

Is philosophy a form of poetry that pretends to be an anti-poetry?
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Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 11:26 pm
@Reconstructo,
Quote:
Have we taken scientific jargon as language that is not metaphorical? Can what is called soft science do without metaphor? Or is scientific jargon merely metaphor so ossified and polished by use that it deceives us as to its poetic roots?

Is philosophy a form of poetry that pretends to be an anti-poetry?


Hell yeah, to all of that. If I've learned one thing while on this forum, (And I guess you can say I've learned a few things), it's that we speak in poems all the time without even realizing it. Especially you, Recon. I realize also that it is a lot easier to create philosophical poetry when you're communicating online. I couldn't imagine spitting out poems on the spot talking to people in real life. Well, maybe ones that were already used.

But I would definately reccomend this forum as a source for poets looking for new material.

Scientific Jargon is completely metaphorical. When I used to think of scientific Jargon, I'd think, "Catalyst, Atomic mass, quantum electromagnetics (Etc...)"

But I've learned, it's so much more.

Quote:
Does the atheist underestimate religion when he describes it only as lies? Or were myths never meant to be taken literally in the first place?
I'm one of those people who is still completely on the edge about religion. I kjeep telling myself that I don't believe in God yet, and I wont even try to until I've read the bible completely. But everytime I pick it up and read it, all i see is stories that could be in any fictional story.

Maybe I need to form a personal relationship.....
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 11:46 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;112296 wrote:

I'm one of those people who is still completely on the edge about religion. I kjeep telling myself that I don't believe in God yet, and I wont even try to until I've read the bible completely. But everytime I pick it up and read it, all i see is stories that could be in any fictional story.
.

I don't believe in God in the usual sense, but "God" is just a word and has been used in so many different ways. Both idiots and geniuses have used the word sincerely.
What if "God" is a feeling associated with certain ideas? And what if this feeling is intense and good enough that a person isn't motivated to doubt it?
What the brain has a built-in function to get high without drugs and myths and stories are the way to activate this function? What if some people are genetically more able to switch this function on?

For a long time now the human race has used chemicals and rituals in their religion. Christians often drink alcoholic (wine) and call it blood. Perhaps the "blood of God" isn't such a bad description for wine. Perhaps rituals help activate the brain's/mind's natural high....

What else can we do with feelings if we want to talk about them than tie them to certain words? How does a non-scientific culture encode their wisdom if not with stories? How are abstract words born?
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 11:56 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112305 wrote:
I don't believe in God in the usual sense, but "God" is just a word and has been used in so many different ways. Both idiots and geniuses have used the word sincerely.
What if "God" is a feeling associated with certain ideas? And what if this feeling is intense and good enough that a person isn't motivated to doubt it?
What the brain has a built-in function to get high without drugs and myths and stories are the way to activate this function? What if some people are genetically more able to switch this function on?

For a long time now the human race has used chemicals and rituals in their religion. Christians often drink alcoholic (wine) and call it blood. Perhaps the "blood of God" isn't such a bad description for wine. Perhaps rituals help activate the brain's/mind's natural high....

What else can we do with feelings if we want to talk about them than tie them to certain words? How does a non-scientific culture encode their wisdom if not with stories? How are abstract words born?


Natural High... I would rather call it an automatic high, for you could say that Marijuana is "natural". And of course. It's a feeling. You've converted me, I believe you. No sarcasm. It makes perfect sense. In the church, when you see people falling an crying for joy, and relief, it's because of God. These are only in very spiritual churches. This is where they get that sort of 'Natural High', that you're talking about. However, in a church where they read directly from the bible and what not, the most happy that I see in someone is when they sleep. Church, in that atmosphere, seems boring and, more of a burdon.

So you're right. Expression is God. Nice Inquisition.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 02:14 am
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;112309 wrote:
Natural High... I would rather call it an automatic high, for you could say that Marijuana is "natural". And of course. It's a feeling. You've converted me, I believe you. No sarcasm. It makes perfect sense. In the church, when you see people falling an crying for joy, and relief, it's because of God. These are only in very spiritual churches. This is where they get that sort of 'Natural High', that you're talking about. However, in a church where they read directly from the bible and what not, the most happy that I see in someone is when they sleep. Church, in that atmosphere, seems boring and, more of a burdon.

So you're right. Expression is God. Nice Inquisition.



I enjoyed your response. Here's a question for you. How was the word "natural" invented? Are you familiar with etymology? I find it fascinating. The word "natural" was created at some point. Also we should examine how the word "automatic" was created. Here's some source material. It's just my opinion, of course, but I think metaphor is the heart of philosophy and of abstract thought in general.

Conceptual metaphors are seen in language in our everyday lives. Conceptual metaphors shape not just our communication, but also shape the way we think and act. In George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's work, Metaphors We Live By (1980), we see how everyday language is filled with metaphors we may not always notice. An example, of one of the commonly used conceptual metaphors is argument as war.[2] This metaphor shapes our language in the way we view argument as war or as a battle to be won. It is not uncommon to hear someone say "He won that argument" or "I attacked every weak point in his argument". The very way argument is thought of is shaped by this metaphor of arguments being war and battles that must be won. Argument can be seen in many other ways other than a battle, but we use this concept to shape the way we think of argument and the way we go about arguing.
Conceptual metaphors are used very often to understand theories and models. A conceptual metaphor uses one idea and links it to another to better understand something. For example, the conceptual metaphor of viewing communication as a conduit is one large theory explained with a metaphor. So not only is our everyday communication shaped by the language of conceptual metaphors, but so is the very way we understand scholarly theories. These metaphors are prevalent in communication and we do not just use them in language; we actually perceive and act in accordance with the metaphors.


Here's some background on metaphor in general: a metaphor is one type of trope. If a person understands how tropes work, they are well on their way to understand how thinking works. For me it was a big deal to get into this stuff. After all, philosophy is made of words. So to understand philosophy in a deep way, one must understand how words work.


In linguistics, trope is a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words, i.e., using a word in a way other than what is considered its literal or normal form. The other major category of figures of speech is the scheme, which involves changing the pattern of words in a sentence.
The term trope derives from the τρόπος - tropos "turn, direction, way, related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change".[1] A trope is a way of turning a word away from its normal meaning, or turning it into something else.


Etymology is the study of the history of words and how their form and meaning have changed over time.

A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed. Some people distinguish between a "dead metaphor" whose origin most speakers ignore, e.g. "to break the ice". Others use dead metaphor to denote both concepts, and generally use it to describe a metaphoric .

It all fits together.
Trope (linguistics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Metaphor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 05:47 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112311 wrote:
I enjoyed your response. Here's a question for you. How was the word "natural" invented? Are you familiar with etymology? I find it fascinating. The word "natural" was created at some point. Also we should examine how the word "automatic" was created. Here's some source material. It's just my opinion, of course, but I think metaphor is the heart of philosophy and of abstract thought in general.

Conceptual metaphors are seen in language in our everyday lives. Conceptual metaphors shape not just our communication, but also shape the way we think and act. In George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's work, Metaphors We Live By (1980), we see how everyday language is filled with metaphors we may not always notice. An example, of one of the commonly used conceptual metaphors is argument as war.[2] This metaphor shapes our language in the way we view argument as war or as a battle to be won. It is not uncommon to hear someone say "He won that argument" or "I attacked every weak point in his argument". The very way argument is thought of is shaped by this metaphor of arguments being war and battles that must be won. Argument can be seen in many other ways other than a battle, but we use this concept to shape the way we think of argument and the way we go about arguing.
Conceptual metaphors are used very often to understand theories and models. A conceptual metaphor uses one idea and links it to another to better understand something. For example, the conceptual metaphor of viewing communication as a conduit is one large theory explained with a metaphor. So not only is our everyday communication shaped by the language of conceptual metaphors, but so is the very way we understand scholarly theories. These metaphors are prevalent in communication and we do not just use them in language; we actually perceive and act in accordance with the metaphors.


Here's some background on metaphor in general: a metaphor is one type of trope. If a person understands how tropes work, they are well on their way to understand how thinking works. For me it was a big deal to get into this stuff. After all, philosophy is made of words. So to understand philosophy in a deep way, one must understand how words work.


In linguistics, trope is a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words, i.e., using a word in a way other than what is considered its literal or normal form. The other major category of figures of speech is the scheme, which involves changing the pattern of words in a sentence.
The term trope derives from the τρόπος - tropos "turn, direction, way, related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change".[1] A trope is a way of turning a word away from its normal meaning, or turning it into something else.


Etymology is the study of the history of words and how their form and meaning have changed over time.

A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed. Some people distinguish between a "dead metaphor" whose origin most speakers ignore, e.g. "to break the ice". Others use dead metaphor to denote both concepts, and generally use it to describe a metaphoric .

It all fits together.
Trope (linguistics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Metaphor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I'll be sure to take a look at that book. It seems like some pretty interesting stuff, and I see how it is used in every day society. "I can taste victory. The stocks hit the roof." Yes, it seems as though we use more metaphors than we realize.

Etymology is not only interesting, but it's probably the most useful to all philosophers. Have you noticed, that all of our discussions usually end up boiling down to one word?(<---metaphor.) It seems as if etymology would be the back bone for philosophers discussions,(<---metaphor) for they could continue longer based upon ideas, not upon the context of the word itself.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 05:59 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;112487 wrote:
Yes, it seems as though we use more metaphors than we realize.


Yes indeed. If we wake up to the fact that we talk in pictures, we might waste less time acting as though we speak some perfect logical language. Instead our words point away from themselves. They are all connected in a net. The more one thinks about metaphor, the more one realizes how sentences are very different from equations. Equations have such precise and perfect meaning. How nice it would be if sentences were like that! Instead, some of our favorite sentences in philosophy are endlessly unclear. For instance: know thyself.

What is it to know? What is a self? If we really think about these words we are never finished defining them. Rub them together and the action really heats up. We could do the same with "define your terms." What is it to define? To say that one word means other words? And what do these other words mean? Round and round the dictionary we go. Where does it hook up to reality? And a term only has meaning in relation to the terms around it. It's not the like digit "2" which is always the same symbol even as it changes its position in equations.

I think much confusion comes from expecting words to work like numbers. It's wishful thinking, I (wishfully?)think.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 07:13 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;112487 wrote:
I'll be sure to take a look at that book. It seems like some pretty interesting stuff, and I see how it is used in every day society. "I can taste victory. The stocks hit the roof." Yes, it seems as though we use more metaphors than we realize.

Etymology is not only interesting, but it's probably the most useful to all philosophers. Have you noticed, that all of our discussions usually end up boiling down to one word?(<---metaphor.) It seems as if etymology would be the back bone for philosophers discussions,(<---metaphor) for they could continue longer based upon ideas, not upon the context of the word itself.


The history of a term (etymology) is only slightly informative about the current meaning of a term, since terms change meaning through time. You don't think that when someone calls a person a "lunatic" he is in anyway implying that the person is being influenced by the Moon, do you? Yet, that is the etymology of the term. Linguists (who usually know something about language) call your view, the etymological fallacy, and point to how it confuses the diachronic (the meaning in time) with the synchronic (the current meaning). Many philosophers avoid this confusion, but a few, like Heidegger, intentionally commit the etymological fallacy.
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 07:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112519 wrote:
The history of a term (etymology) is only slightly informative about the current meaning of a term, since terms change meaning through time. You don't think that when someone calls a person a "lunatic" he is in anyway implying that the person is being influenced by the Moon, do you? Yet, that is the etymology of the term. Linguists (who usually know something about language) call your view, the etymological fallacy, and point to how it confuses the diachronic (the meaning in time) with the synchronic (the current meaning). Many philosophers avoid this confusion, but a few, like Heidegger, intentionally commit the etymological fallacy.


This was my point in the "Common Sense" thread. Common sense may have meant something else once, but now it's used as a replacement word for common knowledge. I wouldn't use etymology for words like, "lunatic". I would use etymology for things like, "subjective", or "objective". Things like "Truth" and "real".

I'm not gonna get all etymologistic when someone calls me the a lunatic, because I'm sure, and he/she's sure, on how the context of the word is being used.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 08:05 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;112528 wrote:
This was my point in the "Common Sense" thread. Common sense may have meant something else once, but now it's used as a replacement word for common knowledge. I wouldn't use etymology for words like, "lunatic". I would use etymology for things like, "subjective", or "objective". Things like "Truth" and "real".

I'm not gonna get all etymologistic when someone calls me the a lunatic, because I'm sure, and he/she's sure, on how the context of the word is being used.


I would use etymology for things like, "subjective", or "objective". Things like "Truth" and "real".

And why the difference between those words and a word like "lunatic"? The etymological fallacy is either a fallacy or it is not. It is. There are plenty of other examples of the etymological fallacy.
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 12:34 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112530 wrote:
I would use etymology for things like, "subjective", or "objective". Things like "Truth" and "real".

And why the difference between those words and a word like "lunatic"? The etymological fallacy is either a fallacy or it is not. It is. There are plenty of other examples of the etymological fallacy.


Present a few more, please.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 01:49 am
@Reconstructo,
Etymology is NOT about determining the current meaning of the word. Etymology shows us the nature of language, how meaning is created in the first place. What is important here is that concepts are created as metaphors. That abstract words are made of words that point at something concrete.

Also, "lunatic" is a good example of something else man has forgot.. The scientific machine-view of the world has cut us off from our religious/aesthetic response to heavenly bodies like the moon. The moon is a glowing circle that waxes and wanes above our troubled and glorious human nights. Lunatics are not just indeterminately abstractly crazy. They are an example of disorganized "religious" response. That's my opinion, as all this is. I make no claim that it is your truth. Assimilate it if you can, if you can make it stick to the rest of your story about the World.

Man's past ways of thinking are hidden in his etymology. Vico is a genius at describing the structure of human thought and political forms. His cyclical view of history inspired Joyce. Joyce wrote a circular monomyth in dream-language to try to show this process. So many brilliant philosophers are implicated in Finnegans Wake. Joyce is a linguistic philosopher that showed rather than telled. Call this rambling. I don't mind. The truth is whole. We are networks of belief and desire. Sometimes you follow one string to another. Yee Haw.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 02:26 am
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;112570 wrote:
Present a few more, please.


To say that someone is oblivious to something does not mean he forgot it. But it comes from the Latin "to forget". Just look at an etymological dictionary for other examples of the etymology of a term, and compare it with what the term means now. And obvious one is that "philosophy" does not now mean, "the love of wisdom" (if ever it did) although everyone keeps saying it does, and committing the etymological fallacy.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 02:35 am
@Reconstructo,
For some, philosophy does not mean the love of wisdom. For some it does. Judas sold Jesus for money. Man sold wisdom for technology. But we can have both, I think. A philosophy without Sophia is useful, yes, but still a demotion. What is this hatred of the sacred? What is this rejection of wisdom? The anti-poets want to believe that inspiration is a lie. Logic and Naturalistic Epistemology are boring little gods.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 03:04 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112585 wrote:
For some, philosophy does not mean the love of wisdom. For some it does. Judas sold Jesus for money. Man sold wisdom for technology. But we can have both, I think. A philosophy without Sophia is useful, yes, but still a demotion. What is this hatred of the sacred? What is this rejection of wisdom? The anti-poets want to believe that inspiration is a lie. Logic and Naturalistic Epistemology are boring little gods.


I am afraid you miss the point. The point is that is does not mean "love of wisdom" because that is its etymology.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 03:24 am
@Reconstructo,
You speak as if you own the word "philosophy." For me the old meaning is still alive, despite being encrusted by a more pragmatic less sacred meaning. Yes, the old meaning is obscured and out of fashion, but Wiki shows what the man on the street knows already, for "philosophy" has never lost its colloquial sense as something "deep."

Here's Wiki.
In the more informal sense, a philosophy is an attitude to life or way or principle of living whose focus is on resolving the most basic existential questions about the human condition.

For me philosophy is both the love of Sophia and " the study of general and fundamental problems concerning subjects such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language."

It's context again. Say "philosophy" to ten different people and they will take it in ten different ways. It's just a piece in a game. And etymology might not mean much to you, but some of us see it as time-machine.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 03:39 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112603 wrote:
You speak as if you own the word "philosophy." For me the old meaning is still alive, despite being encrusted by a more pragmatic less sacred meaning. Yes, the old meaning is obscured and out of fashion, but Wiki shows what the man on the street knows already, for "philosophy" has never lost its colloquial sense as something "deep."

Here's Wiki.
In the more informal sense, a philosophy is an attitude to life or way or principle of living whose focus is on resolving the most basic existential questions about the human condition.

For me philosophy is both the love of Sophia and " the study of general and fundamental problems concerning subjects such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language."

It's context again. Say "philosophy" to ten different people and they will take it in ten different ways. It's just a piece in a game. And etymology might not mean much to you, but some of us see it as time-machine.


I don't own any word. I use them. And, if for you, the old meaning is "stilll alive", that's fine, as long as you don't think that is what the term means now for that would be a mistake. Most people are not at all clear what the term "philosophy" means (which is why people like to go back to the etymology. It gives them something to hold on to) as it describes what philosophers do nowadays. No doubt it has connections with the (reputed old meaning, although whether it really ever meant that is another question) but it certainly does not mean that now. So what your ten people will say is not significant. And, it is important to distinguish between what people say a term means, and how they actually use the term (if they do). The divergence between theorizing about the meaning of a term, and actually using it in discourse, is enormous. A person's theories about the meaning of a term are often fantastic. That is why dictionary editors would never think of asking people what a term means. They find out how people actually use the term. There is usually no connection between the two. Informants are not lexicographers.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 04:51 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112607 wrote:
So what your ten people will say is not significant.


I disagree. The living meaning is primary, and the dictionary is secondary. Also your view indulges a bias, just as mine does. Except I admit it. This is exactly the sort of "truth" that is inseparable from motive. Besides the dictionary indicates my broader view of philosophy. Also, much of "continental philosophy", like it or not, is a clear continuation of the wisdom tradition. The Germans tend to be profound.

philosophy: Definition from Answers.com
n., pl., -phies.
  • Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
  • Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
  • A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.
  • The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
  • The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.
  • The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
  • A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising.
  • A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 10:09 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112619 wrote:
I disagree. The living meaning is primary, and the dictionary is secondary. Also your view indulges a bias, at is inseparable from motive.


It contains no bias. I am just pointing out (again) the difference between the lexicographer and the informant. The "man on the street" is an informant, and provides the data of usage for the lexicographer (just as the people who are polled provide the raw data for the pollster). The informant knows how to use the term in question, and provides the data for the lexicographer (or philosopher) to theorize about the language. Each has his role to play. And they should not mix roles.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2009 11:18 pm
@Reconstructo,
Take the metaphor from language and you are left with nothing but the names of objects. No abstractions. The entire edifice vanishes. Perhaps I should use the word trope, which is a bit more inclusive. Man's speech is figurative. Certain tropes become literal with consistent use. We figure the picture that abstraction is based on. Philosophy is a transparent mythology. It's figures (tropes/metaphors) have become almost invisible. "Linguistic philosophy is first philosophy." An overstatement perhaps but a valuable one.
0 Replies
 
 

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