34
   

Are Philosophers lost in the clouds?

 
 
Reconstructo
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 02:58 am
@jeeprs,
Thanks. I finally decided to come out and play. I've been walking my shoes holy, and thinking while stinking in the summer sun. I see all sorts of strangers out, and many have those all too familiar glazed-over eyes.

I see this little comedy in my head. The practical man whose world is stripped down to a few concepts mocks the philosopher for not being obsessed with thes few meager concepts. The practical man thinks anyone who doesn't pursue money or fame or handshakes must simply not be capable of such pursuit. This is a cartoon I'm painting of course. Perhaps we are all a collision of the practical man and the true philosopher. But in my mind the true philosopher is more awake than average, and it's my strong opinion that wakefulness puts a smile on the face. So I argue against the antiphilosophers who sell philosophy short, who want it reduced, settled, tame, boring, dead.
Reconstructo
 
  3  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 03:03 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Interesting point.

A true rationalism will discover its own limits. But mostly we are stuck with half-philosophy that pretends to be whole philosophy. We hear about subjects and objects and matter and energy and consciousness, and yet these are not presented in a coherent way, really. What is mind? What is matter? What is energy? Any of these questions open a can of worms the size of New Jersey. Basically, they are inconvenient and not immediately profitable, and left to those with the itch for clarity rather than for money.
jeeprs
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 04:13 am
@Reconstructo,
actually to be honest, I don't think philosophy would mean nearly as much to me if it were not for my contact with Buddhism. This is because, first, Buddhist teaching is actually a living tradition which is still in contact with its roots; whereas in the West, there has been this complete rupture between 'traditional' and 'modern'. I am not putting Western philosophy down in saying this. But in Buddhist philosophy, the 'classical' teaching is still very much alive to this day and age, whereas in the West, there is a sense in which the ancient tradition has been very deliberately abandoned and even scorned by many influential philosophers, except for amongst those scholars who are sympathetic to it.

Second, as far as wisdom as concerned, in the Buddhist teaching, there is a common understanding of wisdom, which is approached through mindfulness (or insight) meditation. So through this it is possible to actually 'realize' the teaching about wisdom, to feel it in your bones. There is a roadmap for navigating this territory, and stories of those who have done it before. Finally, Buddhism teaches the meaning of renunciation. Renunciation is key to philosophy. It has taken me a long time to understand why this is, but it is essential to understand it, even if one is living a professional life with family and mortgages and the rest of it.

But it does not mean that Western philosophy is lacking in wisdom. Far from it. Having approached it with the benefit of the Buddhist teaching, I am now starting to appreciate how great the Western philosophical tradition is. And it also has many qualities and insights of its own which are not represented in Buddhist philosophy.

But anyway, all of the schools of traditional philosophy, even though they are intellectually challenging, are not really that abstract at all. They have a real quality of humanity about them at the same time. So even if they have their head in the clouds, their feet are firmly planted on the ground. Also the main quality of them is that, aside from their intellectual qualities, they also have heart. They are living teachings. They are not just a matter, as a teacher once said, of 'verbally rehearsing your existence'. They are a way of making you confront your real situation as a human being. This may not sound like a great achievement, but actually delusion is rife in today's world. As Socrates said, self-knowledge is the first thing that a philosopher needs to acquire.

Hope that is helpful.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 04:22 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

It does not address what in Human condition and how can it be so ???

Since everything is the human condition,, and morality is in large part, philosophy???
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 04:46 am
@hawkeye10,
Imo most philosophy are utterly useless, specially because most never get to understand how to implement it in real life nor have to, therefore never can apply any rationallity to their thinking.

Only where results matters in money or victory, good philosophy can grow.

- warfare
- sports
- buisness
- surgery
..etc.

These are scenarios with win/loss conditions, contrary most philosohpy with no win/loss conditions but can keep themselves in a happy perpetual illusion.
0 Replies
 
stevecook172001
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:42 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
To some, philosophy is too esoteric to be useful. To others, it’s the basis of a good drinking party.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/lost-in-the-clouds/?hp

Two interesting opinions at the link above. My own opinion is that almost all modern Philosophy is useless, because it does not address the human condition. It is kinda like the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, to some interesting to watch for a few minutes every four years at the Olympics, otherwise it never has cause to cross our minds. The problem is not hopeless, but to solve it we need a new vision of what Philosophy is, and a whole boat load of new people to do it.

Opinions?

Philosophy is a form of study that allows us be unhappy more intelligently.
jeeprs
 
  3  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:44 am
@stevecook172001,
reminds me of a saying by Sigmund Freud along the lines of 'the goal of psychotherapy is to transform hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness', or something like that.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:48 am
its pot talk

brings me back to the days of my misspent youth
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 07:02 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

I did not know about the Materialist School. I am not well informed about more modersn Philosophy. You say materialism was the wrong turn, I think it was Rationalism ! Everything had to be proven scientificly and measure up to one standard, even the mind...

Exit magic & faith
I thought materialism and rationalism were forms of the same thing...In any event, morally, people are not rational, but extremely irrational... They are rational in the way they pursue their irrational desires... Even moral behavior like immorality generally, is irrational...
Magic and faith were the beginning of rationality, but that childhood of mankind is also the childhood of children, where so much is unknown and unexplained that only supernatural agency can account for it all... That particular measure of irrationality we shall never escape... In fact, we conceive of all reality spiritually, and we all carry endless essences of all manor of realities within our consciousness... If we should want it we first will it and only then, work for it...We imagine before we do, so there will always be magic enough, and faith too, since no one would begin a task without some belief in its success...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 07:07 am
@stevecook172001,
stevecook172001 wrote:

hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
To some, philosophy is too esoteric to be useful. To others, it’s the basis of a good drinking party.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/lost-in-the-clouds/?hp

Two interesting opinions at the link above. My own opinion is that almost all modern Philosophy is useless, because it does not address the human condition. It is kinda like the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, to some interesting to watch for a few minutes every four years at the Olympics, otherwise it never has cause to cross our minds. The problem is not hopeless, but to solve it we need a new vision of what Philosophy is, and a whole boat load of new people to do it.

Opinions?

Philosophy is a form of study that allows us be unhappy more intelligently.

Philosophy is not a form of study but a way of life, and its goal is not happiness, but the good which is the object of all human activity... Happiness is more a predisposition of people than a goal... It is like being an optimist or a pessamist, a trait of character...
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 07:37 am
@Fido,
Fido wrote:

stevecook172001 wrote:

hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
To some, philosophy is too esoteric to be useful. To others, it’s the basis of a good drinking party.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/lost-in-the-clouds/?hp

Two interesting opinions at the link above. My own opinion is that almost all modern Philosophy is useless, because it does not address the human condition. It is kinda like the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, to some interesting to watch for a few minutes every four years at the Olympics, otherwise it never has cause to cross our minds. The problem is not hopeless, but to solve it we need a new vision of what Philosophy is, and a whole boat load of new people to do it.

Opinions?

Philosophy is a form of study that allows us be unhappy more intelligently.

Philosophy is not a form of study but a way of life, and its goal is not happiness, but the good which is the object of all human activity... Happiness is more a predisposition of people than a goal... It is like being an optimist or a pessamist, a trait of character...


Bugger me

You know how to kill a joke...
stevecook172001
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 07:38 am
@stevecook172001,
stevecook172001 wrote:

Fido wrote:

stevecook172001 wrote:

hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
To some, philosophy is too esoteric to be useful. To others, it’s the basis of a good drinking party.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/lost-in-the-clouds/?hp

Two interesting opinions at the link above. My own opinion is that almost all modern Philosophy is useless, because it does not address the human condition. It is kinda like the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, to some interesting to watch for a few minutes every four years at the Olympics, otherwise it never has cause to cross our minds. The problem is not hopeless, but to solve it we need a new vision of what Philosophy is, and a whole boat load of new people to do it.

Opinions?

Philosophy is a form of study that allows us be unhappy more intelligently.

Philosophy is not a form of study but a way of life, and its goal is not happiness, but the good which is the object of all human activity... Happiness is more a predisposition of people than a goal... It is like being an optimist or a pessamist, a trait of character...

bugger me....

You know how to kill a joke...
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:07 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
To some, philosophy is too esoteric to be useful. To others, it’s the basis of a good drinking party.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/lost-in-the-clouds/?hp

Two interesting opinions at the link above. My own opinion is that almost all modern Philosophy is useless, because it does not address the human condition. It is kinda like the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, to some interesting to watch for a few minutes every four years at the Olympics, otherwise it never has cause to cross our minds. The problem is not hopeless, but to solve it we need a new vision of what Philosophy is, and a whole boat load of new people to do it.

Opinions?


Could you give an example of what philosophers do, but you think they should not do, but rather do something else? And what would this something else be that you think they should do? And, another question: why do you (or anyone) think that you know what it is that philosophers should do? I don't notice you (or anyone else) pretending that you know what chemists, or historians, should do. Why would you think that you know better than do philosophers themselves, what they should do? Let me note, by the way, that philosophers, so far as I know, do not do just one kind of thing, so it is probably true that some philosophers do what you think all philosophers should do. But I wonder why you think that all philosophers should do only the same thing, and that you know what this same thing they should do, is? Where did you get that knowledge from, I wonder?
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:28 am
@Reconstructo,
just today came across this:
"The fascination of Nature produced poets.
The rumination over Nature made philosophers."

but i have to believe they are just parts of the whole phenomenon. how could a poet not be a philosopher? and i have yet to find a philosopher who isnt a poet...
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:31 am
@salima,
salima wrote:

just today came across this:
"The fascination of Nature produced poets.
The rumination over Nature made philosophers."

but i have to believe they are just parts of the whole phenomenon. how could a poet not be a philosopher? and i have yet to find a philosopher who isnt a poet...



Kennethamy raises his hand and waves it violently.
failures art
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:42 am
Head in the clouds: Is Paris the Capitol of France?

I think the current exchange in that thread is a very excellent example of lost in the clouds. If philosophy cannot find consensus on if Paris is the capitol of France, I'm amused at the suggestion that it should be applied to the greater landscape of human dilemmas.

Philosophical discussions like the one linked here are great at making thought into a sport with no score. While engaging a dialog on how we know things with certainty is valuable, the idea that empiricism should be on par with armchair discussions is laughable.

A
R
T
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:52 am
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

Head in the clouds: Is Paris the Capitol of France?

I think the current exchange in that thread is a very excellent example of lost in the clouds. If philosophy cannot find consensus on if Paris is the capitol of France, I'm amused at the suggestion that it should be applied to the greater landscape of human dilemmas.

Philosophical discussions like the one linked here are great at making thought into a sport with no score. While engaging a dialog on how we know things with certainty is valuable, the idea that empiricism should be on par with armchair discussions is laughable.

A
R
T


I see that as a "mapping out" of abstract thinking. We all engage in abstract thinking. We all make inferences from diverse sense data that is coming at us. It is the job of philosophers to explore abstract thinking and perhaps to provide rules by which inferences can be made.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:59 am
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:
We all engage in abstract thinking.


that's pretty much the only way i think
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 09:02 am
@djjd62,
should I have said: "thinking about abstractions"?
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 09:10 am
@wandeljw,
I'm a fan of maps, but Louis and Clark made a better map by walking into the wild, not by standing at the edge of the wilderness and anticipating the landscape.

I think there is plenty of philosophy in doing, so philosophy will always be around. Perhaps there are better methods of determining if Paris is the Capitol of France?

I fetched some food for a co-worker on my lunch break once. I picked up some carry-out from a place I had never been to. I asked for directions, here is what he said:

"You're going to drive down Telegraph Rd. When you get to a bridge, you can turn left or right. Go straight over the bridge."

Drawing a map is telling me to drive straight over the bridge.
Over-philosophizing with your head in the clouds is telling me about the left and right turn I'm not going to take.

A
R
T
 

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