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Are Philosophers lost in the clouds?

 
 
Lizzie-b
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 12:09 pm
in my opinon, the human condition is embodied in sustenance. Whatever has sustained the soul for this long is the secret
Fido
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 12:36 pm
@Lizzie-b,
Lizzie-b wrote:

in my opinon, the human condition is embodied in sustenance. Whatever has sustained the soul for this long is the secret

It is only a secret because I know it, and you don't, and not because I am keeping it that way... Come to think of it, I can't keep any secrets... Tell me and tell the whole damned world is what I say; but say something once, why say it again, qu'est que sait???
0 Replies
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 12:51 pm
@Reconstructo,
Hello again Reconstructo ! I argue with U on this occasion. A true Philosopher will see far beyond Ratio or his Ego. Money and possesions can be handy but also tie U down.

I enjoy my new status quo. No more offices, but more kitchen for me. Life as a graduate School of Philosophy with Economy as a connexion to the material world in which we live together.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 01:13 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

Hello again Reconstructo ! I argue with U on this occasion. A true Philosopher will see far beyond Ratio or his Ego. Money and possesions can be handy but also tie U down.

I enjoy my new status quo. No more offices, but more kitchen for me. Life as a graduate School of Philosophy with Economy as a connexion to the material world in which we live together.


To get rid of some this over practical blokes just point me a nice cloud and I gladly go away...
Maybe we can start a nice chat with no background noise around eeh ? Wink

Hi Reconstructo, finally !!!
Pepijn Sweep
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 01:19 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I am really practical. Learned to value slow living, no car, little vacations but time to study, cook and listen to the radio. I learned to live economical and get by on a third of my previous income. It´s a different life-style but rewarding for me.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 01:37 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

I am really practical. Learned to value slow living, no car, little vacations but time to study, cook and listen to the radio. I learned to live economical and get by on a third of my previous income. It´s a different life-style but rewarding for me.


Well that´s the reasoned practicality I would also recommend.
Glad you are smart enough to go down that road !

See you around !
Best Regards>FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 03:15 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Perhaps we agree. I'm just saying that the way to see beyond the "Ratio" or "Ego" is to think them through to the end. If we define our terms as precisely as possible, we may find contradictions that liberate us from foggy notions.

Good to see you, friend.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 03:17 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Hi there! It's fun to step in, finally. It's not that I've been slacking. In fact, quite the opposite.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 03:21 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Yes Pep. I live this way myself. Recently my car died and my wife and I decided to do without on. Also been extremely conscious of food. We can think of our bodies as burning bags of water with bones and teeth and just enough "leather" to structure the perfect burn.
I also cook, and strongly prefer to cook my own food, except I do have a weakness for sushi. I like to reverse that familiar motto until it becomes "money is time." Well, I have traded potential money for time for many years now. Now, I am trying to maintain the brightest flame possible at all times. The goal of life becomes a maintenance of heat and light, love and truth. I feel that you understand this in your own way, and so does Fil.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  7  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 03:40 pm
I agree with Wandeljw and other about philosophy being the capacity to utilize absract thought. But the problems it deals with are not abstract. The world does have multiple crises of value, many of them with economic, political, social and environmental consequences. At the bottom of a lot of them lie very large and ill-defined questions: what is the good life? The accumulation of money and power or the pursuit of virtue? If the latter, of what does it consist? What is a human? Is a human just a biological phenomenon, or something more? Who am I? Am I just a family member, a professional person? What about social equity? Are rich nations obliged to help poorer ones? Are we all required to change the way we live to protect the environment?

And so on. Many of these questions are philosophical in nature, and many people don't even know that they exist. They have never been taught to think in terms other than those which provide an immediate apparent benefit for themselves, or which have a concrete application. Hence the need for philosophy. The founders of Western thought started off asking these questions, and it is obvious that many of them still need asking, perhaps now more than ever.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 03:57 pm
@jeeprs,
I agree. The problems in one sense are not abstract. It seems to me that all abstractions get their significance from the non-abstract. If we were incapable of pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow, our conceptions would mean nothing. Only in the context of desire and fear, etc., can abstractions be meaningful. Of course we use meaning in a conceptual and in a value sense. And this is symptomatic of the confusion involved in everyday thinking and speaking, that philosophers want to tidy up/clarify.

I don't think life can be justified conceptually. The concept is a limp nothing without emotion. And emotion seems to share a continuum with sensation. In either case, both can only be pointed at by the conceptual. Both ground the conceptual and give it significance, weight.

Dig this. "Our problems are not abstract, but perhaps the most concrete that there are." Wittgenstein. He saw behind the concept, I think. And if not, he helped me to do so.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  3  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 04:26 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

I agree with Wandeljw and other about philosophy being the capacity to utilize absract thought. But the problems it deals with are not abstract. The world does have multiple crises of value, many of them with economic, political, social and environmental consequences. At the bottom of a lot of them lie very large and ill-defined questions: what is the good life? The accumulation of money and power or the pursuit of virtue? If the latter, of what does it consist? What is a human? Is a human just a biological phenomenon, or something more? Who am I? Am I just a family member, a professional person? What about social equity? Are rich nations obliged to help poorer ones? Are we all required to change the way we live to protect the environment?

And so on. Many of these questions are philosophical in nature, and many people don't even know that they exist. They have never been taught to think in terms other than those which provide an immediate apparent benefit for themselves, or which have a concrete application. Hence the need for philosophy. The founders of Western thought started off asking these questions, and it is obvious that many of them still need asking, perhaps now more than ever.


I suppose that some of what people call the problems of philosophy are not abstract (although I really don't have a firm handle on what "abstract" is supposed to mean). I have in mind what the Greeks called "way of living". The kind of thing the Stoics did (although, let's remember that the Stoics made a number of advances in logic, and, indeed, they invented the notion of material implication). The Epicureans advised a life of "apatheia" or detachment. And so on. But how to live is only one of the problems that have been (legitimately) called philosophical. For the most part, philosophers have dealt with issue you would (I suppose) call "abstract". Descartes was a philosopher if anyone is one. But he hardly touched on ethics or on any practical problems. His interest was nearly entirely on the foundations of knowledge, and on what metaphysical knowledge could be built on those foundations. I am afraid that philosophers have always been in the clouds of abstract thought, for, after all, that is what philosophy is really all about. It is, as I have said, after Gilbert Ryle, "talk about talk". I have never thought or preached that this kind of thing is for everyone, nor that those who do not like it are somehow inferior. But, I am opposed to those who hold either that philosophy is not like that, or that it ought not to be like that. It is certainly like that, and always has been like that. As for the the view that philosophy ought not to be that way, the question is, why not? Why should not some people deal with such issues as whether knowledge implies certainty, or how identity can persist through change? Why should such questions be abandoned? I have heard that philosophers should abandon such questions so that they can deal with social issues of some kind or other. But what makes anyone think that philosophers have any special talent in that direction. Certainly talent greater than economists or others who have been trained in those fields? None whatever that I can see. And why ask people to turn their attention to something they are not interested in, in any case simply because someone or other believes they should be interested in it. It really sounds a bit like Maoism to me. Is a kind of Cultural Revolution being advocated so that we can get all those useless academics who are interested in things no one else is interested in, to go out into the fields and do some useful work?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 04:36 pm
@kennethamy,
wwll I suppose 'abstract' is not a very good qualifier in this context. What I meant to say is that many of the problems contemplated by philosophy are real, even if they are large and hard to define.

I do take your point about maintaining a sense of philosophical detachment. After all Marxism did debauch philosophy in many ways by relating it too directly to the conditions of material existence. Which lead to a connection between dialectics and shoe quotas which as we all know was a complete disaster.

But I still think there is, and must be, a practical application for philosophy in these large questions. Descartes may not have been concerned with politics or economics, but without the conception of Cartesian geometry, the Scientific Revolution could barely have got underway. His search for an indubitable truth did indeed yield a major breakthrough in the application of thought to technology.

Democratic liberalism was founded on, among other things, the work of a number of very important philosophers - Hume, Locke, Mill, and Rosseau, among others. Now I think we must ask ourselves whether in light of what is happening with economics, politics and (especially) the environment, some of these basic tenets need to be thoroughly questioned. Marxism tried, and failed, in my view. Something of equal magnitude needs to be developed, which is constructive and not destructive, as marxism turned out to be. And it will be built on the basis of a new philosophy.
0 Replies
 
Huxley
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 05:08 pm
kennethamy wrote:

Is a kind of Cultural Revolution being advocated so that we can get all those useless academics who are interested in things no one else is interested in, to go out into the fields and do some useful work?


This is generally how I take comments of this kind.

Philosophy has no use-value with respect to modern industrial production. At least it has no immediate or concrete product for sale by which owners or yourself can turn a profit. The predominant value-set judges such efforts to... well... not be efforts, to be wasteful, to be not-work. As everyone ought to be doing work, and these silly talkers are somehow supported by our system even though they engage in not-work... well... **** them and their silly ****. *shrugs* I'm not saying I advocate this, but that's the predominant feeling I get.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 07:28 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Is a kind of Cultural Revolution being advocated so that we can get all those useless academics who are interested in things no one else is interested in, to go out into the fields and do some useful work?


This is generally how I take comments of this kind.

Philosophy has no use-value with respect to modern industrial production. At least it has no immediate or concrete product for sale by which owners or yourself can turn a profit. The predominant value-set judges such efforts to... well... not be efforts, to be wasteful, to be not-work. As everyone ought to be doing work, and these silly talkers are somehow supported by our system even though they engage in not-work... well... **** them and their silly ****. *shrugs* I'm not saying I advocate this, but that's the predominant feeling I get.


Yes, it does look as if you are advocating a Maoist Cultural Revolution where you are the judge of what is useful or not. I wonder what you would have thought of Einstein's meditations on the nature of time and space while he was still working in the patent office. Thoughts which very few if any would even understand, must less think would ever be of any use. The trouble is that it is usually those who are least able to judge who are given the power of making judgments. Heaven knows what you would think of the use of the kind of thing abstract painters produce, or composers like Erik Satie. You would probably tell them to go out into the fields and plant turnips. Luckily for civilization, people like you come to power fairly seldom, and in quite backward countries.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:38 pm
The problem with philosophy is that the sciences have progressed to such an extent that philosophers need to have Master's degree to fully understand and oversee the problems of science. Many scientists are math based mindset but cannot really envision things. Look at Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. He goes off in an extensive statistical analysis of the sub-atomic particles. The simple fact is that a photon of light would dislodge an electron from its orbit indicates that we have reached the limit of optical observation of sub-atomic particles. Statistics is not a cause and effect method of analysis but a location method. Simple electricity point out that electrons are also energy particles as electricity is just moving electrons. From simple physics it can be deduced that electrons have a dual particle-energy characteristics. No need for the Schrodinger's Equation to prove it. The equation is useful nevertheless.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:46 pm
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

The problem with philosophy is that the sciences have progressed to such an extent that philosophers need to have Master's degree to fully understand and oversee the problems of science. Many scientists are math based mindset but cannot really envision things. Look at Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. He goes off in an extensive statistical analysis of the sub-atomic particles. The simple fact is that a photon of light would dislodge an electron from its orbit indicates that we have reached the limit of optical observation of sub-atomic particles. Statistics is not a cause and effect method of analysis but a location method. Simple electricity point out that electrons are also energy particles as electricity is just moving electrons. From simple physics it can be deduced that electrons have a dual particle-energy characteristics. No need for the Schrodinger's Equation to prove it. The equation is useful nevertheless.


That may be a problem with the philosophy of science. But why should that be a problem with philosophy? Not all philosophy is philosophy of science.
mark noble
 
  0  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:50 pm
@kennethamy,
Hi Ken!

Not all philosophy is philosophy, it seems.

Kind regards.
mark...
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 08:51 pm
@kennethamy,
I was suggesting that philosophers can be relevant by knowing the sciences and foresee problems for society from scientific misadventures like cloning of humans and eugenics. Those scientists think they and only they have the visions of the future - the MAD scientists. We need more than the clergy to object to the madness. We need a more wiser and philosophic view.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:24 pm
There's this old joke I used to hear back in college.

The world'd greatest rocket scientist and the world's greatest brain surgeon are debating on which is smarter. They argue for days and then finally decide that they need a third person. They find a philosopher and he interviews them both. The rocket scientist's understanding of physics is astonishing and the brain surgeon's understanding of the biology is truly profound. After several days the philosopher finally announces to the public that the smartest man is a philosopher who studies the comparison of great minds.

Or something like that...

Thinking is neat-o, but only put your head in the clouds if your feet are still planted.

Philosophy has it's place though.

I'd rather try to figure out how I'd feel about killing a man by thinking about it , than collecting data. However, a philosopher might ruin this and come along and tell me that I can't be certain.

A
R
T
 

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