Author Topic: The success and failure of philosophy  (Read 2395 times)

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Offline rumborak

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The success and failure of philosophy
« on: June 19, 2012, 01:42:13 PM »
A bit of a spin-off from the other thread that's now ablaze:

What's your view about the "success" of philosophy? That is, to what degree to you see philosophy being successful in its aims?

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Offline Adami

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 01:45:28 PM »
I consider my personal philosophies to be like a car. They keep me going. However when I find that they are breaking down and no longer serving me in the real world, I get a new one. Keeping the broken one and refusing to leave it means you're stuck and not going anywhere.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 01:48:20 PM »
Philosophy succeeds at what it means to achieve when it is rendered and/or articulated in a manner that is devoid of self-righteous arrogance and when the philosopher's goal is to impart knowledge and/or understanding of its concepts and teachings.


Offline rumborak

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 01:52:19 PM »
Philosophy succeeds at what it means to achieve when it is rendered and/or articulated in a manner that is devoid of self-righteous arrogance and when the philosopher's goal is to impart knowledge and/or understanding of its concepts and teachings.

That sounds like an awfully low bar to me. Isn't philosophy supposed to uncover deep truths about things?

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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 02:14:28 PM »
It depends on what you mean by "philosophy." Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, every single philosopher or person has pretty much always described philosophy as something different. It's rather amusing to see video of them all answering differently. According to some definitions out there, I'd say philosophy has failed pretty badly. According to other definitions, I think philosophy has done rather well.

For me, personally, I consider "philosophy" to be extremely broad. Philosophy, most importantly, is not taking a philosophy class, nor is it reading philosophy classics, or necessarily reading what is considered "philosophy" in current academia. Philosophy is questioning and trying to make sense of the world. "The unexamined life is not worth living." It's literally about loving wisdom literally here "philo-sophy," which is not the same as loving knowledge. Wisdom is about realizing questioning the world, being humble, admitting ignorance, about being open-minded to other explanation and other possibilities, and having a lot of knowledge and experience to back this up. Most people who are great thinkers, great writers, great artists, display philosophy. There's a reason we hand out Philosophy Doctorates.

So to me, "philosophy" has been greatly instrumental to human society. Philosophy brought about the scientific method, and the earliest scientists were also pioneers in philosophy. Newton wrote a lot of philosophy, and also happened to basically start the most incredible scientific revolution in known history. Today, in the scientific field, many scientists think philosophy is dead. And I think this is a ridiculous claim. Paradigm shifts and new understandings do not happen without a philosophy, nor philosophers. Individually, philosophies may have issues, philosophers will have faults, but collectively, this still has an impact upon the social and scientific landscape. Martin Heidegger provides a great example of this, as he has influenced a lot of fields, from literature, to psychology, and even artificial intelligence. I'd even argue that he, in some ways, provides the initial philosophical landscape to understanding quantum mechanics, in something other than mathematics. To give you a very solid example of this, in 1972 Hubert Dreyfus wrote a book called, "What Computer's Can't Do," in which he assailed the then efforts of computer scientists to mimic human intelligence. He was a Heideggerian, and he went at the problem in a way which completely showed the faults of the ruling scientific paradigm over artificial intelligence. He was instrumental in a paradigm shift which helped see computer's get a lot more intelligent. It's a really great book, amended several times and now it's, "What Computers Still Can't Do," and is almost as much a book about what it means to be human as what it means for a machine and a computer to be a machine and a computer.




Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 02:15:42 PM »
Philosophy succeeds at what it means to achieve when it is rendered and/or articulated in a manner that is devoid of self-righteous arrogance and when the philosopher's goal is to impart knowledge and/or understanding of its concepts and teachings.

That sounds like an awfully low bar to me. Isn't philosophy supposed to uncover deep truths about things?

rumborak

Well, yeah, sure, but a lot of it is open to interpretation.  I guess I am referring more to the delivery of the message than its conclusions.  I don't think you can even impart the message if you're mired in self-centered delusions of moral or intellectual superiority.

To decide whether or not the message of any philosophy is a "deep truth" or not would likely require at least some level of faith.  Philosophy =/= Facts

Offline Ħ

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 02:48:26 PM »
Philosophy is extremely important and is at the backbone of every academic discipline. It is a shame that philosophy isn't offered in high school or as a college course requirement.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 06:14:42 PM »
In colleges I don't think it's as much of a problem.
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 06:26:36 PM »
Philosophy is very important. However, it just doesn't do everything we might want it to, as people have qualms with all but the most banal and obvious philosophical proofs. Eventually, science has to step in to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

Offline Rathma

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2012, 06:02:12 AM »
I consider my personal philosophies to be like a car. They keep me going. However when I find that they are breaking down and no longer serving me in the real world, I get a new one. Keeping the broken one and refusing to leave it means you're stuck and not going anywhere.

In other words...

Attachment to philosophy = Failure
Non-attachment to philosophy = Success

Offline Scheavo

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 04:07:23 PM »
I consider my personal philosophies to be like a car. They keep me going. However when I find that they are breaking down and no longer serving me in the real world, I get a new one. Keeping the broken one and refusing to leave it means you're stuck and not going anywhere.

In other words...

Attachment to philosophy = Failure
Non-attachment to philosophy = Success

I'd personally add an "a" in between "to" and "philosophy."

Attachment to a philosophy = failure
Non-attachment to a philosophy = success.

Offline Adami

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 04:35:37 PM »
Unless you follow the philosophy of non-attachment. In which case you might as well give up and stop caring.

Which is why I don't care.
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Offline kári

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 04:54:16 PM »
Philosophy is extremely important and is at the backbone of every academic discipline. It is a shame that philosophy isn't offered in high school or as a college course requirement.
We had a required course of Philosophy last year (currently in my bachelor of physics) and it sucked balls. :P

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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2012, 02:12:49 PM »
Unless you follow the philosophy of non-attachment. In which case you might as well give up and stop caring.

Which is why I don't care.

So, how attached are you to that?

Offline Adami

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2012, 06:07:17 PM »
Ally sso.
Unless you follow the philosophy of non-attachment. In which case you might as well give up and stop caring.

Which is why I don't care.

So, how attached are you to that?

Paradoxically so.
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Offline Vivace

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2012, 01:56:59 PM »
When it comes to schools I think there are three important classes that need to be brought back as requirements

1) Rhetoric: When it comes to debate, logic and just plain communication we are indeed moving backwards quickly. It's rare to find a person well versed in rhetoric, but often times those who appear well versed seemed to be more biased than unattached (Hitchens, Dawkins and Fry being prime examples). Take Immanuel Kant, Darwin and Decartes, three more modern philosophers over the giants of antiquity to which I find to be excellent when it comes to rhetoric.

2) Ancient Philosophy: This form of philosophy that overlaps with many scientific disciplines. Most modern philosophers are obviously trained in the classics for good reason. I find some arguments just repeating what was asked and answered by classical philosophers.

3) Modern Philosophy: Where philosophy is isolated to itself: Where has philosophy gone and how has it been adapted and changed for the contemporary times and how should a modern philosopher and where should a modern philosopher begin. 

there is also a fear today to bring in theological ideas into philosophy. Granted philosophy will not answer questions about God from a fundamental level given that philosophy is the study of humanity, not divinity, philosophy and theology have a lot in common. The ancients were definitely not afraid to talk about First causes (Aristotle) when it came to philosophy in order to help better describe human nature and the nature surrounding us.
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Offline Rick

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Re: The success and failure of philosophy
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 05:07:38 PM »
"I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know"
- Plato / Socrates - Apology

"6.53. The right method of philosophy would be this: To say nothing except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science, i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other—he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy—but it would be the only strictly correct method.
6.54. My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.
7. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
"
- Ludwig Wittgenstein - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it."
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« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 10:01:54 AM by Rick »