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Author Topic:   On The Philosophy of, well, Philosophy
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 226 of 307 (432899)
11-08-2007 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 225 by Jon
11-08-2007 10:27 PM


Re: Invented Realities.... tsk tsk tsk
Delightfully disingenuous as always, Jon. Pop back in when you can answer the questions I've put to you.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 225 by Jon, posted 11-08-2007 10:27 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 227 by Jon, posted 11-09-2007 12:29 AM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 227 of 307 (432904)
11-09-2007 12:29 AM
Reply to: Message 226 by crashfrog
11-08-2007 10:56 PM


Re: Invented Realities.... tsk tsk tsk
Pop back in when you can answer the questions I've put to you.

Which were...?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 226 by crashfrog, posted 11-08-2007 10:56 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 229 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 9:59 AM Jon has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 177 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 228 of 307 (432915)
11-09-2007 2:23 AM
Reply to: Message 224 by crashfrog
11-08-2007 5:18 PM


I wish that the one you were talking about existed. I honestly do.

But it is not philosophy as practiced.

It's out there crash, I've read it.

Again, I don't understand. If the field has no merit, it is because of its flaws. You're asking for something, and then you're telling me not to tell you that thing. How am I supposed to make heads or tails of that?

Let me keep this simple. I gave you a quote. When I look at that quote, how can I tell if it is philosophy, economics or theology? When you can generalize your answer so that it can be used for a variety of quotes, essays and books, you've probably given a good enough definition. A definition must include all the properties that philosophy has that no other field has so that it can be uniquely (or at least almost uniquely) identified based on it.

If you aren't sure how defining words works, you could always look it up. It isn't really all that difficult.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by crashfrog, posted 11-08-2007 5:18 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 230 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 10:04 AM Modulous has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 229 of 307 (432953)
11-09-2007 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 227 by Jon
11-09-2007 12:29 AM


Re: Invented Realities.... tsk tsk tsk
Which were...?

"Where's the rigor", for one.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 227 by Jon, posted 11-09-2007 12:29 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 231 by Jon, posted 11-09-2007 10:18 AM crashfrog has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 230 of 307 (432954)
11-09-2007 10:04 AM
Reply to: Message 228 by Modulous
11-09-2007 2:23 AM


When I look at that quote, how can I tell if it is philosophy, economics or theology?

Probably only by exclusion of economics and theology. Philosophy's total lack of rigor makes it essentially impossible to definitively say that something is not philosophy. And, indeed, plenty on this thread have argued that you can't ever say that something is not philosophy, because philosophy is essentially everything.

You want me to define "philosophy" in some way that would allow you to distinguish philosophy from non-philosophy, or good philosophy from bad; but my whole point is that in a field with no rigor, you can't do that. If philosophy is everything there's no such thing as non-philosophy. In a field with no rigor there's no telling the good philosophy from the bad.

A definition must include all the properties that philosophy has that no other field has

I don't believe philosophy has any property that another field lacks. I believe that philosophy lacks the properties of all other fields.

That's why I've described it as a dumpster, as a dumping ground. Philosophy is where ideas go when they're of no merit to their original fields. It's the great wastebin of thought.

How could you not understand that, yet?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 228 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 2:23 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 232 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 10:30 AM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 231 of 307 (432957)
11-09-2007 10:18 AM
Reply to: Message 229 by crashfrog
11-09-2007 9:59 AM


Re: Invented Realities.... tsk tsk tsk
"Where's the rigor", for one.

Okay. Define rigour, and I'll see what I can do :)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 229 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 9:59 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 233 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 12:27 PM Jon has not yet responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 177 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 232 of 307 (432959)
11-09-2007 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 230 by crashfrog
11-09-2007 10:04 AM


Probably only by exclusion of economics and theology. Philosophy's total lack of rigor makes it essentially impossible to definitively say that something is not philosophy. And, indeed, plenty on this thread have argued that you can't ever say that something is not philosophy, because philosophy is essentially everything.

I don't think everything is philosophy - so let's stick with my position not what you think others believe. So your definition of philosophy is 'something useless that asks questions that sound interesting to sexy co-eds, and isn't economics or theology'. I of course agree, that whatever that field is you are describing is useless by definition. That isn't very interesting though. It's one of the worst definitions I've ever heard. If you'd compose one for yourself rather than have your opponents attempt to construct one out of your posts we might have something a little saner.

You want me to define "philosophy" in some way that would allow you to distinguish philosophy from non-philosophy, or good philosophy from bad;

I don't care about good from bad since I haven't even been able to use your definitions to identify whether or not something is philosophy yet.

If philosophy is everything there's no such thing as non-philosophy.

If philosophy isn't everything (my position), what is it?

I don't believe philosophy has any property that another field lacks. I believe that philosophy lacks the properties of all other fields.

So there is no defining feature of philosophy other than it 'doesn't have the properties of all other fields'?

That's why I've described it as a dumpster, as a dumping ground. Philosophy is where ideas go when they're of no merit to their original fields. It's the great wastebin of thought.

How could you not understand that, yet?

I do understand that, but I still don't know what the subject you are talking about is. I know what you call it, but I can't identify it in a lineup.

If I were to say 'all people have a certain collection of basic human rights' - I would call that a philosophical position. However - it is not useless, it could be used as the basis a social system we both think is pretty good. So, according to you, it isn't a philosophical position. Yet we can't prove it is true, so it is useless.

'Rape is bad because it harms the victim', once again a philosophical argument according to my understanding of the term (it is about morality) - but you would argue it isn't philosophy (the statement isn't useless).

'The theory of evolution is almost definitely true because it coheres with all the facts, and corresponds with reality when we go looking for more facts.' I'd say that is a philosophical position since it is attempting to explain how we know something to be almost certainly true. It isn't useless, so according to you it isn't philosophy.

My position on philosophy is probably true in my opinion because it coheres with all of the facts (every source I've looked at, including the few I have posted here) and what the practitioners themselves claim to be do be doing (as well as my perception of reading what they are doing). I know what your position on philosophy is - I just do not recognize what you mean when you say 'philosophy' beyond 'something I don't like that isn't some other things I don't like'.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 230 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 10:04 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 234 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 12:36 PM Modulous has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 233 of 307 (432972)
11-09-2007 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 231 by Jon
11-09-2007 10:18 AM


Re: Invented Realities.... tsk tsk tsk
Define rigour, and I'll see what I can do

Wow. Pretty sure I did that, sometime back in the previous 230 posts.

Would it be possible for you to stop being dishonest for, like, one whole post maybe?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 231 by Jon, posted 11-09-2007 10:18 AM Jon has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 234 of 307 (432975)
11-09-2007 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 232 by Modulous
11-09-2007 10:30 AM


If philosophy isn't everything (my position), what is it?

What was wrong with the definition by exclusion I referred to, earlier? If you're simply going to ignore my every attempt to answer your question, this discussion isn't going to proceed anywhere.

So there is no defining feature of philosophy other than it 'doesn't have the properties of all other fields'?

That's part of the problem; without rigor, there's no way to distinguish between philosophy and non-philosophy except to say that everything that is a part of another field - meets the rigor of that field - is not philosophy, and "philosophy" is simply what is left over.

Again, that's why I've been describing it as a "dumpster". That's the word that best approximates the idea of a repository for all that which is discarded by other fields.

I know what you call it, but I can't identify it in a lineup.

Identify it by exclusion. It's what's left over when everything that isn't philosophy has left the room.

However - it is not useless, it could be used as the basis a social system we both think is pretty good.

It couldn't be the basis for anything. A constitution might provide the basis for a system of civil law and enforcement that protects what we define as "human liberties", but the effort to draft such a document would be the bailiwick of the field of law, not philosophy.

It's a nice statement that might appeal to both of us, but the statement by itself has no power to protect any human's liberties.

I just do not recognize what you mean when you say 'philosophy' beyond 'something I don't like that isn't some other things I don't like'.

Do you have a similar problem recognizing where the trash is in your house, if exclusionary definitions are invalid to you? Like, when you have to take it out, do you wander around aimlessly thinking to yourself "I know I have to take the trash out, but what is trash? I only know what it is not; it is not the things I want to keep in the house. But unless I know what trash is, how can I recognize it to take it out?"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 10:30 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 235 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 1:27 PM crashfrog has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 177 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 235 of 307 (432991)
11-09-2007 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 234 by crashfrog
11-09-2007 12:36 PM


What was wrong with the definition by exclusion I referred to, earlier? If you're simply going to ignore my every attempt to answer your question, this discussion isn't going to proceed anywhere.

Definitions by listing properties something does not have are not particularly helpful in knowing what something is. Are you suggesting that if something is not theology or economics and has no rigour then it is philosophy, is a good definition of something? If that's the best you can muster, then as I said, we really are at a dead end over this.

That's part of the problem; without rigor, there's no way to distinguish between philosophy and non-philosophy except to say that everything that is a part of another field - meets the rigor of that field - is not philosophy, and "philosophy" is simply what is left over.

So - does the quote I provided earlier meet this standard? Does it fail to meet the rigour of whatever field it is part of? What field is it part of?

Again, that's why I've been describing it as a "dumpster". That's the word that best approximates the idea of a repository for all that which is discarded by other fields.

So science has discarded falsifiability and the coherence theory of truth? First I had heard of it.

Identify it by exclusion. It's what's left over when everything that isn't philosophy has left the room.

OK, so I'm going to pick out everything that isn't philosophy so that I can deduce what philosophy is. I go to the first field - is it philosophy or not? How do I tell? I look at it, is it a field within a field? Yes, but so are many of the other fields around me. OK, does it apply the rigour of the field it belongs to? Yes. OK, it isn't philosophy.

In my view, you'd be left with nothing except crank fields within fields, pseudoscience and holocaust deniers and the like. Is this philosophy in your eyes? Certainly people like Dan Dennett and Pat Churchland will have left the room had they represented their particular fields. Would we have John Stuart Mill, if he were representing utilitarianism?

It couldn't be the basis for anything. A constitution might provide the basis for a system of civil law and enforcement that protects what we define as "human liberties", but the effort to draft such a document would be the bailiwick of the field of law, not philosophy.

So - the idea of defining human liberties or rights doesn't come until after we've written them into a constitution? No, crashfrog that's backwards. People have to have the idea of Freedom of Speech, argue why it should be part of a society and try to influence the lawmakers to put it in.

Thomas Paine significantly influenced the revolutionaries in America, he himself was influenced by Locke. Locke argued that men have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and property. That probably sounds familiar to you, these ideas are essential before a constitution is written that encapsulates them into law - and like it or not, it was political philosophers, engaging in apparently useless discourse, that influenced future generations of politicians to change the way their field had previously operated. For the better, I might add.

It's a nice statement that might appeal to both of us, but the statement by itself has no power to protect any human's liberties.

Of course the statement doesn't protect human liberties (no idea can protect anything) - but putting forth a strong argument in favour of it, of appealing to others to see the truths of it and explain why they are truths, and to explain what the foundations of that reasoning were...this is the stuff that enables the way we do things to change; convincing people that a need for change exists in the way something is being done is important pursuit in a world filled with arrogant violent apes who like to gain alpha male status.

Do you have a similar problem recognizing where the trash is in your house, if exclusionary definitions are invalid to you? Like, when you have to take it out, do you wander around aimlessly thinking to yourself "I know I have to take the trash out, but what is trash? I only know what it is not; it is not the things I want to keep in the house. But unless I know what trash is, how can I recognize it to take it out?"

No, I have no problem with what trash is. Trash is the stuff that in my opinion I no longer want in my house. Philosophy is something that exists independent of our opinions of it, unlike trash. Trash is defined by our opinions of it, philosophy is not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 12:36 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 236 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 1:36 PM Modulous has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 236 of 307 (432994)
11-09-2007 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 235 by Modulous
11-09-2007 1:27 PM


Trash is the stuff that in my opinion I no longer want in my house.

Sure, you've told me what it isn't, but what is trash?

Why is it any better for you to define "trash" as "what's left over when we take away everything that I want to keep" but it's somehow invalid to define philosophy as "what's left over when we take away all the fields of human knowledge with rigor?"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 1:27 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 237 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 1:58 PM crashfrog has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 177 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 237 of 307 (433003)
11-09-2007 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 236 by crashfrog
11-09-2007 1:36 PM


Sure, you've told me what it isn't, but what is trash?

Why is it any better for you to define "trash" as "what's left over when we take away everything that I want to keep" but it's somehow invalid to define philosophy as "what's left over when we take away all the fields of human knowledge with rigor?"

Erm, because trash is defined by our opinions of it, philosophy is not. Did you not read me the first time?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 1:36 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 238 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 3:24 PM Modulous has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 238 of 307 (433019)
11-09-2007 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 237 by Modulous
11-09-2007 1:58 PM


Erm, because trash is defined by our opinions of it, philosophy is not.

Surely philosophy, being a mental human endeavor, is even more contingent on opinion than the trashness of trash would be. I mean, trash is a physical thing, particularly to the guys who come around to haul it away.

The idea that philosophy is less contingent on opinion than physical materials is a non-starter on its face.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 237 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 1:58 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 239 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 5:50 PM crashfrog has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 177 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 239 of 307 (433046)
11-09-2007 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 238 by crashfrog
11-09-2007 3:24 PM


Surely philosophy, being a mental human endeavor, is even more contingent on opinion than the trashness of trash would be. I mean, trash is a physical thing, particularly to the guys who come around to haul it away.

I will not deny that there are many differing opinions on the nature of philosophy, but a general agreement can be made as to some broad strokes that positively define it. On the other hand, what you call trash, I might call an antique. Trash is entirely contingent on opinion, philosophy is not.

I can further show that your argument leads to an obvious absurdity. If a a definition of a mental endeavour is more contingent on opinion - then the definition of reason cannot be made. And yet I can identify a quick and easy positive definition at wiki: Reasoning is the mental (cognitive) process of looking for reasons for beliefs, conclusions, actions or feelings.

It isn't all encompassing, but it gives us a base point for discussion at least.

Maths is also a mental endeavour, is the definition of mathematics contingent on opinion? Sure - there may be some disagreement over the exact definition, but positive discriminatory definitions are possible.

The idea that philosophy is less contingent on opinion than physical materials is a non-starter on its face.

We are talking about a definition of something not the thing itself. They are different things.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 238 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 3:24 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 240 by crashfrog, posted 11-09-2007 5:56 PM Modulous has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 240 of 307 (433048)
11-09-2007 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 239 by Modulous
11-09-2007 5:50 PM


I'm sorry, Mod, I just can't split hairs the way you want me to. I just don't have the talent for philosophy.

It's ridiculous to suggest that we need to define "philosophy" anyway; there's certainly been no ambiguity throughout this thread about exactly what is being discussed. Everybody knows what we're talking about when we say "philosophy."

I'm content with the definitions I've supplied throughout this thread. I remain puzzled as to why Jon continues to act like the 230 posts or so in this thread simply don't exist.

But a discussion about what words mean couldn't possibly be less interesting to me.

Edited by crashfrog, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 239 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 5:50 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 241 by Modulous, posted 11-09-2007 6:34 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

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