What is philosophy?

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Evinnra
Associate
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:12 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by Evinnra » Thu May 27, 2010 3:26 am

Clemsy wrote:What does formal training mean? As I see it, one must study both wide and deep in the humanities, with philosophy being just being a piece, especially, and a working knowledge, not necessarily expertise, in the sciences and math.
Good point, Clemsy. Even the genius who train him/her self in logic outside a university course goes through some rather heavy brain gymnastics. :roll:
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
http://evinnra-evinnra.blogspot.com
Evinnra
Associate
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:12 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: What is philosophy?

Post by Evinnra » Thu May 27, 2010 3:33 am

adirondack wrote:

I interpret wisdom to be not solely the knowledge of this or that, but wisdom involves the experience of this or that. Wisdom is a step further. Since a philosopher is someone defining or striving to possess knowledge on various subjects of interest, then a philosopher would have wisdom, meaning, experience on knowledge and the how's and what's of what it is or takes to have knowledge. .
Very cool. :)
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
http://evinnra-evinnra.blogspot.com
User avatar
romansh
Associate
Posts: 2277
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:25 am
Location: In the woods, BC, near US border
Contact:

Post by romansh » Fri May 28, 2010 1:36 am

Evinnra wrote: :!:
"If my opinion interests you", hmmn Since when have I ignored you?
Evinnra wrote: And you consider your self a scientist? :lol: How can the 'p-word' trouble a scientist? :?:
Although scientists may use the "proof" word they do so mistakenly. Likely they mean evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis or theory.
Evinnra wrote:
rom wrote:Fine, but not me.
You could elaborate on this a bit more ....
I see no reason why god should should be exempt from examination. Seems reasonable to me. For example when Christ says I and my Father are one. Is this phrase telling us we are all god?
Evinnra wrote: My point was the agreement on the metaphor's meaning - i.e. it makes sense to more than one mind in the physical world, so I can check it out as having evidence to support its realness. Feel free to digress in this direction if you wish ... I'd be interested. :wink:
Hey I don't disagree, the word "table" is a metaphor as well - but it could actually resemble a big rock. I have no problem with metaphors.
Evinnra wrote: And who decided that free will is an illusion? :idea:
That was not quite my point. There are hundreds of examples were our minds delude us.
Science actually points to these examples. So I cannot use the experience of my mind as evidence for "fact". My experience tells me I have free will, but I cannot assume that is what it is.

So to use a "metaphor" - if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck - it could be a duck hunter.
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
Evinnra
Associate
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:12 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by Evinnra » Fri May 28, 2010 5:07 am

romansh wrote:
Evinnra wrote: :!:
"If my opinion interests you", hmmn Since when have I ignored you?
OK. You right, you have alwyas shown impartial concern for me.

Evinnra wrote: And you consider your self a scientist? :lol: How can the 'p-word' trouble a scientist? :?:
Although scientists may use the "proof" word they do so mistakenly. Likely they mean evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis or theory.
I was under the impression that scientists get research grants for finding physically existing evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis or theory they intend to present to the public. But you are right, matematicians only need to convice other minds about their theories. :oops:
Evinnra wrote:
rom wrote:Fine, but not me.
You could elaborate on this a bit more ....
I see no reason why god should should be exempt from examination. Seems reasonable to me. For example when Christ says I and my Father are one. Is this phrase telling us we are all god?
That is not how I interpret that 'I and the Father are one'. My interpretation is that what Jesus does is what God does. Subtle but very important difference in meaning. Jesus merely testifies to the fact that he him self can't do a thing without God, not that he is doing everything God does. As I see it, it is a bit like, when I sit in my car the car takes me to places, but the car takes other things in the boot as well, which I may not even know about. (Unless I want to know about.)
Evinnra wrote: My point was the agreement on the metaphor's meaning - i.e. it makes sense to more than one mind in the physical world, so I can check it out as having evidence to support its realness. Feel free to digress in this direction if you wish ... I'd be interested. :wink:
Hey I don't disagree, the word "table" is a metaphor as well - but it could actually resemble a big rock. I have no problem with metaphors.
Evinnra wrote: And who decided that free will is an illusion? :idea:
That was not quite my point. There are hundreds of examples were our minds delude us.
Science actually points to these examples. So I cannot use the experience of my mind as evidence for "fact". My experience tells me I have free will, but I cannot assume that is what it is.

So to use a "metaphor" - if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck - it could be a duck hunter.
:lol: :lol: :lol: 8)

You are right. I get it now. :idea:
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
http://evinnra-evinnra.blogspot.com
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Fri May 28, 2010 6:47 am

Evinnra wrote:There, there, Nandu, thank you for making the change. 8)
If you wish me to change something in my attitude, this is the time to mention it, as I'd like to reciprocate your kindness. :)
Evinnra,

The change has to come from within. I can tell somebody: "I dislike the way you behave, therefore I will not talk to you unless you behave!" I have do this a lot professionally - you would not believe the passions that rise up in the field of engineering - but that is a professional transaction, and both sides have vested interests which have to be protected. But in these fora, we are having conversations of a higher order, the challenge is to engage a person even when he is extremely offensive. And I have discovered that we find another person most offensive when he attacks some of your most cherished beliefs. Then you feel the need to somehow take him down, prove that his belief is silly; and he in turn will try to do the same to you. And before you now, you are engaged in a duel of verbal one-upmanship, which has no winners: the only loser is the conversation.

Take for example your earlier statement that God does not need to prove his existence. I disagree with this totally, and my beliefs are totally at loggerheads with your Christian beliefs. In earlier days, I would have engaged you immediately, and the conversation would have gone into a loop. Now I don't feel the need to trumpet my beliefs. The fact that you believe differently does not bother me. Of course, if it came as a discussion point I would state my beliefs matter-of-factly and move on: I would not hold back from discourse just because of the fear somebody would take umbrage. But debate for the sake of debate is just plain useless. None of us are going to prove anything one way or the other.

So my change has come from within, as a consequence of the discovery of my shadow. And as Jung said, once the shadow is discovered it is easy to integrate it into your psyche, even though it's a long and laborious process. (Maybe Cindy can give me a few tips here. :wink: ) So if you introspect, and feel the need to change, it's up to you to do it. My style of discourse will be unaffected.

And let me say that I respect your right to your opinions, as I do for all others on this fora. The discourse will be based on this premise.

In friendship,
Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
Andreas
Associate
Posts: 2274
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:07 am

Post by Andreas » Fri May 28, 2010 8:28 am

So my change has come from within, as a consequence of the discovery of my shadow. And as Jung said, once the shadow is discovered it is easy to integrate it into your psyche, even though it's a long and laborious process. (Maybe Cindy can give me a few tips here. Wink ) So if you introspect, and feel the need to change, it's up to you to do it. My style of discourse will be unaffected. - Nandu
Awesome post Nandu. Here is the link to a post Cindy wrote about the Shadow. Cool stuff indeed.

http://www.jcf.org/new/forum/viewtopic. ... 4517#54517
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
Evinnra
Associate
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:12 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by Evinnra » Fri May 28, 2010 12:40 pm

nandu wrote:

Take for example your earlier statement that God does not need to prove his existence. I disagree with this totally, and my beliefs are totally at loggerheads with your Christian beliefs. In earlier days, I would have engaged you immediately, and the conversation would have gone into a loop. Now I don't feel the need to trumpet my beliefs. The fact that you believe differently does not bother me. Of course, if it came as a discussion point I would state my beliefs matter-of-factly and move on: I would not hold back from discourse just because of the fear somebody would take umbrage. But debate for the sake of debate is just plain useless. None of us are going to prove anything one way or the other.
Nandu,

When I say that God does not need to prove his existence to me, it is a statement like if I said my pinky toe hurts. You can't argue with that statement as it is not up to you to validate my own sensations. Right? You can't say it is all relative whether my pinky toe hurts or not just because your pinky toe doesn't hurt at all. I could always reply 'not yet'. :lol:

About shadows, if you see any of mine, feel free to point them out to me as I can't see shadows in me at all. I can see that occasionallly I have a short fuse , that I can be stubborn and confrontational, but these ugly personality traits I wouldn't describe as shadows since they are very much out in the open for everyone to see.

And let me say that I respect your right to your opinions, as I do for all others on this fora. The discourse will be based on this premise.

In friendship,
Nandu.
I too believe that everyone is entitled to have an opinion. The base for discussion in my book is that people don't have to agree on everything in order to cooperate.

Cheers,
Evinnra
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
http://evinnra-evinnra.blogspot.com
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Fri May 28, 2010 1:13 pm

Evinnra wrote:About shadows, if you see any of mine, feel free to point them out to me as I can't see shadows in me at all. I can see that occasionallly I have a short fuse , that I can be stubborn and confrontational, but these ugly personality traits I wouldn't describe as shadows since they are very much out in the open for everyone to see.
I can't see your Shadow, Evinnra. Nobody other than you yourself can. But Jung says that
If you feel an overwhelming rage come up in you when a friend reproaches you about a fault, you can be fairly sure that at this point you will find part of your shadow, of which you are unconscious...

When an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) the qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in other people...

-Man and his symbols
I guess everybody has his or her Shadow, but only one when becomes aware of it do we specifically recognise it for what it is. The seamless integration of the Shadow into the Self is one of the main parts of the process of individuation. Look for those trigger points, when you get unreasonably upset and would like to lash out-most probably the Shadow is rearing its head.

And the Shadow need not be all negative. A successful businessman repressing his romantic side is also fighting with his Shadow.

Of course, I am a layman, and whatever I have said I have garnered from my reading, and may not be fully correct. The thread pointed out by Andreas above has beautifully lucid explanations of Jungian psychology by our resident expert, Cindy.

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
User avatar
romansh
Associate
Posts: 2277
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:25 am
Location: In the woods, BC, near US border
Contact:

Post by romansh » Sat May 29, 2010 3:26 am

Evinnra wrote: I was under the impression that scientists get research grants for finding physically existing evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis or theory they intend to present to the public.
While what you said here is not incorrect, it is incomplete. Also we should not confound how scientists and their funding work with "science" itself. The more imperfect the former the slower the progress of science.

Also funding could be for examining new hypotheses, examining anomalies in hypotheses, just gathering data, and could be as you suggest testing the validity of hypotheses, eg Einstein's bending of light around the sun during an eclipse.
Evinnra wrote: That is not how I interpret that 'I and the Father are one'. My interpretation is that what Jesus does is what God does. Subtle but very important difference in meaning. Jesus merely testifies to the fact that he him self can't do a thing without God, not that he is doing everything God does. As I see it, it is a bit like, when I sit in my car the car takes me to places, but the car takes other things in the boot as well, which I may not even know about. (Unless I want to know about.)
I will have to acquiesce to your knowledge of God's capabilities here. But I would argue that John 10:30 are not Jesus' words but those of the mythical Christ. Textual biblical scholars argue that words that can be ascribed to the literal Jesus in the Bible and other related texts are relatively few. Rex Weyler summarizes this nicely in his The Jesus Sayings. I can recommend the book wholeheartedly.
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Sat May 29, 2010 4:33 am

Evinnra,

In reply to your long post regarding training in philosophy, I have a small difference of opinion. Let's once again compare it with a "professional" course like engineering. All those who pass out from an engineering college become engineers - the whole aim of the course is to make them so - and to become an engineer, you necessarily have to take an engineering degree. Whereas all philosophy graduates do not become philosophers.

The techniques and methods you numerated are necessary in traditional Western philosophical debates: the east also has its equivalents. But without going through any formal training in logic or debate, one can formulate one's own philosophy of life (though a certain amount of reading may be necessary - but that need not be formal, and for a thinker, reading comes naturally). And if it attracts people, the person will be known as a philosopher, whether he or she holds a degree in philosophy or not! For example, even though you said you don't consider Nietzsche a philosopher, I don't think there are many curricula which does not include his works. Many of the philosophers philosophy students study about, had no formal training in philosophy, I'd say.

I would say that, first and foremost, a philosopher needs a clear mind and the ability to think hard and deep about difficult questions, and come up with fresh ideas or fresh perspectives on old ideas, which can ignite the minds of people. A university degree may help, but it's not mandatory.

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
User avatar
romansh
Associate
Posts: 2277
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:25 am
Location: In the woods, BC, near US border
Contact:

Post by romansh » Sat May 29, 2010 2:26 pm

romansh wrote:
Evinnra wrote: I was under the impression that scientists get research grants for finding physically existing evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis or theory they intend to present to the public.
While what you said here is not incorrect, it is incomplete. Also we should not confound how scientists and their funding work with "science" itself. The more imperfect the former the slower the progress of science.

Also funding could be for examining new hypotheses, examining anomalies in hypotheses, just gathering data, and could be as you suggest testing the validity of hypotheses, eg Einstein's bending of light around the sun during an eclipse.
Evinnra wrote: That is not how I interpret that 'I and the Father are one'. My interpretation is that what Jesus does is what God does. Subtle but very important difference in meaning. Jesus merely testifies to the fact that he him self can't do a thing without God, not that he is doing everything God does. As I see it, it is a bit like, when I sit in my car the car takes me to places, but the car takes other things in the boot as well, which I may not even know about. (Unless I want to know about.)
I will have to acquiesce to your knowledge of God's capabilities here. But I would argue that John 10:30 are not Jesus' words but those of the mythical Christ. Textual biblical scholars argue that words that can be ascribed to the literal Jesus in the Bible and other related texts are relatively few. Rex Weyler summarizes this nicely in his The Jesus Sayings. I can recommend the book wholeheartedly.

edit - just reread your post and noticed "boot".
ahh the old language - :roll:
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
sladeb
Associate
Posts: 207
Joined: Fri May 16, 2003 5:00 am
Location: Harcourt, Victoria, Australia
Contact:

Post by sladeb » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:07 pm

Okay - I am going to venture into this conversation.

Nandu: Some great points in your last post. As you know I am an Engineer too. Now one of the things I find in our profession appearing are those who are, in many ways, philosophers of engineering. None are trained as philosophers, but as we design and build things that have a social impact, there are a few of us who are moving towards some sort of philosophy of engineering. Issues such as human sustainability, human performance etc all lead us to ponder what we are doing as engineers and how it impacts the planet, people etc.

In the panoply of Greek Gods there is one God, Hephaestus who I view as representing the engineers. Interestingly, he was amongst his responsibilities - the God of sculpture - one of the most difficult of all of the art forms.

I guess the core of this is that I agree that to be a philosopher does not require formal training as such. If it required anything, it requires a mind that is able to critically view the body of knowledge which is part of the human journey and to think about the relationships between human actions, human will, the world around us and the journey - collectively and individually that is the ascent of humankind.
The one thing I have learned about the quest journey is that as soon as you draw to the close of one quest - another calls and the journey begins once more.
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:05 am

I did not post this in the Free Will thread for a reason!

Experiments in Philosophy

Aristotle once wrote that philosophy begins in wonder, but one might equally well say that philosophy begins with inner conflict. The cases in which we are most drawn to philosophy are precisely the cases in which we feel as though there is something pulling us toward one side of a question but also something pulling us, perhaps equally powerfully, toward the other.

But how exactly can philosophy help us in cases like these? If we feel something within ourselves drawing us in one direction but also something drawing us the other way, what exactly can philosophy do to offer us illumination?

One traditional answer is that philosophy can help us out by offering us some insight into human nature. Suppose we feel a sense of puzzlement about whether God exists, or whether there are objective moral truths, or whether human beings have free will.

The traditional view was that philosophers could help us get to the bottom of this puzzlement by exploring the sources of the conflict within our own minds. If you look back to the work of some of the greatest thinkers of the 19th century Mill, Marx, Nietzsche — you can find extraordinary intellectual achievements along these basic lines.

As noted earlier this month in The Times’s Room for Debate forum, this traditional approach is back with a vengeance. Philosophers today are once again looking for the roots of philosophical conflicts in our human nature, and they are once again suggesting that we can make progress on philosophical questions by reaching a better understanding of our own minds. But these days, philosophers are going after these issues using a new set of methodologies. They are pursuing the traditional questions using all the tools of modern cognitive science. They are teaming up with researchers in other disciplines, conducting experimental studies, publishing in some of the top journals of psychology. Work in this new vein has come to be known as experimental philosophy. Read more
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
jonsjourney
Associate
Posts: 3191
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:24 pm
Location: Earth

Post by jonsjourney » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:18 pm

I guess this goes to show that rhetorical devices that evoke emotion may have a greater impact on how we create meaning rather than rational thought. We are easily caught up in "what if's" and "if only's" that are charged with emotional possibilities. This weeks debacle surrounding the burning of 200 Qu'rans is a good example....rational thought says that one may have the right to do such a thing, but having that right does not take into consideration the potential emotional consequences for such an action.
"He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." -Douglas Adams
Cindy B.
Working Associate
Posts: 4719
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:49 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Post by Cindy B. » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:02 pm

Uh, I thought that "experimental philosophy" was called "science." :wink:

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
Locked