Eise

Philosophy (split from Sam Harris thread)

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34 minutes ago, Area54 said:

Also, Enlightenment, rather than enlightenment, was certainly a consequence of philosophy, if not its actual goal.

:cool:

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1 hour ago, Area54 said:

There is certainly a colloquial use of philosophy that  would aim for enlightenment and inner peace. (I've seen well argued cases that Bhuddism is a philosophy and not a religion. As I understand it, its goals include enlightenment and inner peace.) dimreepr seems to be talking about this definition of philosophy.

I did not deny that there are more meanings of the word 'philosophy'. But most of academic philosophy is not about enlightenment, but about conceptual clarity. 

But this is what dimreepr said:

On 02/09/2017 at 5:21 PM, dimreepr said:

My point is, enlightenment/inner peace is the end game of every philosophical treatise, otherwise it's just about asking stupid questions. 

So really, my translation of this is 'academic philosophy is useless' (asking stupid questions is useless, isn't it?).

Then there is the meaning in the sense of 'Our company's philosophy is...' which more or less means the background ideas of a company's actions. If one sees Buddhism as 'philosophy' then it is more or less in this sense. And thereby (as it is also a religion) it is more or less static, referring to what the Buddha or some saints (Boddhisatvas) have said. 

But for academic philosophy this is not true: it is a developing discipline, just as the sciences are. 

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6 minutes ago, Eise said:

I did not deny that there are more meanings of the word 'philosophy'. But most of academic philosophy is not about enlightenment, but about conceptual clarity. 

But this is what dimreepr said:

So really, my translation of this is 'academic philosophy is useless' (asking stupid questions is useless, isn't it?).

Then there is the meaning in the sense of 'Our company's philosophy is...' which more or less means the background ideas of a company's actions. If one sees Buddhism as 'philosophy' then it is more or less in this sense. And thereby (as it is also a religion) it is more or less static, referring to what the Buddha or some saints (Boddhisatvas) have said. 

But for academic philosophy this is not true: it is a developing discipline, just as the sciences are. 

Pretty well all of which I was agreeing with. However, without an explicit recognition that different definitions of philosophy were being used, there seemed a severe risk that the discussion would get nowhere. Hence my post to remind everyone to pay attention to what they already know concerning definitions on a discussion forum. (It probably still won't get anywhere, but now it shall do so with clarity.)

 

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20 minutes ago, Eise said:

I did not deny that there are more meanings of the word 'philosophy'. But most of academic philosophy is not about enlightenment, but about conceptual clarity. 

But this is what dimreepr said:

So really, my translation of this is 'academic philosophy is useless' (asking stupid questions is useless, isn't it?).

Then there is the meaning in the sense of 'Our company's philosophy is...' which more or less means the background ideas of a company's actions. If one sees Buddhism as 'philosophy' then it is more or less in this sense. And thereby (as it is also a religion) it is more or less static, referring to what the Buddha or some saints (Boddhisatvas) have said. 

2

TBH my posts were more a reaction to your casual, disrespectful and dismissive reply to my first post in this thread.

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But for academic philosophy this is not true: it is a developing discipline, just as the sciences are. 

 

Yet you seem unwilling to consicely explain what that discipline is (a little more than 'conceptual clarity' please).

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6 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Yet you seem unwilling to consicely explain what that discipline is (a little more than 'conceptual clarity' please).

Really? I mean, really?

Sheesh.

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2 minutes ago, Strange said:

Really? I mean, really?

Sheesh.

Colour me thick if you like, I'm more than happy to acknowledge the fact, but I'd still like to learn something I don't currently, fully, understand, perhaps you could be a little more helpful. 

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4 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Colour me thick if you like, I'm more than happy to acknowledge the fact, but I'd still like to learn something I don't currently, fully, understand, perhaps you could be a little more helpful. 

Eise has repeatedly posted links to a brief summary of what philosophy is and what it can do (and why). If you need more than that, then there are online encyclopaedias you could refer to; e.g. https://plato.stanford.edu

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He's also implied modern philosophy is a different discipline, that's what I'd like to explore.

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

TBH my posts were more a reaction to your casual, disrespectful and dismissive reply to my first post in this thread.

It was an apt reaction to a disrespectful and dismissive post:

On 9/2/2017 at 4:51 PM, dimreepr said:

The difference is stark, one advances our understanding, whilst the other reiterates our understanding; I'll leave you to guess which is which.

 

2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Yet you seem unwilling to consicely explain what that discipline is (a little more than 'conceptual clarity' please).

You seem to be unwilling to read more than two lines of text. I won't try to be more concise than I was in the linked post, with the risk of being misunderstood. Intellectual clarity is not free on offer, it takes a little effort. 

1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

He's also implied modern philosophy is a different discipline, that's what I'd like to explore.

Different from what?

Edited by Eise
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Seems as though I have created a hornets nest in suggesting and inferring that philosophy and its role in science today is useless. :) 

Let me ask our philosophical friends a question: Is philosophy today more concerned with asking questions that obviously we cannot answer, while science concerns itself with what can be answered via empirical evidence ? Science, (cosmology) can now speculatively explain how the universe may have arose from nothing, ( https://www.astrosociety.org/publications/a-universe-from-nothing/ )  a question once traditionally the role of metaphysics to ponder over.......But to ask why? see ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0r930Sn_8 )

The above is my wording of this particular issue in a debate between Professor Laurence Krauss and a critic named Julian Baggini

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/sep/09/science-philosophy-debate-julian-baggini-lawrence-krauss

 

 

Let me add another link 

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/26/i-can-defend-both-lawrence-krauss-and-philosophy/

In conclusion from that article....

"I think that appreciating the boundaries of both disciplines as well as their strengths is important for getting along. Krauss may not have appreciated what philosophy has to offer, but a substantial reason for the friction is the smugness of philosophers who disrespect the functional constraints required for doing good science. Scientists don’t get to be “bounded only by the finite capacities of human thought”. We also have to honor the physical nature of reality.

In my head I have the capacity to flap my arms and fly. In the real working world…not so much. You don’t get to complain because I’m not jumping out of the window".

Edited by beecee

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12 hours ago, beecee said:

Let me ask our philosophical friends a question: Is philosophy today more concerned with asking questions that obviously we cannot answer, while science concerns itself with what can be answered via empirical evidence ?

There are a few things to say here.

The first thing is that you create a false dichotomy: between questions we (obviously!) cannot answer and questions that are answered empirically. This leaves out a whole lot of other questions, e.g. about morality, meaning of words, values, meaning of life etc. Some of these questions can be answered, some of them must be answered, because they will result in an action. E.g. in moral questions: when one stands for a choice, and one must choose, we answer the questions at least implicitly by acting as we do. Reflecting on the moral reasons for our actions is ethics.

Next is that the object of study of physics is physical reality. As soon as one reflects on the scientific method one is doing philosophy. How funny it may sound, but the topic of physics is not physics. Reflecting on how to do physics correctly is philosophy. At the same time, the best philosophers of physics mostly are physicists themselves. They have the practical experience how they get at valid results, or even what 'valid results' in physics means. The opposite is not true: that all physicists also are philosophers. And even great physicists can be bad philosophers. Yes, Krauss comes to mind.

Third, it seems to me that when you say 'philosophy' you think about old-fashioned metaphysics: the question how the world is behind the (empirical) scenes. However there are not many philosophers today anymore who try to answer such questions, simply because there is no method how to decide about the correctness of possible answers. While in science observations, experiments and theoretical consistency always have the last word, such a judge does not exist in old-fashioned metaphysics. Also, one can ask what the relevance of empirically unjustifiable answers are. Think (deeply!) about it: is it really relevant for our lives to know that we in fact live in a giant simulation? Or that solipsism would be true? If you think solipsism is true, aren't you just being hurt the same by real other persons, or by persons who only exist in your personal world, but you cannot effect in anyway? 

On the other side, modern metaphysics is concerned with totally different questions. What are facts? What are laws of nature? Do they exist, and if so, in what way?

In short: you are close to the risk of adhering to scientism: the believe that the only questions that are worth trying to ask, are scientific, i.e. empirical questions. That is simply not true.

 

Sorry that this posting is muuuuuch too long for dimreepr... :P

Edited by Eise
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19 hours ago, Eise said:

It was an apt reaction to a disrespectful and dismissive post:

 

Fair enough, I'd forgotten how I ended that post.

19 hours ago, Eise said:

Different from what?

If there's no difference between philosophy and modern philosophy why waste time typing the word modern?

 

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On ‎02‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 2:40 PM, Eise said:

What does a professional theoretical physicist actually do outside of academia?

You changed it to 'Theoretical' Physicist. I think there are many vocations a physicist has open to them. Physics is the core of all mechanics and science based disciplines and is the backbone of the manufacturing industry in pretty much all sectors. There are plenty of jobs for theoretical physicists too in multiples of areas. My question was genuine  -  what does a 'professional' philosopher do?

Edited by DrP

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Obviously he comes on this forum and 'schools' us :D.

Every GOOD theoretical physicist uses philosophy. The discipline teaches you how to 'think' about a problem to get viable and predictive results. Results that may otherwise not make any sense. Is the fact that we don't give consideration to singularities at the center of a BH, not based on philosophical reasoning ? Why not simply go with the math ?
I'm sure L Krauss invokes this sort of 'conceptual clarity' all the time without even knowing he is doing philosophy
As Eise has noted, even deciding to apply the scientific method to a problem, is not a science, but based on philosophy.

And, us telling Eise what philosophy is, would be equivalent to telling Swansont what atomic physics is.
( Incidentally, I did consider philosophy useless at one time, but have been re-educated. Thank you Eise. )

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

If there's no difference between philosophy and modern philosophy why waste time typing the word modern?

In much the same way that, in a discussion on evolution, I might wish to distinguish between Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism.

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58 minutes ago, MigL said:

Obviously he comes on this forum and 'schools' us :D.

Every GOOD theoretical physicist uses philosophy. The discipline teaches you how to 'think' about a problem to get viable and predictive results. Results that may otherwise not make any sense. Is the fact that we don't give consideration to singularities at the center of a BH, not based on philosophical reasoning ? Why not simply go with the math ?
I'm sure L Krauss invokes this sort of 'conceptual clarity' all the time without even knowing he is doing philosophy
As Eise has noted, even deciding to apply the scientific method to a problem, is not a science, but based on philosophy.

And, us telling Eise what philosophy is, would be equivalent to telling Swansont what atomic physics is.
( Incidentally, I did consider philosophy useless at one time, but have been re-educated. Thank you Eise. )

Good point +1, damn it, now I owe Eise an apology, ah well at least I've learned something. :) 

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4 hours ago, dimreepr said:

If there's no difference between philosophy and modern philosophy why waste time typing the word modern?

Did I imply there is no difference? Of course there is! And so I use the adjective 'modern' again and again. Did you read my post, or was it too long? :eyebrow:

3 hours ago, DrP said:

You changed it to 'Theoretical' Physicist. I think there are many vocations a physicist has open to them. Physics is the core of all mechanics and science based disciplines and is the backbone of the manufacturing industry in pretty much all sectors. There are plenty of jobs for theoretical physicists too in multiples of areas. My question was genuine  -  what does a 'professional' philosopher do?

With the same right I can say that philosophy is the core of all thinking about thinking, and how to apply it. What you describe is more or less the 'trickle down' effect from the for a layperson ununderstandable theories of theoretical physicists, via experimental physicists, engineers, and mechanics to usable technology. Same holds for philosophers, but the way is different, from academic philosophers, via publicists, journalists, politicians, literature to the lay persons. And you will be astonished about the broad spectrum of jobs philosophers work in. See e.g. here and here. If you say "but many of them are not typical jobs as philosophers", I guarantee you many people who have a degree in physics do not work in typical 'physics jobs'. Academics in general have proven to have mastered high levels of abstract thinking, which can be useful in many jobs.

You should also not forget that a lot of physics will have no practical usage ever*. Do you think we will build technology built on Higgs particles? The societal justification of spending billions in fundamental research can be compared by the money spent on art. It might not be of any instrumental use, but it broadens the view on the world we live in, and changes our views about our place in it. And this is true for philosophy par excellence.

3 hours ago, MigL said:

And, us telling Eise what philosophy is, would be equivalent to telling Swansont what atomic physics is.

Tell'm. :rolleyes:

But I like the comparison.

* Of course I don't know where the border is between theoretical physics that may lead to useful technology and that which doesn't. 

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8 minutes ago, Eise said:

Did I imply there is no difference? Of course there is! And so I use the adjective 'modern' again and again. Did you read my post, or was it too long? :eyebrow:

1

Usually, a concession and apology is enough, what more do you expect? 

I'm happy to concede my lack of intelligence/knowledge, are you?

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

Did I imply there is no difference? Of course there is! And so I use the adjective 'modern' again and again. Did you read my post, or was it too long? :eyebrow:

I was close to giving dimreepr a negative mark for his dismissal of philosophy in this thread and his initial failure to acknowledge your excellent points. I am glad I did not, for he subsequently gave a full, unqualified and gracious apology. It is unfortunate you did not feel able to respond with the same magnaminity.

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12 hours ago, Eise said:

This leaves out a whole lot of other questions, e.g. about morality, meaning of words, values, meaning of life etc. Some of these questions can be answered, some of them must be answered, because they will result in an action. E.g. in moral questions: when one stands for a choice, and one must choose, we answer the questions at least implicitly by acting as we do. Reflecting on the moral reasons for our actions is ethics.

I agree...and I'm sure Professor Krauss does too. But that isn't actually science.is it?

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Next is that the object of study of physics is physical reality. As soon as one reflects on the scientific method one is doing philosophy. How funny it may sound, but the topic of physics is not physics. Reflecting on how to do physics correctly is philosophy.

The scientific methodology certainly is philosophy, but philosophy that was set in stone when science started making its presence felt, a long time ago. What Professor Krauss has said, [And Professor Hawking] is that philosophy of science, in that regard has done its job...the scientific methodology, was established as the most logically method of going about science. All true scientists accept that.

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At the same time, the best philosophers of physics mostly are physicists themselves. They have the practical experience how they get at valid results, or even what 'valid results' in physics means.

I would hazzard a guess and say that philosophy is part of the curriculum to becoming a Physicist, and part of that is following the philosophically established scientific method. Again, no one is really disputing the grand job logical philosophical thinking has achieved.

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The opposite is not true: that all physicists also are philosophers. And even great physicists can be bad philosophers. Yes, Krauss comes to mind.

We are all philosophers at one time or another...you said that yourself if I am not mistaken. (or words to that effect) I do not agree that a great Physicist maybe a bad philosopher though. Again the philosophical ground work has already been established.

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Third, it seems to me that when you say 'philosophy' you think about old-fashioned metaphysics: the question how the world is behind the (empirical) scenes. However there are not many philosophers today anymore who try to answer such questions, simply because there is no method how to decide about the correctness of possible answers.

My view  is that science is what we know, or are trying to know or more extensively,  the classification and organizing of knowledge of the world/universe we live in, based on empirical evidence. I have also in my time come across a quote attributed to Bertrand Russell, which goes something along the lines of "Science is what we know: Philosophy is what we don't know" That's not meant as a criticism. 

Quote

Third, it seems to me that when you say 'philosophy' you think about old-fashioned metaphysics: the question how the world is behind the (empirical) scenes. However there are not many philosophers today anymore who try to answer such questions, simply because there is no method how to decide about the correctness of possible answers. While in science observations, experiments and theoretical consistency always have the last word, such a judge does not exist in old-fashioned metaphysics. Also, one can ask what the relevance of empirically unjustifiable answers are. Think (deeply!) about it: is it really relevant for our lives to know that we in fact live in a giant simulation? Or that solipsism would be true? If you think solipsism is true, aren't you just being hurt the same by real other persons, or by persons who only exist in your personal world, but you cannot effect in anyway? 

The first half of what you have said is interesting and I refer you back to the Bertrand Russell quote. Your second part re the relevance of "empirically unjustified answers" is also interesting. Are you referring to Krauss's book "A Universe from Nothing"?  or the link I gave re the ultimate free lunch? These are of course hypotheticals and physicists including Krauss recognize this. But by the same token, the thoughts/scenarios presented are based on similar observations and quantum mechanics, and of course as other discussions on this forum has noted...a definition of nothing.

PS: As a lay person who is neither a "professional" philosopher nor a scientists/physicist, I have absolutely no liking for any of this simulation hypothetical, nor am I in any way inclined towards solipsism. As a Maintenance person now retired I have always preferred the "hands on" approach which may or may not account for my position at this time on philosophy in todays world, as opposed to the ground work that philosophy helped in establishing.                  The ultimate free lunch and a Universe from nothing make much more sense to me as a lay person, then other scenarios both scientific and/or mythical and non scientific. 

Quote

You should also not forget that a lot of physics will have no practical usage ever*. Do you think we will build technology built on Higgs particles? The societal justification of spending billions in fundamental research can be compared by the money spent on art. It might not be of any instrumental use, but it broadens the view on the world we live in, and changes our views about our place in it. And this is true for philosophy par excellence.

The discovery of the Higgs, validates the previous hypothetical of a Higgs field, giving mass to elementary fundamental particles...Practical knowledge that maybe put to good use in the future...eg: (A beecee original :) ) Perhaps if in the course of time we survive for another millenium or greater, our advanced descendants maybe able to manipulate this field to give a perception of zero mass and so obtain relativistic speeds to explore the galaxy and beyond.      Again, practical.

 

Edited by beecee

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11 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Usually, a concession and apology is enough, what more do you expect? 

Sorry, but it was not clear what you said you would apologise me for: you quoted the complete posting of MigL. I expect nothing, but I am curious what you want to apologise for.

11 hours ago, dimreepr said:

I'm happy to concede my lack of intelligence/knowledge, are you?

I already did in one of my previous postings.

@Beecee, thanks for your long and thoughtful post. As I am not retired, I cannot react in full on all your arguments now. However I want to mention one observation. You did not react on my last remark to you:

19 hours ago, Eise said:

you are close to the risk of adhering to scientism: the believe that the only questions that are worth trying to ask, are scientific, i.e. empirical questions.

In your latest post you say:

6 hours ago, beecee said:

I agree...and I'm sure Professor Krauss does too. But that isn't actually science.is it?

And I agree also: it is not science. It is philosophy! To find our way in life, we must have our facts straight. That is what science is for. But what are the right methods to find facts? And to what visions and values do we want to adhere? What are the right things to do and strive for? As soon as the discourse about these kind of topics becomes difficult and nuanced it becomes philosophy. 

So are you a 'scientismist'? (Yep the word 'scientist' is already occupied, so I had to invent a new word for somebody who adheres to scientism. A typical philosophical move: noting that a word can be interpreted in different ways, and therefore introduce new words to keep them separated.)

 

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8 hours ago, Eise said:

Sorry, but it was not clear what you said you would apologise me for: you quoted the complete posting of MigL. I expect nothing, but I am curious what you want to apologise for.

2

Mostly because I completely misread your musings and subsequently decided they were overly verbose with the intention of confusing us non-academics, I reacted emotionally and thought that required an apology when MigL's post Illuminated my mistake.

 

On 02/09/2017 at 4:11 PM, Eise said:

PS And there is nothing that offers enlightenment. (That is my personal enlightenment...)

Not that I agree with you on this. :P

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

Mostly because I completely misread your musings and subsequently decided they were overly verbose with the intention of confusing us non-academics, I reacted emotionally and thought that required an apology when MigL's post Illuminated my mistake.

I really intend to write as clear as possible. Maybe I do not succeed always, but just note that the length of a text is not a measure for its complexity. So, apology accepted.

1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

Not that I agree with you on this. :P

That would be another topic. I described academic philosophy, which I surely think is not useless, just because it is not aiming at enlightenment. My personal philosophy (take care, this is a slightly other meaning of 'philosophy', more in the direction of 'world view') is a bit different. E.g. I am practicing Zen meditation. But that is another story.

Edited by Eise
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11 minutes ago, Eise said:

That would be another topic. I described academic philosophy, which I surely think is not useless, just because it is not aiming at enlightenment. My personal philosophy (take care, this is a slightly other meaning of 'philosophy', more in the direction of 'world view') is a bit different. E.g. I am practicing Zen meditation. But that is another story.

1

Indeed, but I think a topic worth exploring.

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27 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Indeed, but I think a topic worth exploring.

Feel free to open a new  thread... I might participate.

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