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Is there such a Thing as Good Philosophy vs Bad Philosophy?

Is there such a Thing as Good Philosophy vs Bad Philosophy?  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. Is there such a Thing as Good Philosophy vs Bad Philosophy?

    • All philosophy is useless/too arbitrary/self-serving... (all bad)
      1
    • All philosophy has interesting points to consider (all good)
      2
    • There are good philosophies and bad philosophies
      8


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On 7/22/2020 at 6:52 PM, Strange said:

Understanding what knowledge is, how it can be gained, how it can be tested, what it means to "test" something experimentally, what paradoxes are (and if they actually exist), are all topics for philosophy.

We only have the scientific method because of philosophers of science.

I would just add "degrees of certainty" to your list, which I just assume you've thought about before. How you grade concepts in a meaningful and useful way is another matter, of course.

I'm trying to get closer to precisely this concept you mention. Namely: What would be a good criterion for a "philosophy of science"?

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3 minutes ago, joigus said:

I would just add "degrees of certainty" to your list, which I just assume you've thought about before. How you grade concepts in a meaningful and useful way is another matter, of course.

I'm trying to get closer to precisely this concept you mention. Namely: What would be a good criterion for a "philosophy of science"?

Good point. (Reminds me of Asimov's "Relativity of Wrong")

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On 7/24/2020 at 12:34 AM, Eise said:

Wondering what definition you are using. 

Make a comparison with science: would you only accept science that gives the answers you like? Keeping a viewpoint fixed is the end of philosophy. Any honest investigation can lead to results you do not like. But faking truths might be worse in the end.

Take the idea of God, who gives people a purpose and the right rules of conduct for people to be happy. Wouldn't that lead to the highest possible good? So we keep that fixed and do not discuss this? Is that philosophy? Or dogma?

I don't want to play word games here but "philosophy" means "love of wisdom" and "wisdom" mean knowing the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, or what is practical from what is not.

More to the point there is no gain in pondering things that are bad to the species, individuals, or the commonweal.  The sole objective has always been the betterment of the race and historically we find that in truth and reality rather than belief and superstition.   

If there were good results in bad philosophy or bad science it would be better not to known anyway.   I think if we let real science work itself out we'll always find ways that the new knowledge can be used for progress rather than destruction.   

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12 hours ago, cladking said:

I don't want to play word games here but "philosophy" means "love of wisdom" and "wisdom" mean knowing the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, or what is practical from what is not.

My interpretation of the paradise story contains a certain wisdom: 'knowing' the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise.

12 hours ago, cladking said:

If there were good results in bad philosophy or bad science it would be better not to known anyway. 

What is 'bad science'? E.g the development of nuclear fission: it gave us nuclear energy and an arms race. Or is 'bad science' science that is methodologically unsound?

If the latter, then bad philosophy would be that you stop with an honest investigation when you do not like the result of your reasoning.

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2 hours ago, Eise said:

My interpretation of the paradise story contains a certain wisdom: 'knowing' the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise.

And a take-home lesson about diet. ;) 

2 hours ago, Eise said:

What is 'bad science'? E.g the development of nuclear fission: it gave us nuclear energy and an arms race. Or is 'bad science' science that is methodologically unsound?

If the latter, then bad philosophy would be that you stop with an honest investigation when you do not like the result of your reasoning.

Maybe bad science is science unchecked by philosophical concerns?

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3 hours ago, Eise said:

My interpretation of the paradise story contains a certain wisdom: 'knowing' the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise.

My interpretation is, knowledge it self led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise (as in the sermon on the mount), it's a variation of "ignorance is bliss" that's not to say knowledge in and of itself is bad. It's where we place it's importance in our daily lives, a sparrow, for instance, uses it's knowledge to catch enough to eat for today, it doesn't worry if there will be enough to eat tomorrow; even if he knows he didn't eat yesterday.

We know there is no paradise and tomorrow may bring disaster, because one of our yesterday's did, and with that knowledge we tend to forget about today and so miss, all those little slices of paradise. 

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17 hours ago, cladking said:

 More to the point there is no gain in pondering things that are bad to the species, individuals, or the commonweal.  The sole objective has always been the betterment of the race and historically we find that in truth and reality rather than belief and superstition.   

We shouldn't ponder things that might be bad? How else do you prevent them from happening? Isn't pondering bad things that you might prevent them good for the species?

 

Quote

If there were good results in bad philosophy or bad science it would be better not to known anyway.   I think if we let real science work itself out we'll always find ways that the new knowledge can be used for progress rather than destruction.   

Having knowledge and using knowledge are two different things. 

 

2 hours ago, joigus said:

 Maybe bad science is science unchecked by philosophical concerns?

Which brings us back to the poll. I would divide things between useful and not-useful. Good and bad are somewhat arbitrary distinctions. Eise mentioned fission. I'll make it simpler: the knife. Is it good or bad? People use it as a weapon, but surgeons use it to save lives. A lot of people use them to prepare food. I don't think you'll ever get a clear answer because good vs bad is too simplistic a distinction and driven by context, IMO.

"Unchecked by philosophical concerns" doesn't cut it, I think. You can't know the results of an experiment when you are delving into new territory, and can't know how people will use the resulting scientific knowledge. All we know is "here be dragons" probably applies.

 

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54 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

My interpretation is, knowledge it self led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise (as in the sermon on the mount), it's a variation of "ignorance is bliss" that's not to say knowledge in and of itself is bad.

New International Version, Genesis 2:9:

Quote

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

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1 minute ago, Eise said:

New International Version, Genesis 2:9:

I've never been hungry enough to eat from a bin, but I have been thirsty enough to drink from a horse-trough; so I know that if ever I am hungry enough, bin food will deserve a Michelin star.

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5 hours ago, Eise said:

My interpretation of the paradise story contains a certain wisdom: 'knowing' the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise.

 

57 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

My interpretation is, knowledge it self led to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise (as in the sermon on the mount), it's a variation of "ignorance is bliss" that's not to say knowledge in and of itself is bad.

...Perhaps the "evil" was in that there was not enough fruit for all and no means to assure equitable distribution.  Or the story could be completely fabricated with no referent in the real world.  

5 hours ago, Eise said:

Or is 'bad science' science that is methodologically unsound?

Exactly.  There are even more bad sciences than good sciences but every science must have a methodology (metaphysics) to which it strictly adheres.  Bad science is science that isn't founded in experiment.  

 

5 hours ago, Eise said:

If the latter, then bad philosophy would be that you stop with an honest investigation when you do not like the result of your reasoning.

I suppose this would be true except for two things.  Using reductionism to study nature as we do science necessarily leads philosophy and it's doubtful that real science can fly in the face of what's best for people.  A-bombs aren't "science", they are technology and so long as people want to kill each other there is no means to stop any sort of technology.  If the goal is to kill then "good" technology kills the most people.  

1 hour ago, swansont said:

We shouldn't ponder things that might be bad? How else do you prevent them from happening? Isn't pondering bad things that you might prevent them good for the species?

I didn't mean it in that way.  

I meant that "good" must be axiomatic to "philosophy".  If a philosophy is created that not based in science or not based in "good" axioms then the result will be a set of beliefs that is destructive.   In order to come to this conclusion one must ponder bad science and bad philosophy or see where they have created chaos before.  

1 hour ago, swansont said:

Having knowledge and using knowledge are two different things. 

In this case I think the difference is science and technology.

 

16 minutes ago, Eise said:

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

It is also often called the "Tree of Life" because life is the pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil.   

Perhaps the "Life" was believed to have been extended sufficiently to gain such wisdom.  Or it might all be mere fabrication but if it's made up then one should ask why it was invented.  

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2 minutes ago, cladking said:

...Perhaps the "evil" was in that there was not enough fruit for all and no means to assure equitable distribution.  Or the story could be completely fabricated with no referent in the real world. 

Show me a story that's not relevant to the real world.

Perhaps the "good" was in that there was not enough fruit for all and no means to assure equitable distribution; do you know what comes next???

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4 minutes ago, cladking said:

I didn't mean it in that way.  

I meant that "good" must be axiomatic to "philosophy".  If a philosophy is created that not based in science or not based in "good" axioms then the result will be a set of beliefs that is destructive.   In order to come to this conclusion one must ponder bad science and bad philosophy or see where they have created chaos before.  

That's not really helpful, nor is it consistent with "things that are bad to the species, individuals, or the commonweal." You were obviously describing effects and not the philosophy itself.

And if this is the stance, instead of "good" perhaps we describe it as "valid" so that we are separating ourselves from subjective descriptions.

4 minutes ago, cladking said:

In this case I think the difference is science and technology.

To first order this is probably a decent distinction

 

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What I'm trying to say is that good science ("valid" if you prefer) can only yield good philosophy so long as the philosophical axioms are good.  "Good philosophical axioms" being that which is beneficial to people".  

Obviously this might not be true.  

I'm trying to say that all truth and all knowledge is necessarily good to the species.  Philosophy and science can both be bad under the defined conditions stated above.  

16 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Perhaps the "good" was in that there was not enough fruit for all and no means to assure equitable distribution; do you know what comes next???

I suppose you're suggesting the fruit was detrimental to people. 

While this is possible it seems unlikely the tellers or inventors of the story would believe that any kind of knowledge was "bad".  

 

We are "Homo Sapiens"  (wise men) so why should knowledge be harmful?  why would wisdom be harmful?  It seems unlikely they invented agriculture and cities with bad philosophy.  

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1 minute ago, cladking said:

What I'm trying to say is that good science ("valid" if you prefer) can only yield good philosophy so long as the philosophical axioms are good.  "Good philosophical axioms" being that which is beneficial to people".

Was the A-bomb beneficial? It did end one war (with much suffering), but inspired another (with much suffering). 

An axiom is always true, so not really applicable here...

16 minutes ago, cladking said:

I suppose you're suggesting the fruit was detrimental to people. 

No, I'm suggesting enough fruit was shared to ensure next year's harvest.

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3 hours ago, swansont said:

We shouldn't ponder things that might be bad? How else do you prevent them from happening? Isn't pondering bad things that you might prevent them good for the species?

 

Having knowledge and using knowledge are two different things. 

 

Which brings us back to the poll. I would divide things between useful and not-useful. Good and bad are somewhat arbitrary distinctions. Eise mentioned fission. I'll make it simpler: the knife. Is it good or bad? People use it as a weapon, but surgeons use it to save lives. A lot of people use them to prepare food. I don't think you'll ever get a clear answer because good vs bad is too simplistic a distinction and driven by context, IMO.

"Unchecked by philosophical concerns" doesn't cut it, I think. You can't know the results of an experiment when you are delving into new territory, and can't know how people will use the resulting scientific knowledge. All we know is "here be dragons" probably applies.

 

You make some very good points here. +1. You also introduce an element which must have slipped my mind, which is the one of usefulness. This element of usefulness actually had more to do with the original meaning of my question. The ethical question, important though it is, was not what I had in mind.

That doesn't mean I don't welcome any other aspects that other members may have in mind. I do.

Also, I'm not saying that the ethical question is out of reach for rational thinking, which I think it is. Concepts such as common sense, equanimity and the like are quite useful (again) to get to working standards for ethics. Golden rule is the best example.

I agree that potential for harm should not be the criterion upon which we base what we ought to know and what we oughtn't.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, cladking said:

There are even more bad sciences than good sciences but every science must have a methodology (metaphysics) to which it strictly adheres. 

That would be the death of most sciences. As an antidote to such ideas I recommend to read Feyerabend, Against Method. And equating methodology and metaphysics seems also wrong to me. Compare:

  • methodological and metaphysical naturalism (the only source of knowledge is nature vs. there are no supernatural phenomena)
  • methodological and metaphysical behaviourism (the only way to study people's minds is by observing their behaviour vs. there are no minds, only behaviour)
15 hours ago, cladking said:

Bad science is science that isn't founded in experiment. 

That excludes mathematics, astronomy, history, literature, just to name a few.

15 hours ago, cladking said:

It is also often called the "Tree of Life" because life is the pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil.   

I highlighted the important words for you:

Quote

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

So, no, what you wrote above is not a possible correct interpretation of Genesis 2:9. Maybe something like the red and blue pills...

15 hours ago, cladking said:

What I'm trying to say is that good science ("valid" if you prefer) can only yield good philosophy so long as the philosophical axioms are good.  "Good philosophical axioms" being that which is beneficial to people".  

What axioms? Philosophy is trying to understand thinking. In the first place how we actually think (depends of course a lot about what we are thinking: natural sciences, politics, 'Geisteswissenschaften', ethics etc). Then how we should think, to come to valid conclusions. And then how we should think to live a good life. Your view on philosophy is a bit one-sided.

15 hours ago, cladking said:

I'm trying to say that all truth and all knowledge is necessarily good to the species.

I highly doubt that. But to find out, one should ... guess what.

Edited by Eise

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Eise said:

So, no, what you wrote above is not a possible correct interpretation of Genesis 2:9. Maybe something like the red and blue pills...

Why are you assuming the story never changed before it became writ in stone?

LNK00050.JPG

A person is both an observer and the observed, an animal and a mammal, good and bad, an individual and half a couple  I could go on all day.  Maybe the author of Genesis didn't think like you do.  

23 hours ago, dimreepr said:

An axiom is always true, so not really applicable here...

No.  An axiom is something that is assumed to be true because it is fundamental and not subject to experimentation or other scientific process.  

7 hours ago, Eise said:

That excludes mathematics, astronomy, history, literature, just to name a few.

Math is quantified logic and is in  no way "science".   Neither history nor literature are in any way science but they are founded in philosophy and philosophy should be reflective of science or we'll have warped and twisted understanding of them.  "Astronomy" may  be the mother of science but is not strictly science herself.   It is more akin to the application of math and knowledge to understanding the heavens and our place in the universe.   Astronomy also makes a very handy place to make observation of phenomena and events that can't occur on earth.   

7 hours ago, Eise said:

Philosophy is trying to understand thinking.

You have the cart before the horse here.  

 

7 hours ago, Eise said:

And then how we should think to live a good life.

There's that word "good" again.   Some people find happiness or fulfillment in very very bad things.   

One may need to turn every stone to find good philosophy but one might get dirty in the process.  

Edited by cladking

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1 minute ago, cladking said:

Why are you assuming the story never changed it became writ in stone?

Why should we assume that a version you have invented has any basis in reality?

We know the story changed over time. There are two versions in the Bible. There are older versions which vary from those. If you are so sure that your version is correct, you could provide a reference. 

4 minutes ago, cladking said:

No.  An axiom is something that is assumed to be true because it is fundamental and not subject to experimentation or other scientific process.

And, therefore, always true.

4 minutes ago, cladking said:

Math is quantified logic and is in  no way "science". 

Logic is a branch of mathematics (and of philosophy). You are (suprisingly) correct to say it is not science. It, like other parts of mathematics, is a tool used by science (and by philosophy).

5 minutes ago, cladking said:

"Astronomy" may  be the mother of science but is not strictly science herself. 

Of course astronomy is a science. In what way does it not count as science?

6 minutes ago, cladking said:

 It is more akin to the application of math and knowledge to understanding the heavens and our place in the universe. 

Sounds like reasonable good (if informal) definition of science.

On 7/26/2020 at 8:43 PM, cladking said:

I don't want to play word games here but "philosophy" means "love of wisdom"

Ah, the good old etymological fallacy. Haven't seen one of those for a while. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, cladking said:

No.  An axiom is something that is assumed to be true because it is fundamental and not subject to experimentation or other scientific process.

Quote

 

There's that word "good" again.   Some people find happiness or fulfillment in very very bad things.   

One may need to turn every stone to find good philosophy but one might get dirty in the process.  

 

So it's not applicable to good or bad/evil.

Edited by dimreepr

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Strange said:

Of course astronomy is a science. In what way does it not count as science?

In every way...

It is what it is and it is the vector sum total of the understanding of every scientist and mathematician who ever added to it.  It is the aggregate of the understanding of every living person.  

It is quantified logic applied to the movement of lights in the sky AND everything that has been learned from it.  

 

An individual can approach the study of astronomy very scientifically but then one can approach the study of philosophy very scientifically as well.  This makes neither astronomy nor philosophy "science".   

Edited by cladking

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2 minutes ago, cladking said:

It is quantified logic applied to the movement of lights in the sky AND everything that has been learned from it.

I think you have mistaken astrology with astronomy, not the first time you've gotten confused in this thread.

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11 minutes ago, Strange said:

Why should we assume that a version you have invented has any basis in reality?

Eise quoted it and claimed it was the King James version. 

12 minutes ago, Strange said:

And, therefore, always true.

"Axioms" are not "true".   There are assumed to be true so the validity of all of science depends upon the accuracy and correctness of its axioms.  

 

14 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

So it's not applicable to good or bad/evil.

No.   Axioms are fundamental to everything derived from them.   

Just like beliefs they determine the direction of science and individuals.   

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1 minute ago, cladking said:

In every way...

It is what it is and it is the vector sum total of the understanding of every scientist and mathematician who ever added to it.  It is the aggregate of the understanding of every living person.  

It is quantified logic applied to the movement of lights in the sky AND everything that has been learned from it.  

The same (rather grandiose) statement can be made about botany, physics or medicine. 

Why do you think this means it is not science? It uses objective evidence, data, mathematical models, testable predictions, etc. It is a perfect example of a science. (And it is one of those rare examples of a science where non-specialists can still make significant contributions.)

You either have a very odd idea of what science is or a very odd idea of what astronomy is. 

 

1 minute ago, cladking said:

"Axioms" are not "true".   There are assumed to be true

OK. Not true but true. Got it.

 

3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I think you have mistaken astrology with astronomy, not the first time you've gotten confused in this thread.

That is entirely possible. Or maybe Cladking will tell us that astrology is a science 😯

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1 minute ago, cladking said:

No.   Axioms are fundamental to everything derived from them.   

Just like beliefs they determine the direction of science and individuals.   

That's just broken my irony meter, unless I'm mistaken, you've just accused scientists of being square... 😆

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5 hours ago, Strange said:

The same (rather grandiose) statement can be made about botany, physics or medicine. 

"Physics" is the result of axioms, methodology, and experiment.  While interpretations can still be wrong physics is always tied to reality by experiment.   

This simply isn't true for all branches of study and it's not as true for astronomy.  

5 hours ago, Strange said:

Why do you think this means it is not science? It uses objective evidence, data, mathematical models, testable predictions, etc. It is a perfect example of a science.

 

6 hours ago, cladking said:

"Astronomy" may  be the mother of science but is not strictly science herself.

Most of astronomy has far more to do with observation and the explanation of observation derived from experiments on earth rather than doing experiments with stars.   

It's not a matter of astronomy being "wrong" so much as it's a matter of a near void of experiment conducted by astronomers.   

5 hours ago, Strange said:

OK. Not true but true. Got it.

If you lose sight of axioms it's easy to lose sight of the meaning of experiment.   It's impossible to know the limitations of your knowledge.   

5 hours ago, Strange said:

Or maybe Cladking will tell us that astrology is a science 😯

It won't be today... I believe astrology is a confusion of a science.  

5 hours ago, dimreepr said:

That's just broken my irony meter, unless I'm mistaken, you've just accused scientists of being square.

No.   I'm merely saying that models and beliefs are just as dependent on axioms and definitions whether you believe that 2 + 2 = 4 or you believe a Creator made this so.  

Nobody escapes fundamental beliefs and most individuals vote the same "party" and attend the same church as their parents.   

 

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