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What is philosophy?


darktheorist
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Tis a simple question, that.

What really constitutes philosophy?

 

1.A culmination of all the man-generated BS ever

or

2.Reality simplified to fit human understanding?

 

It's both.

 

People try to understand the nature of existence but this understanding must be derived from and expressed in words. We try to distill nature and knowledge to express the reality of our existence but must use language which means something different to each listener and must use teachers and mentors whom we don't truly understand. It's a blind man leading those who would understand elephants and then trying to communicate their uncertain and perspectiveless findings.

 

The value in philosophy is what an individual can pick out of it and use to build himself and his own comprehension of reality.

 

Here's an ancient understanding of reality, I believe, that I just found this morning so will add it;

 

"This great name of yours is upon me, O self-begotten Perfect one, who is not outside me. I see you, O you who are visible to everyone. For who will be able to comprehend you in another tongue? Now that I have known you, I have mixed myself with the immutable. I have armed myself with an armor of light; I have become light! For the Mother was at that place because of the splendid beauty of grace. Therefore, I have stretched out my hands while they were folded. I was shaped in the circle of the riches of the light which is in my bosom, which gives shape to the many begotten ones in the light into which no complaint reaches. I shall declare your glory truly, for I have comprehended you,"

 

Ancient "philosophy" took reality as being axiomatic so is distinct from any modern philosophy.

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Tis a simple question, that.

What really constitutes philosophy?

 

1.A culmination of all the man-generated BS ever

or

2.Reality simplified to fit human understanding?

 

Neither.

 

See here.

 

Hey, your the one who wants to get the Nobel prize for physics because you found a bad explanation of special relativity in the internet! Now I understand your question... :rolleyes: You find BS everywhere.

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Tis a simple question, that.

What really constitutes philosophy?

 

1.A culmination of all the man-generated BS ever

or

2.Reality simplified to fit human understanding?

Not much of a choice there. Any philosopher will find this a Hobson's choice.

 

However, I sense there's an element of truth in such a viewpoint. A lot of philosophy is far from established fact. Most of it seems controversial, sometimes even contradictory. But I suspect this has to do more with the difficulty of the subject matter rather than any failing on our part.

 

As for the accusation that we're trying to simplify (perhaps oversimplify) things to fit our limited intellectual capacity I think that's unfair since we can do little about our limitations and it's not that philosphers are unaware of this problem.

 

As a field that explores the very boundaries of our intellectual capacity philosophy is quite a good subject.

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A lot of philosophy is far from established fact.

I would say that it is generally worse than that. How can any philosophy be proven right or, as you put it, established as fact?

 

Philosophy is not science and so one has to ask how a philosophy (meaning a 'way of thinking') is tested and shown to be 'good' or 'bad'?

 

As far as I can tell, the best one can do is argue that some philosophical position has served us well so far and thus it is a 'good philosophy'.

 

As an example, I would say that the scientific method is a good philosophy as it has given the world so much.

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I would say that it is generally worse than that. How can any philosophy be proven right or, as you put it, established as fact?

 

Philosophy is not science and so one has to ask how a philosophy (meaning a 'way of thinking') is tested and shown to be 'good' or 'bad'?

 

As far as I can tell, the best one can do is argue that some philosophical position has served us well so far and thus it is a 'good philosophy'.

 

As an example, I would say that the scientific method is a good philosophy as it has given the world so much.

 

There's logical premise and morals aswell as delving into the existential.

 

Your argument is the same as laws, laws are made to keep the population under control, philosophy teaches why you should have morals and who and what you stand for. Otherwise we'd be barbarians with guns fighting over oil or land.........................

 

If we stand back and look at what its given us (other than medicinal science) its not actually great, not just the guns and bombs but the social aspects that are slowly creeping into society thanks to technological and scientific breakthroughs.

 

There's over half the worlds population in poverty, there's still a drug abuse and things like cancer which are highly likely caused by a range of scientific breakthroughs, the radioactive waste floating through entire continents, sea and air pollution thanks to Oil refinement and diesel tankers.

 

I wouldnt say there's a pot of gold waiting for us at the end of this rainbow.

 

But its OKAY aslong as we can explain why the earth rotates around the sun or how the universe began.

 

Philosophy has its place in science, otherwise were already pruned for extinction, like those meat eating carnivores before us.

 

And to the OP if you think philosophy is "really simplified to fit human understanding" i'd like to know who and what you've read. Philosophy isnt usually put in simple terms, unless you've read sophies world then fair enough.............

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If we stand back and look at what its given us (other than medicinal science) its not actually great, not just the guns and bombs but the social aspects that are slowly creeping into society thanks to technological and scientific breakthroughs.

Not all of science and engineering has, in your opinion, has be great for mankind. I expect no-one will argue much on that. But still, the scientific method as a philosophy as benefited mankind in the whole and will continue to do so. This is not just from a technological stance but also a cultural one.

 

There's over half the worlds population in poverty, there's still a drug abuse and things like cancer which are highly likely caused by a range of scientific breakthroughs, the radioactive waste floating through entire continents, sea and air pollution thanks to Oil refinement and diesel tankers.

Are you now trying to argue that the scientific method is a bad philosophy?

 

But none of this is really to do with the scientific method as a philosophy, but rather how we use scientific knowledge, engineering and technology. Which of course should be guided by some philosophy.

Edited by ajb
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There's over half the worlds population in poverty, there's still a drug abuse and things like cancer which are highly likely caused by a range of scientific breakthroughs, the radioactive waste floating through entire continents, sea and air pollution thanks to Oil refinement and diesel tankers.

 

Most of those problems are political or social. Science can help understand the causes and perhaps, suggest solutions, but they are not caused by and can't be stopped by science.

 

On the other hand, science has made enormous progress in treating and preventing cancer. And, there is little evidence that it has increased the incidence. Most is down to lifestyle choices: smoking, drinking, bad diet, etc. I suppose coal-fired power stations are fairly a significant contributor. But it is science that will find alternatives (nuclear, fusion, solar, wind, etc.)

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DevilSolution;

 

Thats exactly the point, you said philosophy isnt science so no one needs to use as you cant prove whether its good or bad. But i can prove science can be bad with philosophy.....

 

Since Ajb got a + vote for acknowledging your excellent point, I thought that you deserved a + vote for making your excellent point.

 

Strange;

 

 

Most of those problems are political or social. Science can help understand the causes and perhaps, suggest solutions, but they are not caused by and can't be stopped by science.

 

On the other hand, science has made enormous progress in treating and preventing cancer. And, there is little evidence that it has increased the incidence. Most is down to lifestyle choices: smoking, drinking, bad diet, etc. I suppose coal-fired power stations are fairly a significant contributor. But it is science that will find alternatives (nuclear, fusion, solar, wind, etc.)

 

This is all true. But one must also consider that few people expound upon the wisdom of science, so maybe philosophy has some purpose.

 

Gee

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Most of those problems are political or social. Science can help understand the causes and perhaps, suggest solutions, but they are not caused by and can't be stopped by science.

 

On the other hand, science has made enormous progress in treating and preventing cancer. And, there is little evidence that it has increased the incidence. Most is down to lifestyle choices: smoking, drinking, bad diet, etc. I suppose coal-fired power stations are fairly a significant contributor. But it is science that will find alternatives (nuclear, fusion, solar, wind, etc.)

I still think your missing the fundamental link between science and philosophy. Science is a means to an end...it answers the questions asked with no regard to future consequence, which in itself is a philosophical flaw.

 

What else little evidence do you need regarding cancer other than DNA mutations caused by radioactivity, reduced immune systems and the biochemical reactions in relation to pesticides, food addititives and the rest of synthetic chemicals we unwittingly digest? (To mention a few)

 

as i originally stated OTHER than medicinal science, theres as many if not more threats to humanity than humanity gains in terms of our morality or society as a whole....

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  • 1 month later...

Tis a simple question, that.

What really constitutes philosophy?

 

1.A culmination of all the man-generated BS ever

or

2.Reality simplified to fit human understanding?

Perhaps darktheorist was an unwitting philosopher, for asking, "What really constitutes philosophy?" and postulating two possibilities is a simple philosophy; the question is classic.

 

Philosophy is its own explanation, but more formal and casual philosophy has been written than anyone can read in a lifetime. Each of us learn or develop a philosophy, such as, Mom's boyfriend batters her. I'd want to be that powerful or I don't want to be like that. Some people study philosophy and its recondite corners like Immanuel Kant; most of us accumulate enough philosophy to survive. Some go for rational philosophies and some for spiritual. No matter what your taste, the menu has something for you.

Edited by EdEarl
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  • 1 month later...

Philosophy has mainly through out history, been a way of taking observations about reality and giving them conventional words and classifications for human contemplation and conversation. This became more important for the more advanced science age and its need for universal words to classify their findings. Words like space and time were dealt with philosophically to give them standing in science.

 

Philosophy in past history, played the major roll in formalizing advancement in thought and understanding. Around the turn of the 20th century philosophy started to lose its partnership with science and having a lesser and lesser roll in science, turned to predominantly contemplating on the subjectivity and objectivity of human thought.

 

If philosophers today try to advance thought beyond that what science can deal with, they are called metaphysical or against main stream. If a true philosopher today, who embraces science in every detail, but tries to advance the conversation, they are told to show the math or experiments.

 

Scientist today dictate how we are allowed to contemplate or converse about the reality we live in, true philosophy is delegated to the designation of religion.

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Philosophy has mainly through out history, been a way of taking observations about reality and giving them conventional words and classifications for human contemplation and conversation. This became more important for the more advanced science age and its need for universal words to classify their findings. Words like space and time were dealt with philosophically to give them standing in science.

 

Philosophy in past history, played the major roll in formalizing advancement in thought and understanding. Around the turn of the 20th century philosophy started to lose its partnership with science and having a lesser and lesser roll in science, turned to predominantly contemplating on the subjectivity and objectivity of human thought.

 

If philosophers today try to advance thought beyond that what science can deal with, they are called metaphysical or against main stream. If a true philosopher today, who embraces science in every detail, but tries to advance the conversation, they are told to show the math or experiments.

 

Scientist today dictate how we are allowed to contemplate or converse about the reality we live in, true philosophy is delegated to the designation of religion.

 

 

Whilst I agree with the majority of your post, I can’t agree that science has all the answers, yet (probably never), and given that, how can all philosophical thinking be null or religious in nature?

 

After all, without good questions how can science hope to aspire to answering “life the universe and everything”?

Edited by dimreepr
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If you google "philosophy of" several different endings show; my results included nursing, learning, science, and life. In our times, philosophy of life is IMO particularly important, because we face many problems in daily life and need to know how to live better.

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Whilst I agree with the majority of your post, I can’t agree that science has all the answers, yet (probably never), and given that, how can all philosophical thinking be null or religious in nature?

 

After all, without good questions how can science hope to aspire to answering “life the universe and everything”?

 

Having a hard time with the structure of your question, but I'll try. First part, is to me. Second part must be a statement, for I never said science has all the answers. Third section is a question, that I partially touched on in my post, on how scientist dictate to philosophers.

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  • 2 months later...

Very generally and loosely philosophy is the study of 'knowledge'. It helps you formulate questions, form logical arguments and give direction to your intellectual pursuits.

I agree with ajb this is what the dictionraly would define it as "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

  • a particular system of philosophical thought."
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