• Bartricks
    3k
    Yes, I think so.

    I mean, what does 'Western' philosophy mean? Does it mean philosophy 'as practiced' in the west? But that's just 'philosophy'. There's nothing 'western' about it. It is just the practice of using reasoned argument to find out about reality. So it can't mean that, as the word 'Western' is doing no work.

    Does it denote a worldview that has been arrived at by Western philosophers? Well, there isn't one, as anyone who has read the canon knows. The big name philosophers who fell out of vaginas located in western countries do not agree in their conclusions about the nature of reality. So anyone using the term in that way is simply evincing ignorance, surely?

    Does it denote the entire collection of worldviews that have been held by philosophers who fell out of vaginas in western countries? Well, in that case it is not a helpful term at all, given that those worldviews are very different and the only thing they all have in common is that those who arrived at them did so by using philosophy.

    Or does it - and I think this is increasingly the case - function to express contempt at the very exercise of using reason to find out about the world? There are some who find reasoned argument oppressive, because reason only permits there to be one true view, and thus if one undertakes to use reasoned argument to find out about the world, one is almost certain to discover that many of one's preexisting views about the world are false. Practitioners of philosophy - proper philosophy - are therefore imperialist oppressors, who are trying to colonize others at a conceptual level with their western reason. The 'west' has previously practiced physical colonization, and all 'western' philosophy represents is the attempt to extend the colonization to the realm of ideas.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    The big name philosophers who fell out of vaginas located in western countries do not agree in their conclusions about the nature of reality.Bartricks

    There are some who find reasoned argument oppressive, because reason only permits there to be one true viewBartricks

    Right so here we go again.

    You give weight to the thoughts of big name philosophers on account on them being good reasoners. For the same reason you give weight to expertise in the field as it is indicative of good reasoning. At the same time you must agree that most of them are wrong since there is only one true view (laughably, you probably think yours qualifies here).

    Again, consistency is not your forte is it.

    Unless maybe reasoned argument permits any number of views depending on the starting premises? That’s how reasoning works in case you didn’t know. It applies rules to premises. And the premises themselves can be different leading to different views. So no, reason doesn’t lead to the one true view, as there will always be starting premises that can’t be reasoned for if you dig back long enough.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    Tedious. Stop focusing on me and address the op.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    I disagreed with a claim in the OP. As usual, people have to point out to you when they are against your view and where because you can’t seem to understand objections.

    Unless maybe reasoned argument permits any number of views depending on the starting premises? That’s how reasoning works in case you didn’t know. It applies rules to premises. And the premises themselves can be different leading to different views. So no, reason doesn’t lead to the one true view, as there will always be starting premises that can’t be reasoned for if you dig back long enough.khaled
  • Bartricks
    3k
    No, you are a derailer who prefers to address me than anything in the OP. So, try again without- without - expressing your view about me. See if you can
  • khaled
    2.7k
    ok.

    maybe reasoned argument permits any number of views depending on the starting premises? And the premises themselves can be different leading to different views. So no, reason doesn’t lead to the one true view, as there will always be starting premises that can’t be reasoned for if you dig back long enough.khaled

    No mention of you anywhere (except here, hope you don’t mind, oh and there)
  • Possibility
    2.1k
    I mean, what does 'Western' philosophy mean? Does it mean philosophy 'as practiced' in the west? But that's just 'philosophy'. There's nothing 'western' about it. It is just the practice of using reasoned argument to find out about reality. So it can't mean that, as the word 'Western' is doing no work.

    Does it denote a worldview that has been arrived at by Western philosophers? Well, there isn't one, as anyone who has read the canon knows. The big name philosophers who fell out of vaginas located in western countries do not agree in their conclusions about the nature of reality. So anyone using the term in that way is simply evincing ignorance, surely?

    Does it denote the entire collection of worldviews that have been held by philosophers who fell out of vaginas in western countries? Well, in that case it is not a helpful term at all, given that those worldviews are very different and the only thing they all have in common is that those who arrived at them did so by using philosophy.

    Or does it - and I think this is increasingly the case - function to express contempt at the very exercise of using reason to find out about the world? There are some who find reasoned argument oppressive, because reason only permits there to be one true view, and thus if one undertakes to use reasoned argument to find out about the world, one is almost certain to discover that many of one's preexisting views about the world are false. Practitioners of philosophy - proper philosophy - are therefore imperialist oppressors, who are trying to colonize others at a conceptual level with their western reason. The 'west' has previously practiced physical colonization, and all 'western' philosophy represents is the attempt to extend the colonization to the realm of ideas.
    Bartricks

    It’s a bit like saying “What does ‘patriarchal system’ mean? That’s just the system, there’s nothing patriarchal about it”. The word appears to do no work when you have no awareness external to it.

    If you think the only distinction of ‘Western philosophy’ is the use of reason, then it would seem you have little to no understanding of Eastern philosophy at all. Just opinion. Take a look at “Specific Features of Chinese Logic: Analogies and the Problem of Structural Relations in Confucian and Mohist Discourses” by Jana S Rosker (2012). At the very least it should highlight that the logic underlying Eastern philosophies is far from lacking in reason, even if you don’t necessarily agree with the reasoning as such.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    Odd reply. I did not suggest that only in the west is reason employed or that what distinguishes western philosophy is its use of reason. The opposite. I said that philosophy itself is just the practice of using reason to find out what is true. Thus there is no such thing as eastern philosophy either. There's just philosophy.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    I recently read an article on moral particularism written by a philosopher who happens to be Chinese. Does that qualify as Eastern philosophy?
  • Bartricks
    3k
    Two views about the same subject matter must contradict each other otherwise they are not different views at all, but the same view differently expressed.

    If a view is true, it is not also false.

    Thus, if there are two or more theories about one and the same subject matter at least one of them is false.

    Thus, there is only one true theory of everything.
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    what does 'Western' philosophy mean?Bartricks

    As @Possibility pointed out, in the context of a global culture, it distinguishes the European philosophical tradition, commencing with Greek Philosophy, from Chinese, Indian, and other cultures who have corresponding activities that can be reasonably designated 'philosophy', even if that is not a word that is native to their cultures.
  • 180 Proof
    3.4k
    I mean, what does 'Western' philosophy mean? Does it mean philosophy 'as practiced' in the west? But that's just 'philosophy'. There's nothing 'western' about it.Bartricks
    What's 'western' about it is, as you say, that it's "philosophy as practiced in the west". Whatever you believe is "just philosophy" would, like (just) mathematics, be practiced in every civilization more or less the same way. However, philosophy, like other arts, is not used more or less the same way or for the same purposes in every civilization. E.g. dharma & dao are quite different concepts from ethos & logos which imply different applications, or practices, and values (unless, of course, you're historically, philologically & culturally ignorant of the contextual uses of either pair of terms); thus, disputes over comparative translations still persist.

    If a view is true, it is not also false.Bartricks
    So, if a photon is a wave, it is not also a particle? :roll:

    Thus, if there are two or more theories about one and the same subject matter at least one of them is false.
    Stop the presses – BREAKING NEWS:

    NEWTONIAN PHYSICS STOPS WORKING BECAUSE EINSTEINIAN PHYSICS WORKS TOO! :scream:
  • Possibility
    2.1k
    Philosophy is not just the practice of using reason to find out what is true, especially since it so rarely arrives at such a destination. There is plenty of philosophical practice that explores human experience beyond what might be considered ‘true’, to understand why the unknown motivates, intrigues or frightens us, among other things. The way I see it, Eastern traditions have tended to automatically include this aspect in their reasoning, while Western traditions generally seemed to exclude it. This is very generalised and has to do with an overall approach to ‘truth’, but I think it has influenced the way that language, logic, thinking and philosophical discussion has developed though history.

    Analogical inference is not only a method that has been drawn from particular or specific to particular or specific; it also represents a type of inference in which the premises are not necessarily connected to the final conclusion. The link between the premise and the conclusion belongs to the sphere of probability, which is why this kind of inference belongs to the category of “probability inferences”. In spite of these considerations, the ancient Chinese method of analogical thought met the basic requirements of scientific demonstration: it included the clarification of the origin of certain knowledge, the logical inevitability of the sources and the support of the demonstration (Cui & Wen 2001: 110). One of the most important characteristics of traditional Chinese analogism is that it was not exclusively limited upon the forms without considering their contents, something which could prove useful for advocating one’s own ideas, while refuting the viewpoints of others. It also provided a foundation for an awareness of ethical, political and social problems. Such analogism is an inference which is rooted in similarities between the known and unknown. It could therefore not only function as a model that could be applied to existing experience; in addition, it also included certain epistemological effects. Hence, this method could relatively easy also function as a model of truth. — Jana S Rosker

    So, while I think it’s important to recognise the difference from an historical perspective, I also think that labelling a philosophy as ‘Eastern’ or ‘Western’ is purely a relational term, useful for comparative philosophy - which, incidentally, is not a reductive practice that simply ‘uses reason to find out what is true’.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    If a view is true, it is not also false.Bartricks

    Truth and falsity are determined by checking if the conclusion follows from the premises. People don’t always agree on the premises.

    “True” is not an adjective that’s applied to views in vacuum.

    If you think it is then tell me, what’s the “true view” in regards to the best ice cream flavor?
  • ssu
    4k
    As Possibility pointed out, in the context of a global culture, it distinguishes the European philosophical tradition, commencing with Greek Philosophy, from Chinese, Indian, and other cultures who have corresponding activities that can be reasonably designated 'philosophy', even if that is not a word that is native to their cultures.Wayfarer
    I think this goes to the heart of the matter. It's the historical narrative that we use to define our tradition that makes us view things like this. And usually that accepted narrative, "The Greeks - the Renaissance thinkers - the Enlightenment philosophers - etc" simply doesn't recall the role of any other traditions. Anything outside that is seen as unimportant.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    What on earth are you on about?
    If a view is true, is it also false? Yes or no? Does it change if you go to China or India?
  • Bartricks
    3k
    B.S. Pure and simple.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    Er, what? OP. Read the OP.
  • Possibility
    2.1k
    B.S. Pure and simple.Bartricks

    A riveting argument, as usual.
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Read the OP.Bartricks

    Far simpler not bother with any of your contemptuous verbiage.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    oh, did you argue something? I didn't detect an argument. Just b.s.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    So you admit you did not read the op? Christ, are there any people here who actually think, have enough basic respect to read an op before shooting their half-witted thoughts all over the place, and know how to argue?
  • Manuel
    638
    These are just convenient designations. "Western" philosophy goes from Plato to Russell, but it does not include the Buddha or Lao Tzu, etc. etc.

    So no, it's not just "philosophy" it's a large portion of it.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    I still haven't heard an answer to my question - there's a prominent proponent of moral particularism who is Chinese. I am familiar with his work. Does his work qualify as Chinese philosophy?
    When I read philosophy articles, I typically don't notice who the author is. I read the content. I don't look or think about the author. I think I speak for most philosophers when I say that. After all, that's how the peer review system works. Articles are assessed on their own merits and authors have to avoid saying anything that would allow a reviewer to identify them. So articles stand alone and who wrote them is entirely irrelevant - which is good, no?

    So again, am I reading Chinese philosophy when I read Peter Tsu's workonmoral particularism, or is Chinese philosophy something else? If so, what?

    What about when I read St Augustine - am i doing African philosophy? If not, why not?
  • Bartricks
    3k
    You would agree with me, then, that it is rather silly to talk of western philosophy as if it is something. We should just talk of 'philosophy' and pay no heed to where the philosopher happened to be born.

    Whether someone is a philosopher depends on what they are doing, not on where they come from.

    If they're not arguing something, they're not philosophers. So, Descartes is. Lao Tzu isn't. Peter Tsu is. Buddha isn't. And so on.
  • Manuel
    638
    You would agree with me, then, that it is rather silly to talk of western philosophy as if it is something. We should just talk of 'philosophy' and pay no heed to where the philosopher happened to be born.Bartricks

    If you prefer that, sure. I personally like to think of philosophy in a broad manner. This makes me include novelists and musicians as providing provocative philosophical material, yet they're not called philosophers.

    If they're not arguing something, they're not philosophers. So, Descartes is. Lao Tzu isn't.Bartricks

    I'm not sure I'd agree with that. The designation of "philosophy" can be misleading, I think.

    Lao Tzu is not arguing? What about early Wittgenstein? Those look more like statements rather than arguments.

    True, Descartes was a philosopher, but he was very much interested in math and physiology. Then again, Newton was a philosopher too.

    It's only by the mid 19th century that the distinction between scientists and philosophers became more apparent. Around the time Whewell coined the term "scientist", the distinction was not yet clear. Descartes, Hume or Kant could not have told you is they were a philosopher or a scientist.
  • khaled
    2.7k
    If a view is trueBartricks

    Views aren't true. It's not that simple. Statements are true in light of certain premises. In light of different premises they can be false.

    Again, tell me what the "true view" is regarding the best ice cream flavor. Why can't you simply produce one? You should be able to use reasoning alone to deduce the best ice cream flavor no?

    That or there is not one true view in regards to every subject matter.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    If they're not making an argument, then they're not philosophers. Easy.
    And no, musicians and poets and artists are not, qua those activities, philosophers. Don't be silly.
  • Manuel
    638


    That makes no sense. Everyone in the world is a philosopher then.

    I never said musicians and artists are philosophers, I said that they offer "provocative philosophical material". Quite different.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    176
    It's a useful dichotomy because the different traditions weren't in regular conversation with each other for thousands of years.

    Yes, Eastern and Western philosophy did have some crossovers. The idea of the transmigration of souls may have reached Greece from India (this is not totally clear), and the original intellect/world dualism of the Greeks is close enough to what has survived in Hindu thought (as opposed to subjective/objectives dualism), that we can suppose a link.

    That said, Hindu philosophers, and those further East, do not quote and continually refer back to Plato for centuries. Western Philosphers do. Indeed, the issues brought up by the pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle reoccur , mentioned by name, over and over throughout the development of Western thought. These references and conversations don't occured in Eastern thought. They had their own key ideas that recurred and spread throughout India and East Asia.

    The impact of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is also central to Western thought, while Buddhist thought (and through it Hindu) suffused Eastern Philosophy.

    It's probably more useful to talk of Western thought due to the recognized cannon and continual dialogue between current thinkers and old ones. "Western thought" doesn't overlap with current conceptions of the West, since it includes Muslim scholars who lived in Central Asia. It's all about the grounding in the same arguments, going back to Ancient Greece (further really, Plato's Theory of Forms shows up in Memphite Theology in Ancient Egypt centuries before he formalized it).

    Eastern Philosophy is much trickier to define. The common thread is influence going from India and out into East Asia. There was, of course, influence in the other direction, but not as strong. Indian thought remained more isolated from Chinese thought that Western and Eastern European thought. So it's less useful to think of Eastern Philosophy as its own tradition, but it certainly reflects a different set of traditions.

    The analogy I heard from a professor is that it is more useful to think of Eastern Philosophy as conferences at three hotels, one in India, one in China, and one smaller on in Japan. Attendees sometimes travel between the hotels and give speech's explaining new ideas they learned, but they are still different conferences. Western philosophy is more like one big conference. Aquinas and the scholastics read and comment directly in Maimonides and Avicenna at length, there isn't a separation.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    176
    It's also a useful dichotomy for examining the history of the philosophy of science, since the scientific method reached maturity almost entirely in the West.

    Another distinction I've heard is that Eastern Philosophy tends to be more practical, talking about how to live. "Practical" as in, it tells you how you should practice.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.