• Daniel Banyai
    6
    Do you know what the purpose of philosophy is?

    The true purpose of philosophy is to maintain nature's course---to make sure humans don't depart too much from it. That's it. It doesn't teach anything. In fact, philosophy is impossible to teach. You're either a philosopher or you're not. And the things philosophy expresses are most difficult to share.
  • Banno
    12k
    Tell me, why should we maintain nature's course?
  • Daniel Banyai
    6
    What do you mean by "we"? Humans? Well, I'm not one to govern, but I will say this: bad things happen when you disregard nature.
  • Banno
    12k
    Ok, why ought you maintain nature's course?

    Click on the little return arrow that appears at the bottom of a post to let folk know you have replied to them.
  • Daniel Banyai
    6
    I just answered that question.
  • Banno
    12k
    This?
    bad things happen when you disregard nature.Daniel Banyai

    Then the purpose of philosophy is to avoid bad things happening?
  • Apollodorus
    531
    The true purpose of philosophy is to maintain nature's course---to make sure humans don't depart too much from it. That's it. It doesn't teach anything.Daniel Banyai

    Doesn't that amount to a teaching though? And how can you prove that this is the "true purpose" of philosophy? How do we know that there is no higher reality than nature that is trying to teach us about itself by means of philosophy?
  • Anand-Haqq
    62


    . What is the purpose of Philosophy?

    . Philosophy has no purpose ... And if it has ... It is to stupefy human ...

    . I want you to see this, with no preconceived idea; with clarity of mind; with emptiness of mind ...

    . Philosophy is playing with shadows, thoughts, speculation. And you can go on playing infinitely, ad infinitum, ad nauseam; there is no end to it.

    . One word creates another word, one theory creates another theory, and you can go on and on and on.

    . In five thousand years much philosophy has existed in the world, and to no purpose at all.

    . But there are people who have the philosophic attitude. And if you are one of them, please drop it; otherwise you and your energy will be lost in a desert.

    . Be simple, and by being simple ... by being ordinary ... so much ordinary ... effortless, you'll become extraordinary ...
  • James Riley
    765
    The brain is a muscle and philosophy is exercising. Some are better at it than others, some more dedicated than others, some more helpful to others, some start out with a better baseline to work with, some are handicapped, some go for endurance, some strength, some balance, some flexibility, or any combination thereof. Everybody has a muscle. So what? That doesn't make them an athlete. Everybody has a brain. So what? That doesn't make them a philosopher.

    You gotta work that SOB.

    X and Y exist, and the simple fact they don't matter, itself does not matter. So they proceed apace as if they did, and that is all that matters. Philosophy is the proceeding apace with the brain.
  • James Riley
    765
    Allow me to beat my analogy some more: The Philosophy Forum is a gym. We have some dumbbells in the corner and they can provide a workout in developing patience. But we also have a bunch of other free weights, machines, treadmills, punching bags, and even some showers to clean up in, and where some pervs might go to ogle. And the whole place can stink if we don't use towels and clean up after ourselves. Periodically, someone needs to come in and clean house. :razz:

    And some of us (me) should learn to stretch and pace ourselves or we'll pull a muscle.

    Oh, and if you hang out in conservative Q safe-space echo chambers of confirmation bias, compounding stupidity, then you are basically having your brain lay on the couch eating McDonalds all day. That is not only dangerous for you, but it's dangerous for everyone else. Get out there and engage in philosophy: not the easy weights you want to lift, but the hard ones that will grow your brain.
  • Manuel
    638


    What is it to you? That's really all that matters in the end.
  • 180 Proof
    3.4k
    Philosophy's sine qua non "purpose" I've found is both (meta-cognitively) hygenic & fitness-maintaining, that is, to unlearn self-immiserating, unwise (i.e. foolish, stupid ~ maladaptive) habits through, at minimum, (1) a regimen of daily reflective exercises (akin to yoga, tai-chi, krav maga ...) as well as (2) occasionally participating in dialectics (or seeking reflective equilibrium) with other contemplatives.
  • Amity
    1.5k


    Brilliant - I just edited a post in another thread to include this. 'Self-immiserating' - fabulous word :fire:
    Lots of interconnecting going on, huh ?
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/10817/how-do-we-understand-light-and-darkness-is-this-a-question-for-physics-or-impossible-metaphysics
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    Philosophy's sine qua non "purpose" I've found is both (meta-cognitively) hygenic & fitness-maintaining, that is, to unlearn self-immiserating, unwise (i.e. foolish, stupid ~ maladaptive) habits through, at minimum, (1) a regimen of daily reflective exercises (akin to yoga, tai-chi, krav maga ...) as well as (2) occasionally participating in dialectics (or seeking reflective equilibrium) with other contemplatives.180 Proof

    This is close to my own practice and to how philosophy was practiced in the Socratic schools, but, as I am sure you know, this does not describe the practice of philosophy for much of the history of western philosophy or what is most commonly taught in academia.

    I have not found a description of philosophy that is all inclusive of what it is that those who are called philosophers do. And so, there is no single answer to what the purpose of philosophy is that will be agreed on.
  • 180 Proof
    3.4k
    :up: Complementaries, not oppositions. Pluralistic landscapes – rather than a relativistic plane – where upon, by degrees, some alternative positions are both less coherent / consistent and yet more erroneous / fallacious than some others (and vice verse). The "demand for certainty" (i.e. context-free propositions) is the beginning of foolery, or as Dewey says, it's the philosophical fallacy.
  • Monitor
    199
    Everybody has a brain. So what? That doesn't make them a philosopher.James Riley

    But don't we all make philosophical decisions every day? Don't we decide what events "are" and then how best to live with them? We may be wrong, or do it poorly, or don't want the awareness of what we are doing but no one else is doing it for us. Don't we all have a current world view that we have accepted whether we worked at it or not?
  • James Riley
    765
    But don't we all make philosophical decisions every day? Don't we decide what events "are" and then how best to live with them? We may be wrong, or do it poorly, or don't want the awareness of what we are doing but no one else is doing it for us. Don't we all have a current world view that we have accepted whether we worked at it or not?Monitor

    Do we do all that for the love of it?
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    "The purpose of philosophy is to learn which side of the toast to butter." A.T.S.

    "The purpose of philosophy is to make man feel better a notch than before." = A.T. n T.

    "The purpose of philosophy is to find answers to the unanswerable questions."

    "The purpose of philosophy is to unify the consensus on what the purpose of philosophy is."

    "The purpose of philosophy is measured by the same valuation scale as the meaning of life."

    "The purpose of philosophy is to show man how to not disturb nature while we rape Mother Nature, pillage her goods and pilfer it on nonsense like producing The Kardishians or that show which shows four past-middle aged women post-multi-aesthetic corrective surgery sitting around and having a conversation, all speaking at the same time."

    "The purpose of philosophy is to counteract as an antidote the serious occupation of work."

    "The purpose of philosophy, in particular to the Internet, is to counter-act the potential overdosing on cute cat pictures."
  • Monitor
    199
    Do we do all that for the love of it?James Riley

    No. We do it because we can't do without it. Formal philosophical positions are just a light cast on what we accepted yesterday. And we will amend tomorrow. Even if we accepted ignorant positions we still accepted them to make our way. Everyone is in the driver's seat. If the car is rolling then they are going somewhere. To say they don't know where they are going is a judgement not a condition.
  • James Riley
    765
    No.Monitor

    You just answered the question. Philosophy is, literally, the love of wisdom. That's what distinguishes it from all the day to day thinking you reference.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    Philosophy is, literally, the love of wisdom.James Riley

    It is true, the meaning of the word philosophy when looking at it from an etymological point of view, is the love of wisdom.

    So would you say the purpose of philosophy is to satisfy the love one feels for wisdom? To seek out truth, and be able to use logic to defend it?

    I would argue, that that's pretty well it. Or very close to it, at any rate.
  • James Riley
    765
    So would you say the purpose of philosophy is to satisfy the love one feels for wisdom? To seek out truth, and be able to use logic to defend it?

    I would argue, that that's pretty well it. Or very close to it, at any rate.
    god must be atheist

    That sounds good to me. Everyone has a muscle. Everyone has a brain. But the love of their use, simply for the use (and not some practical goal) would separate them.
  • Monitor
    199
    Philosophy is, literally, the love of wisdom.James Riley

    And humans love to think they are wise. Whether they are or not.
  • James Riley
    765
    And humans love to think they are wise. Whether they are or not.Monitor

    True. And sometimes they are, and sometimes they are not.
  • Tom Storm
    971
    And sometimes they are, and sometimes they are not.James Riley

    Yep, and sometimes the ones who think they aren't, are and the ones who think they are, aren't.

    Loving wisdom doesn't mean you have any. I've never been quite sure how to interpret this 'love of wisdom'. It sounds passive and slightly lackluster. It seems to miss something of the vigor attached to challenging one's assumptions and beliefs and actually fighting to comprehend something new and alien.
  • James Riley
    765
    Loving wisdom doesn't mean you have any. I've never been quite sure how to interpret this 'love of wisdom'. It sounds passive and slightly lackluster. It seems to miss something of the vigor attached to challenging one's assumptions and beliefs and actually fighting to comprehend something new and alien.Tom Storm

    I guess love can be feigned. Maybe a better vetting process would help. Maybe trying to avoid triggering someone with comments about their thoughts. Maybe questions from sincere curiosity. Maybe trying to be helpful instead of superior. I've written about complaint and the strong/weak, wise/stupid dichotomy, and I always try to recognize the humanity of it, and the fact that we all are human and lack wisdom and strength. The best way to prove that, and engender humility, is to try and carry, understand, and feel. That's a hard pull for folks like me, especially when triggered.
  • Amity
    1.5k
    I've never been quite sure how to interpret this 'love of wisdom'. It sounds passive and slightly lackluster. It seems to miss something of the vigor attached to challenging one's assumptions and beliefs and actually fighting to comprehend something new and alien.Tom Storm

    Like-wise.
    However, the 'wisdom' part can be seen as a 'notion'; what is 'wisdom'.
    The 'love' part can be seen as the 'emotion', the spark which triggers the 'motion', the process you talk about. That earlier 'notion >emotion > motion' we talked of before.

    Wisdom: what is it to be 'wise' ? Well, you will find different types according to any espoused 'religion'.
    I tend to a practical, everyday type - the desire to lead a life combining knowledge and experience to gain insights into what might be the best action to take in certain circumstances.

    That depends on context and connections, not having an absolute ready-to-go answer.

    The Philosophy Forum is a gym...And some of us (me) should learn to stretch and pace ourselves or we'll pull a muscle.James Riley

    Yes. For me, strange as it may seem...coming here is a way to exercise my brain. It needs all the help it can get. It is also a way to increase tolerance levels, or not. To learn how to respond, or not.
    Spending time to think - read, question and respond carefully. That's about my limit. I can't 'do' the heavy stuff nor can I read like the junkie I once was...the physicality of it tires me out. Pacing is practically compulsory...

    I guess love can be feigned. Maybe a 1. better vetting process would help. Maybe trying to 2. avoid triggering someone with comments about their thoughts. Maybe 3. questions from sincere curiosity. 4. Maybe trying to be helpful instead of superiorJames Riley

    'Love of wisdom' - might be taken as 'love of philosophy', doing philosophy, writing philosophical theories, acting philosophical...
    Are they the same thing ?
    We can all self-deceive as to the quantity and quality of our professed love and wisdom.

    Yep, and sometimes the ones who think they aren't, are and the ones who think they are, aren't.Tom Storm

    @James Riley - see my numbering and underlines in your quote above.
    I agree with 3. and 4.
    I question 1. and 2.
    1. What kind of vetting ? How would it help ?
    2. Comments about thoughts are part and parcel of being challenged, no ? They are a stimulus which can be responded to. Both in positive and negative ways. Part of the learning process.

    So, the purpose of philosophy. If it is a love of a certain way of life, what does that mean?
    For me, it is a cyclical, ongoing process.
    Observing, reflecting, assessing, evaluating, decision-making, acting.
    Appreciating in awareness. But then just getting on with it all...to the best of my ability.

    And I explore - a lot - perhaps too much :nerd:
    I found this:
    http://blog.cambridgecoaching.com/blog/bid/315728/Philosophy-Tutor-What-is-the-love-of-wisdom
  • James Riley
    765
    1. What kind of vetting ? How would it help ?Amity

    I did not number them as you did. In my opinion, doing so makes them seem exclusive as opposed to complementary.

    I consider your 3 to be explanatory of your 1.

    Comments about thoughts are part and parcel of being challenged, no ? They are a stimulus which can be responded to. Both in positive and negative ways. Part of the learning process.Amity

    Again, your 2 is explanatory of your 1.

    If my intellectual curiosity is sincere, then I will not ask you a question in such a way as to get the answer I want. The vetting I suggest would be questioning intended to elicit a reasoned response. I can't speak for others, but if you say to me: "You are weak and stupid. How can you arrive at that conclusion?" The answer you get, whether reasoned or not, will be more likely to have a similar impedance to reason. In my experience, the love of wisdom is eventually lost to a pissing match.

    I was once taught that using logic as a weapon is itself a fallacy. Having seen teachers help students makes fools of themselves in front of a class did indeed reveal the character of the student in his response. But it was usually just a witness to human nature and nothing new. Anyone can piss someone off. If that is a teacher's lesson, say in psychology or whatnot, it need not be done at the expense of the love of wisdom.
  • Amity
    1.5k
    I did not number them as you did. In my opinion, doing so makes them seem exclusive as opposed to complementary.James Riley

    Yes. Apologies for that. It was for ease of reference. It turns out that it didn't make things easier at all.

    Thanks for clarification of what you meant by 'a better vetting process'. It is not the moderation of participants as I thought it might be.

    If my intellectual curiosity is sincere, then I will not ask you a question in such a way as to get the answer I want. The vetting I suggest would be questioning intended to elicit a reasoned responseJames Riley

    OK. If the intention of a questioner is simply to find agreement there is doubt about the whole point of the enterprise. However, that isn't necessarily wrong or insincere, is it ?

    Questions are not always easy to form. Even well thought out questions with a view to reasoned discussion can lead down surprising avenues to explore, including others' reactions.

    We aren't ideal, we have to deal with the unideal. And we ask unideal questions for all kinds of reasons.

    Having seen teachers help students makes fools of themselves in front of a class did indeed reveal the character of the student in his response. But it was usually just a witness to human nature and nothing new. Anyone can piss someone off.James Riley

    Compared to the classroom experience, the 'new' part of learning in TPF environment is perhaps less about people showing or witnessing character but more about processing our own thoughts, feelings and attitudes.

    Reason tends to fly out the window when we feel under attack. Initial sensations of dislike or discomfort can limit our ability to stand back and think 'straight'.
    I don't mind being 'pissed off' or people being 'pissed off' with me.
    It shows passion and action.
    It is better than complete apathy or indifference.
    A little bit of aggravation is good for the soul. Now is that 'wise' or not ? :chin:
    Does that last question meet the standard of a 'sincere intellectual curiosity'?
    Does that one...?
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    I've never been quite sure how to interpret this 'love of wisdom'.Tom Storm

    Plato's Symposium is about eros or desire. Socrates talks about the desire for wisdom, a passionate pursuit for something you do not possess.
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.