• laura ann
    20
    Lol I had never heard of the “rubber duck method” before so I just looked it up. You are correct, it’s exactly what I was (unknowingly) referring to.

    And you’re right, it can be effective!
  • john27
    677


    I haven't read any philosophical matter, but I'd think that theology is a good place to start.

    Looking at philosophy in a historical context, or reading in historical order also might not be a bad idea.
  • Banno
    17.9k
    I haven't read any philosophical matter, but I'd think that theology is a good place to start.john27

    Indeed - showing where theology is mistake is one, quite common, way to hone your critical skills.
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    Indeed - showing where theology is mistake is one, quite common, way to hone your critical skills.Banno
    :up:
  • Primperan
    65

    In three words: "Calvin and Hobbes". You can start with the story of the raccoon run over. True philosophy only has to do with a single problem: death. We are not able to face it. That is why there are so many philosophers. Since we don't know how to die, we don't know how to live either.
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    True philosophy only has to do with a single problem: death.Primperan

    This is certainly what popular culture often thinks philosophy is. One of the great platitudes you hear is all religion and all philosophy is simply humanity's inability to face death. I think this is exaggerated, I have met way too many people interested in philosophy who have no notion yet that they are going to die - mainly on account of them being in their 20's, and mostly oblivious to death, as young people so often are in the West.

    Death may be the 'Big Problem' in the end but much philosophy is simply trying to work out how to spend and understand your time. What is maths? What is art? What is beauty?
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    :death: :flower:
    True philosophy only has to do with a single problem: death.Primperan
    "Death" may be the poet's muse, but the "true" philosopher contemplates – reflectively engages with – the real. :fire:

    :up:
  • Primperan
    65
    Death may be the 'Big Problem' in the end but much philosophy is simply trying to work out how to spend and understand your time. What is maths? What is art? What is beauty?Tom Storm
    Entertainments. Mathematics will interest the mathematician. Art is an artist thing ... Those are just diplomatic ways of rejecting the only problem that haunts us all our lives: that we have to die.

    "Death" may be the poet's muse, but the "true" philosopher contemplates – reflectively engages with – the real. :fire:180 Proof
    The only real thing is that we have to die. For the one who dies, it is the same whether he lived 3, 30 or 300 years. Is the same. And we have to die.

    You are more children than Calvin. He imagines heroic worlds and characters. He is Captain Spiff and, also, Stupendousman. But he knows how to take advantage of his time. He amuses himself. Because you never know when death will come. Why do tedious homework when your end could come at any moment? The longest and most profound treatise on philosophy is less philosophical than the sentiment expressed in a simplest comic strip. You are lost. Go back to the principles. Forget Plato, Aristotle, or Kant. Read a "Calvin and Hobbes".
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    Entertainments. Mathematics will interest the mathematician. Art is an artist thing ... Those are just diplomatic ways of rejecting the only problem that haunts us all our lives: that we have to die.Primperan

    If you think like that no wonder death is on your mind. You sound like Woody Allen. I am not haunted by death and I have worked alongside palliative care and in suicide intervention for many years. I've found many dead people and watched many die. It interests me how few people ever give death a thought. Most people I've known (pessimistic philosophers exempted) don't seem to realise that they will die unless they become very sick or extremely unhappy.
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    The only real thing is that we have to die.Primperan
    An existential bias which ignores the ontological horizon. Only a truism, Primperan, not philosophy. Think it through, dig deeper, further than "Calvin & Hobbes".
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    Think it through, dig deeper, further than "Calvin & Hobbes".180 Proof

    I like that bumper sticker with calvin pissing on shit.
  • Primperan
    65
    An existential bias which ignores the ontological horizon. Only a truism, Primperan, not philosophy. Think it through, dig deeper, further than "Calvin & Hobbes".180 Proof

    The ontological horizon will exist for God (if It exists) or the world (whatever it is), since they are eternal. We only know one thing: that we have to die. There are many ways to entertain time, forget the fundamental or reject it. Does not matter. One day a loved one dies, disappears from the world, but not from you, and you remember what your destiny is. Then you can start building an ontology. Does not matter. You are going to die no matter how beautiful the palace of concepts you build is.

    In other words...
  • Agent Smith
    6.3k
    The best way to study philosophy? :chin:

    You'll havta trust your brain to make the right connections between the different strands of ideas/thoughts that philosophy is, in actuality, made up of. It's not something, in my experience, we have control over unless you're some kind of "mind monster" (you're perpetually in the driver's seat, the mind obeys your every command).
  • AgentTangarine
    166
    The true philosopher wants to know the truth. So the real philosophers are journalists and scientists. So every student in philosophy should study science, journalism, and the truths they have found first.
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    The true philosopher wants to know the truth. So the real philosophers are journalists and scientists. So every student in philosophy should study science, journalism, and the truths they have found first.AgentTangarine

    I guess you don’t consider the phenomenologists, Wittgenstein, Heidegger or Nietzsche to be true philosophers then.
  • Caldwell
    1k
    This is certainly what popular culture often thinks philosophy is. One of the great platitudes you hear is all religion and all philosophy is simply humanity's inability to face death. I think this is exaggerated,Tom Storm
    Yes, if not exaggerated, it's myopic. In fact, the vast majority of philosophical inquiry is about objective knowledge and ethics/morality. That should give us a clue that philosophers, certainly, are thinking of the going-concern notion of life. If anything, philosophy is too full of life. It "reeks" -- as a light-hearted reference to alive.
  • john27
    677
    In three words: "Calvin and Hobbes". You can start with the story of the raccoon run over. True philosophy only has to do with a single problem: death. We are not able to face it. That is why there are so many philosophers. Since we don't know how to die, we don't know how to live either.Primperan

    I don't deny that Calvin and Hobbes is brilliant, but...

    There's a lot more to life than death.
  • unenlightened
    6.8k
    Philosophy is like a snake pit; try not to fall in. If you have fallen in, don't expect much consensus about the best way out; even the snakes don't know.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.2k

    In my case, the best way was already offered in high school, in the course of Ancient Greek Language (not optional! :smile:) It is there where I "met" Socrates, this great philosopher. Yet, as much as I loved this course, it did not consist a step in my "philosophical period", since I was more interested in other things at the time! (I actually "discovered" and got involved in philosophy in college, where Philosophy was an optional course!).

    So, although this is not the case for the great majority of people, it is still a good starting point: Start from where philosophy has started (in the West): Ancient Greece. Read about and from as many ancient Greek philosophers, from pre-Socratic to Plato and Aristotle. You can find a lot of material in the Internet. Ponder on their arguments and views. Whatever doesn't match your taste or reason, just drop it and go to the next one. Make it "as light as possible". Stick to the things that make sense to you. For example, consider Heraclitus' "Everything flows" and "You cannot cross the same river twice". Why has he said that? What does that mean to you. Exercise your reasoning. You can discover a new huge world of interest! :smile:
  • Primperan
    65
    There's a lot more to life than death.john27
    Ok, buy I thought we were talking about philosophy and the best way to study it, right?
  • emancipate
    452
    The true philosopher wants to know the truth. So the real philosophers are journalists and scientists. So every student in philosophy should study science, journalism, and the truths they have found first.AgentTangarine

    The natural sciences begin from a position of eliminated subjectivity: Let us imagine there are no humans and conduct observations accordingly. Call this objectivity. A study of matter without experience is half-truth at best. If you want truth, science alone is not enough.
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    We only know one thing ..Primperan
    Nonsense. Besides, what "we know" in no way entails reality. For clarity's sake, at least, it's useful not to conflate epistemology and ontology.
  • fdrake
    5k
    ↪CheshireMy philosophy teacher just confuses me a lot, first he says something, but then he says another thing that contradicts the other and I just get tangled up.DesperateBeing

    Being tangled up is part of the fun, I don't think it's a sign you're 'doing it wrong' so to speak. If you're trying hard to pay attention to philosophical ideas being presented, you will notice inconsistencies and points of tension. Sometimes those inconsistencies and points of tension aren't in the ideas being presented, even, sometimes they're in how you think about things! I'd take feeling confused and tangled up in the ideas as an encouraging sign, really. : D

    One thing that can make the presentation of philosophy material a bit different from material in other classes is that there's a bunch of different ways that philosophy can be presented, and a lecture or class can switch between them sometimes.

    ( 1 ) Presenting a dispute or cluster of ideas together. Like if you're presenting what ethical theories are, and give examples of consequentialism, virtue ethics and deontology, you'll cover a lot of ground in the summary and there'll be loads of points of tension. Which isn't surprising, people argue 'internally' in these clusters of ideas all the time, like consequentialists arguing with other consequentialists. If this mode of presentation makes these idea clusters appear self contradictory, it might be intended to do so - since it's smearing a lot of things together that actually don't fit for the purposes of presentation without much technical detail.

    ( 2 ) Textual analysis of an idea - you're talking about particular ideas of particular thinkers with textual support. These are questions like: "What role did the wax argument play in Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy?" - particular thinker (Descartes), particular idea (how properties and bodies work together), particular text (Meditations on First Philosophy)

    ( 3 ) Presenting a dispute between two specific thinkers or ideas - this would be like you take a topic that two people disagree on, you summarise their positions (maybe with textual support) and what you think they disagree on, then you maybe get to provide a take on the dispute. Like consequentialism vs deontology or Mill vs Kant on ethics.

    What's the best way to learn philosophy?DesperateBeing

    To pass a class (based on philosophy A level in the UK) you'll need to be able to demonstrate that you understand ideas you're quizzed on. That might be with textual support, or as suggested by having canned responses you've made which are precise and cover the needed material. EG see this list of exam questions and its marking scheme.

    Question 1 there is:

    Define (a) acquaintance knowledge, (b) ability knowledge, and (c) propositional
    knowledge.

    With indicative answers:

    Indicative content:
    • Acquaintance knowledge: having acquaintance knowledge is…
    • …knowing / having knowledge of X (by experience of X)
    • …knowing / having knowledge of X (a place/thing/person) by experience of X (it/him/her)
    • … knowing of’
    • e.g. I know Jim well; I know York (like the back of my hand).
    • Ability knowledge: having ability knowledge is…
    • …knowing / having knowledge of how to perform/complete a task/action
    • …having the ability to perform/complete/carry out a task/action
    • … knowing ‘how’…
    • e.g. I know how to ride a bike; I know how to tie my shoelaces.
    • Propositional knowledge: having propositional knowledge is….
    • …knowing / having knowledge that some claim – a proposition – is true or false
    • …knowing / having knowledge that p (where p is a proposition)
    • …knowing / having knowledge that something is the case
    • …having knowledge that is expressed in the form of a true proposition/sentence/assertion.
    • …knowing / having knowledge of a fact/truth
    • …Knowing ‘that’…
    • e.g. I know that 2 + 2 = 4; I know that the sky is blue
    • (Students might give a definition of a proposition (eg a declarative sentence) but need not do
    so)
    • Do not credit knowing ‘about’ something, as this does not sufficiently distinguish propositional
    from acquaintance knowledge.

    Another thing you'll be assessed on is your essay writing ability. Which roughly comes down to - is your argument precisely written, how much redundant information does it provide, does it hold together as an argument and also (very importantly) can you ( 1 ) anticipate counterpoints to what you've written, ( 2 ) contextualise them precisely in what you've written and ( 3 ) respond well to them. The principle of charity is a helpful rule of thumb here - do your best to understand everyone, and steelman their arguments if you are able.

    For general advice about philosophy (as a hobby anyway): learning to enjoy the tangle you're in is necessary for enjoying long term study.

    Good luck!
  • Primperan
    65
    For clarity's sake, at least, it's useful not to conflate epistemology and ontology.180 Proof

    What absurd clarity! You must be the unique person who does not know that you have to die. Good luck with that.
  • AgentTangarine
    166
    The natural sciences begin from a position of eliminated subjectivity: Let us imagine there are no humans and conduct observations accordinglyemancipate

    If that is so, how will they be able in the first place to even think about conducting experiments? If you imagine there are no people you should imagine youself gone too, hence, no science about this objective world can be achieved.

    A study of matter without experience is half-truth at best. If you want truth, science alone is not enough.emancipate

    I think it's at best no truth at all. A truth cannot exist without experience, neither a half truth. Science and journalists can find lots of truth though, and a philosopher must absorb them before he can even start philosophizing about them.
  • emancipate
    452
    If that is so, how will they be able in the first place to even think about conducting experiments? If you imagine there are no people you should imagine youself gone too, hence, no science about this objective world can be achieved.AgentTangarine

    Yes indeed it is a thought experiment which is lacking. Scientists don't think "let us conduct experiments which take subjectivity into account". That's why it is so effective.

    I think it's at best no truth at all. A truth cannot exist without experience, neither a half truth. Science and journalists can find lots of truth though, and a philosopher must absorb them before he can even start philosophizing about them.AgentTangarine

    Empirical observation of physical phenomena has led to the formation of general principles about matter, technological advancements, and a general mastery of physical reality. Its domain is the physical. It oversteps its boundaries when it makes knowledge claims about consciousness, mind or experience.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    True philosophy only has to do with a single problem: death.Primperan
    You forgot one: love. Love and death. Those two.
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    That leap is ... either stupid or merely trollish. Have a good one.
  • Caldwell
    1k
    ↪Primperan
    That leap is ... either stupid or merely trollish. Have a good one.
    180 Proof
    Ssshh! He's not being a troll, just not talking in philosophical terms.

    What absurd clarity! You must be the unique person who does not know that you have to die. Good luck with that.Primperan
    Just to explain a little bit here. In common sense knowledge, we do know that everyone would die sooner or later. But we're not disputing common sense knowledge here, but the epistemological one -- which @180 Proof has been trying to get clarity of.
    If you try to read @fdrake's post above, you'd get a good sense of how you should tackle philosophical examinations and inquiry. Because under this context, "reality" has quite a different existence than the common sense definition.

    So, I guess the question becomes, why couldn't we just talk in common sense terms? Well, philosophical problems are philosophical in nature because there is another sense in which we'd like to know about the world. And if you think that this is not worth your time, there is, indeed, a school of thought that dwells only in common sense terms: one is the anti-realist empiricism. Phrase your posts like this and others can respond accordingly.
  • john27
    677


    Yeah. Which is why I don't necessarily think you should devote your time to understanding death, because it's a fairly short topic. Acceptance kind of removes the grandeur of it all: yeah were going to die, anyways...
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