• Skalidris
    78
    Are humans selfish?
    Are sciences objective? Is philosophy subjective?
    Does free will exist or is it an illusion?

    I believe a big part of philosophical research is making categories, so I wanted to see what people who are at least a bit interested in philosophy (therefore on this forum) would intuitively have in mind when they read these questions.

    Update:

    Another question that has the same common link with the first four is : "Are humans big in size?"
  • universeness
    2.9k
    They are all anthropocentric questions.
  • Skalidris
    78


    Aren't all philosophical topics anthropocentric?
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.3k
    They are all anthropocentric questions.universeness
    :up:
  • fdrake
    5.2k
    Each of the questions contains at least one largely uncharacterised big term, like "selfish", "objective", "subjective" , "free will" and "illusion". The questions also don't have explanatory information which spells out the stakes of the issue, and as written there is no attempt to explain the commonalities between the questions; why should anyone expect them to have commonalities? In what regard could the issues have commonalities?
  • universeness
    2.9k
    Aren't all philosophical topics anthropocentric?Skalidris

    In my opinion, yes, but you simply asked for opinions of what was common about the questions you posed in the OP. Anthropocentric was the first commonality between them that came to mind.
    I have read Carl Sagan's, list of the great demotions many times so anthropocentrism is something that should always warn the human race to remain humble as we stumble our way towards any kind of absolute truth about any aspect of the universe.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.3k

    I will go with @universeness: They are all anthropocentric questions.
    Yet, I can't see the prupose of this topic. It could just be part of a quiz of a philosophy or even psychology college class.
  • Skalidris
    78


    In the implicit meaning the questions give to these terms.



    Sorry, I didn't mean to play the teacher, and I'm not expecting an academic answer, I'm just trying to understand the intuition behind philosophical concepts.

    To be more clear, to me they all lead to the same problem once they're debated, even if the terms are clarified.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.3k
    I'm just trying to understand the intuition behind philosophical concepts.Skalidris
    Stiil, I can't see any considerable philosophical intuition or experience required to see what these questions have in common.
    But anyway, it's not important. My comment was rather a useless critique from my part. My bad. Sorry.
  • Mww
    3.4k
    I'm not expecting an academic answer.....Skalidris

    By stipulating “philosophical research” sufficient to answer the questions, isn’t an academic answer implied?

    to me they all lead to the same problem once they're debated....Skalidris

    What problem? Sans debate, the problem doesn’t arise?

    Those “a little bit interested” can offer opinion. Is that enough?
  • introbert
    80
    Individual.

    Selfishness is an individualistic trait, objectivity is against the individual perspective (hence Rands new revolutionary Objectivism), subjectivism is the individual perspective, free will is a question has a lot to do with individual agency
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Are humans selfish?
    Are sciences objective? Is philosophy subjective?
    Does free will exist or is it an illusion?
    Skalidris

    These questions seem to be looking for answers/certainty founded on some kind of metaphysical objectivity, which as far as I am aware is not possible. There are specialist communities in philosophy or science which would have available narratives or 'answers' to such questions for us to consider if we are capable of understanding the complexity of their theorised positions.

    From a personal perspective what these questions have in common is that their answers make no discernible difference to how I live my life.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Components of philosophy that are present:

    1. Ethics: (human) selfishness
    2. Epistemology: science, philosophy and their objectivity/subjectivity
    3. Metaphysics (ontology): free will, exists/illusory

    Components of philosophy that are missing:
    4. Logic
    5. Aesthetics

    Buddhism is agnostic (skepticism) about everything, preferring to remain uncommitted, no taking sides in a debate + Buddhism makes it a point to keep metaphysics at a bare minimum to prop up its ethics (karma, hadta but God, no comment).

    Eureka! What ties these 4 questions together is religion.

    My post is typical of knowledge without praxis.

    I sense a disturbance in the Force. :snicker:
  • Cuthbert
    999
    Are humans selfish?
    Are sciences objective? Is philosophy subjective?
    Does free will exist or is it an illusion?
    Skalidris

    They read like exam questions. Vague and general, to give candidates the challenge of clarifying and explaining.

    Do animals have rights?
    What is truth?
    Causes and co-incidences - what is the difference, if any?
    Is democracy important and, if so, why?

    And:

    Did you know that after your philosophy degree you will spend the rest of your life making powerpoint slides to explain why previously optimistic forecasts should be revised downwards? If so, how?
  • Skalidris
    78
    Components of philosophy that are missing:
    4. Logic
    Agent Smith

    Yes, how does it lack logic? What makes these questions illogical?

    By stipulating “philosophical research” sufficient to answer the questions, isn’t an academic answer implied?Mww

    Are all philosophers doing research in academia? I don't think so.

    Those “a little bit interested” can offer opinion. Is that enough?Mww

    Enough? What do you mean?

    These questions seem to be looking for answers/certainty founded on some kind of metaphysical objectivity, which as far as I am aware is not possibleTom Storm

    Yes. So what would you ask if you want to know more about the "selfish/selfless nature" of a human being?

    They read like exam questions. Vague and general, to give candidates the challenge of clarifying and explaining.Cuthbert

    They're more than vague, don't you think they would mislead the students?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Yes, how does it lack logic? What makes these questions illogical?Skalidris

    Well, a question specific to justification would've been nice. For example, what evidence do we have for ... ?
  • Cuthbert
    999
    ......don't you think they would mislead the studentsSkalidris

    If they are misled, then their answers will not be so good. The better they get at clarifying and explaining, the better their answers. I get one point for noting that the question is misleading and vague. Then I get more points for showing how and why it's misleading, what clearer questions are relevant and how to go about answering them. That's why it's easy to set exam questions but hard to evaluate the answers.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Yes. So what would you ask if you want to know more about the "selfish/selfless nature" of a human being?Skalidris

    I would be unlikely to be asking this kind of question in the first place. I don't find terms like selfish or selfless particularly useful.
  • Skalidris
    78


    What evidence do we have to demonstrate that humans are selfish? I still think the question emerges from an illogical reasoning in the first place.



    Yeah okay, maybe it's useful in the educational system as it is now...


    Post update

    What if the fifth question is : "Are humans big in size?"
    Still no obvious common problem?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    What evidence do we have to demonstrate that humans are selfish? I still think the question emerges from an illogical reasoning in the first place.Skalidris

    The answers to your questions can be opinions. No logic involved and hence to broach the topic of logic, a question that's specific to justification needs to be asked.
  • Cuthbert
    999
    "Are humans big in size?"Skalidris

    Yes. We know this because when we see humans from the top of a high tower we are amazed at how small they look. If humans were actually small then we would not be surprised that they look small. We don't view bees from a long way off and marvel at how small they appear, for example. Bees are already small and we know it.

    I wrote the last para a few days ago and now realise that there are many counter-examples. We all know the Mona Lisa is small. It's still surprising when you see how small it is.

    So I'm struggling with the question whether humans are big, in particular whether they are big in size. They are definitely big in other ways: they have had a big influence on my life and I suspect that if it were not for human beings then I might not exist at all.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    They have numerous things in common. So what?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Are humans big in size?Skalidris

    Physically, we're somewhere at the bottom; mentally, we top the list.
  • Cuthbert
    999
    mentally, we top the listAgent Smith

    Maybe so. But that makes it paradoxical that the planet would be in a better state for life if we'd left the decisions to the less intelligent creatures.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Maybe so. But that makes it paradoxical that the planet would be in a better state for life if we'd left the decisions to the less intelligent creatures.Cuthbert

    Aye, it is so! There's this awkward phase in life - adolescence it's called - everyone goes through. That be my best defense for intelligence.
  • Moliere
    2.3k
    You're going to have to spell out what you're thinking, because to me these just look like a handful of unrelated questions.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    You're going to have to spell out what you're thinking, because to me these just look like a handful of unrelated questions.Moliere

    A good observation mon ami!

    There's this Wikipedia article on randomness that claims that true randomness is, get this, impossible. There's always a pattern and our job as inquisitve apes is to find it and collect our dopamine reward. :snicker:
  • Skalidris
    78


    Wait...What? You're actually debating it? It's ironic, right?

    Physically, we're somewhere at the bottom; mentally, we top the list.Agent Smith

    Thank you! You directly put it on a scale because you know that "big/small" doesn't give much information. It's the same with the other questions, they implicitly drive people to debate it as if it was 2 separate concepts rather than a scale.

    A better way to ask the question would be "How tall is the average human?" or "How tall are humans compared to other species on earth?".

    But, for some reasons, when people ask these questions :
    Are humans selfish?
    Are sciences objective? Is philosophy subjective?
    Does free will exist or is it an illusion?

    They debate 2 positions instead of creating a scale. Even if we define what "selfish" means, having the answer "yes or no" isn't very informative. Aristotle made a separation of self-love (philautia) into people who love themselves and act morally and those who love themselves and act immorally. In that sense we're all "selfish", we're all focused on ourselves, our needs, but the difference is that some people's need include making others happy, and for other people, it does not as much, so that makes them more selfish. I don't think the question "are we focused on our own needs?" is very interesting, to me it's kind of obvious that we are. In the end we do what we do for a reward, which is the good feelings, whether it's triggered by making others feel good or not. But what's more interesting is to study how our needs include caring about others, and how it varies from people to people.

    I don't understand why philosophy is so binary. Why they like to take two opposite concepts and prove they both have problems instead of creating one in between... Like Rationalism vs. Empiricism for example.
  • Cuthbert
    999
    Wait...What? You're actually debating it? It's ironic, right?Skalidris

    Not ironic. Merely skittish. It was good enough for Plato.

    But still you allow that Simmias does not really exceed Socrates, as the words may seem to imply, because he is Simmias, but by reason of the size which he has; just as Simmias does not exceed Socrates because he is Simmias, any more than because Socrates is Socrates, but because he has smallness when compared with the greatness of Simmias?
    ....
    And if Phaedo exceeds him in size, this is not because Phaedo is Phaedo, but because Phaedo has greatness relatively to Simmias, who is comparatively smaller?
    .....
    And therefore Simmias is said to be great, and is also said to be small, because he is in a mean between them, exceeding the smallness of the one by his greatness, and allowing the greatness of the other to exceed his smallness. He added, laughing, I am speaking like a book, but I believe that what I am saying is true.
    ......
    I speak as I do because I want you to agree with me in thinking, not only that absolute greatness will never be great and also small, but that greatness in us or in the concrete will never admit the small or admit of being exceeded: instead of this, one of two things will happen, either the greater will fly or retire before the opposite, which is the less, or at the approach of the less has already ceased to exist; but will not, if allowing or admitting of smallness, be changed by that; even as I, having received and admitted smallness when compared with Simmias, remain just as I was, and am the same small person. And as the idea of greatness cannot condescend ever to be or become small, in like manner the smallness in us cannot be or become great; nor can any other opposite which remains the same ever be or become its own opposite, but either passes away or perishes in the change.
    — Plato, Phaedo 102b etc
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