• FrancisRay
    400
    Are you familiar with philosophical movements like phenomenology, deconstruction, poststructuralism, postmodern hermeneutics, enactivism, New Materialism, Science studies, Cultural studies or neo-Pragmatism? Do you think what you wrote above is true of the many academics who study and teach within these approaches?Joshs

    I'm aware of all these 'ism's' and more and yes, what I wrote earlier appears to be true of most if not all of the academics who teach these subjects. I find it difficult to think of exceptions. Are you aware of any?

    It seems the Perennial philosophy is not considered relevant to academic philosophy, so nobody tries to falsify it and it is simply ignored. Then we end with a muddle of phenomenology, deconstruction, poststructuralism, postmodern hermeneutics, enactivism, New Materialism, Science studies, Cultural studies and neo-Pragmatism.

    This would be how folks like Dennett and Chalmers can get away with publishing books on consciousness that fail to mention the views of those who study it experimentally without being laughed out of their profession. It's the orthodox approach in their profession. , ,

    Clearly this approach does not enable those who take it to understand metaphysics or construct a fundamental theory, but presumably they feel this is an acceptable price to pay for avoiding the study of mysticism.

    Your list of 'isms' does not include the one I'm talking about, which perhaps supports my point.

    There would be no problem if someone could falsify the metaphysics of the Buddha and Lao Tzu, but as it is the situation seems surreal. .



    . .









    .
  • FrancisRay
    400
    As you know, there are many strands and styles of philosophy taught within academia. Some of them find a more comfortable home in academic departments outside of philosophy. Are you dissatisfied with all of these approaches or just a certain one that you feel has been allowed to dominate?Joshs

    I see the same approach being taken right across the academic world. It entails not studying the nondual philosophy of the mystics and then not being able to solve any philosophical problems or construct a fundamental theory.

    Philosophy then becomes almost useless and has difficulty defending its place in the university curriculum. Nobody benefits from this blinkered approach and I regard it as a betrayal of professional standards and public trust. . . .
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    I think the essence of metaphysics is that it is always about what is a little bit beyond what we think we know - hence the 'meta.' Some people just flat out deny there is anything there. Like Dennett. To me, Dennett's "proofs" always amount to little more than the confession that he, himself, is incapable of envisioning anything beyond the limits of his own current understanding. Which is sad for him, but doesn't really prove anything.
  • Joshs
    5.1k
    It seems the Perennial philosophy is not considered relevant to academic philosophy, so nobody tries to falsify it and it is simply ignored…This would be how folks like Dennett and Chalmers can get away with publishing books on consciousness that fail to mention the views of those who study it experimentally without being laughed out of their profession.FrancisRay

    So you’re saying academic philosophers need to deploy, or at least cite the results of, scientific experimental methods of study in order to validate or falsify the claims of Perrenial philosophy? What are your own views on the validity of Perrenialism?
  • FrancisRay
    400
    think the essence of metaphysics is that it is always about what is a little bit beyond what we think we know - hence the 'meta.' Some people just flat out deny there is anything there. Like Dennett. To me, Dennett's "proofs" always amount to little more than the confession that he, himself, is incapable of envisioning anything beyond the limits of his own current understanding. Which is sad for him, but doesn't really prove anything.Pantagruel

    I would agree to some extent, or in a certain sense, about metaphysics but we can know enough to know where the truth lies and this is all we need for a successful metaphysics. Logical analysis will never prove which global theory is true but it can establish that there is only one that works.

    Fully agree about Dennett. I don't know how he gets away with it. In management there is a well-known phenomenon called 'articulate incompetence' and it's very dangerous. .
  • Joshs
    5.1k


    As you know, there are many strands and styles of philosophy taught within academia. Some of them find a more comfortable home in academic departments outside of philosophy. Are you dissatisfied with all of these approaches or just a certain one that you feel has been allowed to dominate?
    — Joshs

    I see the same approach being taken right across the academic world. It entails not studying the nondual philosophy of the mystics and then not being able to solve any philosophical problems or construct a fundamental theory
    FrancisRay

    One of the most productive current offshoots of the linguistic turn in philosophy is enactivism, whose founding authors ( Francisco Varela and Even Thompson) advanced a non-dual philosophy melding cognitive science, phenomenology and the mindfulness traditions of the buddhists.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    So you’re saying academic philosophers need to deploy, or at least cite the results of, scientific experimental methods of study in order to validate or falsify the claims of Perrenial philosophy?Joshs

    I believe that the empirical methods of the natural sciences go a long way to proving the plausibility of this philosophy, when the data is interpreted in a certain way, and would cite entanglement and non-locality as immediately relevant, but this method does not allow the matter to be settled. In metaphysics, however, logical analysis allows us to produce a formal proof that all other philosophies and philosophical positions are logically absurd,

    This is not a proof of the truth of the only one that remains standing, but it proves that would be perverse to suppose it is not. The proof is simple and I'll sketch it out if you wish. It is, in effect, a proof that philosophy is still relevant and always will be.

    What are your own views on the validity of Perennialism?

    If you mean the nondual doctrine of the Perennial philosophy, as found in advaita Vedanta, Middle Way Buddhism and Lao Tzu's Taoism then I'd happily and confidently bet my life on its truth.and on the inability of scientists and philosophers to falsify it. I wouldn't even consider it a hostage to fortune. .
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    In metaphysics, however, logical analysis allows us to produce a formal proof that all other philosophies and philosophical positions are logically absurd,FrancisRay

    Logical analysis is always subject to Garbage-In/Garbage-Out. Believing oneself to have proven all other philosophies are absurd, is liable to be an epistemic trap which impedes one's ability to learn from others. That is an unfortunate state to be in.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    One of the most productive current offshoots of the linguistic turn in philosophy is enactivism, whose founding authors ( Francisco Varela and Even Thompson) advanced a non-dual philosophy melding cognitive science, phenomenology and the mindfulness traditions of the buddhists.Joshs

    Good point. One could also cite Schrodinger, Bradley, Spencer Brown, Schopenhauer, Kastrup, Mohrhoff and many others. These are outliers, however, that do not reflect the mainstream. If any views are mainstream it is probably materialism and monotheism, for both of which the advaita doctrine is false and metaphysics is incomprehensible . .

    Do Varela and Thompson say much about metaphysics? I'm guessing they don't go this deep. Otherwise they would be promoting their theory as the final solution for all philosophical problems. But for this it would be necessary to go beyond cognitive science and mindfulness.

    Cab you recommend an article on their ideas? I know of Varella only from reading his thoughts on G S Brown and it was along time ago.

    . .

    .
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Logical analysis is always subject to Garbage-In/Garbage-Out. Believing oneself to have proven all other philosophies are absurd, is liable to be an epistemic trap which impedes one's ability to learn from others. That is an unfortunate state to be in.wonderer1

    I understand your view but can reassure you. There is no need to put any garbage in or take any out.

    It is surprisingly easy to prove that only one global theory survives analysis. Most philosophers have succeeded. It is well known that all metaphysical questions are undecidable and that the reason for this is the absurdity of all their extreme or dualistic answers. This is metaphysics 101. .

    What is less well known is that this leaves only one theory standing, and it is the nondual doctrine of mysticism or or what has come to be known as the Perennial philosophy. This translates into metaphysics as a neutral metaphysical position, and this is the only theory that cannot be reduced to absurdity by analysis. When we do not know this metaphysics is a road to nowhere. . .

    Almost all philosophers know about the absurdity of extreme metaphysical positions but a lack of acquaintance with the philosophical foundation of mysticism leaves them unable to see that there is a viable, ancient and popular alternative.that works and massively simplifies philosophy. . .

    .
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k


    I have been wanting to come back to this:

    Socrates: It is a method quite easy to indicate, but very far from easy to employ. It is indeed the instrument through which every discovery ever made in the sphere of the arts and sciences has been brought to light. Let me describe it for your consideration.

    Protarchus: Please do.

    Socrates: There is a gift of the gods---so at least it seems evident to me---which they let fall from their abode, and it was through Prometheus, or one like him, that it reached mankind, together with a fire exceeding bright. The men of old, who were better than ourselves and dwelt nearer the gods, passed on this gift in the form of a saying. All things, so it ran, that are ever said to be consist of a one and a many, and have in their nature a conjunction of limit and unlimitedness. This then being the ordering of things we ought, they said, whatever it be that we are dealing with, to assume a single form and search for it, for we shall find it there contained; then, if we have laid hold of that, we must go on from one form to look for two, if the case admits of there being , otherwise for three or some other number of forms. And we must do. And we must do the same again with each of the 'ones' thus reached, until we come to see not merely that the one that we started with is a one and an unlimited many, but also just how many it is. But we are not to apply the character of unlimitedness to our plurality until we have discerned the total number of forms the thing in question has intermediate between its one and its unlimited number. It is only then, when we have done that, that we may let each one of all these intermediate forms pass away into the unlimited and cease bothering about them. There then, that is how the gods, as I told you, have committed to us the task of inquiry, of learning, and of teaching one another, but your clever modern man, while making his one----or his many, as the case may be----more quickly or more slowly than is proper, when has got his one proceeds to his unlimited number straightaway, allowing the intermediates to escape him, whereas it is the recognition of those intermediates that makes all the difference between a philosophical and a contentious discussion.
    — Plato, Philebus, 16c, translated by R. Hackforth

    Can you say more about what this means?

    Maybe I can give a superficial reading as a foil. There seems to be an association of "unlimited" with the act in which we "cease bothering about them." This clause seems to almost indicate an endless process of investigation and inquiry: "But we are not to apply the character of unlimitedness to our plurality until we have discerned the total number of forms the thing in question has intermediate between its one and its unlimited number." What follows, then, is that the philosophical discussion is aimed at inquiry, perhaps endless, whereas the contentious discussion presumes that insufficient inquiry was sufficient, and then attempts to wield the product of that inquiry in various ways.

    Does that get at it in part? One thing I wish to better understand is the method itself, the moving back and forth between the one and the many.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    Socrates states what is at issue in the Philebus:

    So, Philebus, for his part, says that what is good for every creature is enjoyment, pleasure and delight and anything in harmony with that general category. Whereas I contend that not these but understanding, reasoning, memory and their kindred, right opinion and true thinking, are better and more desirable than pleasure for all of those who are able to acquire them, and that they are supremely beneficial to anyone who can attain them now or in the future.
    (11b-c, Horan's online translation)

    The first thing to be noted is that Philebus' claim that what is good for every creature is questionable if there is a creature who is capable of thought and for which to think is better than pleasure. What may be good for many may not be good for all. On the other hand, what may be good for the one capable of thought will not be good for the many if they are not capable.

    A bit later Socrates says:

    Take understanding, knowledge, reason and anything else I proposed at the outset and declared to be good when I asked what good is.
    (13e)

    The question "what is good?" can be answered in many ways. Two that are given here are - pleasure and thinking. What had not been determined at the outset, however, is what the good itself, that one thing, is. There may be many or even an unlimited number of things that are said to be good. Unless we are able to determine at the outset what the good itself is the argument will not come to an end.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    I will get back to you on that. I have to reactivate some of my cells devoted to that method.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k


    Sounds good, I will revisit this text as well in the next few days.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    However, with the diremption of philosophy and science since Bacon, and the ever-increasing hegemony of science (technology), has philosophy moved from being an "outlier" to a superfluous branch of study?Pantagruel

    Now that @Banno has introduced me to existentialcomics.com I should be able to avoid dialogue altogether! Here's one for your thread: "On the Usefulness of Philosophy."

    OnTheUsefulnessofPhilosophy.png
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    This forum certainly makes me feel as if philosophers maybe are redundant but not philosophy. We just need to do better at it.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    If you mean the nondual doctrine of the Perennial philosophy, as found in advaita Vedanta, Middle Way Buddhism and Lao Tzu's Taoism then I'd happily and confidently bet my life on its truth.and on the inability of scientists and philosophers to falsify it.FrancisRay
    i. What 'facts of the matter' do "the nondual doctrine of the Perennial Philosophy" explain?

    ii. What 'predictions' can be derived from this "Perennial" explanation which can be experimentally falsified?
  • FrancisRay
    400
    i. What 'facts of the matter' do "the nondual doctrine of the Perennial Philosophy" explain?

    ii. What 'predictions' can be derived from this "Perennial" explanation which can be experimentally falsified?
    180 Proof

    Hi 180 Proof

    I'm not here really, having taken a break, but I'll give an answer.

    The nondual doctrine translates into metaphysics as a neutral theory. In principle it explains all metaphysical problems and questions. For instance, it explains why metaphysical questions are undecidable. It explains ontology, epistemology, ethics, religion, consciousness, life. death, the universe and everything.

    It predicts that all metaphysical questions are undecidable and gives answers for all such questions. It predicts that no scientific data or philosophical argument will ever falsify or refute it, a prediction that is tested every day, albeit only in a negative way.

    As it denies the true existence of space-time and that reality has dimensions it seems to be relevant to non=locality, entanglement and other things, as Ulrich Mohrhoff explains in his book 'The World According to Quantum Mechanics'. It predicts the 'hard' problem of consciousness, which arises because it is impossible to disprove the 'advaita' explanation of consciousness. mind and matter. It predicts that science will never discover any substance or essence at the heart of matter/ It also explains (of course) the phenomenon known as 'mysticism'.

    I would say that if one understands a neutral theory one understands philosophy, and we don't then we don't. . .



    .

    . . . . . .



    .
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    You say "Perennial Philosophy" explains but you do not give (or summarize) the explanation. You also say it "predicts"; but in the absence of any intelligible explanation, your "predictions" are just unwarranted claims (i.e. just-so stories). I'd hoped you would have answered both of my questions; apparently, however, New Age talking points is all I'm going to get. :yawn:
  • FrancisRay
    400
    ↪FrancisRay
    You say "Perennial Philosophy" explains but you do not give (or summarize) the explanation. You also say it "predicts"; but in the absence of any intelligible explanation, your "predictions" are just unwarranted claims (i.e. just-so stories). I'd hoped you would have answered both of my questions; apparently, however, New Age talking points is all I'm going to get. :yawn:
    180 Proof

    What a strange reaction. Why bot ask some follow up questions? It's an interesting topic and we could explore it together.

    But if you cannot see that a solution for philosophical problems cannot be dismissed as /New Age' talking points', then maybe there would be no purpose, I would have expected some objections or questions, not just a blanket dismissal. I wonder why you asked the question.

    Do you not want to investigate further?

    .
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Why bother wasting my time in this way? I get it that you're not interested.- so why disturb my peace?
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    ... why disturb my peace?FrancisRay
    This is what thinkers, particularly philosophers, do, Francis: we disturb the peace (i.e. smug givens, unexamined assumptions, etc). You're right, though, I am "not interested" in unwarranted, or dogmaric, beliefs; I prefer to dialectically discuss speculative ideas. Go vegitate in an ashram if philosophizing disturbs you.
  • jkop
    616
    Is there reason to believe that philosophy has become irrelevant?

    Philosophy is similar to art regarding relevance and how it changes through history.

    The antique roman architect Vitruvius writes that the education of an architect takes a long time because it is necessary to know so many different things. Beside engineering and drawing he mentions music, medicine, economy, history, theory etc.

    In modern times when the production of many buildings is highly industrialised there are many architects who hardly know how to construct buildings, because they don't have to. Yet the quality of buildings and places remains a relevant subject, and the relevance of architecture is reinvented like the relevance of other forms of art.

    Painting, for example, was relevant when skilled artists could depict what is visible. After the invention of photography modern painters found less reason to depict what is visible. Instead they symbolised things that are not visible, such as psychological phenomena, abstract thought, spiritual experiences etc. Hence reinventing the relevance of painting.

    Likewise, as philosophers specialised into separate fields of science the remaining relevance of philosophy was saved by thinkers like Hume and Kant. Hume writing about psychology and Kant about an abstract thing in itself. Later as such philosophy seemed to collapse by its own weight philosophy is reinvented by logicians, ordinary language philosophers and so on.

    While scientists study and produce representations of the world philosophers study and sometimes clarify the representations.

    Who knows what's next?
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    I think that, given the ethical poverty of the physical sciences combined with the urgent need for social and ethical wisdom in their application, philosophy is probably due for a resurgence and revitalization, perhaps similar to the reinvention of painting that you mention.
  • LuckyR
    374


    Exactly. The more we CAN do (technologically speaking), the more we should ponder what we SHOULD do.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    I'm 90% through the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft. He has a singular perspective on the emptiness of the scientifically real. This excerpt is from "The Silver Key" which I just finished reading this morning.

    Well-meaning philosophers had taught him to look into the logical relations of things, and analyse the processes which shaped his thoughts and fancies. Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other. Custom had dinned into his ears a superstitious reverence for that which tangibly and physically exists, and had made him secretly ashamed to dwell in visions. Wise men told him his simple fancies were inane and childish, and he believed it because he could see that they might easily be so. What he failed to recall was that the deeds of reality are just as inane and childish, and even more absurd because their actors persist in fancying them full of meaning and purpose as the blind cosmos grinds aimlessly on from nothing to something and from something back to nothing again, neither heeding nor knowing the wishes or existence of the minds that flicker for a second now and then in the darkness.
    They had chained him down to things that are, and had then explained the workings of those things till mystery had gone out of the world. When he complained, and longed to escape into twilight realms where magic moulded all the little vivid fragments and prized associations of his mind into vistas of breathless expectancy and unquenchable delight, they turned him instead toward the new-found prodigies of science, bidding him find wonder in the atom’s vortex and mystery in the sky’s dimensions. And when he had failed to find these boons in things whose laws are known and measurable, they told him he lacked imagination, and was immature because he preferred dream-illusions to the illusions of our physical creation.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    This is what thinkers, particularly philosophers, do, Francis: we disturb the peace (i.e. smug givens, unexamined assumptions, etc). You're right, though, I am "not interested" in unwarranted, or dogmaric, beliefs; I prefer to dialectically discuss speculative ideas. Go vegitate in an ashram if philosophizing disturbs you.180 Proof

    Oh boy. I've come across some idiots before but you take the biscuit. Do you actually have an interest in philosophy? If I weren't here under a pseudonym I'd give a link to my publishes articles,or send you you my new book. As it is I'll leave you to your inevitable fate of never understanding philosophy.
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