• Amity
    4.7k
    I couldn't figure out what its goal is.Lionino

    Perhaps there is no specific goal - more of an open-ended exploration of what posters take from the questions posed? It could lead nowhere or everywhere. Or tied up in side-tracks.
    How would you answer the first and final questions?
    What do you want and expect from philosophy?Fooloso4
    Has the philosopher outgrown the need for stories?Fooloso4
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    I can't expect anything from philosophy as an activity. Likewise I can't expect anything from tennis as an activity, I can only expect from myself to score or not. At the very least, I can expect from the activity that I get better at it; so it is the same for philosophy, to get better at thinking. But it is not for the sake of itself, one could argue that tennis skills can translate to other skills; so getting better at thinking surely translate to many other skills. Philosophy graduates often go to work at fields that don't involve any academic philosophy.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    I conclude that the dialectic is radically open-ended, that there is no final endpoint of knowledge or understanding.Janus

    Yes, I agree.

    That doesn't mean that our knowledge and understanding cannot improve as we go along.Janus

    I don't think it is a one-way street though.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    Many people have plumbed the depths of this question and determined that there is no such thing as "goodness" and thus that they should do whatever pleases them and is to their advantage.

    That is why, in the Phaedo:
    Count Timothy von Icarus
    Socrates turns from the problem of the limits of sound arguments to the soundness of those who make and judge arguments.Fooloso4

    But I suppose this brings up Glaucon's question in the Republic, why should we even care about being good or just?Count Timothy von Icarus

    And yet, he does care. The answer to that question matters to him.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    Nice thread, but I couldn't figure out what its goal is.Lionino

    The question that opens the discussion:

    What do you want and expect from philosophy?Fooloso4

    asks what your goal might be, or, if philosophy is for you something that aims at a goal, and if so, can that goal be reached. Or if even through engagement the aim of the goal has changed.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    I can't expect anything from philosophy as an activity.Lionino

    But it seems you do. If you liken it to tennis then it is a game to be won or lost, depending on improvement of skills. The end goal is some kind of a victory. A final score or reckoning? Against what or who?
    to get better at thinking. But it is not for the sake of itself, one could argue that tennis skills can translate to other skills; so getting better at thinking surely translate to many other skills.Lionino

    There are different levels in both philosophy and tennis; amateurs and professionals with different goals and aspirations.

    In academia:
    Philosophers concentrate on identifying assumptions, constructing arguments and assessing their strength – often by conducting so-called 'thought experiments'. For example:

    What would you do if you were faced with a particular moral dilemma?
    If time travel were possible, could you undo the past?
    If your brain were transplanted into someone else's body, would the result be you or them?
    If you spoke a different language, would your thoughts be different?

    Philosophy requires - and develops - skills in reasoning, imagination and precise communication. Studying philosophy should enable you to assess your own ideas more rigorously, and to understand better why other people’s ideas may differ.
    What is Philosophy? - York University

    Philosophy graduates often go to work at fields that don't involve any academic philosophy.Lionino

    Yes, of course. And they bring their philosophical tool box with them, or not. Depending on their current goals, based on their values developed via critical thinking, introspection or simply living.
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    If you liken it to tennis then it is a game to be won or lostAmity

    I didn't liken it in this aspect. The activity of tennis is to play it and nothing else, it is up to you whether you play it well and obey the rules. Likewise, the activity of doing philosophy is up to the individual. I don't expect anything from an activity (something abstract), I only expect something out of myself when I perform the activity. Therefore I don't expect anything from philosophy but from myself only.

    When it comes to philosophy as an academic field, I can't expect much from it, as it is up to the departments of each university. I would just hope that the "philosophy" being done does not turn out to be politics dressing up as philosophy.
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    , I would just hope that the "philosophy" being done does not turn out to be politics dressing up as philosophy.Lionino

    Not sure how what you linked to doesn’t count as philosophy. I’m familiar with two of the authors mentioned, Karen Barad and Donna Haraway. Their work is rigorously philosophical.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    I didn't liken it in this aspect.Lionino

    I can only expect from myself to score or not.Lionino

    OK. So your 'scoring' is not about winning a philosophical argument against any other player. How then do you know how far you have upped your thinking game? How do you assess progress? Would you expect some coaching or guidance to help in learning or improving the necessary skills? Even recommendations for reading, watching or listening?

    Where do the rules come from and are they always to be followed?
    In tennis, for sure. In philosophy, there is more flexibility and questioning. What would be a first rule in philosophy?

    I note your hope as to the content of academic philosophy. Why is that a concern for you? And why did you place quotation marks around the word philosophy?

    What do you want and expect from philosophy?
    — Fooloso4

    asks what your goal might be, or, if philosophy is for you something that aims at a goal, and if so, can that goal be reached. Or if even through engagement the aim of the goal has changed.
    Fooloso4

    What has engagement with others meant for you and the way you think or live your life? Anything? Has it moved you or sparked interest in specific themes?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    Socrates turns from the problem of the limits of sound arguments to the soundness of those who make and judge arguments.

    I know what a "sound argument" is in classical logic, I'm unsure what a "sound person" is. I would assume it's something like "being ruled by the rational part of the soul?"

    But if the soundness of the person who judges arguments always only results in nescience and opinion, it's unclear to me what the benefit here is. Sound arguments are useful because they have clear terms, true premises, and valid conclusions, and thus tell us the truth of something. It seems that "sound people" in this case can never get to truth (or be sure that they have even if they do somehow attain to it), so the two are quite different.

    So, when Nietzsche comes along and claims that "the rule of reason," and dialectical are both simply means for Socrates to carry out his ressentiment against a heroic society in which his weakness and ugliness preclude him from gaining status and power (Twilight of the Idols, "The Problem of Socrates," etc.) what's the response?

    "Well Mr. Nietzsche, we both have opinions, and the truth about who is right cannot be discovered. Nonetheless, our mode of inquiry is superior."

    Superior in virtue of what? Certainly not superior in virtue of leading to a greater knowledge of what is truly good.


    And yet, he does care. The answer to that question matters to him

    Yes, he cares because he hopes Socrates can answer this question, that he can show why we should prefer to be just. But if all Socrates can offer is "edifying myths" that try to prompt him towards justice (or rather, Socrates' idea of justice, which is mere opinion) then why exactly should Glaucon bother with such myths? Socrates has patently defaulted on attempting to explain why justice is good for the just person and has instead begun spinning stories to try to get people to go along with his preferred opinions like a sophist. Where is the benefit in following Socrates' stories or of being just? Surely Homer and Nietzsche's stories can make us feel as good, if not better.
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    Not sure how what you linked to doesn’t count as philosophy.Joshs

    I didn't say it doesn't. Within the article you find philosophy that is evidently politically motivated. Replace it with any other valid example that comes to mind.
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    So your 'scoring' is not about winning a philosophical argument against any other player.Amity

    There is nothing in either of my posts that suggests I think philosophy is about scoring.

    Why is that a concern for you? And why did you place quotation marks around the word philosophy?Amity

    {Something pretending {to be something it is not}} is, more often than not, harmful — like most lies are.
    Because the philosophy being done in that case would not be philosophy but politics.
  • Amity
    4.7k

    Thanks for clarifying your position.

    The philosophy of the IEP article you linked to concerns feminist epistemology.

    'Feminist approaches to epistemology generally have their sources in one or more of the following traditions: feminist science studies, naturalistic epistemologies, cultural studies of science, Marxist feminism and related work in and about the social sciences, object relations theory and developmental psychology, epistemic virtue theory, postmodernism, hermeneutics, phenomenology, and pragmatism. Many feminist epistemological projects incorporate more than one of these traditions.'

    You consider this is not philosophy being done but politics? How so?
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    I didn't say it doesn't. Within the article you find philosophy that is evidently politically motivated. Replace it with any other valid example that comes to mindLionino

    What’s the difference between philosophically informed politics and politically informed philosophy? Can’t we trace all political frameworks to underlying philosophical presuppositions?
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    What do you want and expect from philosophy?Fooloso4

    Reflection, criticism, argument, and also storytelling.

    The best philosophy, in my opinion, changes the way you think as you read it. It untangles a thought I didn't even know I was holding onto or offers another viewpoint or way I would not have considered without someone else having taken the time to put it into philosophical form. Sometimes that's a little uncomfortable but I've always found being exposed to a new way to think about the world worth it.

    And so:

    Has the philosopher outgrown the need for stories?Fooloso4


    No, but it's also not something I think we need to "grow out" of, exactly. Philosophy is full of stories! :D How else would we convey ideas? In setting out a context or a counter-example, so even in a bare-bones dialectical sense of philosophy, we'd still have to have some kind of narrative apparatus: The Trolley starts at point A then gets to Point B (the lever) which will lead to Point C or D, depending on what the actor in the story does. A beginning, a Climax, and a Resolution -- narrative.
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    What’s the difference between philosophically informed politics and politically informed philosophy?Joshs

    Have you never felt that someone purpoted to be doing philosophy puts forth a position not because he thinks it is truthful but because it appeals to his political prejudices?
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    You consider this is not philosophy being done but politics?Amity

    Do you think the following is more philosophy or (post-modern) politics?

    The aim, then, of feminist epistemology is both the eradication of epistemology as a going concern with issues of truth, rationality, and knowledge and the undermining of gender categories.

    Nancy Tuana (2003) has developed Charles Mills’s concept of “epistemologies of ignorance” by looking at the ways in which ignorance, rather than knowledge, is constructed by studies of sexuality and public school sex education programs.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    I'm unsure what a "sound person" is. I would assume it's something like "being ruled by the rational part of the soul."Count Timothy von Icarus

    The sound person is more than the ruling part of his soul. Consider the education of the guardians in the Republic:

    So, what would their education consist of? Or is it hard to find anything better than what has been discovered through the passage of time? This, I presume, consists of physical training for the body, and music for the soul.
    (376e)


    But if the soundness of the person who judges arguments always only results in nescience and opinionCount Timothy von Icarus

    That is not the result, it is the condition from within which we judge.

    So, when Nietzsche comes along ... what's the response?Count Timothy von Icarus

    In line with what you said about Plato's dialogues:


    The dialogues aim at different audiences.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Nietzsche says:

    What serves the higher type of men as nourishment or delectation must almost be poison for a very different and inferior type…. There are books that have opposite values for soul and health, depending on whether the lower soul, the lower vitality, or the higher and more vigorous ones turn to them; in the former case, these books are dangerous and lead to crumbling and disintegration; in the latter, [they are] heralds’ cries that call the bravest to their courage.
    (Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 30)

    As he says in the Forward to Twilight of the Idols, he is sounding out Idols with a hammer. He cheerfully smashes them, including Socrates the idol. But as Socrates advised his friends:

    [you] should pay little regard to Socrates

    Yes, he cares because he hopes Socrates can answer this questionCount Timothy von Icarus

    And why does he hope Socrates can answer this question? This concern with being just is something he brings to the discussion.

    But if all Socrates can offer is "edifying myths"Count Timothy von Icarus

    But that is not all he is doing. Aristotle says the rhetoric is the counterpart to dialectic. The sophists are not the only ones who attempt to persuade us, and it is quite evident that myths can be persuasive. In some causes they can be so persuasive that there are those who believe them to be the truth.
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    Have you never felt that someone purpoted to be doing philosophy puts forth a position not because he thinks it is truthful but because it appeals to his political prejudices?Lionino

    I’m a philosopher, and that makes me a bit biased. I tend to think that whatever area of thought one purports to be involved in, one is appealing to one’s philosophical prejudices. But I dont see that as a bad thing, given that for me truth comes down to nothing but a philosophical prejudice. What matters to me isnt whether an assertion accords with the way things ‘really, really are’, but what use we can make of it.
  • Amity
    4.7k


    https://iep.utm.edu/fem-epis/
    In general, this is a philosophical article. That is not to say there are no political elements. I am not sure how you reach the conclusions you do, that this is a pretence, or harmful lies. What harm is being done by considering and critiquing different perspectives and theories?

    I had to return to this lengthy and substantive article to find the context of your quotes. It is not a topic that particularly intrigues me so I find it difficult to untangle. There are 7 sections. The first quote comes from:

    2. Critiques of Rationality and Dualisms

    '[...] Susan Hekman’s (1990) work argues that dualisms of nature/culture, rational/irrational, subject/object, and masculine/feminine underwrite modernist epistemological projects and that feminist epistemology should aim to destabilize and deconstruct those dualisms. Hekman argues that such destablization can only take place if feminists refuse the dichotomous presuppositions of the modernist project, including the dichotomy of masculine/feminine and its role in identity ascription. The aim, then, of feminist epistemology is both the eradication of epistemology as a going concern with issues of truth, rationality, and knowledge and the undermining of gender categories.'

    This is only one philosophical argument amongst many and it comes with its critics. I am not in a position where I can comment fruitfully on either the philosophy or the politics of it.
    I will leave it there, thanks.
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    I said political prejudice, not philosophical prejudice.

    I am not sure how you reach the conclusions you do, that this is a pretence, or harmful lies.Amity

    That wasn't the conclusion. And you are free to replace that article with any example you can think of when people pursued philosophy for political motivations. There was no point, the link was for illustrative purposes.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    That is not the result, it is the condition from within which we judge.

    Right, but you seem to suggest that the "sound person" never gets outside this condition?

    But then it seems that if the "sound people" claim that they have found a "better" (more good) way of dealing with this situation they will have to claim to know something of goodness and what is better. If they're opinions are of equal merit with everyone else's then why would it be profitable to listen to them?


    But that is not all he is doing. Aristotle says the rhetoric is the counterpart to dialectic. The sophists are not the only ones who attempt to persuade us, and it is quite evident that myths can be persuasive. In some causes they can be so persuasive that there are those who believe them to be the truth.

    Ok, so suppose Socrates convinces Glaucon that the Good is such and such and that it is better to be just, but to be seen as unjust, rather than to be unjust but seen as just. His myth has successfully changed Glaucon's mind. This leaves the question: "why is it good for Glaucon to believe what Socrates' wants him to believe?" If Socrates is ignorant of the Good, why should it benefit Glaucon to be influenced by Socrates' myths?

    It's not clear to me that it does. If Socrates, in his ignorance, is wrong about the Good, then it seems he might simply be harming Glaucon by convincing him to follow Socrates into his particular brand of ignorance.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    The best philosophy, in my opinion, changes the way you think as you read itMoliere

    And, in my opinion, the best philosophy changes the way you read. For reading can be active form of thinking.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    political prejudice, not philosophical prejudice.

    I don't know how easy it is to separate these. Locke for instance is probably motivated in his rejection of innate ideas and the Cambridge Platonists by political concerns.

    Likewise, the idea that "x is social constructed," in turn means "x is arbitrary and could potentially take any other form we can imagine for it," seems to flow from a particular notion of freedom as indeterminate potency. Politics is always lurking here on the fringes.

    Plus, "philosophical bias," can be just as totalizing. Russell obviously had his greater "project" in mind when he made his arguments against causation. In some cases, his arguments look fairly polemical and spurious in retrospect, the "project" driving the analysis.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    And, in my opinion, the best philosophy changes the way you read. For reading can be active form of thinking.Fooloso4

    I agree with that too!

    Often I find myself in a kind of dialogue with the ideas, and sometimes the ideas are very confusing at first but then when it clicks the text changes -- Nietzsche reads like this, though I'm thinking that the aphoristic or poetic writers probably have an advantage here (or disadvantage, as preference may dictate).

    But that's still a real pleasure when a text teaches you a different way to read that also opens up the text to a deeper understanding.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    Right, but you seem to suggest that the "sound person" never gets outside this condition?Count Timothy von Icarus

    If you mean never attains transcendent knowledge then yes, that is what I am suggesting. But I won't insist upon it.

    But then it seems that if the "sound people" claim that they have found a "better" (more good) way of dealing with this situation they will have to claim to know something of goodness and what is better.Count Timothy von Icarus

    They may think that some way or ways of dealing with our ignorance are better than others, but they do not mistake this for knowledge of what they do not know.

    If they're opinions are of equal merit with everyone else's then why would it be profitable to listen to them?Count Timothy von Icarus

    I have not said and do not think that all opinions are of equal merit.

    If Socrates is ignorant of the Good, why should it benefit Glaucon to be influenced by Socrates' myths?Count Timothy von Icarus

    If you agree that not all opinions are of equal value then you must without knowing either accept one as not an opinion but the truth, or you must deliberate and discuss various opinions in order to decide which opinion seems to be best. In both cases we are starting from a position of ignorance, or do you think you do know?

    If Socrates, in his ignorance, is wrong about the Good, then it seems he might simply be harming Glaucon by convincing him to follow Socrates into his particular brand of ignorance.Count Timothy von Icarus

    What is his particular brand of ignorance? In what way do you think it might be harming Glaucon?
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    Locke for instance is probably motivated in his rejection of innate ideas and the Cambridge Platonists by political concerns.Count Timothy von Icarus

    First time hearing that.

    I don't know how easy it is to separate theseCount Timothy von Icarus

    Easy, in many cases. Someone's aversion to Buddhism or Berkeley may have to do with a materialist bias — no politics here. Now, developing an ethical theory for the explicit purpose of legitimising abortion or whatnot...
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    Often I find myself in a kind of dialogue with the ideas ...Moliere

    I often stress the idea of active reading, which is often met with blank stares.

    Nietzsche reads like thisMoliere

    Yup.

    But that's still a real pleasure when a text teaches you a different way to read that also opens up the text to a deeper understanding.Moliere

    It is also a pleasure when you go back years later and find all kinds of new things.
  • Benkei
    7.4k
    Good luck with that. Most philosophers use it as a crutch to maintain dumb ideas like: anti-natalism, "god exists" and "murdering babies is fine".
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    :smirk: Yes, (dogmatic) rationalizing is always easier than (reflective-dialectical-defeasible) reasoning ... especially for foolosophers.
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.