• TheMadFool
    2.4k
    But when is it best to reason? And when does it get in the way?Moliere

    Never say never or always. It's a known fact that nothing is applicable for all cases - there usually is an exception. For instance I find reason inappropriate for morality. Proof? People call the good ''naive''. In other words it's foolish to be good in the world as it turns now. Strangely, it's reason that makes us see just that. Confusing!
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    On philosophy:

    Philosophy pushes the boundaries of sense. With new philosophy new concepts or ways of thinking are explored. If it were always bound by teleology then philosophy would almost just be the engineering of the mind, trying to make better inferences, clearer explications, or more certain truths.

    Simultaneously if philosophy were not bound to reason then it begins to look too much like other activities -- like writing poetry or prose, politics, proselytizing, self expression, or simply writing a journal. It loses what has been an enduring quality of philosophical writing -- appeals that, in principle, are evaluable on the basis that they are made rationally or for reason to consider.

    Or, in the case of medical philosophies, reason was being put to use in the service of said medical desires or needs.


    So I'm tempted to call philosophy proper the art of reasoning, where the teleological structure of reason is temporarily suspended and concepts are created out of the principles of reasoning itself. So we can follow an argument or make an argument or some such, just as a painter can paint a representation of a street or a person. It's still art to do so. But the suspension of goals or representation (for reason and painting, respectively) creates a kind of play with the principles themselves -- hence the art of reason, or the art of painting. There's even a play in just putting the principles to use, in setting up a picture just so, or coming up with a story or example that fits just right to some general principle or argument being made.

    but the key thing I'm trying to resolve here is the claim that reason is teleologically structured, philosophy is entirely useless (but valuable), and philosophy is inextricable from reason.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    So I'm tempted to call philosophy proper the art of reasoning, where the teleological structure of reason is temporarily suspended and concepts are created out of the principles of reasoning itself. So we can follow an argument or make an argument or some such, just as a painter can paint a representation of a street or a person. It's still art to do so. But the suspension of goals or representation (for reason and painting, respectively) creates a kind of play with the principles themselves -- hence the art of reason, or the art of painting. There's even a play in just putting the principles to use, in setting up a picture just so, or coming up with a story or example that fits just right to some general principle or argument being made.

    but the key thing I'm trying to resolve here is the claim that reason is teleologically structured, philosophy is entirely useless (but valuable), an


    Disinterest applies to art as well as it does to reason. The beauty in art does not depend on any pleasure referenced by the work. Beauty lies in the extrinsic relationship between form and matter in the work, which drive our intrinsic judgement of taste. Beauty lies in the play between form and matter, but this play of the senses is non conceptual. It only becomes conceptual because we can universalize (idealization) the particular thereby expanding our conception of what is beautiful.

    The formal principles (form) of action are either hypothetical or categorical imperatives, where a hypothetical imperative is instrumental in achieving a useful end, a categorical imperative formalizes the sense of duty which we intend/legislate as a reasonable principle (matter) of our action to serve as if ( Play) a universal law of reason. Kant's moral philosophy as in art also universalizes the particular. He based the motivation for our actions in our sense of duty ( as the product of the absolute freedom of our will which must be assumed for morality to exist) in which reason also must be disinterested in its moral pursuit.
  • mcdoodle
    995
    What art or skill are we using when we unpick assumptions or presuppositions? When we question, say, why a rule is a rule? I think it’s fair to say the outcome is the result of practical reasoning, but it’s hard to be clear what that involves. Sometimes an imaginative leap is required. An imaginative leap isn’t reasoning, exactly. It sometimes enables clearer reasoning. Oddly for me an imaginative leap in an argument feels like the same sort of thing as when I’ve been struggling over a song or story I’m trying to write then seem to envisage a solution. Suddenly the problem has a different shape, to which different parameters apply. Now I can reason / sing / fictionalise anew.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    I definitely feel like picking through a problem has a similar feel to struggling with some work of art. There is a kind of leap in coming to a novel solution, one that involves the imagination at work -- and also in working out the implications of said leap.

    I think trying to frame it in terms of how is better just because I agree that it is very hard to be clear on what is involved. But I think it's a little easier to say how -- like the elements and principles of visual art. They don't really specify what art is, they're just general guidelines for how to think about art in order to make art. And true mastery of an art often involves the intentional breaking of those guidelines. But that only comes with thousands of hours of practice.

    So maybe the conditions I listed are a bit too clinical -- as seen from the outside, based upon examples of practical reasoning, rather than ways of thinking through a practical problem.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    I think I would put it that disinterest can apply to art as it does to reason.

    While I think that Kant is closer to Hume than traditional readings tend to render him, I will say that he doesn't allow for many motivations inside of his account of practical reason. He also is primarily interested in practical reason in its moral sense, and I don't think that's quite right. Insofar as we are deliberating about action then I'd say that practical reason is being applied or appealed to. But a lot of our actions are not strictly moral, especially in a deontological sense. Plus it seems to me that we can be motivated by more than respect even within moral deliberation, and especially in ethical deliberation.

    Disinterest, as I see it, would apply in cases where advice is being given by some trusted person. So a priest, a counselor, a friend, a mentor, or something along those lines.

    But then we can also use reason to our own benefit. While there is something good to be said about not being caught up by certain passions, we are passionate beings. And reasoning about our own well-being is anything but disinterested, even in the specific Kantian sense.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    I know that it sounds outlandish -- but I think that there is something worthwhile in acting in developing practical reason.

    There is something important learned in thinking through a character or role -- you have to develop motivations which may not be your own, you have to think from the perspective of a total other while being able to relate to that other just enough to make it come to life, and you have to do more than just think through said relation -- you have to embody this other person, and in a sense -- if only temporarily and within the confines of an art -- become them. By playing tragic roles, comedic roles, and things in-between (even two dimensional roles, at times) you get a feel for the human being in practice without the total effects on your actual life.

    While there is more to consider in play acting than just these considerations (such as making an entertaining play, or standing in a way that you can be seen), there is something about others that comes to light in taking on them as if they were yourself, and not just in fantasy but in a way that it is at least believable in a play acting setting.

    I also don't want to overemphasize the art in terms of practical reason. We can get lost in fantasy. But such is also the case even when dealing with real problems in our life. I think acting just helps in being able to step outside yourself, just a little bit, and even come to understand yourself a little better as you make comparisons, distinctions, and relations to something that is not ourself.
  • Arne
    295
    It would seem that appeals to emotion are pertinent. If we feel nothing then how could we make a decision?Moliere

    I like that. To some degree (perhaps a significant degree) emotions do tell us what matters to us. And of course what matters to us contributes to deciding which issues get our attention.
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