• Jake
    88
    For the purposes of this thread, let's imagine that I walk around all day everyday with a hair trigger loaded gun in my mouth. You try to talk to me about the gun, but I roll my eyes at your hysteria, and keep changing the subject to a thousand other topics.

    Am I rational?

    Would you take any philosophy I write about seriously?
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    2.9k
    For the purposes of this thread, let's imagine that I walk around all day everyday with a hair trigger loaded gun in my mouth. You try to talk to me about the gun, but I roll my eyes at your hysteria, and keep changing the subject to a thousand other topics.

    Am I rational?

    Would you take any philosophy I write about seriously?
    Jake

    I'd "Red Flag" you as soon as I saw you and the law would deal with you after a 3 day mandatory firearm turn over.

    As a logical observation: how are you going to change the subject with the shaft of a pistol in your mouth? :shade:
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    Am I rational?Jake

    Yes and No. Yes because you enjoy the time before the trigger gets pulled. No because distracting yourself doesn't take the gun out of your mouth.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    84


    You are rational to keep the gun in your mounth, if the gun is superglued to your face, and to only way to remove it, is to cut off your head.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    First, very strange behavior that. And slippery too -- saliva running all over a nice gun, such a waste. "Happiness is a warm gun" somebody sang, 1968.

    We are not concerned about whether you pull the trigger or not, but where and when. Your demise may cause a highly inconvenient mess if you choose a location like the cafe in Bloomingdales as the site of your demise. Somebody will have to clean up the brains, bones, blood... probably at public expense. And if you elect your demise during the lunch rush, you'll spoil The People's enjoyment of the daily special.

    There are easier ways, are there not, to demonstrate Camus adage, “There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide." You could, for instance, just do a poll on the Philosophy Forum: "Should I kill myself today? Yes / No". The collective wisdom of your steamed colleagues can be relied upon, can they not?

    For the purposes of this thread, I might also point out that IF you are going to kill yourself, you could at least take several objectionable persons with you -- I have a little list of people, none of whom would be missed.

    The absurdity of your proposal suggests that you may not be rational. Some Thorazine would probably be helpful.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    For the purposes of this thread, let's imagine that I walk around all day everyday with a hair trigger loaded gun in my mouth. You try to talk to me about the gun, but I roll my eyes at your hysteria, and keep changing the subject to a thousand other topics.

    Am I rational?

    Would you take any philosophy I write about seriously?
    Jake

    But I don't know why you're behaving that way, and you won't tell me, so...? It's certainly peculiar and alarming behaviour. Possibly irrational. Probably irrational?

    How would you have the time to write about philosophy when you walk around all day, everyday, with a hair trigger loaded gun in your mouth? Or would you somehow manage to write about philosophy whilst walking around with a gun in your mouth, presumably keeping one hand occupied? But, even if you did, whether or not I took your writing seriously would depend on the writing.
  • Jake
    88
    Thank you for the responses, quite entertaining.

    As you surely guessed, there is a larger and more serious point here. My proposal is that collectively we are the person described in the opening post.

    1) The hair trigger gun aimed down all of our throats is nuclear weapons.

    2) We roll our eyes at a person's hysteria if they talk about those weapons more than a bit.

    3) If the subject comes up at all, we routinely change the focus to a thousand other topics. Watch, this thread will die in a week or two.

    This phenomena is near universal and exists at all levels of society, from the humblest crack addict to the most highly educated intellectual elites, including professional philosophers, supposed experts at reason.

    What is the point of philosophy if it can't even guide us to focus on the "gun in our mouth" which could destroy everything in just a few minutes?

    Is there any point to philosophy beyond casual nerd entertainment?

    Is professional academic philosophy basically just a scam?
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    2.9k
    Jake, with all due respect, I am surprised this thread has lasted the day that it has let alone an expectation for it to a topic to discuss for a week or two. When you start a thread you might expect a response but no thread will continue without attention and nurturing from the creator of the OP/Thread. You have had 6 responses and have not addressed one of the replies. You have the ability to direct the way in which this thread proceeds but it is up to you to put your energy into the responses.
  • Pattern-chaser
    208
    The hair trigger gun aimed down all of our throats is nuclear weapons.Jake

    There are many such guns. There's climate change, chemical and biological weapons (much worse than nuclear in terms of their effects on us and on our ecosystem), and we mustn't forget humanity, the worst and most threatening weapon around. ... On this planet, at least. Humans are a plague species.
  • Hanover
    3.9k
    Nuclear weapons aren't in some random guy's mouth awaiting detonation by the tapping of a hair trigger. That's an important distinction and probably why the hysteria surrounding the existence of nuclear weapons is more subdued than you might expect if they were being toted around in someone's mouth.

    But, should we say that anything and everything could happen on whim and we can't fully expect that day in and day out we'll be protected from nuclear disaster, we could also say the same of world peace and harmony. That is, why aren't we all walking around in jubilation knowing that just like it's possible that a hair trigger could blast smoeones' face off at any moment, world peace and harmony could also just sort of come about in the same way? I mean, if we're going to be irrational, let's at least be optimistically irrational.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    Is professional academic philosophy basically just a scam?Jake

    Is this what you were really interested in all along? Fine by me if it was.

    A word in defense of Philosophy, English Literature, et al: One of the essential functions in society is "reproducing society". Were there no philosophy departments--even as elitist rackets--the knowledge of philosophy would eventually disappear. The same goes for everything that goes on in education K through PhD: the tools and content of civilization, culture, and society have to be reproduced or they will eventually be lost.

    So it is around the world, a large number of people are engaged in maintaining and reproducing society.

    Look at what happened over a few hundred years of the collapsing Roman Empire: piece by piece chunks of social knowledge were lost. Of course, people made do without it. Life for the ordinary peasant didn't change very much (it was never great to begin with) but for the medieval elite, cultural resources were greatly reduced.

    Later on, in the Renaissance, a major effort was undertaken to recover as much classical knowledge and culture as could be recovered. Alas, only a fraction could be brought back. We have rebuilt complex knowledge and culture, but it will not last without continual maintenance.
  • Jake
    88
    Hi Crank,

    Is this what you were really interested in all along? Fine by me if it was.Bitter Crank

    Academic philosophers are just an extreme example of the phenomena, given that they have advanced training in the use of reason, and that seems to make little difference, they still show little interest in nuclear weapons. Seeing that has me questioning whether there's really any point to philosophy beyond entertainment.

    Were there no philosophy departments--even as elitist rackets--the knowledge of philosophy would eventually disappear.Bitter Crank

    Ok, seems reasonable, but so what? What good is philosophy if it doesn't guide us to focus on threats the scale of nuclear weapons?

    Look at what happened over a few hundred years of the collapsing Roman Empire: piece by piece chunks of social knowledge were lost.Bitter Crank

    It looks like we are scheduled to repeat that pattern. What's remarkable is how entirely casual we are about it. That's what I was trying to get at with the hypothetical in the opening post. I was attempting to make the large reality clearer by bringing it down to the personal level. Whether that succeeded is debatable, but that was the goal.

    I have a loaded gun in my mouth. And I'm bored by the situation.

    Words like "stupid" and "insane" don't really seem sufficient, and I'm at a loss for what words might describe this situation adequately.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    What is the point of philosophy if it can't even guide us to focus on the "gun in our mouth" which could destroy everything in just a few minutes?Jake

    It's not a one-way street, though, is it? Philosophy is nothing without people with an interest in philosophy. It would be unreasonable to expect philosophy to guide us to a solution to the threat of nuclear catastrophe in and of itself. That would be reification. You're blaming philosophy for a failure of humanity. It's not that the right philosophy isn't out there, it's that it's not at the forefront of most people's minds to even begin to find it.

    Is there any point to philosophy beyond casual nerd entertainment?Jake

    Yes, clearly. You only have to take a look back through our history to learn of the impact that philosophy has had.

    Is professional academic philosophy basically just a scam?Jake

    No, that's a silly question. It's no more a scam than any other academic subject. If you've been scammed by someone about philosophy - if someone has misrepresented it to you - then that's on them, and arguably on you also to some extent, not on philosophy itself. You do seem to have more than a few misconceptions about philosophy. Whence have you gotten these ideas into your head?
  • Jake
    88
    It would be unreasonable to expect philosophy to guide us to a solution to the threat of nuclear catastrophe in and of itself.Sapientia

    Ok, fair enough, but I didn't ask for a solution, just interest.

    The question is...

    1) If philosophy can't guide us even to having a serious sustained interest in the most imminent threat to modern civilization...

    2) If even the most highly educated professional philosophers don't display that level of interest...

    3) Is philosophy really just a parlor game?

    I'm not disputing the entertainment value of philosophy, that much value at least is proven by all the people engaging in such discussions. I'm asking if there is a value to philosophy beyond entertainment.

    I've asked whether academic philosophy is a scam because the many millions of dollars spent on it seems to imply that philosophy is a serious enterprise. If that's not true, if it's just a parlor game for over educated nerds, then a lot of taxpayers would seem to be getting ripped off.

    I'm getting these ideas through the processes of reason, and you have yet to show why an intellectual enterprise which can't sustain a focus on the most imminent threat to modern civilization should be taken seriously, other than as a form of entertainment.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    Ok, fair enough, but I didn't ask for a solution, just interest.Jake

    Interest from who? There are no doubt academics who are interested in the topic and have written about it.

    1) If philosophy can't guide us even to having a serious sustained interest in the most imminent threat to modern civilization...Jake

    Same reply as before.

    2) If even the most highly educated professional philosophers don't display that level of interest...Jake

    How do you know that they don't? Have you actually looked into it? How far have you looked into it? Which philosophers have you researched? I think it'd be unlikely that there are none which show any serious interest. Whether that's enough to meet the level of interest you're expecting is another matter.

    3) Is philosophy really just a parlor game?Jake

    Same reply as before.

    I'm not disputing the entertainment value of philosophy, that much value at least is proven by all the people engaging in such discussions. I'm asking if there is a value to philosophy beyond entertainment.Jake

    Same reply as before.

    I've asked whether academic philosophy is a scam because the many millions of dollars spent on it seems to imply that philosophy is a serious enterprise. If that's not true, if it's just a parlor game for over educated nerds, then a lot of taxpayers would seem to be getting ripped off.Jake

    Same reply as before.

    I'm getting these ideas through the processes of reason, and you have yet to show why an intellectual enterprise which can't sustain a focus on the most imminent threat to modern civilization should be taken seriously, other than as a form of entertainment.Jake

    But you haven't actually addressed what I said in my reply. Instead you've basically just repeated yourself. Please address what I've said, in the form of a question, comment, criticism, request for elaboration...
  • Jake
    88
    Interest from who? There are no doubt academics who are interested in the topic and have written about it.Sapientia

    Same post as before.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    Same reply as before. Am I to take this as an indication that you have no answer? I bet you haven't even looked into it. You just turned up here to be just another smart ass with some half-baked reason to dismiss philosophy. Bravo! I take my hat off to you, sir! Smart ass 1, philosophy 0.
  • unenlightened
    2.5k
    What is the point of philosophy if it can't even guide us to focus on the "gun in our mouth" which could destroy everything in just a few minutes?Jake

    Let's do some philosophy, and find out.

    Why do we have nuclear weapons, or any weapons? We call it defence, and it is aimed at security. We feel insecure and we want to be secure. You want to be secure too, and that is why you are bothered about nuclear weapons. Everyone wants to be secure.

    So it turns out that the attempt to be secure fails. Not only does it fail, it makes the insecurity greater. The same thing applies to the environment, as has been mentioned above. The attempt to control the environment leads to the loss of control of the environment. And the same need for security is at work.

    So it seems to be that one cannot find security by seeking it in the world. And this is exactly the same as happiness; one will never be happy looking for happiness. Let's stop looking for these things in the world, and find them in ourselves.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    There are positions on this topic out there, as well as advocates of them, for members of the public, including Jake here, to educate themselves. If you think that it's important to turn people's attention towards this issue, then do something about it: educate yourself, join groups, become a political activist. Don't use it as a lame excuse to blame philosophy. And don't try to besmirch the reputation of philosophers or other academics without having done your research.
  • Jake
    88
    Sapientia, I assign you the job of finding blog articles by academic philosophers on the subject of nuclear weapons. If you find that task too hard, you can instead list the threads on this forum on that topic. Whatever you find, the question is whether that level of interest is appropriate to the risk presented by these weapons.

    I've spent months trying to engage academic philosophers on this topic and have largely failed, thus this thread. As example, consider the APA blog. Do you know what the APA is? Do you know where to find their blog? Or are you just blowing a lot of silly smoke here?

    When you find the APA blog, you'll see that they've been publishing daily for a couple years, and have posted only one article on nuclear weapons, and that only after endless badgering from me. If I understand correctly, the APA is the oldest and largest association of American academic philosophers, and as the evidence of their blog clearly shows, they have a very limited interest in nuclear weapons, close to none. As best I can tell from visiting a number of other similar blogs, their lack of interest generally represents the field as a whole.

    But, please feel free to prove me wrong by posting hundreds of links to nuclear weapons articles by academic philosophers. Or feel free to sit down and be quiet, that would be fine too.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k


    Books on nuclear disarmament, including Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters Hans Blix, The Consequences of American Nuclear Disarmament: Strategy and Nuclear Weapons Christine Leah, Getting to Zero: The Path to Nuclear Disarmament Catherine M. Kelleher and Judith Reppy, Trust in Nuclear Disarmament Verification Christopher Hobbs, Hassan Elbahtimy, Matthew Moran, and Wyn Q. Bowen, etc. etc.

    Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
  • Jake
    88
    Search resusts for "professional philosophers on nuclear disarmament"Sapientia

    You search for it.

    Look, you're making my point for me. You're not interested in nuclear weapons either. You're interested in playing the role of the Great Debunker. Or you're interested in defending academics, or in defending philosophy in general. Ok, fine, you have every right to do this, but...

    Please explain to us why these agendas are more important than the imminent collapse of everything built over the last 500 years. What is your reasoning for choosing to focus your time on these other agendas?

    You're making my point for me. Just like the academics and other intellectual elite "experts" you're not capable of using reason to identify the most important life and death subjects. To debunk this, show us the articles YOU have written on nuclear weapons. There are none, right? That's not your personal failing alone, but rather the failing of Western culture at large.

    And this is why I am asking if philosophy is really anything more than a parlor game. If even the most intelligent and educated people can not use philosophy to focus on the survival of human civilization, what good is it (other than entertainment)?
  • gloaming
    41
    "... To debunk this, show us the articles YOU have written on nuclear weapons. There are none, right? …"
    Ummm….what? An ad hominem?!?! In a philosophical discussion??!?!? Tsk tsk.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    You search for it.Jake

    No, do your own research. I'm not your personal assistant.
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    You're not interested in nuclear weapons either.Jake

    Yes I am. I'm interested in a lot of things. I'm also interested in climate change, political philosophy, history, and science.

    Please explain to us why these agendas are more important than the imminent collapse of everything built over the last 500 years.Jake

    Immanent?

    You're making my point for me. Just like the academics and other intellectual elite "experts" you're not capable of using reason to identify the most important life and death subjects. To debunk this, show us the articles YOU have written on nuclear weapons. There are none, right? That's not your personal failing alone, but rather the failing of Western culture at large.Jake

    Why do you expect me to have written articles on the subject of nuclear weapons? Do you expect that of everyone you encounter? Bit weird.

    And this is why I am asking if philosophy is really anything more than a parlor game. If even the most intelligent and educated people can not use philosophy to focus on the survival of human civilization, what good is it (other than entertainment)?Jake

    I've already answered. Yes, it's obviously more than a parlour game. It deals with many varied important questions on a whole range of subjects. The problem here stems from your evaluation, which is skewed by your peculiar standard of judgement. It's either supposed to be the salvation of humanity or it's nothing more than a parlour game. Bit silly if you ask me.
  • Jake
    88
    Yes I am.Sapientia

    Show us the articles you've written on the subject of nuclear weapons please.

    Why do you expect me to have written articles on the subject of nuclear weapons? Do you expect that of everyone you encounter?Sapientia

    I expect that of all philosophers and other intellectual elites I encounter. I expect that because reason should be guiding us to direct our attention to threats of the largest scale.

    Please revisit the opening post. If I had a gun in mouth, would it not be rational for me to direct my attention to a situation which could quickly bring upon the end of all other situations? If I was bored by the gun, would you not label me irrational?

    The issue I'm attempting to address is that reason and philosophy are not working, even though many of the people who've spent their lives studying these subjects are very intelligent and well educated.
  • Jake
    88
    No, do your own research. I'm not your personal assistant.Sapientia

    You claimed to be interested in nuclear weapons. But you're not interested in researching the subject. You're only interested in these other agendas, such as butting heads with me. Again, you're making my point for me, because what you're doing well represents the culture at large, including intellectual elites.

    We're interested in almost everything.

    Except the loaded gun in our mouth.
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