• csalisbury
    2.2k
    don't ignore philosophy entirely. Most people do worry and care about it even though they don't have to.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    I don't think that's true. Do you have any examples? I've never met anyone outside of academia or philosophy forums that cared about philosophy (to the extent they knew anything about it).
  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    I have a lot. Before I write them out, I want to make sure: are you asking about individual stories of people outside academia who care about philosophical questions and like to talk about them when you raise them? I can see how it might seem like they don't when you don't relate to people on that level. Why would they raise them in those circumstances?
  • StreetlightX
    4.9k
    People around me express a keen interest in philosophy all the time, and in my experience the hunger for it is not matched by appropriate resources that would allow people the time and space to explore it. My biggest issue has not been a lack of interest - it's been rather quite the opposite, the lack of infrastructure that would enable people to study it on their own terms. People don't know where to begin, how to continue, or where it might lead. This is a failing on the part of philosophers, partly. But the ideas always attract people.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    Oh, sure, so if you ask people whether they have free will, or whatever, then they're often interested. Sometimes in their fumbling attempts to discuss it, they even accidentally reinvent certain proto-philosophical discourse moves. But not very many people know or care about what happens in the discipline.

    I guess you redefine philosophy as anything you like it's more true, but that's just a verbal thing.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    People don't know where to begin, how to continue, or where it might lead. This is a failing on the part of philosophers, partly. But the ideas always attract people.StreetlightX

    I think the pre-thoretical ideas are attractive, sure, which is part of why philosophy 'happened' in the first place. But I don't think philosophy itself addresses the hunger people have in an interesting way. To the extent it promises to, that's a false promise, and instead funnels genuine curiosity into a kind of sterile cognitive loop, again based on lawyers' tricks from ancient Greece.
  • StreetlightX
    4.9k
    There's cases of that of course, but as a blanket statement it's largely false.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    It looks like we disagree.
  • frank
    4.5k
    When you have time to watch something stupid:

  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    Oh, sure, so if you ask people whether they have free will, or whatever, then they're often interested. Sometimes in their fumbling attempts to discuss it, they even accidentally reinvent certain proto-philosophical discourse moves. But not very many people know or care about what happens in the discipline.

    I guess you redefine philosophy as anything you like it's more true, but that's just a verbal thing.
    Snakes Alive

    Yeah, I think it's fair to make a distinction between professional philosophy & spontaneous questioning. I also agree that most people don't know or care what happens in the discipline (except, again, in that 'wisdom of the ancients' when regarding ancient, canonical philosophers - this may have been what you meant when you said 'People outside of it either suspect it is what it says it is...")

    Stil, it's not insignificant that people accidentally reinvent certain proto-philosophical discourse moves. Maybe the litigious genealogy of a lot of greek philosophy is one strand that got woven in with others, and assumed a perhaps bizarrely central role. I think you could also add in the 'wrestling' aspect of the gymnasium, an aestheticized grappling with one another. You mentioned, above, Socrates' fondness for aporia being disingenuous. I half agree there. I think, by the later dialogues, he's clearly carving room for his own positive philosophy. But, while he's for sure disingenuous throughout (Thrasyamachus lays how this works in The Republic perfectly, before nevertherless succumbing to it), I think there is a genuine magnetic draw to the aporia. You see this in the Parmenides dialogue, which never resolves, but grows more and more lost in the whirlwind.

    If philosophy is a thoroughly contingent practice, it feels like it makes sense it would be this hybrid monster of things, that lurches its way forward. Just like Midrash or the short story or haikus or professional wrestling or painting or any other tradition.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.6k
    It occurs to me that the litigious society of ancient Athens was a byproduct of their democracy: because nobody can just pass down unilateral judgement, it is necessary to argue and persuade people to agree. The resemblance of philosophy to Athenian litigation then makes perfect sense as a consequence of the democratization of knowledge: as soon as you stop taking authorities at their word and start questioning everything, you need to argue and persuade people to get consensus on what is true.

    I think it’s thus not a coincidence that philosophy emerged from a litigious climate. It’s not something that just happened and didn’t have to. Any critical enterprise of investigation has to end up with at least a broad family resemblance to philosophy as we know it.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    t occurs to me that the litigious society of ancient Athens was a byproduct of their democracy: because nobody can just pass down unilateral judgement, it is necessary to argue and persuade people to agree. The resemblance of philosophy to Athenian litigation then makes perfect sense as a consequence of the democratization of knowledge: as soon as you stop taking authorities at their word and start questioning everything, you need to argue and persuade people to get consensus on what is true.Pfhorrest

    I think this survives in the way 'western civilization' in general seems to simply value talking, even to no end. There is some bizarre idea that no matter what is being discussed, and no matter to what end, discussion is a kind of good in of itself. We're always 'having conversations,' and 'democracy' is sacrosanct even beyond any material benefits it might provide or fail to provide.

    If philosophy is a thoroughly contingent practice, it feels like it makes sense it would be this hybrid monster of things, that lurches its way forward. Just like Midrash or the short story or haikus or professional wrestling or painting or any other tradition.csalisbury

    It is a thoroughly contingent practice, because it only developed a few times worldwide. Nothing demands that it happen.

    And sure, it's a hybrid, and has elements of mystery cults, ancient cosmological speculation, hucksterism, and primitive mathematics thrown in (these are all around today in some form under the umbrella of 'philosophy'). But there is a central thread, so I claim, which is what really drives it and causes it to survive. That thread runs through the rise of litigation, to the development of rhetoric, to sophistry, to the Socratic method (where it roughly stops developing).
  • christian2017
    1.1k
    I think I get the first two, but it's not clear to me that we presently live in an age if relativism. How would you characterize our present conceptual framework?frank

    I don't think relativism as applied to Physics relates to philosophy in a real way. Einstein to put it over simply applied reality to a geometrical shape that we aren't naturally inclined to be comfortable with. It isn't that reality is relative but that what we see with our eyes and the way we experience time is stretched or skewed by a universe that doesn't have a straight forward shape. Special relativity basically dictates that time can't be accurately measured (over vast distances) unless its in my bedroom or your bedroom. Time is not relative but it is just it can't be measured accurately, because it is the iteration of events and not the iteration of the clock. The clock ticks different or and the electrons change speed based on how fast the clock is flying (as a whole) through the universe. Have you read "A brief history of time" by Stephen Hawkings?

    As for general relativity, the shape space/time (or reality) is a geometric shape that our minds don't really understand. Its not relative i would say, its just so wierd that our minds do not quickly (quickly) quantify or find intuitive enough to have some idea (some idea) of whats going to happen next. Just because something is hard to predict or judge does not make it relative, it just means it requires tremendous amount of time and scrutiny (and in this modern age, teamwork).
  • christian2017
    1.1k


    The picture given for general relativity you commonly see to explain gravity is obviously meant to be an over simplification and most people would agree. That ball going along the grid would also have a grid associated with atleast one other direction and then the ball would also create one or two more grids not shown. Basically to wrap our minds around all these grids in a shape that can be displayed in a 3d engine (like blender) would make it hard to show the concept of general relativity. My point is if that gravity grid commonly shown is essentially reality, then reality is not necessarily relative, but what i see with my eyes and what is going happen next (approximate prediction) are two different things. To say that space/time is curved (common general relativity phrase) is confusing because it doesn't do the theory justice in terms of explaining what general relativity really means. As you can tell, i'm not a physicist.
  • frank
    4.5k
    I'm not a physicist either. I think the point Holmes was making (this was a couple of years ago for me, btw) could be illustrated by looking at the truth of statements. Relativity requires that we index statements in order to make them truth-apt.

    "It's a long time till the next galactic tick."

    In the mechanistic perspective, the time between now and the next tick is assumed to be the same throughout the universe. Once we realize that time is relative, we have to identify the frame of reference for the statement. This alters the fundamental nature of things.
  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    It is a thoroughly contingent practice, because it only developed a few times worldwide. Nothing demands that it happen.

    And sure, it's a hybrid, and has elements of mystery cults, ancient cosmological speculation, hucksterism, and primitive mathematics thrown in (these are all around today in some form under the umbrella of 'philosophy'). But there is a central thread, so I claim, which is what really drives it and causes it to survive. That thread runs through the rise of litigation, to the development of rhetoric, to sophistry, to the Socratic method (where it roughly stops developing).
    Snakes Alive

    stray thoughts, slow sunday:

    -It is very strange to try to capture the structure of the world in a game of claims and defenses. I think, by nature, this can't satisfy the thing it's trying to satisfy. But I do think@Pfhorrestis on to something with Athenian democracy. I don't think philosophy is necessary, necessarily, but it does seem like something the potential for which necessarily exists in certain social organizations. This is why, perhaps, you see those spontaneous rediscoveries of philosophical moves you described.

    -I think 'intellectual intuition' in German Idealism is a placeholder for the kind of practices that actually provide the emotional satisfaction and spiritual understanding people often mistakenly look for in philosophy. 'intellecutal intuition' got a lot of scorn heaped on it, but I think, if anything, it's a useful talisman or touchstone reminding that this stuff only goes so far. Maybe they needed that placeholder more because of how systematic things were getting.

    -You can imagine similarly structured societies spontaneously developing legal ideas, or just laws, that are similar - but they certainly won't necessarily develop the same bloated reef of stopgaps and implications and workarounds that constitute our particular legal system. Maybe it's the same for academic philosophy.

    -Where would you place, say, Thales, in the litigation>rhetoric>sophistry>socrates development?Unrelated question, do you think the dialogue between Job and his interlocutors has any similarities to ethical philosophy?
  • christian2017
    1.1k
    I'm not a physicist either. I think the point Holmes was making (this was a couple of years ago for me, btw) could be illustrated by looking at the truth of statements. Relativity requires that we index statements in order to make them truth-apt.

    "It's a long time till the next galactic tick."

    In the mechanistic perspective, the time between now and the next tick is assumed to be the same throughout the universe. Once we realize that time is relative, we have to identify the frame of reference for the statement. This alters the fundamental nature of things.
    frank

    The speed something travels at effects its radiation (above -~480 fareheit gives off radiation) and effects a clock telling time. Faster means clock slows down and slower mean clock speeds up.

    Just because time is relative and hard to hammer down does not change the fact that the movement of objects has a set order in which they occured. If you jump up and down before i jump up and down we might have trouble deciding the seconds between the two events but i can assure you jumped up and down before me. Time still occurs as the iteration of events but the seconds between events is all that is relative.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    Where would you place, say, Thales, in the litigation>rhetoric>sophistry>socrates development?Unrelated question, do you think the dialogue between Job and his interlocutors has any similarities to ethical philosophy?csalisbury

    Thales doesn't have much of anything to do with Socrates. The only connection seems to be that in the Phaedo Socrates fictionally reports purchasing a scroll written by Anaxagoras. And then Aristotle mentioned Thales. There is a retroactive tradition assimilating them, but I'm not really sure why, other than this tenuous link.

    Job is wisdom literature, which is its own thing, a genre at least as richly developed as philosophy in the ancient Near East, and way older. There aren't really philosophical arguments in Job. There is just suffering, and some way of making peace with it in terms of societal wisdom (and poetry). Wisdom literature in the Abrahamic traditions tends to be pessimistic, but ultimately to require placing a (futile?) trust in God.

    -I think 'intellectual intuition' in German Idealism is a placeholder for the kind of practices that actually provide the emotional satisfaction and spiritual understanding people often mistakenly look for in philosophy. 'intellecutal intuition' got a lot of scorn heaped on it, but I think, if anything, it's a useful talisman or touchstone reminding that this stuff only goes so far. Maybe they needed that placeholder more because of how systematic things were getting.csalisbury

    German idealism is a genuine nightmare, and I have seen people's brains actually get fried by it, much in the way people's brains get fried by neo-nazism, Marxism, flat earth conspiracies, or whatever. As in, once they get enough into it, they lose some of their cognitive abilities, and can't think / speak / reason like they used to. So I can't really cheer for it. Maybe there's some romantic yearning there. But I doubt it's real food for the soul.
  • frank
    4.5k
    Time still occurs as the iteration of events but the seconds between events is all that is relative.christian2017

    I think that's right.
  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    I agree with you about german idealism. It's something you contract, it clogs up your head. I was pretty ensorcelled by it for a long time and still recovering. What I mean though is they had this idea of 'intellectual intuition' which seemed like a reminder this was all missing the mark, only they made it a concept, sort of, instead of exiting.
  • Snakes Alive
    469
    I guess I believe in something like that, but that it's not worth discussing with other people.
  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    Yeah, not discussing. I do think it can be partially shared, but not in that way.

    I've been meditating more and more regularly the past few months. I've noticed my chatter is very argumentative. It argues both sides of whatever topic it settles on (there are a lot of different voices and tones that crop up). Sometimes in a sustained back and forth. Sometimes its like catching fragments of a courtroom argument from a few blocks over, so you don't really see the whole thing. In any case, there's a lot of that. I don't know if that's a cause of me liking philosophy or an effect - it's been too long, so I can't remember what my chatter used to be like. Whatever the case, it's frustrating. It's really frustrating sometimes. I want it to stop, but I'm not in control of it. That might just be part of getting into meditating though? like you have to actually look at how out of control your inner conversation is before you can calm a bit.
  • Pussycat
    272
    I think this survives in the way 'western civilization' in general seems to simply value talking, even to no end. There is some bizarre idea that no matter what is being discussed, and no matter to what end, discussion is a kind of good in of itself. We're always 'having conversations,' and 'democracy' is sacrosanct even beyond any material benefits it might provide or fail to provide.Snakes Alive

    I think that 'western civilization' has its roots on Aristotle, after all aristotelianism has dominated most of the world for some 2k years, and we are still under its influence. Talking, as well, as in "in the beginning was the word". Most probably because this is what discriminates us as a species from those poor hairy things, the animals, unable to speak their minds, to communicate, unlike us. Logos, having been exalted to .. dunno where, to the heavens, we take great pride in it. Maybe it's all that, pride. What do you think.

    And sure, it's a hybrid, and has elements of mystery cults, ancient cosmological speculation, hucksterism, and primitive mathematics thrown in (these are all around today in some form under the umbrella of 'philosophy'). But there is a central thread, so I claim, which is what really drives it and causes it to survive. That thread runs through the rise of litigation, to the development of rhetoric, to sophistry, to the Socratic method (where it roughly stops developing).Snakes Alive

    Pride or not, the Socratic method has been dead for quite a long time, when was the last time it was practised?
  • Pussycat
    272
    There is this thing called the 'I', as in an I for an I, for long thought to be one and in unity with itself. But then came Nietzsche and said that this I is not a simple, but a multiplicity of things. Anway, what do those untimely meditations of yours have to say?
  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    There is this thing called the 'I', as in an I for an I, for long thought to be one and in unity with itself. But then came Nietzsche and said that this I is not a simple, but a multiplicity of things. Anway, what do those untimely meditations of yours have to say?Pussycat

    I appreciate the wordplay - Hammurabai - Nietzsche - meditation -a Nietzsche work whose title includes that word.

    Yeah, I think the I covers a multiplicity. If you're used to identifying with a unitary I, that's weird and a big shift. If you're not, and have already accepted a fragmentary self, you're just at the beginning? It seems that way to me. Now you have a whole menagerie of voices and tones and personalities to attend to.
  • Pussycat
    272
    Yeah well, look on the bright side, you'll never be alone! :smile: But you could trick it, and as a diversion, could try doing all those things that you find contemptible or even despicable, all those that common people do, I mean.
  • Pussycat
    272
    But philosophically speaking, a lot of philosophers take the I to be a representation of the will, or Will, and to be one and only. And so there is this notion of "my will", pointing to something definite, if not quite. But of course, if there is a multiplicity of I's or Will's, then it makes no sense to talk that way.
  • csalisbury
    2.2k
    I think the multiplicity is itself a bright side! I'm slowly getting to know myself. That's good. And the bad sides of myself too. That's hard. But at least I'm learning the sides of myself my exes already knew, but that I hid from my own awareness.

    But what does this have to do with contempt for 'common people'?
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