• MountainDwarf
    84
    I'm just wondering the exact methodology besides ask questions and answer them. Is that really all it is? How did Nietzsche write poetry like he did or Socrates become so skeptical/logical? Looking to develop my own. I know there are wikihow articles on this but I'd like some interaction on it.
  • I like sushi
    2k
    I think you’ll find philosophers are more interested in ‘questions’ than answers. When enough answer arise measurements begin and then you’ve got a science.

    Selecting questions is the art of philosophy as well as exploring their applications and limits. Everything else is science or mysticism in terms of ‘knowledge’.
  • MountainDwarf
    84
    Okay. So basically doubt is the beginning of all truth?
  • Pfhorrest
    1.6k
    I started another thread earlier this month with a bunch of metaphilosophical questions, and I can quote some of the answers people gave for you here:

    The Meaning of Philosophy
    What defines philosophy and demarcates it from other fields? — Pfhorrest

    1.1 Philosophy, as I understand it, consists in contemplating, critically exposing, and even shaming foolery (i.e. failing to learn from failure, due to 'answering' pseudo/irrelevant questions or 'solving' pseudo/irrelevant problems, because one doesn't know that one doesn't know what one needs to know in order to adaptively judge one's circumstances, which in the long(er) term tends to adversely affect either oneself or others).

    1.11 Nonphilosophical fields (e.g. sciences, arts, politics), on the other hand, tend to be invested in applying domain-specific answers and solutions and not in reflecting on how or why questions and problems are framed (i.e. paradigmatic assumptions for posing questions and pragmatic implications from working out problems) and whether or not they are relevant questions to be asked or fecund problems to be tasked. Domain-specific fields tend to be specialized, or instrumental, to the point of being blind to foolery (which also includes normative misuses, or maladaptive practice, of domain-specific knowledge & techniques).

    1.12 Philosophy critiques ignorance - illusions of knowledge - which persist due to (indoctrinated? ideological? expedient?) ignorance of ignorance, or what I mean by "foolery" "folly" "unwisdom" ...

    1.13 Nonphilosophies, however, produce knowledge, techniques & applied practices in ways, more often than not, oblivious to the foolery with which these productions are (usually) framed.

    The Objects of Philosophy
    What is philosophy aiming for, by what criteria would we judge success or at least progress in philosophical endeavors? — Pfhorrest

    1.2 Philosophy's horizon, at which it's always been aimed, is wisdom - habits of 'thinking well' (free mind) and 'living well' (free body) acquired through reflective inquiries & reflective practices. (By reflective I mean 'self-examining'.)

    1.21 The criterion is internal to thinking & living since philosophizing - the exercise itself - is its product, unlike e.g. chemistry which produces new & improved formulas or industrial materials; or painting which produces new expressive styles & artworks; or politics which produces new movements & social arrangements. To the degree, at any moment, a philosophical discursive practice has filtered-out pseudo-questions & pseudo-problems as well as marginalized the irrelevant/trivial, this counts as "progress" of an evanescent kind, achieving topic-specific clarity.

    The Method of Philosophy
    How is philosophy to be done? — Pfhorrest

    1.3 In Marx's or Dewey's sense of praxis:

    1.31 (a) Reflective inquiry into concepts used in, or to construct, e.g. scientific, technical, artistic & political theories.

    1.311 Taxonomy of questions: definitions for filtering out irrelevant, trivial & pseudo-questions.

    1.32 (z) Reflective practice of applying e.g. sciences, technologies, arts & politics in ways useful to persons & communities for surviving and flourishing despite social conflicts, martial catastrophes or natural disasters.

    1.321 Taxonomy of problems: (See 2.51, 2.511, 2.512, 2.513, 2.52)

    The Subjects of Philosophy
    What are the faculties that enable someone to do philosophy, to be a philosopher? — Pfhorrest

    1.4 Courage. Sapere aude. Amor fati. Solitaire et solidaire. No doubt intellectual courage is needed, but only moral courage suffices for philosophizing with 'skin in the game' (i.e. fat's in the fire), or like Freddy says "with a hammer", and not just to sound out "hollow idols" but to build anew in (or bricole with) the rubble our hammering makes of (the last) old prisons. Otherwise, without courage, philosophers amount to little more than idly vacuous, tenured twats - either p0m0 scholastics of "wokeness" or think-tank rationalizers of the status quo ante.

    The Institutes of Philosophy
    Who is to do philosophy and how should they relate to each other and others, socially speaking? — Pfhorrest

    1.5 Dead philosophers (via primary sources whenever possible and/or excellent translations): they alone "do philosophy". We living fools merely need to relate to - philosophize with - each other like children at play in the world's minefields precociously engaged in the most tragicomic of dialectics.

    The Importance of Philosophy
    Why do philosophy in the first place, what does it matter? — Pfhorrest

    1.6 The same reason an alcoholic or drug addict goes to rehab and learns how to soberly live a 'life of recovery', I philosophize in order to rehab my own foolery and live as lucidly as a recovering fool can live, as they say, one day at a time
    180 Proof




    The Meaning of Philosophy
    What defines philosophy and demarcates it from other fields? — Pfhorrest

    General truths, reflections on the human condition and the existential quandaries specific to human beings. I see the Platonic corpus, in particular, The Republic, and The Apology as being foundational to philosophy and indeed to Western culture proper.

    Of course it is true that philosophy quite rapidly became desultory, wandering across topics, questions and subjects. But there is a constant undercurrent of questions, or a characteristic attitude, which animates it.

    Pierre Hadot:: 'The goal of the ancient philosophies was to cultivate a specific, constant attitude toward existence, by way of the rational comprehension of the nature of humanity and its place in the cosmos. This cultivation required, specifically, that students learn to combat their passions and the illusory evaluative beliefs instilled by their passions, habits, and upbringing. 1'

    I find that a satisfactory definition. This definition is also quite agreeable from a Buddhist perspective.

    What differentiates philosophy is its general nature. It is not concerned with techne or with politics as such, but first principles and ultimate ends.

    The Objects of Philosophy
    What is philosophy aiming for, by what criteria would we judge success or at least progress in philosophical endeavors? — Pfhorrest

    The difficulty in this question is that modern culture and society has no ready equivalent for the kind of intellectual illumination which classical philosophy sought. Nowadays progress is nearly always judged in economic, technical or scientific terms - this is what has been criticized as the 'instrumentalisation of reason'. I suppose one attempt to answer the aim of philosophy in contemporary literature would be something like Eric Fromm's Man for Himself:

    'In Man for Himself, Erich Fromm examines the confusion of modern women and men who, because they lack faith in any principle by which life ought to be guided, become the helpless prey of forces both within and without. From the broad, interdisciplinary perspective that marks Fromm's distinguished oeuvre, he shows that psychology cannot divorce itself from the problems of philosophy and ethics, and that human nature cannot be understood without understanding the values and moral conflicts that confront us all'.

    Note that this is a psychology text, but I think there's an unbreakable connection between philosophy, psychology (in the broad sense understood by Fromm's) and cultural anthropology.

    So the objects of philosophy need to be holistic, to provide an ethical compass, and to be rational in the sense of addressing all human needs, and not just those envisaged by materialist philosophy which invariably reduces mankind to a means rather than an end (i.e. a means by which the evolution executes its basically meaningless algorithm.)

    The Method of Philosophy
    How is philosophy to be done? — Pfhorrest

    The first and practically only rule is: know thyself. Anyone can say it, very few advance in it, hardly anyone masters it.
    Wayfarer

    The Subjects of Philosophy
    What are the faculties that enable someone to do philosophy, to be a philosopher? — Pfhorrest

    I think, independence, intuition, reason, compassion, and a degree of innate intelligence.

    The Institutes of Philosophy
    Who is to do philosophy and how should they relate to each other and others, socially speaking? — Pfhorrest

    First and foremost, those drawn to it, and also who have received some form of endorsement from those already practicing. That would include, for example, lecturers and teachers in the subject.

    The Importance of Philosophy
    Why do philosophy in the first place, what does it matter? — Pfhorrest

    Again, it's the contemplation of 'what really matters'. There's any number of subjects, a practically uncountable number of facts to be discovered. But we are born human, we live our three score years and ten (hopefully), and then we die. Philosophers wonder about the meaning of that. I'm a believer in the principle that 'philosophy requires no apparatus'. Certainly today's technology and science can provide innumerable benefits and I never want to be thought of as being against them, for what they can do. But they can't solve the deepest questions of human life, as only humans can do that, in human form. (But, for example, medical science can help countless people to be physically cured to enable them to live to explore such questions which in times past wasn't possible. But I'm highly sceptical of trans-humanism or VR.) But philosophically, I think humans are in some basic sense the form that the Universe takes to discover itself or to fully realise its own reality. 'A physicist', said Bohr, 'is just an atom's way of looking at itself'; one of Bohr's apparently tongue-in-cheek remarks, but containing a profound insight. I regard many religious myths and metaphors as ways of expressing this idea, although unfortunately the meaning is often forgotten while the outward forms are clung to.

    So I suppose one contemporary expression of that is Maslow's idea of 'self-actualisation', although it finds expression in many forms of the idea of 'self-realisation'. That is often associated with Indian spirituality, about which I will have more to say later.
    Wayfarer




    The Importance of Philosophy
    Why do philosophy in the first place, what does it matter? — Pfhorrest

    The philosophy that is most important is the effort we make to situate ourselves in the world, and judge whether where we are is good or not. some people do not think about these questions, because their questions have been answered by their other-worldly or their temporal ruler, or because they prefer not to think about such matters. Somebody has to get out and till the corn so that there will be food on the table. Be grateful that the corn was hoed.

    Somebody has been thinking about these questions beginning perhaps 300,000 years ago. There is no accumulation of insight, because each person in each generation who asks these questions must find his or her own answers.

    Now in the 21st Century, we are still asking these kinds of questions. Perhaps we are able to use more sophisticated language (or not) but the need to situate ourselves in our time and place is no less or more important. The answer does not usually come to us swiftly. We can spend decades rolling the question around in our heads without much result.
    Bitter Crank




    The Meaning of Philosophy
    What defines philosophy and demarcates it from other fields? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy is the thing outside or on existing borders of "usefull" categories/views.

    The Objects of Philosophy
    What is philosophy aiming for, by what criteria would we judge success or at least progress in philosophical endeavors? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy tries to enable the expaning of borders or creating of new categories. This is mainly done by clarifing unclear concepts by creating models that aproximate roughly what is being talked about.

    The Method of Philosophy
    How is philosophy to be done? — Pfhorrest

    Creative thinking that consists of a sufficient degree of critical thinking and rigor.

    The Subjects of Philosophy
    What are the faculties that enable someone to do philosophy, to be a philosopher? — Pfhorrest

    Whatever faculties enable the creative and critical thinking. Further one could add containing a certain productive element that consists either of theory builiding or precise and usefull criticism.

    The Institutes of Philosophy
    Who is to do philosophy and how should they relate to each other and others, socially speaking? — Pfhorrest

    Whoever wishs to do so. I don't think it's reasonable to suggest a specific way of relating to others. In general one might constrain it artificially by limiting based on max number due to philosophers being not short term productive for society and thus demanding a certain wealth of a society. However I think this is done rather automatically.

    The Importance of Philosophy
    Why do philosophy in the first place, what does it matter? — Pfhorrest

    It improves the long term development of civilizations. Like science it does not produce instant results and instead shifts the results to the future. One can imagine it this way we need food now/being active harvesting ect but improve overall foodproduction by allowing one member to be passive and think about food harvesting.
    CaZaNOx




    I’ll give ‘em a quick go ...

    Meaning? Dunno. I guess it is more or less about dealing with items that evade demarcation and/or measurement in any accurate sense.

    Objects? Dunno. I guess it’s more or less about opening up new/old perspectives and seeing what can be done with them separately and/or in combination.

    Subjects? Dunno. I guess, very generally speaking, cognition of space and time (Kantian intuitions).

    Institutes? Dunno. Doesn’t matter. People will or won’t do it regardless of my ideas of should, would or could as the most obtuse individuals will call anything ‘philosophy’ just as they’d call everything ‘art’. I guess this means the geniuses, idiots and insane are usually the primary movers - for good or bad!

    Importance? I guess it’s importance comes into play by exploring questions - meaning how questions are useful and what their limitations are or are not.

    Note: I’m not entirely sure what ‘metaphilosophy’ means in modern parse?
    I like sushi




    The Meaning of Philosophy
    What defines philosophy and demarcates it from other fields? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy is the seeking of wisdom - not simply knowledge, or even an understanding of the world. As such it permeates every field. To demarcate the seeking of wisdom from any field of endeavour is to claim that there is no wisdom to be found in that field. I think you showed this with your diagram.

    Knowledge is an awareness of information; Understanding is the connection we make with the information we have about the world; and Wisdom is how we collaborate with that information. Wisdom ties in with knowledge and understanding in such a way that all three are inseparable. You can’t really understand something, even if you think you know as much as you can about it, until you can apply that knowledge in how you interact with the world. In the same way wisdom isn’t really wisdom if we ignore information or cannot (or will not) strive to understand all the information available to us.

    Philosophy values all information, regardless of its current usefulness, and seeks to make effective use of all that we know and understand about the world - paying particular attention to what we don’t yet know, what we know but fail to understand, and what we know and understand but fail to integrate or apply to our interactions with the world.
    Possibility

    The Objects of Philosophy
    What is philosophy aiming for, by what criteria would we judge success or at least progress in philosophical endeavors? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy aims to structure and restructure our conceptual models of the world, to make the most effective use of all the information we have. Progress in philosophical endeavour, then, is achieved when we can account for anomalous data or experiences, when we can include and collaborate with alternative viewpoints, and when we can revive and integrate suppressed or forgotten knowledge into how we interact with the world.

    Successful philosophical endeavour aims to integrate useful information from disparate sources for application to living well - ie. interacting with the world with less prediction error.

    The Method of Philosophy
    How is philosophy to be done? — Pfhorrest

    All information is potentially useful, so the first step would be to reserve judgement on information in an objective sense.

    We are, however, each progressively limited in our capacity to be aware, connect and collaborate with information by the five dimensions of our existence, and so we cannot always make use of information ourselves. We are equipped, all the same, with the means to share that information with those for whom it may prove much more useful.

    Philosophy may sometimes involve, therefore, extracting incomplete information as raw experience from what has been integrated and reduced to suit these individual or cultural limitations any number of times. This may involve grafting the information onto our own experiences or other experiential accounts, or borrowing structural patterns as a guide to completing the experiential information. This type of speculative philosophy is fraught with error, but relying only on reducible information encourages us to be dismissive of the additional aspects available in information from subjective experience. Keeping track of where and how we depend on assumptions, concepts and modelling can be more important than avoiding them altogether.
    Possibility

    The Subjects of Philosophy
    What are the faculties that enable someone to do philosophy, to be a philosopher? — Pfhorrest

    Short version, I think self reflection and self evaluation are the key faculties for doing philosophy. The capacity to be aware of our conceptual systems, and be critical of the specific way that we interact with the world in relation to how the universe interacts with each other in its diversity, provides the potential for us to strive towards more accurate conceptual systems that minimise prediction error while maximising interaction.

    I think an effective philosopher has a handle on critical and creative thinking, and employs an inclusive approach to knowledge. Courage, respect and curiosity also enable one to do philosophy without limitations.

    The Institutes of Philosophy
    Who is to do philosophy and how should they relate to each other and others, socially speaking? — Pfhorrest

    A closed mind cannot do philosophy. If you take the trouble to avoid making mistakes, then perhaps philosophy isn’t for you. History shows that philosophers can’t really avoid being mistaken about something. The best we can hope for is the rare gem of conceptual structure that leads us to new ways of thinking.

    The mind isn’t structured temporally or spatially, but according to value. Reality, however, is ultimately structured according to meaning. So when we relate to each other, socially speaking, it should be with a focus on a shared value regardless of distance, space or time. But when we relate to what others experience, particularly the form in which they present it to us, it should be with a focus on reaching a shared sense of meaning regardless of value.

    The Importance of Philosophy
    Why do philosophy in the first place, what does it matter? — Pfhorrest

    When we interact with the world, we encounter new information. We either use that information in subsequent interactions with the world, or we don’t. If we do, then the way that we use it, our philosophy, matters. But it is also the information that we don’t use, and why - the value and significance we attribute to information - that structures this philosophy.

    Evolutionary theory says that the most important thing we pass on to our descendants is our genetic information, but I disagree with this. The way I see it, the most important thing we pass on is the capacity to make effective use of new information. Without it, we’re not really living, are we?
    Possibility




    The Meaning of Philosophy
    What defines philosophy and demarcates it from other fields? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy is the love of wisdom, where by "love of" I mean attraction toward, or pursuit of; and by "wisdom" I mean the ability to discern truth from falsehood and good from bad, or at least the ability to discern superior from inferior answers to questions about either reality or morality. It differs from the sciences in that it is not concerned with contingent, a posteriori facets of the experiential world, but more about how to process and react to those, the necessari, a priori, foundational questions about how to do those sciences; those sciences apply wisdom thus defined, and philosophy is the pursuit of that ability to do so. It also differs from more abstract fields like the arts and mathematics in that is is not entirely disconnected from practical applications and concerned just with structure for structure's sake (like math) or presentation for presentation's sake (like the arts), but rather uses those things, like logic and rhetoric, as tools to do its job of facilitating the sciences, both the well-known physical sciences and what I would call the ethical sciences, that I may elaborate on later. It's the glue between the abstract and the practical.

    And lastly I'd argue that, properly speaking, it differs from religion in that it is critical, anti-fideistic, taking nothing as unquestionable. But it's also properly speaking anti-nihilistic, allowing free investigation of things with uncertain grounding rather than shutting all such discourse down as groundless and impossible from the outset. I would argue that both fideism and nihilism are rather "phobosophy", the fear of wisdom. But I recognize of course that fideistic and nihilistic elements are often included in what are commonly considered philosophical endeavors; I just argue that, to that extent, those endeavors are failing to really do philosophy per se.
    Pfhorrest

    The Objects of Philosophy
    What is philosophy aiming for, by what criteria would we judge success or at least progress in philosophical endeavors? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy aims for wisdom, in other words to discover or create a means of discerning truth from falsehood and good from bad, and it progresses in that endeavor by clarifying confused concepts about those scales of evaluation. The emergence of, loosely speaking, "the scientific method" is the greatest bit of philosophical progress in the history of the field, in my view, and though progress in moral investigations has been much slower, we're still slowly crawling there with increased emphasis on liberty, democracy, and material well-being, and less on things like ritual purity and obedience.
    Pfhorrest

    The Method of Philosophy
    How is philosophy to be done? — Pfhorrest

    Philosophy is done not so much by solving problems, but by dissolving them: showing apparent paradoxes and dilemmas that would seem to stand in the way of any route toward wisdom to actually be the result of confused thinking, conflated terms or ideas, etc. By teasing apart that confusion, differentiating conflated terms and ideas from each other, and so on, philosophy can progress toward wisdom by showing those apparent roadblocks to have actually been illusory all along. More generally, philosophy makes headway best when it analyzes concepts in light of the practical use we want to put them to, asking why do we need to know the answer to some question, in order to get at what we really want from an answer to that question, and so what an answer to it should look like, and how to go about identifying one.

    In analyzing concepts and teasing them apart from each other, philosophy makes extensive use of the tools of mathematical logic. But in exhorting its audience to care to use one of those teased-apart concepts for some practical purpose, instead of endlessly seeking answers to the uselessly confused and so perpetually unanswerable question that they may be irrationally attached to as some kind of important cosmic enigma, philosophy must instead use the tools of the rhetorical arts. Thus philosophy uses the tools of the abstract disciplines, mathematics and the arts, to make progress in its job of enabling the more practical sciences to in turn do their jobs of expounding on the details of what is real and moral.
    Pfhorrest

    The Institutes of Philosophy
    Who is to do philosophy and how should they relate to each other and others, socially speaking? — Pfhorrest

    The question is largely whether philosophy is a personal activity, or an institutional one. Given that I have just opined that the faculty needed to conduct philosophy is literally personhood itself, it should come as no surprise that I think that philosophy is for each and every person to do, to the best of their ability to do so. Nevertheless, institutions are made of people, and I do value the cooperation and collaboration that has arisen within philosophy in the contemporary era, so I don't mean at all to besmirch professional philosophy and the specialization that has come with it. I merely don't think that the specialized, professional philosophers warrant a monopoly on the discipline. It is good that there be people whose job it is to know philosophy better than laypeople, and that some of those people specialize even more deeply in particular subfields of philosophy. But it is important that laypeople continue to philosophize as well, and that the discourse of philosophy as a whole be continuous between those laypeople and the professionals, without a sharp divide into mutually exclusive castes of professional philosophers and non-philosophers. And it is also important that some philosophers keep abreast of the progress in all of those specialties and continue to integrate their findings together into more generalized philosophical systems.

    (I feel like I weirdly straddle all those divides, having some degree of professional education in the field but not nearly deep enough to teach it professionally, and working on a generalized philosophical system that draws from the more contemporary findings of all those specialties).

    The Importance of Philosophy
    Why do philosophy in the first place, what does it matter? — Pfhorrest

    On the one hand, doing philosophy is literally practice at being a person, exercising the very faculty that differentiates persons from non-persons. Doing philosophy literally helps develop you into a better person, increasing your self-awareness and self-control, improving your mind and your will, and helping you to find meaning in the world, both in the sense of descriptive understanding, and in the sense of prescriptive purpose.

    But also, as I already elaborated upthread, I think philosophy is sort of the lynch pin of all human endeavors. All the many trades involve using some tool to do some job. Technology administers those tools, business administers those jobs; engineers make new tools, entrepreneurs make new jobs; the physical sciences find more "natural tools" for the engineers to work with, and the ethical sciences I propose would find more "natural jobs" (i.e. needs that people have) for the entrepreneurs to work toward. Both those physical and ethical sciences depend on philosophy for the tools they need to do their jobs. Philosophy in turn relies on the tools of language, mathematics, and the arts to do its job, and then reflexively also examines those topics, as well as itself.

    I drew a picture:
    Pfhorrest
    fields.png


    That last picture is also from my essay on the subject from my philosophy book in progress.
  • I like sushi
    2k
    “Truths” are necessarily dependent upon limits. We don’t know a ‘truth’ that has no bounds.

    My view of ‘knowledge’ is pretty much in line with what you’ve stated though. I see ‘knowing’ as the realisation - directly or otherwise - of what isn’t known. The only concrete truths we possess are those bound within manmade rules. Some are far more impactful than others in certain fields of play (mathematics being the most obvious example).
  • I like sushi
    2k
    I have my own little Venn diagram that is much more applicable than yours I believe - but it isn’t a category of subjects.

    The ‘poles’ are order an disorder (roughly speaking ‘science’ and ‘art’): as science is empirical and objectively more discernible than art. The orthogonal ‘pole’ to this one would be ‘belief’ and ‘non-belief’ (to accept and to question): I roughly frame these as ‘religion’ and ‘philosophy’.

    Where these circles of interest intersect there are items like ‘ritual’, ‘myth’, ‘imagination’ and ‘action’.

    Maybe I can find it ... [img][/img] nope, cannot download image. Don’t do ‘links’.
  • I like sushi
    2k
    Looking to develop my own.MountainDwarf

    What for?
  • tim wood
    4k
    I've read that philosophy is the history of philosophy. The writer meant that every effort in philosophy is a reaction to something or an answer to some question. Often enough, within that history, the reaction or question has its origins in something some other philosopher said.

    At the same time it's tempting to think that you can just make up some question on your own and and answer it, or solve out of your own thoughts some question that's bedeviled humanity for centuries or millenia. Tempting, but it just plain does not work that way.

    The way, then, seems to be to study some aspect of philosophy and what others have already said on it. Once that's done, then you'll be in a position to know what you want to do, and much more important, an idea of how to do it.

    For starters, I recommend this book, An Essay On Metaphysics, R. G. Collingwood, At Amazon, Abebooks, or your local library. And you can Google the author and get some prelinnary insight into what he has to say that way.
  • SophistiCat
    1.1k
    I'm just wondering the exact methodologyMountainDwarf

    There isn't any exact or even approximate methodology. There isn't even a definition of what philosophy is that would match most paradigmatic examples while still managing some nontrivial specificity. If you take Socrates, Nietzsche and, say, Henry Allison (a contemporary Kant scholar), you will find little in common between these philosophers.

    If you are not in a forced choice situation and just doing this for fun, then don't overthink the question. Just look at what goes by the name of "philosophy" and see what interests you most.
  • NOS4A2
    2.9k


    At one point you’ll become bored of reading and studying other people’s philosophy and begin to create your own. There is a difference between those who do philosophy and those who can only read it.
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