• Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Has our civilization evolved to the point where philosophy can be dispensed with? At its inception, Philosophy was really an amalgam of all knowledge. However, with the diremption of philosophy and science since Bacon, and the ever-increasing hegemony of science (technology), has philosophy moved from being an "outlier" to a superfluous branch of study? Specific "tangible" areas, such as formal logic, could be assimilated into sciences such as math. While others could become the stuff of history? Does philosophy still contribute? When you are reading it, do you feel you are contributing?
  • Joshs
    5.2k
    Has our civilization evolved to the point where philosophy can be dispensed with?Pantagruel

    Would you say that the various disciplines that have grown out of philosophy are ‘applied’ forms of philosophy? If so, what exactly is it they are applying? This I would say is the role of philosophy. Other disciplines are founded on presuppositions that are built into their chosen vocabularies, but those presuppositions remain outside of their purview of examination.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Would you say that the various disciplines that have grown out of philosophy are ‘applied’ forms of philosophy? If so, what exactly is it they are applying? This I would say is the role of philosophy. Other disciplines are founded on presuppositions that are built into their chosen vocabularies, but those presuppositions remain outside of their purview of examination.Joshs

    Are you saying that there are fundamental philosophical principles that are "built-in" to sciences, for example? Because I am thinking that sciences uniquely identified themselves with the emergence of the scientific method, which maybe is an extension of philosophy in one sense (in the sense that it clearly emerged from that more "comprehensive" type of knowledge that predated it). But merits its own identity owing to the meteoric rise of technology coinciding with its level of adoption and application.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    While not every student can contribute to the body of knowledge of philosophy in a significant way, the body of knowledge of philosophy can contribute to the constitution of each student, as a human being. So philosophical principles and methods can shape an individual's nature and be reflected in an individual's actions, thereby helping to shape society. So, in a practical sense, philosophy can shape the world.

    The true value of philosophy is how much we allow ourselves to be shaped by it.

    Perhaps Philosophy pertains uniquely to the "value" sphere, as it is so commonly contrasted with science. Is there an ethical correlate to the scientific method, whose application can be seen to have fostered the development of the most enlightened minds?
  • Joshs
    5.2k
    Are you saying that there are fundamental philosophical principles that are "built-in" to sciences, for example?Pantagruel

    Yes, and as those principles evolve, so do the grounding assumptions of the sciences, including what the scientific method is, whether there is one method, whether it is unchanging, whether there is any way to tease out what is purely empirical from what is philosophical, etc.
  • PhilosophyRunner
    302
    Perhaps Philosophy pertains uniquely to the "value" sphere, as it is so commonly contrasted with science. Is there an ethical correlate to the scientific method, whose application can be seen to have fostered the development of the most enlightened minds?Pantagruel

    Yes. It is the old is/ought divide. Philosophy is uniquely useful on the ought side.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Yes. It is the old is/ought divide. Philosophy is uniquely useful on the ought side.PhilosophyRunner

    And does it exhibit a clear benefit in developing minds the way that science does in developing technologies? Is such a progressive evolution even happening at all? Presumably we are continuously becoming "more" than we were. As the nature of the world we inhabit expands along with our scientific awareness of it, our adaptation to the world must also proceed.
  • LuckyR
    380


    Definitely. Ecology values diversity and native species. Economics values wealth creation. Psychology values psychological "norms".
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Definitely. Ecology values diversity and native species. Economics values wealth creation. Psychology values psychological "norms".LuckyR

    Hmm. Are you suggesting these are sciences where "value" enters in? Because, just to continue the science/philosophy dichotomy, you could call those the quantitative measures of those fields. Stipulating the psychology is of the behaviourist flavour. Valuing psychological evidence isn't evidence of the existence of 'ought' type values.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    I know this is a bit different than what you are getting at, but there is an important sense in which philosophy was never relevant. Socrates was executed; Aristotle fled for his life; Plato felt impotent before the Athenian polis and the demos; the Hellenistic philosophers were very often proto-monastic groups, living apart from society and its norms. Philosophy was often granted importance where there was religious ascendency, but that has now passed. In many ways our modern pragmatism which is averse to philosophy is not so different from the past.
  • Joshs
    5.2k


    I know this is a bit different than what you are getting at, but there is an important sense in which philosophy was never relevant.Leontiskos

    Good point. The fringe role philosophy played with respect to establishment culture may also be marked by the fact that so many notable philosophers worked outside of academia.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    Right. I think philosophy only flourishes on a societal level through benefactors, which can include the State. If philosophy is at heart an end in itself, then it should come as no surprise that it is not viewed as instrumentally valuable. Of course it does tend to overflow itself and produce valuable things, but once it is subordinated for the sake of those things it becomes something other than philosophy. It's an interesting tension, but one which will always plague the highest things (ends in themselves).
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Of course it does tend to overflow itself and produce valuable thingsLeontiskos

    Well that is the question, are there valuable things of which it is inherently productive. I was suggesting at a social level that it produces 'philosophical minds' that live and act in philosophical ways. And wondering if there is some kind of ongoing evolution of social consciousness measurable by some philosophical yardstick.
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    Maybe more than ever. We face problems the human species has never seen before, and are also at the very cutting edge of new discoveries in almost all fields of knowledge, we need to make some sense of all these things.

    And, we have the old Chesnuts - the problems that remain since Plato, which we are still wrestling with.
  • Fooloso4
    5.5k
    there is an important sense in which philosophy was never relevant.Leontiskos

    I think this overstates the case. We still read Plato and Aristotle. They played the long political game and made significant advances for freedom of inquiry and thought.

    The philosopher has established his place in the cave alongside the poets, theologians, politicians, and sophists. The relationship between the philosopher and the city rests on two things: the return to the cave and their being able to mind their own business. The former is done in part for the sake of the latter. If the tension between the city and philosophy is to be managed the philosopher must prove to be of benefit to the city. The extent that this is no longer a primary problem is a testament to the success of philosopher. While Plato created a civic religion, its effectiveness depends on the appearance of being something else, namely the truth.

    I agree with Nietzsche:

    THE REAL PHILOSOPHERS, HOWEVER, ARE COMMANDERS AND LAW-GIVERS; they say: "Thus SHALL it be!" They determine first the Whither and the Why of mankind, and thereby set aside the previous labour of all philosophical workers, and all subjugators of the past--they grasp at the future with a creative hand, and whatever is and was, becomes for them thereby a means, an instrument, and a hammer. Their "knowing" is CREATING, their creating is a law-giving, their will to truth is--WILL TO POWER. --Are there at present such philosophers? Have there ever been such philosophers? MUST there not be such philosophers some day? . . . (BGE, 211)

    While much is made of Nietzsche’s Dionysian desires, it is the Apollonian maxim: know thyself, that is central to Nietzsche. But to know yourself you must become who you are. This is not a matter of discovery but of creation. Nietzsche takes the exhortation to become who you are from the Greek poet Pindar. For both Plato and Nietzsche philosophy is a form of poiesis.. Their knowing is creating. The "ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry" is an interfamilial matter.

    Studying and teaching philosophy does not make one a "real philosopher". Like Plato, Nietzsche is an elitist. The real philosopher is the rare exception. Whatever light the philosopher brings to the cave it remains a cave. The transformation brought about by philosophy is self-transformation.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    Oh, I see. Yes, I think you are right. Philosophy does contribute in that way.

    ---



    Yes, I agree with much of that, although I prefer Plato to Nietzsche. I tend to think that Nietzsche's emphasis on will deviates too far from Apollo.
  • Fooloso4
    5.5k
    I prefer Plato to Nietzsche.Leontiskos

    I prefer Plato to Platonism. And Nietzsche plays a role in making that distinction.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    While others could become the stuff of history? Does philosophy still contribute? When you are reading it, do you feel you are contributing?Pantagruel

    It's certainly possible to live a rich and rewarding life without making a study of philosophy. But aren't all human knowledge projects founded on presuppositions based on philosophy? Can we escape philosophy? The question seems to point to awareness - to what extent will we make the effort to examine our beliefs and values and the source of our presuppositions?

    Studying and teaching philosophy does not make one a "real philosopher". Like Plato, Nietzsche is an elitist. The real philosopher is the rare exception. Whatever light the philosopher brings to the cave it remains a cave. The transformation brought about by philosophy is self-transformation.Fooloso4

    This resonates with me.

    While much is made of Nietzsche’s Dionysian desires, it is the Apollonian maxim: know thyself, that is central to Nietzsche. But to know yourself you must become who you are. This is not a matter of discovery but of creation. Nietzsche takes the exhortation to become who you are from the Greek poet Pindar.Fooloso4

    Does this mean we can't really 'know' unless we are engaged in an active process of transformation? How do we know what self we should create? What is the starting point? And is becoming who we are a potential multiplicity of selves?
  • jgill
    3.6k
    When you are reading it, do you feel you are contributing?Pantagruel

    More so when you write or speak it I suspect. Where does philosophy drift into reflection and, in the sciences, speculation? Are there lines of demarcation?

    How much more can one learn by reading and rereading works produced hundreds if not thousands of years ago? At least the thread on agential reality has a freshening quality.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    The interesting thing about Nietzsche, and especially the quote you provided, it that it somewhat undermines one of the premises that @Pantagruel is entertaining. Namely, Pantagruel seems to be considering the idea that philosophy produces a cumulative effect on society, such that philosophers all pull in one direction and the more philosophers there are, the more the world moves in that "philosophical" direction. The idea is that the effect that philosophy has on society is a determinate effect, pulling in one particular direction.

    But Nietzsche's "real philosopher" would "set aside the previous labour of all philosophical workers." It is not clear that the Nietzschean philosophers would pull in the same direction, and because of this we wouldn't be justified in thinking that philosophy writ large could move society in a determinate direction. It would then seem that there are different theories of philosophy on offer.
  • LuckyR
    380
    Hmm. Are you suggesting these are sciences where "value" enters in? Because, just to continue the science/philosophy dichotomy, you could call those the quantitative measures of those fields. Stipulating the psychology is of the behaviourist flavour. Valuing psychological evidence isn't evidence of the existence of 'ought' type values


    Well, psychology saying we "ought" not be antisocial is valuing the common outlook over the outlier 2% that (let's be honest) preys on the other 98%. Just as economics saying we "ought" to make macroeconomic changes to encourage growth at the expense, say of inhabitants of where resources are mined.
  • PhilosophyRunner
    302
    And does it exhibit a clear benefit in developing minds the way that science does in developing technologies? Is such a progressive evolution even happening at all? Presumably we are continuously becoming "more" than we were. As the nature of the world we inhabit expands along with our scientific awareness of it, our adaptation to the world must also proceed.Pantagruel

    Yes it does. It gives people tools with which to explore their beliefs, views, values, underlying assumptions, etc in a way that science alone can't. While science indeed gives us a tool to explore the world in ways philosophy alone can't. Both are needed.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Yes it does. It gives people tools with which to explore their beliefs, views, values, underlying assumptions, etc in a way that science alone can't. While science indeed gives us a tool to explore the world in ways philosophy alone can't. Both are needed.PhilosophyRunner

    :up:
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    How much more can one learn by reading and rereading works produced hundreds if not thousands of years ago?jgill

    How much is the quality of the experience of the present enhanced through understanding of the past? How much does understanding enhance experience?
  • jgill
    3.6k
    How much is the quality of the experience of the present enhanced through understanding of the past?Pantagruel

    Good point. If I answer as a mathematician, I would say a little, but not very much. I already had a PhD before I looked carefully into the subject as it existed two thousand years ago. I did ponder platonic entities for a brief spell, and the fatigued conundrum of whether math is created or discovered.

    How much does understanding enhance experience?Pantagruel

    The "understanding" of the ancients is pleasant to contemplate, but largely eclipsed by what has been discovered in recent times. Understanding is debatable.

    As for answering as a human being, I got very little out of philosophy until I read Sartre and found I was an existentialist.

    Good thread. :up:
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    As for answering as a human being, I got very little out of philosophy until I read Sartre and found I was an existentialist.jgill

    Sartre is a great starting point for embracing the power of human choice. I still advocate his notion of 'radical freedom' often.
  • Paine
    2k

    The end of 'metaphysics' is argued in certain theses. Well, there they are, to be discussed.

    What is a dialectic that could talk about it? An odd conversation bent upon stopping conversations?
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.6k


    If it's not empirical, and it's not mathematics, it's irrelevant.

    Maybe that leaves room for something we could still call philosophy, I don't know.
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    While much is made of Nietzsche’s Dionysian desires, it is the Apollonian maxim: know thyself, that is central to Nietzsche. But to know yourself you must become who you are. This is not a matter of discovery but of creation. Nietzsche takes the exhortation to become who you are from the Greek poet Pindar. For both Plato and Nietzsche philosophy is a form of poiesis. Their knowing is creating.

    Whatever light the philosopher brings to the cave it remains a cave. The transformation brought about by philosophy is self-transformation.
    Fooloso4
    :100: :fire:
  • Janus
    15.5k
    Philosophy as poetry or poesis... concept creation and self-making and self-transforming?
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