Comments

  • Nihilism and Horror Philosophy
    I think a TV show that better encapsulates Horror Philosophy would be True Detective (at least the first season).Maw


    ...And True Detective was effectively based on philosophical literature, like Thomas Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, Ray Brassier's Nihil Unbound, and David Benatar's Better Never To Have Been.

    I do think my negative outlook on life was "eventual" in some sense, as I have a disposition to see flaws and have always been skeptical. If it wasn't this it would have been that, but it was True Detective that formally introduced me to pessimistic philosophy. The show is edgy af but then again so is some of the pessimistic literature (also I agree with Maw that the first season is superior than the second).

    I'm also in debt to True Detective for getting me into doom metal and psychedelic rock. For example, this song by The Black Angels:



    In regards to "horror" philosophy in general, I do find it to be cathartic and revealing in some ways, but I am also fundamentally repelled by the idea of actually enjoying horror if we're being philosophical. If you're enjoying horror, it means you're still considering it entertainment. In my opinion, it's not truly horror unless you actually legitimately wished you hadn't read that book or watched that movie.

    That's what people like Nietzsche, Freud and Zapffe were going on about, how people can't handle too much truth, that truth isn't comfortable. I think Ligotti once said that truth will leave you empty handed on the side of the road wondering why you even pursued it in the first place. It destroys your beliefs, illusions, and securities and leaves you naked and afraid. This is ultimately why I am very hesitant to explain some of my philosophical beliefs to other people, as I don't know how they'll react. For all I know they might react in a very poor way, similar to how I reacted when I was initially introduced to pessimism (which is embarrassing looking back).

    To be honest, valuing truth even when it's horrible is just a coping mechanism, I think. It's a transcendental (escape) "I'm holier than thou" attitude to make up for the fact that it's not exactly comfortable to believe these sorts of things about life. I know Cioran once said in The Book of Delusions:

    "A regret understood by no one: the regret to be a pessimist. It’s not easy to be on the wrong foot with life."

    Now of course I will admit that modalities like horror can be cathartic, and that's fine. But if you go beyond catharsis and start glorifying horror and pessimism (as shows like True Detective have the tendency to do), you end up leaving behind the essence of pessimism in favor of a shallow aesthetic.

    It's telling, to me at least, that the ending of the first season of True Detective was the way it was. It ended on a "positive" and "hopeful" note. People were sucked into the show because of its novel pessimism and cathartic nature but ultimately there was an expectation that it would end in an affirmative vindication of life. And that's exactly what it did, and this is exactly why it's ultimately shallow. Without a good reason to affirm life and existence in general, the act of affirmation becomes a bitch-slap cop-out.

    The other thing that tends to repel me from "horror" philosophy is that it almost seems like sometimes the writers are intentionally trying to construe things to be horrific. Which, if done for the sake of intellectual exploration, is fine. But certainly I think pessimism has been a marginalized philosophy that hasn't been taken seriously, and one of the consequences of this is that it hasn't been subjected to any serious objections (perhaps there are none?) So I think if there's anything to criticize the "pessimists" for, it would be the tendency to exaggerate certain aspects of life. Pessimism has been going under the radar since practically its "inception" in literature like Ecclesiastes and hasn't been given the time is deserves, which means it's been marginalized but also means that there hasn't been any real opposition (except perhaps Nietzsche or Camus) to draw the line in the sand and say "that's pessimism enough, now you're taking things too far". An example of this would be Zapffe's contemporary Herman Tønnesen who wanted to "out-Zapffe" Zapffe. Is this really the search for an unambiguous description of existence, or was Tønnesen just trying to compete with Zapffe and see who could be more pessimistic?
  • What's wrong with fascism?
    in short: the ideal state the fascists want only can exist as an mobilizing ideal. (so, yeah, a lot like permanent revolution.)csalisbury

    Right, exactly. Fascism only works (well?) when there's conflict and strife. The fascist state runs on fumes and always has to expand and consume to make up for this deficiency.
  • What's wrong with fascism?
    So, what's wrong with fascism?Question

    It's fascism.
  • Heidegger's ontology of others is solipsistic. Others are not contingent upon 'being-with'.
    Also, 'being-with' in Heidegger's ontology seems open to accusations of solipsism? Other people in Heidegger's ontology seems to me, as something which can be reduced to just an aspect of ones experience. As in, others can be reduced to NOTHING MORE than ones experience of 'being-with' others. That there is no actual others out there, rather there's just this ontological mode of experience one is in, which is 'being-with'. Or not, as the case may be - for the desert island person for example.dukkha

    If I remember correctly, this is one of the points that Levinas, one of Heidegger's contemporaries, differs from Heidegger. For Levinas, Ethics is first philosophy, as when we are approached by the Other, we are subjected to a demand - "do not kill me", "recognize me", "I am not you", etc. We are given this responsibility towards the Other that we have to fulfill in order to justify ourSELVES.

    Heidegger avoids placing any value on Being. This is precisely the fundamental point I find questionable in his ontology. The fact that there is a care structure, anxiety, the sense of the Other, etc. is because there is an implicit value generation going on.
  • Are humans bad at philosophy?
    You always hear people say that philosophy makes no progress and that the same philosophical problems which were already preoccupying the Greeks are still troubling us today. But people who say that do not understand the reason why it has to be so. The reason is that our language has remained the same and always introduces us to the same questions.... I read ‘philosophers are no nearer to the meaning of ‘‘reality’’ than Plato got’. What an extraordinary thing! How remarkable that Plato could get so far! Or that we have not been able to get any further! Was it because Plato was so clever? (MS 213/424)

    -Wittgenstein
  • The Shoutbox
    I call bullshit on that. Bipolar is most definitely something that needs to be treated.Michael

    I agree, the fact that people get therapy and take medication for these sorts of psychological issues seems to me to be evidence of their underlying problematic nature, even if they do allow for greater expression and creativity.
  • Downtime and SSL
    Go to the O'Reilly Auto Parts website and type in "121g" into the search bar and hit enter. :)
  • Doubting personal experience
    So what you really have are competing explanations for your experience.apokrisis

    The OP had less to do with free will per se although I appreciate your input anyway. The point I was trying to get across was that we can't "get around" that correlation between "the world" noumenon and "what we actually perceive" phenomenon.

    I'm reminded of eliminative materialism, the doctrine that denies the existence of minds. How could I be so incredibly wrong about the existence of my own mind? I am my mind, aren't I not? It seems like a non-starter.

    If you tell me that mind does not actually exist and it's just an illusion, I'm gonna wonder what else I'm hallucinating about. And so if you tell me that I am mistaken and that I have no free will, despite what I immediately perceive to be the case, what reason do I have to trust anything else? If you're telling me to discard something I have a clear experience of having, what reason do I have to accept what you're providing as an alternative? How can "further away" knowledge refute closer-at-hand knowledge without putting itself into doubt?

    So when someone says "you have no free will", they are asking me to question something that I have a very close-to-home experience of having. There of course could be explanations and plausible theories as to why I experience what I experience, but the fact is that these theories rest on a "secondary level" of knowledge, for lack of a better term. What I experience immediately, up front and close, is the best information I have. A crude analogy would be an amateur telling an expert they're wrong about something - there's a possibility the amateur is actually right but the epistemic judgment clearly favors the expert. Am I not the expert of my own experiences? Do we not gain epistemic fallibility the further away we get from our most personal experiences?

    Denying things like free will has the potential to put the whole project of science under doubt unless a plausible epistemology can be provided. I'm not saying it's inevitable or that it's impossible but I haven't the best idea as to how it can deal with this issue.
  • Humans are preventing natural Evolution.
    Another example would be that of requiring bike helmets to be worn on motorcycles. Laws prevent stupid people who wouldn't wear helmets from necessarily dying in accidents. Laws protecting us from our own stupidity are preventing natural Human evolution. What do you think?Javants

    I think it is an over-simplification to assume those who don't wear seat-belts, or those who make evolutionary-disadvantageous mistakes, are "stupid".

    Evolution progresses in a relatively blind manner. What works survives and what doesn't is eventually eliminated most of the time. But it's not a clean and perfect formula. An otherwise healthy and fit organism can accidentally break a bone and die a few days later. A very intelligent organism may nevertheless have an lapse of perceptive judgement and fall to their death from up high.

    Accidents are very real phenomena that are largely independent from any genetic fitness. There is no genetic code for forgetting to put on your seat belt - forgetting to put on your seat belt doesn't necessary mean you're stupid, it means your mind was elsewhere as the mind has a limited capacity. Perhaps you were late for work. Or perhaps you were thinking about what you had for dinner yesterday. This behavior is impossible to trace back to genetic code. Genes are only part of the story - an otherwise "fit" organisms may nevertheless fail in their environment simply because of accidental contingencies. Think about those tragic stories of young people who seem to have their whole life ahead of them until they die in a freak accident.

    So when you say humans are preventing natural evolution by having laws against driving without a seat-belt, this is not entirely correct as these laws are not simply in place to ensure the survival of everyone who exists. They help remind those who listen that they ought to buckle up if they want to have a better chance at surviving.

    One aspect of civilization that sets humanity apart from the rest of the biological world is the inevitable development of decadence. People who ordinarily would not survive "in the wild" are able to survive, and even "thrive" in the cocoon of society due to the increase in freedom. It is interesting to think, though, that perhaps civilization is not entirely "natural" in the sense of fitting-in with the rest of the world. Civilization, in many respects, sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to the rest of existence.
  • Turning the problem of evil on its head (The problem of good)
    So they tremendously value youth, sex, hedonism, but then of course we all know all of that will age, curdle, wither away in time. That is what gives rise to the sense of bitterness and dissappointment so often expressed in these threads.Wayfarer

    Yes, time-consciousness is a key, if not fundamental, aspect of existentialist and pessimistic philosophies. The reason these animals are "exuberant" as you say is taken to be because they aren't as conscious of themselves as we are. The more conscious you are, the more you aware you are about things. The key is to get right in that goldylocks zone, which humans are unfortunately out of.

    This, of course, is more of a symbolic story than an accurate biological history, especially in terms of animal happiness, because on average animals live fairly short lives filled with stress. Pain may even be worse for animals because they can only endure or escape, they can't fix like we can. Although the idea of a "surplus consciousness" is something from Freud and Zapffe and is a key part of things like depressive realism. Colin Feltham has a good book(s) on this.
  • What do you care about?
    What philosophical question gets under your skin?csalisbury

    How reliable are my experiences, and if I have reason to doubt the veracity of my closest experiences (like the sense of free will) do I have even more reason to doubt that which is not as close-to-home, like scientific or moral or theological knowledge.
  • Turning the problem of evil on its head (The problem of good)
    But one of the inevitable entailements of physical existence is the possibility of accident and injury. How could it be different? In what world does nobody and nothing grow old, get hurt, or die?What religions guarantees that this is how the world ought to be?Wayfarer

    Even if it were impossible to be different, why should this change the ultimate worthiness of such a universe? Just because it's the best-possible-universe doesn't mean it's actually a good universe.

    It would be immensely sad and concerning if this really was as good as it got. I mean, this probably is why people believe in heaven after all.

    That sense of disenchantment is what gives rise to the feeling (and that is what it is) expressed so memorably by Stephen Weinberg, that 'the more the universe seems intelligible, the more it seems meaningless'.Wayfarer

    Yeah.
  • Turning the problem of evil on its head (The problem of good)
    Natural evils are things like epidemics, natural calamities, famines, and the like. And they don't seem 'evil' to me either, any more than a landslide is. It seems to me, you can't have a world where nobody dies, nobody gets sick, where there are no carnivous animals and no diseases.Wayfarer

    Why not? I can imagine a world in which that particular rabbit wasn't hit by a car last night. I can imagine a world in which that fish wasn't sucked into the motor of a maritime vessel. If I can imagine these particular cases as non-existent, why can't I imagine the entire set of particular cases as non-existent?

    I mean, sure in this day and age we can be naturalists and believe there is nothing "objectively" evil to natural disasters. But back in the age of the Pre-Socratics and before that we were animistic and believed evil gods and demons were the source of these calamities.

    The naturalistic turn, in this particular case, happened when we stopped seeing the world as divided by good and evil forces and saw it as simply indifferent. We went from seeing something that made no sense and making it meaningful to making sense of the world by realizing it makes no sense. It makes no sense for any of this to happen.
  • Why do we follow superstition?
    From my own experience, people who have superstitious beliefs often call them "traditional", "sacred" or "faith" to cushion the beliefs from rational skepticism.

    What is worrisome is just how prevalent this sort of thinking is. Even the things that usually require lots of skepticism, like science, are themselves interpreted superstitiously, i.e. the prophecy that science will deliver us from all woe and evil. It's the 21st century Oracle of Delphi.

    Probably the best defense against superstitious beliefs is to constantly go meta and analyze your foundations to make sure you're not making any ridiculous mistakes.
  • Pain and suffering in survival dynamics
    I read this on a T-shirt:

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is an option.

    What say?
    TheMadFool

    c4jt321.png
  • Why the is-ought gap is not a big deal
    Reading from a book on ethics, chapter covering moral realism, I found a quote that I think is quite relevant:

    "On the one hand, we have the idea of a moral fact as a fact about what we have reason to do or not to do. On the other, we have the idea of a moral fact in terms of what tends towards social stability and unrest. If the question is 'Which conception allows us to make the best sense of moral argument?' then the answer must surely be the former. For, to the extent that moral argument does focus on what tends towards social stability, it does so because social stability is deemed morally important, an outcome we have reason to produce.

    Indeed, it seems that even this kind of moral realist's focus on explanation pushes us back in the direction of the idea of a moral fact as a fact about what we have reason to do. For, again, to the extent that we think of right acts as acts that tend towards social stability, we think that they have this tendency because they represent the reasonable thing for people to do. It is the tendency people have to do what is reasonable that is doing the explanatory work. But that, too, simply returns us to the original conception of a moral fact in terms of what we have reason to do. (We might say similar things about the idea that we can characterize a moral fact in terms of the proper function of human beings; for insofar as we understand the idea of the 'proper function' of human beings, we think that their proper function is to be reasonable and rational.)"

    Ethics is the study of what we ought to do, based on rational reasons-for-action prescribed to individuals within or without a community. In order to be a convincing ethics, then, any normative theory needs to give good reasons for action, reasons that any rational individual will understand (and hopefully agree on).
  • Why the is-ought gap is not a big deal
    Or maybe not agree but at least you found that funny.