philosophy?
Posted: 30 September 2012 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Isnt philosophy a creation of our own interpretation of the world, fit to serve our thinking, and therefor unable to be objective and see the “whole picture” aren’t we asking the wrong question sometimes (or all the time)?

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Posted: 30 September 2012 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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As a retired physical scientist I don’t know much about philosophy, but from what I do, I’d have to answer NO.  While some who claim to be philosophers are crackpots (albeit at times brilliant ones), many do ask and examine questions that are extremely important to all of us, and come up with answers that help us consider our lives and our behavior make decisions, often much better ones. 

While we may think broadly and believe we can think universally, we are limited to our own species and neural apparatus.  We can’t think like a whale or some other species on another planet, so everything is

a creation of our own interpretation of the world

.  If you think philosophers (professional and lay) are asking the wrong question, how about you taking a crack at asking a “right” question?

I’m sure Doug can respond to this better than I have.

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Posted: 30 September 2012 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The problem is i cant, I and they may be unable to do so, we may not know what would be the “right questions” because of our limitations.
Iam interested if we can overcome that problem, and widen our horizon.

Could it be possible someday to experience another individuals consciousness as we do our own, not the in and output generated by it but really be some one (or some animal) else?
I think that would dramatically change our perspective on those topics.

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Posted: 30 September 2012 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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We have to make do with what we are.  That is, we have to live in the real world.  Maybe some day we’ll have genetic modifications and/or computer and cell phone implants that will allow us to think far beyond what we do now, and to connect with each other in the mode of a human Internet, but that’s all hypothetical.  We have to live at present within our limitations. 

My feeling is that we ask questions for which we really know there are no answers available or at least available at present, then we nitpick and play word games (that seems to be rife in this philosophy section of the forum).  As I said, I’m a pragmatist so I don’t want to waste my time on them, other than being required, as a moderator, to read everything, no matter how silly.  vampire

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Posted: 30 September 2012 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I agree, the most part of the time it leads nowhere, but sometimes these ideas may enable us to think “outside the box”.

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Posted: 30 September 2012 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Alexander80 - 30 September 2012 12:56 PM

Could it be possible someday to experience another individuals consciousness as we do our own, not the in and output generated by it but really be some one (or some animal) else?
I think that would dramatically change our perspective on those topics.

We do already. It’s called empathy.

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Posted: 01 October 2012 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Empathy is the ability to understand and recognize feelings of humans or Animals and to act based on that.
It is not what i meant.

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Posted: 01 October 2012 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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So what did you mean? McCoy storing Spock’s consciousness in his brain?

When Andrew speaks, pay attention. You may learn something…

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Posted: 01 October 2012 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Alexander80 - 30 September 2012 11:53 AM

Isnt philosophy a creation of our own interpretation of the world, fit to serve our thinking, and therefor unable to be objective and see the “whole picture” aren’t we asking the wrong question sometimes (or all the time)?

I have no idea what you think philosophy is. But if you mean academic philosophy, the answer is clearly ‘no’. Academic philosophy tries to root in clear and rigid definitions, connecting them to ideas via valid logical reasoning. That is not always easy: it is abstract, and it is easy to get lost in those abstractions (one reason why I find it important that in philosophy one is able to illustrate his ideas with clear practical examples). Therefore there is progress in philosophy: in uncovering hidden meanings of words, by showing that the validity of an idea is dependent on presuppositions, it clears up more and more.

The subject of philosophy is of course not the ‘real world’: for that we have the sciences. The subject of philosophy is the way how we think about other subjects. This can be purely descriptive, but also can have prescriptive features, e.g. when unravelling invalid modes of thought. A nice example is the demarcation between science and pseudo science. One can look how the both defer, and if one understands, can raise it to criterion for what a an activity must be in order to call it science.

Another important role for philosophy lies in its interdisciplinary character (when I studied philosophy, the philosophy department was called the ‘central interfaculty’): when sciences meet with other sciences, with politics and culture, there is a lot of misunderstanding that philosophy can help to clarify. Again, often these misunderstandings raise out of false use of concepts, use of unclear concepts, having an unclear picture of what is outside one’s own discipline, etc. (E.g. neurologists saying we have no free will use in fact the incoherent idea of libertarian free will.) In order to play that role, in my time, philosophy students had to study at least one year another science (I chose physics).

As philosophy is a discipline itself (not a science!), it of course also thinks about its own role between the sciences and other human activities. Some philosophers get lost in this area, and then it becomes intellectual masturbation. But if philosophy is strongly oriented on the sciences and is open to the human culture, it is an important discipline in helping to understand the reality we live in.

What philosophy definitely is not: venting free-wheeling ideas about everything (even about things we cannot know!) or scientific coloured speculations.

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