On a Method for Correct Philosophizing

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Ding an Sich
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:17 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;172674 wrote:
I perfectly succeded at doing so, just that you refude my evidence.


Theres nothing to refute, as your arguments are fallcious: they fail before I have the chance to do anything.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 11:53 pm
@Ding an Sich,
I think we ultimately seek a coherent system of concepts that also brings us the greatest possible joy, and that the coherence of these concepts is part of our joy. I do highly regard logic and would class it as a form of coherence. I must also again praise metaphors which cannot function in an exact way like binary propositions.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 12:28 am
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;172116 wrote:

Immediately one might object to the parts, in particular part B. They might say that Western Philosophy is too much to take in all at once, better still throughout the course of ones life. In essence it would be a burden to exhaustively go through the annals of Western Philosophy and read every one who has contributed to the subject proper. This objection will be answered with the presentation of the method itself.

It is customary in any field to familiarize oneself with those who have already addressed that topic. This is true in the sciences and even in the arts to some extent. There is no reason Philosophy should be any different. And we don't need know everything about the history of Philosophy to begin philosophizing about a particular question. Rather we investigate that particular question and survey what past philosophers have said about that particular question.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 01:08 am
@Ding an Sich,
I agree with that. But I think the OP makes a point about understanding the tradition sufficiently well to stay within its boundaries, broad though they might be. It is like Wynton Marsalis and modern jazz. He cops a lot of flak because he believes that modern jazz is a definite lineage, with particular sounds, styles, and so on, within which performers are free to improvise very widely. But some people say that he is too conservative because there are certain recognized artists that he doesn't rate as 'real jazz'. I am sympathetic to his view (although that also could be 'cause I am fifty-something...)

In some ways this is analogous. I am a very eclectic thinker, drawing on many sources other than Western Philosophy (e.g. Indian philosophy, theosophy, popular science etc...) But I still think there is something to be said for understanding where the boundaries are between all these different types of approaches, and knowing how what you are arguing does or doesn't relate to the broader tradition.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 08:16 am
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;172560 wrote:
I find this a fascinating topic. I have one objection to your method though which I'm sure can be solved when the method is further clarified.

What if you have a problem where there is a genuinely reasonable disagreement between two differing views. In pluralist society today we see so much of this and can be easily informed as to these cases where it seems both sides are reasonable. It is also in these cases where consequently I would think a history of western philosophy would not be able to do everything for you, because pluralism didn't matter back then.

I agree with your method insofar as the nature of the argument reduces to a problem of communication, but I'm not so sure that all problems can be reduced that way. Not to mention, when it comes to ethical problems there are constraints which limit one's ability to deal with the problem even if it could be reduced to a matter of proper elucidation, clarity, and communication. There's the problem of having to act out one's decisions, and not only that, but doing so under a time limit. There's the problem between the aesthetic experience and objectively applying its role in ethical decisions.

There is also the problem of how do we know we ourselves in the argument aren't constrained as to how we can communication with each other. No matter how much ingenuity, how can we know that there aren't trains of thought that both of the opposing parties aren't able to comprehend but which are necessary to solving the problem through ingenuity. This is essentially what happened when Mill tried to argue in favor of women's freedom and equal rights.

Another question I have is what does this method assume about the nature of how a problem -of a philosophical nature, which is something we'd need to know the meaning of- is solved. The way you put it, a question is raised and then it is trumped by the direction of another question that comes after through elucidation and logic. So it is not necessarily about solving the question? I would agree with this, if by the definition of a philosophical question we mean a question which directs us to the right way to seek the clarity one needs to relieve himself from a former lack of insight. But then this limits philosophical questions to the completely subjective or at least theoretical, and ethical problems need some sort of solution and practice.

Another point I wish to raise is that in a debate where a decision has to be made there is inevitably the need to understand an argument's or a perspective's place in the outcome of all the argument. For example, to what extent does religion play a role in the decision that the state must make in an ethical decision? You might say, well now we're abandoning philosophical grounds. I suppose what I would say in reply is, what philosophical grounds really are there? When this happens, when there has to be a decision or a solution that has consequences which must be 'objective', does this necessarily imply that all perspectives must show the respect of objective consideration? And I think it is here where psychology is useful. Psychology gives us an insight as to where a perspective is coming from, and what its cause is such that we can objectively consider what respect that perspective deserves. In this way we can ultimately make an objective decision when it is a political situation, and when it is a philosophical situation, we can derive how to proceed (and how not to) from what history has shown us about the behavior the 'progress' of questions in philosophy has been.


EDIT: Please ignore this post Ding, I just realized it's not what you were looking for, lol. I was way off. Unfortunately I can't do much logic yet.


Im actually glad you posted, regardless of whether or not you are acquainted with logic. I would strongly suggest, if you can, to take an introductory course in Logic, and follow it up with a Symbolic Logic course. The former you definetly need though, as that provides some sort of start into logic (trust me it greatly improves the way you think, even if its on a fundamental level).

You do bring up a good point in Ethics, as this seems to be a something that philosophy may not be able to deal with, or may have a hard time dealing with, as is understandable. Ethics is not an easy topic in philosophy and I think that it is one of the harder topics to tackle. For this reason, we should take ethical questions (in philosophy) seriously, as they do apply themselves to the world. Granted epistemology, logic, ontology, aesthetics, also make their way into the real world, but they might not necessarily be involved with interaction between one another (although Logic is pressuposed in our interaction, as we do think in terms of logic). Thank you for bringing this point up though.
 
apehead
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 11:18 am
@HexHammer,
Interesting post, Ding.

An issue I come across when attempting to talk philosophy from a classical, western perspective is the "black and white" mindset that seems so pervasive. For example,

Ding_an_Sich;172116 wrote:
Philosophy, aside from its foundation in Logic, has at its core questions that cannot be sufficiently answered (or questions that we do not think can be answered). But this begs the question, as we pressupose that these questions cannot be anwered simply because we know they cannot.


I think there might be a third way in which you can posit the inability of mortals to determine objective reality, without falling into question-begging. A simple admission of ingnorance.

"as far as I can tell, non-omniscient being are incapable of objective observation, and therefore, objective knowledge."

This way, the statement is a theory, a belief, rather than a stated "fact".

Although, this could just be semantic wrangling to ease my psyche about my hypocricy!
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 08:00 am
@apehead,
:detective:
apehead;172987 wrote:
Interesting post, Ding.

An issue I come across when attempting to talk philosophy from a classical, western perspective is the "black and white" mindset that seems so pervasive. For example,



I think there might be a third way in which you can posit the inability of mortals to determine objective reality, without falling into question-begging. A simple admission of ingnorance.

"as far as I can tell, non-omniscient being are incapable of objective observation, and therefore, objective knowledge."

This way, the statement is a theory, a belief, rather than a stated "fact".

Although, this could just be semantic wrangling to ease my psyche about my hypocricy!


And this is where representation comes in. Objects for me are things-in-themselves. We can only know of the objective knowledge of representations, and not objects themselves (or "in-themselves"). But that does not mean that we cannot have objective knowledge per se. The subject always presupposes the object, and conversely. Granted, we might not be able to have knowledge of everything, as this requires omniscience, but, from my standpoint, I am pretty sure we can have knowledge of objects in a possible experience. Things like God, Freedom, Soul do not come into this, as (at least for me) they are not in a possible experience (its impossible to prove them sufficiently). Hope this helps.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 03:53 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;174200 wrote:
The subject always presupposes the object, and conversely.


I wish more people understood this point. There are many debates on the forum about 'the mind-independent reality' of the universe. I maintain that, whatever that might be, it is not knowable to us, and to hold it up as an ideal of objectivity is illusory. I scientifically-inclined tend to idealise this concept and hold it up as that which is gradually disclosed by science. But I don't think there is any such thing - everything must exist from some viewpoint. That is my understanding of it anyway.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:04 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174361 wrote:
I wish more people understood this point. There are many debates on the forum about 'the mind-independent reality' of the universe. I maintain that, whatever that might be, it is not knowable to us, and to hold it up as an ideal of objectivity is illusory. I scientifically-inclined tend to idealise this concept and hold it up as that which is gradually disclosed by science. But I don't think there is any such thing - everything must exist from some viewpoint. That is my understanding of it anyway.



I agree. And what can sometimes be frustrating is that to mention something seemingly so dialectically obvious is often greeted with incomprehension or derision as an attack on "common sense. " Common sense is great for life but lazy in regards to serious philosophy. Just an opinion.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:04 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174361 wrote:
I wish more people understood this point. There are many debates on the forum about 'the mind-independent reality' of the universe. I maintain that, whatever that might be, it is not knowable to us, and to hold it up as an ideal of objectivity is illusory. I scientifically-inclined tend to idealise this concept and hold it up as that which is gradually disclosed by science. But I don't think there is any such thing - everything must exist from some viewpoint. That is my understanding of it anyway.


If I could shake your hand, I would do so immediately.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:08 pm
@Ding an Sich,
And the next move on the dialectical chessboard is seeing that object and subject are both distinctions imposed by what? To resolve this final dualism as Hegel and Wittgenstein arguably did. Our thoughts are simultaneously the intelligible structure of our world. Things-in-themselves exist for us only in our idea of them as outside of our experience. So they exist within our experience, as concept/form. "What we cannot think we cannot think."

In a practical sense this is all too wild. We must have our subject and object dichotomy. But dialectically it might not hold water.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:09 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;172667 wrote:

"A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring." -Wittgenstein


Great quote, thanks. It follows then that philosophers who get huffy when someone attacks their arguments are like boxers who get huffy when their opponent punches them.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:13 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;174373 wrote:
Great quote, thanks. It follows then that philosophers who get huffy when someone attacks their arguments are like boxers who get huffy when their opponent punches them.



Good point. Our arguments must be vulnerable, as we are presenting them publicly. On the other hand, personal attacks are something else. Namely an excuse not to address ideas.

Smile
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:25 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;174377 wrote:
Good point. Our arguments must be vulnerable, as we are presenting them publicly. On the other hand, personal attacks are something else. Namely an excuse not to address ideas.

Smile


Like dirty boxing or shots to the groin. But those are pretty blatant.

Arguing philosophy, like arguing politics, leads to harsh disagreement by its nature. Our ideas are somewhat personal, and attacks on them are necessarily somewhat personal. I think the metaphor used by the quote promotes an idea of philosophical discussion that is antagonistic, within as set of rules.

A boxer is just as likely to be annoyed by someone running around the ring not fighting as he is by a cheap shot. Probably much more annoyed--it goes against the "rules of boxing" just as much as a cheap shot.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:44 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;174372 wrote:
And the next move on the dialectical chessboard is seeing that object and subject are both distinctions imposed by what? To resolve this final dualism as Hegel and Wittgenstein arguably did. Our thoughts are simultaneously the intelligible structure of our world. Things-in-themselves exist for us only in our idea of them as outside of our experience. So they exist within our experience, as concept/form. "What we cannot think we cannot think."

In a practical sense this is all too wild. We must have our subject and object dichotomy. But dialectically it might not hold water.


Its not practical. It makes sense. Fitche, who dealt solely with the subject, failed because he went from the subject to the object. Materialists do this in the converse fashion. But they fail to see that once you have an object, you immediately have a subject, and conversely. You cant get away from it.

Maybe the "absolute" solves all this. That the subject and object dissolve because there is no more "otherness". Everything is collected together in a groundless way. Maybe its Schopenhauer's "Will". But I'm not ready to get into that yet. I need to think for another year or two.:Glasses:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:52 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;174381 wrote:
Like dirty boxing or shots to the groin. But those are pretty blatant.

Arguing philosophy, like arguing politics, leads to harsh disagreement by its nature. Our ideas are somewhat personal, and attacks on them are necessarily somewhat personal. I think the metaphor used by the quote promotes an idea of philosophical discussion that is antagonistic, within as set of rules.

A boxer is just as likely to be annoyed by someone running around the ring not fighting as he is by a cheap shot. Probably much more annoyed--it goes against the "rules of boxing" just as much as a cheap shot.


All this is true. Yes, our ideas are part of us. But I suppose there's a courtesy ideally involved. Boxing is an art to some degree because the form is restricted in a way a street fight is not.

I have had to deal with folks who both refuse to address my points on one hand and then proceed to attack me personally. It's not that I couldn't easily do the same but there is something disturbing about sitting at a computer to insult strangers. I suppose there is a feeling/taste element that can't be squeezed into a proposition here. And then we have the issue of metaphor, which requires interpretation, and is not even a binary proposition. "Truth is a woman." A line like that either resonates or not for someone. That sort of thing. "Reason is or ought to be a slave..." --another metaphor.I hold that the goal is not only dialectical/conceptual coherence but a greater coherence than that. For we are feeling and sensation as well as thought. Our lives as a whole strive for harmony, it seems to me. In my opinion, philosophy is sometimes just an emphasis, a pointing out. I agree with Rorty that philosophy is a genre of literature. Not that I haven't or don't enjoy the sporting aspect of it. But in the end I would argue that it's about the enrichment of life. Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 05:58 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;174388 wrote:
But I'm not ready to get into that yet. I need to think for another year or two.:Glasses:


It is admirable to know one's limits. There are more than a few around here who could benefit from some of that.

BTW, thanks for the positive feedback. I also read your post on the Fourfold Root of Sufficient Reason - first class. I intend to try and take on a more detailed reading of Kant and Schopenhauer later this year.

Jebediah;174373 wrote:
It follows then that philosophers who get huffy when someone attacks their arguments are like boxers who get huffy when their opponent punches them.


The important distinction is to be able to play the ball and not the man (to change sports analogies a little:bigsmile:)
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 06:45 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Here is my method. One word: study. Study the new philosophers, and always try to learn as much as possible even if it is difficult. If you learn, you adopt, and you evolve. Buy new books on recent debates, introductions, and whatever. Read, and internalize how philosophers argue, and debate one another. After the study, you apply the method of debate by writing. Focus on the issues, or the concepts. Just focus on how people debate. Focus on the arguments. In any case, you ought to constantly study to learn the method of study, and to use what you learn, and apply it to every you experience.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 06:57 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;172123 wrote:
Philosophy usually involves humans, as in thoughts by humans about things involving humans, by that it's very essential to take account for psycology, philosophy without a grain of psycology often fails.


Quite the opposite, I think. Good philosophy often tries to eliminate psychology as a contributing factor because psychology skews the results of philosophical investigation. I say often, because there is some good psychology-like philosophy that focuses on that part of human nature (Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky come to mind).

Husserl argued vehemently against any form of psychologism and claims that meaningful psychology rest on a type of phenomenology. He seems to be right, in the sense of psychology as a science.

Logic certaintly doesn't depend on psychology, and logic serves as a root for much recent philosophy.

---------- Post added 06-07-2010 at 09:01 PM ----------

I will take Turing one step further and say that studying is not enough. Creatively thinking about how to solve philosophical problems is also key.

My method is to study and create. I study what people write and create repsonses that involve critically thinking about what I study. It is important to write these down also and if possible to have them critiqued by those "in the know".

(post edit: Surprised that both of my posts are combined. They were seperate and unrelated posts)
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 07:23 pm
@Ding an Sich,
de Silentio

No offence, but I consider Kirkegaard the absolute most useless philosopher around, relying on empty rethorics and unrealistic ideals. "objective truth" ..eeeeh ..yearh?

Now, I have absolute no formal education, and I have a friend of mine curse and swear at me, for breaking an anecdote of his, that a whole auditorium of doctors in spe, heard and just swallowed raw.

Solve this story please.
http://www.philosophyforum.com/lounge/general-discussion/7744-greater-logic.html

Logic does depends both on psycology, intelligence and raw knowledge, else you get logical things like:

- Erasmus Montanus "mum is a rock, because rocks can't fly and mum can't fly, ergo mum is a rock!"
- "if the person floats, the person is guilty, if the person drowns, the person is innocent"
- the world is the center of the universe, as God himself put it there, that's logic.
- the world is flat
- rabbits are fish
- you are a criminal if you got flat forehead, and other suspecious looking traits!

..all ill logic from past history, so yearh ..logic alone doesn't cut it. Often simple minded people will conjour up ill logic, because they can't take any obvious factors into account.
 
 

 
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