What makes a good philosopher?

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hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 12:04 pm
I believe that in order to be a good philosopher one must do the following things:

1. Rid themselves of anthropocentricity.

2. Think critically about all arguments, including their own; and follow a logical conclusion to wherever it may lead.

3. Accept the truth, even when it's inconvenient.

4. Balance emotion with logic.

I would sum up a bad philosopher with the following sentence:

The hallmark of a bad philosopher is that they seek appeasement first and truth second.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 12:39 pm
@hue-man,
I agree with 2 and with 4 (to an extent).
3. Seems to beg the question whether there is A truth about something. I tend to see truth as perspectival, relative to a horizon of discourse, and capable of many gradations of meaning.
1. I happen to take the position that humans ARE the central element in the universe, without whom the universe is meaningless, and that a good part of reality is socially constructed. I don't think that makes me a bad philosopher.
Regards,
John
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 01:01 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;71128 wrote:
I agree with 2 and with 4 (to an extent).
3. Seems to beg the question whether there is A truth about something. I tend to see truth as perspectival, relative to a horizon of discourse, and capable of many gradations of meaning.
1. I happen to take the position that humans ARE the central element in the universe, without whom the universe is meaningless, and that a good part of reality is socially constructed. I don't think that makes me a bad philosopher.
Regards,
John


So that before there were people there was no universe. Of course, if meaningfulness concerns only people, then if there are no people, then the universe would be meaningless. But that doesn't mean that there would not be objects, like the Moon or stars. In fact, we know there was the Moon and stars before there were people.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 01:14 pm
@kennethamy,
From a metaphysical point of view, the universe is meaningless. From an axiological point of view, the universe's meaning is subjective ( dependent on a percipient).
 
Lily
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 01:54 pm
@hue-man,
A good philosopher has to be able to think outside what he/she is bought up to belive, and always ask questions, think ouside the box. A bad philosopher is a narrowminded one.
 
EquesLignite
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 01:58 pm
@hue-man,
Just throwing a question to everyone, do you think a good philosopher should necesarily construct a philosophical system? Aristotle and Hegel certainly did at least attempt to make a coherent system, but many equally great philosophers did not build any system.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 11:56 pm
@hue-man,
No. I think the downfall of many philosophers are the systems that the create. Most of the time they read fine in the books, but when applied to the real world they are a little too rigid and begin to fall apart.

I think the only thing a good philosopher needs to do is use the dialectic in order to get to the bottom of problems of the day. But the dialectic is not a system, but rather a method much like the scientific method.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:38 am
@hue-man,
Whether one constructs an architectonic system or not probably depends on how one understands the world, and how one approaches its description. More recent philosophers seem to be satisfied with taking or a microscopic view of a problem and trying to resolve that small portion of the world.

Or: it may be that the increasing complexity of the world, and the rapidity with which it changes, make creating a system extremely difficult. The increase in philosophical communication throughout the world, moreover, seems to preclude a more or less stable base of thought that would allow time to contemplate and create an all-inclusive system.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:47 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;71128 wrote:
I tend to see truth as perspectival, relative to a horizon of discourse, and capable of many gradations of meaning.


Perspectivism, huh? I started a thread about the Nietzschean 'theory' in the epistemology forum.

http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/epistemology/4867-problem-perspectivism.html
 
Theages
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 01:17 pm
@hue-man,
Honesty is the most important trait a philosopher can have. Most philosophers don't have it.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 01:47 pm
@Theages,
To be able to ask the next question.
 
Lily
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:52 pm
@hue-man,
A philosopher has to be brave, to dare to ask, regardless what the anwer might be. And a philosopher must want the answer, and never stop looking for it.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:54 pm
@Lily,
Lily;71485 wrote:
A philosopher has to be brave, to dare to ask, regardless what the anwer might be. And a philosopher must want the answer, and never stop looking for it.


Totally agree Lily.

Throughout history, some of the greatest philosophers have been persecuted for asking questions and relating their thoughts. It takes a brave person to say something that the majority doesn't want to hear.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:25 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71486 wrote:
Totally agree Lily.

Throughout history, some of the greatest philosophers have been persecuted for asking questions and relating their thoughts. It takes a brave person to say something that the majority doesn't want to hear.

Rich


How would it follow from the fact that great philosophers have been persecuted for asking questions, and relating their thoughts, that good philosophers are philosophers who ask questions, and who relate their thoughts? Much less than it follows that good philosophers are brave persons who say what the majority does not want to hear? What is suppose to be the connection? Why can't someone be an excellent philosopher who is no brave, and who never says anything other do not want to hear? I would think that a good philosopher is someone who is good at philosophy, just as a good carpenter is good at at carpenting, or a good plumber is good at plumbing. They don't have to be brave.
 
validity
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 06:23 pm
@hue-man,
I think a good philosopher starts by challenging assumptions and asking questions about "the question" rather than immediately seeking an answer to the question itself. I can not recall if I heard or read this, but if it is someone's else quote, I apologise for not acknowledging that person

"Philosophers refine questions rather than answer them."

I guess what I am saying is that if an answer about something is knowable or known, then that something is no longer a concern of philosophy but rather becomes a subject for science. Thats seems to be the progression of things in the past eg cosmology, psychology etc. Newtons great work The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy was considered philosophy in the 1700's but is now considered a science.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 06:32 pm
@validity,
validity;71540 wrote:
I think a good philosopher starts by challenging assumptions and asking questions about "the question" rather than immediately seeking an answer to the question itself. I can not recall if I heard or read this, but if it is someone's else quote, I apologise for not acknowledging that person

"Philosophers refine questions rather than answer them."

I guess what I am saying is that if an answer about something is knowable or known, then that something is no longer a concern of philosophy but rather becomes a subject for science. Thats seems to be the progression of things in the past eg cosmology, psychology etc. Newtons great work The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy was considered philosophy in the 1700's but is now considered a science.



Anyone can challenge assumptions, why should that make anyone good at philosophy? Philosophers do refine questions, and doing that is a part of being good at philosophy, I agree. But why, if they refine questions, should they not try to answer them? In fact, it often turn out that after the question has been refined, it may be that the answer is now obvious, or even that there was really no question there to start with, but only confusion, and the refining has exposed the confusion.
 
validity
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:11 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;71543 wrote:
Anyone can challenge assumptions, why should that make anyone good at philosophy? Philosophers do refine questions, and doing that is a part of being good at philosophy, I agree. But why, if they refine questions, should they not try to answer them? In fact, it often turn out that after the question has been refined, it may be that the answer is now obvious, or even that there was really no question there to start with, but only confusion, and the refining has exposed the confusion.
I think that if a philosopher does not begin by challenging any assumptions or at least recognising any grey areas in any assumptions, then that philospher fails in being a good philosopher, because the validity of any answer is unknown.

kennethamy;71543 wrote:
Philosophers do refine questions, and doing that is a part of being good at philosophy, I agree. But why, if they refine questions, should they not try to answer them? In fact, it often turn out that after the question has been refined, it may be that the answer is now obvious, or even that there was really no question there to start with, but only confusion, and the refining has exposed the confusion.
I did not say good philosophers should not try to answer questions, I said a good philosopher should start by asking questions about "the question" rather than immediately seeking an answer to the question itself.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:29 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;71533 wrote:
How would it follow from the fact that great philosophers have been persecuted for asking questions, and relating their thoughts, that good philosophers are philosophers who ask questions, and who relate their thoughts? Much less than it follows that good philosophers are brave persons who say what the majority does not want to hear? What is suppose to be the connection? Why can't someone be an excellent philosopher who is no brave, and who never says anything other do not want to hear? I would think that a good philosopher is someone who is good at philosophy, just as a good carpenter is good at at carpenting, or a good plumber is good at plumbing. They don't have to be brave.


I simply said that a good philosopher should ask the next question.

Rich

---------- Post added at 08:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:29 PM ----------

validity;71546 wrote:
I think that if a philosopher does not begin by challenging any assumptions or at least recognising any grey areas in any assumptions, then that philospher fails in being a good philosopher, because the validity of any answer is unknown.

I did not say good philosophers should not try to answer questions, I said a good philosopher should start by asking questions about "the question" rather than immediately seeking an answer to the question itself.


Yes, I agree. It begins with the question.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 09:06 pm
@validity,
validity;71546 wrote:
I think that if a philosopher does not begin by challenging any assumptions or at least recognising any grey areas in any assumptions, then that philospher fails in being a good philosopher, because the validity of any answer is unknown.

I did not say good philosophers should not try to answer questions, I said a good philosopher should start by asking questions about "the question" rather than immediately seeking an answer to the question itself.


Why should he challenge assumptions that are obviously true? That would be a waste of time, it seems to me. I don't think the truth (I don't know what you might mean by, "validity") of any answer is unknown. For example, the answer to the question, what is the capital of Ecuador is well-known, It is, Quito. Of course, the answers to some questions are unknown at this time. For instance, is there life elsewhere than on Earth? But we have many answers to many questions which we know are true. It is hard to understand why you would say that we don't know the answer to any question. That is patently false.

Again, it would depend on the nature of the question being asked. It might well be a waste of time to ask questions the answers to which are obvious.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 09:46 pm
@validity,
validity;71540 wrote:
I think a good philosopher starts by challenging assumptions and asking questions about "the question" rather than immediately seeking an answer to the question itself. I can not recall if I heard or read this, but if it is someone's else quote, I apologise for not acknowledging that person

"Philosophers refine questions rather than answer them."

I guess what I am saying is that if an answer about something is knowable or known, then that something is no longer a concern of philosophy but rather becomes a subject for science. Thats seems to be the progression of things in the past eg cosmology, psychology etc. Newtons great work The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy was considered philosophy in the 1700's but is now considered a science.


You're correct. Natural philosophy was the precursor of the natural sciences. The empirical method made natural philosophy an experimental activity, unlike the rest of philosophy, and it eventually came to be known as the field of science by the end of the eighteenth century to distinguish it from philosophy.

Natural philosophy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 

 
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