what qualifies a person as a philosopher?

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Petrovich phil
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 02:29 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
on a side note, whatever happened to being paid for simply being a philosopher? it would help in this day and age.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 02:39 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
"The Master said, "If the scholar be not grave, he will not call
forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid."

That's...not...an argument. It is a conditional statement, but as such, there is absolutely no argument contained in the above section. There are a number of propositions which are being affirmed, but the affirmation of propositions does not suffice either for arguments or for philosophy.

The thing about eastern "philosophy" is that it is inextricably bound (and I wish I had my copy of Fr. Copleston's History of Philosophy Volume I to quote from) to Eastern religion. The "philosophy" does not stand alone.

Of course, this may seem wierd to you for me to say this, given that I am a Bonaventurian. "But Bonaventurian," you will surely say, "everything that you say is wrapped up with your beliefs, and with God, and your Lord Jesus Christ!" And I agree.

But the thing about even Mideival philosophy is that philosophy nonetheless stands alone. Even if St. Augustine wrote everything in a religious context, his philosophy nonetheless stands on the reason and on rational arguments.

St. Augustine, for example, argues basically along these lines (not in these words, of course, but certainly in this spirit): "God is He-Whose-essence-is-to be. Speaking a plurality of words is sequential. A temporal sequence tends towards not being. Therefore, God speaks only a single, Eternal Word."

There is present from Thales to Bl. John Duns Scotus... even to Nietzsche to Heidegger and on... a thing called...a...uh...what's it called...oh yeah...a syllogism. Even Heraclitus, who had no problem throwing the law of non contradiction out of the window, used rational argument. "Writing is both straight and crooked," he says.

And for this reason we can safely say that Socrates was a philosopher and Confucius was not. I want you to read the defense of Helen by one of the Sophists (I forget which) and tell me that there's no obvious use of rational argument (an errant use, but a use nonetheless).

Either she was raped, conquered by love, or persuaded by words. Regardless of which, she's not to be blamed. Therefore, she's blameless.

It was in this "scene" in which Socrates "sprung," so to speak, and it was with this general sort of "tool" so to speak that He argued.

Confucius taught "wisdom."

Socrates loved wisdom, but considered himself wisest in realizing that he had none. He went around Athens showing "wise" men that they weren't wise at all, using his Socratic dialectic.

There is a very distinct difference between the way that Protagoras, Gorgias, and Socrates (as shown in the Apology) went about things and the way that Confucius went about things.

Even the Sophists weren't just "teachers." They were persuaders. They argued. They disputed. They syllogized (even if the syllogisms were wrong).
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 02:44 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
The difference is the difference in cultures. You come from a very rational culture. The Eastern way is more based in intuition. Thus, it does not rely on argument. But thanks for pretty much defining what qualifies a Western Philosopher.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 02:47 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
The difference is the difference in cultures. You come from a very rational culture. The Eastern way is more based in intuition. Thus, it does not rely on argument. But thanks for pretty much defining what qualifies a Western Philosopher.


I suppose our disagreement lies in this: I consider philosophy a science. As a science, it relies on a method. In the sentiments of the Romans, "logic is the propadeutic to philosophy."
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 02:56 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
Philosophy cannot be a science. It requires far too much intuition and induction to ever be a science.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 03:02 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
Philosophy cannot be a science. It requires far too much intuition and induction to ever be a science.


Obviously, I disagree. Philosophy for me is the uncovering an underlying intelligible structure. Philosophy as a science has an object. Philosophy is the method whereby we comprehend that object.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 03:08 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
You just described any type of knowledge acquisition. I would hardly consider the cycle of observation, comprehension, and retention to be philosophy. Philosophy is rather a sort of curiosity to open up the mind to potential incoming knowledge.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 03:09 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
You just described any type of knowledge acquisition. I would hardly consider the cycle from observation, comprehension, and retention to be philosophy.


I gave you a two part definition. There is the method, and then there is the object. The object is the underyling intelligable structure. It is, as Nietzsche says, a view of the whole.

Scientists don't have a view of the whole in that respect.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 03:11 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
Philosophy is largely to do with set theory.
Philosophy is the set of all types of knowledge:
A fusion of math, science, religion, logic, art, statistics, humor, medicine, mysticism, music, poetry, economics... etc

Thus a philosopher would have to be well-versed in all the 'fruit of the muses'.
So get practicing with those bagpipes, Jock!

In many ways Philosophy is the embryo of a 'Theory of Everything', and so when we deconstruct this to The-ology, we actually are confronted with the notion that philosophy is True Religion, and True Religion, is Philosophy.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 03:23 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Bonaventurian wrote:
I'm obviously assuming that Plato isn't a liar.
But you're not considering that he was idealizing his mentor and using him as a voice for his own philosophy. And while the Apology is probably the most accurate historical depiction of Socrates, you cannot assume that the whole content of the Apology (let alone Plato's whole philosophical elaboration, like the Republic) really represent what Socrates was like.

We don't know.

Confucius' writings were also mostly by his students, so we don't know how much is directly attributable to him. And that's not the only similarity with Socrates -- Confucius also presented himself as a transmitter of information, but knowing nothing. But the difference here is that there was no towering figure like Plato among his students.

And as for whether you regard Confucius' writings as philosophical, I think that with enough attention them you probably would find them to meet this description. He was deeply conservative and moralistic, and developed a whole ethical system based on these principles. Unlike Plato he didn't search for a first principle -- but like Plato, like Aristotle, like Kant, he was interested in the ought.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 04:09 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
But you're not considering that he was idealizing his mentor and using him as a voice for his own philosophy. And while the Apology is probably the most accurate historical depiction of Socrates, you cannot assume that the whole content of the Apology (let alone Plato's whole philosophical elaboration, like the Republic) really represent what Socrates was like.

We don't know.

Confucius' writings were also mostly by his students, so we don't know how much is directly attributable to him. And that's not the only similarity with Socrates -- Confucius also presented himself as a transmitter of information, but knowing nothing. But the difference here is that there was no towering figure like Plato among his students.

And as for whether you regard Confucius' writings as philosophical, I think that with enough attention them you probably would find them to meet this description. He was deeply conservative and moralistic, and developed a whole ethical system based on these principles. Unlike Plato he didn't search for a first principle -- but like Plato, like Aristotle, like Kant, he was interested in the ought.


I've asked this question before, and I'll ask it again:

What's the difference between Confucius and say...Homer, Hesiod, or someone like Jesus? What's the defining difference (aside from Christ being God-man and Confucius not)?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 04:21 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Bonaventurian wrote:
I've asked this question before, and I'll ask it again:

What's the difference between Confucius and say...Homer, Hesiod, or someone like Jesus? What's the defining difference (aside from Christ being God-man and Confucius not)?


CULTURE. As I have said numerous times there is a fundamental difference between the philosophy of the East and the West.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 05:00 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
CULTURE. As I have said numerous times there is a fundamental difference between the philosophy of the East and the West.


You and I both know that's not a good answer. Philosophy transcends culture. What truth a philosopher discovers is true for everyone.

You wouldn't say that there is a fundamental difference between the biology of the East and the West, would you? No. It either is biology or it ain't.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 05:15 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
Looking from the lens of Western culture, it seems that philosophy transcends culture. You are not understanding the fact that the dominant type of thinking in Eastern philosophy is fundamentally different than the West. Because the thinking is of a different style the philosophy necessarily reflects this difference.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 05:46 pm
@Theaetetus,
T, I'm gonna outright ask you:

Would you say that biology (especially with respect to method) can be different in the East than in the West?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 09:40 am
@Bonaventurian,
Bonaventurian wrote:
What's the difference between Confucius and say...Homer, Hesiod, or someone like Jesus?
Homer didn't even exist. He's a legendary figure. But that's besides the point; he and Hesiod were story tellers.

Jesus was more similar to Confucius in that Jesus had an ethical and philosophical system; but the difference is that in Confucius' case the ethical system is much more elaborate and systematized than in the early Christian system (which was more mystical than philosophical at first).

Bonaventurian wrote:
Would you say that biology (especially with respect to method) can be different in the East than in the West?
No. It's just culture. Plenty of 20th century novelists and scientists from "the east" show that they're just as capable of adopting our kind of thought processes; and it works the other way too, with a lot of westerners emulating traditional eastern systems of thought. Nothing biological about it.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 11:07 am
@Bonaventurian,
Bonaventurian wrote:
T, I'm gonna outright ask you:

Would you say that biology (especially with respect to method) can be different in the East than in the West?


It would depend on the time frame. Are you talking about Aristotelian biology or modern biology? In 400 BC I would say yes, but today I would say no. It is the same divide as the philosophy argument.
 
ratta
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 05:57 am
@jgweed,
ull have to be a ly flea to catch me
 
Nashloke
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:36 am
@ltdaleadergt,
They say the best philosophers of the world are children.It's about questioning life,everything in it when where you stand in this context.If you ask and look for answers,you're philosopher
 
Henrik phil
 
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:50 pm
@bryan phil,
What qualifies a person as a philosopher depends on who makes this qualification about the person.
 
 

 
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