Does Philosophy Matter?

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markoos
 
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 10:22 am
Some, many non-philosophers as any of us in a academic environment probably know all to well think that philosophy is rather pointless. We are all just sitting on our arses thinking "what if".

I'm interested to hear your defenses (or attacks) of philosophy in this regard.

Discuss. Smile
 
shadowyxgold
 
Reply Sat 31 Jan, 2009 04:45 pm
@markoos,
It matters if it matters to you. If you don't care, no need for you to think about it. If you do care, and if it interests you, then you should think about these things, and discuss them. Frankly, does it matter whether it matters or not?
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Sat 31 Jan, 2009 09:11 pm
@markoos,
The meta-matter of the meta-matter of mattering? :eek:

Anyways, philosophy by definition means 'love of study', so of course it matters! If there is no need for study, then there would be no love of it, and that is the day when philosophy will stop mattering. Until then we continue to think!
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2009 07:59 pm
@markoos,
All subjects of study entail philosophy.
There is no science without the philosophy of science.

Sadly, science nowadays ignores the method derived from philosophy of science
and science has come to mean the dogmatic faith in scientism :

It behaves more like fundamentalist religion, with white elephant projects that
are essentially esoteric as they cannot be verified without spending billions,
and these projects have no practical application either.

Science has come to mean : baffle with bulldung,

so philosophy will become the 'new science' sooner or later.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2009 11:17 pm
@Poseidon,
Poseidon;46059 wrote:
There is no science without the philosophy of science.
Can you cite an example of how in 2009 science requires the continued input of philosophy for its very existence?

Poseidon wrote:
Sadly, science nowadays ignores the method derived from philosophy of science
Upon what, pray tell do you base this? How much work have you done in the science field? Or are you looking at it from outside as if that somehow reveals its inner workings?

Poseidon wrote:
It behaves more like fundamentalist religion, with white elephant projects thatare essentially esoteric as they cannot be verified without spending billions, and these projects have no practical application either.
EVERYTHING in science is like that? How about the computer you're typing on? How about the last medication you took? How about the car you drive? These are all applications of science.

And "fundamentalist religion"? That's a very ignorant statement. You should see the amount of debate that happens at scientific meetings and symposia, the amount of correspondance in journals, and the degree to which scientists are careful to explicitly describe the limitations of their research. Sounds like the opposite of fundamentalism to me.

Poseidon wrote:
Science has come to mean : baffle with bulldung
It wouldn't seem like "bulldung" if you spent more time with it. Spend a few months reading Scientific American or the Tuesday science section in the NY Times -- or better yet go work as a lab tech at a university for a while. Immerse yourself in it before committing yourself to baseless cynicism.
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 11:08 am
@Aedes,
Pulling this thread towards the completely personal. And yet...

I'm an amateur-chemist since many years now and that gave me immensely more than just some knowledge about ions or oxydation states. It is an intense mental exercise and it gives me a continuous feeling of awe towards the workings of reality. Science? Practice it first or you won't know what you're missing!

Question: any other amateur-scientist here? Could be a thread really..
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/attachments/lounge/general-discussion/48d1233769571-does-philosophy-matter-lab.jpg
 
Icon
 
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2009 01:22 pm
@markoos,
Philosophy does not teach you how to live you life nor does it explore the root of the universe or provide any sort of conclusive evidence towards anything. By these meassures, philosophy is useless.

But it DOES teach us new ways of thinking, opens possibilities, adds perspective to many subjects which are commonly just schools of information rather than schools of thought.

In this way, philosophy is one of the most important things in the world.
 
WithoutReason
 
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2009 12:36 am
@shadowyxgold,
shadowyxgold wrote:
It matters if it matters to you. If you don't care, no need for you to think about it. If you do care, and if it interests you, then you should think about these things, and discuss them. Frankly, does it matter whether it matters or not?


I'm going to have to agree with this post. For me it doesn't matter whether philosophy actually has any objective importance as much as it does that it is important to me. I believe philosophy makes life far more interesting. What would life be if we couldn't think about who we really are, why we are here, and where we are going? I suppose for some (probably most, since most people I've encountered seem to have no interest in philosophy, at least knowingly) simply living life without thinking about the whys is all they need to be happy, but others do need to at least attempt to discover answers to those questions, and philosophy offers a method to do so.
 
Ennui phil
 
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2009 11:40 pm
@markoos,
Some scholastic savants alluded that philosophy is not verily vital in life,as it is a redundant subject.But I assent with the perspective of WithoutReason.

Everything is philosophy,everything should have the justifications logically,thereby making a philosophy.
 
Grim phil
 
Reply Fri 13 Feb, 2009 01:31 pm
@markoos,
Philosophy is everywhere and is a basic part of conscious life even if the human subject is not aware of it.

It is very true that without a philosophy, or interpretation, of something that is an extension of man it would not exist or would be simply uncomprehendable.

Philosophy in a very real sense is your attitude towards and extension of man based on your understanding of its relationship to observer. Without some type of interpretation between attitude and understanding we would not be the people we are today.

You question the merit of the what if statement and yet it is this empirical testing that has enabled man to survive and evolve in his surrounding to what we have become to this day.

:research:
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2009 10:00 am
@markoos,
Philosophy helps you spot jokes. Like this thread: I know that you cannot possibly be serious, and if you are, there's really no point in trying to convince you otherwise because all you want is to have is fodder for causal conversation.
 
manored
 
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 04:06 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Can you cite an example of how in 2009 science requires the continued input of philosophy for its very existence?
If we start seeing packs of flying elephants coming out of thin air tomorrow, we will need to easy on the materialism and create a lot of new teories about the universe, what will need philosopy. Philosopy is not needed all the time but it must be ready to act then needed Smile
 
logan phil
 
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2009 05:34 am
@shadowyxgold,
shadowyxgold wrote:
It matters if it matters to you. If you don't care, no need for you to think about it. If you do care, and if it interests you, then you should think about these things, and discuss them. Frankly, does it matter whether it matters or not?

I strongly disagree with this way of thinking. I cannot even begin to count the number of things that do matter in our lives and will matter even if we try to ignore them. From everyday practical things such as ignoring our taxes and road traffic to less practical things such as observing the effects of nuclear radiation on the environment over thousands of years. Each one of these things are present and influence our lives in countless ways.

I think this line of thinking is an offspring to a more important thought, which is why should/do certain things matter to us and other things should/do not. We are born and raised by our families, friends, and culture to care about certain things and to take interest in them. The question of what we should care about is given to us by these three groups nearly everyday. If such influences were removed, then is usually agreed upon (by most biologists, cognitive scientists, and other animal observers) that the things we would only care about are things which would satisfy our base desires--such as eating and sleeping. In any case, the point being is that we are not in such a simplistic situation where we are not influenced by other humans. Therefore the strain of thinking of such dull advice as "It matters if it matters to you" helps not one person in deciding how to balance all of the varied cares that are given to us on a daily basis. Most problematic is that all of these cares are usually conflicting, therefore having more objective ways to sort through them is desired. If not desired, then each of us would have no choice in what we personally care about--something which contradicts how any kind of care arose to begin with.

But this is one of the many reasons that philosophy emerged. One of the uses of philosophy is to make inquiries into the nature of the things which we can care about. To organize, systematize, and formulate the reasons as to why we should care about some things over other things is one of the main roles of Ethics. Therefore, to move onto answering markoos' question, I believe it is essential to let people understand the proper role of philosophy.

Many of us being professional philosophers know how very important philosophical inquiry is into giving other fields understanding into what they are doing and to also be important, if not essential, movers in forming the directions in which they move. No historicist or observer of the ontology of a given field is ignorant of fact that most conceptual and important breakthroughs are made by those in their fields with the philosophical inclination. Whether it be Einstein and the early physicists inquiry into the meaning of measurement, early philosophers such as Hume, Bacon and Archimedes study of cause/effect and scientific inquiry, or even contemporary biologists inquiry into the meaning of life. Philosophers should no more ask that all other fields drop their studies to focus solely on the philosophical aspects than people of other fields should ask philosophers to be experts in the 'data' of all fields (because our philosophical inquiry permeate through all fields). However, to a similar degree, it is essential that all fields at minimum make aware the other fields which are playing the most immediate roles into their inquiry. It just so happens that the nature of philosophy threads itself fundamentally through all things because all inquiry has arisen from philosophy at some point. Any great scholar is going to be aware of the history of their field of study; and anything less than such is to invite wasted effort and repeated failures.

Icon wrote:
Philosophy does not teach you how to live you life nor does it explore the root of the universe or provide any sort of conclusive evidence towards anything. By these meassures, philosophy is useless.

But it DOES teach us new ways of thinking, opens possibilities, adds perspective to many subjects which are commonly just schools of information rather than schools of thought.

In this way, philosophy is one of the most important things in the world.

Philosophy does teach us how to live our life. Simply practicing philosophy is a way of living different from those who do not. More specifically, philosophy is a springboard into Justified True Beliefs (JTBs) and it is beliefs which move us to action. The very nature of ethical inquiry is aimed at answering two questions: (1) What should I do and (2) What sort of person should I be. In honesty, I cannot think of a field which affects how to live our life moreso than philosophy.

I agree that philosophy does not explore the root of the universe (whatever that may be) and also that it does not in and of itself provide conclusive evidence towards anything. However, there is neither one field which provides conclusive evidence. What philosophy does do is provide the coherence and cohesiveness between all of these different fields and thus positions itself as an essential element in allowing conclusiveness to be possible. This is because conclusiveness can only be so through the acclimation of all evidence, something which require all fields to be present.
 
 

 
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