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Jebediah
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:31 pm
@reasoning logic,
reasoning logic;170193 wrote:
That is a very good point of view Kennethamy!
I never thought of it like that before. Do you bieleve that the first person who defined H20 did not think of what it should be named at first? I would have thought, that they would have thought of it just as many of us when we make up a username on this forum. I have been wrong many times before. I guess that is why I am the least among you great thinkers.Smile


H20 means that there are 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. So it wasn't decided by anyone that water would be H20. The words "water", "hydrogen" and "oxygen" were made up at some point, but someone using different names would still come to the same conclusion about water--what its molecular makeup looked like, and what that implied about its chemistry.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:43 pm
@reasoning logic,
reasoning logic;170193 wrote:
That is a very good point of view Kennethamy!
I never thought of it like that before. Do you bieleve that the first person who defined H20 did not think of what it should be named at first? I would have thought, that they would have thought of it just as many of us when we make up a username on this forum. I have been wrong many times before. I guess that is why I am the least among you great thinkers.Smile


I don't know what you are saying. What do you mean by, "defining H20"?

---------- Post added 05-28-2010 at 09:45 PM ----------

Jebediah;170199 wrote:
H20 means that there are 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. So it wasn't decided by anyone that water would be H20. The words "water", "hydrogen" and "oxygen" were made up at some point, but someone using different names would still come to the same conclusion about water--what its molecular makeup looked like, and what that implied about its chemistry.


Yes. Sometimes I think it is true that some people do not distinguish between words and their referents. It is very confused, and very confusing.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:52 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170196 wrote:
What sort of things are in that grey area?


Is number discovered or invented? What is the status of metaphysical materialism in light of quantum theory? Does Darwinism constitute a philosophy of life or is it simply a biological theory? Do the platonic forms have any basis in reality, or are they purely subjective? Is first-person experience irreducible or can it be explained in terms of neurophysiology?

Now I don't want to debate those topics here. They are perennial topics on the forum. The point is that none of them admits of crystal clear resolution. In each case, there are strong arguments to be made on either side.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:57 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170212 wrote:
Is number discovered or invented? What is the status of metaphysical materialism in light of quantum theory? Does Darwinism constitute a philosophy of life or is it simply a biological theory? Do the platonic forms have any basis in reality, or are they purely subjective? Is first-person experience irreducible or can it be explained in terms of neurophysiology?

Now I don't want to debate those topics here. They are perennial topics on the forum. The point is that none of them admits of crystal clear resolution. In each case, there are strong arguments to be made on either side.


How does that show a grey area. Without giving examples of what lies in that grey area, would you describe that grey area? What kinds of things lie in it?
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170196 wrote:
What sort of things are in that grey area? Are they neither philosophical arguments nor non-philosophical arguments? Or are they both philosophical and non-philosophical arguments? It just seems to me that something is either an argument or it is not and argument. Philosophical arguments are no more a special kind of argument than chemical arguments are a special kind of argument. The first deals with philosophy; the second with chemistry. And, an argument is, as you would expect, an argument.

If philosophy is characterised by its subject matter, then it is not restricted to rational argument as its only permitted mode of discourse. If, on the other hand, philosophy is characterised by rational argument being its only permitted mode of discourse, then it cannot also be characterised by its subject matter; therefore it would presumably have to include chemistry, and all other subjects, which seems silly. I don't know of any field of study which is characterised both by having a special subject matter and a special way of discoursing upon that subject matter. Does philosophy have such a dual characterisation? If so, is it a special case, or have I failed to think of another example? Mathematics, perhaps, but I'm not even clear as to how that field is characterised. Perhaps both mathematics and philosophy deal, in their different ways, with concepts. (I think you have said so of philosophy.) Aren't there useful ways of talking about concepts other than by having rational arguments about them?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:00 pm
@platorepublic,
I suppose that I have actually made a bit of a blue here, actually. Thinking about it some more, what I had originally intended was to say that there are some arguments about which it is difficult to ascertain whether they are in the subject area of philosophy or not. Now of those examples I have given, some are metaphysically vexed question, and others are questions which are now on the borders of the subject.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:04 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;170220 wrote:
If philosophy is characterised by its subject matter, then it is not restricted to rational argument as its only permitted mode of discourse. If, on the other hand, philosophy is characterised by rational argument being its only permitted mode of discourse, then it cannot also be characterised by its subject matter; therefore it would presumably have to include chemistry, and all other subjects, which seems silly. I don't know of any field of study which is characterised both by having a special subject matter and a special way of discoursing upon that subject matter. Does philosophy have such a dual characterisation? If so, is it a special case, or have I failed to think of another example? Mathematics, perhaps, but I'm not even clear as to how that field is characterised. Perhaps both mathematics and philosophy deal, in their different ways, with concepts. (I think you have said so of philosophy.) Aren't there useful ways of talking about concepts other than by having rational arguments about them?


No one claims that philosophy is restricted to rational argument. Just read a few posts on this forum, and that will disabuse you of that idea. The claim is that philosophy ought to be restricted to rational argument.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:09 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170226 wrote:
No one claims that philosophy is restricted to rational argument. Just read a few posts on this forum, and that will disabuse you of that idea. The claim is that philosophy ought to be restricted to rational argument.

Indeed, I thought that that was what seemed to be your view, and that was the view I was addressing. I'm surprised you thought that that was not what I meant, because no field whatsoever could possibly be "restricted to rational argument" in the sense in which you quite rightly observe that no-one claims that philosophy is restricted!
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:26 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;170228 wrote:
Indeed, I thought that that was what seemed to be your view, and that was the view I was addressing. I'm surprised you thought that that was not what I meant, because no field whatsoever could possibly be "restricted to rational argument" in the sense in which you quite rightly observe that no-one claims that philosophy is restricted!


I am not sure what you mean, but I think that all philosophers should present arguments for their views, and, of course, if they are going to argue, they should present rational arguments.

---------- Post added 05-28-2010 at 10:31 PM ----------

jeeprs;170222 wrote:
I suppose that I have actually made a bit of a blue here, actually. Thinking about it some more, what I had originally intended was to say that there are some arguments about which it is difficult to ascertain whether they are in the subject area of philosophy or not. Now of those examples I have given, some are metaphysically vexed question, and others are questions which are now on the borders of the subject.


Metaphysically vexed questions are still questions of metaphysics, and so are in philosophy. About questions that are borderline philosophy questions, I think if arguments are going to be presented, they should be rational arguments. I am in favor of rational arguments in all fields.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:34 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170236 wrote:
I am not sure what you mean, but I think that all philosophers should present arguments for their views, and, of course, if they are going to argue, they should present rational arguments.

I agree with that last bit. Bad (i.e. irrational) arguments should be criticised. But not everything need be an argument. Or so it seems to me.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 11:42 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170236 wrote:
Metaphysically vexed questions are still questions of metaphysics, and so are in philosophy. About questions that are borderline philosophy questions, I think if arguments are going to be presented, they should be rational arguments. I am in favor of rational arguments in all fields.


But see that is just the thing. Some people will just assume their argument is rational when it probably isn't. Not to mention that some just assume that others accept their premises to be truths when they have never provided anything for proofs of these premises. So sometimes you can't even have a rational discussion with someone who is not using an agreed upon basis or foundation for discussion.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 01:29 am
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;170238 wrote:
I agree with that last bit. Bad (i.e. irrational) arguments should be criticised. But not everything need be an argument. Or so it seems to me.


I don't know what you have in mind by "everything". My sandwich need not be an argument. But it seems to me that when a philosopher asserts something is true, that he should be willing to back it up. And the only way I know of to back of what you assert is with an argument. Do you know of any other way. Or maybe you think it is all right to assert what you cannot, or do not want to, back up.

---------- Post added 05-29-2010 at 03:32 AM ----------

Krumple;170259 wrote:
But see that is just the thing. Some people will just assume their argument is rational when it probably isn't. Not to mention that some just assume that others accept their premises to be truths when they have never provided anything for proofs of these premises. So sometimes you can't even have a rational discussion with someone who is not using an agreed upon basis or foundation for discussion.


That is not true, since if someone does not agree that something you think is true you can present an argument to show it is true. The question whether an argument is rational is a different question from whether the premises are true. An argument can have true premises and be an irrational argument.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 05:22 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170272 wrote:
I don't know what you have in mind by "everything". My sandwich need not be an argument.

I knew you would say something like that, although I thought you would mention questions, rather than sandwiches. (Have a care that you don't end up having an argument with your sandwich!)
kennethamy;170272 wrote:
But it seems to me that when a philosopher asserts something is true, that he should be willing to back it up. And the only way I know of to back of what you assert is with an argument. Do you know of any other way. Or maybe you think it is all right to assert what you cannot, or do not want to, back up.

I have nothing more to say against that, nor can I doubt your arguments.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 05:38 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170272 wrote:
That is not true, since if someone does not agree that something you think is true you can present an argument to show it is true. The question whether an argument is rational is a different question from whether the premises are true. An argument can have true premises and be an irrational argument.


What if I just say, no it's not that way? Are we having a rational conversation?
 
mark noble
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 08:57 am
@kennethamy,
"A Man, Wise in his own eyes, is a greater fool than a man who isn't"

Mark...
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 09:30 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;170324 wrote:
What if I just say, no it's not that way? Are we having a rational conversation?


Not unless you say why you think it is not that way. In fact, if you simply say that, and stop, then we are not having any conversation.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 04:05 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170212 wrote:
Is number discovered or invented? What is the status of metaphysical materialism in light of quantum theory? Does Darwinism constitute a philosophy of life or is it simply a biological theory? Do the platonic forms have any basis in reality, or are they purely subjective? Is first-person experience irreducible or can it be explained in terms of neurophysiology?

Now I don't want to debate those topics here. They are perennial topics on the forum. The point is that none of them admits of crystal clear resolution. In each case, there are strong arguments to be made on either side.


Thank you!

Many issues have no easy answer, as you say, and this is why they are living exciting issues. They are challenging. A living dialectical clash is still to be found and enjoyed there.


An opinion: and then philosophy is as much about QUESTIONS as it is about answers. Questions open doors.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 04:46 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;170516 wrote:

An opinion: and then philosophy is as much about QUESTIONS as it is about answers. Questions open doors.


This is a key point to why philosophy cannot be confined to rational argument. Most philosophizing involves little to no ration arguments. Much of it is about asking question, observing, and finding answers or new questions. It is also critical thinking. Critical thinking can be totally irrational, but can lead to rational thoughts that end up in a argument in the future.

So to say that "philosophy ought to be restricted to rational argument," as Mr. Amy did is to define philosophy too narrowly, and thus, incorrectly. In fact, very little of the philosophical process is rational argument. Most is observation and critical thought.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 05:01 pm
@platorepublic,
I don't understand how critical thought is so different from rational argument. It sounds like unexpressed rational argument.

---------- Post added 05-29-2010 at 07:17 PM ----------

Reconstructo;170516 wrote:
Thank you!

Many issues have no easy answer, as you say, and this is why they are living exciting issues. They are challenging. A living dialectical clash is still to be found and enjoyed there.


An opinion: and then philosophy is as much about QUESTIONS as it is about answers. Questions open doors.


hmm, but Recon, we do seek to resolve these questions in philosophy don't we? I don't know what it means to say that it is as much about questions as it is about answers. I mean, you can't have one without the other, so that seems trivially true. It makes more sense to say that it's about resolving the questions (either by answering them, dissolving them, or understanding them clearly enough that they can be answered by some other discipline).
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 05:18 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;170529 wrote:
This is a key point to why philosophy cannot be confined to rational argument. Most philosophizing involves little to no ration arguments. Much of it is about asking question, observing, and finding answers or new questions. It is also critical thinking. Critical thinking can be totally irrational, but can lead to rational thoughts that end up in a argument in the future.

So to say that "philosophy ought to be restricted to rational argument," as Mr. Amy did is to define philosophy too narrowly, and thus, incorrectly. In fact, very little of the philosophical process is rational argument. Most is observation and critical thought.


Of course I said that philosophizing ought to be confined to rational argument. I did not say that philosophy was confined to rational argument. You really ought to try to read more carefully, so that you do not ascribe falsity and nonsense to those who do not utter falsity and nonsense. You should not project your defects on others. A superficial glance as some of the posts on this forum would soon disabuse anyone with any sense of the belief that people who discuss philosophy (or think they do) confine themselves to rational argument.

Sigh!
 
 

 
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