Does asking "Why" disintegrate belief in reality?

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Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 06:28 pm
Hello everyone,

I was heavy into philosophy a while back on another forum, but I was banned so I've been pursuing other interests for a while now. I bring these thoughts here because I'm interested in what you might have to say about this. It's nothing new really, and it's quite simple and mundane.

We can know "why". Knowing "why", though, suggests Believing in "why". I'm not talking about believing in the reasons for an expressive act, but rather believing in "why" itself. Asking why is calling upon a power that we cannot fully obtain to explain expressive actions. Call it whatever you want, but when I spill a cup of coffee on the floor, I certainly don't ask the cup, the coffee, or the floor why that happened. I ask Why. The "cup", "coffee" and "floor", as I understand them through deductive and reductive essentialist concepts revised throughout history, might be used to answer why. But I would be answering only that which can be answered. The actual is a mystery. The actual seems to penetrate the body with physical power and little else (Light sound etc.). Culture has destroyed reality. It's a necessary adaptation, so I'm not too angry about it. All is words. The world is interpreted the way a novel is. The actual world is lost in a "life or death" interpretation.



I don't understand the world. I understand understanding OF the world. My body feels.


So I guess I'm asking if the reliable methods of interpreting reality are destroying, subsiding, (whatever) feeling alive.



The answer to this question is already there. Reason should dictate the course of this discussion. There is no proof for (any) reality. Truth is a property of sentences. It's something we can do with language and concepts. Music is no proof of anything. It is not truth. A feeling of joy when dancing is not proof of reality. It won't hold up in the philosophy courts. Yet, it seems to be more a reason to believe in certain inexplicable things about reality than a Hegelian Ideal, or a Platonic realm of forms.



Put very simply, when an idea becomes more powerful and real than an inexplicable bass thump churning your stomach at a concert, then I think it's safe to say we're nuts.


Thanks for reading. You can pick out anything in this post and talk about it if you'd like.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 12:08 am
@cypressmoon,
"Why?" leads one into an infinite logical regression, or progression, depending on how you look at it, if you are sufficiently competant (to provide increasingly complex answers) and sufficicently honest (to never erroneously suggest that you have found The Answer). I think this process is the basic, conditio sine qua non of meaningful philosophy.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:06 am
@BrightNoon,
Good point.

I also think that we often confuse "why" with "how". One looks traces back through causality while the other can only answer the mechanics.

Thanks
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 12:35 pm
@Khethil,
Is there ever really a why in causality?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 02:51 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:
Is there ever really a why in causality?


Of course!

When we ask any "why", we're looking to learn what the cause is/was for <whatever>. In some respects, one could almost call the two concepts synonymous.

Thanks
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 03:12 pm
@Khethil,
interesting point, I've always looked at it as what and how, I've always looked at the why as a motive and I don't seem to have the ability to give a motive to a cause.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 10:37 pm
@cypressmoon,
What kind of nuts? Are you saying I'm a pistachio? Cuz I know you're not call me a walnut. God help you if you're calling me a walnut.

Um, yeah, you could say I'm a little confused. This is what I've gathered. Philosophy, words, and culture, conceptual thinking, and analytical questions like "why?" do not satisfy. All of that cannot do for you what dancing to music can, which is make you believe in reality. I think I understand where you are coming from.

To be completely honest and to avoid trying to solve any problems, I will say that I don't actually know how to respond, except to defend philosophy, words and novels and attack statements such as "Culture has destroyed reality." I think would be successful.

But after all of that is said and done, appreciation of music and dancing is not something I have a problem with. It's art and I won't badmouth art. I think you're faulting thinking for not being more physical though. I like running, myself. This is how I relate to what you've said in my own cashewesqe way.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 05:22 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
I don't understand how there can be a 'why' in the first place. 'Why' is a misappropriation of cause and effect. I like to think of it like 'time', and I will give an example.

Time exists simply because we take two points in our memories and define them with 'start' and 'stop'. In this sense we have created time in a loop where there was no real start or stop. If you can accept this, then time can be only exist in relativity to our own perceptions. The universe exists outside of our perceptions and does not exist because of them.

In a same way, 'why' is relative. You cannot ask why without context that we arbitrarily define, and thus the universe just is.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 06:24 am
@Riordan,
Riordan wrote:
In a same way, 'why' is relative. You cannot ask why without context that we arbitrarily define, and thus the universe just is.


Quite true; it has to be asked and (attempted to be) answered in the same context. Otherwise the answer is juxtaposed to the question/theme and ends up meaningless.

Though related, I ran into this the other day (and I hope I haven't already used this example - it comes to mind and always makes me chuckle).

The other day, the guy who owns the empty lot adjacent to my house was moving some piles of dirt to and fro. I didn't pay it much mind, then coming back by the window I see him piling up some rocks and dirt just over the property line, on my side. So I went outside to ask him about it:[INDENT]I ask him, "Why are you putting that on my property?"
He looks confused and says, "Why is it on your property?"
I replied, "... because you put it there"
He boggles for an instant and rephrases, "I mean why do you think its on your property?"
Slightly exasperated, I answer, "... because you just put it there"
Struggling, he finally gets out the question on his mind, "Why do you think *that's* your property?"

From there we were able to come to an agreement.
[/INDENT]The point is: There's often a disconnects in these lines of questioning. Typically I'll see the "how" as a method (as in "how to") and the "why" as a suggested or believed 'causal' attribution. When we get that "Oh, you know what I mean"-kind of feeling we'll descry "Oh, that's just semantics!". But aren't words all we have?

Good stuff
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 06:52 pm
@Khethil,
Why did the coffee cup fall? It slipped from my hand.
Is there a context? Yes. It is arbitrary?

So far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with the word why.
I figure for the most part saying, "Why" is like saying "huh?" or "I have a question".

Why is a dynamic word. You can use why at your workplace as well as at special parties. Most every day, people ask chief executives, lampposts and/or little kids why. Why is pronounced like the letter 'y'. Recent documentaries prove that people whose names end in the letter 'y' have fresher smelling laundry and native users of the Capital, Y, have been known to ask the question two or 6 times in several restaurants. In conclusion, why makes an excellent last minute (dynamic) gift.

I don't know. Maybe why is overrated. I'll admit sometimes someone will call out to me, "Hey!.. I'm about to water the dog!". I will should back, "Why?!", but then go immediately back to what I was doing. Why do you think I do that?
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 12:31 pm
@cypressmoon,
cypressmoon wrote:

The answer to this question is already there. Reason should dictate the course of this discussion. There is no proof for (any) reality. Truth is a property of sentences. It's something we can do with language and concepts. Music is no proof of anything. It is not truth. A feeling of joy when dancing is not proof of reality. It won't hold up in the philosophy courts. Yet, it seems to be more a reason to believe in certain inexplicable things about reality than a Hegelian Ideal, or a Platonic realm of forms.



Put very simply, when an idea becomes more powerful and real than an inexplicable bass thump churning your stomach at a concert, then I think it's safe to say we're nuts.


Bravo! my friend! Brilliantly put...I ask you to stay in philosophy but perhaps you've already found what you needed from philosophy.

Keep it real.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 05:10 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Yea, society has become too concerned with the ideals and other mental wreckage its created. I don't think most people can seperate that from reality, or better yet, recognize those schema by which we judge reality as just another part of reality. We are all a bunch of apes dancing to various base beats my friend, no rhyme or reason, just a ride.
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:46 pm
@cypressmoon,
What is the reason for the reason?

We have to stop all explanations at some point. I prefer the empirical view that stops at the rock-bottom way-the-world-is. Evidence and rationality can only stave off ignorance for so long.

Why does an apple fall to the ground? The law of gravity.

Why is there a law of gravity? You got me. :perplexed:

In fact, even the belief that the "law" of gravity makes the apple fall rather than simply describing how it falls is a form of dogmatism. Most modern philosophers of science agree that the laws of nature aren't very much like human laws at all. The belief in supreme laws that govern the universe obviously has its roots in religion. So, it's no surprise that the many people in the highly religious West still cling to the notion of controlling laws, causes and forces.

All "why" questions are ultimately farcical. They only appear to be offering explanations but instead always point to still more "why" questions. What makes something an explanation rather than a description is purely psychological.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 02:28 am
@Satan phil,
I went to the store.

I went in a car. It was hot. There was not much traffic. I got there in 15 minutes.

I was out of milk for my coffee.

One a description. One an explanation.
One is meant to answer the question why. One is not.
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 03:17 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian;66782 wrote:
I went to the store.

I went in a car. It was hot. There was not much traffic. I got there in 15 minutes.

I was out of milk for my coffee.

One a description. One an explanation.
One is meant to answer the question why. One is not.


Well if that's what you mean by "why" then it only makes sense to ask why to intelligent creatures with desires and beliefs. It makes no sense to ask the waves why they crash on the shore.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 03:51 pm
@cypressmoon,
cypressmoon;57474 wrote:
We can know “why”.

We can think or believe that we 'know'.

Quote:
Knowing “why”, though, suggests Believing in “why”.

Perhaps, as i said above.

Quote:
Asking why is calling upon a power that we cannot fully obtain to explain expressive actions.

Not as I see it. Asking 'why', 'reasoning', is a relic of the 'linear' Perspective. The 'why' is a feature of the Perspectival notion of 'cause and effect'; "Why? because...."
No 'why', just 'is'.

Quote:
Call it whatever you want, but when I spill a cup of coffee on the floor, I certainly don’t ask the cup, the coffee, or the floor why that happened. I ask Why.

I don't ask anything, I clean the mess.

Quote:
Does asking "Why" disintegrate belief in reality?

'Critical thought' and 'belief' are diametrically oppositional. The more of one, the less of the other.
'Beliefs' are 'reality'. 'Beliefs' are real features of the Universe, like thoughts or dreams or watermelons. Ask a 'true believer' is 'jesus' is real! The concept certainly is 'real' to them, and as I said, in being so, is a real feature of the complete Universe.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 01:02 am
@Satan phil,
Satan;67461 wrote:
Well if that's what you mean by "why" then it only makes sense to ask why to intelligent creatures with desires and beliefs. It makes no sense to ask the waves why they crash on the shore.


Of course it makes no sense to ask waves anything. I agree, that is silly. I am sure you meant to say it makes no sense to ask why waves crash on the shore. Correct if I am wrong, of course.

Satan;67461 wrote:
In fact, even the belief that the "law" of gravity makes the apple fall rather than simply describing how it falls is a form of dogmatism.


Why? In absence of gravitational fields, apples don't fall.

Satan;67461 wrote:
Most modern philosophers of science agree that the laws of nature aren't very much like human laws at all.


I'd like to believe most everyone agrees here. If you break a law of nature, the universe implodes, or Captain Kirk meets himself in the future. Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but it is clear to me that the consequences are much more biblical than the punishments for breaking human laws.

Satan;67461 wrote:
The belief in supreme laws that govern the universe obviously has its roots in religion.


What religious beliefs were the roots for Newton's universal law of gravitation?

Satan;67461 wrote:
So, it's no surprise that the many people in the highly religious West still cling to the notion of controlling laws, causes and forces.


Shrug. We disagree about the nature of nature.
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 01:09 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian;67616 wrote:
We disagree about the nature of nature.


Read this: Laws of Nature [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

There are two sides to the disagreement. Regularity is favored by empiricists because it doesn't posit the existence of untestable necessary causes. Under this view, gravity isn't a forceful law that must be obeyed. It's simply a constantly observable relationship between massive objects.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 08:18 am
@Satan phil,
Gravity is simply constantly observable between massive objects, I don't disagree. Call it a law or don't. Why does it matter? Whether we call it a law or not, gravity exists and explains why things happen. For instance, apples falling.
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 11:40 am
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian;67995 wrote:
Gravity is simply constantly observable between massive objects, I don't disagree. Call it a law or don't. Why does it matter? Whether we call it a law or not, gravity exists and explains why things happen. For instance, apples falling.


I would say that it explains how apples fall but it doesn't explain why. To say that it does, borders on positing a type of virtus dormitiva. We derive the law of gravity from watching things move. So how can we turn around and say that things move because of this law that we've derived after-the-fact?
 
 

 
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