Any good and convincing books for Rational or Empirical Knowledge?

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » Any good and convincing books for Rational or Empirical Knowledge?

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 02:43 pm
Hello, I'm new here Smile I'm having a rather large issue with my skepticism that it has become very pragmatic and dominant in my life. At times I believe skepticism is necessary but it seems that it has overwhelmed rather mundane tasks that I need not be skeptical of. I am by no means intelligible in regards to philosophy, in that I don't know MUCH about philosophy, but my mind thinks very philosophical quite often... if not all day. At any rate, I have yet to discover any reason or argument to be empirical about anything or any means to claim that knowledge is even remotely possible. It's caused a large amount of despondency in my life as well as a girl I may be in love (I'm uncertain if it's what I define love as, but I believe I care about her a lot) with, however she's stopped talking to me because I can't be certain of anything with her... namely my feelings and some of my family members as well have been indirectly saddened by my skepticism.

So I am curious if anyone has some decent reads that are understandable to a layman to philosophy, yet convincing none the less that knowledge is at least possible. This would be GREATLY appreciated. I didn't see any thread pertaining to this, so if one exists already I'm sorry. Thanks in advance.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 03:45 pm
@faceofbear,
My instinctive reaction to this post - bear in mind I don't know anything about the writer other than these two paragraphs so I could be completely wrong - is that this is not really about philosophy at all. I think there are some emotional issues at work - fear of commitment, maybe. Before reading, learn to listen to your heart. That would be my advice.
 
faceofbear
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 03:54 pm
@jeeprs,
Perhaps it could be a fear of commitment in regards to the girl. However, I tend not to be one that is afraid of commitment, at least as far as the past goes. The issue is that it has succumbed rather simplistic areas of my life as well. I'm relatively certain what my heart says in as so much as the relationships in my life goes. But it's just other areas of my life that are overwhelmed in skepticism in tasks that I shouldn't be so skeptical about. I can go on listing them but to be quite frank it's almost literally everything. I really don't know what to do.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 03:55 pm
@faceofbear,
faceofbear;161837 wrote:
Hello, I'm new here Smile I'm having a rather large issue with my skepticism that it has become very pragmatic and dominant in my life. At times I believe skepticism is necessary but it seems that it has overwhelmed rather mundane tasks that I need not be skeptical of. I am by no means intelligible in regards to philosophy, in that I don't know MUCH about philosophy, but my mind thinks very philosophical quite often... if not all day. At any rate, I have yet to discover any reason or argument to be empirical about anything or any means to claim that knowledge is even remotely possible. It's caused a large amount of despondency in my life as well as a girl I may be in love (I'm uncertain if it's what I define love as, but I believe I care about her a lot) with, however she's stopped talking to me because I can't be certain of anything with her... namely my feelings and some of my family members as well have been indirectly saddened by my skepticism.

So I am curious if anyone has some decent reads that are understandable to a layman to philosophy, yet convincing none the less that knowledge is at least possible. This would be GREATLY appreciated. I didn't see any thread pertaining to this, so if one exists already I'm sorry. Thanks in advance.


For a layman, I recommend The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. Your question reminds me of the Kant versus Hume question. You might want to look at some Hume quotes, as he was radically skeptical and yet made it quite clear that this skepticism was theoretical. He was a jolly fellow, after all, who wrote many essays on what not...despite his skepticism.

In my opinion, skepticism is ultimately self-refuting. If we can't know anything, how can we know that we can't know anything? I also recommend this book, which is partially available here. Within this book is a brilliant investigation of Skepticism and Stoicism. Hegel presented the tradition of philosophy as an organic totality. This evolves into that, and so on, as any position but a theoretically final position will have "holes" in it...And argument (dialectic) will find these holes like water finds the hole in a bucket. Introduction to the reading of Hegel ... - Google Books
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 04:26 pm
@faceofbear,
faceofbear;161853 wrote:
Perhaps it could be a fear of commitment in regards to the girl. However, I tend not to be one that is afraid of commitment, at least as far as the past goes. The issue is that it has succumbed rather simplistic areas of my life as well. I'm relatively certain what my heart says in as so much as the relationships in my life goes. But it's just other areas of my life that are overwhelmed in skepticism in tasks that I shouldn't be so skeptical about. I can go on listing them but to be quite frank it's almost literally everything. I really don't know what to do.


thankyou for being so open. I feel for your predicament. So is it more like a feeling of not being able to see the point of doing what you're supposed to be doing? Is that what you mean by 'tasks you shouldn't be skeptical about?'
 
faceofbear
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 09:46 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;161860 wrote:
thankyou for being so open. I feel for your predicament. So is it more like a feeling of not being able to see the point of doing what you're supposed to be doing? Is that what you mean by 'tasks you shouldn't be skeptical about?'


I suppose to a point, yes. However, I find my skepticism rather just leaves me very depressed. It gives a sense of nothingness as if I literally cannot know anything. It's not that I feel skepticism is necessarily bad to a degree, however, it's truly to the point of everything. It seems that the only thing I know for certain that I exist and to a point I rather tend to doubt even this. My skepticism in fact leaves me skeptic of my skepticism in that I don't know if it's possible not to know anything. For example, if I stated, "It's impossible to know anything." I don't even know if that statement is accurate. It seems I'm rather uncertain with everything. However, because I'm uncertain I suppose that's why I'm open to finding out if knowledge is possible.

I don't think it's to the point where I don't do things as a result of it, but rather I'm just quite tired of questioning everything to be frank. In a sense I suppose it's like OCD. A lot of people who are OCD can complete every day tasks, but they take much longer to do so because they uncertain about such and such a thing and want to make sure such and such happened. Needless to say, they spend much wasted time on things that don't need to be wasted on. This is how my skepticism is. I rather question things to the point that they don't need to be questioned. It wastes much time rather than just accepting things the way they are.

I just feel like I used to be much more content previously when I wasn't so skeptical of things. I've lost some sleep at night thinking about various things as a result of my skepticism. I'm currently talking to a Psychiatrist/Therapist about some of these things, but he seems to be on the same page that I am... just less concerned about it. As in, it doesn't consume his thoughts.

I think to a point it just sees redundancy in everything and I find no purpose or meaning, which is why it leaves me empty. I was brought up religious and since some what falling away this has all taken place. I've tried being restored to it, but needless to say if I'm skeptical about natural things -- it's much more so in supernatural things. It just makes life very difficult to concentrate and very hard to relate with people I once did. All in all it makes me a very impatient and unpleasant person to talk to. It seems people in general irritate me even if it's just simple questions because it ruins my train of thought anymore. I'm not sure if this is all related to my skepticism but it seems that since it's started things have only gotten worse over time.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 09:50 pm
@faceofbear,
faceofbear;161961 wrote:
I suppose to a point, yes. However, I find my skepticism rather just leaves me very depressed. It gives a sense of nothingness as if I literally cannot know anything. It's not that I feel skepticism is necessarily bad to a degree, however, it's truly to the point of everything. It seems that the only thing I know for certain that I exist and to a point I rather tend to doubt even this. My skepticism in fact leaves me skeptic of my skepticism in that I don't know if it's possible not to know anything. For example, if I stated, "It's impossible to know anything." I don't even know if that statement is accurate. It seems I'm rather uncertain with everything. However, because I'm uncertain I suppose that's why I'm open to finding out if knowledge is possible.

I don't think it's to the point where I don't do things as a result of it, but rather I'm just quite tired of questioning everything to be frank. In a sense I suppose it's like OCD. A lot of people who are OCD can complete every day tasks, but they take much longer to do so because they uncertain about such and such a thing and want to make sure such and such happened. Needless to say, they spend much wasted time on things that don't need to be wasted on. This is how my skepticism is. I rather question things to the point that they don't need to be questioned. It wastes much time rather than just accepting things the way they are.

I just feel like I used to be much more content previously when I wasn't so skeptical of things. I've lost some sleep at night thinking about various things as a result of my skepticism. I'm currently talking to a Psychiatrist/Therapist about some of these things, but he seems to be on the same page that I am... just less concerned about it. As in, it doesn't consume his thoughts.

I think to a point it just sees redundancy in everything and I find no purpose or meaning, which is why it leaves me empty. I was brought up religious and since some what falling away this has all taken place. I've tried being restored to it, but needless to say if I'm skeptical about natural things -- it's much more so in supernatural things. It just makes life very difficult to concentrate and very hard to relate with people I once did.


I hope you don't mind my interjection. I had a difficult period at around 17 when I lost my faith in God. For many, this is not an important issue. But some have a real craving for meaning, purpose, sense. Carl Jung talks about this. Freud dealt largely with sexual problems and Jung with spiritual problems.

I suppose I'm chiming in to emphasize that the struggle can pay off. In my opinion, you can indeed resolve this issue satisfactorily. Time wounds all heels and heals all wounds....Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 02:26 am
@faceofbear,
faceofbear;161961 wrote:
I think to a point it just sees redundancy in everything and I find no purpose or meaning, which is why it leaves me empty.


I don't think this is skepticism, I think it is an emotional outlook. The fact that you were 'brought up relgious' and have reacted against it might have something to do with it. There was a saying coined by Jean-Paul Sartre that modern man has a 'God-shaped hole' in the heart. It is an evocative and poignant saying.

I was not brought up religious. I went to a church school and went to chapel three times a week. Never got confirmed though, and my family and most of my friends are indifferent to religion. But I have spiritual inclinations; I would describe myself as 'spiritual but not religious'. I have sought out, and found, spiritual teachers from various traditions. They have an outlook which is not religious in the conventional sense but also not atheistic in the sense of denying all spirituality.

So maybe it is more a sense of spirituality that would help you. It is a much broader type of thing, it embraces many different facets of life, and many different cultural forms. It can be religious or non-religious. But it provides a way of feeling related to the universe and other people. I sense that is what you are looking for.
 
amist
 
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 03:59 am
@faceofbear,
I'm going to go ahead and start recommending books.

Reason and Existenz by Jaspers. to give you kind of an anti skeptical view to things that can't be certain.

Meditations on First Philosophy by Descartes. It's short, but kind of is a response to skepticism, I really just recommend stopping after meditation 3 or 5 though, the rest isn't that good.

Dialogues on Natural Religion by David Hume. Pretty much the best of all the skeptics.

Ethics by Spinoza. A rationalist like Descartes, but better.

Everything Nietzsche ever wrote. For the Nihilism.

Essays on Existentialism by Jean-Paul Sartre. Also for the Nihilism
 
faceofbear
 
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 01:12 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;161962 wrote:
I hope you don't mind my interjection. I had a difficult period at around 17 when I lost my faith in God. For many, this is not an important issue. But some have a real craving for meaning, purpose, sense. Carl Jung talks about this. Freud dealt largely with sexual problems and Jung with spiritual problems.

I suppose I'm chiming in to emphasize that the struggle can pay off. In my opinion, you can indeed resolve this issue satisfactorily. Time wounds all heels and heals all wounds....Smile


jeeprs;162078 wrote:
I don't think this is skepticism, I think it is an emotional outlook. The fact that you were 'brought up relgious' and have reacted against it might have something to do with it. There was a saying coined by Jean-Paul Sartre that modern man has a 'God-shaped hole' in the heart. It is an evocative and poignant saying.

I was not brought up religious. I went to a church school and went to chapel three times a week. Never got confirmed though, and my family and most of my friends are indifferent to religion. But I have spiritual inclinations; I would describe myself as 'spiritual but not religious'. I have sought out, and found, spiritual teachers from various traditions. They have an outlook which is not religious in the conventional sense but also not atheistic in the sense of denying all spirituality.

So maybe it is more a sense of spirituality that would help you. It is a much broader type of thing, it embraces many different facets of life, and many different cultural forms. It can be religious or non-religious. But it provides a way of feeling related to the universe and other people. I sense that is what you are looking for.


To both of you, I do feel that religion definitely has left an emptiness in me. However, it seems to me that this can be replaced. The reason why I think God is so fulfilling to many is that they believe He is an infinite being. If as humans we are solely finite, than only something infinite or a certain amount of finite things can fill us up with a sense of completeness.

I am almost certain this is part of my despondency, amongst other things. This is why I am currently seeing a psychiatrist and therapist because I have a multiple of things contributing to it (as well as it being in my genes). However, I find more often than not that most of my issues are related back to skepticism. It may only be another hole in the bucket that needs to be filled, but it is a large hole. I know religion and other things will come in time, but I see no purpose in seeking spiritual things when I am uncertain of simply natural things. Perhaps I'm ignorant, but I see it some what redundant to pursue something supernatural which oft offers more skepticism to people than the natural and yet I'm struggling with natural skepticism.

Don't get me wrong, religion or spirituality has a part of this hole and depression. But it can't be overlooked that the religious struggle is also tied into my skepticism.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 03:30 pm
@faceofbear,
OK good luck with it. And one book recommendation I would make is The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck.
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 11:26 pm
@faceofbear,
I know it's been a while, but I'd be curious to know of any updates on your skeptical dilemmas?

It would be difficult to give a good recommendation without more information - there are several types of skepticism. Why is it that you are skeptical of knowledge in general? Can you give an example of the thought process? Something beginning like this: "In class, my professor taught that the Earth is round. I am skeptical of this because..." Does that make sense?

I find Kant to be very interesting from an epistemological standpoint. And very convincing. It is hard to dispute a piece of knowledge such as "you cannot have an experience outside of time." However, many people find Kant to be a difficult read - even those with a lot of experience in philosophy.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » Any good and convincing books for Rational or Empirical Knowledge?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 04/18/2019 at 11:25:29