Investigation and Interpretation

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jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 12:47 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;126948 wrote:
The philosopher should have a reason for questioning anything. The "normal" or the unusual. He cannot question just because he feels like it, or because he is a philosopher. There has to be a reason.


Well my reason is that a lot of what goes on in this life seems perfectly meaningless and in the true sense of the word, irrational. Many things which seem highly valued by a lot of people seem hardly worth the effort of pursuing, we live our three score years and ten, if we're lucky, and then vanish into the oblivion from whence we came. None of it seems to make much sense to me. I am the outcome, or at least an expression, of a process which started billions of years ago inside some star somewhere. For what? Watch television? Work until I die?

That's my reason.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 12:55 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;126956 wrote:
Well my reason is that a lot of what goes on in this life seems perfectly meaningless and in the true sense of the word, irrational. Many things which seem highly valued by a lot of people seem hardly worth the effort of pursuing, we live our three score years and ten, if we're lucky, and then vanish into the oblivion from whence we came. None of it seems to make much sense to me. I am the outcome, or at least an expression, of a process which started billions of years ago inside some star somewhere. For what? Watch television? Work until I die?

That's my reason.


Well said. I would like to add that in my opinion humans usually (if not always) do have a reason for questioning. The question-mark is sometimes an ax, other times a key. The question-mark is one of those pens that cartoon characters draw real holes with. Questions create "head-space." Questions shrink turning-circles, and that helps us park, or gets us out of jams. Christians can have the "+" We philosophers like the "?"
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 12:59 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;126956 wrote:
Well my reason is that a lot of what goes on in this life seems perfectly meaningless and in the true sense of the word, irrational. Many things which seem highly valued by a lot of people seem hardly worth the effort of pursuing, we live our three score years and ten, if we're lucky, and then vanish into the oblivion from whence we came. None of it seems to make much sense to me. I am the outcome, or at least an expression, of a process which started billions of years ago inside some star somewhere. For what? Watch television? Work until I die?

That's my reason.


Just what are you questioning? (One sense of the word, "meaningless" may well be something like "irrational". But that is not the true sense of the word. What about all the other senses of the word, "meaningless"? ). By the way, I think that "non-rational" would be a better term than "irrational". And, just one more thing: what would it be for what goes on in this world to be rational? If you could tell me that, then I would have a better idea of what it is you are saying when you say it is irrational or it is non-rational. What is it that it is not? What would it be for you to discover that what goes on is rational?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:10 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;126961 wrote:
Just what are you questioning?


Have you ever looked out at life and thought 'boy what does it all mean? Isn't there more to it than just our little lives and personalities and the things we do and have?' You know, asked The Big Questions. That's really what I see philosophy as being. So now I am beginning to understand why we always seem to be arguing at cross purposes.

Dunno. Maybe I shouldn't say this stuff. Maybe I am being too personal or too earnest.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:17 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;126965 wrote:
Have you ever looked out at life and thought 'boy what does it all mean? Isn't there more to it than just our little lives and personalities and the things we do and have?' You know, asked The Big Questions. That's really what I see philosophy as being. So now I am beginning to understand why we always seem to be arguing at cross purposes.

Dunno. Maybe I shouldn't say this stuff. Maybe I am being too personal or too earnest.


In my opinion, it is the belief that philosophers are supposed to ask only the Big Questions that partly fuels the view that philosophy gets nowhere and is a lot of nonsense, and is a big waste of time. And that would be right if that is what philosophy is.

Where would science have got if scientists had not rolled up their sleeves and asked many little questions.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:35 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;126968 wrote:
In my opinion, it is the belief that philosophers are supposed to ask only the Big Questions that partly fuels the view that philosophy gets nowhere and is a lot of nonsense, and is a big waste of time. And that would be right if that is what philosophy is.

Where would science have got if scientists had not rolled up their sleeves and asked many little questions.


I think it is the investigators belief that by answering the little questions the answers to the big questions will become clear.

Whereas the interpreters (or are we talking about system builders) believe that if the big questions can be answered then the little pieces will all fall into place.

By the way, is your choice of the term "investigators" a nod to Wittgenstein?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:39 am
@kennethamy,
So we have made a lot of progress in this thread, in my view. My idea of philosophy is asking questions about meaning, purpose, and the like, whereas others think this is a waste of time and philosophy is really just about right use of language. I think that clarifies things a great deal and I shall set my expectations accordingly.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 02:01 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;126973 wrote:
So we have made a lot of progress in this thread, in my view. My idea of philosophy is asking questions about meaning, purpose, and the like, whereas others think this is a waste of time and philosophy is really just about right use of language. I think that clarifies things a great deal and I shall set my expectations accordingly.


I'm going to say we that both methods/styles have the same goal. There is a discipline to the investigators that is worthy of admiration and there is a freedom and openness to the methods of the interpreters that is equally admirable. Tiger style v. Crane style. The Kung Fu masters of philosophy must learn both Yin and Yang.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 02:32 am
@kennethamy,
"Just as it is obvious that we all want to be happy, so it is obvious that we all want to be wise, since no one can be happy without wisdom."

St Augustine
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 02:32 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;126965 wrote:
Have you ever looked out at life and thought 'boy what does it all mean? Isn't there more to it than just our little lives and personalities and the things we do and have?' You know, asked The Big Questions. That's really what I see philosophy as being. So now I am beginning to understand why we always seem to be arguing at cross purposes.

Dunno. Maybe I shouldn't say this stuff. Maybe I am being too personal or too earnest.


Have you looked into Heidegger? His starting point is astonishment at Being, that there is something rather than nothing. He thinks the essence of humanity is this astonishment and the questioning related to it. I've been reading a book on him by George Steiner that's (to quote Larry David) "pretty, pretty good."

I don't find you too personal or earnest on this matter at all. I'm amazed how unamazed so many humans are to be alive.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 03:01 am
@kennethamy,
from what I know of Heidegger, I very much admire his philosophy. There are many philosophers I admire, and many of them do deal with profound questions; and I know there are many kindred spirits on the forum. But - each to his own, I don't want to labour the point.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 06:15 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;126971 wrote:
I think it is the investigators belief that by answering the little questions the answers to the big questions will become clear.

Whereas the interpreters (or are we talking about system builders) believe that if the big questions can be answered then the little pieces will all fall into place.

By the way, is your choice of the term "investigators" a nod to Wittgenstein?


I suppose so. I have already suggested that you and others read The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin, in regard to little and big questions.

The Hedgehog and the Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


And, also, something very wise by David Hume:



The Sceptic David Hume

---------- Post added 02-11-2010 at 07:27 AM ----------

jeeprs;126991 wrote:
from what I know of Heidegger, I very much admire his philosophy. There are many philosophers I admire, and many of them do deal with profound questions; and I know there are many kindred spirits on the forum. But - each to his own, I don't want to labour the point.


How about "deal with seemingly profound questions"? But one of the philosopher's seminal jobs is to ask whether a seemingly profound question is really all that profound, and what the question means, and supposes is true.Philosophers should have Hume's "tincture of scepticism" even in regard to questions.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 11:02 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;126948 wrote:

To say that "nothing is hidden" is to say that words like "truth" or "knowledge" do not have, in addition to their ordinary everyday meanings, some secret meanings that only philosophers are able to discover. There are no secret meanings. There is no, "what the word 'really means'" that Lacan or Heidegger has discovered.


But when people argue about the meaning of consciousness, or about the meaning of right and wrong, are they really arguing about the definition of the words? The words have a definition, it may not be a good one, it may be completely incorrect. It seems to me like they are arguing about the nature of the human mind and the nature of morality, even if the argument does take a nose dive into semantics at some point.

Like in the "free will" thread, some people just popped in and said "free will is this; therefore we have/don't have it". When the real issue is more complex and deals with areas of science that we still don't know much about.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 11:23 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;127052 wrote:
But when people argue about the meaning of consciousness, or about the meaning of right and wrong, are they really arguing about the definition of the words? The words have a definition, it may not be a good one, it may be completely incorrect. It seems to me like they are arguing about the nature of the human mind and the nature of morality, even if the argument does take a nose dive into semantics at some point.

Like in the "free will" thread, some people just popped in and said "free will is this; therefore we have/don't have it". When the real issue is more complex and deals with areas of science that we still don't know much about.


When people say that free will is this or that, that doesn't mean that they actually use the term "free will" the way they define it. It is notorious among linguists that informants are rarely if ever good reporters of how they actually use the term in question. They may tell you that the definition of word X is so and so, when what they say has absolutely nothing to do with how, in fact, they, and other fluent speakers of the language actually use the term. It takes an expert to define a term.

It isn't definitions (in the ordinary sense) philosophers are after. It is analyses of the concepts being talked about. Definitions are the start of analyses. But not the end-point. But definitions are a good start. A definition of a word is not a good definition if it misreports how the word is actually used by fluent speakers of the language. Sometimes there are bad definitions. But we can test a definition by determining whether it is actually how the term is used. In general, if the definition is too narrow, so it does not include everything that is designated by the term, or if it is too broad, and includes things not designated by the term, then the definition is a bad definition.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 11:41 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;127056 wrote:
When people say that free will is this or that, that doesn't mean that they actually use the term "free will" the way they define it. It is notorious among linguists that informants are rarely if ever good reporters of how they actually use the term in question. They may tell you that the definition of word X is so and so, when what they say has absolutely nothing to do with how, in fact, they, and other fluent speakers of the language actually use the term. It takes an expert to define a term.

It isn't definitions (in the ordinary sense) philosophers are after. It is analyses of the concepts being talked about. Definitions are the start of analyses. But not the end-point. But definitions are a good start. A definition of a word is not a good definition if it misreports how the word is actually used by fluent speakers of the language. Sometimes there are bad definitions. But we can test a definition by determining whether it is actually how the term is used. In general, if the definition is too narrow, so it does not include everything that is designated by the term, or if it is too broad, and includes things not designated by the term, then the definition is a bad definition.


Well this is all True, (or) I agree with most of it, but how do you account for the development of language ?

...CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS EVOLVE PRECISELY BECAUSE PEOPLE ALWAYS HAVE A PERSONAL GRASP ON THEM...
(Scientists and Philosophers included)
(Context evolves, therefore, that must be Necessary...)

---------- Post added 02-11-2010 at 12:50 PM ----------

 
HexHammer
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 12:09 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;126507 wrote:
There is now, on this forum, an opportunity to witness, in action, a stark contrast between philosophy as investigation, and philosophy as interpretation. See the threads on the definition of reality, and on knowing that one knows, on the one hand, and the discussion of the groups on Nietzsche on the other hand. And notice too how the discussants of each tend to keep apart. It is quite fascinating. It is as if philosophy was two different subjects.
Neither group seems to take the slightest interest in the other group.
East of the moon, west of the sun?
You have a lot of specific things, yet I'm uncertain about your deeper point.

Uhmm ..as far as I can interpet your intention, is that alot of different mentallities coexcist here on these fora. Some are anal and only go for surficial ideas, some dig deeper and others search for delusional answers and ideas?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:00 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127365 wrote:
Some are anal and only go for surficial ideas, some dig deeper and others search for delusional answers and ideas?

How does one tell them apart?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:42 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;128821 wrote:
How does one tell them apart?
1) by having a good understanding of psycology

2) by having a wide knowledgebase to know if what they'r saying is bs or has merit.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:21 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127365 wrote:
East of the moon, west of the sun?
You have a lot of specific things, yet I'm uncertain about your deeper point.

Uhmm ..as far as I can interpet your intention, is that alot of different mentallities coexcist here on these fora. Some are anal and only go for surficial ideas, some dig deeper and others search for delusional answers and ideas?


No, that was not my intention. My intention was to point out a stark contrast between two very different ways of philosophizing on this forum. I thought what I wrote was clear, and did not require interpretation.

But, for the future, I am a very simple-minded person, and with me, WYSIWYG. I don't usually have deeper points, or "larger questions", and if I do, I try to state them.
 
 

 
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