Is philosophy critical thinking applied to philosophical problems?

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Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 07:48 pm
Wittgenstein wrote that philosophy is an activity, not a theory or a dogma. And, if this is true, then the activity must be that of critical thinking as applied to philosophical problems. I am, of course, not talking about the history of philosophy, nor intellectual history. Both have their place, but they should not be confused with philosophy. Nor, of course, should the confused happy talk we sometimes see on this forum be confused either with philosophy, or anything except with confusion.
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 09:27 pm
@kennethamy,
Not that we ever agree
but
Philosophy would seem to have something to do with "rational speculation" applied to the "problems of existence or experience".
Philosophy is not divorced from reason, from science, from experience or from facts but is is precisely the effort to apply reason to experience and speculate about matters for which science may have no answers.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 09:36 pm
@kennethamy,
Yes I think so.

There's a nice article here about Bertrand Russell's thoughts on critical thinking:

20th WCP: Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking

He makes the point that there is more than just possessing critical thinking skills:

Quote:
The mere possession of critical skills is insufficient to make one a critical thinker. Russell calls attention to various dispositions which mean that the relevant skills are actually exercised. Typically, he uses the notion of habit (sometimes the notion of practice) to suggest the translation of skills into actual behaviour. Russell describes education as the formation, by means of instruction, of certain mental habits [and a certain outlook on life and the world]. (15) He mentions, in particular: (i) the habit of impartial inquiry, (16) which is necessary if one-sided opinions are not to be taken at face value, and if people are to arrive at conclusions which do not depend solely on the time and place of their education; (ii) the habit of weighing evidence, (17) coupled with the practice of not giving full assent to propositions which there is no reason to believe true; (iii) the habit of attempting to see things truly, (18) which contrasts with the practice of merely collecting whatever reinforces existing prejudice; and (iv) the habit of living from one's own centre, (19) which Russell describes as a kind of self-direction, a certain independence in the will. Such habits, of course, have to be exercised intelligently. Russell recognizes clearly, indeed it is a large part of the problem which critical thinking must address, that one becomes a victim of habit if the habitual beliefs of one's own age constitute a prison of prejudice. Hence the need for a critical habit of mind.

Because they are not simply automatic responses in which one has been drilled, such intellectual habits in effect reflect a person's willingness, what Russell typically calls one's readiness, to act and respond in various ways. His examples include: (i) a readiness to admit new evidence against previous beliefs, (20) which involves an open-minded acceptance (avoiding credulity) of whatever a critical examination has revealed; (ii) a readiness to discard hypotheses which have proved inadequate, (21) where the test is whether or not one is prepared in fact to abandon beliefs which once seemed promising; and (iii) a readiness to adapt oneself to the facts of the world, (22) which Russell distinguishes from merely going along with whatever happens to be in the ascendant, which might be evil. To be ready to act, or react, in these ways suggests both an awareness that the habits in question are appropriate and a principled commitment to their exercise. They have in common the virtue Russell called truthfulness, which entails the wish to find out, and trying to be right in matters of belief. (23)

In Russell's conception, beyond the skills and dispositions outlined above, a certain set of attitudes characterizes the outlook of a critical person. By the critical attitude, Russell means a temper of mind central to which is a certain stance with respect to knowledge and opinion which involves: (i) a realization of human fallibility, a sense of the uncertainty of many things commonly regarded as indubitable, bringing with it humility; (24) (ii) an open-minded outlook with respect to our beliefs, an "inward readiness" to give weight to the other side, where every question is regarded as open and where it is recognized that what passes for knowledge is sure to require correction; (25) (iii) a refusal to think that our own desires and wishes provide a key to understanding the world, recognizing that what we should like has no bearing whatever on what is; (26) (iv) being tentative, (27) without falling into a lazy scepticism (or dogmatic doubt), but holding one's beliefs with the degree of conviction warranted by the evidence. Russell defends an outlook midway between complete scepticism and complete dogmatism in which one has a strong desire to know combined with great caution in believing that one knows. Hence his notion of critical undogmatic receptiveness which rejects certainty (the demand for which Russell calls an intellectual vice (28) ) and ensures that open-mindedness does not become mindless.
In addition to possessing the skills, you must habitually put them to use, you must be willing to use them when you might not want to, and you must keep the correct attitude, including a realization of your own fallibility.

I think this is very hard (Russel did too). I recently read part of a talk by Daniel Kahneman:

Edge Master Class 07: A SHORT COURSE IN THINKING ABOUT THINKING—DANIEL KAHNEMAN

Where he tells an anecdote that is a nice example of how hard it can be. He was on a committee that was writing a new book, and they all had an estimate about how long it would take (about 2 years they thought). But then he had a thought, and asked the Dean who was there (and had estimated about 2 years) how long these groups usually take. Turns out 40% of them never finish, and never in less than 7 years.

Quote:
I'm deeply ashamed of the rest of the story, but there was something really instructive happening here, because there are two ways of looking at a problem; the inside view and the outside view. The inside view is looking at your problem and trying to estimate what will happen in your problem. The outside view involves making that an instance of something else-of a class. When you then look at the statistics of the class, it is a very different way of thinking about problems. And what's interesting is that it is a very unnatural way to think about problems, because you have to forget things that you know-and you know everything about what you're trying to do, your plan and so on-and to look at yourself as a point in the distribution is a very un-natural exercise; people actually hate doing this and resist it.


But what's psychologically interesting about the incident is all of that information was in the head of the Dean of the School of Education, and still he said two years. There was no contact between something he knew and something he said. What psychologically to me was the truly insightful thing, was that he had all the information necessary to conclude that the prediction he was writing down was ridiculous.


Let me just add two elements to the story. One, which I'm really ashamed of, is that obviously we should have quit. None of us was willing to spend seven years writing the bloody book. It was out of the question. We didn't stop and I think that really was the end of rational planning. When I look back on the humor of our writing a book on rationality, and going on after we knew that what we were doing was not worth doing, is not something I'm proud of.
I think that illustrates the difficulties quite nicely. To me it seems that the more ego you bring into it, the worse you will do. When you have a personal stake in being right or in having the answer right now, you will probably overlook something.

One of the things Kahneman brings up later:

Quote:
There seems to be a very general psychological principle at work here, which is that sometimes when you are asked a question that is difficult, the mind doesn't stay silent if it doesn't have the answer. The mind produces something, and what it produces very characteristically is the answer to an easier but related question. That's one of the heuristics of good problem-solving, but it is a system one operation, which is an operation that takes place by itself.
Is I think something to keep in mind. As an illustration, stop and think of an answer to this question:

How many murders are there in Michigan each year?

*

*

Most people say around 100.

Now ask yourself this question:

*


*

*

How many murders are there in Detroit each year?

Most people say around 200 :bigsmile:


Essentially, when trying to think critically were are always struggling against the weaknesses of our own minds. Looking back on my own exploration of philosophical issues, I was basically treading water up until the point where I started to value having my mind changed instead of just trying to argue my point. And I see people that never get there, they read book after book but they filter everything through their preset beliefs which are often contradictory. The more I'm able to let the personal side go and focus on seeking the best answer (which is often an "I can't really say") the more quality answers I've found--often the best are when I've truly believed both sides of the argument for at least some time.

Although just today I said several silly things in a debate on another forum :rolleyes:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 09:37 pm
@prothero,
prothero;155108 wrote:
Not that we ever agree
but
Philosophy would seem to have something to do with "rational speculation" applied to the "problems of existence or experience".
Philosophy is not divorced from reason, from science, from experience or from facts but is is precisely the effort to apply reason to experience and speculate about matters for which science may have no answers.



Well said. And is not philosophy therefore also critical thinking in regards to what constitutes critical thinking? Also it seems that the scientific method, for all its glory and power, is founded on an implicit philosophy.

One of the more interesting philosophical problems is figuring out what constitutes a "philosophical problem."

If we insist that philosophy stick to traditional problems, are we refusing the possibility of progress? If we treat the traditional problems as meaningless, are we missing their depth? Questions for philosophy.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 04:14 am
@kennethamy,
Philosophy will also tend to reflect the temper of the age, won't it? I mean in 1500 philosophy was generally informed by religious conviction, in 2010 it is more likely to be mindful of scientific opinion.

I would generally agree with Russell's excellent depicition of 'the philosophical temperament'. But I would add that philosophy ought also be a means of discovering something hitherto unknown. If, after all, it only serves to help you think better about what you already know, then nothing really new is gained by it, save perhaps clarity. But then as soon as you introduce this dimension, I suggest you have already strayed outside the territory that can be strictly defined by 'method'. Because there is also the question of your outlook, what you take life to be, and what you are setting out to discover.

Consider the following quote from Russell's famous ode to the post-religious outlook of the secular age The Free Man's Worship:

Quote:

For countless ages the hot nebula whirled aimlessly through space. At length it began to take shape, the central mass threw off planets, the planets cooled, boiling seas and burning mountains heaved and tossed, from masses of cloud hot sheets of rain deluged the barely solid crust. And now the first germ of life grew in the depths of the ocean, and developed rapidly in the fructifying warmth into vast forest trees, huge germ springing from the damp mould, sea monsters breeding, fighting, devouring, and passing away. And from the monsters, as the play unfolded itself, Man was born, with the power of thought, the knowledge of good and evil, and the cruel thirst for worship. And Man saw that all is passing in this mad, monstrous world, that all is struggling to snatch, at any cost, a few brief moments of life before Death's inexorable decree. And Man said: 'There is a hidden purpose, could we but fathom it, and the purpose is good; for we must reverence something, and in the visible world there is nothing worthy of reverence.' And Man stood aside from the struggle, resolving that God intended harmony to come out of chaos by human efforts. And when he followed the instincts which God had transmitted to him from his ancestry of beasts of prey, he called it Sin, and asked God to forgive him. But he doubted whether he could be justly forgiven, until he invented a divine Plan by which God's wrath was to have been appeased. And seeing the present was bad, he made it yet worse, that thereby the future might be better. And he gave God thanks for the strength that enabled him to forgo even the joys that were possible. And God smiled; and when he saw that Man had become perfect in renunciation and worship, he sent another sun through the sky, which crashed into Man's sun; and all returned again to nebula.

"Yes,' he murmured, 'it was a good play; I will have it performed again.'"
So whatever the merits of Russell's method, this illustrates quite well that outlook is a different, but equally important, issue, doesn't it?

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 08:21 PM ----------

footnote to above: it is also an unavoidable fact that the 21 century is a gigantic melting pot of ideas, cultures, philosophies, and so on. Nothing is sacred and everything is up for grabs. Within this context 'confused happy talk' might just be the way a certain (very small) percentage of the population tries to come to grips with all of this, for better or for worse. It is not what goes on in grad school, but I still think it has a purpose.

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 08:25 PM ----------

The Header on the website actually says Science, Religion, Philosophy, Humanity.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 06:06 am
@prothero,
prothero;155108 wrote:
Not that we ever agree
but
Philosophy would seem to have something to do with "rational speculation" applied to the "problems of existence or experience".
Philosophy is not divorced from reason, from science, from experience or from facts but is is precisely the effort to apply reason to experience and speculate about matters for which science may have no answers.


Speculation is fine as long as it is not empty speculation that leads nowhere. We can, for instance, speculate about how the discovery of ETs would affect us Ts. And consider the possibilities and their consequences. That is useful and important speculation. But speculation as to whether the real is the rational, or the rational is the real, seems to me the kind which gives philosophy the bad name it has with many people.

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 08:28 AM ----------

jeeprs;155187 wrote:
But I would add that philosophy ought also be a means of discovering something hitherto unknown. If, after all, it only serves to help you think better about what you already know, then nothing really new is gained by it, save perhaps clarity.


But my view is different. I think that science is about knowledge, but philosophy is about understanding what, in Plato's sense, we already know. Think about Plato's theory of anamnesis (recollection) where he says that philosophical discovery is actually the recollection of what we already know. And Wittgenstein seems to have had the same idea (minus the metaphysics) when he wrote, "philosophy is the assemblage of reminders for a particular purpose". (PI). Philosophers do not discover, they understand. It is a division of labor between them and scientists. I always like to quote T.S. Eliot when I finish preaching about this. In his Four Quartets (Little Gidding) he wrote,


- We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

I wonder whether it would not have been more acceptable if I had asked instead whether philosophizing is not just critical thinking as applied to philosophy?
 
Ahab
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:09 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;155065 wrote:
Wittgenstein wrote that philosophy is a method, not a theory or a dogma. And, if this is true, then the method must be that of critical thinking as applied to philosophical problems.


This looks like a rather vacuous claim. Any intellectual pursuit is going to require some critical thinking about the issues at hand.


And I don't understand why you mentioned Wittgenstein to support your claim.
In PI #133 he wrote: "There is not a single philosophical method, though there are indeed methods, different therapies as it were."
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:14 am
@kennethamy,
Critical thinking, precisely as Jeb outlined above, is absolutely essential to really *gaining anything* on a personal level from philosophy.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:25 am
@Ahab,
Ahab;155213 wrote:
This looks like a rather vacuous claim. Any intellectual pursuit is going to require some critical thinking about the issues at hand.


And I don't understand why you mentioned Wittgenstein to support your claim.
In PI #133 he wrote: "There is not a single philosophical method, though there are indeed methods, different therapies as it were."


About 1, have you read some of the threads around this forum? Some posts contain not only no critical thinking, they contain no thinking.

What W. said about philosophy being a method and not a theory or dogma is quite consistent with what he says here.
 
Ahab
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:53 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;155215 wrote:
About 1, have you read some of the threads around this forum? Some posts contain not only no critical thinking, they contain no thinking.


Yes. There is plenty of nonsense that goes around in any intellectual activity. Ironically, it can take a great deal of critical thinking in order to produce nonsense.


Quote:

What W. said about philosophy being a method and not a theory or dogma is quite consistent with what he says here.


I don't agree. He would not have said, as you have, that the method of philosophy must be that of critical thinking. Sounds rather dogmatic to me.

Look, people come to a public board like this for many different reasons. I would suggest taking that into account when deciding whether or not to engage in any particular thread.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 08:27 am
@Ahab,
Ahab;155218 wrote:
Yes. There is plenty of nonsense that goes around in any intellectual activity. Ironically, it can take a great deal of critical thinking in order to produce nonsense.




I don't agree. He would not have said, as you have, that the method of philosophy must be that of critical thinking. Sounds rather dogmatic to me.

Look, people come to a public board like this for many different reasons. I would suggest taking that into account when deciding whether or not to engage in any particular thread.


I don't think I suggested he would have said that. Actually, I misquoted him. What he said was that philosophy was an activity, not a theory or a dogma. I suggested that the activity was critical thinking.

And yes, people do a lot of things under the rubric of "philosophy". But it does not follow that everything they do is philosophy. Some is nonsense, and some is something else: intellectual history, or the history of philosophy, or rank speculation about all manner of things, or just expressing their feelings about how the world is treating them.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 03:52 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;155204 wrote:
I think that science is about knowledge, but philosophy is about understanding what, in Plato's sense, we already know.


Actually, I have to agree with you in that.

And also, I have already owned up to the fact that my interests are often outside the subject of philosophy strictly defined, and include the history of ideas and comparative religion.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 04:43 pm
@kennethamy,
If Wittgenstein writes that philosophy is a method, not a dogma, etc...is he not presenting a dogma? And if we are quoting him as an authority and not as a poetic expression of our own views, how critical is that?

I find it amusing when "critical thinking" is dragged out like some rhetorical super-cannon. "Critical thinking" is a double-edged sword. The more faith you have in it, the less faithful you are in regards to it.

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 05:46 PM ----------

Ahab;155218 wrote:

I don't agree. He would not have said, as you have, that the method of philosophy must be that of critical thinking. Sounds rather dogmatic to me.


I should have read your post first, as this is exactly the feeling I had when I saw "anti-dogma" presented dogmatically. So I wasn't trying to rip you off.Smile

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 05:49 PM ----------

It seems utterly impossible to think without axioms. That is something I garnered from "critical thinking," which easily becomes a mantra, an ossification, an escape from critical thinking.

A radical critical thinking doubts whether critical thinking can transcend self-pleasing rhetoric. And then that the sentence before this one is not just self-pleasing rhetoric.

Watch them go, these persuasive humans. Mention whatever credentials they expect to have potency. Climb to the top, little monkeys. (I speak to myself as well.)

I always feel this deep laughter when someone tries to pull this con." I've really thought this thru." I'm "critical " Everyone thinks they are critical. Everyone in a good mood has the truth on sale for free. We can foam at the mouth all we want about our "methods" and our credentials. No doubt, our group (possibly of one) will somehow be "lucky" enough to come out on top. --Or we will change parties and quickly learn that little jingle.

There's some pretty happy talk for you. :whistling:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 06:56 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;155342 wrote:
If Wittgenstein writes that philosophy is a method, not a dogma, etc...is he not presenting a dogma? And if we are quoting him as an authority and not as a poetic expression of our own views, how critical is that?

I find it amusing when "critical thinking" is dragged out like some rhetorical super-cannon. "Critical thinking" is a double-edged sword. The more faith you have in it, the less faithful you are in regards to it.

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 05:46 PM ----------



I should have read your post first, as this is exactly the feeling I had when I saw "anti-dogma" presented dogmatically. So I wasn't trying to rip you off.Smile

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 05:49 PM ----------

It seems utterly impossible to think without axioms. That is something I garnered from "critical thinking," which easily becomes a mantra, an ossification, an escape from critical thinking.

A radical critical thinking doubts whether critical thinking can transcend self-pleasing rhetoric. And then that the sentence before this one is not just self-pleasing rhetoric.

Watch them go, these persuasive humans. Mention whatever credentials they expect to have potency. Climb to the top, little monkeys. (I speak to myself as well.)

I always feel this deep laughter when someone tries to pull this con." I've really thought this thru." I'm "critical " Everyone thinks they are critical. Everyone in a good mood has the truth on sale for free. We can foam at the mouth all we want about our "methods" and our credentials. No doubt, our group (possibly of one) will somehow be "lucky" enough to come out on top. --Or we will change parties and quickly learn that little jingle.

There's some pretty happy talk for you. :whistling:


First or all, let me correct my description of what W. said. (I have already done so, but since it was my sin, I have much to correct). W. actually said that philosophy was an activity, not a theory or a dogma. Many mea culpas for that. But is his saying so dogmatic. Not so far as I can see. Unless you think that whenever anyone says anything he believes is true, he is being dogmatic. To be dogmatic is not to permit anything to count against what you say is true, but to maintain it against all and any objections by just reasserting your belief. There is not evidence that W. did that, is there?

I was not quoting W. as an authority. Just as someone who expressed something I believe is true, but in a better way than I have expressed it. You should learn the difference between a citation used as an authority, and a citation made as a way of expressing something you believe to be true. If I say, for instance, "as Voltaire said, I do not agree with what you said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it", I am not quoting Voltaire as an authority. I am simply saying that Voltaire said that, and I agree with him. Not that because Voltaire said it, it is true. I hope you see the distinction.

I don't believe there was anything else you wrote in the post that was worth responding to. Do you? Diatribes are hardly worth responding to.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 06:34 am
@kennethamy,
One can approach the human activity called philosophy from several entrances. One can understand it it historically, or one can understand it by distinguishing its methods and ground from other human endeavors. Yet another way of defining philosophy is by considering in what way its ends ("actual" or self-stated) make it an unique and identifiable human project.

The infinite loop that any definition of philosophy must be itself a philosophy may also provide a clue to understanding what it is.

If philosophy can be defined historically (one can go to a few shelves in the library and say, "See? I can point to all these books and that is what philosophy is.") then how can one identify a completely "new and novel" philosophy if it should appear? Could there be enough "family resemblances" or intellectual similarities that could help?

Or: if we all know what philosophy is NOT, couldn't this via negativa help define what it IS? There are all varieties of silly ideas that want to claim they are philosophy (or rather their proponents do); what warrants would we provide for rejecting their pretense?

Why, moreover, are there "borderline" instances? What makes Camus a philosopher and Fowles not one? It doesn't help that one claims he is "doing philosophy" and the other that he is not. Or why do people put forward that the lyrics to some popular ditty are deeply philosophical?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 06:54 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;155607 wrote:
One can approach the human activity called philosophy from several entrances. One can understand it it historically, or one can understand it by distinguishing its methods and ground from other human endeavors. Yet another way of defining philosophy is by considering in what way its ends ("actual" or self-stated) make it an unique and identifiable human project.

The infinite loop that any definition of philosophy must be itself a philosophy may also provide a clue to understanding what it is.

If philosophy can be defined historically (one can go to a few shelves in the library and say, "See? I can point to all these books and that is what philosophy is.") then how can one identify a completely "new and novel" philosophy if it should appear? Could there be enough "family resemblances" or intellectual similarities that could help?

Or: if we all know what philosophy is NOT, couldn't this via negativa help define what it IS? There are all varieties of silly ideas that want to claim they are philosophy (or rather their proponents do); what warrants would we provide for rejecting their pretense?

Why, moreover, are there "borderline" instances? What makes Camus a philosopher and Fowles not one? It doesn't help that one claims he is "doing philosophy" and the other that he is not. Or why do people put forward that the lyrics to some popular ditty are deeply philosophical?


I think that it is philosophizing, not philosophy, that Wittgenstein is calling an activity. So, that would leave out the history of philosophy, or the history of ideas (except insofar as those involved philosophizing). And yes, the question, what is philosophy? is, indeed, a philosophical question. But I don't see what that is an "infinite loop" (but maybe I don't understand that phrase). The term "philosophy" is, of course vague in the sense that all descriptive terms are vague other than technical terms. And there will, therefore, always be borderline cases. But, nevertheless, there will also be clear cases. Descartes' Meditations is philosophy. Without any doubt. And, David Copperfield is not. And neither is a history text on the Glorious Revolution. Alice in Wonderland has its philosophical moments, but it is not a work of philosophy. And the same goes for your ditty example. To say that a work is philosophical is not the same as to say it is a philosophical work. The Brothers Karamazov is, I guess, philosophical, but it is not like Kant's First Critique. A work of philosophy.
 
Doubt doubt
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 07:07 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;155065 wrote:
Wittgenstein wrote that philosophy is a method, not a theory or a dogma. And, if this is true, then the method must be that of critical thinking as applied to philosophical problems. I am, of course, not talking about the history of philosophy, nor intellectual history. Both have their place, but they should not be confused with philosophy. Nor, of course, should the confused happy talk we sometimes see on this forum be confused either with philosophy, or anything except with confusion.



I would agree. Another thing that is not philosophy is quoting philosophers. a belief a person holds is a philosophy. If you read/hear someones philosophy and believe it you have accepted a philosophy and have not created a philosophy and do not have your own philosophy. I have yet to meet a philosophy teacher that has been a philosopher. They have been great at quoting philosophers and some have even written books about philosophers/ the history of but none had any views of their own to express. I have my own philosophy and when i read the works of a philosopher it either changes my view or it is worthless to me. I like any self respecting philosopher believe i am the only one to know how things are.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 07:22 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;155630 wrote:
I would agree. Another thing that is not philosophy is quoting philosophers. a belief a person holds is a philosophy. If you read/hear someones philosophy and believe it you have accepted a philosophy and have not created a philosophy and do not have your own philosophy. I have yet to meet a philosophy teacher that has been a philosopher. They have been great at quoting philosophers and some have even written books about philosophers/ the history of but none had any views of their own to express. I have my own philosophy and when i read the works of a philosopher it either changes my view or it is worthless to me. I like any self respecting philosopher believe i am the only one to know how things are.


Oh. I quote philosophers just because I do have views of my own to express, but the philosopher's I quote express them better than I would. So I quote them to express my views. It just shows that those philosophers agree with me.
 
Doubt doubt
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 07:37 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;155635 wrote:
Oh. I quote philosophers just because I do have views of my own to express, but the philosopher's I quote express them better than I would. So I quote them to express my views. It just shows that those philosophers agree with me.


i was not talking about anyone in specific. I believe you and was meaning my comment to people who do nothing but quote philosophers. I dont quote them very often because i have never read a philosophical work i would need to read again. If i read it it is in my head and if it is worth anything it will become part of my philosophy. In real life with spoken words i can explain myself better than anyone else though. also its a bad habit to have if you ever get into an argument and do not want it to come off fallacious via appeal to authority.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2010 07:51 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;155639 wrote:
i was not talking about anyone in specific. I believe you and was meaning my comment to people who do nothing but quote philosophers. I dont quote them very often because i have never read a philosophical work i would need to read again. If i read it it is in my head and if it is worth anything it will become part of my philosophy. In real life with spoken words i can explain myself better than anyone else though. also its a bad habit to have if you ever get into an argument and do not want it to come off fallacious via appeal to authority.


But quoting someone need not be an appeal to authority at all. As I explained, it may be just to express something I think is true, but is better expressed by the philosopher I quote. Or, because I want to quote someone who disagree with me, so I have a target. There are many reasons for quoting someone. It is fallacious to argue that because you are quoting someone, you are appealing to him as an authority. In any case, of course, even appeals to authority need not be fallacious, since the authority can be a good authority, and the appeal can be evidence for what you believe. It is not fallacious to appeal to a dictionary as an authority on how a word is spelled, is it? If so, I have committed that fallacy a lot.
 
 

 
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