What makes a good philosopher?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:18 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168674 wrote:

I like the notion of philosophy as a journey of man' self-consciousness.
Smile


Maybe you would like it even more if you knew what it meant; but then again, probably not. It is probably the fact that it doesn't mean anything much that intrigues you. Your interest in something seems to be inversely proportional to its meaningfulness. Now there's an equation you can mull on!
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:04 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168684 wrote:
Maybe you would like it even more if you knew what it meant; but then again, probably not. It is probably the fact that it doesn't mean anything much that intrigues you. Your interest in something seems to be inversely proportional to its meaningfulness. Now there's an equation you can mull on!


Well, you are a fan of logic, yes? That is thinking about thinking, see? And maybe you don't like Kant, but certainly Hume investigated the way our minds work. And that is what I mean by self-consciousness. Wittgenstein examined the notion of the self in the TLP, and it's a brilliantly concise demolition of all sorts of confusion. Hell, the clarification of thought is a form of self-consciousness. We get a clearer notion thereby of what we are thinking.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:08 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168674 wrote:
Well, we both agree, I think, on the importance of looking at the logic of man's thinking/perception. It seems quite natural (doesn't it?) for us to investigate the tools of investigation.

I like the notion of philosophy as a journey of man' self-consciousness. He or she finds that much of his experience is shaped by his or her mind. It reminds me of wearing a pair of sunglasses without realizing it. Pretty brilliant for Kant to make us so aware of these "glasses" and to describe them so well.
Smile


And would you not say that it was a sheer work of genius for Hegel to take off the glasses? High flying and absurd, but nevertheless brilliant.

The tools need to be investigated so we can clearly investigate the world. THe logical world that is (along with the empirical).
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:13 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;168727 wrote:
And would you not say that it was a sheer work of genius for Hegel to take off the glasses? High flying and absurd, but nevertheless brilliant.

Excellent summation! That's pretty much how I see it. Hegel says that since we can't take the glasses off in any case, they are really just part of reality. There are no glasses and there is no glasses-free reality. Yes, a bit absurd for practical purposes. But indeed, high flying. And he really did anticipate linguistic philosophy with "the real is rational" which is quite similar to "the world is all that is the case." Unfortunately, most folks think he meant "rational" as a term of commendation.

It's a pleasure to speak with someone who enjoys these things!Smile
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:58 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168719 wrote:
Well, you are a fan of logic, yes? That is thinking about thinking, see? And maybe you don't like Kant, but certainly Hume investigated the way our minds work. And that is what I mean by self-consciousness. Wittgenstein examined the notion of the self in the TLP, and it's a brilliantly concise demolition of all sorts of confusion. Hell, the clarification of thought is a form of self-consciousness. We get a clearer notion thereby of what we are thinking.


The study of logic is thinking about thinking. Logic is the science of how we ought to think. There is a big difference. Kant is fine. Hume may have thought he was being a psychologist, but in those days, the distinction between psychology and philosophy had not been drawn. Hume was engaged in the question of what are the limits of human reason. That is the philosophical, not a psychological issue. I don't recall Wittgenstein discussing the nature of the self very much in TLP. In any case, Wittgenstein thought that his discussions in Philosophical Investigations superceded any discussion in TLP. So do I.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:10 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168825 wrote:
I don't recall Wittgenstein discussing the nature of the self very much in TLP. In any case, Wittgenstein thought that his discussions in Philosophical Investigations superceded any discussion in TLP. So do I.

Look again, if you are curious. He talks about the self in the metaphysical sense, as apart from the psychological sense, as the limit of the world.

I don't agree with you on the second point, though he may have been ambivalent. I've read that he liked the idea of both published together.

And even if he himself preferred the Investigations, or thought they superseded the TLP, that doesn't mean his opinion on the matter is more important than mine or yours. That's the beauty of a text: it exists outside of a person. I respect your personal preference, but I currently prefer the TLP. Pound for pound, it's one of the greatest books I know of.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 07:13 PM ----------

kennethamy;168825 wrote:
The study of logic is thinking about thinking. Logic is the science of how we ought to think. There is a big difference. Kant is fine. Hume may have thought he was being a psychologist, but in those days, the distinction between psychology and philosophy had not been drawn.


I can't completely agree with you on logic. I see it as a study of the structure of thought. But yes, the "science of how we ought to think" is also valid, and for many the preferred conception of logic.

Generally, philosophy and psychology have dangerously similar subject matter. Both are so fundamental. Wittgenstein tries to distance them in the TLP, but did he really succeed? If philosophy is the clarification of thought, and thought is a central aspect of the human psyche, we have some overlap to deal with....
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:19 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168832 wrote:
Look again, if you are curious. He talks about the self in the metaphysical sense, as apart from the psychological sense, as the limit of the world.

I don't agree with you on the second point, though he may have been ambivalent. I've read that he liked the idea of both published together.

And even if he himself preferred the Investigations, or thought they superseded the TLP, that doesn't mean his opinion on the matter is more important than mine or yours. That's the beauty of a text: it exists outside of a person. I respect your personal preference, but I currently prefer the TLP. Pound for pound, it's one of the greatest books I know of.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 07:13 PM ----------



I can't completely agree with you on logic. I see it as a study of the structure of thought. But yes, the "science of how we ought to think" is also valid, and for many the preferred conception of logic.

Generally, philosophy and psychology have dangerously similar subject matter. Both are so fundamental. Wittgenstein tries to distance them in the TLP, but did he really succeed? If philosophy is the clarification of thought, and thought is a central aspect of the human psyche, we have some overlap to deal with....


Whatever overlap there is can be examined and eliminated. Philosophers are not psychologists.

There are two aspects of logic. 1. The science of how we ought to think. 2. The study of of that science. Just as there is physics, and the philosophy of physics.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168837 wrote:
Whatever overlap there is can be examined and eliminated. Philosophers are not psychologists.

In principle, I agree. But this is a difficult ideal.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 07:24 PM ----------

kennethamy;168837 wrote:

There are two aspects of logic. 1. The science of how we ought to think. 2. The study of of that science. Just as there is physics, and the philosophy of physics.

I sympathize with that, but I'm fascinated by "transcendental logical." Hence my interest in the nature of abstraction, in bits, in the hardwired aspects of such, etc.

I was reading Frege last night and was happy to find that he shared my fascination with the intuition of unity. Now perhaps you would call this psychology, but would you call Frege a psychologist?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:52 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168840 wrote:
In principle, I agree. But this is a difficult ideal.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 07:24 PM ----------


I sympathize with that, but I'm fascinated by "transcendental logical." Hence my interest in the nature of abstraction, in bits, in the hardwired aspects of such, etc.

I was reading Frege last night and was happy to find that he shared my fascination with the intuition of unity. Now perhaps you would call this psychology, but would you call Frege a psychologist?


I neither think Frege had anything psychological in mind, nor do I think he was a psychologist. Frege was in the very forefront of those who defended logic against being psychologized. He was very insistent on a strong distinction between logic and psychology.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 12:56 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168958 wrote:
I neither think Frege had anything psychological in mind, nor do I think he was a psychologist. Frege was in the very forefront of those who defended logic against being psychologized. He was very insistent on a strong distinction between logic and psychology.


I'm not denying that, but his investigation of the unity concept has a Kantian feel. I'm still reading the book, but he seems to build arithmetic from a small core of this intuition. I don't know if you are interested in the foundations of mathematics, but I think it's a great subject. Are numbers built-in to the mind? Are they abstracted from objects? I say both, but more of the first. We abstract number from the unity automatically projected on objects...and this why objects are objects, because they are viewed as finite unities.

Is this psychology or logic? And what is the most general form of a proposition, as mentioned by Wittgenstein? Is formal logic arbitrary, or is it a formalization of the way we humans think?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:29 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;169137 wrote:
I'm not denying that, but his investigation of the unity concept has a Kantian feel. I'm still reading the book, but he seems to build arithmetic from a small core of this intuition. I don't know if you are interested in the foundations of mathematics, but I think it's a great subject. Are numbers built-in to the mind? Are they abstracted from objects? I say both, but more of the first. We abstract number from the unity automatically projected on objects...and this why objects are objects, because they are viewed as finite unities.

Is this psychology or logic? And what is the most general form of a proposition, as mentioned by Wittgenstein? Is formal logic arbitrary, or is it a formalization of the way we humans think?



Aristotle held there were four general forms of a proposition:

All S is P (Universal affirmative) (All dogs are mammals).
No S is P (Universal Negative) (No dogs are mammals).
Some S is P (Particular affirmative) (Some dogs are mammals).
Some S is not P ( Particular negative) (Some dogs are not mammals).

Russell pointed out that Aristotle missed relational propositions like, X is identical with Y which are not of the subject/predicate form. For example, like, All creatures with livers are identical with creatures with lungs.

I have no idea what you mean by formal logic being arbitrary. You don't think that we can simply decide on whim that if p implies q, and p is true, that q won't be true, do you? Logic structures not the way we think, for that would be psychology. But how we ought to think. That is why Peirce called logic a "normative science".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 07:58 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed.;131203 wrote:
On a light note, I have a professor who says, "Ya wanna be a philosopher that people still talk about 500 years from now? Ask questions that a five year old would ask."


Again, I say this is wise. It's what we take for granted that deceives us?

---------- Post added 05-29-2010 at 08:59 PM ----------

kennethamy;169191 wrote:

I have no idea what you mean by formal logic being arbitrary.


I mean that much of the formalism is accidental and not essential. What structure must any of all possible logical formalisms have to work for us? Why do we know that 1 + 1 = 2? Is this just an empty convention, or does it refer to a self-evident intuition? Do we experience a meaning here beyond simple formal agreement? Is the law of excluded middle intuitive? Or based on experience?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 08:03 pm
@hue-man,
I don't know if it has been said yet, but I think that a good sense of humor is a required trait for a good philosopher. Since many philosopher seemed to lack a sense of humor, that could suggest that there have been many philosophers, but not many good philosophers.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 08:29 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;170624 wrote:
I don't know if it has been said yet, but I think that a good sense of humor is a required trait for a good philosopher. Since many philosopher seemed to lack a sense of humor, that could suggest that there have been many philosophers, but not many good philosophers.


True that! And Nietzsche for instance sometimes makes me laugh out loud. "Wisdom maketh a man's face to shine."

If we want Wisdom and not just practical knowledge, I think it's fair to seek it from the joyful. Or if Wisdom is more contentment than joy, from the content. If we simply don't care about Wisdom, that's I-don't-know-what.

Our knowledge is to a large degree emotional and always has been, but the written word can distract us from this I think. I love when Nietzsche praises the nose. That to me is first rate philosophy.

Philosophy should enhance life. Period.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 08:44 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;169191 wrote:
Aristotle held there were four general forms of a proposition:

All S is P (Universal affirmative) (All dogs are mammals).
No S is P (Universal Negative) (No dogs are mammals).
Some S is P (Particular affirmative) (Some dogs are mammals).
Some S is not P ( Particular negative) (Some dogs are not mammals).

Russell pointed out that Aristotle missed relational propositions like, X is identical with Y which are not of the subject/predicate form. For example, like, All creatures with livers are identical with creatures with lungs.

I have no idea what you mean by formal logic being arbitrary. You don't think that we can simply decide on whim that if p implies q, and p is true, that q won't be true, do you? Logic structures not the way we think, for that would be psychology. But how we ought to think. That is why Peirce called logic a "normative science".


Kant's updated version of Aristotle's Categories are nicely presented here.

I am wary of sweeping statements about 'the nature of logic' or 'the nature of number', because on that level of description, a minor error can have major consequences. An analogy from everyday life is like the drafting of a policy paper: it might seem very obvious that your position is X but when it comes to actually writing it down, the choice of words, what to include, and what to leave out, are very exacting questions. Furthermore if you word the policy wrongly, it might often have unintended consequences, which mean that it has to be changed, and nobody likes having to make changes to policy.

So I would avoid sweeping statements about the nature of formal logic. However I would also observe that there are kinds of problems that have been found to 'defy logic'. This indicates to me, not that there is a problem with logic, but that its range of applicability is not unlimited in scope.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 09:44 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170639 wrote:

So I would avoid sweeping statements about the nature of formal logic. .


Particularly by those who know none. They make themselves ridiculous.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 09:55 pm
@hue-man,
Ah, the ridiculousness of us all, that we see so often only other human beings as ridiculous.

I personally was exposed to formal logic before any other aspect of philosophy. And I personally have used a sort of formal logic in the programming of computers. Formal logic is comparable to a very basic form of mathematics. There's nothing to it. It's nothing but tautologies, except where variables are not yet defined. I 'm thinking of algorithms here. Anyone who has programmed computers will know what I am talking about.
If-then statements, etc.

Formalism is just not significant except as it connects to application and intuition. We can play with quaternions all day, and the formalism of quaternions is beautiful. But they were invented by a man who considered himself a physicist first and a mathematician second. I look at formal logic like that. I'm a philosopher first and a player with tautologies second. I fear that we are aesthetically dazzled by these formalisms, which are admittedly artistic, until we forget to ask what they are based on. A strict formalist might say "nothing!" But I cannot agree with that position.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 10:21 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;170661 wrote:
Ah, the ridiculousness of us all, that we see so often only other human beings as ridiculous.

I personally was exposed to formal logic before any other aspect of philosophy. And I personally have used a sort of formal logic in the programming of computers. Formal logic is comparable to a very basic form of mathematics. There's nothing to it. It's nothing but tautologies, except where variables are not yet defined. I 'm thinking of algorithms here. Anyone who has programmed computers will know what I am talking about.
If-then statements, etc.

Formalism is just not significant except as it connects to application and intuition. We can play with quaternions all day, and the formalism of quaternions is beautiful. But they were invented by a man who considered himself a physicist first and a mathematician second. I look at formal logic like that. I'm a philosopher first and a player with tautologies second. I fear that we are aesthetically dazzled by these formalisms, which are admittedly artistic, until we forget to ask what they are based on. A strict formalist might say "nothing!" But I cannot agree with that position.


Does any of the above mean that people who know nothing about formal logic, and who preach about it, are not ridiculous? Of course not. It has nothing to do with it. People who program computers need know no more about logic than a carpenter. Programming and formal logic have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Anyone who believes they do shows he knows nothing about formal logic.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 10:22 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170670 wrote:
Does any of this mean that people who know nothing about formal logic, and who preach about it, are not ridiculous. People who program computers need know no more about logic than a carpenter. Programming and formal logic have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Anyone who believes they do shows he knows nothing about formal logic.


Or that they have not programmed computers. As I said already, my first exposure to philosophy was formal logic. No, I don't obsess over it, precisely because it is so obvious and intuitive that there's not much there, except for what this intuitiveness implies. Try not to be so rude. It doesn't make you more persuasive. And you aren't going to learn anything from interactions with others if your only role is the person-who-knows-everything-already. Have you programmed computers, by the way?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 10:33 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;170672 wrote:
Or that they have not programmed computers. As I said already, my first exposure to philosophy was formal logic. No, I don't obsess over it, precisely because it is so obvious and intuitive that there's not much there, except for what this intuitiveness implies. Try not to be so rude. It doesn't make you more persuasive. And you aren't going to learn anything from interactions with others if your only role is the person-who-knows-everything-already. Have you programmed computers, by the way?


What are you talking about? What has this to do with the fact that those who know nothing about formal logic, but who prate about it and its foundations, make themselves ridiculous?
 
 

 
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