Is philosophy worth bothering with?

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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#961  Postby Cito di Pense » Jan 19, 2017 11:02 am

archibald wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:..... keep in mind that speciation events generally take place in isolated populations. Air travel rules this out.


Air travel is just an internal means of getting around the habitat of an isolated population. :)


A bathtub is topologically equivalent to the sphere, if you ignore the drain and equate the input from the sun to the bather. In that scenario, life is like a bathtub ring partway up the basin, and the rest of the cosmos provides its own scouring pads.

I don't purport that this is philosophy. If you think it's literature, fine. YMMV.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#962  Postby VazScep » Jan 22, 2017 6:43 pm

archibald wrote:"Empirically observed covariation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for causality" aka "correlation does not imply causation" is pretty damn philosophical
Here's something I would suggest from my own experience: you often figure out the larger puzzle by working out in the trenches. If you spend enough time as a grunt doing real world data and stats, the claim "correlation does not imply causation" won't be philosophy. It'll be tautology.

Tautology does not imply causation. The tautologies come after the real work. Philosophy isn't being applied. It's just commentary.

I am reminded of Kepler and his laws of planetary motion. His achievement was built on the backs of countless hours of data collection.
Here we go again. First, we discover recursion.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#963  Postby SpeedOfSound » Jan 22, 2017 10:08 pm

I think category theory is philosophy. Philosophy that doesn't measure up in standard to cat theory should be called something else. Scatojection comes to mind. The tired old tune 'correlation is not causation' belongs in this 'category'. If you throw enough shit at the lens eventually you will get the desired degree of obfuscation.

I caution that we note the baby in the bath and take care when equating philosophy to it's category of 'those who claim to be practicing it' or the scatostic methods which they apply.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#964  Postby Cito di Pense » Jan 23, 2017 8:12 am

SpeedOfSound wrote:the scatostic methods which they apply.


This suggests a melding of scatology, sarcasm, and stochasticity. The S-hole, a perfect storm.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#965  Postby LucidFlight » Jan 23, 2017 8:20 am

I had a scatoscotomy once. Very cleansing and eye-opening.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#966  Postby Macdoc » Jan 23, 2017 12:21 pm

I was under the distinct inpression this was a philosophical thread as opposed to scatological..must say something bout the theme I suppose :scratch: :coffee:
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#967  Postby BWE » Jan 25, 2017 7:01 pm

I am going to just toss this out there. When things are going wrong and solutions seem elusive, that's when we turn to philosophy. Otherwise, we just use the philosophy we adopt throughout our lives.
Evidence:
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... ay/514259/

George Orwell’s 1984 is, at this moment, the best-selling book of any genre at Amazon.com—quite a feat for any novel, let alone one published 67 years ago. The resurgence of interest in Orwell’s dystopian portrait of an authoritarian society in which facts have been eliminated is credited to an interview on Meet the Press on Sunday, in which the presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway told Chuck Todd that administration claims about inauguration attendees weren’t falsehoods but “alternative facts.” Many responded on social media by calling Conway’s statement “Orwellian,” and a deliberate attempt to undermine verifiable truths that didn’t fit the narrative the Trump administration wanted to spin.

1984, which warns against the tyranny of government propaganda and historical revisionism, seems to be a fitting novel to read in this moment, if not an entirely escapist one. But it isn’t the only book enjoying a revival in the current political climate. Works by Hannah Arendt, Sinclair Lewis, and John Steinbeck have seen a measurable boost in both sales and the public interest over the last 12 months. Despite the fact that the new president seems less interested in literature than his predecessor, many people seem to have faith that reading is the best way to understand him, his voters, and his administration.
Related Story
A woman, who's blurred out, holds a copy of George Orwell's '1984'

Teaching 1984 in 2016

1984’s recent spike has been notable, but the novel has perpetually hovered on the bestseller list, featuring in the top 100 of Amazon’s most-ordered books for the last three years (in the last 24 hours, it’s jumped from around #91 to #56 on the list of books purchased on Amazon in 2017). For other works, though, their rise in popularity seems more directly linked to the emergence of Trump as a political leader. Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here, a 1935 novel about the rise of an authoritarian fascist leader in the U.S., is currently the 26th most-purchased book on Amazon, and its spike on Google Trends corresponds with the U.S. presidential election on November 8.

John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, a 1961 novel about a Long Islander grocery-store clerk who resolves to abandon personal ethics to increase his wealth and status, has also seen boosts in interest that correlate to Trump’s de facto victory in the Republican presidential race in May, the Republican National Convention in July, and the election in November.

If the links between the events of the recent year and Steinbeck’s last book don’t seem entirely clear, The Atlantic’s review, published in 1961, is illuminating: “What is genuine, familiar, and identifiable [about the book] is the way Americans beat the game: the land-taking before the airport is built, the quick bucks, the plagiarism, the abuse of trust, the near theft, which, if it succeeds, can be glossed over—these are the guilts with which Ethan will have to live in his coming prosperity, and one wonders how happily.”

It isn’t just works of fiction being sought out by curious readers. J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, published in June 2016, quickly became a best-seller among people hoping for insight about rural American voters. The book was Amazon’s 17th-most purchased last year, and currently sits at #3 on the top 100. But an older book has also spiked in interest recently: Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. Published in 1951, it explores the rise of fascist authoritarian governments in Europe over the past two centuries, and how regimes employ racism and propaganda to gain power. Dan Weiss, a bookseller in San Francisco, told KQED that customers recommended the book for its insight into current events in America, and that since he put in an order for new copies, they’ve been “flying off the shelves.” In the week leading up to Christmas, according to data sourced by KQED, the book was selling 16 times more copies than usual, confirmed by a spike on Google Trends.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#968  Postby scott1328 » Jan 25, 2017 7:05 pm

Who's this we you are referring to, paleface?
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#969  Postby tuco » Jan 25, 2017 7:09 pm

Its actually doubleface lol

So, as classic says .. everything bad is good for something eh?

Some turn to philosophy, some to ACLU, some to rhetorical punching and some even left this board for some real action it seems.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#970  Postby BWE » Jan 25, 2017 7:16 pm

scott1328 wrote:Who's this we you are referring to, paleface?

I guess I was referring to the millions of people who are buying those books. Since I have already read the majority of them on that list, I consider myself among that group.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#971  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 27, 2017 9:38 pm

VazScep wrote:Traditional metaphysics asks after the nature of time, space, substance, causality, freewill, the infinite, and logic, and it tries to do so with pure reflection. The problems metaphysics faces in the 21st century are that: theoretical physicists and mathematicians have far more profound things to say on these matters than metaphysicians ever have; much of what they have to say goes completely against intuition; and they've subjected what they have to say to the scrutiny of experiment and, in the case of mathematics, the task of mechanising the entire subject.


Aristotle would say that metaphysics examines something that none of these subjects examines, "being qua being", if that's a good translation. From what contemporary metaphysics I've read, I think he may have a point.
Die Alten sind weder die Juden, noch die Christen, noch die Engländer der Poesie. Sie sind nicht ein willkürlich auserwähltes Kunstvolk Gottes; noch haben sie den alleinseligmachenden Schönheitsglauben; noch besitzen sie ein Dichtungsmonopol.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#972  Postby Cito di Pense » Jan 28, 2017 4:21 am

Tracer Tong wrote:
VazScep wrote:Traditional metaphysics asks after the nature of time, space, substance, causality, freewill, the infinite, and logic, and it tries to do so with pure reflection. The problems metaphysics faces in the 21st century are that: theoretical physicists and mathematicians have far more profound things to say on these matters than metaphysicians ever have; much of what they have to say goes completely against intuition; and they've subjected what they have to say to the scrutiny of experiment and, in the case of mathematics, the task of mechanising the entire subject.


Aristotle would say that metaphysics examines something that none of these subjects examines, "being qua being", if that's a good translation. From what contemporary metaphysics I've read, I think he may have a point.


Clearly, Aristotle was a deep, deep thinker. Clearly. His influence on subsequent philosophy has been yuge. Just yuge. And the fact that you think he has a point signifies to me that you, also, are a deep, deep thinker. Deep, but not necessarily yuge. Necessity is a mother! Believe me. Aristotle first! We'll build a wall between France and Aristotle, to keep out the Contintentals. And make them pay for it! They're gonna pay! And the Frankfurt School? When I'm done with them, they're gonna need vouchers.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#973  Postby VazScep » Jan 28, 2017 2:41 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
VazScep wrote:Traditional metaphysics asks after the nature of time, space, substance, causality, freewill, the infinite, and logic, and it tries to do so with pure reflection. The problems metaphysics faces in the 21st century are that: theoretical physicists and mathematicians have far more profound things to say on these matters than metaphysicians ever have; much of what they have to say goes completely against intuition; and they've subjected what they have to say to the scrutiny of experiment and, in the case of mathematics, the task of mechanising the entire subject.


Aristotle would say that metaphysics examines something that none of these subjects examines, "being qua being", if that's a good translation. From what contemporary metaphysics I've read, I think he may have a point.
Any recommendations of contemporary stuff? This thread has often been about how amorphous philosophy is, which allows philosophy to claim as much worth as it wants. I'd rather we make things a bit more concrete, because as far as worth goes, I only have in mind contemporary professional philosophy, what's being published in contemporary philosophy journals, and what's on the philosophy syllabuses at universities.

Is philosophy worth bothering with? To one of my family members, this was actually the question "should I do a philosophy degree?" To the OP, it's mostly just about keeping up with a conversation with a friend. I've had friends who only want to talk about football, and I suppose I've asked myself "is football worth bothering with?" At some point, I changed the question to "are these friends worth bothering with?"
Here we go again. First, we discover recursion.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#974  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 28, 2017 7:32 pm

VazScep wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
VazScep wrote:Traditional metaphysics asks after the nature of time, space, substance, causality, freewill, the infinite, and logic, and it tries to do so with pure reflection. The problems metaphysics faces in the 21st century are that: theoretical physicists and mathematicians have far more profound things to say on these matters than metaphysicians ever have; much of what they have to say goes completely against intuition; and they've subjected what they have to say to the scrutiny of experiment and, in the case of mathematics, the task of mechanising the entire subject.


Aristotle would say that metaphysics examines something that none of these subjects examines, "being qua being", if that's a good translation. From what contemporary metaphysics I've read, I think he may have a point.
Any recommendations of contemporary stuff? This thread has often been about how amorphous philosophy is, which allows philosophy to claim as much worth as it wants. I'd rather we make things a bit more concrete, because as far as worth goes, I only have in mind contemporary professional philosophy, what's being published in contemporary philosophy journals, and what's on the philosophy syllabuses at universities.

Is philosophy worth bothering with? To one of my family members, this was actually the question "should I do a philosophy degree?" To the OP, it's mostly just about keeping up with a conversation with a friend. I've had friends who only want to talk about football, and I suppose I've asked myself "is football worth bothering with?" At some point, I changed the question to "are these friends worth bothering with?"


There's quite a bit of modern work on ancient philosophy that's worth looking at, that intersects with Classics. Perhaps give A.A. Long's Greek Models of Mind and Self a go. I promise it contains not one syllogism or variable. As for more modern stuff, I quite enjoyed Plantinga's God, Freedom and Evil and what I read of J. L. Schellenberg's The Wisdom to Doubt. For thesis reasons, I'll soon be starting Alisdair MacIntyre's After Virtue, so I'll give you my verdict on that once I've read a good bit of it.

As for whether philosophy is worth bothering with, it's probably going to prove useful to me, so I'd have to say it is.
Die Alten sind weder die Juden, noch die Christen, noch die Engländer der Poesie. Sie sind nicht ein willkürlich auserwähltes Kunstvolk Gottes; noch haben sie den alleinseligmachenden Schönheitsglauben; noch besitzen sie ein Dichtungsmonopol.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#975  Postby archibald » Jan 29, 2017 10:14 pm

Tracer Tong wrote: I quite enjoyed Plantinga's God, Freedom and Evil


The problem of evil is just, I think, a subset of the problem of all suffering, in which an infant in Africa contracts River Blindness (humans are the only known host for the roundworm responsible) or another infant gets leukemia, or thousands die after a tsunami. As such, I confess I think trying to address the problem of evil is essentially dodging the point.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#976  Postby Macdoc » Jan 29, 2017 11:25 pm

VazScep wrote:
Traditional metaphysics asks after the nature of time, space, substance, causality, freewill, the infinite, and logic, and it tries to do so with pure reflection. The problems metaphysics faces in the 21st century are that: theoretical physicists and mathematicians have far more profound things to say on these matters than metaphysicians ever have; much of what they have to say goes completely against intuition; and they've subjected what they have to say to the scrutiny of experiment and, in the case of mathematics, the task of mechanising the entire subject


excellent summary tho I remain a tad skeptical in tangling the real world with the construct of math so tightly ....it is however explanatory and of course we have Einstein as an excellent example of the interchange between thought experiment, theory, math and observation.

I do think you are correct ( and Jamest wrong ) in that we have moved beyond pure reflection and so in the "natural world"....philosphy has little to contribute beyond perhap examining science itself .

However ...as ethical guidance and untangling human conumdrums that face every generation .....there is value to be had.
I guess one value is that these issues have been pondered for a very long time by a variety of brilliant minds which is in some way reassuring and a link with past minds.

I do however think it is perhaps too much a hothouse closed shop with discussions among the cognoscenti revolving around pet theorems and projects with little real world implications.
The modern equivalent of debating angels on pins.....fascinating in the sweeping erudition and signifying fuck all.

Grounding philosophy into aiding the individual human function and the construct of a rational and desired society ( even framing what is a "desirable society ) at the group level ...I'd like to see more relevance.

For instance the challenge to Adam Smith and the invisible hand.....
http://jonathanstray.com/nobel-winner-p ... mith-wrong

Could make it more relevant by providing visible positive outcomes in perhaps embracing a different philosphical approach to ....akin to a encouraging a religious conversion ( ie from market uber alle ) but couched in secular terms in recognising humans as communal animals and able to move events in ways they desire.

Get out of the ivory tower and present a foundation ( or two or three ) for living on an overcrowded planet . :coffee:
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#977  Postby archibald » Jan 29, 2017 11:35 pm

Nice post, imo. :cheers:
"It seems rather obvious that plants have free will. Don't know why that would be controversial."
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#978  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 30, 2017 12:43 am

archibald wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote: I quite enjoyed Plantinga's God, Freedom and Evil


The problem of evil is just, I think, a subset of the problem of all suffering, in which an infant in Africa contracts River Blindness (humans are the only known host for the roundworm responsible) or another infant gets leukemia, or thousands die after a tsunami. As such, I confess I think trying to address the problem of evil is essentially dodging the point.


What you're calling the "problem of all suffering" is what philosophers refer to as the problem of evil, albeit a specific version of it. As for Plantinga, whether you agree with what he has to say or not, he certainly doesn't dodge any issue.
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#979  Postby archibald » Jan 30, 2017 12:50 am

Tracer Tong wrote:As for Plantinga, whether you agree with what he has to say or not, he certainly doesn't dodge any issue.


What does Plantinga say about the sorts of things I mentioned?
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Re: Is philosophy worth bothering with?

#980  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 30, 2017 12:55 am

archibald wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
archibald wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote: I quite enjoyed Plantinga's God, Freedom and Evil


The problem of evil is just, I think, a subset of the problem of all suffering, in which an infant in Africa contracts River Blindness (humans are the only known host for the roundworm responsible) or another infant gets leukemia, or thousands die after a tsunami. As such, I confess I think trying to address the problem of evil is essentially dodging the point.


What you're calling the "problem of all suffering" is what philosophers refer to as the problem of evil, albeit a specific version of it. As for Plantinga, whether you agree with what he has to say or not, he certainly doesn't dodge any issue.


What does Plantinga say about the sorts of things I mentioned?


I think he makes some passing remarks. He's more focused (at least in the part of the book that deals with the problem of evil) on Mackie's logical problem of evil. His refutation was generally seen as successful, including by Mackie himself.
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