Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
Post Reply
User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1917
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Hereandnow » January 9th, 2018, 4:00 pm

First, relax. Are you ok?
Look, you did say that science was like an immovable mountain, or some such. But your attacks on Foucault and post modern thinking are all in defense of science, as if this latter was not only a problem solver but had a grasp on more foundational philosophical issues as well. You give me the impression you think science as a method of understanding the empirical world was being attacked by Foucault and his postmodern brethren. But that is not at all what he is about.
Now, you have made some quasi crackpot comments about hermeneutical word play. I take it you don't appreciate post modern thinking. If you can put that bullet back in your pocket Barney Fife, and calm down, a do tell.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7114
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Greta » January 9th, 2018, 6:42 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
January 9th, 2018, 1:31 pm
You'd rather focus on what pushes your agenda rather than what I actually said.
What is his agenda? While I am a fan of the scientific method and its achievements, it's obviously not beyond reproach and I find his ideas have plenty of depth as he attempts to apprehend some slippery concepts.

Science runs contrary to human nature and ideally its findings force us to grow, to accpt things that otherwise would be difficult to swallow. Science's austere approach thwarts our natural tendencies towards emotionality and optimism/wishful thinking.

Science also undermines faith we have in ourselves and the veracity of our senses; subjectively, anecdotal evidence is all we have and the very crux of existence while, objectively, anecdotal evidence is just the weakest form of evidence. I suspect that this fault line will provide some fascinating and important science in the future.

Further, science demands that we stymie our impulse to worship and retain an open mind in all unproven things. However, eusocial human nature has found a workaround, with a new dogmatic, inflexible "scientism" appearing in laypersons who have seemingly rejected religion through lack of plausibility and instead found a new rock on which to lean or, rather, a new "queen bee" to follow.

In my experience, most people I speak with online reject the kind of all-round agnosticism that is routine, even necessary, for scientific practitioners. In other words, they are practical people. Natural selection obviously favoured forebears who didn't faff about with abstractions (as some of us do :). Rather, in the challenging conditions of the past, our ancestors needed to quickly make up their minds one way another as to the nature of reality, and then get on with life.

Basically, we tend to form a dominant black box of belief in the centre of the mind, and this acts like the nucleus of an atom, keeping the "electrons of thought" in strict orbitals. For millennia the black box has largely been theistic belief but today it is increasingly a belief in the science of the day. Such theistic-like belief in scientism forms its own "mental nucleus", built upon the opinions of experts. Once "experts" were religious dignitaries, now they are increasingly scientists and science educators, or pseudoscientists.

The irony is that it doesn't much matter what one believes - a dominant belief in itself is a grounding and limiting function that reduces confusion and allows people to get on with their lives with motivation rather than being hampered by doubts. However, Kant et al made clear that efficacy does not necessarily equal correctness. So I don't see much problem with scientists and how they conduct themselves; they know that there's still much to learn. It's the scientific laity that turns hypotheses and theories into a dogma that can only vary with permission from "on high" aka a new official scientific position.

Further, HAN spoke about scientific priorities. It stands to reason that funding will go to that which is practical, or at least promises to be practical. So a lot more money will be spent on engineering, medicine, materials science, AI and particle physics than on the mind-brain connection, the varying nature and stages of consciousness or environmentalism. Thus, as is a common complaint, our technological empowerment has vastly outstripped our broader relational progress, hence the vacuity of this millennia's public conversation and exacerbation of environmental problems (that were always going to happen at some stage but clearly need alleviation to buy time for sustainable solutions).

Burning ghost
Posts: 2448
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Burning ghost » January 9th, 2018, 10:31 pm

Greta -

The agenda is to paint the world today as some hideous and corrupted evil in which we're all slaves to various insidious powers. It is nonsense, and nothing more than a victim mentality with which political activists latch onto and beat other people down whilst shout slogans like "Freedom and peace!"

Have you read much of Foucault? It is a poor man's attempt at being Nietzsche. To be honest I am starting to view pretty much all philosophy of the twentieth century as being one in which all were reduced to dwelling in the shadow of Nietzsche genius.

I have argued continuous elsewhere about the need for more political emphasis in sciences, because I see a problem in the disjoint between the kind of person who does science, a serious and dedicated way, as being generally the kind of person necessarily removed from the political sphere. The so called "social sciences" are full of people who think they are doing "science"; it is a problem and one that has been accelerating in recent times due to post modernist ideas and the willful degradation of technical language into convenient political tools to smear and label people as X or Y - which has always been part of the political game, but now large groups of "social scientists" think they have the full weight of scientific authority on their side when the truth of it is most of what they do is speculate and guess around a few core scientific principles that are far from being much more than merely short reaching approximations.

There is use in almost every word written and spoken. I understand the attraction of Foucault. I will read more of his work in the future because I find it interesting to approach full on what I generally find to be wrong in order to see what is right about it and what I may be missing and others may be being duped by. Maybe HAD is correct? Maybe the world is more dangerous than ever, maybe women have no rights, maybe war is on the rise, maybe global poverty is on the increase ... the data suggests the exact opposite, and personal experience ties into this too. I do think it is worth listening to the gist of what Foucault says, which is essentially just because the figures look one way they don't express the human condition - THAT is worth keeping in mind, but it is also worth trying to find a place from which a broader perspective can be achieved.

"Power" is not a dirty word.

Hereandnow -

Start a thread if you want to discuss/debate.
AKA badgerjelly

Burning ghost
Posts: 2448
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Burning ghost » January 9th, 2018, 11:19 pm

Greta -

Watch this and listen carefully. Also note the disclaimer at the end where he says "Foucault doesn't think ..." :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keLnKbmrW5g

The issue is MANY people use Foucault's words to attempt to destroy the structures of society. I doubt Foucault was naïve enough not to realise many people would, did, and have, taken up in his ideas in order to destroy the foundations of society.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7114
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Greta » January 10th, 2018, 12:14 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 9th, 2018, 11:19 pm
Greta -

Watch this and listen carefully. Also note the disclaimer at the end where he says "Foucault doesn't think ..." :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keLnKbmrW5g

The issue is MANY people use Foucault's words to attempt to destroy the structures of society. I doubt Foucault was naïve enough not to realise many people would, did, and have, taken up in his ideas in order to destroy the foundations of society.
I liked the video, BG. Cheers.

In terms of these discussions I am not worried about the alt right's attempt to effectively create a modern theistic caliphate and their propensity to twist measured critiques of science into repudiations. I accept that we can twist each others' words just as Charles Manson bent the meaning of Blackbird.

Still, the fact that an expressed view can be taken by the deranged and immoral as a rationalisation for their unhinged behaviour is not the point. Not to me. The point for me is simply the question as to what is the nature of things? We can take as given that the meaning of any expressed ideas we have can be distorted.

Then again, think of all of your conversations on deep issues, both on and offline, and consider how many really understood what you were trying to put across? Not just somewhat, but exactly picked up on your angle? It's not that common. Being at least somewhat misunderstood is the norm, which of course was exactly the point of science and math, the hard sciences you overestimate while underestimating the soft sciences.

When I was young in the late 60s I recorded the maximum temperature of every day of the year from the nightly news. I was always being given assertions that x is the hottest month, y is the coldest, and other weather-related claims. So I decided to find out, free of spin (not understanding the spin that such rough statistics can inherently carry) to find out what the actual truth was. This is basically all science is in essence - to check the outside world to see if we are being told the truth. By the same token, spirituality is in essence is the same process, but involving inwards observations.

However, in each instance institutions have built around these basic investigations. It is clear that institutions based on science are significantly more mature and reasonable than those based on religion, where their lack of accountability was brought into sharp relief with the flood of historical child abuse cases in churches being revealed. However, science and rationality have their limits - where they can be bone-headedly mechanistic. Just as religion was largely overthrown by rationalism, there may well come a post rationalist period that will probably be more mature again.

Burning ghost
Posts: 2448
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Burning ghost » January 10th, 2018, 1:25 am

The difference is scientific method has rigidly defined limits and has nothing to say about what is or is not true, only what is.

My main point of interest for the past 5-6 years has been to uncover a way to approach the "subjective being." Good intentions are not necessarily going to create good outcomes. The argument against such a proposition from idelogues would be to dispute the objective meaning of "good" and make anything they want seem "good" taking up a purely relavtivistic position. This is the disease of thought among the post modernist youth; they truly believe in utopian paradise and a place to live without suffering or pain - it is naïve idiocy and if anywhere near achieveable would do little more than create the most hellish environment imaginable.

I've seen enough people shouting about redistribution of power, including myself, to now see that pretty much no one can suggest what to do once the King is toppled. I am more conservative in this manner because I don't wish to leave it to pure chance who steps into fill the power vacuum.

There is also the common idiocy of people complaining about CEO's earning so much money. I do think it would be reasonably sensible to set up some limit, but I imagine no one would ever be happy with such a limit and continue to push for more "equality" (but it is not really equality, they just want more for less responsibility.)

That appears to be the general psychological dynamic at play. If you have less you have less responsibility. Therefore if something goes wrong in your life you turn on the government or your boss rather than pick yourself up and struggle through life like everyone else does. We all stumble and some of us don't get back up so easily. We all feel victimized at some point in life, then we grow up (so I like to think!)

All the people out there who say "IF I was in charge ..." go prove your point! No doubt they would then turn around and say "The system is against me! boo hoo!"

I don't buy it anymore. I used to, but that does not mean I am unsympathetic to the difficulties of life in general and the hardships we all have to deal with in constantly searching for our "way."

You don't see leftist's talking about pareto distributions and if they do they no doubt refer to them as "tools of Western institutionalized power that substantiate the suppression of the poor" or some such twaddle. This is where Foucault's philosophy of open interpretation and the use of the hermeneutic circle comes into play; it is nothing more than evasion and conceit dressed up as pseudo-intellectualism.

As this practice is becoming more and more popular in social media outlets and in mainstream media I find it worth while voicing my concerns in this area and calling out anyone to debate or discuss the matter in depth (likely they'll feign ignorance - see above HAD - and then make some sly remark and say no more because they are incapable of debating their position being nothing more than a mouth piece for an ideology they've yet to come fully to grips with. This is the slap in the face I hope will wake them up, if not then I am ready to be trodden under foot, or shown the error of my thinking.)
AKA badgerjelly

Namelesss
Posts: 499
Joined: November 15th, 2017, 1:59 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Namelesss » January 10th, 2018, 1:56 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 9th, 2018, 11:00 am
Case closed! Gotcha! Know you're a danger to yourself and others now.

Thanks for revealing your deformed approximation of morality.
I am your mirror.
I merely offered another Perspective.
That seems to have gotten your panties all a'bunch.
Case closed? My comment didn't even require any response, unless your psychology demanded it, which is what appears to be.
Look up 'rhetorical question', mine was a rhetorical comment, for what it's worth.
Any time that you feel secure and healthy enough to discuss the insanity of your own 'morality', I'll be here. Just make a thread.
But...

'Closed cases' are so much more comfortable than actual thought! And it burns no calories, which thought does! *__-
Enjoy.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7114
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Greta » January 10th, 2018, 2:12 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 1:25 am
The difference is scientific method has rigidly defined limits and has nothing to say about what is or is not true, only what is.
Try to tell many naive you people who basically believe in scientism without understanding that the point is NOT to believe :)

That's young 'uns for you. Ditto all the utopian stuff. For reasons I think that probably relate to the dynamics of failing empires, the US is falling into an especially postmodern state of mind, not just restricted to the young, so I understand your concern there to some extent.
Burning ghost wrote:My main point of interest for the past 5-6 years has been to uncover a way to approach the "subjective being." Good intentions are not necessarily going to create good outcomes. The argument against such a proposition from idelogues would be to dispute the objective meaning of "good" and make anything they want seem "good" taking up a purely relavtivistic position. This is the disease of thought among the post modernist youth; they truly believe in utopian paradise and a place to live without suffering or pain - it is naïve idiocy and if anywhere near achieveable would do little more than create the most hellish environment imaginable.
A digital utopian Cornucopia may be theoretically possible but biology will always feel discomfort; we evolved from those who survived, not necessarily those who are happy and the weight of evolution and history appears to be too high a mountain to climb.

You are right to note that in governance, as in most things, perfection is the enemy of good. It's been demonstrated over and over that disaster ensues when when administrations start talking about "purity" - Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim II, Milosovic, The Inquisition and so on. The quest for purity tends to result in "crack downs", purges and brutality based on spurious utilitarian claims. Worse, it results in microscopic analysis of the relatively unimportant so as to "clean up loose ends" while important issues of governance and regulation are deprioritised.

In our quest to find means of governance that align with human nature, leveraging with sticks and carrots, it's become clear that any manager - from small business to government - needs to choose their battles wisely rather than be caught up in half baked, emotionally driven crusades that fail to see the forest for the trees.

Namelesss
Posts: 499
Joined: November 15th, 2017, 1:59 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Namelesss » January 10th, 2018, 2:14 am

Ghost, I'm just the mirror for your personal insecurities and psychological problems, it seems.
I suggest that for your own 'piece of mind' to simply ignore me.
Don't speak to me again. I haven't the time to waste!
And I'll give you that same 'respect'.

By the way, I hope that you are intellectually honest and aware enough to have answered a rousing NO!!! to the topic question! There I Am, again, your mirror... *__-

Burning ghost
Posts: 2448
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Burning ghost » January 10th, 2018, 2:55 am

Greta -

The problem I've found with Foucault, although entertaining to read, is that he says very little of substance. What some people would call "vague" his followers call "nuanced", what some would call "obtuse" his followers call "complex." There is certainly use in reading his work if you're inclined to a more systematic approach, but at the end of the day he says little more than there are subtle differences in every category of social commentary. I don't really find this to be an overwhelmingly enlightening point. I think long before most people have picked up his "Madness and Civilization" they'd likely already considered the relative nature of what constitutes "insanity." Personally I found Camus's writing more entertaining and enlightening, but there are still some works of Foucault I'd like to tackle.

Generally my personal interest is in Husserl, because I believe he was the fountainhead of the whole post modernist movement. I think that it is inevitable that any particularly interesting idea is usually snapped up and put to political use as quickly as possible; usually in an undeveloped form - hence the problems that surface in society at large. I wish I had the time and inclination to see how this idea would weigh up to the evidence of history, and if it holds any weight we may well see the rebirth of a more developed and practical form of socialism. Sometimes I see the label of "Neo-" as meaning "cleaning up the mess of an proto idea."

Nameless -

How wonderful for you.

note: I tend to look at mirrors as mirrors. It is something of a phenomenological disposition of mine no to engage with mere images.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7114
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Greta » January 10th, 2018, 4:44 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 2:55 am
Greta -
... if you're inclined to a more systematic approach;
:lol: I don't seem to do "systematic" - it's never been a strong suit, nor has battling through heavy tomes, so I just try to do my best to understand things without those assets.
Burning ghost wrote: but at the end of the day he says little more than there are subtle differences in every category of social commentary. I don't really find this to be an overwhelmingly enlightening point.
This is often the case, where thinkers attempt to express the known with every greater clarity. It's like reading articles about how neurologists found that, yes, dogs are actually emotional, thinking beings, whose brains operate quite similarly to ours, and are not in fact biological robots. Any dog friend knows that, of course, but the metrics need to be gathered rather than assumed - but that doesn't make the work essential reading for any but those chasing up the detail.
Burning ghost wrote:Generally my personal interest is in Husserl, because I believe he was the fountainhead of the whole post modernist movement. I think that it is inevitable that any particularly interesting idea is usually snapped up and put to political use as quickly as possible; usually in an undeveloped form - hence the problems that surface in society at large. I wish I had the time and inclination to see how this idea would weigh up to

the evidence of history, and if it holds any weight we may well see the rebirth of a more developed and practical form of socialism. Sometimes I see the label of "Neo-" as meaning "cleaning up the mess of an proto idea."
For sure. Opportunism reigns and occupation of any available niche is as rife in the concrete jungle as it is in the wild.

"Neo-" anything is almost always a reprisal of failed idea once there's been enough generations following their last disastrous attempts to forget the lessons of the past. Neocons. Neo-Nazis. Neo Marxists - all at least as out of touch with, and uninterested in, reality as their forbears. As far as I can tell, the practical and workable version of socialism is social democracy; the fact that chaos-loving Fox paints social democracy as evil would seem an endorsement as to that system's morality and functionality. However, as population density increases, systems must change, usually towards more authoritarianism unfortunately.

Burning ghost
Posts: 2448
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Burning ghost » January 10th, 2018, 5:15 am

Greta -

Dare I say you may be jumping to conclusions about the cognitive capacity of dogs. Gazzaniga has something to say about that, but it is at least a rich area of study and the point of such sensationalist headlines is likely meant to make the reader feel satisfied with confirmation of their intuitions. Stories posted that don't adhere to their intuitions are usually dismissed as nonsense (such is the insanity of human nature!) It is always nice to be told what you've been thinking all your life is backed up by actual data.

Maybe optimistic cynicism is a stalwart attitude? For me at least it holds more more fantastical thoughts at bay.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1917
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

Post by Hereandnow » January 10th, 2018, 11:37 am

Me? Slippery of you. I will, but the burden is on you to justify your claim that Foucault is a hack.....no, wait; you called me a hack. Not very nice. Anyway, you said he was this and that miserable thing. So defend it. Put your thoughts out there about why.
Also: you wrote this:
The agenda is to paint the world today as some hideous and corrupted evil in which we're all slaves to various insidious powers.
There is an insidious part of this, when it comes to terrible aggression built into our culture and language. Consider Ibsen's "A Doll's House' in the matter of oppression of women in a Victorian (in this broader sense, referring to Victorian culture) society. Note the interrogations, the domestic and petty crimes, the secrets. You know a far better read on Foucault is not a read at all. I'm speaking of Harold Pinter. Watch his "Birthday Party' and "Homecoming," which are I believe on youtube. These are vicious construals of the violence underpinning affairs in our world that are not allowed to surface in everyday discourse. Exaggerations? You may think so at first. But before you do, I recommend that you step into the experiential climate of a true victim,like a poor matchstick girl living on the streets, the cold at night, the hunger: these are the ones not included in the grand conversation humanity is having with itself (Rorty's words); and they number in the vast multitudes.

Before you go around dissing Foucault, keep in mind what he is doing. He is not attacking science, as you know. But the scientist belongs to a world of outrageous rules and mores that entirely neglect a wide range of possible priorities and responsibilities by working intently on the next gel toothpaste rather than addressing the horror of people's lives who live outside of this.

Slaves to invidious powers? When was the last time you slept under a bridge in the freezing cold? What is a slave?

Post Reply