The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

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Jack D Ripper
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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Jack D Ripper » November 5th, 2020, 4:04 pm

chewybrian wrote:
November 5th, 2020, 7:44 am
If you had to accept one philosophy and treat it like a religion, I would choose stoicism. But, of course, you don't have to choose that way and you should not. Take the wisdom where you find it, and decide for yourself what is true and wise and just and useful to you. When you look at stoicism in that way, you are bound to find that much of it rings true and has value.

Go ahead and decide to be a philosopher. That means all your ideas should be held up to constant scrutiny, but this scrutiny must be brutally honest and fair. Each day that stoicism survives this test, it can continue to be a guiding force for you. In my opinion, it always will survive such a test. But, if you find something better, then you should move on. Just because you have yet to find something better does not imply that you should stop looking. But, in the meantime, you should try to live up to the best principles you have found so far.
I think this is excellent advice, though I do not agree that stoicism is (or should) survive such testing. I do, however, agree that it is much better than many of the alternatives. It is better than most of the alternatives. So, depending on what you compare it to, it may survive a very long time with such testing. I am more inclined to agree with Sculptor1 that Epicurus is better, but I don't think it is quite the right answer either. However, it is what I would recommend to most people, because it is easy to understand and, practically speaking, works very, very well. Ultimately, I think Hume has the right answer, but he is more difficult for people to understand, and therefore less likely to work for the average person. Also, unlike Epicurus and the stoics, Hume was less interested in giving practical advice, and more interested in examining questions in a theoretical way.

Really, if you are a good stoic, you would make a fine neighbor, and that is certainly enough for me. If you are a good Epicurean (a follower of Epicurus, not what you might be thinking with the usual use of the word "epicurean" in English), you would make a fine neighbor, and that is certainly good enough for me.

Keep reading, and keep considering options. But that does not mean that you cannot live your life in accordance with a particular philosopher in the meantime.
"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Terrapin Station » November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am

"Pick 'a philosophy' and live by it" is akin to saying "Pick a science textbook and live by it" (not just "a science" because that would make more sense, even though it's still a bit nonsensical) or "Pick a mathematics and live by it."

Philosophy isn't like a set of available religions or political parties or something where you take a side and then follow it as a set of normative principles of guidelines for living. That's rather a colloquial misunderstanding of what philosophy is about. Philosophy is rather like the sciences in that it's a methodological approach to studying what the world is really like. It just has a different methodology than the sciences.

And just like scientists, philosophers never stop learning, never stop making adjustments as reality dictates. If you just started three years ago, you're nowhere near "done." I started studying philosophy in 1973 and I'm still learning, still making adjustments, still figuring stuff out, and I'm sure there are others around here who started before I did.

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Terrapin Station » November 6th, 2020, 11:40 am

Oops "principles of guidelines" should have read "principles or guidelines"

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Jack D Ripper » November 6th, 2020, 1:03 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am
... Philosophy is rather like the sciences in that it's a methodological approach to studying what the world is really like. It just has a different methodology than the sciences.

That does not seem to be what some philosophers are doing, unless by "methodological" you mean just making stuff up that they like.

There is a remarkable tendency among some philosophers to pontificate rather than to reason. Some of whom are quite popular, as they say things that many other people also like. Making stuff up that one likes is an entirely different process than trying to figure out the truth about something.

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am
And just like scientists, philosophers never stop learning, never stop making adjustments as reality dictates.
...

That does not accurately describe what some famous philosophers were doing.

I do not plan on giving any examples, as I do not want a heated argument in this thread about why some stupid fool philosopher was a stupid fool who did not approach things as a learning experience, as an attempt to actually figure anything out, but instead dogmatically insisted on what they wanted to believe. But I will offer this hint, that any philosopher who advocated "faith", in the sense of believing something without evidence, was not doing what you describe. There are other ways to avoid doing what you describe, like obfuscation instead of writing clear statements, which serves the purpose of hiding the fact that one does not know what one is writing about, and also can serve the purpose of making drivel seem profound. Many times, people believe something must be profound if it is hard to figure out, when it really could just be bad writing that makes something hard to figure out. Many people seem to forget that very real possibility when they look at some work by a "philosopher".

The history of philosophy is full of people who were not doing what you are describing.
"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Terrapin Station » November 6th, 2020, 2:41 pm

Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 1:03 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am
... Philosophy is rather like the sciences in that it's a methodological approach to studying what the world is really like. It just has a different methodology than the sciences.

That does not seem to be what some philosophers are doing, unless by "methodological" you mean just making stuff up that they like.

There is a remarkable tendency among some philosophers to pontificate rather than to reason. Some of whom are quite popular, as they say things that many other people also like. Making stuff up that one likes is an entirely different process than trying to figure out the truth about something.

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am
And just like scientists, philosophers never stop learning, never stop making adjustments as reality dictates.
...

That does not accurately describe what some famous philosophers were doing.

I do not plan on giving any examples, as I do not want a heated argument in this thread about why some stupid fool philosopher was a stupid fool who did not approach things as a learning experience, as an attempt to actually figure anything out, but instead dogmatically insisted on what they wanted to believe. But I will offer this hint, that any philosopher who advocated "faith", in the sense of believing something without evidence, was not doing what you describe. There are other ways to avoid doing what you describe, like obfuscation instead of writing clear statements, which serves the purpose of hiding the fact that one does not know what one is writing about, and also can serve the purpose of making drivel seem profound. Many times, people believe something must be profound if it is hard to figure out, when it really could just be bad writing that makes something hard to figure out. Many people seem to forget that very real possibility when they look at some work by a "philosopher".

The history of philosophy is full of people who were not doing what you are describing.
Unfortunately, with no examples there's no reason to put any stock into the argument you're making.

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Sculptor1 » November 6th, 2020, 3:32 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
November 5th, 2020, 4:10 am
Mark_Lee wrote:
November 3rd, 2020, 2:56 am
I consider myself a philosopher at my very core. I'm 29 years old now, and I began my philosophy journey since I was 26 years old. I've spent those years building knowledge, learning new things. But something is urging me to delve deep into specialization, namely with Stoicism. It feels like a very masculine way of life, but I've sworn never to specialize in any school of philosophy of any era until I first truly build a foundation of encyclopedic knowledge of all things philosophy. Right now, I can't decide whether to continue learning new things, or finally take "The Path of Wisdom" and live like a philosopher instead of learning like a philosopher.

What should I do now?

Thank you very much.
Ironically, wisdom is also knowledge. Wisdom is knowing which knowledge to apply to which problems.
true.
An ignorant person cannot be wise. You can be clever, but without the knowledge there can be no wisdom.

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Jack D Ripper » November 6th, 2020, 11:44 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 2:41 pm
Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 1:03 pm



That does not seem to be what some philosophers are doing, unless by "methodological" you mean just making stuff up that they like.

There is a remarkable tendency among some philosophers to pontificate rather than to reason. Some of whom are quite popular, as they say things that many other people also like. Making stuff up that one likes is an entirely different process than trying to figure out the truth about something.





That does not accurately describe what some famous philosophers were doing.

I do not plan on giving any examples, as I do not want a heated argument in this thread about why some stupid fool philosopher was a stupid fool who did not approach things as a learning experience, as an attempt to actually figure anything out, but instead dogmatically insisted on what they wanted to believe. But I will offer this hint, that any philosopher who advocated "faith", in the sense of believing something without evidence, was not doing what you describe. There are other ways to avoid doing what you describe, like obfuscation instead of writing clear statements, which serves the purpose of hiding the fact that one does not know what one is writing about, and also can serve the purpose of making drivel seem profound. Many times, people believe something must be profound if it is hard to figure out, when it really could just be bad writing that makes something hard to figure out. Many people seem to forget that very real possibility when they look at some work by a "philosopher".

The history of philosophy is full of people who were not doing what you are describing.
Unfortunately, with no examples there's no reason to put any stock into the argument you're making.

Given your professed affection for Bertrand Russell, I am somewhat surprised by that response, as he has named names, and he is pretty much right on that sort of question. But to give a different source, you might find this interesting:

https://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/wrongthoughts.html
"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Terrapin Station » November 7th, 2020, 8:50 am

Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:44 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 2:41 pm


Unfortunately, with no examples there's no reason to put any stock into the argument you're making.

Given your professed affection for Bertrand Russell, I am somewhat surprised by that response, as he has named names, and he is pretty much right on that sort of question. But to give a different source, you might find this interesting:

https://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/wrongthoughts.html
So is Plotinus an example you'd give?

You'd say that:

"When we affirm the reality of the Real Beings and their individual identity of being and declare that these Real Beings exist in the Intellectual Realm, we do not mean merely that they remain unchangeably self-identical by their very essence, as contrasted with the fluidity and instability of the sense-realm; the sense-realm itself may contain the enduring. No; we mean rather that these principles possess, as by their own virtue, the consummate fulness of being . . ."

is an example where Plotinus was not telling us the results of "approaching things as a learning experience, as an attempt to actually figure anything out," in this case a la the ontological issue of "the reality of the 'Real Beings' and their individual identity of being" etc.?

Note that the issue isn't whether we agree with Plotinus, of course, or even whether we think his comments make much sense. The issue is whether Plotinus was using a particular set of alternative-to-science methodologies to figure out what the world is really like--in a task that's similar to the sciences, but different from them in that the methodologies are different.

Re the comment about Russell, he's one of my favorite philosophers, but that doesn't at all imply that I agree with him all the time or that I dutifully follow him as if he's a religious leader or something. My favorite philosophers I disagree with at least as often as not. (So imagine my relationship with philosophers who are not favorites.)

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Jack D Ripper » November 7th, 2020, 1:21 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 7th, 2020, 8:50 am
Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:44 pm



Given your professed affection for Bertrand Russell, I am somewhat surprised by that response, as he has named names, and he is pretty much right on that sort of question. But to give a different source, you might find this interesting:

https://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/wrongthoughts.html
So is Plotinus an example you'd give?

...

For this, yes:

Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 1:03 pm
...
Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am
And just like scientists, philosophers never stop learning, never stop making adjustments as reality dictates.
...

That does not accurately describe what some famous philosophers were doing.

...

What Plotinus was doing has nothing whatever to do with reality. So reality is not relevant to any adjustments he might have made.


(Thank you for picking Plotinus for the example. It is doubtful if we will get too many of his followers posting complaints about this. Other examples, though, are currently more popular, and I frankly don't want to argue with followers of someone who writes gibberish. We are getting far enough off topic without that.)


Also, as a method, if just making stuff up counts as a method, then, sure, they all have a "method" to try to figure out reality (as I stated in the original post on this). But such methods are not productive for accomplishing the professed goal. It should be obvious that that is not productive, but for those who need more, one can point out the fact that the results of picking whatever method they like leads to many errors, as I have pointed out in another thread:

Jack D Ripper wrote:
October 30th, 2020, 10:08 pm
Seth_Gibson wrote:
October 30th, 2020, 3:58 pm
Does philosophical inquiry lead to truth?

In most cases, no, absolutely not. We can know this absolutely from the fact that different philosophers disagree on what is true, in widely diverging ways. If you have taken an elementary logic class, you should know absolutely that most philosophers must be wrong.


...

So, the "pick any method you want" approach that differentiates philosophy from science (along with differences in subject matter), although it allows for greater freedom, that freedom allows for more errors. If we look at living scientists, we notice a remarkable amount of agreement, but when looking at living philosophers, we notice the opposite. From this bare fact we cannot tell which philosophers are wrong, but we can know that most of them must be wrong. Given that the results are mostly error, this strongly suggests that there is something very wrong with the way that most philosophers do philosophy. Unless error is the goal, most fail.
"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Terrapin Station » November 7th, 2020, 5:34 pm

Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 7th, 2020, 1:21 pm
What Plotinus was doing has nothing whatever to do with reality. So reality is not relevant to any adjustments he might have made.
In Plotinus' opinion?

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Jack D Ripper » November 7th, 2020, 7:02 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 7th, 2020, 5:34 pm
Jack D Ripper wrote:
November 7th, 2020, 1:21 pm
What Plotinus was doing has nothing whatever to do with reality. So reality is not relevant to any adjustments he might have made.
In Plotinus' opinion?
That is a very funny question!

He ought to have known better, because words do not have to mean anything, and sentences can be incoherent. And he very likely was aware of Zeno's paradoxes of motion, which should lead people to be suspicious of arguments and statements that do not connect with experience. Since he lived long enough to write things, we know he used experiential reasoning, just like everyone else, or he would not have eaten or done anything to keep alive.

Of course, there are many like him today, who read and write a good deal of nonsense, believing it to be profound. They, however, often regard him as wrong (if they regard him at all), and prefer their own nonsense which they regard as profound.

Going back to your earlier assertion:
Terrapin Station wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 11:39 am
.... Philosophy is rather like the sciences in that it's a methodological approach to studying what the world is really like. It just has a different methodology than the sciences.

...
For Plotinus, the world isn't really what is primarily real, so that isn't his focus of inquiry (insofar as one can call what he did "inquiry").


If one wants to learn about the world, science is the best approach available. Interestingly, most of the people today who deny that implicitly affirm it by using the products created from science. They do not keep their story straight, which is one of the ways one can know they are wrong. No matter what the truth might be.
"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 8th, 2020, 12:33 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 3:32 pm
An ignorant person cannot be wise. You can be clever, but without the knowledge there can be no wisdom.
You think? 🤔🤔🤔
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Sculptor1 » November 8th, 2020, 6:28 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 8th, 2020, 12:33 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
November 6th, 2020, 3:32 pm
An ignorant person cannot be wise. You can be clever, but without the knowledge there can be no wisdom.
You think? 🤔🤔🤔
It's called a no brainer.
What is your problem with that?

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Ecurb » November 9th, 2020, 10:54 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
November 8th, 2020, 6:28 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 8th, 2020, 12:33 pm


You think? 🤔🤔🤔
Since everyone is ignorant, does that suggest that nobody is wise?

Here's my point: everyone is both ignorant and educated. The street-corner drug dealer who dropped out of school at age 12 is ignorant about some things, but well educated about the habits of the police, the dangers of competitors, and the needs of his customers. The hunter/gatherer may think the world is the back of a giant turtle, but he knows which plants are edible, where he can find them, how he can make a bow and arrows, and where the migration patterns of different animals lead them.

The danger lies in thinking that those who are not educated exactly as we are are "ignorant" in some sort of generic way.

We are all ignorant about some things, and knowledgeable about others. Wisdom suggests the ability to use knowledge, reason, understanding and insight. Such use is possible for those who are not educated precisely as we are, although their knowledge, like ours, is limited (and so, therefore, is their wisdom).

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Re: The Path of Knowledge versus The Path of Wisdom

Post by Sculptor1 » November 9th, 2020, 11:06 am

Ecurb wrote:
November 9th, 2020, 10:54 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
November 8th, 2020, 6:28 pm

Since everyone is ignorant, does that suggest that nobody is wise?
Everyone is ignorant of something. Part of wisdom is to know what you do in fact know and speak on those matters alone.
But no, obviously the phrase "nobody is wise" depends on the context

Here's my point: everyone is both ignorant and educated. The street-corner drug dealer who dropped out of school at age 12 is ignorant about some things, but well educated about the habits of the police, the dangers of competitors, and the needs of his customers.
Exactly my point.
Do not expect a physics professor to be street wise enough avoid getting stabbed in a dark alley if he tried to peddle dope.
That does not mean he is not wise in other ways.
The hunter/gatherer may think the world is the back of a giant turtle, but he knows which plants are edible, where he can find them, how he can make a bow and arrows, and where the migration patterns of different animals lead them.

The danger lies in thinking that those who are not educated exactly as we are are "ignorant" in some sort of generic way.
I never mentioned education.
If I had wanted to succumb to your rather obvious strawman I would have said educated rather than say "knowedge".

We are all ignorant about some things, and knowledgeable about others. Wisdom suggests the ability to use knowledge, reason, understanding and insight. Such use is possible for those who are not educated precisely as we are, although their knowledge, like ours, is limited (and so, therefore, is their wisdom).

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