Philosophy is becoming rather irritating.

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Crcata, Apr 8, 2016.

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Do you prefer Common Sense or Philosophy?

  1. Common Sense

  2. Philosophy

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  1. Crcata Registered Senior Member

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    I need to poke some peoples brains about a topic that has been absolutely mind-numbingly irritating for over a year now. And before I go into this little rant I want to apologize to anyone I may offend as its not my intention but despite my intention my feelings are rather strong which usually results in hurting others feelings lol. So again, I really do apologize.

    Anyways, that topic is Philosophy. What purpose does it serve? From my perspective philosophy is being used by otherwise uneducated people to claim themselves to be educated or, "intellectuals" or "deep thinkers" and in many cases to parade that around as truth. Philosophy to me does what common sense does so much better.

    What does philosophy accomplish other than asking questions, that we already know the answer to in relation to good and bad, right and wrong? Philosophy doesn't appear to answer any questions at all but just asks them. And in my opinion, asking questions and not answering them doesn't make you educated, and in no way makes you a "deep thinker". And on a side note..torturing yourself via infinite regress is just ridiculous lol.

    Our language that we use can't even hold up to philosophical debate, our words simply can't work in that extreme. I can't argue reasonably with a person whom can't even accept a term like "well being" and apply common sense to understand what I'm talking about. Instead they ask for the definition to that word, which is defined by other words, which need defining using words, that need to be defined using other words, etc etc etc. No deeper truth is being discovered, both sides are just trying to use fancy word play and both sides claim victory in the end regardless.

    Science...is legit. You can use the scientific method to determine a truth. Philosophy has no truth, you can literally take a piece of paper and write "why" on one side and "why not" on the other side and sum it up.

    So why!? Why do we tolerate this idiocy that is philosophy? Why is common sense not enough for me to determine why I do not want to kill someone for the sake of killing them? Why is there always someone playing devils advocate and saying that something so universal isn't inherently "wrong"?

    Ugh lol. If you cant tell this is just something that drives me nuts. So at the sake of continuing my rant which will likely have no further useful information, does anyone else feel the same way? Am I alone in this?
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    No, you are not alone, but you are mistaken. For a start, you cannot use science to "determine a truth". This becomes apparent if you understand a little about the philosophy of science. It was Karl Popper - a philosopher - who pointed out that no scientific theory can ever be proved true, though it can be falsified. Science makes models of the physical world that fit with observation, but the apparent "truth" of these models is only provisional, because history shows that often our models are later shown to be either wrong or incomplete. The work of science is largely concerned with refining and adding to these models. The idea that science makes models that work, rather than making claims to ultimate truth, is also a philosophical idea.

    These things become important in discussions about the role of science and its interface with other modes of thought, such as religion or politics. They are also important when distinguishing science from pseudoscience.

    By the way, we had an energetic discussion recently on whether (among other things) one would say nowadays that Newtonian mechanics is "wrong". What is your opinion on that?
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Because your "common sense" isn't common except in the broadest of terms. Everyone is different, everyone perceives things differently, judges differently, concludes differently.

    There are many obvious things to which the vast majority of people would agree (such as the example you gave) but there are also many things where there simply is no common sense: there are always shades of grey, where "common sense" starts to lose meaning as anything other than an excuse for lazy thinking. Why did you do one thing and not another? "Common sense!" Yes, but why did you do it... what is different about doing the one thing over the other, how did you judge that, why did you conclude that?

    The issues of ethics and morals, for example, is just one such area: what does "common sense" say about the choice of killing one person to save 1,000,000? If you would kill 1 to save a million, how about to save 1,000? Or 100? Or 10? Or 5? Etc. And what if the one you had to choose to kill was a friend, or a relative?
    People have differing views for these questions. Is there a "common sense" response? If the person you were choosing to kill was your relative then you would likely have a different response than someone who is choosing between strangers.
    So it's about perspective, personal values, judgement, subjective notions.

    Common sense, in simple terms, is where the same conclusion would be reached by the majority of people. But not only can all those people be wrong (yes, common sense can be wrong), but they might reach their conclusion for differing reasons, some might hold it more strongly than others... Everyone is different.

    Philosophy helps us unravel why people/individuals think the way they do.
    Common sense is when the majority of people would likely do the same thing.
    One is not a substitution for the other.

    As for your poll, I would use both but in separate circumstances. It is not a case of "either or".
     
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  7. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    This is not something unique to Popper, nor does it originate with Popper, nor does Popper do a particularly good job of defending this position.

    That scientific theories, a posteriori theories based on empirical content, cannot be "proven" is not particularly interesting. What is interesting is that in order to accept or reject any scientific theory, we have to be able to accept statements as true or very nearly true. This effectively stymies at least the cartoon version of Popper, if not his entire project.
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Good, in that case I'm glad I only said he "pointed it out".

    The "proven" point may not be interesting to you or me, but I find there are often fundamental misconceptions among non-scientists about it. I have found it has value in explaining what science is about to such people - which is why I thought I would mention it here.

    I'll be interested to see what the OP has to say in response, anyway.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    6,465
    Good, in that case I'm glad I only said he "pointed it out".

    The "proven" point may not be interesting to you or me, but I find there are often fundamental misconceptions among non-scientists about it. I have found it has value in explaining what science is about to such people - which is why I thought I would mention it here.

    I'll be interested to see what the OP has to say in response, anyway.
     
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Now that would be quite an optional recipe for avoiding stagnation: Never questioning and studying / evaluating the dogmas and traditional "taken as givens" (common sense) of a culture. I'll take obnoxious intellects who poke, kick, and mildly defile the invented systems and other treasured idols / customs of a group, enterprise, or population any day over open maws that gulp down popular propaganda and institutional authority without a moment of skeptical scrutiny or pondering and conceiving of alternatives beforehand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
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  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    10,820
    I think the philosophical impulse is natural and a part of being human. It comes to us in moments of crisis, in encounters with the unknown, and in experiences that call into question all we have been taught to believe. Children make the best philosophers, often asking why to things their parents never imagined asking why about. Philosophy in its purest sense is the reaction of wonder and curiosity we have to the givens of our lives. The universe. Love. Freedom. Power. Truth. Time. The Good. And Death. It is a sudden flash of more consciousness and insight in our minds, giving us a broader or deeper perspective on the issues that define us and the story of who we are. What do we really know? What ought we to do? What can we hope for? If philosophy as handed down by the institutionalized and revered figures of history repulses you, then return to philosophy as the simple passion to understand life in your own terms and at your own pace. Ironically questioning philosophy itself is a good start in that direction. Thomas Reid would be proud of you!

    "Reid believed that common sense (in a special philosophical sense of sensus communis) is, or at least should be, at the foundation of all philosophical inquiry.[3] He disagreed with Hume, who asserted that we can never know what an external world consists of as our knowledge is limited to the ideas in the mind, and George Berkeley, who asserted that the external world is merely ideas in the mind. By contrast, Reid claimed that the foundations upon which our sensus communis are built justify our belief that there is an external world."===https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Reid
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  12. PaulJames Banned Banned

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    Why? Simply because if it makes SENSE, i.e. follows COMMON sense, or follows basic rules and stands to reason then it must be true. Truth cannot be formed, shaped or destroyed: it is dis-covered. A theory proposed presently may be destroyed futuristically, but if it is dis-covered it was already there, and will always be there. Thus discoveries stand the test of time. Theories are created and destroyed denying progress.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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  14. Crcata Registered Senior Member

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    Oh Wow, I chose the right forum to come to in order to do this. I didnt expect any replies, much less 8 of them LOL. So thanks to all of you for the quick replies. I will do my best to address all of you with my thoughts. Although keep in mind, I'm a beginner at this so I may not speak in the same format some of you do, nor will I likely be as thorough as you may want, so please fill in some blanks with "common sense" LOL and help me out here.

    exchemist
    If I am understanding you correctly, you are stating that science cannot prove anything true because one day in the future we may discover another variable, thus proving what we think we know either wrong or at the very least, incomplete. If that's the case then I would agree, however I would also like to point out that despite us never being able to test things "perfectly" because we can never account for all variables, we can still get pretty close to the truth and often times close enough to create things with practical uses. So yes, we may never discover 100 percent truths, but as long as we can come close enough to derive practical use out of these "truths" then that is useful and serves a purpose and that is where its value comes from. And that is done through science. That is how I differentiate science and philosophy. Science has created so much in our lives that we use and often take for granted. I can't see what philosophy has done other than justify its existence through fancy wordplay. What deeper truth has there really been discovered from it? And yes I am aware of the irony that in questioning anything involving morality and what not is philosophy, I pretty much just dont like the extremes that it is taken to, such as stating that morality is irrational which is so mind blowingly idiotic...ugh lol.

    As far as your newton question, to be completely honest I wasn't really aware that it was in question lol. I really dont spend much time searching for knowledge outside of knowledge that I can get a direct use out of. I can only leave a blanket statement that if newton is wrong and there is significant evidence to suggest it, and another alternative theory which makes more sense then I would be open to changing my relatively cemented idea about his laws. I cant promise I will even look into it but if I find the time to then I will get back to you on that, assuming I make this forum a somewhat regular thing.

    Sarkus
    I completely understand that common sense is only common in the broadest of terms but that is exactly where I am speaking from. When I debate with someone about why government is necessary, and I use the term "well being", and I'm asked to define well being because someones idea of well being might be sledge hammering themselves in the face...I cannot help but face palm. It's this ridiculousness that completely halts any forward progress in a debate. Semantics and philosophy are full of round-a-bout arguments.

    I am aware that the more specific you go, then absolutely common sense becomes a non factor because opinions start getting much different. But a blanket statement of "killing people for the sake of killing is wrong" is a pretty universal idea of what is wrong. And if its universal enough, then in my opinion it is an objective truth and just because some sicko out there thinks killing for pleasure is ok doesn't mean it becomes subjective. But there always seems to be someone come into the argument and play devils advocate which is just infuriating and completely lacks any reasonable arguments. Makes me wonder how these people tie their shoes in the morning.

    When we communicate we all have to use common sense, we could not at all function as individuals or as a society without it. We wouldnt have time to question every word and ask for definitions of every word given to us, there isnt enough time and as previously stated its impossible with our languages. No, we have to use "common sense" and know when I'm told to "be safe" at work, that doesn't mean to inflict harm upon myself or someone else.

    @ C C
    This is a common theme that I see thrown around by philosophers and other "deep thinkers" and what not. The idea that the rest of us feed into propaganda and lies without questioning anything whatsoever, that we are sheep. It's an insult that I have had thrown my way more than a few times lol.

    I hate even having to point this out, but despite these accusations I'm very open to questioning things that need questioning. If something looks wrong, then I'll question it. I'm always up for criticisms and improvements. Those who aren't are obviously part of a problematic stigma we have.

    But we even have a group called the "flat earthers" who make those exact same assertions about the rest of society and believe them to be the open minded, deep thinking ones. Using arguments like..."have you seen the earth from space? no? then how do you know? " LOL

    Overall point I am making isn't to say "dont question anything, be a robot", but we have to accept that we do not have the time or resources as individual human beings to verify and do the field work for everything out there...medicine,weapons,plants,animals,our bodies, space, other parts of the word, etc. And since we cannot verify all of this information with our own field work we have to trust each other. And we seem to have alot of conspiracies in this day and age fueled by idiots whom (and I promise I'm not calling you an idiot) speak the same language as you.

    Questioning things for the sake of questioning things is where I get annoyed. Specifically when a reasonable answer is given but yet the issue is still questioned.

    Magical Realist
    My problem isn't with asking why, but with continuously asking why despite a reasonable answer being given, and realistic, practical evidence shown to support it.

    My problem with philosophy is also the fact that no one can be wrong, its full of circular arguments. Which annoys me so much lol.

    My problem is that things that should be as objective as subjective can be (if that makes sense) get questioned for no reason than "be difficult".

    And on a personal note, I simply cant stand obnoxious A-Holes who pretend that by questioning things, they are someone now an intellectual, or parade that around as if they are better than those like myself who accept simple ideas that really dont require much thought...for what they are. You can sit on the idea of murder for the sake of murder for the rest of your life questioning it, and you will never come to any deeper conclusion that most of us have already discovered.

    PaulJames
    That is a very nice statement lol.

    Anyways, I appreciate the responses so fast. Look forward to seeing some more responses.
     
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Many people have many agendas that encourage them to dispute anything and everything that normal mainstream population accept.
    [And sometimes they may be right]
    Some like to believe that accepting mainstream is akin to just being a sheep....and yet those same ones lack any of the expertise and professionalism that gave reason for the mainstream to accept what they have.
    They like to wear there "thinking for themselves" aspect as a badge of honour.
    Then of course we have the tiresome religious fanatics and YEC's and their anti scientific claims.

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    Yes, that is also obvious on this forum. I often remark that forums such as this are open to any Tom, Dick, and Harry, and I suppose remembering that, we need to accept that the unreasonable questioning will continue just as those with agendas will continue to post.
    I have attracted the wrath of some by my own comments re philosophy and with quotes such as "Philosophy is for the Birds" and other such derisive comments against philosophy, and is why I have kept out of this until now.

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  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    OK thanks for the reply. I agree largely with what you say about taking things in science on trust and treat them pragmatically, until they are shown incorrect. I merely wanted to illustrate that the philosophy of science is not an utterly pointless thing to read about.
     
  17. Crcata Registered Senior Member

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    exchemist
    Not a problem! I liked your post. Also, you can probably take some of what I say with a grain of salt as it is fueled heavily by annoyance on the subject, but despite this I promise I'm not COMPLETELY against philosophy, just its extremes, and some of the extreme mindsets behind it.

    paddoboy
    I think you said what I was thinking, just better than I could lol.
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Philosophy shows us how to ask the right questions and how to think about larger issues of values and morality and truth. If you're looking for pat answers that don't require reasoning, try religion. It will certainly give you formulae and laws and proverbs that you can use to decide what course of action is best. But personally I don't trust these traditional answers to the complicated question of what is right. I think they are simplistic and require a unwarranted trust in what is socially accepted as the right way to act. I mean look at our past. There was a time when it was common sense and even religiously justified to own slaves. Today that sort of thinking is no longer accepted. There was a time when gay and trans people were all seen as mentally ill perverts. Today not so much. I remember back when we called special needs kids retarded. So how do we know the common sense ethics of our day is really right? Perhaps we have been programmed to accept certain rules and mores from our family and our culture that when scrutinized aren't really that reasonable or moral at all. That's how philosophy, in its role as critical thinking, helps us get an objective sense of our own values and whether they are logically justifiable or merely arbitrarily instilled in us by the particular culture and society we are born into.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I must say your past views did soften my past hardline attitude with regards to philosophy...just a smidgin though...

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    I'm not totally against it either, and because of some past reasonable comments by exchemist, have soften somewhat.
    It's application certainly can be taken to annoying extremes.
     
  20. Crcata Registered Senior Member

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    Magical Realist
    I agree with what you are saying, its the extremes of it that drive me bat-s*** crazy. That coupled with a holier than thou attitude that many have has driven me to speak a little more strongly against it than I actually am and I certainly do not oppose critical thinking, as a person who's skill set and education level is certainly not extraordinary or even much better than average (I have a medium term plan to change that), I have mad respect for those who can critically think. But Critical thinking and some of the extremes I see philosophy taken to aren't really one and the same.
     
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Critical thinking and logic are indeed part of philosophy. The course is taught in many philosophy departments in colleges and universities. What else would philosophy be BUT critical thinking applied to various subjects like ethics, art, science, politics, aesthetics, linguistics, information theory, culture, and metaphysics?

    I should point out that your own questioning of philosophy here is itself a fine display of critical thinking in its own right. It makes assumptions about the pragmatic and utilitarian nature of truth and whether philosophy is of any use to us. There's also some implicit assumptions about whether intelligence consists more in being educated or whether it isn't also the ability to think and to question. But that's philosophy! You're doing it right now!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  22. Crcata Registered Senior Member

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    Magical Realist
    Haha I know, I am aware of the irony, seeing as I am doing it throughout my own posts.

    Extremes are the biggest issue. on both sides I suppose.
     
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I would certainly agree there is a fair amount of room for pseudery in philosophy, especially for some reason in France, where les philosophes are almost celebrities. But I think proper philosophy is appropriately modest about its claims, though studying it is certainly not to everyone;'s taste.

    Anyway, welcome to the forum. This strikes me as having been rather a good first discussion.
     

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