why epistemology?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by ubermich, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. ubermich amnesiac . . . Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    235
    excuse for blurting out my objections, here. im a little newbie in both philosophy and on this forum.

    but i have to say that ive grazed the philosophy-types on this forum, and most seem to have to deal with classical, or modern-enlightenment-based rational epistemology. ya know, those "lets categorize and compartmentalize the way we, as automatons, view the world."

    it seems to me that these attempts at absolutism, not only for epistemology, but for any hard-core "science," as pointed out by postmodernism, are futile wastes of oxygen. its seems to be all about subjectivism after nietszche. (the culmination, ironically, of the rational, individualistic enlightenment turned on its origins.)

    if that doesnt make sense, what im saying is that i CANT understand why people insist on wondering/trying to prove WHY we think, HOW we learn, WHETHER that pipe is really a pipe or just a figment of my imagination , blahblahblah.

    i thought philosophy was about learning about HOW to live, not HOW to know the world objectively. cuz it aint gonna happen folks.

    plz tell me why people philosophize on what seems to me to be a waste of ATPs
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    "if that doesnt make sense, what im saying is that i CANT understand why people insist on wondering/trying to prove WHY we think,"

    Becuase they can't accept the science behind things.


    "HOW we learn"

    The greater we understand how to learn the greater we will understand how to teach.


    "WHETHER that pipe is really a pipe or just a figment of my imagination"

    This question generally just pops up in rookie philosophers.


    "thought philosophy was about learning about HOW to live"

    Er, no. Philosophy involves a lot more than just that. That is abranch of philosophy.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,048
    Hmmm ... I see it differently, but ...

    Tyler

    2 quick counterpoints:

    • Becuase they can't accept the science behind things. Does that not draw a line at where the sciences are capable of going?

    This question generally just pops up in rookie philosophers. Actually, I would say that generally the question only has significance among the rookie philosophers. Every once in a while, the higher philosophical echelons need to be reminded of this. But generally, the higher philosophical echelons acknowledge this, and set it aside as insignificant because there's really nothing to be done about it if anyone wants to actually communicate.

    Okay, that second one wasn't quick, but ....

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Ubermich

    Welcome, welcome. We all hope you enjoy your time here.
    It does seem to be symptomatic of the age. The best thing I can think of in the circumstance is to press the automatic assumptions until they show their stress points. It's not that compartmentalization is necessarily a bad thing, but Western thinking tends to rely on it; it's a way of compensating for the need to be in control of the overwhelming amount of data involved in the modern age. It's a little like children with a toy, insofar as the Western cultural habit is concerned. Eventually, people dependent on a certain degree of objectivity within those classifications will see the integrity break down within them at a certain level. They will learn, in time, to be more cautious in the application of compartmentalizing methods. We're the human species. We always seem to figure it out sooner or later.
    History demonstrates that fixed ideas of the thought process have been detrimental to society. Changing ideas eventually led to changing paradigms. Enough of these ideas have been relatively progressive that we aren't extinct yet, and that's a good sign. But the how and why of thinking and learning and perception are quite important in understanding how to avoid the pitfalls described in history. It all goes allegedly toward the collective benefit.

    Does nobody remember Phrenology? It never did make any philosophical sense. Yet among its assertions were much about the nature of thought and learning.

    thanx,
    Tiassa

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. ubermich amnesiac . . . Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    235
    bravo, bravo! fine words of wisdom, tiassa.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    i believe you're right, i just get impatient with the inadequacies and pretentious assumptions of the human species too often for my own good. (yes, compartmentalization isnt bad in itself, just when you get carried away with plugging it, like i did berating it. HA! the irony of it all.)

    and no, i dont know what phrenology is. ??

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    book or something?
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,048
    Phrenology link

    http://pages.britishlibrary.net/phrenology/overview.htm

    It is probably to my benefit (and, perhaps, yours), to mention that I don't use underlining for accent because it's the default mark for a hyperlink. I don't know if the word phrenology appears underlined in your browser, but it should, as it is tagged to link to the above-listed URL, a brief overview of phrenology.

    I can't speak for anyone else on that, but some of us sometimes bury our links like that. Whoops. Sorry. That is, specifically, my bad. I've become so accustomed to bombarding this board with links and boldfaces and italics and so forth that it doesn't occur to me that not everyone's used to it. Or, in the words of Carl the gray alien in South Park, "Moo ... moo-moo." (Sorry ... my bad.)

    thanx,
    Tiassa

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  9. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Just so you know, police pathologists and such use "phrenology" and racial profiling every day, all around the world. Basic physical traits, including skull shapes and features, are used to help identify rotted corpses and such. Generally close at hand in any post morten examination is a great big book full of hints on what various physical phenomena indicate as far as race/ancestry is concerned.
     
  10. orthogonal Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Ubermich wrote:
    The categorization and compartmentalization of knowledge is more a function of science rather than philosophy. The scientific method relies upon reduction and analysis, whereas philosophy tends to rely upon synthesis and integration.
    Ubermich, I reject Postmodernist relativism as I reject absolutism or objectivism. Our world entirely rests in neither object or in subject. An object without a subject is entirely without value or meaning. A subject without an object is in a state of eternal paralysis. Life is an interplay between subject and object.

    "The Enlightenment thinkers believed we can know everything. Radical Postmodernists believe we can know nothing. The Postmodernists believe that reality is a state constructed by the mind, rather than perceived by it." Edward O. Wilson

    I believe we can know more than nothing, but less than everything. Blaise Pascal wrote, "Our true state...renders us incapable of knowing anything for certain, or from being absolutely ignorant."
    This is quite an honest admission Ubermich. Impatience is an enemy of understanding, be it philosophical or scientific. Legend tells us that Gordius tied a clever knot which the impatient Alexander simply slashed with his sword, rather than untie. This world however, appears to be such that the impatient among us are incapable of even finding the knot. On rare occasions I imagine that I glimpse a shadow of the knot, but as Winston Churchill similarly confided:

    "I had a feeling once...that I saw it all. Depth beyond depth was revealed to me, the Byss and Abyss...but it was after dinner and I let it go."

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Willkommen zu Philosophie Ubermich, wo Geduld ist alles.

    Michael
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2002
  11. Cactus Jack Death Knight of Northrend Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    816
    If one can determine how we learn and how we percieve reality one can better create logical arguments and determine what is real.
     
  12. Firefly Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,330
    Apologies if I'm wrong, but Epistemology is the study of knowledge, what we can know, and how etc etc. Not sure what your complain is?
     
  13. Hoth Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    383
    I would say absolutism in epistemology is a mistaken approach, just based on what it requires (namely, foundationalism's mythical "properly basic making property"). Does this mean we can't know things? No, that's not what it means... it means that the concept of knowledge itself is centered around a type of relativity. You can know things of type A in terms of things of type B, or things of type B in terms of things of type A, but to look for an absolute is to misunderstand the whole concept. If you say you're looking for an absolute, you're really just looking for things of type C which you can assume and then explain things of types A and B in terms of. This brings us to what knowledge is really about: explaining the unknown relative to the assumed. I wrote in detail on the concept and application of relative knowledge here.

    It's quite useful for science, and just for life in general. We need to know how to question things in order to become better predictors of future events. Chopping off layers of assumptions is an exercise in brain power, and can sometimes have practical results -- take Einstein for example, chopping off previous assumptions of physics to create a system which has more predictive value in certain areas of application.

    Sure, there's no way to understand objectivity-without-modification, which as Nagel says is "the view from nowhere", but that doesn't mean that trying to imagine it can't be a useful exercise. Postmodernism is itself addressing these sorts of issues through its very refusal to give them precise definition.
     

Share This Page