Why I hate philosophy

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Innominate, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. Innominate Why? Registered Senior Member

    I was talking with someone about the concept of a soul, I don't think we have one, he thinks we do. I asked him what his soul does, my plan was for him to name something that neuroscience has already proven happens in the brain, he said "thought and reason" I said "that happens in the cerebral cortex, without it, you can't think or reason"... He said "that doesn't prove thinking and reason happens there, it just proves the soul uses it to communicate thought and reason"... wtf? I'm fully aware that this is stupid, and I'm also fully aware that within the loose rules of philosophy..it's possible, and according to philosophy, anything that's slightly possible is given way too much weight in an argument.

    And, philosophy seems to be packed with these verbal magic tricks that make people completly uneducated on a specific subject feel like they can wiggle their way out by playing word games. I've avoided philosophy because it seems to me, sociology and psychology already include the best of what philosophy has to offer, plus actual scientific facts..such as the function of the cerebral cortex.

    Seems to me that, in many situations, philosophy and science are like oil and water, and yet, philosophy seems to want to be taken as seriously as science. I'd like to learn more about how/why this happens, if anybody has a book or idea on this subject, I'd like to read it. I'm willing to accept the fact that I could be completly uneducated on philosophy and just "don't get it" but I can't help feeling like there's more to it than that.
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  3. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Is there a point to this post?
    Besides ranting?

    Your mis-characterization of Philosophy just serves as an example of how poorly you understand it.

    And by the way: you do realize that science is derived from philosophy yes?
    Oh, you don't.
    I see.
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  5. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    But he was correct, your argument was insufficient.

    So far the facts about the cerebral cortex do not explain consciousness. We still have no idea how 'matter' began to notice things.

    Here's a place to start....


    Very intelligent reps of both neuroscience and philosophy going at it. Not too hard a read for the lay person, but nevertheless a challenge.
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    That would be neurology.
    Sociology and psychology have observations, but few "facts" as yet. They are both more proto-science than science.
    And not one of those three (sociology, psychology or neurology) do what philosophy does.
  8. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Philosophy concerns itself with thinking about thinking. Science just concerns itself with one particular way of thinking.

    When I attended Glasgow University the physics department had a large sign on the side of the Kelvin Building - Department of Natural Philosophy. Science grew out of philosophy as a way of thinking about the world, in a particular systematic manner.

    In my experience scientists who are disparaging about philosophy generally have a lack in either their education or their intellect. The former deficiency can be corrected, the latter cannot. I have also observed that many (arguably all) of the great scientists have had a deep and abiding interest in philosophy. It is the small minded hangers-on, who don't really understand science properly either, who condemn philosophy.

    You might also wish to consider that the two giants who define how we do science, Popper and Kuhn, were both philosophers, not scientists.
  9. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Excellent points all around.

    I suspect that Innominate is not only naive and dangerously ignorant on these topics, but also in some way deluded.
    Those who are quick to judge, are quick to fail.
  10. Innominate Why? Registered Senior Member

    I didn't take the time to explain my entire argument in this thread, which would explain it being insufficient. There's a lot more to it, but the point of this thread wasn't to debate about whether or not we have a soul.

    I'm a little confused about this one, are you talking how matter evolved to notice things?

    thanks! I'll be reading that, I appreciate you actually offering a good direction to head in so I can get a better understanding on this topic.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  11. Innominate Why? Registered Senior Member

    I explained the point in the last paragraph, did you read that far?

    ok you obviously failed to understand my last paragraph.

    Is there a point to asking a stupid question just to answer it yourself? I mean, besides being condescending.
    no, not really.
    oh, ok.

    I can't be the only one that noticed this massive contradiction.
  12. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

    We can philosoph about it, but let me first smoke some pot... j/k..anyway, yeah..it's not easy to miss.
  13. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    That's fine. But the argument seemed presented in the OP as if we should automatically nod our heads and think how could his friend be so confused.

    Yes. We being matter that notices things.
    Your welcome. I think actually it is a perfect start because the philosophers make it very clear what they think their role is as distinguished from the neuroscientists - obviously they focus a lot on the language used by both groups. The neuroscientists do not all agree - though one is on the philosophers team. But the debate is interesting.
  14. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    There was no point of philosophical import there.

    No. You failed to represent your position clearly.

    Indeed there is.
    That point being, that you should think, before you type.

    There is no contradiction.

    Now, I'll allow you to make yourself better understood: explicitly state what your point is to be in this thread, or it shall be closed.
  15. Innominate Why? Registered Senior Member

    Ok I'll admit, I did write it in a very one-sided way. I guess I wrote this out of frustration or just being annoyed that someone that knows absolutly nothing about the human brain would say something like that. Especially when this individual has never explained HOW immaterial objects can interact with material objects..which is the giant wall his idea would of ran into if the conversation continued(in my opinion).

    This sounds like it might be interesting, but it's still a little vague, what do you mean by "things?" Are you getting at the fact that if we are just matter there's no way for matter to be aware of itself? or something like that.

    I'll admit, this thread was half way between the off topic section and general philosophy, I figured it would lead to a philosophical conversation/debate (which it has) So this was the best place to put it.

    Judging by the other responses, you seem to be the only one that doesn't understand.

    I'm noticing a pattern here, and I'm losing interest.

    uh huh.

    Just because you failed to see the point of this thread while several other people did doesn't mean there's no point. You do know your opinion isn't the only one that matters, right? Interest lost.

    Certain types of psychology do mix in a lot of neurology, I forgot the name though. But I agree, sociology is a lot of observation mixed in with historical facts and very few scientific facts...but there are facts in there.

    What I was getting at was the idea that philosophy is usually seen as the "father" of sociology and eventually psychology and science in general. I feel that a lot of the best features of philosophy have already been injected into the 3 studies you mentioned.
  16. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Fair enough.
    Nonetheless, I's like a more lucid explication of your topic.

    With respect to this thread continuing, my opinion of it is of the highest import.
    You have 24 hours.
  17. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    But materialism has its own parallel unanswered question: how did matter start experiencing - or consciousness.

    Not making a claim, just rewording the so far mystery of how matter became aware. That organisms might develop problem solving and completely determined behavior fits fine with materialism. IOW that life forms behave the way they do is covered. But that they are aware seems an unexplained surplus. I am not saying it could not be - though I am not really a materialist (a word I consider meaningless or misleading at best anyway). Just raising the issue.
  18. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I think, actually, because often scientists do not think about thinking, they actually have a set of ways of thinking - sometimes with contradictions which they do not notice between members of this set.

    The book I mentioned earlier in the thread comes at this issue in relation to neuroscience.

    Language is a quagmire for the best of us on certain issues.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  19. Innominate Why? Registered Senior Member

    I'm sorry, I think I made a mistake, for some reason you think your opinion is important to me :shrug:

    Close the thread.

    I've always felt that conciousness was developed through the automatic function of our senses.

    Think about it like this, can you name one thing you know that wasn't the result of the automatic gathering of information through your senses?

    The best answer I've had from this question was "basic reasoning abilities" But reasoning about what? Without a subject, there's nothing to reason about, can you have basic reasoning abilities about nothing? not really.

    My point is, all of our thoughts, in my opinion, are the result of our senses. This would include our conciousness, which is built on this automatic recording process. Constantly taking in information and comparing it to what we've previously experienced.

    So, our conciousness comes after this gathering of information and basic mental development process takes place. I don't believe we're born with a conciousness. It just happens to be created through the constant storing of information, comparing things we know with things we learn, manipulating our own memories and turning them into thoughts etc...
  20. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    But I can imagine, just as easily, senses without consciousness. In fact we have machines that, as far as we know, are like this. The pick up stuff via lenses or radar or other senses and act differently given the information. We have determined causal chains running through their senses and into the machinery dealing with action. At no point does consciousness arise.
    That getting my mouth on that nipple was a good thing.
    (not being too personal here, I mean my Mom's and very early on in my life)

    But again this could be done without the matter having a perspective and experiencing. Just causal chains running along like good little machines.
  21. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    It should be.
    Enjoy your holiday.
  22. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

    Without Philosophy science wouldn't have been born. It takes philosophy and theory to come up with radical ideas for science to test/experiment then confirm or deny. I would argue that some of the world best minds were philosophers before anything else. ex: Einstein, Galileo Galilei, Leonardo DaVinci, Issac Newton, Nikola Tesla, on and on and on.

    These men all had philosophy in common and were thinking about the realities of the world/universe before any of it could be determined fact/fiction

    If you hate philosophy but love science, I'm afraid your going to live in a rather small box of which you will only be conducting experiments on OTHER people's ideas...specifically those of philosophers.

    The drive to figure out how something works is philosophy not science

    Science is very important yes. Without it philosophy would be nothing more than fair tale day dreams. So each have their significant role in human understanding.
  23. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member


    Science is based ultimately on "positivism," "physicalism" and "empiricism" which are both philosophical positions. Neither one is provably or obviously superior to other philosophical positions except insofar as it if "obvious" in asubjective sense to a particular person.

    There seems to be a minor math error when you say "according to philosophy, anything that's slightly possible is given way too much weight in an argument". I assume you mean that your friend's position only has a small chance of being correct...but that is not strictly speaking true. He is either correct or incorrect (and there is no actual chance involved), what you mean to say is that you would be very surprised if he were proven correct, as would I be, since his position seems very difficult to verify.

    That said, the notion that thought and consciousness arise solely in the brain electrochemically, or otherwise based on physical processes, is an unprovable assertion. It's possible that it could be falsified (if one were to find an external source for our thoughts and reason, for example), but will never be proven absolutely. Science doesn't work that way.

    Science constructs models that are useful in explaining (and sometimes making predictions regarding) phenomena in the universe, but the models are based on observation and experiment about what has happened in the past, and there is no way to know that the future "won't" yield something substantially different. We assume stability in the laws of the universe, and we have reasonable evidence that they have been stable for 14 billion years or so, but that they will remain stable in the future is not a "scientifically" determined position, it's just an assumption that can never be proven save in retrospect.

    I admit, I often have difficulty understanding why people find supernatural explanations, like belief in the soul, so compelling, but logically speaking, all I can say to them is that I have a different intuition that leads me to embrace a positivist and ultimately physicalist view of the world--the one embraced by science. In every sense, though, that is a subjective preference for those philosophical positions, and I am no more able to assert definitively that those positions are correct, than I am able top absolutely and objectively assert that chocolate is the best pudding flavor. I can assert my preference for chocolate, but I can't tell the tapioca crowd that they are "wrong."

    The long and the short of it is, science is so strong on philosophy, that I do not think you hate philosophy. I think you just hate it when anyone strongly disagrees with the philosophies you embrace, because you believe yours to be the "truth" and theirs not to be. There's nothing wrong with that, but the problem is not with the subject matter. It's strange to be too upset, as an intense negative emotional reaction to others embracing philosophies that conflict with your own is reminiscent of zealotry, and it's an odd juxtaposition to see a "Zealot for Science."
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010

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