Crisis of philosophy - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

For the discussion of Philosophy. Discuss thought from Socrates to the Enlightenment and beyond!

Moderator: PoFo Agora Mods

Forum rules: No one line posts please. Religious topics may be debated in this forum, but those of religious belief who specifically wish to avoid threads being derailed by atheist arguments might prefer to use the Spirituality forum.
User avatar
By Wellsy
#15147520
What is philosophy’s problem in the modern age?
Is it irrelevant? If so, why?

[url]caute.ru/am/text/mareeva.html[/url]
I will express one thought, which may seem seditious: these two philosophies, apparently, in the best way express the “present existence” of our era, therefore it is impossible to defeat them in direct polemics. What society is like, so is its philosophical self-consciousness. A shoddy philosophy will live and win in the mass consciousness until, in the course of history itself, those material conditions of human life that nourish such a philosophy, the ideal evaporation of which it itself is, are removed.

Reform of teaching philosophy will not be able to radically help; it requires reforming the foundations of social life . For the sake of clarity, I will add that philosophy itself is in no way capable of this. Philosophy is as little able to change the world for the better or for the worse, as an ordinary mirror is to correct the physiognomy of the person who looks into it. Heine joked that philosophy cannot even lure a dog out of a kennel; the deadly blows that philosophers have exchanged for centuries are perfectly safe for life.

The real crisis of philosophy, in my opinion, lies not in the massive spread of philosophical surrogates, but in the absence in our day of figures of the scale of Spinoza or Hegel, who could understand and express by means of philosophy real being (in the serious meaning that Hegel gave to the category of real ) of modern man, hidden behind his present being "here-and-now".
...
With all the differences in views and preferences, however, all philosophers at all times really did one common thing - they investigated the world of the human spirit, sought to understand its logical structure and determine the place occupied in this world by individual consciousness, a separate human "I". In the form of philosophy, a person is taken, as if from the outside, to observe how his thinking proceeds, how concepts, judgments, images are formed, and tries to regulate his own thinking. Philosophy is the anatomy and mechanics of the human mind. Reason is understood here not simply as the ability of the individual human soul (consciousness), which the latter possesses along with imagination, speech, emotions, etc., but as a world of ideas, scientific and artistic, moral and political-legal, economic and religious, - in general, all the ideas that the human spirit has managed to discover during several millennia of its history. Analysis of them, of these ideas, is the main, if not the only task of philosophy. This, I think, is its true purpose in the "age of the Internet", as well as in any other age.
User avatar
By Odiseizam
#15151042
Wellsy wrote:The real crisis of philosophy, in my opinion, lies not in the massive spread of philosophical surrogates, but in the absence in our day of figures of the scale of Spinoza or Hegel


This is not true, what is happening in reality is overconsumption and relativisation, so even do nowadays there are plentiful philosophers even way smarter than the proposed humanists, still they cant surface easily, after all people are so preoccupied with triviality on every level that even there was true philosopher-king anywhere they will mock him and as consequence he will bomb them with ignorance thus no one will see the benefit from it ...
User avatar
By Wellsy
#15151081
Odiseizam wrote:This is not true, what is happening in reality is overconsumption and relativisation, so even do nowadays there are plentiful philosophers even way smarter than the proposed humanists, still they cant surface easily, after all people are so preoccupied with triviality on every level that even there was true philosopher-king anywhere they will mock him and as consequence he will bomb them with ignorance thus no one will see the benefit from it ...

I'm glad to have prompted a response with Maidansky's summary.

So when you speak of triviliaty, or you speaking about the division of intellectual labor being so intensely specialized that there are people attempting to examine every piece of things?
As a result of this intense specialization, if someone were to attempt to synthesize different sciences and philosophical outlooks, they would be mocked as they seemingly step outside of their expertise into the realm of others.
Clarify if I'm far off the mark.
I definitely see examples where there is reason to dismiss philosophers who don't acquaint themselves with a field of expertise/science yet wish to speculate it's nature.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Brandom.pdf
He [Robert Brandom] laments, in the final section of “Reason in Philosophy,” that cognitive psychology has not investigated whether the development of concepts in children replicates his hierarchy of the complexity of concepts. Well, why not spend an afternoon with a child psychologist and ask? The development of concepts in children has been studied, and not only do children not replicate Brandom’s schema, but there are very highly developed theories of the development of concepts which demonstrate different genetic processes. If Brandom thinks there is reason to believe that the development of conceptuse in children should mirror the structure of their semantic complexity, perhaps the way concept-use actually develops would give him cause to reconsider the significance he attaches to this hierarchy of conceptual complexity? Would it give him cause to reconsider his whole theory of concepts? He says that it is ignorance on the part of psychologists that they have not investigated the basis for his philosophy in psychology, but isn’t it more reasonable to look to ignorance on his own part that he has developed a schema for the development of concepts without taking the trouble to enquire as to how it actually happens?


Tangential Thoughts
Spoiler: show
My view is that philosophy must necessarily synthesize the many empirical facts of sciences.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch01-s04.html
Sciences have become so ramified that no brain, however versatile can master all their branches, or even one chosen field. No one nowadays can say that he knows the whole of medicine or biology or mathematics, as some people could have said in the past. Like Goethe's Faust, scientists realise that they cannot know everything about everything. So they are trying to know as much as possible about as little as possible and becoming like people digging deeper and deeper into a well and seeing less and less of what is going on around them, or like a chorus of the deaf, in which each member sings his own tune without hearing anyone else. Such narrow specialisation may lead, and has in some cases already led, to professional narrow-mindedness. Here we have a paradox. This process is both harmful and historically necessary and justified. Without narrow specialisation we cannot make progress and at the same time such specialisation must be constantly filled out by a broad inter-disciplinary approach, by the integrative power of philosophical reason. Otherwise a situation may arise when the common front of developing science will move ahead more and more rapidly and humanity's total knowledge will increase while the individual, the scientist, for example, will lag farther and farther behind the general flood of information and become more and more limited as the years go by. Aristotle knew nearly everything that was known to his epoch and constituted the substance of ancient science, but today by the time he leaves school the pupil is expected to know far more than Aristotle. And it would be a lifetime's work even for a gifted person with a phenomenal memory to learn the fundamentals of all the sciences.

What is more, narrow specialisation, deprived of any breadth of vision, inevitably leads to a creeping empiricism, to the endless description of particulars.

What are we to do about assembling integral knowledge? Such an assembly can nevertheless be built by the integrative power of philosophy, which is the highest form of generalisation of all human knowledge and life experience, the sum-total of the development of world history. By means of philosophy the human reason synthesises the results of human knowledge of nature, society, man and his self-awareness, which gives people a sense of freedom, an open-ended view of the world, an understanding of what is to be found beyond the limits of his usual occupation and narrow professional interests. If we take not the hacks of science but scientists on the big scale, with a truly creative cast of mind, who honestly, wisely and responsibly consider what their hands and minds are doing, we find that they do ultimately realise that to get their bearings in their own field they must take into consideration the results and methods of other fields of knowledge; such scientists range as widely as possible over the history and theory of cognition, building a scientific picture of the world, and absorb philosophical culture through its historically formed system of categories by consciously mastering all the subtleties of logical thought. Max Born, one of the creators of quantum mechanics, provides us with a vivid example of this process. Born had a profound grasp of physical thought illumined by philosophical understanding of his subject. He was the author of many philosophical works and he himself admitted that the philosophical implications of science had always interested him more than narrow specialised results. After Einstein he was one of the first of the world's leading scientists to realise the futility of positivism's attempts to act as a basis for understanding the external world and science and to deny this role to philosophy.

The philosophical approach enables us to overcome the one-sidedness in research which has a negative effect in modern highly specialised scientific work. For example, natural science today is strongly influenced by integrative trends. It is seeking new generalising theories, such as a unitary field theory, a general theory of elementary particles, a general theory of systems, a general theory of control, information, and so on. Generalisations at such a high level presuppose a high degree of general scientific, natural-humanitarian and also philosophical culture. It is philosophy that safeguards the unity and interconnection of all aspects of knowledge of the vast and diversified world whose substance is matter. As Werner Heisenberg once observed, for our senses the world consists of an infinite variety of things and events, colours and sounds. But in order to understand it we have to introduce some kind of order, and order means to recognise what is equal, it means some sort of unity. From this springs the belief that there is one fundamental principle, and at the same time the difficulty to derive from it the infinite variety of things. The natural point of departure is that there exists a material prime cause of things since the world consists of matter.


And my sense of things is that the more things are properly connected to one another the more "concrete" they become as approximating the nature of things and thus the more true our understanding becomes.
http://caute.ru/am/text/truth.htm
This or that theory suffers defeat and falls into oblivion not because novel facts of experience falsify it (nowise — it is impossible), but owing to its inability to cope with contradictions so well as a rival theory does. “There is no refutation without a better theory,” as Lakatos said. But is it enough for theory to surpass rivals in predicting some novel facts to be regarded as a better theory? For Ilyenkov, this is not enough. The “better theory” is required to be more concrete than a former one. It does not simply moves the worse theory to the background, but inherit and absorb it, turning it into the abstract moment or the particular case of their common object. Only if the “research programme” should succeed in assimilating its precursors and direct rivals, it acquires the last and final proof.

Generally, truth arises in overcoming of errors. If we did not just renounce an error, but have cleared up its reason, thereby we have converted the error into the truth. Into the absolute truth at that, for the given error has been cancelled, or rather “sublated,” for good and all.

Errors are quite another matter, they are never absolute. Each error rests on facts of experience, but those are just insufficient for the concrete understanding of the matter. When passing judgements or acting for the reason of unsuitable facts, mind slides into error.
'Error, consequently, only began when a mode of action, which was limitedly true, was given a universal significance, when the relative was taken for the absolute [5, p. 42], [6, p. 58].'

It is yet another lesson Ilyenkov takes in Spinoza, describing his distinction of truth and error as “profound” and “fundamentally true”.
Error emerges if we regard an abstract, particular knowledge of thing as the concrete concept of it. True idea, refuting false ones, does not cast them away as worthless, but assigns the real limits, within which the “sublated” ideas are to be perfectly right. Having showed the genuine limits for this or that fallacious point of view, we have worked over the abstract idea into the concrete one.

So Einstein, having outlined the limits of verity of Newton laws of motion and destroyed its claim to be the absolute truth, have not refuted these laws, but rather amended them, made their concept more concrete. One could say that it was Einstein who transformed Newtonian mechanics from the relative truth to the absolute truth.

It seems to me that Maindainsky is perhaps critical of philosophers as not really making headway in the synthesizing of things, and it is in fact the synthesis and properly positioning of different facts in relation to one another that helps clear the grounds for a richer understanding.
To begin a new science on the grave of the old with the discovery of a new fact that 'unlocks' a new science and changes the field as Einstein's theories of relativity did for physics.
In Ilyenkov’s dialectical logic matters go differently. Fact here is regarded as a kind of key that unlocks the gates of truth. Search of the key fact, to a tag fitting the “lock” of contradiction, is a sole way of creating theory. Ilyenkov himself compares thought, having got into a real contradiction, with an open-circuit line. At one side positive charge is stored, and negative charge is at another side. We need to find a condition, owing to which the tension will be relieved. Let us close the circuit by a piece of glass or wood — current does not appear, the tension is keeping on. But once we do the same thing with a part of metal and...


But the tendency of a lot of philosophy might be characterized as a kin of housekeeping.
http://rickroderick.org/101-socrates-and-the-life-of-inquiry-1990/
A course in philosophy and human values may seem paradoxical because philosophy was that discipline, in our traditions – that’s western traditions, western civilisation – that began with a search for unconditioned knowledge. Unconditioned by human knowledge, of things that transcend this world or any other. That tradition is very much alive in philosophy today, mostly in formal logic and mathematics, where it seems in place, and professional philosophers have a name for that tradition. It’s the “analytic” tradition in philosophy. A course in philosophy and human values has very little to gain from that tradition. And the reason for that, I think, is quite simple. It’s because philosophy and its interaction with societies, cultures, and in its historical context is very difficult to quantify. It’s very difficult to turn into a logical formula. And as a matter of fact no-one – I think, and I have met a lot of philosophers, since that’s what I do for a living – has ever demonstrated that a deductive argument, a logical argument, one that’s purely formal, has ever solved a single philosophical problem. Except internally; the ones they made themselves. It’s kind of like housekeeping, where you spill the stuff, and then you clean it up, and then you spill it again… and a lot of analytic philosophy is like that.

And there is a kind of anti-intellectualism due to the state of the economies where people simply do not care to even ask the questions. Some folks don't even seem to feel the need to ask certain questions or they perhaps simply ignore the questions of their own lives as they don't even have dreams.
http://rickroderick.org/301-paul-ricoeur-the-masters-of-suspicion-1993/
I will use for example… I will just mention an article by the philosopher Richard Rorty called “The World Well Lost“. This is the upshoot now remember of a tradition that is at least 2500 years old, and now that tradition is produced in tiny little articles – four, five page articles – in journals that are read by a number of people that’s a small enough number that if they were all in a boat and it sank, they would have no readership. And it could be a small boat, it wouldn’t need to be Lusitania, it could be a raft, perhaps. But in any case, Rorty in one of these journals wrote an article called “The World Well Lost” and developed a principle that I think has become widespread toward the end of the 20th Century, concerning philosophy’s role in informing us about ourself, or about the world.

The title itself indicates it: “The World Well Lost”; Rorty’s view is that any problem that has been around for 2500 years for which we still don’t have a solution, the right response by the contemporary philosopher is “I don’t care”. And the charm of Rorty’s answer is it’s so American. It’s deeply rooted in our culture, in both the anti-intellectualism of our culture, in our fear of eggheads and so on, and so in that sense it has a double significance. Positively it means that the work of intellectuals has always been separated off from the work of ordinary people. In other words, you have to be freed from the constraints of manual labour. When I was a dishwasher, I didn’t have a lot of time to do this. When I was a union organiser, I didn’t have a lot of time to do this. Any time I was involved in manual labour, I didn’t really have the time to do this intellectual work.

That separation, that fateful separation between intellectual and manual labour has been with philosophy throughout. It’s rather disappointing though to have that tradition – the great tradition of thinking in general – be reduced to a comment like “Well, gee… I don’t care. We haven’t figured it out” Similarly let me give you one more example of the profound results of recent contemporary analytic philosophy. The most widely accepted theory of truth is Tarski’s theory of truth. I won’t do it justice here but I will, I think, give you an account that fairly summarises its main insight.

Tarski’s theory of truth goes something like this. Tarski says the sentence “Snow is white” – and he puts “Snow is white” in quotation marks – is true, if and only if snow is white. I don’t expect anybody in the audience to gasp, if you follow me. This isn’t a theory of truth; this is the deflationary remark about how we use the word “true”, you follow me? It’s just… this is not the upshot of what we thought were the glowing and humanistic accounts that I appreciate to this day, developed by Socrates, Aristotle, all the way through Aquinas and so on, and in the late twentieth century what we get in area after area are these – what I will call – deflationary accounts. On the upside, these accounts don’t pretend to know much. I mean, that’s the upside for me. In other words, they are not overly grand.

http://rickroderick.org/marcuses-optimism/
Now, I have read about many historical periods. But not one in which you can talk to young people the way you can at the college level today, and find out that they believe… nothing. Want… nothing. Hope… nothing. Expect… nothing. Dream… nothing. Desire… nothing. Push ’em far enough and they’ll say: “Yeah, I gotta get a job. Spent a lot of money at Duke.” That’s not what I am talking about. They hope nothing. Expect nothing. Dream nothing. Desire nothing.

And it is a fair question to ask whether a society that produces this reaction in its young is worthy of existence at all. It really is. It’s worth asking that. Whether it’s worth being here at all. And my criticism of this society couldn’t get more bitter than it is in that case. It couldn’t possibly be. Remember, I am talking about the young I have encountered at Duke. These are privileged youth. At an elite southern school. Mostly white, mostly upper-middle to upper class. Now, imagine what the attitudes are like on the streets of DC, for another race or another social class. We have outlived in the 20th century the responses that Marcuse would have given to this.
User avatar
By Odiseizam
#15151090
@Wellsy no, my remark was about the meaningless times we live in, as we are in survivalist mode on level of philosophy as science, earlier there was patient public now there is public impatience when some clever mind pops up, so many clever people refuse to waste their time convincing other that this or that is good right needed, simply nowadays there is scientific elitism on level of mainstream cliche, while any revisionism is welcomed with fear or ignorance, its like there is no will for further intellectual and moral growth ...

but maybe there is room for change, it depends how and why modern e-tools will be used eg. stil there is no e-forum debate among intellectuals even in their own respect field of specialization even less interdisciplinary like here on this political waffle e-forum, shamefully they are starting to evoke through social media like fakebook or twitter but that is just not useful anyhow, our interactive social communication is turned on top, many use the e-tools wrongly oi.e. chatting on e-forums or even worst debating on social networks while blogging became egoistic braindrainage, we are on verge of idiocracy ...
#15151092
we are on verge of idiocracy ...

We got there a long time ago, @Odiseizam. Better get used to it.
#15151094
The problem lies in the Will, which effects the Intellect. The ''Crisis of Philosophy'' is that so few are actually ''Lovers of Wisdom'' in actual fact, but are actively fighting against the ''Love of Wisdom''.
User avatar
By Wellsy
#15151115
Odiseizam wrote:@Wellsy no, my remark was about the meaningless times we live in, as we are in survivalist mode on level of philosophy as science, earlier there was patient public now there is public impatience when some clever mind pops up, so many clever people refuse to waste their time convincing other that this or that is good right needed, simply nowadays there is scientific elitism on level of mainstream cliche, while any revisionism is welcomed with fear or ignorance, its like there is no will for further intellectual and moral growth ...

but maybe there is room for change, it depends how and why modern e-tools will be used eg. stil there is no e-forum debate among intellectuals even in their own respect field of specialization even less interdisciplinary like here on this political waffle e-forum, shamefully they are starting to evoke through social media like fakebook or twitter but that is just not useful anyhow, our interactive social communication is turned on top, many use the e-tools wrongly oi.e. chatting on e-forums or even worst debating on social networks while blogging became egoistic braindrainage, we are on verge of idiocracy ...

Ah, sounds like your pointing to the issues such as how there is more information in a single building than there was for most of human history and the complexity of our times is the overload of information. Such that it's difficult for the bright thinker to pop through all the shit.
The speed at which people want to consume things is that they want everything spoonfed like children who only want sugar. WHich then had intellectuals simply give up on trying to express themselves on what seems to be a un-synmpathetic public.
But this sense of the public now being impatient doesn't necessarily ring true other than perhaps that life was slower. Especially compared to the earliest human organizations where you would live out your entire life in a single role where the modern adult jumps between many jobs in a single life time and has no stable grounding to their life.
But I tend to think of that cited divide of intellectual and manual labor which people often don't have time or energy to give amidst practical everyday concerns so they are impatient. Or even if they do have means to fill some of their time in such pursuits, there is is a difficulty in prioritizing things as no one can no everything and so its naturally easier to rely on direct summaries of some experts. But this doesn't work for a more complicated subject necessarily where some prior understanding is required to even grasp the concepts. So many people speak of quantum mechanics and concepts in physics but hardly studied any physics to know if they're talking shit or not and that they don't know suggests that it is shit and at best simply verbatim parroting of those who do understand. But even with experts today, the lack of trust in general marks why people oppose experts out of ignorance. The cynicism marks an intellectual cowardice to actually understand things and instead reject one set of answers and replace them with another, no significant change. But doesn't this blind dogmatism characterize most people across most subjects as there is too much to understand.

There is perhaps some hope in the changing of online communication, but at the same time, I think you can create many great things but how you bring people to it is another. How do you foster the need or desire?
A person can teach themselves all sorts of things purely through information online as a lot of knowledge has been made more accessible than ever before.
But what need does anyone have to learn anything? I increasingly find unless you have some immediate practical purpose in mind, people consider learning in general, useless.
What's the point? There is no felt benefit to knowing things for their own sake but such a value also seems perhaps to better reflect the position of those who can pursue their intellectual interests as a pleasure in itself.

Basically, I think that we're perhaps seeing an ugliness that was always present by hidden from sight, out of mind. It's just exacerbated perhaps.
#15151116
Maidansky wrote:With all the differences in views and preferences, however, all philosophers at all times really did one common thing - they investigated the world of the human spirit, sought to understand its logical structure and determine the place occupied in this world by individual consciousness, a separate human "I".

Odiseizam has a good point, but the philosophical nexus of it is a reliance on materialism in my opinion, and not merely overconsumption and relativization--the latter of which I think is a more precarious issue. Taking root with Marxism and gaining mass currency following World War I, much of the West simply abandoned religion altogether--operating purely with physics and little or no metaphysics. A counterpoint to that followed World War II, and the embrace of secular ethics. Pure physics gets you the atomic bomb, methamphetamine and methodone among other things. It's not all bad, but physical properties aren't necessarily normative "good."

This leads to some really counter-intuitive behaviors--for example, the German state did not violate treaties around the use of chemical weapons during the second world war, but ended up exterminating many non-combatants with Zyklon B in concentration camps. Whereas, the "good guys" also did not violate treaties around the use of chemical weapons, but instead developed nuclear weapons and used them. It demonstrates an almost bizarre adherence to written rules, but an absence of reflection on the use of violent force for example.

Odiseizam wrote:so even do nowadays there are plentiful philosophers even way smarter than the proposed humanists, still they cant surface easily, after all people are so preoccupied with triviality on every level

I think that's a fair characterization of mass society, but it doesn't really explain the behavior of highly educated people. The well-educated suffer from an inordinate degree of hubris. In other words, there is so much that we just don't know, but people who consider themselves experts cannot admit to the fact that we do not know everything. For a technocratic society, being an "expert" is akin to money and power, such that truly entertaining what is unknown is something that makes a technocratic expert terribly uncomfortable, and leads to an almost profound lack of curiosity.

While I'm given more to the physics side of philosophy than metaphysics, there is an element to metaphysics even in mathematics and physics itself. For example, Kurt Godel's undecideability of certain propositions means that you cannot prove or disprove certain mathematical expressions. So when you include them in the universal set, by extension, mathematics taken as a whole cannot be proven or disproven--yet, it has remarkable utility. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is similar, that you cannot measure momentum and position simultaneously even in theory.

Wellsy wrote:I'm glad to have prompted a response with Maidansky's summary.

So when you speak of triviliaty, or you speaking about the division of intellectual labor being so intensely specialized that there are people attempting to examine every piece of things?
As a result of this intense specialization, if someone were to attempt to synthesize different sciences and philosophical outlooks, they would be mocked as they seemingly step outside of their expertise into the realm of others.

That's a huge part of it. That's why I think "expertism" if you will tends to foreclose inquiry. It's not limited to metaphysics either. We know a great deal today about ribonucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid, and so forth. Darwin didn't. Darwinism does a decent job of describing specialization within species by random mutation. However, the title of his most famous work, "The Origin of Species" is way off the mark, because he doesn't actually describe the creation of entire species, let alone the origin of life. He describes specialization by random mutation.

As a computer head, it's fairly easy to see that biological behavior has discrete properties. Transcription, for instance. Whereas, that's well described in genetic disciplines, it operates counter to the second law of thermodynamics in that life increases order whereas entropy does the opposite. When you get to advanced life forms, it's fairly easy to describe the action of a meteor crossing the night sky, but it's terribly complex to explain the behavior of someone looking up at the meteor, pointing at it, etc. So for all our somewhat miraculous capabilities, we're still well short of any sort of grand unified theory, because there are behaviors/forces that we still cannot explain mathematically/scientifically.

For example, you can use a scientific theory to describe the life cycle of stars--early stage, red giant, neutron star, pulsar, black hole, etc. Yet, you cannot really use such a theory to predict the creation of a ham sandwich; yet, it happens regularly. Present that to an expert, and they tend to laugh at you or dismiss you altogether.

Wellsy wrote:What is more, narrow specialisation, deprived of any breadth of vision, inevitably leads to a creeping empiricism, to the endless description of particulars.

I don't think description of particulars is a bad thing unless it's being done for its own sake. Binding reason to empirical observation is what allowed humans to make such great strides.

Wellsy wrote:What are we to do about assembling integral knowledge? Such an assembly can nevertheless be built by the integrative power of philosophy, which is the highest form of generalisation of all human knowledge and life experience, the sum-total of the development of world history.

I fear much of that will be machine learning and AI driven, particularly as I suggested that learning requires accepting first that you don't know something--which is a problematic behavior for "experts."

Wellsy wrote:This is the upshoot now remember of a tradition that is at least 2500 years old, and now that tradition is produced in tiny little articles – four, five page articles – in journals that are read by a number of people that’s a small enough number that if they were all in a boat and it sank, they would have no readership. And it could be a small boat, it wouldn’t need to be Lusitania, it could be a raft, perhaps.

Well, I think that's overstating it. I would say it is a matter of the time people allocate to reading philosophy, and some of that is stages in life.

Wellsy wrote:Rorty’s view is that any problem that has been around for 2500 years for which we still don’t have a solution, the right response by the contemporary philosopher is “I don’t care”. And the charm of Rorty’s answer is it’s so American. It’s deeply rooted in our culture, in both the anti-intellectualism of our culture, in our fear of eggheads and so on, and so in that sense it has a double significance. Positively it means that the work of intellectuals has always been separated off from the work of ordinary people. In other words, you have to be freed from the constraints of manual labour. When I was a dishwasher, I didn’t have a lot of time to do this. When I was a union organiser, I didn’t have a lot of time to do this. Any time I was involved in manual labour, I didn’t really have the time to do this intellectual work.

Well that's a strong distinction between manual labor and intellectual work. I work in cloud computing software for telecommunications at the moment. It's not physical labor other than banging my fingers against a keyboard. It's highly intellectual, logical, rational and discrete. Software programming is very intellectual, linguistic, and demands syntactic correctness in ways that even the practice of law doesn't.

Wellsy wrote:That separation, that fateful separation between intellectual and manual labour has been with philosophy throughout. It’s rather disappointing though to have that tradition – the great tradition of thinking in general – be reduced to a comment like “Well, gee… I don’t care. We haven’t figured it out”

I disagree with Rorty on a lot of things, because I think in many respects he was pushing a political agenda through philosophy and philosophy was more like camouflage for what he was really up to. I think that could be said of a lot of "experts" too. They aren't truly interested in knowledge for its own sake but for the money and power it gives them to push their own agenda.

Many of the people on this board are interesting and have diverse backgrounds and substantial expertise, but much of political debate is foreclosed due to ideology and epistemic closure. Take a problem that has been around for 2500 years, like racism or oppression for example. Not many people shrug it off and say, "I don't care," but they cannot explain the persistence of these phenomena over 2500 years. It will quickly devolve into a debate about capitalism and socialism being the answer.

Wellsy wrote:Tarski’s theory of truth goes something like this. Tarski says the sentence “Snow is white” – and he puts “Snow is white” in quotation marks – is true, if and only if snow is white. I don’t expect anybody in the audience to gasp, if you follow me. This isn’t a theory of truth; this is the deflationary remark about how we use the word “true”, you follow me?

Yes. However, to Odiseizam's point that society is absorbed with triviality is "true." Today's college-educated person is more likely to say, "Snow is white. Therefore, snow is racist." rather than reflecting on a truth-value function. So even a college education becomes a triviality.

Wellsy wrote:But not one in which you can talk to young people the way you can at the college level today, and find out that they believe… nothing. Want… nothing. Hope… nothing. Expect… nothing. Dream… nothing. Desire… nothing. Push ’em far enough and they’ll say: “Yeah, I gotta get a job. Spent a lot of money at Duke.” That’s not what I am talking about. They hope nothing. Expect nothing. Dream nothing. Desire nothing.

And it is a fair question to ask whether a society that produces this reaction in its young is worthy of existence at all.

I think a good part of that is the loss of a high culture, and that's where I'd say Odiseizam has a point about over-consumption and relativism. However, there is also no real sense of struggle for anything material--as Dinesh D'Souza once said in emigrating to America, "I want to live in a country where the poor people are fat." So there isn't a struggle to create great music, for example. Who's writing great symphonies today? Have you listened to any popular music? It's become mechanical--almost devoid of any human emotion. It's frankly very easy to quantize everything with computers. So music itself has lost it's human feel, because it's not really made by humans. That's why I think what followed WWI in the arts--dada, surrealism, etc.--was a bit of a loss of high culture that preceded it. Artists with the talent of 19th Century painters ultimately paint pleasing scenes for middle-class buyers, and "true artists" tend to paint the ugly rather than the beautiful.
User avatar
By Odiseizam
#15151180
@Wellsy . @blackjack21 , @annatar1914 . @Potemkin ... people this is poetry, altho ontopic still as thread how is started ~ then by me taken out of context ~ and after expanded, think like this in all its simplicity answers/resolve the thread-notion that there is crisis in philosophy > its because There is lack of proper places and faces that would bring in front all their baggage and share its beautiful content like here on PoFo, thats why I'll state again until the modern e-Agora which by all means should be e-Forum as e-toll dont became standard at least on academic level, til then we cant even hope that there will be any further positive progress not just in the field of philosophy but in any scientific field, even less that to be ethically pushed and usefull ... hope that as such if its applied also on any social level it will push hope for higher cultural gains of reachable collective eudaimonia i.e. whole world instead tilting on global social networks. instead engaging through local one to institutional or ngo e-forums, tho maybe better through the last to institutional one so there would be some filtration or better said more focused debate linked by experts in their field so it would be less empty communication ... like this even there was poured ultimate triviality in the world (vr holodeck platforms) still when there is proper administration of the intellectual though it will generate profound intellectual progress, moreover if as such is stimulated by the system with subventions to the youth so they would participate in the local sys. or educational sys. debates, and like this potentially we can expect that not just philosophy but every other social or natural science will head for revival ...

... this can be simplified as > philosophy will reemerge from the current crisis of will as annatar1914 points through promotion of True Open Society if not Open Government concepts, manageable through modern e-tools like e-forums that would be boosted also by local blogging and social platforms ~ for greater momentum as such additionally stimulated by the states ... kind of concept exists now just on e-Gov but not O-gov (open government) level, probably because as such is proposed in/from large states, but actually it would be possible and selfsufficient in small countries, normally any huge system reshape in such way would mean risk for the current liberal capitalist elites in power that in this way would be cornered till bone in their corrupt habits, strange why this kind of proposition its not still at least active as experiment somewhere nowadays!? researchgate is close to it, but we need first to act locally and then rush in globbaly i.e. compacting own forces so we could bring higher vibe in the field ...

now I can examine all said in the previous posts, something agreeable and something unacceptable as proposition, even uniquely correlated in many respects, pure poetry even with heisenbergs uncertainty inbetween, but today I am celebrating Epiphany amd its enough that made my point so I'll rest till further glitch of inspiration to analyze why this or that contributed to global indifference for the highest ideal of philosophy that think undoubtfully is Freedom and till then I'll enjoy in our narrow worldly path that could be walked to it the through humanistic science what now think is PoFo as community ... until some admin dont get little fuzzy in the head :D
By ness31
#15151204
annatar1914 wrote:The problem lies in the Will, which effects the Intellect. The ''Crisis of Philosophy'' is that so few are actually ''Lovers of Wisdom'' in actual fact, but are actively fighting against the ''Love of Wisdom''.


But why wouldn’t society as a whole ‘love wisdom’? It’s counterintuitive :hmm:

Is this a by product of us throwing our wise into nursing homes? Apparently our ‘wise’ are living much longer and better lives...so I don’t really get it?
#15151384
ness31 wrote:But why wouldn’t society as a whole ‘love wisdom’? It’s counterintuitive :hmm:

Is this a by product of us throwing our wise into nursing homes? Apparently our ‘wise’ are living much longer and better lives...so I don’t really get it?


@ness31

It's the ''mystery of iniquity'', the mystery of sin, of evil. We will what we will, and these secondary and created things are good in themselves, but we will to have them or do them in the wrong ways, and love them more than the primary and more important things, the eternal things that last always.
By late
#15153025
blackjack21 wrote:








So for all our somewhat miraculous capabilities, we're still well short of any sort of grand unified theory, because there are behaviors/forces that we still cannot explain mathematically/scientifically.



I disagree with Rorty on a lot of things, because I think in many respects he was pushing a political agenda through philosophy and philosophy was more like camouflage for what he was really up to. I think that could be said of a lot of "experts" too. They aren't truly interested in knowledge for its own sake but for the money and power it gives them to push their own agenda.




The goal of a unified theory applies solely to physics. An attempt was made to unify science, it proved such a thing was impossible.

You've never read Rorty. Back when I was studying philosophy I had trouble with some of it. Rorty was one of the great thinkers of the 20th, you don't know what he said. What you have seen, you don't understand. Which tracks, philosophy is a skill, and not an easy skill to get. If you haven't taken a few philosophy classes, you're a guy on a baseball field trying to play without knowing the rules, and that never learned how to swing a bat..

One of the things he did say was that the traditional language of philosophy had taken us as far as it could go. Indeed, when scientists (usually physicists) got into the philosophy of science, in the 70s-80s, they ditched those traditional concepts and languages.

There are few intellects that humble me, Rorty is one of them. Unlike most academics, he spoke to a variety of disciplines, usually breaking new ground.
By late
#15153026
Rancid wrote:
Perhaps philosophy itself has run its course. It's useful life has passed. It is time to embrace post-philosophism.



The short answer is no.
#15153070
late wrote:The goal of a unified theory applies solely to physics. An attempt was made to unify science, it proved such a thing was impossible.

My assertion is that we do not understand all of the physical forces yet, and that is why we cannot unify what we already know--it's centrally because of what we don't know.

late wrote:You've never read Rorty.

I was hoping you wouldn't join this thread. :( I don't claim to be an expert on Rorty, but I have read Contingency, Irony and Solidarity and further read Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth.

late wrote:Back when I was studying philosophy I had trouble with some of it.

You have trouble with other things too, like purporting to know what people have read and haven't read. Everyone has some trouble with philosophy.

late wrote:Rorty was one of the great thinkers of the 20th, you don't know what he said.

I've actually quoted the guy before. Unlike you, even he will admit when he might be stretching it a bit.

Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity; Preface, page xi wrote:Parts of this book skate on pretty thin ice - the passages in which I offer controversial interpretations of authors whom I discuss only briefly.

If you think so highly of him, perhaps you might take this bit of humility from him and adopt it as your own.

late wrote:What you have seen, you don't understand. Which tracks, philosophy is a skill, and not an easy skill to get. If you haven't taken a few philosophy classes, you're a guy on a baseball field trying to play without knowing the rules, and that never learned how to swing a bat.

I work in one of the sciences--computer science, which is heavily reliant on discrete mathematics. It's why saying "learn to code" to an unemployed coal miner is cruel. Learning how to code is quite challenging too. This is why when you throw around terms like "intersectionality," you're not talking over my head when you think you are. Why I feel a bit dejected to see you in this thread is that you don't seem to be able to make a distinction between understanding something and agreeing with something. I understand what Rorty is saying. I simply don't agree. If you cannot distinguish between understanding and agreement, it makes it very difficult to converse with you. This is where we end up descending into the triviality spoken of earlier in this thread, because you cannot accept that I've read Rorty, or that if I have, I don't understand him because you further presume I've never taken a class on philosophy. Not everyone who disagrees with you is merely dumb. Note: Rorty isn't calling Nietzsche or Heidegger "dumb." He's at least nominally respectful of his debating adversaries.

late wrote:One of the things he did say was that the traditional language of philosophy had taken us as far as it could go. Indeed, when scientists (usually physicists) got into the philosophy of science, in the 70s-80s, they ditched those traditional concepts and languages.

Physicists more than likely were reading the work of Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for example. I'm inclined to doubt that physicists were deep into Richard Rorty.

Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity; Introduction wrote:The attempt to fuse the public and the private lies behind both Plato's
attempt to answer the question "Why is it in one's interest to be just?"
and Christianity's claim that perfect self-realization can be attained
through service to others. Such metaphysical or theological attempts to
unite a striving for perfection with a sense of community require us to
acknowledge a common human nature. They ask us to believe that what
is most important to each of us is what we have in common with others -
that the springs of private fulfillment and of human solidarity are the
same. Skeptics like Nietzsche have urged that metaphysics and theology
are transparent attempts to make altruism look more reasonable than it
is. Yet such skeptics typically have their own theories of human nature.
They, too, claim that there is something common to all human beings -
for example, the will to power, or libidinal impulses. Their point is that at
the "deepest" level of the self there is no sense of human solidarity
, that
this sense is a "mere" artifact of human socialization. So such skeptics
become antisocial. They turn their backs on the very idea of a community
larger than a tiny circle of initiates.

Ever since Hegel, however, historicist thinkers have tried to get beyond
this familiar standoff. They have denied that there is such a thing as
"human nature" or the "deepest level of the self." Their strategy has
been to insist that socialization, and thus historical circumstance, goes all
the way down - that there is nothing "beneath" socialization or prior to
history which is definatory of the human.

If you read my arguments with Tainari88, this is the fundamental impasse. She believes in human solidarity, and I do not. I predicate my beliefs on observed experience. It's not that I do not understand the concept. It's that I do not agree. It's why I don't think socialism is inevitable, or that if implemented it will work. There is enough science behind what I'm saying to justify my point of view, even though it paints something of a bleak picture for some. That doesn't mean I am in opposition to fairer justice or reduced suffering. However, it should be clear that I am not given to utopianism.

Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity; The contingency of language wrote:For most contemporary intellectuals, questions of
ends as opposed to means - questions about how to give a sense to one's
own life or that of one's community - are questions for art or politics, or
both, rather than for religion, philosophy, or science. This development
has led to a split within philosophy. Some philosophers have remained
faithful to the Enlightenment and have continued to identify themselves
with the cause of science. They see the old struggle between science and
religion, reason and unreason, as still going on, having now taken the
form of a struggle between reason and all those forces within culture
which think of truth as made rather than found.
These philosophers take
science as the paradigmatic human activity, and they insist that natural
science discovers truth rather than makes it. They regard "making truth"
as a merely metaphorical, and thoroughly misleading, phrase.

Even as a computer head, I don't completely accept semantics and truth-value functions as strictly a matter of language. Indeed, what is interesting about computer science is that it is a language which can change the physical state of matter. I can use a boolean to turn a light on or off, for example.

Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity; The contingency of language wrote:Truth cannot be out there - cannot exist independently of the human
mind - because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there.
The world is
out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the
world can be true or false. The world on its own - unaided by the
describing activities of human beings - cannot.

See, I disagree even here. Take an airplane using fly-by-wire and GPS, or using sensors to dampen turbulence. When we're talking an old 737 using hydraulics, you can entertain such an idea. Once you start using computers to do the flying, you're relying on language that is NOT in the human mind. Computing is most definitely using language. That's part of why I think physics is incomplete. We do not recognize intelligence as a force. Go take ground school. They will teach you about overcoming gravity with lift, and using forward airspeed to generate lift with the wings, and using thrust to overcome drag. We all get the physics of a plane flying. Yet, fly-by-wire is not mechanical. It very much relies on language. Programming language. That language has an impact on the physical world, and it is independent of the human mind.

late wrote:There are few intellects that humble me, Rorty is one of them. Unlike most academics, he spoke to a variety of disciplines, usually breaking new ground.

Yes, but that doesn't make him "right." It makes him an interesting thinker. He's influential. Yet, he's not a computer scientist. Using fly-by-wire and dampening turbulence for example means that a sensor is making a statement about the air around it, and then software, language, is making truth-value statements about what is happening and then making ailerons, flaps and spoilers respond in kind. So "truth" is out there operating independently of a human mind. A computer is doing just that. So he says that with a straight face, but he's not a computer scientist. So he says something that's very debatable in my opinion.

... and I expect a trivial response from you, which is so deeply disappointing.
By late
#15153077
blackjack21 wrote:



1) Yes, but that doesn't make him "right."

2) It makes him an interesting thinker. He's influential. Yet, he's not a computer scientist.

3) So "truth" is out there operating independently of a human mind.





1) Thanks. You just proved me right.

2) ibid.

3) I think of Rorty as the Moses of philosophy. You seem to be arguing for correspondence, Rorty argued against it. He doesn't use truth, for one thing. He says something works for us, at this moment. Since science can change without warning, this reflects the limits we have. After him, a lot philosophers of science would agree. (Ronald N Giere)

My impression stands, you have missed what he was trying to do.
#15153081
late wrote:3) I think of Rorty as the Moses of philosophy.

Why? Moses was noted for liberating Israelites from Egypt as described in the book of Exodus. Rorty has so many predecessors, he hardly warrants that level of esteem. I would think of Maimonides as the Moses of philosophy. Rorty would be more like a Mormon latter day saint.

late wrote:You seem to be arguing for correspondence, Rorty argued against it. He doesn't use truth, for one thing. He says something works for us, at this moment.

Rorty is a pragmatist. When we take a temperature measurement, for example, we don't just say--100 degrees works for us at this moment. We're saying something specific. Something is 100 degrees. It has some amount of heat and manifests a measurable temperature. Evaluating other methods of developing meaning doesn't necessarily justify simply dumping positivism. Rorty is about ditching historical contingencies in furtherance of a particular end.

Rorty wrote:A postmetaphysical culture seems to me no more impossible than a
postreligious one, and equally desirable.


In my utopia, human solidarity would be seen not as a fact to be
recognized by clearing away "prejudice" or burrowing down to previously
hidden depths but, rather, as a goal to be achieved. It is to be
achieved not by inquiry but by imagination, the imaginative ability to see
strange people as fellow sufferers.
Solidarity is not discovered by
reflection but created. It is created by increasing our sensitivity to the
particular details of the pain and humiliation of other, unfamiliar sorts
of people. Such increased sensitivity makes it more difficult to marginalize
people different from ourselves by thinking, "They do not feel it as we
would," or "There must always be suffering, so why not let them suffer?"

This is my point in saying that Rorty is ultimately using philosophy as a means of achieving desired political ends. He's also somewhat stating what Rancid re-stated above. I'm not saying Rorty wasn't influential. He certainly was. That's why in 2020, people in the media that were saying, "We need to re-imagine policing" were echoing Rorty.

late wrote:Since science can change without warning, this reflects the limits we have.

Science doesn't change by itself. Rorty would likely argue to the contrary too. It's the descriptions that change, and it's people that make the descriptions.

Rorty wrote:Truth cannot be out there - cannot exist independently of the human
mind - because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is
out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the
world can be true or false. The world on its own - unaided by the
describing activities of human beings - cannot.

The suggestion that truth, as well as the world, is out there is a legacy
of an age in which the world was seen as the creation of a being who had a
language of his own. If we cease to attempt to make sense of the idea of
such a nonhuman language, we shall not be tempted to confuse the
platitude that the world may cause us to be justified in believing a
sentence true with the claim that the world splits itself up, on its own
initiative, into sentence-shaped chunks called "facts."
But if one clings to
the notion of self-subsistent facts, it is easy to start capitalizing the word
"truth" and treating it as something identical either with God or with the
world as God's project. Then one will say, for example, that Truth is
great, and will prevail.

Now where I could argue for correspondence is precisely sensors and software. That doesn't preclude negating something that is factitious, however. Now, Rorty might over-simplify and say that the device works for us at this moment, but he's deliberately avoiding the inquiry of why the device works, or how it works.

This is my disagreement with Richard Dawkins too. First he writes The Selfish Gene, but then after pondering that Christianity won the West as a large meme rather than Plato or Aristotle, Dawkins, instead of inquiring into why Christianity prevailed, he instead writes The God Delusion. Like Rorty, he wants us to accept how DNA works, but not to ask why.

I think in demythologizing the hard sciences, Rorty underscored some of the horrors that took place in the name of science. Obviously, he wasn't the only one. The 20th Century saw a lot of horrible things from Mengele to the Tuskegee experiments. Yet, how do you get to any sort of ethics if you shut down inquiry? Simply "re-imaginging" everything is hardly practical or even pragmatic. Simply shifting from epistemological to ethical-political is impossible if you shut down inquiry, because ethics depends on it. We're just supposed to re-imagine ethics too?

late wrote:My impression stands, you have missed what he was trying to do.

I just don't buy that you're going to get to solidarity by abandoning inquiry and simply re-imagining it. How is "re-imagining policing" going for example? Crime rates have soared. Yet, if we simply do not map behaviors to laws, we can simply say there is no such thing as crime because we no longer define anything as criminal.
By late
#15153085
blackjack21 wrote:
1) Why? Moses was noted for liberating Israelites from Egypt as described in the book of Exodus. Rorty has so many predecessors, he hardly warrants that level of esteem. I would think of Maimonides as the Moses of philosophy. Rorty would be more like a Mormon latter day saint.


2) Rorty is a pragmatist. When we take a temperature measurement, for example, we don't just say--100 degrees works for us at this moment. We're saying something specific. Something is 100 degrees. It has some amount of heat and manifests a measurable temperature. Evaluating other methods of developing meaning doesn't necessarily justify simply dumping positivism. Rorty is about ditching historical contingencies in furtherance of a particular end.


3) This is my point in saying that Rorty is ultimately using philosophy as a means of achieving desired political ends. He's also somewhat stating what Rancid re-stated above. I'm not saying Rorty wasn't influential. He certainly was. That's why in 2020, people in the media that were saying, "We need to re-imagine policing" were echoing Rorty.


4) Science doesn't change by itself. Rorty would likely argue to the contrary too. It's the descriptions that change, and it's people that make the descriptions.


5) I just don't buy that you're going to get to solidarity by abandoning inquiry and simply re-imagining it.



1) Moses saw the promised land, but didn't get there.

2) "Pragmatism cuts across this transcendental/empirical distinction by questioning the common presupposition that there is an invidious distinction to be drawn between kinds of truths. For the pragmatist, true sentences are not true because they correspond to reality, and so there is no need to worry what sort of reality, if any, a given sentence corresponds to – no need to worry about what “makes” it true. (Just as there is no need to worry, once one has determined what one should do, whether there is something in Reality which makes that act the Right one to perform.) So the pragmatist sees no need to worry about whether Plato or Kant was right in thinking that something non-spatio-temporal made moral judgments true, nor about whether the absence of such a thing means that such judgments are is merely expressions of emotion” or “merely conventional” or “merely subjective. “

This insouciance brings down the scorn of both kinds of Philosophers upon the pragmatist. The Platonist sees the pragmatist as merely a fuzzy-minded sort of positivist. The positivist sees him as lending aid and comfort to Platonism by leveling down the distinction between Objective Truth – the sort of true sentence attained by “the scientific method” – and sentences which lack the precious “correspondence to reality” which only that method can induce. Both join in thinking the pragmatist is not really a philosopher, on the ground that he is not a Philosopher. The pragmatist tries to defend himself by saying that one can be a philosopher precisely by being anti-Philosophical, that the best way to make things hang together is to step back from the issues between Platonists and positivists, and thereby give up the presuppositions of Philosophy."

3) That doesn't make sense to me. Perhaps you could connect the dots a little better.

4) Wildly incorrect.

"He shares with the positivist the Baconian and Hobbesian notion that knowledge is power, a tool for coping with reality. But he carries this Baconian point through to its extreme, as the positivist does not. He drops the notion of truth as correspondence with reality altogether, and says that modern science does not enable us to cope because it corresponds, it just plain enables us to cope. His argument for the view is that several hundred years of effort have failed to make interesting sense of the notion of “correspondence”

5) That has f*** all to do with Rorty. He did more inquiry than a thousand of us lesser beings.

However... that mess again confirmed my suspicions, you're a positivist. There is nothing wrong with that. But, for me, Rorty made philosophy interesting, and helped me make the transition to the work of scientists turned philosophers.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ronald+n+gie ... nb_sb_noss
By Rugoz
#15153086
Studying philosophy is akin to studying history. Scientists are today's philosophers. Unlike philosophers of the past they have much better tools to put their theories to the test.

Edtit: I just made that up :D

@Rancid , March 2nd is Texas Independence Day, a […]

Election 2020

I'll just put this here... https://www.youtube.c[…]

Atheism is Evil

One of the more common arguments repeated b atheis[…]

Ampoules with atropine (an antidote for chemical w[…]