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View Full Version : The Philosophical Theory/Argument/Debating Thread. No Flaming allowed!



bonobo4
10-22-2011, 05:56 PM
Okay I feel this section of the forum needs re-awakening. So since I'm currently doing AS-Level Philosophy, which is with two teachers, one on morality and one on knowledge I thought I'd base this thread around them. So quite simply this thread will serve as the Philosophical debating thread for any questions you may have, (I'm scared to say, so within reason) no matter how stupid they may seem. ;)

First off:

How do we know what we know? Where does this knowledge come from?

erik776
10-22-2011, 06:56 PM
From the passing of a collective knowledge through what is described by Richard Dawkins as a meme(from "the selfish gene" by Richard Dawkins).

EDIT: fixed the spelling mistakes

bonobo4
10-22-2011, 07:06 PM
What? I got none of that!

erik776
10-23-2011, 07:33 AM
Its the idea that our collective knowledge is passed through cultural genes, described by Dawkins as a meme.

PorkLoin
12-14-2011, 10:27 AM
How do we know what we know?

Good question. What, really, beyond the fact of its own consciousness, can an entity truly be sure of, the old "I think, therefore I am" deal?

I'd say we have to start making assumptions at such a basic level that that's it. The entity might later "wake up" from something akin to a dream, and find out that what was formerly perceived as reality, what was formerly perceived as the entity's life/existence, was not true - other than the consciousness thing, that there was some sort of "mind" there - and that reality is much different, or at least that at the later time there is a different "reality" to be perceived.

Violos
12-14-2011, 12:11 PM
I'm with PorkLoin there.

Strictly, only our own existence is certain. When Descartes goes on to prove that of god on account of his own a few lines later, he already starts making assumptions.

Though that would end the conversation right here.

So, in spite of the reamining possibility that we are all plugged into the Matrix, I would assume that the world that we generally perceive through our senses and interpretations, prone to error as they are, is real.

CrocMagnum
12-14-2011, 01:26 PM
...Strictly, only our own existence is certain. When Descartes goes on to prove that of god on account of his own a few lines later, he already starts making assumptions...

Darn! Why did you have to mention Descartes before the Croc? :for crying out loud:

Descartes is one of the few philosophers I respect. One can argue about the fact that he firmy believed in God but that's not the main issue. Some of his works were revolutionary. His latin philosophical statement is well-known:

Cogito ergo sum: which means 'I think therefore I am'. This statement made quite a stir in his day (in his: Discourse on the Method', 1637) and many consider it the starting point of modern Western philosophy.

Descartes tried to build up a scientific method in order to analyse things. Cogito ergo sum means:

'The act of thinking guarantees the existence of the self ': this is one of the basis of his philosophy, and it's quite hard to argue with such a solid statement. :D

Anyway bonobo, I really think should, among other books, check the Discourse on the Method. Maybe it would be a good start.

Note that Descartes' philosophy is quite old but today's philosophical standards and you'll surely find new theories. (Sadly I didn't study them...)


Note: Descartes also rocks because:

- he theorized the 'coordinate system' we use today: 'Cartesian coordinates' are used to locate a point in space' (x-axis, y-axis) Source: Descartes and His Coordinate System (http://www.bookrags.com/research/descartes-and-his-coordinate-system-mmat-02/)

- he formulated other rules which were quite helpful for a retard like me, and this one helped many times:

'Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.' Meaning:


Divide an instance into smaller instances of the problem.

Solve the smaller instances.

Combine the solutions of the smaller instances into a solution for the larger
instance.Makes sense.

Note 2: sorry for my rambling. If there wasn't Chuck Norris I would go for Descartes all the way...:D

EDIT @bonobo4: lucky you ; )

bonobo4
12-14-2011, 01:29 PM
Discourse and Meditations of Descartes
We have been studying this in my Phiolosophy A-Level lessons. ;)

Feel free anyone to change topic/subject/question.

erik776
12-14-2011, 05:24 PM
A bit of a political one here: are we born with natural rights, or do we earn our rights. this could also be looked at as - are we born good or are we essentially selfish.

fathersquid
12-14-2011, 09:58 PM
I'm currently in the middle of teaching Lord of the Flies to high school students... definitely all born selfish :) and we kill off anyone who might not be ... poor Simon....

Darklightr
12-14-2011, 11:16 PM
I think we are all born good, if nothing else. Though it is the company we keep around us that make us who were are as people. Though, this then raises the question: how did they become who they are? And such an answer in nigh impossible to find, for it can and will go on and on and on, until, eventually, we reach the beginning. Though no has enough time do undertake this challenge.

The company each of us keeps helps us grow into our own person. We all have features that reflect different people. Our mothers, fathers, grandparents, older, even younger siblings, friends, mentors and sometime even strangers. All of these people help us though life, and we help them. Such is the way of the world.

Now, the question about Rights. Do we truly have rights? Think about it. Someone gets mugged in New York, the police deal with it. But what if someone got mugged on the way to New York, on some country road, after their car broke down? Do you think anyone has rights then? No. No one will care, or know, at that point. Mind you, it's a very unlikely scenario, but I'm sure you get my meaning. Under normal circumstances, yes, we have rights. Are we born with rights? Yes and no. some rights, like the right to speak out, is earned. How? Let me say it this way. If you went to a rally for some cause, and saw fifty adults speaking out, striking, yelling, would you listen? Probably not, but maybe. But what if there were fifty children speaking out? Would you still listen to them? I think not. Children, among other groups in today's society, cannot and will not be heard by the general public. Why? Who knows? Certainly not me :)

erik776
03-03-2012, 08:10 PM
Okay a bit of revival here.

What is Justice? (a bit of a big one here).

personally i see it as more of a social issue, as defined by Plato; in that, if everyone is content and their natural endowment (t heir natural ability such as carpentry) is not infringed upon by others who are not of the same profession: if for example a trader decided to start making AND selling chairs rather than just selling them, then crime would not be necessary as everyone would have their place.

This is a bit of a rose tinted view of things. So, in the case of a modern concept of justice, (going to have to dig out the text books for this) it needs to be focused on the process of justice; as long as the person is tried fairly then the outcome is just, as opposed to assuming the person is guilty and making an example of him/her.

Fingrapyro
03-14-2012, 09:33 AM
What is justice?
Justice is the forcing of equivalent reaction of whatever good or bad has been done to a person, towards the one who is responsible for the actions.

When it comes to justice in court, it is a bit more...specific.
A "fair" trial does not mean fair judgement. Or let me ask you this. A mother of two is trying to find a job (after her husband left her), but she just cannot find any kind of job, especially not any kind that would pay enough to feed just her children.

Should she leave the two kids so that she might find enough to feed herself? (of course not, just listing the possibilities)
Should she just keep trying and hope that some wonder happens in the next few days before they starve.
Or should she point a gun at a banker (...where she got the gun is irrelevant), should she tell him that she needs money to feed her children and pretty much rob the place?
In this case, which one would be righteous erik776?

Of course the jury would have her convicted. All they need to hear is that she robed a bank of free will. After that nothing really matters because letting some one free at such case would mean that every body robbing a bank will say that they were starving. And the all smart lawyers would make sure that as a result of that tragic women being released, many others will be. Punish the one braking the law, no matter the circumstances or should the circumstances determine the jury's decisions.... There is no right answer. Of course our basic system is that the circumstances are mostly irrelevant (this way the judging remains relatively simple), but the truth is that there is no just trial. We have built up a system which is full with flaws, increased by corruption, but it is as close as we can get to a righteous trial.

DragonsDream
03-15-2012, 11:29 AM
Cogito ergo sum: which means 'I think therefore I am'. This statement made quite a stir in his day (in his: Discourse on the Method', 1637) and many consider it the starting point of modern Western philosophy.

Descartes tried to build up a scientific method in order to analyse things. Cogito ergo sum means:

'The act of thinking guarantees the existence of the self ': this is one of the basis of his philosophy, and it's quite hard to argue with such a solid statement. :D

Actually, it's quite easy to argue his statement. realist philosophers will tell you that he is assuming the premise. He claims thinking proves existence. Except in order to think, one must first exist. "I am, therefore I think" would be more accurate.