Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Corrupt philosophy.

  1. Apr 23, 2003 #1
    I want to discuss corrupt philosophy, and how it can actually influence the members of a specific state to effect actions of bias within that state which will destroy any philosophy which challenges the status-quo.
    Are the members of that state ignorant or guilty? What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2003 #2


    User Avatar

    For there is no such thing as absolute right or wrong in philosophy, and bias is unavoidable. There is no such thing as corrupt philosophy, or uncorrupt philosophy for that matter. The nature of any society is to preserve itself. It is part of it's definition. Society only represents it's individual's overall belief, and you cannot accuse the state of what is a contention of individuals. To say ignorance or guilt is to know that one side is correct. This does not exist in philosophy.
  4. Apr 23, 2003 #3
    They must be one or the other. A person is either to be held accountable for his philosophy, or he shall be granted impunity via ignorance.
    That's absolutely wrong. Or... it's absolutely right. Gettit?
    There's nothing corrupt within Hitler's mind then?
    And what about the philosophy of the church towards science in mediaeval times? Do you not see that as a corrupt philosophy which sought to stamp-out the Gallileos of that time? Was the church guilty, or ignorant?
    What if that 'society' is just seeking to preserve its philosophy (as opposed to a survival issue)? Don't we then have to ask "To what ends?"?
  5. Apr 23, 2003 #4


    User Avatar

    Then to me, I can say you are guilty of ignorance. Guilt or wrongness are value statements, at least in the majority of philosophy, and vary depending on the observer. From the state, they did nothing wrong. They are not guilty or ignorant. See?

    Nope. In this context it may be right. To me it maybe right. But there is no awesome aura of rightness to it. It is not crowned somewhere as the divine truth. It is not absolutely right, or wrong. See?

    Nothing at all. This is a pointless emotional statement. To him, the minds of others was no doubt "corrupt", and need purification with his philosophy. Those jews... they just want to keep the status quo and deny the absolute truth... right?

    Neither. To us they may be guilty or ignorance, but to them it was Galileo that was ignorant or guilty. They have the absolutely right truth of the bible, the divine philosophy of god to protect agains the pagans who wanted the status quo, and those guilty galileos who wanted to restore it...
    Hmm... rhymes.

    Missed point. We are society. We make up society. It is we that are persuaded, or not. The ideas and values of a society are a representation of what they are. It does not change unless there is reason to change what they are. There is no universal meterstick of rightness for philosophy, only contextual appropiateness.
  6. Apr 23, 2003 #5

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'll take a shot at this. I do agree there can be corrupt philosophy depending on how one defines philosophy. If you agree that philosophy is an attempt to mentally represent how reality does or can work, then certainly one can misrepresent reality for the purposes of furthering one's own cause. You used the word "corrupt" so I am assuming you mean purposeful manipulation as opposed to a sincere effort to reason oneself or others to understanding and clarity (misguided or not).

    It seems like you are saying more too, which is that those in power have a vested interest in justifiying their philosophy. History agrees with you on this. And I think members of the power group can be both guilty and ignorant. While one can't generalize to all people, I do think it is rare to find an unbiased person who's achieved power within a particular philosophy.

    Here's the irony. All the non-power people who are whining and complaining now . . . guess what? They will most likely behave EXACTLY the same way if they ever manage to get into power.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2003
  7. Apr 23, 2003 #6
    FZ pretty much hit the nail on the head. The mongols of Ghengus Kan's time are an extreme example of this as are many of the native american tribes in Canada. They were as fierce a people as you'll find anywhere and as ruthless as they come. The mongol tradition was to have the children fight over the table scraps, they thought it made them tougher.

    Such brutal philosophies are still common and arise out of necessity and survival of the fittest. Notably, the richer the natural resources the more common they become as societies fight over them.
  8. Apr 23, 2003 #7
    Is it important to have a belief in 'corrupt' philosophy in order to have a measure of reasurance that there may be a perfect one in existence?
  9. Apr 23, 2003 #8
    Are you talking about Iraq?
    We ought to be able to at least agree that a corrupt philosophy does more harm than good and has little or no respect for life, the worst philosophies can justify murder for "the greater good", but each person is responsible for their own actions, but most of the people in Iraq are innocent there are just a few bad apples.
  10. Apr 23, 2003 #9
    Sorry, but it isn't clear at all if there are "just a few bad apples" in Iraq. When the US troops first over ran Bagdad and the civilians began tearing down Sadam's statue a reporter on the spot discovered that all these civilians that had been among the first to come outside belonged to one of the majority religious sects Sadam had oppressed. One of them asked the reporter if it was their turn to rule the country now.

    You have to remember that just like Hitler, Sadam was elected into office and the religious and ethnic bigotry that both took advantage of go back thousands of years. This is still the big question remaining for Iraq and what will happen to the minorities caught in the middle is anybody's guess. Already some Iraqis are protesting the continued presence of the US and I have to wonder if some of this is simply a desire on their parts to kill their neighbors unimpeded by the presence of the US military.

    Good guys? Bad guys? More likely just a confusing mess.

    There is an old saying, "Only desperate people go to war." It's pretty true imo, and I would add that often they are desperate to no longer be the underdog or to avoid becoming the underdog.
  11. Apr 24, 2003 #10
    Don't forget the very obvious reason to go to Iraq!

    It's what UNDER the ground what makes Iraq imporant. Not the "weapons of mass destruction" which were just a fixations of their minds, which they put upon all the other minds in the world, to "justify" that war. And of course Saddam is evil, and killed a lot of people, but that makes not only him guilty but also the states and governments that helped Iraq and supported the regime.
  12. Apr 25, 2003 #11
    Basically, I'm talking about the fear of being usurped by another
    philosophy; or rather, by another establishment with another agenda.
    In days gone-by, other philosophies (the people behind those philosophies) were actually killed or thrown into jail for the rest of their lives.
    Hence, it can be shown that many philosophies have indeed been corrupt, for the establishment at the heart of any governing philosophy will do anything within their power to quash any challenge to their status-quo.
    ... Thank God we live in the 21st century hey, and that these things still don't happen. Well; at least we don't go killed these days for challenging the status-quo.
    Or would we? How far do you think the present establishments would go, to retain their status-quo? Are we prepared to do what the church did to Galileo? Or will the people who challenge the established opinion of any philosophy, just have to suffer being evicted from intelligence-societies, and the like?
    Thank God that this is the philosophy room, and that we can debate such matters freely. Thank God we live in the free-world.
    Or do we? Are we ignorant, or corrupt? If neither, then why don't we know the absolute truth?
    I will indeed state that philosophy is currently corrupt, because from my experience of speaking to many people about such matters, I have learnt that a challenging-philosophy to established/fashionable views, by anyone, is treated like a leper. You'll flirt around the edges of it, but you will not allow yourselves to get close to it. It's a dead challenge, as soon as it is posted.
    I find that a corruption, born of a bias, runs rampant amongst people who like to philosophise. People are constantly on the defensive about each others own philosophies, as a response to any specific challenge. They're not really listening to the challenge. They just want to explain why their own philosophy is correct, and why therefore, the challenge cannot be right.
    And that is the root of the problem with 'corrupt philosophies'. Established opinion is ruthlessly defensive. It appears to me that all philosophies are corrupt in this manner. And I just know that you think this way about me too. But I like to think of my own philosophy as 'offensive' (as opposed to defensive). I'm one of the guys who is making the challenge.
  13. Apr 25, 2003 #12


    User Avatar

    By that argument, philosophy, born of internal thoughts, is inherently corrupt. Merely by the fact that you wish to defend your idea, that you are willing to spend hundreds of posts debating it, shows your bias and conviction. Nobody wants to be wrong, and this must corrupt existence. While you may use the question of Galileo, I may point out the hundreds of other philosophers that were rejected. Some claimed that the devil was god. Some claimed that motion cannot exist. Some claimed that 1 + 1 = 3. We judge them as insane, but each felt that they were right. To themselves, their opinions were always true.

    A debate requires two sides. What did you expect, philosophies just to give up? Natural selection works in philosophy too, and the weak do not survive. It is expected that any theory would try to protect itself. That's how it works. That is the only framework in which philosophy survives, and thrives.

    We do not know the absolute truth, because no such truth practically exists. We see with our eyes, or imperfect senses. By implication, every philosophy is imperfect, and untrue. So, in way, we must all be corrupt, and ignorant. Because no other way exists. Do you comprehend how you yourself can be corrupt and ignorant? No one can claim superiority in this way. If you think of the world as corrupt and ignorant, are you not making a statement out of corruption and ignorance? That is the basis of philosophy.

    There is no difference between offense, and defence. The challengers also feel they are challenged by people who reject them. There is no claim against establishment. They simply challenge that you are wrong.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2003
  14. Apr 25, 2003 #13
    What you are talking about is what I call fundamentalist philosophies. These are based on absolutism of one sort or another. As such, they are prone to aggression and intollerance. In general then, their power comes from their political application and the demonstrable tendency of people to adopt such absolute affacts and thoughts.
  15. Apr 25, 2003 #14
    The offending philosophy to any establishment is not defensively corrupt. It's not even possible. Can we imagine, for example, a scenario whereby Galileo overcame his established peers, merely by locking them in jail? The offending philosophy is not corrupt - because it cannot be corrupt - because it does not have the power to be corrupt. Sure, the offending-philosopher can just tell lies, continually, thus corrupting himself in that way. But when that philosopher is being genuine, and he lacks the power to physically silence the establishment, then that philosopher's views are definitely not 'corrupt' in the moralistic-manner which I imply.
    Not all philosophy is corrupt. And neither is it impossible for someone to give a response to a challenging argument, without being defensively ruthless. I especially commend Fliption for this trait. His open-ness (even though he has no bias towards me or my philosophy) is evidence for me making this statement. I've experienced it. I know that my arguments can be discussed without a trace of bias.
    And so what you also say about "What do you expect?", means that I say that 'corrupt philosophy' can only be conquered when all people try to debate such matters in a truly open fashion.
    As long as we remain defensive in regards to a philosophy which cannot logically sustain itself, then we also remain closed to a philosophy that can - if any such philosophy exists. But how would we know? We're too busy defending something, that cannot exist upon foundations made of pure-logic. That's the same for any philosophy. It's corrupt unless that philosophy is genuinely open to reform. The philosophers who created our current vision of things had to be open to reform. If they were not, then those philsophers are corrupt too.
    I say that ridding philosophy of its corruptiveness is a good thing. Who would argue with that statement, save the corrupt themselves?
  16. Apr 25, 2003 #15


    User Avatar

    Then neither are the defending philosophy. If Galileo had won, he would likely have done the same. If he did not, he could not have won. Everybody is genuine to oneself. Even the establishment lacks the power to physically silence the offender. Galileo could have hired an army too. This sort of moralistic manner simply does not apply. In "Proof of....", did you not ruthlessly defend yourself from raving materialist offenders? The best, nay the only defence is a good offence. Everybody is corrupted by his own views. Indeed, I can judge you are corrupted right now in defending yourself from my challenge, and that you would silence me if you can....

    Openness itself is a corrupted bias. Why must philosophy be open? Why must neutrality be enforced? Staying to the moderate is in itself an expression of extremist. And, in any case, the sense of the moderate is one that is governed by the one who judges. One who is open minded to one person may be biased and skewed to another. Do not pretend that you can be unbiased when judging someone else of their bias. If I was to challenge Flipton on his philosophy (sorry Flipton) of openness, I expect him also to be defensively ruthless.

    I'll make a proposal. Truly open philosophy does not work. It brings no conclusions, only possibilities that are equal. An open philosophy cannot challenge, it cannot conclude, it cannot prove, it cannot defend. It can only be irrelevant. In the creation of reason itself, we make assumptions on the world around us, and limit this openness. The reality of the world is a balance between an overopen existence, and a closed, insubstantial one.

    But there is no such thing as pure logic. Pure logic is an entity that does not exist. All we have are imperfections, and the grinding race of philosophical survival. Progress is an entity that comes from restriction and direction, not from allowance. Without argument these philosophers cannot have changed. Without corruption and passion, there can be no argument. No philosophy can sustain itself without assumptions, or inductive logic. It is the rock of establishment that produces the challenge and the real willingness to change. And open door is and open door to chaos, undirected change. An end to the evolution of philosophy that really made our current vision of things. The fact is, only the strong survive in philosophy. It is important to keep it that way.

    And who CAN argue for that statement, save the corrupt themselves? Philosophy is dependent on what you term corruption.
  17. Apr 25, 2003 #16
    I think it sounds hypocritical. Is that guilty or not guilty?
  18. Apr 26, 2003 #17
    What do you mean with "corrupt philosophy"? Give some examples of corrupt philosophy..
  19. Apr 26, 2003 #18

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You know what he means, and you know who the big, bad persecutors are.
  20. Apr 26, 2003 #19
    I get "some" idea, but let him explain what he means with "corrupt" philosophy.

    I have definately an other idea of what "corrupt philosophy" is. Religion is the foremost corrupt one.
  21. Apr 26, 2003 #20


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Greetings !

    First, if I may, I'd like to make a suggestion
    that names of countries and any specific and
    clear references be kept out of this discussion.
    This will allow the discussion(as I see it) to :
    - Stay productive.
    - Recieve real opinions on the subject rather
    than biased differing political views.
    - Stay in THIS forum.

    Thank you all.

    Back to LG's original post :
    First of all, I believe your mention of the
    status-quo is that of a particular situation.
    A philosophy like the one you describe can
    dictate many differnt things.

    Second, like it was mentioned here before -
    good and bad are relative terms easier to
    define in most extreme situations and difficult
    to define in most non-extreme situations.
    (Even then it is ALWAYS a relative matter. BUT,
    I'm refering to the current widely spread
    and accepted ideas - the sanctity of human life
    and personal high degree of freedom. In my personal
    opinion these views themselves are not entirely
    correct for today's real world and some other ideas
    should be added - but that's not the issue here.)

    Third, the situation that's being discribed ussualy
    occurs in extreme circumpstance. This means that
    according to what I said above it should ussualy
    be easier to decide if it's good or bad - right
    or wrong.

    Accordingly, one can ussualy judge such a situation.
    For example, if people are attacked by aliens they'll
    all want to fight back - that's ussualy right. If one
    group of people decides it wants to kill another -
    that's ussualy wrong. The knowledge of the full
    circumpstance is the MOST important part in any
    such descision.

    About guilt and ignorance - guilt is attributed
    to those that were wrong. Or as Chancellor Gowron
    rephrazed that - "History is written by the victors !"

    Ignorance is not a type of verdict, it is basic
    human nature. Humans in general are relativly
    stupid and not hard to manipulate. It all depends
    on what you present to them, how you present it
    and how it all compares to their previous
    knowledge and life experience.

    "If I have seen farther than other men, it is
    because I stood on the shoulders of giants."
    Sir Isaac Newton

    Live long and prosper.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2003
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Corrupt philosophy.
  1. Why does power corrupt? (Replies: 15)