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

*insert generic impossible question here*

  1. Dec 6, 2005 #1
    Isn't that what the study of Philosophy is? Trying to make sense of questions that can't be answered through normal means?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2005 #2
    We study philosophy in order to find one that appeals to us.
    I suppose that some cosmologies can start out as philosophy and end up as science. For instance, a political philosophy (Thomas Jefferson's) serving as a template for a democracy (political science).
    Spiritual/religious philosophies are, perhaps, too subjective to quantify.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2005 #3

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Someone described philosophy as a fascination with what questions mean.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2005 #4
    What questions mean...
    If you look at all the "Prove X" topics, isn't it just saying how no matter what, you can't TRUELY prove anything?

    Is THAT the meaning of philosophy? Hmm.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2005 #5
    Philosophy is about seeing things for what they are, instead of what they appear to be.
    I've seen so many logical twists and turns in philosophy, that I immediately think that those twists are what define it.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2005 #6
    Godel's theorem states: any formal mathematical system contains some statement that cannot be proved—it always remains somewhat incomplete.

    lack of sufficient proof is not contained to "philosophy", though the sciences carry on without it. they have what is called a "margin of error", allowing them to "carry on" as long as their desired ends can be met.

    This does not mean that there is no Truth. Only that it cannot be expressed in statements.

    the Truth of the Philosopher is found through identifying the false as false and negating its affection in one's being. thereby, the truth, alone, shines forth.

    The Philosopher, though rare, is to the minds of men, what a horse trainer is to horses. They cultivate their minds, by unfolding their pre-conceived notions and beliefs, which are false. to shed, that which obscures the light of truth.

    exegesis: in its many forms, is the way of the Philosopher.

    do not expect to have answers given to you as they are from the scientist. this is not the job of the philosopher. Philosophers are the guides, that show the way to personal fulfillment of truth and enlightenment. the work is done on both sides. ideas are not merely handed over as truths. rather, they point to the Truth, so that the student may realize it for themselves. the student must work to unravel the false views they hold, that block the light of understanding and truth.

    socrates was one such philosopher, as was plotinus.

    Philosopher are rare, nowadays and lucky if you find one without looking.

    they show the way, point to it, rather than tell/impose the way.

    the meaning of philosophy is found in the life lived philosophically.

    again, this cannot be proved or disproved, so one must always work to find the meaning for themselves. Philosophers are invaluable guides to point the way to truth and enlightenment, without alterior motives, aside from the banishment of darkness and falsity.
     
  8. Dec 10, 2005 #7
    many wear the "philosophers hat", but few are born Philosophers or are truly actualized Philosophers.
     
  9. Dec 22, 2005 #8

    Maybe, but I think there is a lot more to that also, the subject can't be summed up like that, and I'm sure many people can and would argue that point of view. It could be something like: stumbling upon a very deep and intricate understanding from life experiances, and trying to search for the right words to express your questions and answers. I don't think philosophy is mainly driven by questions, answers, life experiances, emotion or reason, or anything exclusivly.
     
  10. Dec 23, 2005 #9
    I thought philosophy was applying the "normal means" to reach good answers to questions. But it's so easy to use abnormal means, defective means or just plain careless, sloppy and thoughless means and so arrive at ineffective answers to questions. Somwetimes knowing that the normal means is can be tough, especially in the context of a question where you barely understand what's being asked.

    The joke is that logic is the way to arriving at the wrong answer with confidence. Then philosophy would be arriving at the wrong answer and feeling good about it.

    But the whole point is getting to the right answers.

    Is that the right answer?
     
  11. Dec 26, 2005 #10
    Philosophy is highly subjective and imposing it would mean insecurity.

    I'm wondering that philosophy is a means of projecting your inner desire of power through knowledge and understanding.
     
  12. Dec 27, 2005 #11
    if you have "knowledge" and "understanding" (strictly speaking), can you still use something as a means of projecting your inner desire of power?

    if philosophy is concerned with "Knowledge and Truth", then it follows that sophism and rhetoric are concerned with something less than "Knowledge and Truth" (or they would just be "philosophy" right?)

    then, any endeavor, where the objective is to "project one's inner desire of power," is not innately concerned with "knowledge and understanding" and is, therefore, not philosophy. Further, that expression of "knowledge and understanding" is, thereby, of a "lower" kind; it is something lesser than true "knowledge" and "understanding".
     
  13. Dec 30, 2005 #12

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What do you mean by "normal means?"

    Here is how Penn State's Department of Philosophy defines philosophy:
    http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/aboutphil.html
     
  14. Dec 30, 2005 #13

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Nice post. I think it's a too common misunderstanding that philosophy requires far-fetched approaches or ignoring common knowledge. In it's most generic sense, I think philosophy just means a method of seeking answers to questions, any method. Scientific method is a philosophical approach to answering questions about the physical universe.

    The study of philosophy is not sloppy, or incomplete, or ungrounded, or ignorant of factual information. Philosophical arguments are rigorous, reasoned, logical, and require clear definitions of every term.
     
  15. Dec 30, 2005 #14
    without a shared philosophical understanding, providing "clear definitions of every term" is fundamentally impossible; the definitions would go on forever; the definition would need to be quantitatively infinite to be qualitatively sufficient.

    philosophy is deeper than, and not restricted to being, a method. It is that, by which we can engage in methodology.
     
  16. Jan 4, 2006 #15
    What do you mean by that? :)
     
  17. Jan 4, 2006 #16

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Well say someone says, "What causes rain?" A scientist might try to answer directly in terms of (say) evaporation and condensation. A philosopher would more likely ask "What do you mean by cause?". Different ideas about the answer to this question might characterize Aristotle, Hume, and Kant.
     
  18. Jan 4, 2006 #17
    that sounds like a terrific place to begin, self adjoint! why try to answer a question, when you are not even certain of what the question, to be answered, is?!?

    where else would one begin a Philosophical examination: a philosophical investigation of the most thorough kind; a truly Philosophical exploration?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: *insert generic impossible question here*
  1. Is infinity impossible? (Replies: 17)

Loading...