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What cannot be philosophied about?

  1. Mar 19, 2006 #1
    1. What cannot be philosophied about, if anything? (it beats me)


    2. What can be philosophied about the least/worst?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2006 #2

    Here's smething amusing..

    liar paradox

    <philosophy> A sentence which asserts its own falsity,
    e.g. "This sentence is false" or "I am lying". These
    paradoxical assertions are meaningless in the sense that there
    is nothing in the world which could serve to either support or
    refute them. Philosophers, of course, have a great deal more
    to say on the subject.

    ["The Liar: an Essay on Truth and Circularity", Jon Barwise
    and John Etchemendy, Oxford University Press (1987). ISBN
    0-19-505944-1 (PBK), Library of Congress BC199.P2B37].

  4. Mar 21, 2006 #3
    Nothing. There is nothing that cannot be philosophized about. Here's the proof:

    Suppose "P" cannot be philosophized about. (Let "P" be whatever you want -- a thing, a topic, an idea, etc.)

    Then there would be something to philosophize about, namely, that "P" cannot be philosophized about.

    But philosophizing about something about something else is philosophizing about that something else.

    So if "P" cannot be philosophized about, it can be philosophized about.

    So "P" can be philosophized about.

    Since "P" is arbitrary, there is nothing that cannot be philosophized about.

  5. Mar 23, 2006 #4

    Les Sleeth

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    Try this out. What can we not develop math for? No matter what you cite, someone is waiting with some math for that. Let's say I offer love up for the math genius. Sure enough, he's got some. However, just because someone develops a math formula for love doesn't mean it has any relevance to reality.

    Philosophy is very much like that in the sense that we can hypothesize anything. But if someone offers a philosophy on how to love after spending a lifetime experimenting, practicing, and living it . . . isn't that different from the philosphy of someone who is merely giving an unreflective and inexperienced opinion? Philosophy that's backed up by a human who lives what he preaches should be, in my opinion, considered far more seriously than the intellectual speculator.

    My point is that generalizing about "philosophizing" needs to take into account what it is that creates excellence in philoposohy, just like the standards we demand for other disciplines.
  6. Mar 24, 2006 #5
    Consider this -- you're philosophising about whether anything can't be philosophised about.
  7. Apr 14, 2006 #6
    The Letter "R" can not be philosophised. You can prove me wrong by philosophising it.
  8. Apr 14, 2006 #7


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    I disagree. You can't philosophize about something whose conception cannot "enter" your brain. You're assuming we know about P. I would instead use your sequence of logical steps to conclude that we can't know about that which we can't philosophize about, else it would be "philosophizable". On the other hand it's possible for something to not be "philosophizable" if we can never know about it and/or are unable to discover it by any process (including any random process). If there is another universe, following other laws, describable by different mathematics, then there are things in that universe that you can't philosophize about, at least until you come to understand that universe, which may never happen.
  9. Apr 14, 2006 #8
    You can't philosophise about the unknown.
  10. Apr 14, 2006 #9
    Isnt that like saying 'nothing' cant exist because nothing is still something in the sense that its a lack of something.

    Black isnt a colour, its a lack of light. The only reason you know it exists is because of other light around it.
  11. Apr 14, 2006 #10
    Wouldnt that be a philosophy of the unknown?
  12. Apr 14, 2006 #11
    You can't philosophise about the colours we never seen.
  13. Apr 29, 2006 #12
    Supplemental proof, as a response to Job's comment:

    Consider all the things, ideas, thoughts, etc about which we are ignorant -- and let this set include everything that happens to be unknowable in principle to us, beyond our powers of comprehension, etc (if such things there be).

    It is possible to philosophize about all of these things nonetheless -- for instance, we might very well wonder what these things are, or philosophize about why we can't know what they are (cf. Immanuel Kant on the limits of reason).

    We can philosophize in this way without there being any more specific content to what we are philosophizing about -- in the same way that we can talk about "the thing in that box over there" without ever looking at (or otherwise observing) the thing in the box, we can philosophize about "the things we can't know / understand / whatever" without ever knowing / understanding / etc those things.

    Similar points apply to whether we can philosophize about "the colors we never see" (Raza) or "other universes" (Job). Yes, we can philosophize about the colors we never see. We might philosophize about what they would look like if we were to see them, or why we never see them, etc. Ditto with other universes: do we exist in them? What are they like? Do they obey the same laws of nature as ours? Can contradictions be true in them? Are they as horrible and full of evil as our universe (or, at least, our local part of the universe)?

    I'm not saying that we would get very far in our philosophizing. But I very much doubt that being able to make progress on a topic (thought, idea, whatever) is a necessary condition for being able to philosophize about the topic. That would be news to lots of professional philosophers, I'm sure.
  14. Apr 30, 2006 #13

    Does this shape make a sound? Yes and no. It depends on your philosophy concerning shapes, their interpretation and their useage.

    When there exists opposing answers to a question about a subject, this is where philosophy kicks in. There is more than enough information(contradictory and not contradictory) about the letter "R" to write a few volumes of texts entitled "A Philosophical Study and Physical History of the Implications of the Letter "R""
  15. May 1, 2006 #14
    For a brief report on a study of letters and their underlying logic, see


    Here is an excerpt -- sounds philosophical to me:

    "...the letters we use can be viewed as a mirror of the features of the natural world, from trees and mountains to meandering streams and urban cityscapes.

    "The shapes of letters are not dictated by the ease of writing them, economy of pen strokes and so on, but their underlying familiarity and the ease of recognising them. We use certain letters because our brains are particularly good at seeing them, even if our hands find it hard to write them down. In turn, we are good at seeing certain shapes because they reflect common facets of the natural world."
  16. May 5, 2006 #15
    No way:rofl:
  17. May 28, 2006 #16
    Since you ask, Raza...
    Letters are symbols, everyone knows that. Unfortunately, the origins of R are somewhat lost in the mists of time as the letter has become twisted over the centuries. Someone once suggested to me that it is meant to be representative of rest: a porter resting on a stick (P being the porter with a sack on his back), but that is clearly bollocks.
    Furthermore, the inextricable link of the syllable "arr" with pirates and farmers ensures that the sound will remain long after the symbol itself has become twisted into odegra. National R Day will be held on the eighteeenth day of the month once every one and a half years.
  18. May 28, 2006 #17


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    What has R to do with sesquennial ides?
  19. Jun 21, 2006 #18
    Funny, I don't remember posting that quoted link. In any case, I'd be able to answer that question if I knew what sesquennial meant.
  20. Jun 21, 2006 #19


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    Every year-and-a-half.
  21. Jun 23, 2006 #20
    Right. Well, the idea was that R is the eighteenth letter, so you hold National R day once every eighteen months instead of every year.
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