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« on: December 23, 2011, 06:12:27 PM »

Here it is, the thread you've all been waiting for! Have at it Smiley

Suggested first topic(s): what qualities or methods are required for someone to be considered a philosopher, and how does this relate to Christian thinkers/writers? Can someone be both a philosopher and theologian? What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem, anyway?
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2011, 01:54:34 AM »

There was a time when philosophers were somewhat ascetic and celibate, and this was required for the mind to be enlightened with philosophy.  I think there's at least some truth to a life of some sort of practice to think clearly of what the truth might be.
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 02:53:58 AM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 11:30:25 AM »

There was a time when philosophers were somewhat ascetic and celibate, and this was required for the mind to be enlightened with philosophy.  I think there's at least some truth to a life of some sort of practice to think clearly of what the truth might be.

Does it have to be ascetic? What if it's a moderated asceticism? Also, what do you make of those who said that we should experience everything there is to experience in life: all along the continuum from the ascetic to the hedonistic?
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2011, 11:31:16 AM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.

Yeah, some philosophers give me a headache with the jargony and overly difficult way they write...  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2011, 11:37:48 AM »

There was a time when philosophers were somewhat ascetic and celibate, and this was required for the mind to be enlightened with philosophy.  I think there's at least some truth to a life of some sort of practice to think clearly of what the truth might be.

Does it have to be ascetic? What if it's a moderated asceticism? Also, what do you make of those who said that we should experience everything there is to experience in life: all along the continuum from the ascetic to the hedonistic?
What is moderated?  I suppose not everyone has to be a Diogenes.  But a Socrates might be ok.  

It's easy to be hedonistic.  Our carnal nature desires it.  It's hard to avoid it, and this is the idea.  A good analogy.  I love a juicy steak.  If I eat it, I slouch, and am lazy, and want to rest.  I might gain some weight after it as well.  But if I eat the right vegeterian foods, I'm still more energetic and feel more healthy.

For the philosopher, thinking in a clear way means to go against or remove other "distractions" of carnal desires.
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 04:28:16 PM »

What is moderated?  I suppose not everyone has to be a Diogenes.  But a Socrates might be ok.

Actually when I said that I was thinking of a religious figure (Buddha), and how he was an ascetic and then rejected that path for a less ascetic one. But anyone would do. I guess what I was thinking of with moderated asceticism is someone who sleeps as little as needed as opposed to sleeping 4 hours a night on the cold ground, someone who eats as little as needed as opposed to someone who eats bread and water once a day, etc. In other words, someone who doesn't necessarily indulge in a lot of comforts, but who doesn't go to extremes either.

Of course this differs from person to person. I believe it was in the stories of Abba Arsenius in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers that a shepherd was scandalized by the abba sleeping in a bed when sick (maybe even with a pillow?) And someone pointed out that the shepherd slept on the ground and generally just led a tough life all the time, so such things weren't especially difficult for him, but the abba had once had one of the most luxorious lifestyles as a tutor to the emperor's son(s), and thus for him such living as he was doing was quite a change and difficult. With that in mind, I suppose what you consider moderated asceticism isn't what I would, or what someone else would.

Quote
It's easy to be hedonistic.  Our carnal nature desires it.  It's hard to avoid it, and this is the idea.  A good analogy.  I love a juicy steak.  If I eat it, I slouch, and am lazy, and want to rest.  I might gain some weight after it as well.  But if I eat the right vegeterian foods, I'm still more energetic and feel more healthy.

First let me say that I am not literally advocating trying everything. If someone doesn't want to go do some heroine with a hooker and then do other activities, that's fine!  Grin Even St. Ireneaus said that he did not believe that hedonists like the Carpocratians who spoke of experiencing everything actually meant that literally. Still, if our experiences in life are quite limited, is not our ability to discern and creatively and realistically (ie. accurately) consider also limited? For example, If I had never had sex before, I could still think and speculate about it, but it would most likely be quite different thoughts and speculations as compared to what I would think after having had sex. And this in turn could have an impact on my thoughts and speculations about human beings in general.

Quote
For the philosopher, thinking in a clear way means to go against or remove other "distractions" of carnal desires.

What if the philosophy is built around carnal or natural desires? For example, Arcesilaus, one of the heads of Plato's academy, said we should withhold assent to propositions and simply live our lives according to "the reasonable" (ie. the natural inclinations). And Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates, went further, saying that we should do whatever our desires demanded, without thought to the consequences (even if common sense said that it was a bad decision). They are considered philosophers by many/most, would you argue that they are not?
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 04:56:35 AM »

Well this thread took off like a rocket, didn't it!  Cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 12:56:33 PM »

Ok, let's try a different topic  Cheesy  Any philosophers that interest you?

I already mentioned some that interest me, one being the founder of academic skepticism, Arcesilaus. Other important people related to that form of skepticism included Carneades and Philo of Larissa. I've been meaning to dig more deeply into this subject for a few years now, but haven't managed to get more than a few books a year on it. Most of what we know about it comes through Cicero, and even then it's usually not directly based on the most important philosophers themselves, since Arcesilaus and Carneades didn't write anything down. So, for example, we have:

1) Myself, reading in English the translated works of...
2) Cicero, who wrote in Latin, who tried to make sense of...
3) Clitomachus and other students of Carneades, who contradicted each other, and who wrote in Greek...
4) Leading back to Carneades himself

There's also the problem of not knowing what exactly the early academic skeptics were getting at or trying to do. On it's face the statements attributed to them seems self-contradictory. To say "I know nothing, not even this" isn't exactly helpful or even valid as a stand alone statement. Modern philosophers have tried to make sense of it by placing it in context (Arcesilaus trying to refute Zeno/stoicism, Carneades trying to refute stoicism and epicureanism), but they seem to disagree amongst themselves somewhat.
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2012, 04:30:34 PM »

Ok, let's try a different topic  Cheesy  Any philosophers that interest you?

I already mentioned some that interest me, one being the founder of academic skepticism, Arcesilaus. Other important people related to that form of skepticism included Carneades and Philo of Larissa. I've been meaning to dig more deeply into this subject for a few years now, but haven't managed to get more than a few books a year on it. Most of what we know about it comes through Cicero, and even then it's usually not directly based on the most important philosophers themselves, since Arcesilaus and Carneades didn't write anything down. So, for example, we have:

1) Myself, reading in English the translated works of...
2) Cicero, who wrote in Latin, who tried to make sense of...
3) Clitomachus and other students of Carneades, who contradicted each other, and who wrote in Greek...
4) Leading back to Carneades himself

There's also the problem of not knowing what exactly the early academic skeptics were getting at or trying to do. On it's face the statements attributed to them seems self-contradictory. To say "I know nothing, not even this" isn't exactly helpful or even valid as a stand alone statement. Modern philosophers have tried to make sense of it by placing it in context (Arcesilaus trying to refute Zeno/stoicism, Carneades trying to refute stoicism and epicureanism), but they seem to disagree amongst themselves somewhat.
From my limited exposure to early skepticism, it seems that they wanted to speak in contradication. For them, reason was nothing more than a vehicle for showing how unreasonable reason is. They said that they used reason as a latter to reach skepticism, and once they reached this point, they kicked down the latter.
This semester I am taking a course in modern philosophy and we will be addressing the epistemological problems raised by thinkers like Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Hegel. I'm looking forward to this and I think it relates to our discussion of skepticism.
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 07:01:11 PM »

Descartes

Please don't swear in this thread, mkay?  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 05:54:04 PM »

What is moderated?  I suppose not everyone has to be a Diogenes.  But a Socrates might be ok.

Actually when I said that I was thinking of a religious figure (Buddha), and how he was an ascetic and then rejected that path for a less ascetic one. But anyone would do. I guess what I was thinking of with moderated asceticism is someone who sleeps as little as needed as opposed to sleeping 4 hours a night on the cold ground, someone who eats as little as needed as opposed to someone who eats bread and water once a day, etc. In other words, someone who doesn't necessarily indulge in a lot of comforts, but who doesn't go to extremes either.

Of course this differs from person to person. I believe it was in the stories of Abba Arsenius in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers that a shepherd was scandalized by the abba sleeping in a bed when sick (maybe even with a pillow?) And someone pointed out that the shepherd slept on the ground and generally just led a tough life all the time, so such things weren't especially difficult for him, but the abba had once had one of the most luxorious lifestyles as a tutor to the emperor's son(s), and thus for him such living as he was doing was quite a change and difficult. With that in mind, I suppose what you consider moderated asceticism isn't what I would, or what someone else would.

Quote
It's easy to be hedonistic.  Our carnal nature desires it.  It's hard to avoid it, and this is the idea.  A good analogy.  I love a juicy steak.  If I eat it, I slouch, and am lazy, and want to rest.  I might gain some weight after it as well.  But if I eat the right vegeterian foods, I'm still more energetic and feel more healthy.

First let me say that I am not literally advocating trying everything. If someone doesn't want to go do some heroine with a hooker and then do other activities, that's fine!  Grin Even St. Ireneaus said that he did not believe that hedonists like the Carpocratians who spoke of experiencing everything actually meant that literally. Still, if our experiences in life are quite limited, is not our ability to discern and creatively and realistically (ie. accurately) consider also limited? For example, If I had never had sex before, I could still think and speculate about it, but it would most likely be quite different thoughts and speculations as compared to what I would think after having had sex. And this in turn could have an impact on my thoughts and speculations about human beings in general.

Quote
For the philosopher, thinking in a clear way means to go against or remove other "distractions" of carnal desires.

What if the philosophy is built around carnal or natural desires? For example, Arcesilaus, one of the heads of Plato's academy, said we should withhold assent to propositions and simply live our lives according to "the reasonable" (ie. the natural inclinations). And Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates, went further, saying that we should do whatever our desires demanded, without thought to the consequences (even if common sense said that it was a bad decision). They are considered philosophers by many/most, would you argue that they are not?

Hey. Sorry, I"m replying just now.  I think ascetism is relative.  To each his own.  Yes, avoid extremes, but also know thyself is important.

As for the philosophers who advocate doing anything, I wonder what they would say when one truly desires self-harm or the harm of others.  I think this is where fear is important.  When one lives on the understanding of other people's experiences.  That's what keeps us alive as a species anyway.  I think that should be self-evident.  One good definition of wisdom is that experience that leads you to know and do things in a more informed manner, but also, wisdom has it that you may also live off of other people's experiences.  Perhaps, it's not the same level of wisdom, for the one who directly experiences it does not have this burning curiosity that others might, and yet those strong enough to fight against their curiosities may also still obtain that wisdom.  And isn't that what philosophy is all about, the love and seeking of philosophy, in hopes you might reach at some form of truth?
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« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 01:53:01 AM »

Really this thread would only be a monologue of me replying to myself.

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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2012, 02:02:27 AM »

How come orthonorm knows so much philosophical stuff?
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2012, 02:16:29 AM »

How come orthonorm knows so much philosophical stuff?

It's called reading for decades.

And avoiding overview "classes".

lulz at taking a semester in "modern philosophy".

Look at what Papist's course ostensibly tries to cover. That is education?

It's not even cliff notes, but some keyword indoctrination so that you can remember a name or two tied to an idea so you win at some iPod app.

Sorry truth.

Find a mentor and read. For a few decades.

EDIT: It helps not to be gainfully employed for a long time.
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« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2012, 02:17:45 AM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.

What are you interested in reading about?

There are better translations and better places to start.
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« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2012, 02:25:10 PM »

What is moderated?  I suppose not everyone has to be a Diogenes.  But a Socrates might be ok.

Actually when I said that I was thinking of a religious figure (Buddha), and how he was an ascetic and then rejected that path for a less ascetic one. But anyone would do. I guess what I was thinking of with moderated asceticism is someone who sleeps as little as needed as opposed to sleeping 4 hours a night on the cold ground, someone who eats as little as needed as opposed to someone who eats bread and water once a day, etc. In other words, someone who doesn't necessarily indulge in a lot of comforts, but who doesn't go to extremes either.

Of course this differs from person to person. I believe it was in the stories of Abba Arsenius in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers that a shepherd was scandalized by the abba sleeping in a bed when sick (maybe even with a pillow?) And someone pointed out that the shepherd slept on the ground and generally just led a tough life all the time, so such things weren't especially difficult for him, but the abba had once had one of the most luxorious lifestyles as a tutor to the emperor's son(s), and thus for him such living as he was doing was quite a change and difficult. With that in mind, I suppose what you consider moderated asceticism isn't what I would, or what someone else would.

Quote
It's easy to be hedonistic.  Our carnal nature desires it.  It's hard to avoid it, and this is the idea.  A good analogy.  I love a juicy steak.  If I eat it, I slouch, and am lazy, and want to rest.  I might gain some weight after it as well.  But if I eat the right vegeterian foods, I'm still more energetic and feel more healthy.

First let me say that I am not literally advocating trying everything. If someone doesn't want to go do some heroine with a hooker and then do other activities, that's fine!  Grin Even St. Ireneaus said that he did not believe that hedonists like the Carpocratians who spoke of experiencing everything actually meant that literally. Still, if our experiences in life are quite limited, is not our ability to discern and creatively and realistically (ie. accurately) consider also limited? For example, If I had never had sex before, I could still think and speculate about it, but it would most likely be quite different thoughts and speculations as compared to what I would think after having had sex. And this in turn could have an impact on my thoughts and speculations about human beings in general.

Quote
For the philosopher, thinking in a clear way means to go against or remove other "distractions" of carnal desires.

What if the philosophy is built around carnal or natural desires? For example, Arcesilaus, one of the heads of Plato's academy, said we should withhold assent to propositions and simply live our lives according to "the reasonable" (ie. the natural inclinations). And Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates, went further, saying that we should do whatever our desires demanded, without thought to the consequences (even if common sense said that it was a bad decision). They are considered philosophers by many/most, would you argue that they are not?

Hey. Sorry, I"m replying just now.  I think ascetism is relative.  To each his own.  Yes, avoid extremes, but also know thyself is important.

As for the philosophers who advocate doing anything, I wonder what they would say when one truly desires self-harm or the harm of others.  I think this is where fear is important.  When one lives on the understanding of other people's experiences.  That's what keeps us alive as a species anyway.  I think that should be self-evident.  One good definition of wisdom is that experience that leads you to know and do things in a more informed manner, but also, wisdom has it that you may also live off of other people's experiences.  Perhaps, it's not the same level of wisdom, for the one who directly experiences it does not have this burning curiosity that others might, and yet those strong enough to fight against their curiosities may also still obtain that wisdom.  And isn't that what philosophy is all about, the love and seeking of philosophy, in hopes you might reach at some form of truth?
In the case of your last question all philosophers seek Him
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2012, 02:25:10 PM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.

What are you interested in reading about?

There are better translations and better places to start.
So much for my 101 Intro to Philosophy by Kreeft book then.

Don't even recommend me Nietzsche either.
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2012, 05:00:46 PM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.

What are you interested in reading about?

There are better translations and better places to start.
So much for my 101 Intro to Philosophy by Kreeft book then.

Don't even recommend me Nietzsche either.

"All of philosophy is but a footnote to Heidegger" - orthonorm
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2012, 05:05:29 PM »

Hey. Sorry, I"m replying just now. 

No worries. You must be one of the few around here who has a "real life"  Grin

Quote
I think ascetism is relative.  To each his own.  Yes, avoid extremes, but also know thyself is important.

As for the philosophers who advocate doing anything, I wonder what they would say when one truly desires self-harm or the harm of others.  I think this is where fear is important.  When one lives on the understanding of other people's experiences.  That's what keeps us alive as a species anyway.  I think that should be self-evident.  One good definition of wisdom is that experience that leads you to know and do things in a more informed manner, but also, wisdom has it that you may also live off of other people's experiences.  Perhaps, it's not the same level of wisdom, for the one who directly experiences it does not have this burning curiosity that others might, and yet those strong enough to fight against their curiosities may also still obtain that wisdom.  And isn't that what philosophy is all about, the love and seeking of philosophy, in hopes you might reach at some form of truth?

Hmm, well I think I agree with what you are saying here. I'm not sure all would though... some skeptics, for example, might say that we can't or don't or won't find truth. But again, I am not saying this is necessary my own mindset.  Regarding self-harm, that's an interesting one, because some people do like to harm themselves or others, and they would consider it a good thing, and even feel deprived or "unfulfilled" when not being harmed. I frankly don't know what to do about such things.
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« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2012, 09:01:02 PM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.

What are you interested in reading about?

There are better translations and better places to start.
So much for my 101 Intro to Philosophy by Kreeft book then.

Don't even recommend me Nietzsche either.

"All of philosophy is but a footnote to Heidegger" - orthonorm
LOL isn't Heidegger majorly influenced by St. Augustine?
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2012, 12:35:45 AM »

LOL isn't Heidegger majorly influenced by St. Augustine?

I don't know, we'll have to wait on orthonorm to explain that. Also, he didn't actually say what I attributed to him... not that exact statement, anyway. I'm not sure that he wouldn't agree with the gist of it though.
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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2012, 02:18:10 AM »

I've always wanted to read more philosophy. It's been hard for me, as I can find the language a little clunky. But I think I should give it a try again.

What are you interested in reading about?

There are better translations and better places to start.
So much for my 101 Intro to Philosophy by Kreeft book then.

Don't even recommend me Nietzsche either.

"All of philosophy is but a footnote to Heidegger" - orthonorm
LOL isn't Heidegger majorly influenced by St. Augustine?

If you read Heidegger you would understand the problem with this understanding of understanding. //:=)
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2012, 10:09:10 PM »

Not sure if this counts as philosophy, but what do y'all think about Leibniz's theodicy?
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2012, 10:36:08 PM »

Did anyone ever try reading to read the earliest Greek philosophers to the latest 20th century ones?

When I was 19 I read through a book that contained some of the general writings of the pre-Socratics, then moved onto Plato, Aristotle, up to Ammonius, getting up to the 19th century.  I was always confused a bit by Kant, but, I assumed if I just read him enough I'd understand; I never quite did.
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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2012, 10:53:52 PM »

Not sure if this counts as philosophy, but what do y'all think about Leibniz's theodicy?

I'd comment if I knew what he said  angel  Though I think that discussion of theodicies work as a philosophical topic...

Did anyone ever try reading to read the earliest Greek philosophers to the latest 20th century ones?

When I was 19 I read through a book that contained some of the general writings of the pre-Socratics, then moved onto Plato, Aristotle, up to Ammonius, getting up to the 19th century.  I was always confused a bit by Kant, but, I assumed if I just read him enough I'd understand; I never quite did.

I've only read smatterings, like everyone I would guess. I've not had the time/inclination/money to do an in depth study of any one philosopher. Yet. I have a list of books for a couple, but I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet!  Grin

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« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2012, 10:58:43 PM »

DouBle pOst
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« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2012, 11:34:45 PM »

I really hate debating with materialists.
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« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2012, 11:52:04 PM »

I really hate debating with materialists.

Same!
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« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2012, 11:54:44 PM »

Like really man. You think there might be a chance there is something outside of the material? Nope, it can't be abosolutley proven by science. Because we all know science is the arbiter of truth and facts.

And because we can't use the scientific method on God he can't exist! Uh try using a different methodology, good grief..
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« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2012, 12:05:38 AM »

I especially like it when it turns out that your nominally Christian friends are pretty much materialists.  Like when I casually mentioned an ascetic practice (wearing no shows) done by Passionists and other RC orders my Catholic buddy told me about how silly it is.
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« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2012, 12:09:01 PM »

I really hate debating with materialists.

You should debate religious naturalists then  police
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« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2012, 01:12:45 PM »

How come orthonorm knows so much philosophical stuff?

It's called reading for decades.

And avoiding overview "classes".

lulz at taking a semester in "modern philosophy".

Look at what Papist's course ostensibly tries to cover. That is education?

It's not even cliff notes, but some keyword indoctrination so that you can remember a name or two tied to an idea so you win at some iPod app.

Sorry truth.

Find a mentor and read. For a few decades.

EDIT: It helps not to be gainfully employed for a long time.
Well, reading this stuff for a few decades is what I hope to do. That's why, after I complete my masters degree, I hope to get into a PhD program. I hope to make studying this stuff my life's work.
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« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2012, 01:15:54 PM »

Like really man. You think there might be a chance there is something outside of the material? Nope, it can't be abosolutley proven by science. Because we all know science is the arbiter of truth and facts.

And because we can't use the scientific method on God he can't exist! Uh try using a different methodology, good grief..
That pretty much sums it up, if the person is a dogmatic materialist.
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« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2012, 08:41:15 PM »

Like really man. You think there might be a chance there is something outside of the material? Nope, it can't be abosolutley proven by science. Because we all know science is the arbiter of truth and facts.

And because we can't use the scientific method on God he can't exist! Uh try using a different methodology, good grief..
That pretty much sums it up, if the person is a dogmatic materialist.
Where is TheJackel?
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« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2012, 08:48:50 PM »

I really hate debating with materialists.

You should debate religious naturalists then  police
What the hell is that?
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« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2012, 08:54:02 PM »

I really hate debating with materialists.

You should debate religious naturalists then  police
What the hell is that?

A naturalist who isn't afraid of having something called religion or spirituality in their lives. Sometimes it's non-theistic pantheists, sometimes agnostics who are very nature-centric, sometimes it's more like Einstein's famous "cosmic religious feeling," and sometimes it's just outright atheism but with the usage of words like religion to describe part of their lives. The key unifying factors are: 1) they're all naturalists to a large extent, and 2) they are all ok with using the word religion or spirituality to describe some aspect of their lives (whether their morality, meditative practices, their view of a God, or whatever).
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« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2012, 08:57:14 PM »

Sounds like an apathetic atheist to me, just pick and choose what's on the cafeteria menu. I mean those guys are essentially relativistic in thought right?
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« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2012, 08:58:47 PM »

They decided to make a new dish for the menu I guess  Grin  As far as relativism goes, there's probably a good bit of that for many of them, though in certain areas like morality contextualism might be a better term.
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« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2012, 09:00:54 PM »

They decided to make a new dish for the menu I guess  Grin  As far as relativism goes, there's probably a good bit of that for many of them, though in certain areas like morality contextualism might be a better term.
Good lord, let's just obfuscate any sort of identity eh? Why do they have to make it so hard to criticze their beliefs.
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« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2012, 09:03:25 PM »

Some silly notion about humans being complex or something like that.  Tongue  Jerome A. Stone wrote a fairly good historical overview of the movement: Religious Naturalism Today: The Rebirth of a Forgotten Alternative
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« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2012, 09:05:34 PM »

Anything that makes that standout versus new age beliefs?
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« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2012, 09:06:39 PM »

Anything that makes that standout versus new age beliefs?

I'm not sure, I'm not all that familiar with new age beliefs... so I wouldn't know how/what to compare.
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« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2012, 09:08:57 PM »

Yeah it's kinda diverse as well.

Anyway, with all the books you've read what would be on your top 5 reading list for an ameatur philosopher?
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« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2012, 09:10:20 PM »

I'm really not the right person to ask... orthonorm would definitely give a better answer to that.
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« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2012, 09:12:03 PM »

I'm really not the right person to ask... orthonorm would definitely give a better answer to that.
He hasn't posted for a long time, usually he brings in the clarity I need. Maybe he's sick of reading my one dimensional childish posts.

LOL at the sig.
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« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2012, 10:07:59 PM »

I'm really not the right person to ask... orthonorm would definitely give a better answer to that.
He hasn't posted for a long time, usually he brings in the clarity I need. Maybe he's sick of reading my one dimensional childish posts.

LOL at the sig.

I guess he's busy with that "real life" thing. Ha, as though such a thing actually exists!  Grin  But with regard to books, I still can't say what are most helpful or best, but at least here are my five favorite philosophical books...

Roy Sorensen - A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind
Leo Groarke - Greek Skepticism: Anti-Realist Trends in Ancient Thought
Cicero (ed. by Brittain) - On Academic Scepticism
Walter Kaufmann - Critique of Religion and Philosophy
John Hick - Philosophy of Religion
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« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2012, 11:29:09 PM »

I really hate debating with materialists.

You should debate religious naturalists then  police
What the hell is that?

A naturalist who isn't afraid of having something called religion or spirituality in their lives. Sometimes it's non-theistic pantheists, sometimes agnostics who are very nature-centric, sometimes it's more like Einstein's famous "cosmic religious feeling," and sometimes it's just outright atheism but with the usage of words like religion to describe part of their lives. The key unifying factors are: 1) they're all naturalists to a large extent, and 2) they are all ok with using the word religion or spirituality to describe some aspect of their lives (whether their morality, meditative practices, their view of a God, or whatever).

Would Wiccans be considered borderline religious naturalists?

And I wonder about Hinduism and Buddhism as well...I always thought it's easy for more educated Hindus to allegorize their religious beliefs into something more naturalistic and grand, and can maintain perhaps an essential atheism with it.
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« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2012, 11:36:23 PM »

Would Wiccans be considered borderline religious naturalists?

And I wonder about Hinduism and Buddhism as well...I always thought it's easy for more educated Hindus to allegorize their religious beliefs into something more naturalistic and grand, and can maintain perhaps an essential atheism with it.

I'm not familiar enough with Wicca to know... are they atheist or agnostic or some form of pantheist? I seem to recall something about a goddess or something, but I don't remember much about her (or maybe I am misremembering entirely). Generally I've seen the term used by, and applied to, westerners that come out of a judeo-christian/monotheistic background, and drive so far into the territory of liberal religion that a personal God falls out of sight. The early religious naturalists, or what would be considered precursors, were Jews (Mordecai Kaplan) and Christians (some of the Chicago school of theology), and if I remember correctly Stone also considered George Santayana and John Dewey to be precursors as well.
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« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2012, 12:21:38 AM »

I believe the correct term is "lawlwicca".
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« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2012, 07:48:46 PM »

I was watching some prison show the other day and there was the church of Satan in one of these prisons, had only 2 members. There was something about not killing non-human animals. It was hilarious when the reporter made the member contradict himself when it came to their doctrine.

It's really mindblowing to see alot of prisoners become Christians, and I don't mean the type that use it to somehow get a Get out of Jail card, but sincere pious Christians. It was awesome.
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« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2012, 12:29:48 PM »

I am currently reading Descarte's Meditations for my modern philosophy course. Does anyone know the best way to show that Descartes' proof for the existence of God in Meditation 3 is not demonstrative. So far, I have argued that even if one does have a concept of God as infinitely perfect, the concept itself is not infinitely perfect, and thus it does not require an infinite cause.
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« Reply #52 on: February 01, 2012, 02:19:51 AM »

I am currently reading Descarte's Meditations for my modern philosophy course. Does anyone know the best way to show that Descartes' proof for the existence of God in Meditation 3 is not demonstrative. So far, I have argued that even if one does have a concept of God as infinitely perfect, the concept itself is not infinitely perfect, and thus it does not require an infinite cause.
Just to recap for those playing at home, the "argument" is as follows:

I've got this idea of god, and this is an idea of perfection.
This idea must have come from somewhere.
I'm an imperfect being.
The idea of perfection couldn't have come from me.
Therefore, the idea of perfection must have come from a perfect being.

The tack you take is a legitimate one (a concept does not need to possess the same properties as the object of which it is a concept - my concept of a dog is not in any way canine...it's conceptual). Another one is to say that the concept of "perfection" is actually a negative one: "perfect" != every single object in the world. Since it's a negative concept, its object need not even have any imaginable instantiation, much less share any attributes with it. Only positive concepts, one could argue, can have possible content. Naturally, you'll have to flesh out that last bit, but it sounds to me like this should be no problem for you.
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« Reply #53 on: February 01, 2012, 09:36:21 PM »

I am currently reading Descarte's Meditations for my modern philosophy course. Does anyone know the best way to show that Descartes' proof for the existence of God in Meditation 3 is not demonstrative. So far, I have argued that even if one does have a concept of God as infinitely perfect, the concept itself is not infinitely perfect, and thus it does not require an infinite cause.
Just to recap for those playing at home, the "argument" is as follows:

I've got this idea of god, and this is an idea of perfection.
This idea must have come from somewhere.
I'm an imperfect being.
The idea of perfection couldn't have come from me.
Therefore, the idea of perfection must have come from a perfect being.

The tack you take is a legitimate one (a concept does not need to possess the same properties as the object of which it is a concept - my concept of a dog is not in any way canine...it's conceptual). Another one is to say that the concept of "perfection" is actually a negative one: "perfect" != every single object in the world. Since it's a negative concept, its object need not even have any imaginable instantiation, much less share any attributes with it. Only positive concepts, one could argue, can have possible content. Naturally, you'll have to flesh out that last bit, but it sounds to me like this should be no problem for you.
Sounds good to me. When descartes talks about an idea having "objective reality" insofar as it represnets something that has "formal reality", he seems to think that an idea must have as much "objective reality" as "formal reality" and I don't think that that is necessarily true. Thanks for the help.
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« Reply #54 on: February 02, 2012, 08:53:55 PM »

I am currently reading Descarte's Meditations for my modern philosophy course. Does anyone know the best way to show that Descartes' proof for the existence of God in Meditation 3 is not demonstrative. So far, I have argued that even if one does have a concept of God as infinitely perfect, the concept itself is not infinitely perfect, and thus it does not require an infinite cause.

No proof for God is "demonstrative", it doesn't take much to demonstrate such stuff. If you are reading Descartes in this manner, you are missing the point.

Don't worry most of everyone else is as well.

His meditations should be mandatory reading for all junior high school kids. That is some beautiful stuff.

Proving and arguing are the ending of thinking. Reading is so much more awesomer.
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« Reply #55 on: February 02, 2012, 09:32:10 PM »

His meditations should be mandatory reading for all junior high school kids. That is some beautiful stuff.

That's just sick. Sick.
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« Reply #56 on: March 03, 2012, 05:27:38 PM »

Philosophy can be about anything you're discussing in a group.
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« Reply #57 on: June 21, 2012, 11:45:04 AM »

His meditations should be mandatory reading for all junior high school kids. That is some beautiful stuff.

That's just sick. Sick.
I'm gonig to have to agree there.
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« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2012, 12:55:54 PM »

His meditations should be mandatory reading for all junior high school kids. That is some beautiful stuff.

That's just sick. Sick.
I'm gonig to have to agree there.

In my dumb, poor, rural school, we read it.

Really, I am not sure what the big deal is. It is about a good intro to philosophy as you are going to get within a primary text. It is not difficult. It is exemplary. It is a watershed piece of history within the tradition. And the text which still holds the greatest sway in our times. The interesting thing for students to learn is what they take as obvious in terms of method and conclusion from this text was at one time revolutionary.

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« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2012, 12:58:55 PM »

Really, I am not sure what the big deal is.

I don't like dogmatism masquerading as truth seeking  police
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« Reply #60 on: June 21, 2012, 01:13:42 PM »

Really, I am not sure what the big deal is.

I don't like dogmatism masquerading as truth seeking  police

?

"Show me how you read and I will tell you who you are."

The search for truth will always be done within a dogmatic and ideological framework. The first step to getting serious about thinking is knowing and attempting the impossible task of making clear such dogmatics and ideology within the text and one's own reading of it, if I can suggest that faulty ideological dichotomy.

The task of thinking will never be the end of dogma or ideology but rather opening the space and room to find the possibility for a more appropriate dogma and ideology and articulating the dogma and ideology at work.

Lest we fall in post-dogmatic and or post-ideology times. When people believe that we have achieved such a time (people do) or that it is possible (people do), the is exactly when dogma and ideology have found their perfection.

To be able to critique dogma and ideology one must first love them intimately and well. For like any in love affair, the greatest threat to beloved is from the lover. Ideology and dogma never want to be loved, rather merely propagated through mindless intercourse.

So just like people, the worst possible thing you can do dogma and ideology, is to love it. There is no greater gift (think of the modern German here of both Gift and gibt) you can offer.

And in this modest task, really there is no better place for most people in our time to begin than with Descartes' wonderful text.

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« Reply #61 on: June 21, 2012, 01:34:47 PM »

Can't say that I agree. But that is besides the point in this case, because what gets me about Descartes is that he says he started from a point of skepticism and worked his way back up, but then goes on to state things dogmatically, even though what he says is based on a ton of assumptions that he pretends aren't there.
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« Reply #62 on: June 21, 2012, 01:47:47 PM »

Can't say that I agree. But that is besides the point in this case, because what gets me about Descartes is that he says he started from a point of skepticism and worked his way back up, but then goes on to state things dogmatically, even though what he says is based on a ton of assumptions that he pretends aren't there.

You are agreeing.

He demonstrates exactly what skepticism is.

The fourth category of knowledge will always be what remains the most interesting, so much so Rumsfeld forgot about it:

What we do not know that we know.

Back to Heidegger and Freud and Marx. In all three men you find exactly this taking on this "problem", with Heidegger and Freud most clearly and succinctly dealing with this problematic. To bad Heidegger wrote Freud off too early and didn't spend enough time to see that what he was working with "psychologically" (later Freud is pure ontology) was him stumbling upon the traces from Nietzsche and expanding upon them in an interesting and meaningful manner.

But I ain't reading Heidegger, nor Marx, nor later Freud with junior high students.

Descartes and Euclid's Elements. All you need of "philosophy" in junior high, maybe some early Socratic dialogues, if you want help teach them something that might appear in some general knowledge stuff later. And due to weird turns of events to I was exposured to both at that age to which I am grateful till this day. 

 
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« Reply #63 on: June 25, 2012, 09:47:10 PM »

I have a question about Descartes' famous proof for existence--that is, 'I think therefore I am'. How exactly do we define existence? Do abstract principles and things exist? For example, do thoughts exist? What if we only 'exist' as the thoughts or dreams of something else? Technically, would we still exist and would our existence even mean anything?
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« Reply #64 on: July 10, 2012, 09:40:15 PM »

Can't say that I agree. But that is besides the point in this case, because what gets me about Descartes is that he says he started from a point of skepticism and worked his way back up, but then goes on to state things dogmatically, even though what he says is based on a ton of assumptions that he pretends aren't there.

You are agreeing.

He demonstrates exactly what skepticism is.

The fourth category of knowledge will always be what remains the most interesting, so much so Rumsfeld forgot about it:

What we do not know that we know.

Back to Heidegger and Freud and Marx. In all three men you find exactly this taking on this "problem", with Heidegger and Freud most clearly and succinctly dealing with this problematic. To bad Heidegger wrote Freud off too early and didn't spend enough time to see that what he was working with "psychologically" (later Freud is pure ontology) was him stumbling upon the traces from Nietzsche and expanding upon them in an interesting and meaningful manner.

But I ain't reading Heidegger, nor Marx, nor later Freud with junior high students.

Descartes and Euclid's Elements. All you need of "philosophy" in junior high, maybe some early Socratic dialogues, if you want help teach them something that might appear in some general knowledge stuff later. And due to weird turns of events to I was exposured to both at that age to which I am grateful till this day.  


I still think I disagree at least with his fudging things, but anyway...  Cool
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« Reply #65 on: July 19, 2012, 02:21:05 PM »

Thread resurrection!

I got this crazy friend of mine who has the most insane conception of God. For him the "good in the world" is "God" and yet when asked about who created the universe I get "Well see that is just called the Creator, not God".

Whatevs.

Anyway this nutcase brought up a thought experiment with me saying that if we put a newborn baby in a 4 walled room and when it grows into adulthood it has no knowledge about anything, so would it create its own morality and God?

I swear I've read something similar to the above but can't track it down. Yes I know it's all nonsense but his whole point is that we each create a god for ourselves to somehow comfort us. If anyone knows what thought experiment this is similar to that would be very helpful.
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« Reply #66 on: July 19, 2012, 03:03:20 PM »

I have a question about Descartes' famous proof for existence--that is, 'I think therefore I am'. How exactly do we define existence? Do abstract principles and things exist? For example, do thoughts exist? What if we only 'exist' as the thoughts or dreams of something else? Technically, would we still exist and would our existence even mean anything?
What Decartes is arguing is that as long as he is thinking (and doubting is thinking), his own existence is inescapable. A being that is thinking, must necessarily exist. There are problems with his thought, but this is the basic argument he is putting forward.
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« Reply #67 on: July 19, 2012, 03:46:08 PM »

I have a question about Descartes' famous proof for existence--that is, 'I think therefore I am'. How exactly do we define existence? Do abstract principles and things exist? For example, do thoughts exist? What if we only 'exist' as the thoughts or dreams of something else? Technically, would we still exist and would our existence even mean anything?
What Decartes is arguing is that as long as he is thinking (and doubting is thinking), his own existence is inescapable. A being that is thinking, must necessarily exist. There are problems with his thought, but this is the basic argument he is putting forward.

I am not so sure about this summary in its precision, this seems to be a loose reading in light of criticism of Descartes' position, but I don't care to get into it at this time.

To JamesR however, you are a self-avowed St. Augustine fanboi.

St. Augustine among others (Plato, Aristotle, everyone) already made similar arguments to what Descartes ends up developing in a more thorough and systematic manner.

Read St. Augustine till you find the argument. Consider it a fun reason to re-read him.

EDIT: For what it is worth, when you look at Augustinian hermeneutics you see him probably at his most radical.

 
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« Reply #68 on: July 19, 2012, 04:05:02 PM »

I have a question about Descartes' famous proof for existence--that is, 'I think therefore I am'. How exactly do we define existence? Do abstract principles and things exist? For example, do thoughts exist? What if we only 'exist' as the thoughts or dreams of something else? Technically, would we still exist and would our existence even mean anything?
What Decartes is arguing is that as long as he is thinking (and doubting is thinking), his own existence is inescapable. A being that is thinking, must necessarily exist. There are problems with his thought, but this is the basic argument he is putting forward.

This seems like faulty reasoning since he already presupposes existence with the 'I' and assumes that an 'I' even has to exist for the phemonena of thinking to occur and/or further relies on a priori reasoning by assuming that thought implies existence.
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