The Purpose of Philosophy

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Nick_A
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The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am

How does philosophy serve your goals in life? Do you use philosophical arguments to better your self esteem and self justification or does it serve to help you awaken to the reality of the human condition a it exists within you?

From Jacob Needleman’s book: “The heart of Philosophy.” .
Chapter 1

Introduction

Man cannot live without philosophy. This is not a figure of speech but a literal fact that will be demonstrated in this book. There is a yearning in the heart that is nourished only by real philosophy and without this nourishment man dies as surely as if he were deprived of food and air. But this part of the human psyche is not known or honored in our culture. When it does breakthrough to our awareness it is either ignored or treated as something else. It is given wrong names; it is not cared for; it is crushed. And eventually, it may withdraw altogether, never again to appear. When this happens man becomes a thing. No matter what he accomplishes or experiences, no matter what happiness he experiences or what service he performs, he has in fact lost his real possibility. He is dead.

……………………….The function of philosophy in human life is to help Man remember. It has no other task. And anything that calls itself philosophy which does not serve this function is simply not philosophy……………………………….

If philosophy is only used to support self esteem and self justification in society as a whole, is reason and honest good will without the help of the heart of philosophy a lost cause since nothing has been remembered ?
"All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field." ~Albert Einstein

Dalek Prime
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Dalek Prime » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:08 am

To pass time without getting too bored.

Dapplegrim
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Dapplegrim » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:53 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
How does philosophy serve your goals in life?
What philosophy? Or if you prefer: Which Philosophy?

Nick_A
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:25 pm

Dapplegrim wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:53 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
How does philosophy serve your goals in life?
What philosophy? Or if you prefer: Which Philosophy?
If I asked how food serves you goal in life, you could ask which food or consider food as a whole. The purpose of food as a whole is to provide the nutrients which keep you alive. It is the same with philosophy as a whole. It isn't a matter of which philosophy but how philosophy as a whole serves your goal in life.

Nick_A
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:30 pm

Dalek Prime wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:08 am
To pass time without getting too bored.
I appreciate your honesty. If I read you correctly, philosophy bolsters your opinion of yourself as entertainment. What Plato wrote is entertaining.

Dalek Prime
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Dalek Prime » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:39 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:30 pm
Dalek Prime wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:08 am
To pass time without getting too bored.
I appreciate your honesty. If I read you correctly, philosophy bolsters your opinion of yourself as entertainment. What Plato wrote is entertaining.
I'm not being facetious, Nick. I must entertain myself through pursuits to fill time as an aware being. While it doesn't seem like a noble goal, it's a necessary pursuit.

Nick_A
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:25 pm

Dalek Prime wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:39 pm
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:30 pm
Dalek Prime wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:08 am
To pass time without getting too bored.
I appreciate your honesty. If I read you correctly, philosophy bolsters your opinion of yourself as entertainment. What Plato wrote is entertaining.
I'm not being facetious, Nick. I must entertain myself through pursuits to fill time as an aware being. While it doesn't seem like a noble goal, it's a necessary pursuit.

You’ve raised a very important question IMO. Why do we have to fill time rather than experience life. We all do this. Plato defined Man as a being in search of meaning. When we lose the feeling of meaning we become bored and have the desire to fill time. Philosophy can either serve the need to awaken to human meaning or to avoid it by providing entertainment through arguing details.

As a being in search of meaning why don’t we feel meaning and instead become bored? I’m convinced that Simone hit the nail on the head in the following quote. I have witnessed that I lose awareness that things and beings exist. If meaning is related to existence is it any wonder why I become bored whenever imagination becomes insufficient for experiencing life, the domain of human meaning? The trouble as Simone suggests is that sustained conscious attention is very difficult and sacrificing it for imagination is very easy.
."Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. It is given to very few minds to notice that things and beings exist. Since my childhood I have not wanted anything else but to receive the complete revelation of this before dying." ~Simone Weil

Dalek Prime
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Dalek Prime » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:26 pm

Fairly hard to experience life when you're busy working most of your days in pursuit of others' goals. Which, even for the self-employed or professional, is still what we do.

Nick_A
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:28 am

Dalek Prime wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:26 pm
Fairly hard to experience life when you're busy working most of your days in pursuit of others' goals. Which, even for the self-employed or professional, is still what we do.
Well put. Rather than living life, life lives us. We fall into habitual life patterns in accordance with our goals established by society. It is as you wrote “what we do.” But IMO the value of philosophy is its invitation to us to question if this is all there is. Are we just born to play a part? Consider how Shakespeare invites us to question if playing a part satisfies the human need for meaning.

[All the world’s a stage] William Shakespeare,
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Simone Weil invites us to contemplate and verify the power of imagination. The inner human need to experience meaning is devolved by imagination into playing an acceptable role in society. What are our real needs and compulsions?
“Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.”

“Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.”
Philosophy is one of the few paths which inspire us through conscious contemplation to become more than a conditioned automaton. Yet at the same time it is a means to express ones societal “education” in order to feel self importance. Fortunately there are some people in the world willing to sacrifice the egoistic benefits of self importance for the experience of human meaning philosophy invites us to awaken to. When it happens, I believe philosophy has verified its value.

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Harbal
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Harbal » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:28 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:25 pm
Simone hit the nail on the head

It isn't a good idea to put a hammer in the hands of a crazy woman.

commonsense
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by commonsense » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:51 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
[What is] the purpose of philosophy[?]
Answer: The intent of philosophy is to get at the truth.
Philosophical discussion is a suitable means to search for the truth, as nearly as possible, through endless enquiries and diligent thought.
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
How does philosophy serve your goals in life?
Commonsense answer: How philosophy serves one’s goals in life is personal. As for me, my goal is to live a full life, a life that is interesting, exciting and, yes, entertaining in those regards. It is also true that I want to live a good life, i.e. one that is altruistically, ethically and morally a fulfilling life.
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
Do you use philosophical arguments to better your self esteem [sic] and self justification [sic]or does it serve to help you awaken to the reality of the human condition a [sic] it exists within you?
Criticism: This is a false dichotomy and a subtly posed exclusive condition. First of all, attention to the human condition may indeed promote one’s self-esteem, self-justification and self-fulfillment, especially in the case of someone attempting to live a good life. Secondly, the inclusion of only a handful of possibilities subtly excludes other possibilities from the focus of discussion.

Nick_A
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:22 am

Commonsense
Nick_A wrote: ↑Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:59 am
[What is] the purpose of philosophy[?]
Answer: The intent of philosophy is to get at the truth.
Philosophical discussion is a suitable means to search for the truth, as nearly as possible, through endless enquiries and diligent thought.
Plato defined Man as a being in search of meaning. Philosophy is also explained as:
Plato (428BC-348BC) The term philosophy comes from two Greek words, philos, which means friend or lover, and sophia, which means wisdom. So philosophy is the love of wisdom and, more importantly, the philosopher is the friend or, better, lover of wisdom.
Do you agree with the following definition of science. If so we agree that science is concerned with provable truth:
"Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence."
The point I am making is that truth and wisdom are not the same. Science deals with facts and the goal of wisdom is a human perspective essential to experience objective meaning - to put facts into a human perspective. Philosophy cannot be considered primarily arguing facts. To do so negates the value of philosophy for acquiring wisdom and the experience of objective meaning.

Impenitent
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Impenitent » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:16 am

Harbal wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:28 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:25 pm
Simone hit the nail on the head

It isn't a good idea to put a hammer in the hands of a crazy woman.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otCpCn0l4Wo

-Imp

commonsense
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Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by commonsense » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:40 pm

commonsense wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:51 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
[What is] the purpose of philosophy[?]
Answer: The intent of philosophy is to get at the truth.
Philosophical discussion is a suitable means to search for the truth, as nearly as possible, through endless enquiries and diligent thought.
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
How does philosophy serve your goals in life?
Commonsense answer: How philosophy serves one’s goals in life is personal. As for me, my goal is to live a full life, a life that is interesting, exciting and, yes, entertaining in those regards. It is also true that I want to live a good life, i.e. one that is altruistically, ethically and morally a fulfilling life.
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:59 am
Do you use philosophical arguments to better your self esteem [sic] and self justification [sic]or does it serve to help you awaken to the reality of the human condition a [sic] it exists within you?
Criticism: This is a false dichotomy and a subtly posed exclusive condition. First of all, attention to the human condition may indeed promote one’s self-esteem, self-justification and self-fulfillment, especially in the case of someone attempting to live a good life. Secondly, the inclusion of only a handful of possibilities subtly excludes other possibilities from the focus of discussion.
Yes, I agree with every word you've posted here.

However, I still bristle at your question, "Do you use philosophical arguments to better your self esteem [sic] and self justification [sic]or does it serve to help you awaken to the reality of the human condition a [sic] it exists within you?"

Nick_A
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 am

Re: The Purpose of Philosophy

Post by Nick_A » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:46 am

Commonsense
Yes, I agree with every word you've posted here.

However, I still bristle at your question, "Do you use philosophical arguments to better your self esteem [sic] and self justification [sic]or does it serve to help you awaken to the reality of the human condition a [sic] it exists within you?"
Perhaps you are taking these questions as a personal attack rather than inviting a person to ask themselves these questions. Who am I to make this invitation? But isn't that what philosophy is about? It can be disturbing to question our motives. I know since I've experienced it many times.

I remember once reading about the time when a truly great spiritual teacher was visited by the mother of one of his students. She was highly regarded benefactor for social causes. She was complimenting him on the good she believed he was doing for her son which she could understand because of all of her responsibilities.

He admitted he had many responsibilities. He had 82 wives. She soon left but returned the next day. Before she met him she didn't realize that her primary motive was to be honored by society. Her good deeds were self motivated serving her vanity rather than for the good of those she helped. At first she was offended by the experience but grew from it. If philosophy is the love of wisdom isn't it beneficial to be less of a slave to the feeling of offence?

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