Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

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Eodnhoj7
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Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Eodnhoj7 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:01 pm

Discuss.

Logik
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Logik » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:19 am

A quote by Will Durant:
A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean. At its cradle (to repeat a thoughtful adage) religion stands, and philosophy accompanies it to the grave.
The simple failure of Philosophy is the absence of negative or positive feedback loops. It is the absence of skin in the game.

There's no mechanism to signal errors. No mechanism to filter out the fit from the unfit ideas.

And if you can't define "error" and "not-error" - well, anything goes really. Free-for-all. This is why Philosophers are trapped in the eternal game of re-describing and re-interpreting the same phenomenologies hoping that one interpretation is better than the next.

Philosophy feeds your dopamine addiction without ever having to achieve anything in practice.
It's exactly the same as Facebook, but Philosophy has a proven track record of failure.

surreptitious57
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by surreptitious57 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:24 am

The fundamental role of philosophy is to ensure that the right type of questions are being asked
It cannot provide answers so anyone looking to it for that reason will inevitably be disappointed

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Greta
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Greta » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:54 am

Logik wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:19 am
The simple failure of Philosophy is the absence of negative or positive feedback loops. It is the absence of skin in the game.

There's no mechanism to signal errors. No mechanism to filter out the fit from the unfit ideas.

And if you can't define "error" and "not-error" - well, anything goes really. Free-for-all. This is why Philosophers are trapped in the eternal game of re-describing and re-interpreting the same phenomenologies hoping that one interpretation is better than the next.

Philosophy feeds your dopamine addiction without ever having to achieve anything in practice.
It's exactly the same as Facebook, but Philosophy has a proven track record of failure.
I like this, although I think you give up on philosophy too quickly.

My guess is that philosophy would benefit from taking science more seriously rather than running a parallel body of knowledge to the tried and tested that is, as you suggest, relatively unaccountable. Evolutionary biology can explain many things, yet often those considering social questions gloss over the prehistoric and prehuman basis of many behaviours.

Logik
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Logik » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:22 pm

Greta wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:54 am
I like this, although I think you give up on philosophy too quickly.
I work in an environment of builders/inventors/problem-solvers. People who approach things from first principles all the time.

The problem-solving process has a semblance of structure, repetition and iteration to it. There is method to the madness that I can't quite put into words.

In the organized chaos that is the creative/problem-solving process philosophy plays part. It's probably the first step in drawing out concepts, helping brainstorming, getting all the perspectives on the table, looking at the problem from different perspectives, play devil's advocate and make sure that no important detail is ignored before running the Gedankenexperiment on possible approaches to move forward. Ultimately though consensus ensues, something testable or falsifiable emerges and philosophy has served its purpose and we focus on implementation detail.

Philosophy is a tool like any other. You put on the hat when you need it. You take it off when it has served its purpose.

Philosophers forget to take the hat off. Worse yet - philosophers forget to produce anything testable/falsifiable at the end of the heated conversation.

I don't "give up" on it. I recognise when it has run its course.

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am

Logik wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:22 pm
Philosophy is a tool like any other. You put on the hat when you need it. You take it off when it has served its purpose.

Philosophers forget to take the hat off. Worse yet - philosophers forget to produce anything testable/falsifiable at the end of the heated conversation.
Isaiah Berlin argued (correctly imo) that this is a misunderstanding of what philosophy is basically for. If you take a question where nobody yet knows what a correct answer would look like, that's a philosophical question.

By the time there is agreement about a method of investigation, let alone an answer that wouldn't be controversial, you've really stopped doing philosophy and witnessed the birth of a new science. After that, of course, all the arguing about whether that new science should have been aborted can begin.

commonsense
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by commonsense » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:48 am

Philosophy’s shortcomings have been well described in the previous posts. However, I’m wondering what could make philosophy dangerous.

Is there harm in examining a question that cannot be answered with finality? Does it cause distress to adopt a particular point of view from which to argue? Are its fallacies what make philosophy hazardous?

To be sure, the posts before this one are spot on and well said. But how can one surmise which is more dangerous, Facebook or philosophy? I wonder.

surreptitious57
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:57 am

The world could survive without Facebook which is a very recent phenomenon
It could not so easily survive without philosophy which has existed for millenia
It is therefore rather obvious which of them be the more dangerous of the two

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Greta
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Greta » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:11 am

Logik wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:22 pm
Greta wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:54 am
I like this, although I think you give up on philosophy too quickly.
I work in an environment of builders/inventors/problem-solvers. People who approach things from first principles all the time.

The problem-solving process has a semblance of structure, repetition and iteration to it. There is method to the madness that I can't quite put into words.

In the organized chaos that is the creative/problem-solving process philosophy plays part. It's probably the first step in drawing out concepts, helping brainstorming, getting all the perspectives on the table, looking at the problem from different perspectives, play devil's advocate and make sure that no important detail is ignored before running the Gedankenexperiment on possible approaches to move forward. Ultimately though consensus ensues, something testable or falsifiable emerges and philosophy has served its purpose and we focus on implementation detail.

Philosophy is a tool like any other. You put on the hat when you need it. You take it off when it has served its purpose.

Philosophers forget to take the hat off. Worse yet - philosophers forget to produce anything testable/falsifiable at the end of the heated conversation.

I don't "give up" on it. I recognise when it has run its course.
I can't speak for formal philosophy, but certainly researchers today are engaging in more philosophical approaches to, as you mentioned, brainstorm and think up different perspectives and angles, as opposed to just shutting up and calculating, so to speak.

Logik
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:05 am

commonsense wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:48 am
Philosophy’s shortcomings have been well described in the previous posts. However, I’m wondering what could make philosophy dangerous.
It breeds passivity and inaction.
commonsense wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:48 am
Is there harm in examining a question that cannot be answered with finality? Does it cause distress to adopt a particular point of view from which to argue? Are its fallacies what make philosophy hazardous?

To be sure, the posts before this one are spot on and well said. But how can one surmise which is more dangerous, Facebook or philosophy? I wonder.
My argument for it is thus:
1. Philosophy asks questions that can't be answered.
2. Science (under the guidance of decision theory) knows how to determine which questions can and can't be answered so science is quick to discard questions which are obvious dead-ends.

And so the harm of philosophy (and facebook) can be measured in time wasted. Philosophy has a multi-millennial head start on Facebook.

Logik
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:26 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am
Isaiah Berlin argued (correctly imo) that this is a misunderstanding of what philosophy is basically for. If you take a question where nobody yet knows what a correct answer would look like, that's a philosophical question.
If you take such a question - you don't even have an idea what you are asking. Worse: you don't know WHY are you asking the questions that you are asking?

The WHY is the human need. It points to a problem. A human expectation. Philosophy never seems to mention that? Human desire is the driving force behind inquiry.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am
By the time there is agreement about a method of investigation, let alone an answer that wouldn't be controversial, you've really stopped doing philosophy and witnessed the birth of a new science. After that, of course, all the arguing about whether that new science should have been aborted can begin.
As far as I am concerned Dennet summed this up in this thought experiment: http://cogprints.org/247/1/twoblack.htm

To allow a new science to be born which gets no closer to addressing the need/problem which led to the question in the first place is already misguided. Rapid feedback loops for success/failure are necessary at every step!

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm

Logik wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:26 am
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am
Isaiah Berlin argued (correctly imo) that this is a misunderstanding of what philosophy is basically for. If you take a question where nobody yet knows what a correct answer would look like, that's a philosophical question.
If you take such a question - you don't even have an idea what you are asking. Worse: you don't know WHY are you asking the questions that you are asking?
Welcome to philosophy.
Logik wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:26 am
The WHY is the human need. It points to a problem. A human expectation. Philosophy never seems to mention that? Human desire is the driving force behind inquiry.
Philosophy tends to mention more or less everything eventually. It's not really where to look if you are trying to fulfill some immediate human need though.

You seem to be following a trajectory along the lines of Wittgenstein's*. He got into the subject because he was interested in the logical undergarments of maths on the whole. Then he hung around to complain about language not being logical enough, and made an attempt to fix that problem. But then he completely changed his mind about what the problem was, realizing he had had the wrong expectations.


* This is not me calling anyone a genius btw, I wouldn't want to make Handjob7 and SpankPenguin jealous again.
Logik wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:26 am
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am
By the time there is agreement about a method of investigation, let alone an answer that wouldn't be controversial, you've really stopped doing philosophy and witnessed the birth of a new science. After that, of course, all the arguing about whether that new science should have been aborted can begin.
As far as I am concerned Dennet summed this up in this thought experiment: http://cogprints.org/247/1/twoblack.htm

To allow a new science to be born which gets no closer to addressing the need/problem which led to the question in the first place is already misguided. Rapid feedback loops for success/failure are necessary at every step!
I am sure you are right, I just enjoy being flippant.

My point is that historically philosophers have argued about the facts of our world without having any source of truth on the matter. So they argued that all of the world is made of water, or that it is made of Air, and these things were based on some pretty bad experiments which had a lower standing than deductions arrived at through misunderstanding. After a couple of thousand years of this, a dude called Francis Bacon made the outrageous suggestion that perhaps the experiments were more important than the deductions. Very quickly in the grand scheme of things, it became possible to use experimental philosophy to answer those ancient questions. But that made them questions for scientists, not philosophers.

Adam Smith and David Ricardo were philosophers in their day, but remembered today as economists because they spawned a new field. John Locke contributed to the same, but is remembered as a philosopher because the questions he mostly addressed weren't about market forces etc.

It's the questions that set what field an inquiry belongs to. Once there are experiments that provide answers, philosophy doesn't really have much say any more, its methods are not suited to answerable questions. Usually (according to the aforementioned mister W.) the questions oh philosophy are secretly bogus anyway.

Logik
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm
Logik wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:26 am
If you take such a question - you don't even have an idea what you are asking. Worse: you don't know WHY are you asking the questions that you are asking?
Welcome to philosophy.
Welcome to lack of self-awareness? :)

Yeah. I understand the intention of every single question I ask. I have a "why?".
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm
Philosophy tends to mention more or less everything eventually. It's not really where to look if you are trying to fulfill some immediate human need though.
And yet it's so much easier to agree on stuff if you said something like "Working 100 hours a week stresses me out and causes me unnecessary anxiety.".
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm
You seem to be following a trajectory along the lines of Wittgenstein's*. He got into the subject because he was interested in the logical undergarments of maths on the whole. Then he hung around to complain about language not being logical enough, and made an attempt to fix that problem. But then he completely changed his mind about what the problem was, realizing he had had the wrong expectations.
I am with Wittgenstein 99% of the way. Right until he gets it wrong. Language is a tool. You can't fix it. It has evolved to a particular purpose.
For inter-human communication English is great. It helps set the context and map out the chess board. But then it runs out of steam when you try to describe the winning strategy precisely.

If you expect precision - English will only get you only so far. At some point you need a better tool.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am
It's the questions that set what field an inquiry belongs to. Once there are experiments that provide answers, philosophy doesn't really have much say any more, its methods are not suited to answerable questions. Usually (according to the aforementioned mister W.) the questions oh philosophy are secretly bogus anyway.
And if the question is ALWAYS linked to a human need, then surely it brings us that much closer to "philosophy being the domain of the humanities" to not forget this?

The debate gets far too focused on "facts" and far too removed from "have we addressed the human need?"

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:01 pm

Logik wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm
Logik wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:26 am
If you take such a question - you don't even have an idea what you are asking. Worse: you don't know WHY are you asking the questions that you are asking?
Welcome to philosophy.
Welcome to lack of self-awareness? :)

Yeah. I understand the intention of every single question I ask. I have a "why?".
You burden every question you ask with a meta question about that one's own usefulness?
Should there not be a third about why every question needs to be of such worth?
Logik wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm
Philosophy tends to mention more or less everything eventually. It's not really where to look if you are trying to fulfill some immediate human need though.
And yet it's so much easier to agree on stuff if you said something like "Working 100 hours a week stresses me out and causes me unnecessary anxiety.".
There was a time when the answer to the question of why some people and some regions were richer than others with similar skills and resources wasn't a useful question at all, the favour of God answered it and no man could influence the outcome. Yet occasionally philosophers asked it anyway. Eventually the somewhat useful 'dismal science' was to emerge from those philosophical discussions, carrying a set of its own not quite answerable questions. If you are fully committed to what you write, you would presumably frown upon this chain of events and consider the eventual output to be fruit of the poisoned tree? ... I'm not asking you to endorse economics as a science here, I get a sense that would go badly for me, but I am assuming you find some utility in what they do.

If you talk about 100 hour work week stress issues with a real philosopher, they will just agree that it is bad, then whinge about their own intolerable workload, and then probably ask to borrow some money. If you ask questions about that on this forum, some doofus will demand that you define a random word from that sentence - it might be 'intolerable' or 'stress', but with people like Age around it might just as easily be 'hours'. They really think they are doing philosophy when they do this stuff, and perhaps they are right, there's no exact way to tell.
Logik wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:54 pm
You seem to be following a trajectory along the lines of Wittgenstein's*. He got into the subject because he was interested in the logical undergarments of maths on the whole. Then he hung around to complain about language not being logical enough, and made an attempt to fix that problem. But then he completely changed his mind about what the problem was, realizing he had had the wrong expectations.
I am with Wittgenstein 99% of the way. Right until he gets it wrong. Language is a tool. You can't fix it. It has evolved to a particular purpose.
For inter-human communication English is great. It helps set the context and map out the chess board. But then it runs out of steam when you try to describe the winning strategy precisely.

If you expect precision - English will only get you only so far. At some point you need a better tool.
Perhaps you will retain this view, and perhaps on reflection you will change it. He thought he was right first time, but he wasn't satisfied.
Logik wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:11 am
It's the questions that set what field an inquiry belongs to. Once there are experiments that provide answers, philosophy doesn't really have much say any more, its methods are not suited to answerable questions. Usually (according to the aforementioned mister W.) the questions oh philosophy are secretly bogus anyway.
And if the question is ALWAYS linked to a human need, then surely it brings us that much closer to "philosophy being the domain of the humanities" to not forget this?

The debate gets far too focused on "facts" and far too removed from "have we addressed the human need?"
Lots of important stuff has only ever become known thanks to apparently idle questions. So there would appear to be value in the asking of questions whose future importance cannot be established. Where would we find the list of all the questions that have the useful answers that address some human need? Is the question that precedes this one entirely idle, or the most important question ever asked?

Logik
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Re: Facebook or Philosophy? Which is more Dangerous?

Post by Logik » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:12 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:01 pm
You burden every question you ask with a meta question about that one's own usefulness?
Should there not be a third about why every question needs to be of such worth?
Hardly. I am merely conscious of intentionality. I am aware of my objective - I question whether any particular course of action brings me closer or further to it.

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:01 pm
Philosophy tends to mention more or less everything eventually. It's not really where to look if you are trying to fulfill some immediate human need though.
Naturally. Infinite monkeys theorem. But as far as I am concerned eventuality (e.g luck) is not a strategy.

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:01 pm
You seem to be following a trajectory along the lines of Wittgenstein's*. He got into the subject because he was interested in the logical undergarments of maths on the whole. Then he hung around to complain about language not being logical enough, and made an attempt to fix that problem. But then he completely changed his mind about what the problem was, realizing he had had the wrong expectations.
Wittgenstein was a few decades too early for Tarski's undefinability theorem. He failed to recognize that language can't be fixed - it needs to be reinvented. And so his error was simply "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.".

The very problem of language is circularity. Words define other words define other words. It's a closed system! To escape it you need recursion and self-reference.
Logik wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am
Where would we find the list of all the questions that have the useful answers that address some human need? Is the question that precedes this one entirely idle, or the most important question ever asked?
Observe the recursive nature of this inquiry. Observe that until you escape the loop of 'importance' you are perpetually stuck asking this question.

This is how human values are born. What is the most important thing I should be focusing my attention on right now?

I am hungry...

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