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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sun Mar 15th, 2009 3:41pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
This isn't an angry rant of the first order: I am neither seriously angry nor emotionally low. I just feel this is an appropriate part of the forum as threads here can generally start on a more personal note.

I am seriously getting into a Facebook application called Philosophy And Philosophers, designed, moderated and frequently used not by a philosophy tutor or student but an Art professor at an Australian University with a remarkable breadth of knowledge. It is a remarkably well-designed application with enormous variety and a number of discussion boards.

Anyway, I have waded into a few discussions and there is at least one character there who is arguably a flamer. Being a philosophy forum and the fact that he is articulate and has interesting points once you look past is attitude there is a general degree of patience and tolerance. However, it does seem he has driven one person away and they have deleted their posts - a terrible loss considering the intelligence and ideas contained in the posts.

Now, I haven't mentioned to anyone on the philosophy boards that I am in fact, compared to them, a tabula rasa. I have read nothing by any philosophers, nor any religious scriptures (not even the Bible). I don't think this disqualifies me from participating as long as I avoid arrogant and persumptious pronouncements and am prepared to pay attention to those who have greater experience. As much as possible I use qualifying statements such as "it seems" "it appears to me" and "may".

My greatest worry is not my ignorance of the philosophical and religious texts, but my ignorance of the terms and methods of Analytic Philosophy which seem to be used, especially by the aforementioned flamer, to clarify or obfuscate depending on the situation and one's interpretation of the discussion.

I wouldn't have even brought this up on this forum until I saw the thread about the pope and how some rather low forms of argument were being used. If I've learned one thing from the philosophy boards it is that posts like "douchebag" have no place in any intelligent discourse. I have also learned that I know so little, which Socrates would have considered a beneficial revelation.

Post Scriptum: If you are using Facebook already (this especially goes out to the people on this forum who are already on my friend list), please explore Facebook in more detail. Start with the Settings, then the settings on the application edit list, then your friends' applications. It's not just a load of trivial gift applications and 'what (insert pop culture reference) are you? (try this quiz - it's scarily inaccurate!' questionnaires.

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Nitro


Member

Posted Sun Mar 15th, 2009 5:26pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
Sounds like this person either probably has or will eventually get on more than just your nerves in that forum and alienate some others as well.

Some people believe in the difference between informed opinion and what I guess you'd call just regular old opinion. X-D Maybe this person suspects you aren't informed enough to have any opinions inside the bounds of Philosophy as a study, which IMHOpinion har har, doesn't lend itself to much besides slamming doors on people.

Philosophy as a matter of discussion has this dominoe effect, for me. It never ends, it's just one question spinning off hundreds more and there's no actual answer, ( like 2 + 2 = 4; and that's that! ), just a myriad of different threads. Like trying to capture the breeze in your palm. I admire anyone with the intestinal fortitude to pursue it. I hope you won't let the jerk get in your way over there.

Really? Wow.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sun Mar 15th, 2009 5:36pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
He hasn't directly accuse me of not belonging there, but he's gone further than that with the application's creator himself!. He gets most sarcastic with anyone who disagrees with David Hume, Richard Dawkins or anyone who is less than certain of God's non-existence. I suspect I'm relatively safe because as I say I'm usually careful to avoid citing anything I have no knowledge of. However, he gets into insufferable and long-winded arguments over semantics, logic, mathematical models of logic and syllogisms even with those who are perfectly aware of them.
One reason he is tolerated even by many who have had unpleasant brushes with them is that he has a number of opinions that others respect, e.g there is a strong case for atheism, there is a strong case for Dawkins' ideas about memes, homophobia is morally abhorrent, Ayn Rand is a joke and a number of the feminists under discussion are not philosophers by definition but thinkers.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sun Mar 15th, 2009 5:41pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
Actually the whole point of this thread was not to go on about this guy. The point was my growing awareness of my broader ignorance (and I always thought I tried to have a broad knowledge), which explains the whole thread's title.

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PamJH


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 12:19am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
Sometimes the more I read, the more depressed I get simply because I find there's even more I don't know or worse, can't understand. And I'm not talking about quantum physics or analytical chemistry, although I would love to understand those topics. I'm talking about how to offer a statement and support it with evidence in a way that people will understand what I'm talking about. Does that make sense?

I dislike people who pontificate on forums as if their words are the last ones on any subject. Philosophers of all kinds need to understand that not everyone will agree and not everyone will have same depth of knowledge when it comes to the subject. But that is when you gently and joyfully educate, not treat people who want to learn as if they're fools.

If I were on that forum I would dearly love to pierce that windbag.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 12:30am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
I'm sure you would succeed in most of the others' eyes and win their favour, but he's a resilient bugger. It's a comfortable environment on the whole and mostly people just stay out of a discussion they think they can't handle - usually the ones about 20th century philosophers and their mathematical models.

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PamJH


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 12:51am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
A resilient bugger, you say? Perhaps it's time to employ a philosophical bug spray.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 12:58am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
Socrates Multi-Purpose Gadfly Killer?

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PamJH


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 2:58am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
Something like that.

I like to have philosophical discussions, especially with my kids. For instance, if they tell me something (let's say a movie) is stupid, they have to tell what makes that thing stupid. This forces them to be more specific in their criticism. Further, they have to tell me what they would do to "unstupid" the thing they're criticizing.
This way they understand the nature of "stupid." As you can imagine, they try to avoid calling anything stupid just so they can avoid having to do the above. But I also find they're becoming more thoughtful people.

They've been asked to be part of a teen discussion group in which the kids will talk about what they see as important issues. The majority of the group, I fear, will only want to discuss religious topics in an attempt to get others to see their views. We run a secular homeschool where we live and let live. Therefore, my kids aren't well-versed in defending their nonreligious views, if you can call them that. I suppose this would be a good opportunity to help them acquire ammunition, if you will, to support their views. But my kids don't want to argue. They simply say people should keep their religious views to themselves.

At any rate, it should be interesting.

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Nitro


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 4:21am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
I don't know nuttin' 'bout birthin' no babies!

There's all kinds of shit I don't know shit about and figure if I even get to study half of all the things I hope to, I'll likely never, never, never be a real master at 'em before I reach my lifelong goal of dieing young and penniless in Spain.

But there's all kinds of shit I'd be quite content with never knowing. Like how loud a well fed Sumo wrestler can fart and for how long.

Or why Donald Trump insists on that ridiculous hair do. He has so much money and that's the best he can do? Trumpy baby, hire a better stylist for the love of god.

It is sad to me that I will die not knowing so much information out there from personal experience. I don't want to read about the South Pacific, I want to GO there. I want to ride a train from France down into Spain with a few torrid love affairs thrown in for good measure. I want to sit with an intimate panel of brainiacs, real brainiacs, and ask my lay questions about science to them and delight in their attempts to dumb their answers down for me.

I'd also like the knowledge of living with the sick and poor in a way that will make me useful to them. At least once before I did I want to sit "...with the least of these..." and that's coming from an atheist

I want to eat some more good German bread, freshly baked and loll on a train down the Rhine.

oops....Ambien's kickin' in now....blurrgg

Really? Wow.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 8:44am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
You are definitely the right people among whom I should have raised this

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Maxx England


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 11:46am Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
I rejoice both in my ignorance and my relaxation in enjoying nibbling away at the edge of the mountain of knowledge. I am an ant, I touch feelers with others an leave better informed (although, to paraphrase Sidney Smith, no wiser).

The only way is forward. Now where's the bar?

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PamJH


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 1:45pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
I also take comfort in knowing that since the time of Descartes (and even before) men and women of learning found a need to specialize. The days of having a wide breadth knowledge about many subjects were coming to a close simply because that knowledge was expanding by leaps and bounds. No one person could keep up with all of it. This was well explained in a marvelous book callled "Descartes' Bones."

I do think Maxx put it more poetically, however. Wish I'd thought of it. Maybe I can come up with a praying mantis analogy.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 2:02pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
And I want to read that book, but it seems that lack of interdisciplinary knowledge is also proving to be a major flaw in the specialised sciences. Mathematics is necessary in philosophy; Biology is necessary in physics(or rather a knoweledge of biology helps a physicist avoid some misconceptions). CP Snow addresses the problem in his lecture "The 2 Worlds", which I must also read sometime dammit, in which he criticises the widening gulf between the arts and the sciences and especially the arrogant superiority of those in the arts who believe their notions of truth, beauty and social justice (to name but a few) are solely their preserve and superior to the sciences, who they label blinkered - pot kettle black.
I, sadly, was one of those types myself and am now kicking myself for being a scientific dunce, but where do I begin to redress the balance given the limited free time I have and my existing lack of inclination?

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Nitro


Member

Posted Mon Mar 16th, 2009 6:59pm Post subject: This alone I know, and that is the fact that I know nothing
You must know about Abelard since you're into philosophy Mr.Steed. He was considered at his time to be the best mind on the topic. And I believe that philosophy was used like any other specific science as an attempt to explain the workings of the physical world. Not just a "What's the meaning of Life?" pondering.

I agree, too, that specialization is not necessarily the answer. Science, as a broad term, is cross disciplinary. Many of the 'great minds of history' were not specialists. Being well rounded was considered crucial.

Really? Wow.

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