Philosophy of Science and the Scientific Method


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"Scientific Method" is in the title of the thread. It is the backbone of what we think of as science these days. If you're not talking about it, then I've really got nothing else to say here.

(And I'll try to live up to that, but I keep getting sucked back in.)


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thejeff wrote:
"Scientific Method" is in the title of the thread. It is the backbone of what we think of as science these days. If you're not talking about it, then I've really got nothing else to say here.

And the backbone is all you pay attention to?

Quote:
(And I'll try to live up to that, but I keep getting sucked back in.)

You need better answers (or any answers at all really) if you're going to keep deriding me and my position like that.

-Well, thats not in line with what everyone thinks...- is how a religion responds to a challenge, not how ideas grounded in reality do.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:


Because maths is absolutely fundamental for understanding physics (speaking here as a totally unbiased pure mathematician, of course :) )
but philosophy and mathematics are also historically intrinsically linked. Many of the ancient greeks, like Thales and the Pythagoreans were both mathematicians and philosophers

This has already been addressed. Do we need to understand alchemy to understand physics too?

Just because a few hundred years ago science, math, and philosophy all fell under the purview of "the smartguy" does not mean that everything that they did was equally useful.

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and many skills, like making logical deductions, are common to both.
Logic works in math because its a logical system. The universe, not so much, particularly when most of philosophy seems to consist of word games making semi artificial categories out of things.

Chemistry, BNW; alchemy is chemistry now, not physics.


Hitdice wrote:


Chemistry, BNW; alchemy is chemistry now, not physics.

but the physicist also used to be an alchemist. In fact THE physics guy (newton) was the head of an alchemical publication for several years. If philosophy is valuable because the people who made science what it is today were also philosophers then that logic goes double for alchemy.


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Yeah, I get you. I just think you're undermining your point when you offer alchemy as an example of useless pre-science when it developed directly into chemistry. Like, within the written record of modern english.


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Hitdice wrote:
Yeah, I get you. I just think you're undermining your point when you offer alchemy as an example of useless pre-science when it developed directly into chemistry. Like, within the written record of modern english.

Do we still teach alchemy, set up an alchemy department, and let the theories of alchemy dictate how we define what science does, right down to denying heliocentrism as a reality and relegating it to a mere model?

NO! Its a historical footnote you get on the first day of chemistry class and you move on. And that was for something that even kinda sorta worked at stuff it wasn't trying to do. Philosophy shouldn't even begetting THAT much credit.


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Philosophy of doughnuts
mmm doughnuts

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Pink Dragon wrote:

OK, thanks BNW. I misread The Jeff's post.

You state that philosophy is investigation of the world through primarily speculative means while science is the investigation of the world primarily through observational and experimental means. Yet physics departments around the world are full of string theorists, string theory being essentially an exercise in speculation given the dearth of observation and experiments to verify the theory's correctness.

Not very fond of string hypothesisists. Right down to trying to spell/say that name because of their misuse and denigration of the word theory.

What String people are doing now isn't really that different than what Albert Einstein was doing during his spare time at the Patent office, the essence of theorectical physics. The occupational hazard of the job, is that you have to accept the risk that you might be spending your entire career. walking in a blind alley.


LazarX wrote:


What String people are doing now isn't really that different than what Albert Einstein was doing during his spare time at the Patent office, the essence of theorectical physics. The occupational hazard of the job, is that you have to accept the risk that you might be spending your entire career. walking in a blind alley.

ok, and how do we tell Einstein from HP lovecraft?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:


What String people are doing now isn't really that different than what Albert Einstein was doing during his spare time at the Patent office, the essence of theorectical physics. The occupational hazard of the job, is that you have to accept the risk that you might be spending your entire career. walking in a blind alley.

ok, and how do we tell Einstein from HP lovecraft?

I don't get the question.


Wsit...I must have missed something. People are considering Alchemy as science now? What's next...people stating that magic is real and that the world is flat OR that the sun and the universe revolves around the earth which is the center of the universe?

I must have missed something big time. I thought this was a thread about science?

The only thing I saw scientific in the most recent posts was the correlation between physics and math. Physics and math are almost the same thing in many regards...with Physics just being applied math as opposed to just being math (In my view).

Why we are discussing flawed ideas that were more akin to spiritualism and magic from over 300 to 400 years ago seems rather bizarre.

As I said, I must have missed something here.

I suppose if we want to get humorous, in response to the question how do we tell Einstein from Lovecraft...

Einstein used math in his theories of the universe...

Lovecraft used...philosophy? Actually, more of it was just trying to utilize emotional triggers to make people feel a certain way reading his stories...so would that be...psychology...if anything. Though in truth I don't think he was using any science at all and was probably just writing what he thought was cool at the time. [remember, I'm trying to be sort of humorous in this response...though I may be failing badly...the tentacle guys behind me make it hard to concentrate].


LazarX wrote:


I don't get the question.

How do we know if the person speculating is right?


GreyWolfLord wrote:

Wsit...I must have missed something. People are considering Alchemy as science now? What's next...people stating that magic is real and that the world is flat OR that the sun and the universe revolves around the earth which is the center of the universe?

I must have missed something big time. I thought this was a thread about science?

The only thing I saw scientific in the most recent posts was the correlation between physics and math. Physics and math are almost the same thing in many regards...with Physics just being applied math as opposed to just being math (In my view).

Why we are discussing flawed ideas that were more akin to spiritualism and magic from over 300 to 400 years ago seems rather bizarre.

As I said, I must have missed something here.

I suppose if we want to get humorous, in response to the question how do we tell Einstein from Lovecraft...

Einstein used math in his theories of the universe...

Lovecraft used...philosophy? Actually, more of it was just trying to utilize emotional triggers to make people feel a certain way reading his stories...so would that be...psychology...if anything. Though in truth I don't think he was using any science at all and was probably just writing what he thought was cool at the time. [remember, I'm trying to be sort of humorous in this response...though I may be failing badly...the tentacle guys behind me make it hard to concentrate].

On the development of alchemy into chemistry, it wasn't people, it was just me. Newton used a crazy alchemy manual with a legend as a recipe for an alchemical process, and when we create the exact same alloy in the modern day and age, we call it a chemical process. I'll freely admit that pre-Enlightment alchemy had a much broader meaning than chemistry does now, but it's pretty obvious to me that one lead to the other.


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Applying the improvements in philosophy to alchemy we ended up with modern chemistry. We know that's what happened, because some of the "fathers" of modern chemistry were once alchemists, but they're also contributors to philosophical improvements in general for science.

Applying those same improvements in philosophy to HP Lovecraft, we find that we don't end up in any scientific field.

Alchemy was a field of science without the benefit of the modern scientific method. It went in many crazy directions, but it also produced methods, techniques and information that are still used today in both engineering and science.


Hitdice wrote:
On the development of alchemy into chemistry, it wasn't people, it was just me

awww its ok. We think you're people.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
How do we know if the person speculating is right?

With work and time the better ideas for explaining the universe will be borne out, usually with some revision. In Einstein's case it was a decade or two. In Democritus' case it was a few millennia. In the case of string theorists, it remains to be seen.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:


I don't get the question.
How do we know if the person speculating is right?

What you're asking there is a philosophical question.

Not just any question, but a question that spawned at least one entire school of philosophical thought: empiricism.

Empiricism is a school of philosophical thought that believes the nature of reality is best described through observation. The more observations you have of something, the more likely that it is true (as opposed to your fevered imaginings).

More specifically, if you want to know the relationship between two phenomena, you create an experiment and observe that, in an environment controlled against outside factors.

When you say you dislike string theorists, I imagine it is because their "theories" are not empirical. They are based on conjecture, and however mathematically sound their conjecture is it is not empirical i.e. based on direct observation. At the same time, I think we will both agree that once that evidence is observed (and published) we may change our minds, because we are rational folk.

You and I are philosophers. Specifically, we are empiricists. We are also rational, in that we believe in the power of reason.

As you say, when things are no longer of use (or sufficiently accurate) we discard them. This is also a philosophical argument. Many schools of philosophical thought are no longer useful or sufficiently accurate, and we have justly discarded them.

Similarly, alchemy has been justly discarded, even though many practitioners were inarguably scientists.

So, when I talk about science I don't talk about its missteps, its egregious errors, its laughable side-show offspring, I talk about the best things that it has brought us. Closer to understanding our universe. Therefore, when we talk about philosophy, shouldn't we talk about the best things that have come from it (science, the enlightenment, etc.) rather than its missteps?

Furthermore, just as we learn from a failed experiment as much as a successful one, in part because we (hopefully) learn WHY it failed, we learn as much from demonstrably wrong philosophy because we are able to hone our minds into a sharp stick of reason by disassembling arrogant half-truths and anachronistic misapprehensions.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:


I don't get the question.
How do we know if the person speculating is right?

That's the big risk you take in being on the edge of theoretical physics. Right now the frontier area is string physics. Whichever of the four you're backing as a scientist, you've got a good chance of being wrong. or for that matter all of the four. and you can still be doing everything in the right way. Einstein could have easily been wrong... in fact we're not sure he was wrong in dismissing the "Ether" as he saw it.


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Meatrace wrote:

What you're asking there is a philosophical question.

Not just any question, but a question that spawned at least one entire school of philosophical thought: empiricism.

HEY! You're alive. Well..dead..erm..here.

Any question could be considered a philosophical question.

The problem is what does philosophy answer, or more pedantically what does philosophy answer well?

Quote:
Empiricism is a school of philosophical thought that believes the nature of reality is best described through observation. The more observations you have of something, the more likely that it is true (as opposed to your fevered imaginings).

Thats a bit of equivocation: philosophy as a school of thought vs. philosophy as a truth discovering endeavor.

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More specifically, if you want to know the relationship between two phenomena, you create an experiment and observe that, in an environment controlled against outside factors.

Which is more or less admiting this whole speculating thing isn't good enough. Its the anti philosophy philosophy ( anti navel contemplating sschool of thought)

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When you say you dislike string theorists, I imagine it is because their "theories" are not empirical. They are based on conjecture, and however mathematically sound their conjecture is it is not empirical i.e. based on direct observation. At the same time, I think we will both agree that once that evidence is observed (and published) we may change our minds, because we are rational folk.

You and I are philosophers. Specifically, we are empiricists. We are also rational, in that we believe in the power of reason.

As you say, when things are no longer of use (or sufficiently accurate) we discard them. This is also a philosophical argument. Many schools of philosophical thought are no longer useful or sufficiently accurate, and we have justly discarded them.

Similarly, alchemy has been justly discarded, even though many practitioners were inarguably scientists.

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So, when I talk about science I don't talk about its missteps, its egregious errors, its laughable side-show offspring

Hey, phrenology could make a comeback!

Quote:
I talk about the best things that it has brought us. Closer to understanding our universe. Therefore, when we talk about philosophy, shouldn't we talk about the best things that have come from it (science, the enlightenment, etc.) rather than its missteps?

What have you done for me lately?

Science is a rejection of philosophy. If the best part of a bad relationship is that when you dumped them you found a good relationship... that was still a bad relationship.

Quote:
Furthermore, just as we learn from a failed experiment as much as a successful one, in part because we (hopefully) learn WHY it failed, we learn as much from demonstrably wrong philosophy because we are able to hone our minds into a sharp stick of reason by disassembling arrogant half-truths and anachronistic misapprehensions.

Not going to work. Empirically humanity is the history of never learning from history.


LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:


I don't get the question.
How do we know if the person speculating is right?
That's the big risk you take in being on the edge of theoretical physics. Right now the frontier area is string physics. Whichever of the four you're backing as a scientist, you've got a good chance of being wrong. or for that matter all of the four. and you can still be doing everything in the right way. Einstein could have easily been wrong... in fact we're not sure he was wrong in dismissing the "Ether" as he saw it.

We saw the light bend in the eclipse.

Big bomb go boom.

So we know he was on to something...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:


I don't get the question.
How do we know if the person speculating is right?
That's the big risk you take in being on the edge of theoretical physics. Right now the frontier area is string physics. Whichever of the four you're backing as a scientist, you've got a good chance of being wrong. or for that matter all of the four. and you can still be doing everything in the right way. Einstein could have easily been wrong... in fact we're not sure he was wrong in dismissing the "Ether" as he saw it.

We saw the light bend in the eclipse.

Big bomb go boom.

So we know he was on to something...

Actually, despite common belief.. Einstein's work on relativity had nothing to do with any booms, big or small. His only involvement was in a letter with other scientists urging Roosevelt to engage in an atomic weapons program. Proof of relativity would come in other ways.. decades in coming.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

What have you done for me lately?

Science is a rejection of philosophy. If the best part of a bad relationship is that when you dumped them you found a good relationship... that was still a bad relationship.

And this is where you lose me. You continue to insist on a rhetorical definition of philosophy which does not fit the standard definition.

Your rhetorical definition that philosophy=bad and discarded philosophy is precisely as disingenuous as if I were to define science as only bad and discarded science (phrenology, alchemy, spontaneous generation, Brontosauri, etc.)

When you say "what has it done for me lately" you expose your ignorance. Science has done nothing for you or I. It is technology that has improved our lives, which is the principles of science applied by humans to improve our quality of life. At least ostensibly, much of technological progress has instead been a burden on us.

Similarly, philosophy has done nothing for you or I because philosophy isn't a physical thing capable of manifesting in the world without human actors to implement the ideas therein.

You could argue for the value of scientific knowledge merely existing, and I would concur, but then you would have to acknowledge the value of philosophical wisdom existing, even if they are not perfectly implemented (i.e. the legal system and its system of argumentation, our political system which was the result of a centuries-long argument about how best to govern, and so on).

P.S. Yes, I'm alive and well, and living in Tokyo!


Also, the rhetorical argument "humans never learn from history" is flawed. While we may not consciously make changes in our behavior, in aggregate, due to past missteps, humanity responds to incentives, both individually and in aggregate.

When we discovered that living together, creating edifices, and cultivating certain crops worked better and made for a lower mortality than hunting and gathering, we started to do that. And thus civilization and agriculture were born. The fact that there are notable exceptions to this rule doesn't invalidate that we are, almost universally, a city-living species where once we were not.

The point is "learn from history" is a fundamentally flawed argument because it misses the point on how we, as a species, operate in aggregate.

Here endeth the lesson.

:P


meatrace wrote:


Your rhetorical definition that philosophy=bad and discarded philosophy is precisely as disingenuous as if I were to define science as only bad and discarded science

The definition of philosophy I'm using is that its investigation of the universe done chiefly by speculative means.

Definitions of philosophy that make it useful have it synonymous with thinking.

Many philosophy books seem to start off with how hard the philosophical question of defining philosophy is...

(phrenology, alchemy, spontaneous generation, Brontosauri, etc.)

Brontosaurus is back!

Quote:
When you say "what has it done for me lately" you expose your ignorance. Science has done nothing for you or I. It is technology that has improved our lives, which is the principles of science applied by humans to improve our quality of life. At least ostensibly, much of technological progress has instead been a burden on us.

The link between the two is pretty obvious. Yes there's some lag time in between finding the thing and making use of it ("to the electron! May it never be of any use to anyone!")

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Similarly, philosophy has done nothing for you or I because philosophy isn't a physical thing capable of manifesting in the world without human actors to implement the ideas therein.

This is silly. Asking what a process has lead to does not imply some sort of personification.

Quote:
You could argue for the value of scientific knowledge merely existing, and I would concur, but then you would have to acknowledge the value of philosophical wisdom existing, even if they are not perfectly implemented (i.e. the legal system and its system of argumentation, our political system which was the result of a centuries-long argument about how best to govern, and so on).

Something that is in all likelyhood useless information (paleontology for example) is still information about something that objectively exists in reality. "Philosophical wisdom" does not. It really seems no better than turning to a random facebook page to see what people think.

Phylogeny on the other hand seems pretty arbitrary...

Quote:
P.S. Yes, I'm alive and well, and living in Tokyo!

Do people point and go "LOOK ITS GODZILLIA?" when you walk down the street? How do you fit? I'm only 6 3 and I remember people pointing and staring at me in mauritania.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:


Brontosaurus is back!

So, a few months ago, if I asked a paleontologist and a drunkard outside a bar whether there's been brontosauri, the drunkard would be more likely to give the correct answer than the paleontologist.

WHY DO WE NEED SCIENCE?!?!? D': bwa bwa


Gaberlunzie wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Brontosaurus is back!

So, a few months ago, if I asked a paleontologist and a drunkard outside a bar whether there's been brontosauri, the drunkard would be more likely to give the correct answer than the paleontologist.

WHY DO WE NEED SCIENCE?!?!? D': bwa bwa

To keep the drunk relevant for a few months rather than 2,000 years.

the beer gets skunked by then...


BigNorseWolf wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Your rhetorical definition that philosophy=bad and discarded philosophy is precisely as disingenuous as if I were to define science as only bad and discarded science

The definition of philosophy I'm using is that its investigation of the universe done chiefly by speculative means.

So you think there is no place for speculation in science or maths? You'd be wrong on that. Admittedly, the speculation is followed up by working out how you might test speculative ideas, but it still has a place.

In fact, mathematical staples, like proof by negation or proof by contradiction seem to me to both be essentially speculative - i.e.. what would happen if the thing we wanted to prove was actually false...


Chiefly.

CHIEFcook and bottlewasher should spot that :)


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Your rhetorical definition that philosophy=bad and discarded philosophy is precisely as disingenuous as if I were to define science as only bad and discarded science
The definition of philosophy I'm using is that its investigation of the universe done chiefly by speculative means.

So, yes, a pejorative rhetorical definition.

Heck, let's just wiki it:

"Philosophy is the study of the general and fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language."

"As a method, philosophy is often distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its questioning, critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument"

I think the link between philosophy and all the useful fruits of such in our life (Democracy, skepticism, science, social sciences, reason, intellectual curiosity, formalized argumenation, logic and computer sciences, etc.) but it's no use arguing with someone who just poo-poos these things and sticks his head in the sand.


meatrace wrote:


So, yes, a pejorative rhetorical definition.

b : a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means

Quote:

"Philosophy is the study of the general and fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language."

"As a method, philosophy is often distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its questioning, critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument"

What other ways would those be? You're defining philosophy as science, math, linguistics, learning, morals, reason, and pretty much just thinking in general.

Quote:
I think the link between philosophy and all the useful fruits of such in our life (Democracy, skepticism, science, social sciences, reason, intellectual curiosity, formalized argumenation, logic and computer sciences, etc.) but it's no use arguing with someone who just poo-poos these things and sticks his head in the sand.

Given the current politics wouldn't the connection just be an excuse to BLAME philosophy for it... :)


Your Daily Reminder that according to Merriam-Webster, cherries and raspberries are tomatos.

Hence why generalized dictionaries are at best a good quick guideline to be in the right ballpark of what a word means, not something to fall back on in a more serious discussion. And it's even more so for M-W's first definitions, as those are deliberately made to be even shorter and less precise (and why calling a raspberry a tomato would be correct according to that method). They're like the Simple English of wikipedia. Which isn't bad, it's a very useful tool, but actually using them as a source in a serious discussion is useless.

Not to mention how creationists would love to throw around M-W's definition of "theory" to show that evolution is just "possibly true but that is not known or proven to be true".

Liberty's Edge

Gaberlunzie wrote:

Your Daily Reminder that according to Merriam-Webster, cherries and raspberries are tomatos.

Hence why generalized dictionaries are at best a good quick guideline to be in the right ballpark of what a word means, not something to fall back on in a more serious discussion. And it's even more so for M-W's first definitions, as those are deliberately made to be even shorter and less precise (and why calling a raspberry a tomato would be correct according to that method). They're like the Simple English of wikipedia. Which isn't bad, it's a very useful tool, but actually using them as a source in a serious discussion is useless.

Not to mention how creationists would love to throw around M-W's definition of "theory" to show that evolution is just "possibly true but that is not known or proven to be true".

Considering that neither the cherry or raspberry are: a) berries, b) native to South America, or c) members of the Lycopersicon genus you are completely wrong.


Gaberlunzie wrote:


Not to mention how creationists would love to throw around M-W's definition of "theory" to show that evolution is just "possibly true but that is not known or proven to be true".

Which is exactly how the philosophy of science treats ANY idea, no matter how well proven* . Creationist doing that and the philosophers argeeing with them is one of the main sources of my annoyances with the philosophy of science.


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Krensky wrote:


Considering that neither the cherry or raspberry are: a) berries, b) native to South America, or c) members of the Lycopersicon genus you are completely wrong.

The first definition, in the same section where BNW found his definition of philosophy:

Quote:
: a round, soft, red fruit that is eaten raw or cooked and that is often used in salads, sandwiches, sauces, etc.

Cherries and raspberries are both round(ish - a tomato isn't spherical either), soft, red fruits and both are often eaten raw or cooked (as jam) and are used in (fruit) salads or (jam) sandwhiches or in sauces.

Note that BNW did not quote the whole list of definitions, but just the first, short one, for which the corresponding definition of tomato is the one mentioned above. Hence:
"even more so for M-W's first definitions, as those are deliberately made to be even shorter and less precise"


There is a difference between a description and a definition, Gaberlunzie. The quote is a good description, as such things go. If you want a definition, a biology/taxonomy book might be a better choice, hmm?


Sissyl wrote:
There is a difference between a description and a definition, Gaberlunzie. The quote is a good description, as such things go. If you want a definition, a biology/taxonomy book might be a better choice, hmm?

Yes. Which is my point. Though M-W used the word definition; it's not like there's a hard line between them. Read the last dozen posts or so though, the context I made my post in (by bolding):

BigNorseWolf wrote:
The definition of philosophy I'm using is that its investigation of the universe done chiefly by speculative means.
meatrace wrote:


So, yes, a pejorative rhetorical definition.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
b : a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means

The last post BNW linked to Merriam-Webster, which has the quoted description/definition in the top center area right under the header "Philosophy".

That's why I posted that according to the same metric, that is, defining the word by the top-center definition under the header of "Tomato" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, cherries and raspberries can accurately be described as a tomato.

It was intended as a tongue in cheek way to point out that using general dictionaries - and the first short-hand description in them in particular - as sources of definition in a serious discussion, is useless.

If I want to know what a tomato is, and have a good, solid definition, I want a biology or taxonomy or gastronomy book or whatever depending on the purpose I need the definition for. Likewise, if I want to know what philosophy is and have a good, solid definition, I should aim for a book that deals primarily with philosophy, not a general dictionary.

Sorry if my tone didn't come through in the text. I did not mean that cherries are actually tomatos or that dictionaries in themselves are bad. It's just that using them to define words about a certain topic in a serious discussion is generally a bad idea.


Then give me a definition of philosophy that isn't neigh synonymous with thinking. The definition I quoted is what most people think of as philosophy, what you'd learn in philosophy class, what a philosophy major would primarily do etc.


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Not all thinking is philosophy?

Because, believe me, there is nothing philosophical about my thoughts if, for example, I tread on a d4 in bare feet!


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We've all been there. *winces*


If I had to draw one huge difference between philosophy and religion, it would be miracles. Philosophy, no matter how far from the hard sciences, doesn't allow for miracles, whereas religion does. Like, a lot.

As for a definition that isn't synonymous with thinking, I'm not sure you can do that. I mean, the natural process of rational though and logic that humans perform just standing around looking at stuff developed into philosophy, so that's a very fuzzy edged border. Then again, I'm the guy who thinks that the only difference between alchemy and chemistry is 500 years.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Then give me a definition of philosophy that isn't neigh synonymous with thinking. The definition I quoted is what most people think of as philosophy, what you'd learn in philosophy class, what a philosophy major would primarily do etc.

You're not going to get one.. Philosophy, unlike the material sciences isn't a uniform lockstep discipline. On the other hand, it's arguable that what most people have for mental processes only barely qualifies as thought.


LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Then give me a definition of philosophy that isn't neigh synonymous with thinking. The definition I quoted is what most people think of as philosophy, what you'd learn in philosophy class, what a philosophy major would primarily do etc.

You're not going to get one.. Philosophy, unlike the material sciences isn't a uniform lockstep discipline. On the other hand, it's arguable that what most people have for mental processes only barely qualifies as thought.

Then I don't see the problem with my definition.


LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Then give me a definition of philosophy that isn't neigh synonymous with thinking. The definition I quoted is what most people think of as philosophy, what you'd learn in philosophy class, what a philosophy major would primarily do etc.

You're not going to get one..

Actually, he already got one. "As a method, philosophy is often distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its questioning, critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument."

As opposed, to example, the discussions of esthetic value in the fine arts, which are very rarely systematic and almost never rational, instead focusing either on the emotional response of a participant or audience member, or perhaps on the message conveyed by the artist. In extreme cases (e.g. postmodernism), this is often turned into an introspective "the message received by the participant/audience member" with an explicit denial that the artist's desires or intentions are relevant -- which is about as explicit a rejection of systematicity as you can get.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Then give me a definition of philosophy that isn't neigh synonymous with thinking. The definition I quoted is what most people think of as philosophy, what you'd learn in philosophy class, what a philosophy major would primarily do etc.

You're not going to get one..

Actually, he already got one. "As a method, philosophy is often distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its questioning, critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument."

As opposed, to example, the discussions of esthetic value in the fine arts, which are very rarely systematic and almost never rational, instead focusing either on the emotional response of a participant or audience member, or perhaps on the message conveyed by the artist. In extreme cases (e.g. postmodernism), this is often turned into an introspective "the message received by the participant/audience member" with an explicit denial that the artist's desires or intentions are relevant -- which is about as explicit a rejection of systematicity as you can get.

Or as opposed to his standard "rambling drunk in a bar". Who is also rarely systematic or rational.

Grand Lodge

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Then give me a definition of philosophy that isn't neigh synonymous with thinking. The definition I quoted is what most people think of as philosophy, what you'd learn in philosophy class, what a philosophy major would primarily do etc.

You're not going to get one.. Philosophy, unlike the material sciences isn't a uniform lockstep discipline. On the other hand, it's arguable that what most people have for mental processes only barely qualifies as thought.
Then I don't see the problem with my definition.

The only problem with your definition is your belief that it is complete, when it really only scratches the surface.


I just can't resist...

Monty Python


Stand up philosopher


Star Wars philosophers

Sovereign Court

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A modern ethical dilemma.


KingOfAnything wrote:
A modern ethical dilemma.

Interesting read. The obvious solution is to ban cars and redirect efforts to mass transit, bicycling and walking.

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