In remembrance of 9/11/01



Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
Nov 20th, 2017, 11:29pm EST

Home Home Help Help Search Search Members Members GamesGames Login Login Register Register
Fantasyfootballer.com's Gridiron G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner

"Welcome to 'the Gridiron'... Fantasy football at its best!"

Fantasy Football News Feed Co-commissioner Services Add "the Gridiron" to your site
Lend a hand...  Make a donation to "the Gridiron"!!!
   Fantasyfootballer.com's Gridiron
   the Gridiron
   the Sidelines
(Moderators: Replay Official, Side Judge, Line Judge, Umpire, Head Linesman, Back Judge, Field Judge, Referee)
   G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
Previous topic|Next topic
Pages: 1  Reply Reply Notify of replies Notify of replies Send Topic Send Topic Print Print
   Author  Topic: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner  (Read 2306 times)
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« on: Jan 2nd, 2008, 2:54am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify


  
 
All are welcome to partake...  If you are going to jump in (the fray), though, just beware...  I suspect that this is going to be a heavily academic environment...
 
This conversation began toward the bottom of the following page:  http://www.fantasyfootballer.com/cgi-bin/theGridiron/YaBB.cgi?board=58;a ction=display;num=1037240341;start=25.  I started this thread so as to cease our hijacking of that, our "G.T.K.Y.G. - Book Club" thread.
 
on Sep 3rd, 2007, 7:05pm, T-Rave wrote:
Interesting post, Steg.  Very informative.  
 
It seems to me that the original proposition that I sought to tweak was that religion is the underpinning of ethics (and, by extension, ethical action) in the West to the degree that without religion ethics crumbles (in the Western understanding).  I think we found agreement in this "middle" position, namely, that while religion does provide a support for and insight into ethics and ethical action, at least in the West, nevertheless, ethics is not solely based upon revealed (and therefore at least somewhat inaccessible to reason) religion, but rather is founded in an understanding of human nature and human ends.  Ethics, per se, is a philosophical study and endeavor, and not merely a religious one, despite the fact that religion plays a large role in the underpinning and framework of ethics.
 
So far, so good.  Actually, I think this really completes the original point under consideration.  But you have taken this point as a springboard to discuss the difference between Western and Eastern philosophy, and this is very intriguing to me, so I would like to address it.
 
Firstly, I would question whether Heraclitus' philosophy is a "philosophy of change" in contra-position to a "philosophy of the one behind the many."  In fact, I would claim that Heraclitus' philosophy is precisely a philosophy of the one behind the many.  Throughout the fragments of his writings that we have left, he constantly refers to the logos, the immortal fire, underlying all things, that makes all things one.  To appearances, all things are in motion and are different; in reality, all things are one: "The wise man perceives that all things are one."
 
Secondly, characterizing Western thought as the philosophy of the One behind the many, in contradistinction to Eastern thought as the philosophy of the many in front of the one, seems to me to be a Platonizing of the Western intellectual tradition.  Certainly Plato's thought could be characterized as a philosophy of the One behind the many, for Plato sought precisely the One, the Form, behind its many particular instances in the world we live in.  However, Aristotelianism runs off a different paradigm.  The Aristotelian (and, later on, Thomistic) inquiry into human nature, into the nature of things, and ultimately into being itself is not a philosophy of the One behind the many, as if it were a search for the one form or nature that stands behind the many things that instantiate it.  Rather, it is a search for the one form or nature that is WITHIN the many things that instantiate it.  THIS is the difference between Platonism and Aristotelianism: the forms, the natures of things -- i.e., the intelligible structure of things -- which we seek in order to understand them DOES NOT LIE BEHIND THEM, as if we have to get through the many particulars to arrive at this ONE, but rather LIES WITHIN THEM, such that delving into the many, the particular things in the world we live in brings us inexorably to the forms/natures that are within these many as their constitutve principles.  Whence Plato's dismissal of the many and Aristotle's appreciation for the many.  
 
I would say, to open another can of worms, that unless you search for the one (the form or nature) that lies within the many particular things that instantiate it, you aren't doing philosophy.  In fact, you HAVE to deal with and talk about and delineate the one within the many, and common speech bears this out.  For example, to even come up with the word "humankind" implies an (at least latent or unconscious) understanding of what it means to be human -- this "what it means to be human" is precisely the One/form/nature within the many human beings that are human, and if you don't deal with this one form, you can't talk about "humankind" but only about "Socrates" and "Jim-Bob" and "President Bush" etc.  Language, therefore, presupposes an understanding of the one form/nature within the many instances that exemplify it.  To deal only with the many instances is to never rise above the level of the particular, to never arrive at knowledge (e.g., to never arrive at knowledge of "human nature"/"humankind" or "justice" or "virtue").  I would imagine that Eastern philosophy has to deal with the One within the many, even if merely because language itself requires it.  So I guess I'm asking for a clarification of what "philosophy of the many in front of the one" means, since it seems to me that it can't rule out "philosophy of the one within the many."
 
Thirdly, as far as ethics is concerned, I don't think Aristotle's ethical theory is a "rationalistic agent-oriented virtue ethics" by way of its "Doctrine of the Mean."  The very point Aristotle was trying to make is that you cannot universalize/rationalize/define what is virtuous in this or that situation (in the PARTICULAR) -- you can define what justice or courage or temperance is but you cannot delineate what would constitute virtuous action in each and every situation.  For such "practical" decisions, the virtue of prudence is required: prudence "looks" at the situation, the circumstances, the object, the act, etc. and decides what is the virtuous course of action.  The standard of virtue for Aristotle is not some rational definition (not even the "mean" acts as a definition of virtue): rather, the VIRTUOUS MAN himself is the standard of virtue.  The mean is merely a phenomenological conclusion about the relationship of virtue to action -- virtue lies in the middle of two vices (to be a virtuous act, an act of courage must be neither cowardly nor rash).  The mean does not serve as any sort of ethical guide, at least not very well, because certain virtues lean more to the side of one vice than the other.  THE guide for virtue is the virtuous man -- more precisely, the virtue of prudence by which the virtuous man apprehends what is the virtuous act in this or that situation.  So, at the end of the day, Aristotle's ethical theory seems to me to be much more "down-to-earth" and non-rationalistic than some seem to claim.
 
Thoughts?

 
Background Teaser - Thomas and Aristotle meet Confucius and Laozi (and HHDL and, most remarkably, JPII)
 
Title - Ontology versus Self-cultivation
 
Subtitle - What it means to be human considered Ontologically or in terms of the Philosophy of Being or the Philosophy of Truth versus what it means to be human considered in terms of the Philosophy of Self-cultivation or the Philosophy of Action
 
Recently, someone asked me what (I thought) the difference between Philosophy and Psychology or Psychiatry was.  My lay response was that, while the two camps often wrestle with issues in the same ballpark, Psychology/Psychiatry looks out at others, patients or a sample populace, for the answers to its questions, whereas, in Philosophy one confronts the issues by confronting oneself.  This is why, I like to think, psychologists and psychiatrists can't treat themselves.  Psychiatrists need to lie on the couches of other psychiatrists to get their heads screwed on straight.  As a psychologist's/psychiatrist's "objective" techniques and theories are made to apply to others, they do not lend themselves to being turned back on oneself.  An analogy, it would be like trying to apply the theories of Economics to your personal finances.  In this sense, this got me to thinking, in the spirit of (Father Pritzl's speech at CUA's '05 graduation ceremony that I heard about and) Epictetus's "be a philosopher or one of the mob" from the Enchiridion, there are basically two fields of study, Philosophy and everything else, "externals" in the words of Epictetus.  As I thought more about this, however, I came to think that this is more so the case with Eastern Philosophy than Western thought.  This is because in the Western brand of Philosophy we tend to systematize, and, even though the philosopher may begin by confronting things via self-reflection, it ends up becoming about the system, i.e., we've got ourselves an external object to focus on and, moreover, divert our attention.  Yet, a misunderstanding about Eastern Philosophy pervades, that it is ultimately merely about self-help and, thus, that it lacks (philosophical) depth.  VERY wrong, as I hope shines through in what follows...
 
(Continued in next post...)
« Last Edit: May 22nd, 2012, 4:45am by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Club
« Reply #1 on: Jan 2nd, 2008, 3:19am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Now, without any more ado, I want to address some specifics of your post, and then do some general philosophizing.  As for your post, first and foremost, I want to say that much of what you wrote confirms my insistence that Aristotle, Thomas and that particular line are overall a better source of resonance for Eastern thought than Plato and that particular line, including Nietzsche.  (Personally, I think the two of us, T, could carve out a nice professional niche for ourselves in the future doing collaborative work much the way Drs. Roger Ames and David Hall have made a HUGE splash bridging Classical Chinese Philosophy and American Pragmatism, which I think is a nice appetizer but not a delectable entree.  That is if you are willing to come over to the Eastern side of the ball a little bit.)  Now, for a few pointed critical reflections...
 
While I agree that ethics, per se, is a philosophical, not a religious matter... at all as I see it, I think "on the ground" in the West it is.  We philosophers doing our philosophizing is one thing, but for the people on the ground God and their religion has ALL to do with their morals and ethics.  The "problem of belief", I think, is the greatest (philosophical) challenge of our time.  To expedite what I'm getting at, I am going to insert an academic section of a recent statement of purpose that I wrote...
 
I DIGRESS...
    In general, in terms of content, my interest is in cross-traditional comparative philosophy.  More specifically, I am interested in building the bridge between East and West from Classical Chinese Thought, especially Confucius, and, secondarily, Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy, particularly the praxis of the present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to the Phenomenological Personalism of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II.  In terms of subject matter, the philosophical problem in which I am interested is the problem of belief.
     
    The gaps between each of the aforementioned philosophies are great in distance and precarious and will require no small effort to span.  Engaging Classical Chinese thought from any Christian perspective, moreover, in light of the scrutiny with which many of today's scholars look upon the early Jesuit interpretations of the Classics, is a tall order.  This too is the case with drawing comparisons between the historically contentious philosophies of China and Tibet, especially considering the ongoing negative political circumstances.  Also, it is no theological secret that Catholicism and Buddhism have contrasting metaphysical bases.  Yet, in all three philosophical paradigms, explicitly in Confucius and Wojtyla and matter-of-factly in Gyatso, I witness the same response to the problem of belief, one that provides a refreshing alternative to the (now) dead-end proposals of secularists.  I envision a project title along the lines of "The Suspension of Metaphysics:  A Response Gleaned from Confucius, Wojtyla and Gyatso to the Secular 'Solution' to the Problem of Belief".
     
    The fundamental thesis runs as follows.  Belief systems, understood as ontological and metaphysical beliefs transformed from an epistemological and existential coping device into pragmatic grounds of action and being in the world, i.e. from our way of coping with the unknown into dictating how we act, are what get us off common humanistic, socioethical ground.  The proposed secular solution that has pervaded has been the elimination of belief systems, and with this response secularists have advanced the discussion and truly gained the philosophical upper hand on metaphysicians and religious believers in this debate as I see it.  However, this solution changes neither the pervasiveness of (traditional) religions nor the reality that religious believers exist.  Put another way, while belief may be able to be theoretically dismissed or eliminated, believers (in the real world, double entendre intended) cannot be.  However, without belief systems, what are we to do with all of these beliefs?  Moreover, what is even the point of believing?  A suggested way around all this is a redefinition of religion in terms of a human- or earth-centered, immanental religiousness, leading to an elimination of metaphysics and ultimately even of belief itself.  Besides obviously begging the question, such further suggestions do nothing to advance the discussion.  They just bring it to a head.  This line of thinking calls for the victory of one side at the expense of the other, and, thus, we are left with a very contentious situation.
     
    I believe, however, that metaphysicians have a response that advances the discussion, one that, in fact, picks up where the secularists had admirably left off with the suggestion of an elimination of belief systems.  Moreover, it is one that religious believers have an incentive to, not just advance, but pursue.  It is not just the "give in", "cop out" move so en vogue nowadays of trading metaphysics in for phenomenology when it comes to (religious) belief, which, incidentally, has fueled the popularity of Zen but not necessarily for the right reasons.  It is a solution that can be gleaned from, of all philosophers, Confucius, notably at Analects 6.22 and 11.12.  It is a notion developed in the philosophy of Roman Catholic Phenomenological Personalism and appears latent in the dynamism of the two truths of Buddhism, especially as philosophically treated in the Prasangika Madhyamaka context of Tibet.  It is the "suspension (not elimination) of Metaphysics", moving in the direction of "the suspension of belief(s)".

 
Moving right along...
 
Your take on Heraclitus is very Copelstonian, which, of course, isn't necessarily a bad thing as I think you know that I hold Copelston and his voluminous History of Philosophy in extremely high regard.  However, while I agree with the take that Heraclitus isn't a total aberration from his tradition being a philosopher of change, I don't think the takes of Nietzsche and others can be totally dismissed.  Heraclitus was, relatively speaking, particularly attentive to the phenomena of change.  To the degree that he wasn't could be attributed, again, to the, albeit at the time nascent, tradition.  In any event, your take is really just Copelston's, and Copelston, despite my admiration for him, has his Christian Jesuit slant on things.
 
I don't like your continued use of the word "instantiate" after you made the switch from "behind" to "within".  If human nature is the one "behind" the many, the word "instantiate" is apropos.  Christmas cookies "instantiate" the form of the cookie-cutter.  They don't "extend" it.  Instantiation implies a disconnect.  However, if human nature is the one "within" the many, you've got to move to a word like "extend".  I think the opening sentence of your sixth paragraph should read, "I would say, to open another can of worms, that unless you search for the one (the form or nature) that lies within the many particular things that extend it, you aren't doing philosophy."  Offspring "extend" a bloodline.  They don't "instantiate" it.  Extension implies connection.  In this sense, if human nature is something within us, each and every human "extends", not "instantiates", human nature, and, as you can surmise, there are all kinds of philosophical ramifications of such a distinction, which you did not attend to when you made the switch in terms.  One obvious one is that the existence of human nature would be reliant on the existence of, at least, one human being.  Knowing your philosophical area(s) of interest and religious background, I wonder if this is a position you want to tacitly accept.  But, that is just the tip of the iceberg.  We don't want to get into the "analytical metaphysics" of the matter.  I know I don't. ...
 
One other picky point, I would prefer this following sentence of yours to read like this:  "For example, to even come up with the word 'humankind' implies a(n at least latent or unconscious) degree of understanding of what it means to be human..."  Point being, I don't think absolute understanding is required for language formation.  This is not the trivial point it may seem to be.  Some western philosophers of language hold language formation to a very (I think, unreasonably) high standard.  Even for someone coming from your position, I don't think you even think that a thorough understanding of the form or nature of a thing is necessary to adequately establish the similarities between particulars of a given thing for the purpose of language.  A general or basic understanding should suffice.  For me, I don't even need that much (in the context of the Western philosophical tradition, think of me as a Wittgensteinian in this respect), but, anyway, you get my small point.
 
Finally, while I see whence you are coming as regards Aristotelian ethics, my terming it a "virtue ethics" is surely a position I wouldn't have a hard time finding support for (Alasdair MacIntyre quickly comes to mind), and the "agent-oriented" and "rationalistic" addenda aren't too hard to make a case for, as well.  In fact, as you pointed out, that the virtuous man is himself the standard of virtue, that's basically what I meant by "agent-oriented", i.e. that the agent defines virtue as opposed to virtue's/virtues' defining the agent.  And, to the degree that anything Aristotle philosophized about could be coined rationalistic to one degree or another, vis-a-vis emotions-based, I think it's generally fair enough to term his ethics as rationalistic.  In addition, virtue ethics tends toward a rationalistic approach, whereas, say, value ethics tends to look more toward emotivity.  But, this is not a hill I'm willing to die on (Sokolowski quote ), T.  You're much more an Aristotle guy than me.
 
(Continued in next post...)
« Last Edit: May 19th, 2008, 5:15pm by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Club
« Reply #2 on: Jan 2nd, 2008, 3:21am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

For some general points...  First, I was surprised by your shift from "behind" to "within".  How "Eastern" of you! ... I didn't expect it from you.  Don't get me wrong.  It is not an unimportant shift philosophically.  It absolutely is.  I maintain, though, (as you will see more and more below) that the shift from "behind" to "within" in the Western tradition is... come say come sa.  Whether it's "behind" or "within", whatever it is, God, human nature, etc., it gets universally objectified, added as yet another object of analysis, and in that sense, I find it to be a fairly superficial transition.  Of course, all new cans of worms get opened.  For example, with such a shift regarding God, you end up with the philosophical problems of pantheism.  Again, don't get me wrong.  I think there is a way around this.  I think Wojtyla got around it brilliantly with his phenomenological personalism.  But, "behind", "within", "around the corner from", "across the street from", whatever, in the western context...  It's all about the One.  In the East, it's more about the many.
 
Let's get closer to the heart of the discussion, though.  "What it means to be human" can be taken, on the one hand, ontologically, in terms of the Philosophy of Truth, in an Aristotelian or Thomistic way, or, on the other, in terms of the Philosophy of Self-cultivation (perhaps, in a sense, this latter mode could be termed Axiology, but I don't want to have to make that argument now; it's specifically irrelevant to this discussion), in a Confucian or Daoist way.  Each of these ways of taking "what it means to be human" leads us down very different paths, however.
 
In Aristotelian fashion, we can break the human down into its constituent properties and ontic parts, but we cannot spin a human into existence and have yet to find the trope, "human nature".  I digress...  This is where, specifically, the (Tibetan) Mahayana Madhyamaka Prasangika Buddhist Philosophy of Sunyata, Emptiness or No-thingness or of the Two Truths or Realities could be helpful.  "What it means to be human" basically = "what is a human".  In very short (probably a gross oversimplification), to exist, to be is good.  If we find out "what is" objectively speaking, including, most importantly, "what" we "are", we'll know what's good, moreover, for us.
 
In a Classical Chinese philosophic sensibility, discovering "what it means to be human" does not require the idea of a human nature as we treat it in the western tradition.  In fact, it's putting unnecessary distance between us and what it means to be human, with which we have a natural, immediate connection, namely ourselves.  In other words, the Classical Chinese philosopher would say, "Don't look for some allegedly extant human nature.  Rather, just look in the mirror."  "What it means to be human" or, as you put it, "human nature", isn't what we should be searching for.  Rather, we, as humans, should just be seeking the answer to the question what does it mean to be human.  "What it means to be human" does NOT need to be found, per se.  "What it means to be human" is just the noun form of the question "what does it mean to be human", and, as a noun, it becomes a thing, an object to be analyzed or, moreover, a subject that exists, subject to predication.  But, by doing this we've dodged the initial question "what does it mean to be human", the start of the answer to which is, quite literally, staring us in the face.  In fact, as you've presented it, "what it means to be human" = "human nature", which I think you've done accurately in terms of the traditional western philosophical paradigm, I seriously wonder if "human nature" isn't just a reification of "what it means to be human".  Yikes!
 
So, where does the rubber meet the road on all this philosopho-babble?  You wrote, "To deal only with the many instances is to never rise above the level of the particular,... (to never arrive at knowledge of 'human nature'/'humankind' or 'justice' or 'virtue')."  My response, not that you would disagree, would be, "To deal only with the one form is to never get beyond the universal, to never arrive at knowledge of 'Socrates', 'Jim-Bob', 'President Bush', 'the Supreme Court', and 'returning the wallet you found to its rightful owner... just as you found it'."  But, the point isn't just to flip it around nor to say that one is "superior" to the other (although I think one is).  After all, what you said doesn't deny what I've just stated.  The point is rather one of perspective and subjectivity.  One can only know human nature (whatever that is) qua object, but that is not the case with, say, Jim-Bob.  I can only know Jim-Bob qua object, but Jim-Bob can know Jim-Bob qua subject as well.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not going to go on to suggest some kind of aperspectivism here.  I'm just saying that human nature (whatever that is) can only be known in one manner, objectively, while knowledge of persons can be accessed in two ways, objectively and (more importantly) subjectively.  I would assert a Wojtylian, Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, Personalist brand of intersubjectivity, a (Husserlian) phenomenological intersubjectivity.  In any event, to answer the question you posed directly, what I mean by the "many in front of the One" is what I've explained above, in short, I suppose, a philosophical paradigm grounded in particularity instead of universality, which is incomprehensible and anathema to your run-of-the-mill Philosophy scholar in the West.  For some reason, I don't think it totally is to you, though, T.
 
So, where does that get us?  Well, first off, we can now see that the work of finding the virtue (in both senses of the word, I suppose) of human beings (and being human) and improving oneself and, thus, the human species (at least, insofar as my improvement is an improvement to the set, "human beings"), ethically, psychologically, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise, is done fundamentally differently in the two traditions.  Furthermore, it's not that the Eastern tradition is just a subjectivism leading or tantamount to relativism, no less some mere Shirley McClain crap.  It is that in the Eastern tradition the work of finding "what it means to be human" and then improving oneself and the human condition based on those findings is not done by, say, two humans both looking outward at some human nature and discussing objectively (in both senses of the word), but rather by those two humans respectively exploring and reflecting inwardly and deeply and, then, after insights on what it means to be human are achieved, sharing those two independent experiences and observations with each other.  Furthermore, this "Eastern" way of going about the project of trying to find and live and improve in accordance with what it means to be human has an epistemological advantage.  To play off the Western philosophic sensibility of achieving certitude, clear and distinct knowledge, it can certainly be strongly argued that there is no thing that one can have more (direct) knowledge of than oneself as, again, we can know ourselves in two ways, qua object and qua subject, whereas, we can only know externals qua object (regardless of what some scholars who have misunderstood Zhuangzi have said).  In any event, this is a philosophically substantial, not at all trivial, difference in approach.
 
To boot, if as you say is the case, that human nature is something within us, the answer to the question "what does it mean to be human" is right under your nose, and this Eastern self-cultivation approach of going within first and then sharing what you've discovered within with others is the best way of tackling the problem as you pose it, i.e., go within and find that "human nature" that's there.  There is no reason to detour into contemplation without.  Now, I'm not saying that Western thought does no delving within.  I'm just saying that, even as you present it, it tends to get stuck on the outside, like on an issue like human nature.  The self-reflection seems to give way to the term-defining and system-making as if x, y or z philosopher figured it out, and now our job is to figure out his words.  Meanwhile, the deep self-reflection has to be the basis of any philosophical outlook.  It is the foundation for the defining of terms, not the other way around.  Words don't create things, save the begetting of more words.  On the contrary, out of things come words.  Additionally, words require more words.  This circumstance doesn't lend itself to the clarity and distinctness so distinctively sought after in the western philosophical tradition.  In fact, as words don't capture reality, human communication is doomed to imprecision.  We don't communicate in (a state of)/with certainty.  We communicate in (a state of)/with ambiguity, one of the great philosophical realizations Eastern thinking leads you to.  At any rate, you don't define human (being or nature) to better understand what it means or even is to be human.  You, whatever you are, just live the examined life, keenly and honestly observing and examining yourself and your actions.  That's the rub with Philosophy vis-a-vis other disciplines and fields of study.  It requires that everybody start out on his or her own at square one.  You don't just "build upon the tradition", which is the mode of the day in the study of Western thought and, incidentally, I think is why the Western philosophical tradition and understanding of Philosophy has gone quite awry and even gotten quite whacky (when you consider most of the post-modern stuff, including, might I say, Analytical Metaphysics).  You embark on the journey alone and along the way receive help and inspiration from the others who have gone before you (hopefully in this same manner) and learn from their mistakes.  Suffice it to say that the Philosophy of Self-cultivation we can now see lacks nothing in terms of philosophical sophistication.
 
In any event, it is in the sense explicated above that I propose that self-cultivation is the bottom line of Philosophy and that the mission is how to act in better accord with whatever it is that I am, that I can safely guess you also are, without in the process getting caught up in figuring out "what" it specifically is that I am and all of the hair-splitting defining of terms and chasing of tails (quite literally) because "what" I am isn't of as much import as, whatever I am, I am capable of self-reflection, i.e. knowing myself as both subject and object.  Self-knowledge is the greatest kind and richest source of knowledge available to us.  To wit, "Know thyself" is proclaimed by both Socrates and Laozi, arguably the fathers of Western and Eastern Philosophy, respectively.  But, self-knowledge is also the most difficult to attain because it requires absolute honesty.  It's easy to "judge" (in all senses) others and the external world.  Judging ourselves and our actions is, at least at the outset of the journey, not usually such an easy pill to swallow.  But, if you are going to be a philosopher and not just a philosophical laborer, you are going to have to swallow it, the pill,... your pride.  That is why there are an abundance of Philosophy scholars and so few philosophers.
 
Well, I've got to pack it in for now. What's being left on the table of this discussion on my part are, at least:  a hashing out of the difference between a "human" and a "person", how the philosophical studies of the two differ, and which one is more significant in a discussion about ethics; the problem of subject-object dualism, not just in and of itself, but insofar as it is, I allege, stunting the growth of Phenomenology in Western Philosophy; the problem of the historical preference of logos to pathos in the West in relation to our willingness to entertain the Chinese idea that ethics is about appropriateness, values and roles, which is less of a cerebral venture than an ethics based on principles/laws, virtues and authority.
« Last Edit: May 19th, 2008, 7:18pm by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #3 on: Jan 8th, 2008, 12:52am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

As regards this original thesis of mine that spawned this whole discussion between T-Rave and me,...
 
on Jul 25th, 2007, 11:27pm, StegRock wrote:
I hate to cut in here, fellas, and, moreover, I hope this post doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  Or, maybe, that would be better, actually...  What I'm going to pithily present here is definitely either a thesis or foundational premise of a book someday, and IT HAS PUNCH!!!
 
In VERY short...
 
In the Far East (we're not talking India, and remember Buddhism is Indian), traditionally, culturally and historically, ethics and morality is NOT based on religion.  There is no religious system which provides for you ethical maxims, like the Ten Commandments.  Religion and belief are used more for dealing with the unknown, especially death, and, as my wife puts it, "wishing".  Its most common manifestation is in the way of ancestor worship and wishing for good fortune.  (Incidentally, this combinational dynamism is what makes Tibetan Buddhism so fascinating and useful because, while being very religiously Buddhist, it has a certain humanistic bent when it comes to ethical conduct, which is very evident in the works of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama.)  Religion does NOT act as the basis for acting in the world together with others.  Religion and, moreover, belief are not the ground for ethics and morality.  [In fact, making religion/belief(s) the ground of action is my definition of "belief system".]
 
In the West, traditionally, culturally and historically, this is quite the contrary.  Religions and belief systems are precisely what provided us with our morality and ethics.  The only way the western mind has been trained to have a moral and ethical sensibility is through religion.  In fact, we call people who don't live according to their religious/religion's moral beliefs hypocrites.  Now, there are differences from western religion to western religion, but the "Thou shalt not kills" overlapped enough that we could get by.  However, and here's the rub, this fledgling country comes along (America) and, with good, but imperfect intentions, declares the separation of Church and State.  It is no wonder how, in a short 225-year span, we have a country in rather extreme moral decay.  At least, we all recognize the steady downward trend in morals from generation to generation.  (How many times have you had that conversation about "how it once was", probably hearkening back to a time before you were even born???)  This psychological process of being told what's right and wrong and what to do in a religious, "Ten Commandments" type of way has made us reliant on rules and laws to tell us what and what not to do, and that's why the Constitution has become God in America.  I see it right here on "the Gridiron".  Rules are not seen as guidelines.  They are seen as commandments.  Whenever a situation arises that requires thinking outside or beyond the rules and forces us to confront morality and ethics in its more raw form, head-on, I watch the moral compasses spin out of control (mine used to too).  But, it's not a great mystery.  How couldn't an ethical sensibility of a people have been lost and morals undergone decay when we have gone and separated OUT of our leadership model that which has been the source of moral and ethical understanding and guidance in our cultural heritage for millennia?
 
Again, summed up, there's a people whose morals and ethics are bound up in religion.  That same people creates a society that separates out religion from governance.  It's no surprise that that people is going to lose its moral and ethical way.  WE ARE THAT PEOPLE!!!
 
Now, mind you, I'm not saying that (Western-style) religion is the best source of moral conduct or that we should work backward and try to rescind our separation of Church and State.  What I'm saying is that we are at a VERY unique juncture in human history where the wrong move could mean eventual, inevitable oblivion to America, BUT the right move would mean America's reclaiming its great status in the world.  Western-style religiousness could enrich the Far-eastern way of believing, and a Far-eastern understanding of ethics could enrich the western way of acting in the world.
 
AND, you'll all hopefully be reading the best-seller by Dr. Steve Stegeman about this someday... ...

 
on Aug 27th, 2007, 2:10am, StegRock wrote:
Mind you,... as regards the above,... America's separation of Church and State is NOT the only culprit... or even the main... or original one.  The above speaks ultimately to WESTERN humanism writ large as it was spawned and spurred on most notably by the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, western science, and Darwinism.  America's separation of Church and State is, in fact, more residual than ground-breaking,... but it is our distinctive way into the discussion.  Make no mistakes, though...  The observation and according hypothesis I am making is much broader than its statement above.

 
...based on current reading I'm doing, Robert Fogelin's Walking the Tightrope of Reason, the following came to mind.  In the Eastern philosophical sensibility, the famous quote mistakenly attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky by Jean-Paul Sartre, supposedly appearing in The Brothers Karamazov, "If God does not exist, everything is permissible," is just flat-out ridiculous.  It wouldn't even be philosophically entertained.  To wit, my (Korean) wife thinks it is laughable.  She thinks it is absurd that such a quote would even be given any attention (no less in academic Philosophy).  We in the West definitely do, though, give it attention that is.  As she vigorously puts it, we have morals because we are human, not because there is a God.  Whether or not it is the case across the board, our propensity in the West to connect religion and morality is definitely something that differentiates Eastern and Western Philosophy.
 
Anyway,... back to where we were...
« Last Edit: Jan 30th, 2009, 6:25pm by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #4 on: Jan 9th, 2008, 4:57am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

I'm sorry, T, all, for the deluge...  I'm on a roll here...  It's just that all these puzzle pieces I've collected over the last four years of being back in academia are fitting together, all of a sudden coming together in my mind.  Here we go again,... this time...
 
To extend this a little further with some very relevant personal "academic" experience, with a few of our colleagues back at CUA, of particular note Patrick and Tom (from up in the Religious Studies and Philosophy Library), but also with Vincent, John and Jeff as well, I had conversations, which would serve at "proof in the pudding" meta-conversations to this one.  Though I, at the time, wasn't consciously connecting it with that quote above, they were forwarding that very position, unwittingly on their parts as well, I'm sure.  And, (ask Patrick yourself) we couldn't make any headway.  The words seemed to come out in the same language, but we weren't making sense to each other, as if we were in fact speaking different languages.
 
Amidst the discussion, here is the concrete example we were working with...  A little girl (for whatever reason) who is a maestro pianist...  I'm saying to them (Patrick and Tom in this instance) how, God aside, I would never think to take a hammer to the girl's fingers.  Before letting me continue, they would ask, "But, why not?"  I would press on, arguing that I simply wouldn't want to take the gift of her music away from her or, furthermore, the world.  And, mind you, I am no fan of classical music, so I am speaking from a neutral standpoint.  They would ask, "What would hold you back," as if I needed the threat of going to hell or God's wrath hanging over my head to do the right thing.  I went as far as to give them my "freedom to"/"freedom from" spiel (which we've heard here before)...
 
on Feb 19th, 2005, 12:45am, StegRock wrote:
While I hear ya, brother, regarding this, I have for quite some time been advancing the theory that (moral/ethical) decay (in America) has, at its roots, an emphasis on "freedom to" and an ignorance of or even disdain for "freedom from".  The latter (vis-a-vis the former) is precisely the brand of "freedom" I posit our forefathers were talking about in the Declaration of Independence, that is the few times they actually employed it knowing all too well the fragile nature of the word due to its dangerously wide range of interpretation, and were speaking in the spirit of in our Constitution (I wrote a piece back in '98 for the school I was working for in Korea on this whole issue titled "Freedom or Chaos").  My point here, T-Rave, is that...  Would not even that (loosey-goosey) "Enlightenment 'principle'" you indicate above work if people took seriously that (granted, not-well-defined) "as long as you don't hurt someone else" part?  I mean...  If people REALLY took seriously/RESPONSIBILITY for all the (I am willing to grant just reasonably foreseeable) ripple effects of their actions, couldn't even that "principle" at least have some explanatory or descriptive value even if not one of a categorical maxim by which to conduct your life?  I think it does express some level of truth.  It's just not nearly enough to be an axiom by which to live.

 
on Feb 20th, 2005, 5:34pm, StegRock wrote:
...
 
This is kind of semantics at this point, T-Rave.  The point you make about "freedom to" and "responsibility to" is not completely different from my distinction between "freedom to" and "freedom from".  Guys, ask people, without leading them, what "freedom" means (to them).  Americans will typically answer in terms of "freedom to" without even a "consideration" for "freedom from".  Now, what I mean by this distinction...  The dude playing his stereo loud in the apartment next-door is only thinking (if he is thinking at all) about or quite naturally acting in accordance with his "freedom to" play his stereo at a volume he wants WITHOUT "consideration" for the people living around him who are supposed to have the "freedom from" having to hear his blaring stereo.  I firmly believe there is something to (and, in my personal life, have seen the results of) this "turning this idea of 'freedom' (in America) on its head" for people.  It isn't attacking the moral problem, which we are beating around here, from the perspective of societal change, which I kind of gather you two are more so talking about,... a top-down approach.  I am more so talking about making/helping individual people, including myself, think and impacting the hearts and minds of individual people,... a bottom-up approach.  Some great guy once pointed out something along the lines that a society is or can be no better than the individuals that comprise it.

 
on Feb 28th, 2005, 3:45pm, StegRock wrote:
Few, period, understand it and to point out to them that freedom without responsibility is not freedom, that freedom requires responsibility, is too vague a notion for most.  Truth be said, it is not an easy relationship to understand, which brings me back to (my bailiwick)... (I am going to resurrect this sucker yet)
 
...
 
I am observing what is going on over in Lebanon.  They are in the nascent stages of regaining, or at least fighting to regain, their autonomy and at this stage SO VERY focused on their "freedom from" (Syria).  They are NOT thinking about rights or entitlements.  They are just thinking about being "free from".  Eventually, though, and this is just a natural progression, if people are successful in gaining their "freedom from", they start to take it for granted, which we in America have done.  Granted, this takes a long time (at least in terms of human lives).  But, eventually, people then start to become focused on their "freedom to"... now that they are "free from".  They want to explore the far reaches of their freedom; they want to know all their freedoms:  they want to push the limits of their "freedom to".  This is where we currently are in America.  Our feverishly pursuing "freedom to" lends itself to an inherent neglect of "freedom from", which, in any event, we already take for granted and has fallen into the deep recesses of the backs of our minds (though 9/11 was a bit of a wake-up call; I say "a bit of" because where we are in our history and with respect to "our" brand of freedom is stemming the lesson).  But, in this context, eventually the "freedom to" mindset starts encroaching on people's "freedom from" and "freedom from" comes back into focus and the pendulum swings back.  But, eventually, we once again become comfortable with our "freedom from" and "freedom from" gives way again to "freedom to".  This back-and-forth, give-and-take quite literally, "to-and-fro" so to speak, is how freedom meanders through history.  They seem to be two sides of a coin which have a difficult time coexisting.  Maybe they just cannot.  Or, maybe, just maybe, the (ubiquitous) realization of this phenomena (by many) can help us make them (better) coexist.  The ultimate truth is that "freedom from" is the FUNDAMENTAL of the two:  "freedom from" lays the necessary groundwork for "freedom to".  "Freedom to" is a sufficient condition, but "freedom from" is the necessary condition:  strictly speaking, without "freedom from" there is no "freedom to".
 
This is a very fine distinction (if I must say so myself,... taken in the "other" sense that is). Really, it is not a conspicuous distinction.  It is not apparent to the untrained eye, especially to the one who does not/has not been trained to consider other's "freedom from" when he is acting (solely) on his "freedom to".  That said, it is not a complex or complicated distinction.  It is a simple realization, actually.  The very fine line between the two and their ultimate interconnectedness is what makes the distinction difficult to see or "appreciate" (in both senses), though.

 
on Jun 14th, 2006, 7:55pm, StegRock wrote:
At this point, I think it is worth sharing with you all a very short article of mine that I mentioned to gridiron_legends right here on this very thread.  I wrote it back in '98 for the university I was working for at the time in Korea.  It was VERY well-received and, in any event, speaks in a general way to the broader issue, the "bigger picture" if you will, underlying much of this discussion...
 


"Freedom or Chaos"
by Steven A. Stegeman

 
     In late years, the American notion of the "melting pot," an important concept to understanding freedom in America, has been undergoing undue scrutiny.  Critics perceive a contradiction between a "melting pot" and the "land of the free."  In other words, how can the country which boasts of the freedom it grants its citizens espouse conformity?  This problem arises because they consider freedom something to which every person has a right.  These critics might use a "mosaic" to metaphorically describe a society ideally upholding individual freedom rather than a "melting pot" which suggests blending.  This blending, to them, is conformity.  It is seen as a compromise of an individual's freedom.  This mindset is also present among "otherwise proud" Americans and results in divisions along cultural and ethnic lines and an "I am free to do whatever I want" attitude.  Rather than blending under the American ideal, people are becoming increasingly concerned with "the kind of" American they are.  By diverting our attention away from responsibility and towards freedom as a right, this anti-"melting pot" mentality is separating us as distinctly as the tiles of a mosaic are divided.
 
     It is evident that the Founding Fathers foresaw this potential danger and used caution with regards to using the word freedom when composing the Declaration of Independence.  Therein they state that "We hold these truths self-evident... that they (all men) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights... Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."  There is no mention of "freedom."  Liberty, the word most directly related to freedom, is typically defined in terms of "freedom from," not "freedom to;" it is quite clear that "freedom from" is the meaning intended by the authors.  They were aware of the limitless philosophical implications of the word "freedom."  In Aristotilean ethics, freedom is neither virtue nor vice.  The extremes or vices could be labeled on one end "suppression (no freedom)" and on the other "chaos (absolute freedom)" with the base median being "corruption (irresponsible freedom)" and virtue being "liberty (responsible freedom)."  They knew that freedom without responsibility is chaos.
 
     The Constitution, which lays out the process by which the unalienable rights of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" are secured, is for the most part written in terms of "freedom (to)."  These granted freedoms mold our behavior.  Freedom is not an end in itself.  It is the means.  American freedom is not about people doing whatever they want.  We do have a system of values, norms, etc., which grow out of The Constitution and are based on the freedom of individual expression or the free unfolding of the individual.  It is the way of freedom which binds us, and a paradigm which does not promote the free development of the individual betrays the fundamental idea underscoring freedom in America.

 
I would point out to them that with "freedom from" as a guiding "principle" you are both the subject and the object of the preposition "from" and that the logically necessary implication is that to secure your "freedom from" you have to do your part to fulfill others' (as the object of the preposition "from" of other "subjects").  They would persist, "What does it ultimately matter if there is no God?"  A la my wife's reaction to the erroneously credited Dostoevskian quote above, the absurdity of the position along with their jejune persistence made me speechless and, in turn, my incredulity made them speechless.  Live wires were flying out of ears and noses along with puffs of smoke.  We were in full meltdown like a bunch of robots stuck, saying, "Does not compute!  System shutting down."
 
At the proverbial end of the day, they were astounded that I wasn't speaking their language, and I, at first, was in utter disbelief that they did not understand mine.  Thing is, I do have, at least, an understanding of whence they were coming (after all, I grew up in the same tradition), but I came to realize that they were not processing my words in the least, not even trying to.  The presumed playing field,... game board,... was set.  It was theirs.  It was a checkerboard (in my estimation).  I had unfortunately brought my chess pieces...  Frankly speaking, this is what I witness happens all too often when Western thought "meets" Eastern philosophy.
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #5 on: Mar 17th, 2008, 1:02am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

(This post is in particular response to my post above of January 8th.)
 
I stumbled upon this VERY supportive... nugget while perusing D.C. Lau's "Introduction" to his translation of the Mencius...  As per what I've written above, I wouldn't express this in quite the way Lau does, but the point is surely well-taken... by this "crusader"...
 
"One great difference between moral philosophers in the Chinese tradition and those in the Western tradition is that the latter do not look upon it as their concern to help people to become sages while the former assume that that is their main concern.  Western philosophers deal only with the problem of what morality is.  They leave the problem of how to make people better to religious teachers.  In China, however, there has never been a strong tradition of religious teaching, and the problem has always fallen within the province of the philosopher."
« Last Edit: Mar 19th, 2008, 6:21pm by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #6 on: Apr 24th, 2008, 4:09am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

In the window of my office I have a little "Philosophy Corner".  Philosophy quotes and questions and stuff...  Some food for thought for the community.  They appreciate it and few have even taken on some reading recommendations.  After a number of people suggested I post a "selected readings" list, I finally did.  But, of course, I just couldn't do it half-ass.  It ended up being a "project", something I'll probably find more useful someday when I'm teaching.  Anyway, it's pretty cool, so I thought I'd share it here.  I'll link this in to the "Book Club" thread, where in some sense it probably fits in better.  But, still, I thought here was the better place for the main post.  Well, enjoy checking it out...  At least, it's neat...
 
http://www.internetstitute.com/Stevo'sSelectedReadings.htm.
 
I've got three people here at Sans Souci hammering away on "Step 1".
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Club
« Reply #7 on: May 20th, 2008, 6:49am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

on Jan 2nd, 2008, 3:21am, StegRock wrote:
Let's get closer to the heart of the discussion, though.  "What it means to be human" can be taken, on the one hand, ontologically, in terms of the Philosophy of Truth, in an Aristotelian or Thomistic way, or, on the other, in terms of the Philosophy of Self-cultivation (perhaps, in a sense, this latter mode could be termed Axiology, but I don't want to have to make that argument now; it's specifically irrelevant to this discussion), in a Confucian or Daoist way.  Each of these ways of taking "what it means to be human" leads us down very different paths, however.
 
...
 
So, where does that get us?  Well, first off, we can now see that the work of finding the virtue (in both senses of the word, I suppose) of human beings (and being human) and improving oneself and, thus, the human species (at least, insofar as my improvement is an improvement to the set, "human beings"), ethically, psychologically, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise, is done fundamentally differently in the two traditions.  Furthermore, it's not that the Eastern tradition is just a subjectivism leading or tantamount to relativism, no less some mere Shirley McClain crap.  It is that in the Eastern tradition the work of finding "what it means to be human" and then improving oneself and the human condition based on those findings is not done by, say, two humans both looking outward at some human nature and discussing objectively (in both senses of the word), but rather by those two humans respectively exploring and reflecting inwardly and deeply and, then, after insights on what it means to be human are achieved, sharing those two independent experiences and observations with each other.  Furthermore, this "Eastern" way of going about the project of trying to find and live and improve in accordance with what it means to be human has an epistemological advantage.  To play off the Western philosophic sensibility of achieving certitude, clear and distinct knowledge, it can certainly be strongly argued that there is no thing that one can have more (direct) knowledge of than oneself as, again, we can know ourselves in two ways, qua object and qua subject, whereas, we can only know externals qua object (regardless of what some scholars who have misunderstood Zhuangzi have said).  In any event, this is a philosophically substantial, not at all trivial, difference in approach.
 
To boot, if as you say is the case, that human nature is something within us, the answer to the question "what does it mean to be human" is right under your nose, and this Eastern self-cultivation approach of going within first and then sharing what you've discovered within with others is the best way of tackling the problem as you pose it, i.e., go within and find that "human nature" that's there.  There is no reason to detour into contemplation without.  Now, I'm not saying that Western thought does no delving within.  I'm just saying that, even as you present it, it tends to get stuck on the outside, like on an issue like human nature.  The self-reflection seems to give way to the term-defining and system-making as if x, y or z philosopher figured it out, and now our job is to figure out his words.  Meanwhile, the deep self-reflection has to be the basis of any philosophical outlook.  It is the foundation for the defining of terms, not the other way around.  Words don't create things, save the begetting of more words.  On the contrary, out of things come words.  Additionally, words require more words.  This circumstance doesn't lend itself to the clarity and distinctness so distinctively sought after in the western philosophical tradition.  In fact, as words don't capture reality, human communication is doomed to imprecision.  We don't communicate in (a state of)/with certainty.  We communicate in (a state of)/with ambiguity, one of the great philosophical realizations Eastern thinking leads you to.  At any rate, you don't define human (being or nature) to better understand what it means or even is to be human.  You, whatever you are, just live the examined life, keenly and honestly observing and examining yourself and your actions.  That's the rub with Philosophy vis-a-vis other disciplines and fields of study.  It requires that everybody start out on his or her own at square one.  You don't just "build upon the tradition", which is the mode of the day in the study of Western thought and, incidentally, I think is why the Western philosophical tradition and understanding of Philosophy has gone quite awry and even gotten quite whacky (when you consider most of the post-modern stuff, including, might I say, Analytical Metaphysics).  You embark on the journey alone and along the way receive help and inspiration from the others who have gone before you (hopefully in this same manner) and learn from their mistakes.  Suffice it to say that the Philosophy of Self-cultivation we can now see lacks nothing in terms of philosophical sophistication.
 
In any event, it is in the sense explicated above that I propose that self-cultivation is the bottom line of Philosophy and that the mission is how to act in better accord with whatever it is that I am, that I can safely guess you also are, without in the process getting caught up in figuring out "what" it specifically is that I am and all of the hair-splitting defining of terms and chasing of tails (quite literally) because "what" I am isn't of as much import as, whatever I am, I am capable of self-reflection, i.e. knowing myself as both subject and object.  Self-knowledge is the greatest kind and richest source of knowledge available to us.  To wit, "Know thyself" is proclaimed by both Socrates and Laozi, arguably the fathers of Western and Eastern Philosophy, respectively.  But, self-knowledge is also the most difficult to attain because it requires absolute honesty.  It's easy to "judge" (in all senses) others and the external world.  Judging ourselves and our actions is, at least at the outset of the journey, not usually such an easy pill to swallow.  But, if you are going to be a philosopher and not just a philosophical laborer, you are going to have to swallow it, the pill,... your pride.  That is why there are an abundance of Philosophy scholars and so few philosophers.

 
Just an illustration of how far western philosophy has gotten away from a philosophy of self-knowledge, self-cultivation, and self-authorship... which has spurred on the production of all this self-help crap that is devoid of virtually all rigor,... which belies the very effort it takes to climb the mountain of self-knowledge and know thyself, no less cultivate and author thyself.  I came across these beauts perusing the Amazon.com reviews of Bertrand Russell's The Conquest of Happiness...
 
"Self-help with a touch of philosophy..."
 
"I have to admit I was a bit disapointed with this book, expecting more in depth analysis of happiness and its causes. Although a great self-help book, it is not much of philosophy."

 
These are two separate reviews.  Anyway, that last sentence says it all...
 
If there is any hope of moral recovery (in the West, in America), we've got to be willing to take on the task of putting the philosophical meat on the apparent platitudinous bare bones of the "bottom-up" phenomenology of person-making in terms of self-cultivation, subjectivity and action, and community-building in terms of intersubjective participation. Wojtyla and fellas writing in his vain like John Crosby do this, and in the East it is generally prevalent given their traditional emphasis on particularity over universality.
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #8 on: May 20th, 2008, 6:13pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

I DIGRESS...
    Philosophy does trickle down.  And, Philosophy run amuck, absent of grounding in self-reflection, that hard look in the mirror, especially when combined with a "self-absorbed" "freedom to" mindset, is what predicates a thin-skinned populace that avoids accepting responsibility, no less blame or criticism even of the constructive variety, at every turn.
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #9 on: Jun 30th, 2008, 4:43am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Heya, T!  Vis-a-vis our conversation earlier today, there were a couple things I thought about and wanted to expound upon,... hopefully pithily...
 
As "traditional" Theravadan Buddhism is to "traditional" western, Jesuit accounts of classical Daoism, in terms of top-down metaphysical/cosmological and ethical intertwinement, Zen Buddhism is to Amesian, humanistic interpretations of classical Daoism, in terms of a bottom-up phenomenological, aesthetic, acosmological/anti-metaphysical ethical sensibility.  Neither is consistent with my move of a "suspension of Metaphysics".  In the former, ethics and metaphysics/cosmology are taken to be inextricable; in the latter, there is no metaphysics/cosmology to suspend.
 
So, it is hard to interpret Laozi (and/or Zhuangzi) in a way workable in my set-up.  The philosophers must first (more or less) forward this idea of a "suspension of Metaphysics", as I call it, in the direction of a proactive (non-Porphyryian, i.e. not reactive, or non-Cartesian, i.e. not preemptive nor radical) "suspension of belief(s)" and, then, in that specific context provide the grist for a phenomenological program of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building through interrelational action.  The cash-value is that, with belief systems eliminated, i.e. beliefs suspended, we, and not our beliefs, become accountable for our actions.  Another way of putting it, without belief systems, i.e. beliefs underlying our actions, persons, not beliefs, are subject to ethical scrutiny; the ethical burden falls on the shoulders of persons, not beliefs; persons, not their beliefs, are responsible for their actions.  These Muslims are responsible for jihad, not "Islam".  This should all be rather commonsensical, but, also, seemingly easier said than done... because, I contend, the philosophical meat has not been put on the commonsense bones of it all, making it more than just platitudinous.  This puts us all back on common socio-ethical ground and, furthermore, makes room for, nay, restores the sanctity of our beliefs, of our believing.  Belief can go from being the guide, even ground of our actions to (re)assuming its proper function of being how we deal, even cope with the unknown.
 
Now,... rolling our sleeves back up and getting back to the tough task of philosophical inquiry,... if this analysis and proposal of a phenomenological program of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building through interrelational action underlain by a suspension of Metaphysics in the direction of a suspension of belief(s) is found to be sound and practicable, then, and only then, with a validated philosophical program can we work backwards from valuable metaphysically/cosmologically-based programs of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building, like that of, say, Laozi and Zhuangzi or the later Stoics, to suspending the metaphysical/cosmological beliefs.  The point is that it first needs to be established that a program of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building based on a suspension of metaphysics and even of belief(s) works.  I seek to establish this via Confucius (Classical Confucianism), Wojtyla (Roman Catholic Phenomenological Personalism) and Gyatso (Mahayana Madhyamaka Prasangika Tibetan Buddhism), the three philosophers/philosophies that I have found to one degree or another forward and develop this idea of a suspension of metaphysics and, then, also an accordant phenomenological program of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building within that suspension paradigm.  Mind you, the phenomenological programs of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building of Laozi and Zhuangzi or Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, just to name a few, are magnificent.  But, after establishing the suspension of metaphysics and belief(s) with Confucius, Wojtyla and Gyatso, to bring in the self-cultivation, personal development and community-building programs of, say, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, would be haphazard as there is no evidence that they even hinted at such an idea of suspending metaphysics, no less belief(s) itself (themselves).  However, once the "suspension/phenomenological person-making" circuit is satisfactorily completed by Confucius, Wojtyla and/or Gyatso (I believe all three), then, working backwards, the door is open to other programs of self-cultivation, personal development and community-building for which the metaphysics/cosmology of which can be suspended.  It's just that the project cannot be validated by them.  Self-help and person-making is not enough, and, for that matter, neither is just suspending metaphysics.  Though, not that the former is not a philosophically tough row to hoe, the latter represents the more philosophically intricate side of the ball that, moreover, provides the philosophical foundation for the whole ball of wax.  Not to entirely dismiss the greater depth, but without the suspension move, it's really just beefed-up Dr. Phil.
 
In very short, once this is shown to work (with Confucius, Wojtyla and Gyatso), it can then be applied (to Laozi and Zhuangzi or Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, and so on).
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #10 on: Sep 20th, 2008, 3:03am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Holy epiphany,... My problem of belief/phenomenology of the person philosophy collides with my economic sensibilities... in a way that, moreover, is somewhat pertinent in the here and now.  Those of you who are regulars around here are probaby not unaware of my, though SURELY not socialist or Communist, but anti-capitalist, especially the Americano brand thereof, sensibilities.  I'm going to go down that path, but in a way that is effective vis-a-vis recent goings on here...
 
The following sensibility is what I've been trying to impress on folks here.  It has NOTHING to do with donations (although generosity probably is a residual effect) and all to do with self-reflection.  This philosophy sadly met with its most recent failure with a group of chaps here on "the Gridiron".  Without further ado,... on to the philosophy...
 
Most short-sighted, small-minded people (Americans) canNOT see, even well beyond their own lives, how, without the incentive provided by competition, competition seen merely as against others mind you, humans can remain economically organized, no less progess technologically, and they surely don't see how it is even fathomable for capitalism to be overcome.  Of course, it is agreed that a reversion to prior systems, like bartering, is surely absurd.  My somewhat beloved Marx couldn't get the job done here.  He had to posit humans' spontaneous urge to create, a noble move but part of an overall failed philosophy which ultimately could only culminate in violent revolution.  And, while the observations and insights of Thomas More, another fav of mine, that capitalism has to run its course I think are right on, he really, LITERALLY gave us NOwhere to go (pun intended) with his thinking.  Now, on the terms of Classical Chinese Philosophy writ large, but I'm going to say mainly Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi and Laozi; Buddhism writ large, but my emphasis would be on the Buddha, Gotama Siddhartha, and the present-day Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, and ultimately in the precise terms of the late Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla, with the experiences of "horizontal transcendence" and "vertical transcendence" in mind, let's consider the following...
 
Once it is realized that the greatest competition lies withIN oneself, and NOT outside oneself, can capitalism be overcome!  You self-reflect and improve yourself, which means not just in your understanding and your reflectively asking yourself, "Is this who I want to become," (vertical transcendence), but also in your interrelational actions (horizontal transcendence).  This is the way of personal authorship.  The world (still) progresses then (by definition), but instead of by people pushing each other, by people first and foremost pushing themselves.  The world (still) improves but by persons' improving themselves absolutely rather than merely relatively.  Granted, the greater improvement may shift from technology to morality, but is this a bad thing?  However, it's not like there won't be technological progress.  That self-reflection and personal improvement, if it is truly authentic, is applied wholistically, i.e. to all aspects of one's life, including one's profession.  Heck, I even think, and I don't think it's totally unreasonable, that technology would progress even better under this model than the present one, where companies have to concern themselves not just with the task at hand, but also with maintaining the perception that they are ahead of the competition and all the BS,... eh-hem,... extraneous time and effort that goes with that.  In any event, hasn't technology's outrunning our ethics been identified in many quarters as a problem?  Furthermore, this is the way of authentic individuality, and copy-catting would be less en vogue.  Your personal improvement and progress is not merely relative, but genuinely coming from within.  A world, progressing mind you, of people competing with themselves rather than with each other, that's the next step.  And, it simply begins with individuals,... YOU,... not a revolution.  The truly evolved/evolving person is the one whose greatest competition is internal within oneself, not external against others.  Now, don't get me wrong...  I'm not saying that personal improvement through self-reflection is totally non-existent.  But, as the silly self-help books of today and their miserable failure testify, a) it is the most difficult task set before humans despite the "sell" and consequent perception that it's as easy as 1-2-3; b) it is typically looked upon as mainly, if not solely, applicable just to one's personal life as if that's any different than the rest of life, and what's striven for is some sort of inner peace after you've "found yourself", and c) it takes a backseat societally to victory in competition, i.e. to defining personal achievement in terms of the success of others.  This call is simply for a shift in emphasis from improvement and progress based on competing with others to improvement and progress based on competing with oneself.  This is all not to mention, mind you, that pushing oneself seems to be cognitively prior to the understanding than pushing someone else.  In other words, how can you push someone else when you don't have a clue about how to push yourself?  Or, you can only push someone else to the degree that you know how to push yourself.
Logged
Travistotle
GM
GBRFLer
Champ - '06
*****
# 414



Semper Philosophans

   
View Profile

Posts: 487

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #11 on: Sep 27th, 2008, 3:59pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Due to the enormous output of the Steg in response to my post, my own response will have to be done in segments.  So here is the first part of my response.
 
First, regarding Heraclitus and my supposed "Coplestonian" take on Heraclitus . . . I've never read Copleston's interpretation of Heraclitus: most of my thoughts on Heraclitus are taken from Heraclitus’ texts themselves and from the Kirk, Raven, and Schofield commentary, which constitutes the most up-to-date, most scholarly, and most authoritative interpretation of the pre-Socratics.  Furthermore, it just seems so clear and obvious to me that for Heraclitus it's the One, the Logos, that is all-important, and that change is ultimately illusory.
 
You said:  
 
"In Aristotelian fashion, we can break the human down into its constituent properties and ontic parts, but we cannot spin a human into existence and have yet to find the trope, "human nature".  I digress...  This is where, specifically, the (Tibetan) Mahayana Madhyamaka Prasangika Buddhist Philosophy of Sunyata, Emptiness or No-thingness or of the Two Truths or Realities could be helpful.  "What it means to be human" basically = "what is a human".  In very short (probably a gross oversimplification), to exist, to be is good.  If we find out "what is" objectively speaking, including, most importantly, "what" we "are", we'll know what's good, moreover, for us."
 
I'm a little surprised - this last part of Buddhist insight is very much what the Aristotelian and Platonic tradition has to say: being is good, to be is to be good, insofar as one is.  Our goodness consists in being most truly what we are, i.e., in being perfect.  The good for man - the human good - is discoverable, from human reason, only by discovering what man is, or, as you said "what we 'are'." This is standard Aristotelian and Platonic moral philosophy.  
 
You worry, and understandably so, about the reification of "what it means to be human."  You may already know that such reification is foreign to the Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophical tradition, and foreign to most medieval philosophy as well.  What is generally called "human nature" is an intrinsic principle of each human being, of the many human beings, a principle that because it is common (the same) in each of us can be abstracted via thought and contemplated as distinct from the many, many characteristics that are NOT common to us.  We can think about human nature as abstracted from human beings, i.e., without considering the characteristics that are unique to each individual.  Furthermore, this abstract consideration is possible WITHOUT reifying human nature, for this abstract consideration of human nature does not constitute an ontological separation of human nature from the individual but rather a consideration of human nature that prescinds from individual characteristics.  This is a point that Thomas belabors in his Commentary on Boethius's De Trinitate.
 
You said:  
 
"So, where does the rubber meet the road on all this philosopho-babble?  You wrote, "To deal only with the many instances is to never rise above the level of the particular,... (to never arrive at knowledge of 'human nature'/'humankind' or 'justice' or 'virtue')."  My response, not that you would disagree, would be, "To deal only with the one form is to never get beyond the universal, to never arrive at knowledge of 'Socrates', 'Jim-Bob', 'President Bush', 'the Supreme Court', and 'returning the wallet you found to its rightful owner... just as you found it'."
 
I would agree in one respect and disagree in another with your response.  The Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition (or, as I like to call it, the "Thomistotelian" tradition) affirms that knowing the one form of a species - here, human nature - is the only knowledge we can have relative to individuals.  By knowing that the essence of man is in his rational animality I therefore and immediately know each and every human (the "many") as such, i.e., as rational animals.  By definition, however, knowledge is of what is universal - knowledge of individuals, of particulars as such, is impossible, by definition.  Aristotle and Thomas affirm that because knowledge is certain and necessary - what is known is unchanging and certain - individuals qua individual are not proper objects of knowledge, for the respect in which they are individuals of a species - their characteristics - are changing qualities, quantities, etc. and therefore not objects of knowledge.  In short, we can be acquainted with individuals qua individuals, but we cannot know Jim-Bob and Socrates qua individuals.  We can only know them as sharing a common form/nature/essence, for this common form/nature/essence is a possible object of knowledge, whereas their individual characteristics and even their personhood are not, because they are unique to each individual.
 
More to come . . .
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #12 on: Sep 27th, 2008, 10:42pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Ravenous,... very quick point of clarification,... you wrote (correctly so) that I wrote...
 
on Sep 27th, 2008, 3:59pm, T-Rave wrote:
"In Aristotelian fashion, we can break the human down into its constituent properties and ontic parts, but we cannot spin a human into existence and have yet to find the trope, "human nature".  I digress...  This is where, specifically, the (Tibetan) Mahayana Madhyamaka Prasangika Buddhist Philosophy of Sunyata, Emptiness or No-thingness or of the Two Truths or Realities could be helpful.  "What it means to be human" basically = "what is a human".  In very short (probably a gross oversimplification), to exist, to be is good.  If we find out "what is" objectively speaking, including, most importantly, "what" we "are", we'll know what's good, moreover, for us."

 
Your response then was...
 
Quote:
I'm a little surprised - this last part of Buddhist insight is very much what the Aristotelian and Platonic tradition has to say: being is good, to be is to be good, insofar as one is.  Our goodness consists in being most truly what we are, i.e., in being perfect.  The good for man - the human good - is discoverable, from human reason, only by discovering what man is, or, as you said "what we 'are'." This is standard Aristotelian and Platonic moral philosophy.

 
The above is NOT a Buddhist insight, and that is why you were RIGHTFULLY surprised, T.  I was juxtaposing, as a counterexample of sorts, the Buddhist philosophy of Sunyata/Emptiness with what I was representing as the mission of abstracting and describing the trope/false reification "human nature".  The point was that that is so NOT a Buddhist thing to do and, hence, my point was to offer up a helpful foil.  But, brother, I was not clear at all where my digression ended. Ultimately, I was just stating the Aristotelian(/Platonic) position.  So, that is why it sounded like I was.
 
SORRY for the confusion, Rave... ...
 
In any case, GREAT stuff...  Continue, my friend!
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #13 on: Sep 28th, 2008, 12:59pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

I DIGRESS...
    Heya, Ravenous T.!  Hows about that mention of Catholic University by Chris Mortensen during Sunday NFL Countdown this morning??? I guess the Cardinals practiced there this week as they, with two consecutive far east coast games on the schedule, stayed on the east coast.  Mort did say it was "Catholic University in Virginia," though.  But, hey, we still gotta take it! ...
« Last Edit: Sep 28th, 2008, 1:01pm by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #14 on: Nov 13th, 2008, 3:07pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Spinning yet again off of these two prior posts of mine,... more food for thought...
 
on Mar 17th, 2008, 1:02am, StegRock wrote:
I stumbled upon this VERY supportive... nugget while perusing D.C. Lau's "Introduction" to his translation of the Mencius...  As per what I've written above, I wouldn't express this in quite the way Lau does, but the point is surely well-taken... by this "crusader"...
 
"One great difference between moral philosophers in the Chinese tradition and those in the Western tradition is that the latter do not look upon it as their concern to help people to become sages while the former assume that that is their main concern.  Western philosophers deal only with the problem of what morality is.  They leave the problem of how to make people better to religious teachers.  In China, however, there has never been a strong tradition of religious teaching, and the problem has always fallen within the province of the philosopher."

 
on Jul 25th, 2007, 11:27pm, StegRock wrote:
In the Far East (we're not talking India, and remember Buddhism is Indian), traditionally, culturally and historically, ethics and morality is NOT based on religion.  There is no religious system which provides for you ethical maxims, like the Ten Commandments.  Religion and belief are used more for dealing with the unknown, especially death, and, as my wife puts it, "wishing".  Its most common manifestation is in the way of ancestor worship and wishing for good fortune.  (Incidentally, this combinational dynamism is what makes Tibetan Buddhism so fascinating and useful because, while being very religiously Buddhist, it has a certain humanistic bent when it comes to ethical conduct, which is very evident in the works of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama.)  Religion does NOT act as the basis for acting in the world together with others.  Religion and, moreover, belief are not the ground for ethics and morality.  [In fact, making religion/belief(s) the ground of action is my definition of "belief system".]
 
In the West, traditionally, culturally and historically, this is quite the contrary.  Religions and belief systems are precisely what provided us with our morality and ethics.  The only way the western mind has been trained to have a moral and ethical sensibility is through religion.  In fact, we call people who don't live according to their religious/religion's moral beliefs hypocrites.  Now, there are differences from western religion to western religion, but the "Thou shalt not kills" overlapped enough that we could get by.  However, and here's the rub, this fledgling country comes along (America) and, with good, but imperfect intentions, declares the separation of Church and State.  It is no wonder how, in a short 225-year span, we have a country in rather extreme moral decay.  At least, we all recognize the steady downward trend in morals from generation to generation.  (How many times have you had that conversation about "how it once was", probably hearkening back to a time before you were even born???)  This psychological process of being told what's right and wrong and what to do in a religious, "Ten Commandments" type of way has made us reliant on rules and laws to tell us what and what not to do, and that's why the Constitution has become God in America.  I see it right here on "the Gridiron".  Rules are not seen as guidelines.  They are seen as commandments.  Whenever a situation arises that requires thinking outside or beyond the rules and forces us to confront morality and ethics in its more raw form, head-on, I watch the moral compasses spin out of control (mine used to too).  But, it's not a great mystery.  How couldn't an ethical sensibility of a people have been lost and morals undergone decay when we have gone and separated OUT of our leadership model that which has been the source of moral and ethical understanding and guidance in our cultural heritage for millennia?
 
Again, summed up, there's a people whose morals and ethics are bound up in religion.  That same people creates a society that separates out religion from governance.  It's no surprise that that people is going to lose its moral and ethical way.  WE ARE THAT PEOPLE!!!
 
Now, mind you, I'm not saying that (Western-style) religion is the best source of moral conduct or that we should work backward and try to rescind our separation of Church and State.  What I'm saying is that we are at a VERY unique juncture in human history where the wrong move could mean eventual, inevitable oblivion to America, BUT the right move would mean America's reclaiming its great status in the world.  Western-style religiousness could enrich the Far-eastern way of believing, and a Far-eastern understanding of ethics could enrich the western way of acting in the world.

 
Consider the difference (in sensibility) between The Ten Commandments (of Judaism and Christianity) and The Noble Eightfold Path (of Theravada Buddhism), or even the Four Platonic Virtues and the Five Confucian Virtues...
Logged
Travistotle
GM
GBRFLer
Champ - '06
*****
# 414



Semper Philosophans

   
View Profile

Posts: 487

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #15 on: Nov 14th, 2008, 12:51am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

See my latest post on the politics thread for discussion of a related point: given the traditional grounding of ethics on religion (at least in Protestantism; in Catholicism this isn't quite the case), the separation of religion from public life and governance leads to a lack of moral compass in public life.  However, perhaps morality/ethics is at the very HEART of the concerns of government (political society).  Perhaps government is fundamentally concerned with ethics, and perhaps basic ethical action is possible apart from any one religion, a la Aristotle.
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #16 on: Nov 16th, 2008, 1:23am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Moving this part of the discussion (from the "Politics" thread) over here...
 
on Nov 7th, 2008, 11:57pm, StegRock wrote:
I DIGRESS...
    In light of this, I would like to share with you the kind of philosophy I am raising my baby daughter on...  I understand she is not yet even three-weeks-old, but I'm hoping the words and ideas I get rattling around her head now sound osmotically familiar and, moreover, ring naturally true later when she's embarking on her life as an ethical being, being and acting together with others and self-reflecting on her actions.  There are three (so far):
     
    1)  A la Sartre, always ask, "What if everybody did this," of yourself and what you have done or are about to do, and not so much of others.  (Whereas we always use this wonderful insightful adage against others to prove our own "point", the real wisdom of the question, which Sartre understood, is to ask it of and act on it yourself, not use it to merely "make a point".)
     
    2) At as many steps as possible in life, constantly ask yourself as you are about to do this or that, setting all traditional moral rules, norms, standards, mores, commandments, etc., aside, "Is this the person I want to be/become?  Is this who I am?"  [Mind you, this is not an assault on traditional morals; think it through (if you still don't get it, feel free to ASK me about it)!]
     
    3) (At a glance, this is going to seem merely like a knee-jerk, protective father-to-daughter fashion statement, but, along the lines of what I am saying here, it is actually much deeper.  It's about managing the manifestation of your subjectivity out in the world.)  There is nothing you can put on or do to your body that will ever come close to showing who you really are on the inside, in your heart and in your mind.  In fact, it is more likely to act as a detraction and distraction from that, not just for your onlookers but for you too as you get caught up in it.  There is a wisdom to school uniforms (not that I ever wore one or my daughter ever will) and social norms when it comes to dress.  Even though the simpletons don't get it, dress code is about putting as little as possible "between" you and others (get your minds out of the gutters here, fellas ); it's the middle-ground over which we meet and which is supposed to just not get in the way; it's about making for a level playing field so that what differentiates people is that which is beneath the skin, not on it, no less it itself (a poignant point at this point in our history, no?).  You want to meet people as "bare", so to speak, (again, minds out of the gutters, guys ) as possible.

 
I DIGRESS...
    4) Always consider others' "freedom from"... YOU!    
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #17 on: Dec 9th, 2008, 6:22pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

Just riffin' philosophical here... about how I became (more) attracted to Eastern thought (than Western philosophy)...
 
Whether it was Epimenides's famous paradox (most pithily represented as "I am a liar") or the famous proclamation of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta" ("I'm not sick, but I'm not well"), I, instinctively, intuitively or, perhaps, out of sheer luck of stupidity, knew that...
 
This was a problem with words, not reality!
 
Worse yet, I totally didn't see a problem with the "conundrum" of the square-circle.  I always thought to myself, "Uhhhhhhh,... sir...  That's just a square with rounded edges or a circle with two opposite sides bowed out."  The only thing that puzzled me was all the puzzlement.  I mean... I was and still am inclined to think it is because I'm stupid and somehow not "getting it",... but then, because of it's prima facie plausibility, I wonder if it's not the other way around.
 
Zeno's paradox, worse yet, is a problem with math and logic, which is even farther away from reality than language, and, moreover, mathematical and logical realism, which Kurt Gödel actually put in the effort to put to rest on its own terms.
 
I take it that language, in it's relative lack of systemization and constriction, captures reality infinitely better than mathematics and logic despite the "findings" (as if they've found anything) of the egghead "Rubik's cube-fixated" ANALytical metaPHYSICIANS.  Mind you, that said, language itself doesn't come close to mirroring reality.
 
And, anything "grue" or that deals with "triangularity" and "three-sidedness" is just taking language out into logical La-la Land.  Analytical metaphysics is intellectualism run amuck and so wrongheaded... that any ANALytical metaPHYSICIAN reading this right now is perilously teetering between understanding and not understanding what I just predicated of their field and hopelessly and helplessly in search of the trope for wrongheadedness and, worse yet, intellectualism-run-amuck.
 
Don't get me wrong.  I'm not at all anti-analytic, anti-math or anti-logic, quite the contrary.  Speaking specifically for logic, it's just that it is just a tool, particularly of the profession of Philosophy, but ultimately for people in general (though it's not being usefully brought to the people because of the numbskullery of its usage in areas such as analytical metaphysics).  Logic and mathematics are tools precisely insofar as they are of the human mind and not things as they are.  Paradoxes are useful in a weight-room-for-the-mind kind of way and insofar as they tell us something very important about languge, and hella fun, for sure, like jokes and riddles,... but that's it.
 
I never got lost in "Plato's beard".
 
Hence, my preference for the Chan Buddhist koan and the insights of Nagarjuna and Zhuangzi to the paradox of Greek and modern western analytic philosophy.  I am also inclined to think that this paradoxical, analytically metaphysical mumbo-jumbo is why folks in the West have historically largely eschewed western philosophy in favor of religion [note, Ravenous T., that the gap in that last sentence is to include, in particular, Aristotle, Aquinas and Ockham, who the ANALytical metaPHYSICIANS, i.e. schmucks, can't handle (in both senses)].  Now, of course, religion is getting largely eschewed... because of its lack of philosophical underpinning (fusion of faith and reason, a la, Sokolowski, or, as I would contend, reason-enabled suspension of belief?).  On the other hand, the same is not happening with Buddhist religiosity because it doesn't have the same problem.
 
Moving right along...
« Last Edit: Dec 10th, 2008, 12:25am by Stegfucius » Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #18 on: Jun 5th, 2009, 6:41pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

I DIGRESS...
    Heya, T...  I've been meaning to share this with you...  Thinking about technical matters here this afternoon (as relates to "the Gridiron") reminded me...  Have you checked out this CUA goodie, http://www.lib.cua.edu/rat/SPT--About.php?  Scroll down to the acknowledgements at the bottom of the page! You may remember...  This is the project I was a part of even for almost a year after I left D.C. for Hawaii.  I'm VERY proud of this... It's surely an upgrade to research at CUA and sort of a nice little feather in my cap, BUT, MOREOVER, this is a vision Kevin (great guy, by the way) had for some time, and I helped him get it off the ground and, ultimately, long after I was gone, finish it off with new team members and make it a reality.  GREAT stuff!
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #19 on: Jun 9th, 2009, 4:26pm »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

on Jun 5th, 2009, 6:41pm, StegRock wrote:
I DIGRESS...
    Heya, T...  I've been meaning to share this with you...  Thinking about technical matters here this afternoon (as relates to "the Gridiron") reminded me...  Have you checked out this CUA goodie, http://www.lib.cua.edu/rat/SPT--About.php?  Scroll down to the acknowledgements at the bottom of the page! You may remember...  This is the project I was a part of even for almost a year after I left D.C. for Hawaii.  I'm VERY proud of this... It's surely an upgrade to research at CUA and sort of a nice little feather in my cap, BUT, MOREOVER, this is a vision Kevin (great guy, by the way) had for some time, and I helped him get it off the ground and, ultimately, long after I was gone, finish it off with new team members and make it a reality.  GREAT stuff!

 
T, I also wanted to mention that we had (at least) two PHILOSOPHY guys on this project (I don't know about after I left).  Jonathan Krause, who was one of our colleagues, as you can see, is acknowledged, as well.  He did tremendous work on the content side! He and I were the first two on the project, actually.  He was the first content compiler, and I was the first web guy.  Philosophers making a difference!
Logged
Stegfucius
Philosopher King
of Fantasy Football
Site Administrator
GBRFLer
Champ - '94, '99, '02, '04

*****




I love ''the Gridiron''!

   
View Profile WWW Email

Posts: 18970

Back to top

Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic:  Philosophy Corner
« Reply #20 on: Sep 4th, 2015, 4:00am »
Quote Quote Modify Modify

'Tis been a LOOOOONG time since this old thread has been posted to...  One of my students shared this with me.  I had to share it with you all (Travistotle should really get a kick out of it).  It is classic.  Only warning, there are explicit lyrics.  Other than that, though, enjoy!  It is entertaining, clever, lyrically genius, hilarious AND academically on-point...
 
BEGIN! vs.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N_RO-jL-90
« Last Edit: Sep 4th, 2015, 4:04am by Stegfucius » Logged
Pages: 1  Reply Reply Notify of replies Notify of replies Send Topic Send Topic Print Print

Previous topic|Next topic

Fantasyfootballer.com's Gridiron » Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.1!
YaBB © 2000-2002,
Xnull. All Rights Reserved.

Most smilies provided by "MySmilies.com", "Jason's Smiley Collection" or "Clicksmilies.com".
"the Gridiron" Copyright © 2002-2016 - Product of FantasyFootballer.com. All rights reserved.