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A Critique of Philosophy

PostPosted: 05 Apr 2019, 13:42
by Chessplayer
Greetings to everyone. Recently, I came up with an interesting idea that I wished to flesh out in the form of an essay. As not to flood my post with one long block of text (and because I have not completed all of it yet), I decided to break it up into chunks. This first part is a general introduction to my theory. The latter parts will discuss Logic, Pragmatism, and a Recommendation based on my idea. Please comment, and refute, refute, refute. I am very much a newcomer to philosophy and would love to have other's input.

Part 1:
The ideas presented in this essay I by no means assume will be generally accepted. Being an amateur to the discipline of Philosophy, I am confident numerous errors in reasoning will be apparent to my betters. I write now only to make record of a persistent notion that refuses to leave my thoughts. Namely, that devotees of Philosophy down through the ages have progressed little, if at all, in achieving the object of their study.

For the purposes of clarity, I will define Philosophy as the attempt to achieve understanding of the abstract through the logical faculties of the mind. Philosophy, it seems to me, is little more than a cluttered storehouse of theory that is made all the more untidy with the additions of each passing century. Ideas, once valued highly may be thrust into lightless depths, never to emerge for centuries. Old forgotten concepts may reemerge into the light of day to be put to use again.

The explanation for this clutter is quite simple - no philosophical principle can be proven accurate or inaccurate. Therefore, any and all ideas proposed must be kept for future reference, as they very well could prove true. As Philosophy, unlike Mathematics and Science possesses few starting principles by which Truth can be reached, only uncertain conclusions can be drawn within its realms.

Re: A Critique of Philosophy

PostPosted: 02 May 2019, 15:55
by Adm.Vogel
Plato vs. the Sophists highlights this argument about philosophy rather well. Aristotle, of course, demonstrates how one evaluates rhetoric through logos, pathos, and ethos. Aristotle's view is especially useful when it comes to arguing uncertainty (which is 99% of philosophy).

Here is a good read on the subject;
Herrick, James A. The History and Theory of Rhetoric, 6th

Re: A Critique of Philosophy

PostPosted: 04 May 2019, 03:49
by Chessplayer
I thank you for your comment. For a while, I was a bit discouraged by the low activity. I guess Philosophy isn't exactly a hot topic. Here is Part Two:

The quest for Truths (by which I mean conclusions functioning within the parameters of general assumptions) in Philosophy is futile when no foundational principles can be agreed upon. Even the most reasonable of assertions can and have been debunked for potentially being untrue. This skepticism leads nowhere except to stagnation and perpetual bickering. I agree with the Pragmatists that it is high time to abandon the notions of "right" and "wrong" and replace them with the "useful" and "unuseful". Let me illustrate with an example. The belief that one must move left in order to move right cannot be proven correct or incorrect. Perceptions can easily form a false version of reality. After all, the senses are not immune to optical illusions. However, this belief would not be useful at achieving the goal of moving right in YOUR reality.
Basic principles accepted by both Science and Mathematics have so far yet to be incorporated into Philosophy. Such ideas that an outside world exists outside of consciousness and that the senses can be trusted ought to be welcomed into the fold.
Skeptics may claim that doubt is necessary to result in a much-needed revising of ideas. They would be entirely accurate. A healthy dose of skepticism is entirely necessary to prune rotten theories to make way for new growth. However, relentless doubt is like a raging inferno. It consumes ALL ideas, the practical and impractical. The key difference is that controlled doubt proposes a new theory in place of the old whereas full blown skepticism creates nothing.

Re: A Critique of Philosophy

PostPosted: 09 May 2019, 15:56
by Adm.Vogel
"Useful" and "non-useful" are still judgement statements. Mathematics has long been introduced to philosophy through the study of logic. Problem is the vast majority of our understanding lies in the realm of inductive argument. As Rufus the 13th apostle says, "humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it. I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier..."

Re: A Critique of Philosophy

PostPosted: 28 May 2019, 20:25
by Chessplayer
It is entirely true that Philosophy has codified a system of Logic agreed upon not only within its own subject matter but throughout Mathematics and Science. However, Logic in and of itself is not enough to achieve knowledge. Logic is a tool that can be compared to a hammer. A hammer is quite necessary in order to build a house, but raw materials are needed for the hammer to be of any use. A house cannot be constructed without wood or nails. Science and Mathematics furnish ample starting principles for the hammer of Logic to furnish a rational argument leading to a conclusion greater than any of its individual parts. However, as previously stated, Philosophy is too busy attempting to pin down starting principles to reach anything of substance.
"Useful" and "Non useful" may still be judgement statements, but they are more firmly grounded in reality than the "Right" and "Wrong". The latter are impossible to prove through our perceptions of reality whereas the former can be verified through simple use of the senses. For example, to state that gravity is a force that pulls objects DOWN towards the center of the Earth is impossible to prove as a certainty. A human's perception of the Earth could easily be inverted to fool him or her into thinking that up is down and down is up. However, regardless of whether the earlier statement was true or false, it would do me little good to pour a glass of water in the direction I perceived was upwards if I wanted the water to go in the direction I thought was downwards. In this way, the statement has proved useful for guiding my actions to result in apparent success.

Re: A Critique of Philosophy

PostPosted: 29 May 2019, 03:46
by Keirador
How do you discern any meaningful difference between math and logic?