Death of Philosophy

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.
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Trevor Salyzyn
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Death of Philosophy

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:44 pm

Everyone plays language games. These are the rules by which we communicate. A football player broadcasts his language game in his performance on the field. A professor entrusts his language to his students. But the most challenging language game is the Truth. Speaking of Truth in natural languages can often feel like being the aforementioned football player, giving his performance to his spectators. At no point does his language game approach something we might call Truth. It represents nothing but the sheer physical signs of a game well played and rules properly obeyed.

As the pragmatist Richard Rorty put it, Truth is something that we collectively agree with. It's a stamp of approval, a sign that one has passed a certain test, a compliment. A well-played game of football is as close to truth as one can get.

Someone who plays language games well can go on to learn many signs in many different rule-sets. Only arbitrarily do we decide which is the best. Why should we favour a game that leads us to Truth? Truth is a sign. Other signs refer to it, and it is not the last in a link of signs. Seriously, what guarantee do we have that our signs lead to more than simply other signs? Has Descartes' task of finding a foundation for all beliefs given us any firmer foundation than any other intellectual pursuit? Was his contribution that of being the one to monumentally fail?

I am willing to learn the language games of others. I have a general awareness of how my words and actions affect others, and I try to be politically correct. I may be terrible at it, but I learned the language game (the syntax, if you will) of a game of basketball. Even though writing creative fiction is not my strong suit, I learned the basics of roleplaying. I spent years learning about religions. Through it all, I remained keenly aware that absolutely none of this leads to Truth.

However, I am also aware that there is no alternative path I could have taken that would have lead me to capital-T Truth. Not only is there nothing that is True behind the scenes, there is no lower-case truth that we can all agree on. And it should be that way. The melting pot corrupts thought. Perhaps the best case scenario is the one which we have, an infinite multiplicity of viewpoints.

Maybe Richard Rorty is correct, and Philosophy is dead. Should we all just watch basketball games instead?
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Pam Seeback
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Pam Seeback » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:29 pm

Watching football games from the understanding of the truth of emptiness is an entirely different experience than watching a football game without this understanding. This is why philosophy will not die, at least until all who are watching football see with the eyes of emptiness and not attachment. Having said this, philosophy does undergo a death in the individual when it is transformed into its living aspect, spiritual comprehension of emptiness.

Causality is a continuum of ordered reasoning appearing in individuals at different rates in different forms. What this means is that a present appearance of individual reasoning follows the signs of a previous appearance of individual reasoning, or as you put it, plays the game/follows the rules of Truth language. All teacher/student relationships of Truth seeking and discovery are made of this Word fire of consciousness transformation.

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:18 am

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:Not only is there nothing that is True behind the scenes, there is no lower-case truth that we can all agree on. And it should be that way.
No, yes but irrelevant, and no. There is Truth behind the scenes, in front of the scenes, in the scenes. The scenes are Truth. Lower case truth does not require a vote. This is the way it should be - Truth everywhere, regardless of whether people agree what is True or true.

Philosophy is not dead just because sometimes philosophers fall asleep. Everyone needs to sleep sometimes, but that you came here with that indicates to me that you were ready to hear the alarm clock.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:29 pm

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:As the pragmatist Richard Rorty put it, Truth is something that we collectively agree with. It's a stamp of approval, a sign that one has passed a certain test, a compliment. A well-played game of football is as close to truth as one can get.
To stick with your metaphor of the football game, the rules are definitely not collectively agreed upon but set by historical "elites". The players try to push, bend or even get away with breaking the rules. The audience often wonders why certain rules are there at all. They agree with the game of spectatorship: buy tickets and enjoy the emotional effects of investment in the outcome, immersion in the shared experiences or even just playing with the statistics.
Truth is a sign. Other signs refer to it, and it is not the last in a link of signs. Seriously, what guarantee do we have that our signs lead to more than simply other signs?
Definitely not all signs and symbols are regarded as equal. Constantly they're being measured but not only by popularity or collectivity, although that seems to be the laziest and easiest way, to follow a herd instead of leading one.
Not only is there nothing that is True behind the scenes, there is no lower-case truth that we can all agree on. And it should be that way. The melting pot corrupts thought. Perhaps the best case scenario is the one which we have, an infinite multiplicity of viewpoints.
How do you know there are scenes and some "behind" for Truth to reside or not? By definition higher truths are behind and over lower ones. It's a matter of rank and order. Nature itself seems random and yet ordered at the same time. Perhaps it's the same with truth, one cannot help valuing, reaching and defining. The whole arrival of existence and life implies the arrival of truth. The way, the life, the truth as one string. And think about it, how would you go on defining life or existence itself without summoning various philosophical truths with it? Denying those will end up denying life and existence, as in such emptiness no truth or lie resides. At creation time, a star is born and truth comes forward as its radiant light.

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Trevor Salyzyn
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:31 am

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote: Everyone needs to sleep sometimes, but that you came here with that indicates to me that you were ready to hear the alarm clock.
I listened to a 19-hour audiobook of the history of philosophy (in light of epistemology), and the end left me here. The narrator attempted his own hand at a solution, but he's a better teacher than original thinker. So yeah, I guess I want to defeat this philosophic position. Call it waking up if you will.
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:To stick with your metaphor of the football game, the rules are definitely not collectively agreed upon but set by historical "elites". The players try to push, bend or even get away with breaking the rules. The audience often wonders why certain rules are there at all. They agree with the game of spectatorship: buy tickets and enjoy the emotional effects of investment in the outcome, immersion in the shared experiences or even just playing with the statistics.
How does this differ from the rules of a debate? Or another metaphor, the creative act of musical composition?
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:The whole arrival of existence and life implies the arrival of truth. The way, the life, the truth as one string. And think about it, how would you go on defining life or existence itself without summoning various philosophical truths with it? Denying those will end up denying life and existence, as in such emptiness no truth or lie resides. At creation time, a star is born and truth comes forward as its radiant light.
Philosophy doesn't really go anywhere. It's a dog chasing its own tail. I expressed this post-structuralist idea in another forum, and someone called it Pyrrhonic..
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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:19 pm

Hello Trevor,
Trevor Salyzyn wrote:How does this differ from the rules of a debate? Or another metaphor, the creative act of musical composition?
It depends wholly if you think from the perspective of "elite" or "spectator". Causality rules them all but that doesn't make everything the same.
Philosophy doesn't really go anywhere. It's a dog chasing its own tail. I expressed this post-structuralist idea in another forum, and someone called it Pyrrhonic..
Well, I think you should be mindful about the ideas you are introducing in terms of the assumptions they seem to import "through the back door". About the "going anywhere", isn't philosophy questioning exactly that for you? What is the landscape here? Does anything else "go" anywhere? Does it imply teleology, the whole sense of directions and dimensions? Even denying purpose will turn out to be a reversal of purpose, a mirror image stemming from the same purpose making machinery. Goals, directions, purposes, they all are born from meanings, connections and activities. Does the sky make a tree grow up or does the tree define for you the sky and its reach if you let it grow? The moment you cannot see goal of purpose of something, without exception there's a losing of connection and meaning, a static situation, a mind "in rest", perhaps even paralysed, giving birth to the view. All part and parcel of a philosophical road. Philosophy is what you take with you, even in the naked states of doubt (and is mind anything but?) even into the post-structural or nihilist, even the depressed and uncertainty of all meaning and direction. Be sure it's still caused since the whole universe can just as easily breath meaning and direction, when there's sufficient connection, will, engagement and energy to spend. At creation, a star is born and truth emerges as radiant light.

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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by jupiviv » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:03 pm

@Trevor: I haven't conversed with you much, nor read much of your output, but from what I have read you seem to someone who has gotten bored with Truth.

Boredom is a mild form of pain, perhaps the mental equivalent of a deep somatic sensation. Bored people certainly suffer, but from nothing in particular. Or rather, they cannot or refuse to pinpoint the source of their suffering. In the latter case, they are afraid that discovering/admitting the source of boredom will lead to more than just boredom, so they prefer a slow burn process where they try to find something to be interested in (the entirety of Gothic literature and the late Romantic musical repertoire are historical examples) or just passively wait it out.

Your posts (the ones I have read at least) seem to express a boredom with Truth. Ultimately, everyone who genuinely decides to seek wisdom - not as part of some phase but in earnest - is immensely disappointed in the end. The reason being that they would not have decided to seek it in the first place had they understood what it is. No matter how pure your initial intentions and how innately honest your character, you *will* expect a reward. Being more specific, in the current post you seem to be pointing out the secular nature of this desire for a reward, and here I agree with you.

Where I don't agree with you is that it isn't *possible* to get bored with Truth. I know you didn't say that but that seems to be what has motivated you to write the post. The meaning of a phrase like "our life is the creation of our mind" can be understood as an expression of the causal relation between mind and environment, but this understanding is useless in the pursuit of Truth unless it occurs in the context of the Truth itself. Not that it cannot legitimately occur within contexts other than that of the Truth, e.g. armoured rugby or "football" as you call it. But when you are too bored with Truth to acknowledge the difference between the context of Truth and all other contexts, you are being untruthful about the source of your boredom.

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Trevor Salyzyn
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:02 am

Diebert van Rhijn wrote:The moment you cannot see goal of purpose of something, without exception there's a losing of connection and meaning, a static situation, a mind "in rest", perhaps even paralysed, giving birth to the view.
I notice that you don't refer to truth in your entire post. Is truth, to you, no longer a part of your present philosophical process? It stopped being part of mine, which is how I manage to debate without irony.


jupiviv wrote: I haven't conversed with you much, nor read much of your output, but from what I have read you seem to someone who has gotten bored with Truth.
Close. I'm fascinated with truth, but I've seen that word used and misused so many times it has stopped making sense. From "I know the Bible is true because it makes me feel good" to "A=A is tautologically true" is a huge coceptual leap. Truth is a feel-good sensation? Might as well leave the truth to the religious. I can think without it.
jupiviv wrote:Where I don't agree with you is that it isn't *possible* to get bored with Truth. I know you didn't say that but that seems to be what has motivated you to write the post.
I'll be frank. I joined a religion and I found it has absolutely nothing to offer me. It's just mud in the water. What it has taught me, however, is how to lie. You just have to convince people of what they already want to believe.
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by jupiviv » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:49 pm

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:
jupiviv wrote: I haven't conversed with you much, nor read much of your output, but from what I have read you seem to someone who has gotten bored with Truth.
Close. I'm fascinated with truth, but I've seen that word used and misused so many times it has stopped making sense. From "I know the Bible is true because it makes me feel good" to "A=A is tautologically true" is a huge coceptual leap. Truth is a feel-good sensation? Might as well leave the truth to the religious. I can think without it.
Why does over/misuse of a word make it nonsensical to someone who has a fixed definition of it? Besides, this still doesn't explain why you think Truth is a "language game", or something collectively agreed upon. Or did you mention those ideas/notions as examples of misuse of the word "Truth"?
jupiviv wrote:Where I don't agree with you is that it isn't *possible* to get bored with Truth. I know you didn't say that but that seems to be what has motivated you to write the post.
I'll be frank. I joined a religion and I found it has absolutely nothing to offer me. It's just mud in the water. What it has taught me, however, is how to lie. You just have to convince people of what they already want to believe.
So your own pursuit of wisdom or Truth is/was this religion you mentioned? I think my own pursuit of wisdom is religious in a sense, because it requires me to believe certain things without admitting any possibility of contradiction.

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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:33 am

jupiviv wrote:Why does over/misuse of a word make it nonsensical to someone who has a fixed definition of it?
Words are social; as I said, they work like a game. If you don't even bother to approximate the definitions of others, you have forfeited sense. If everyone calls a knife a spoon, except one person who calls it a knife, there isn't any guarantor that either party is correct. Truth is like that. People use it to describe so many things: is truth the sensation of reading scripture? Or is it simply a logical operator?
jupiviv wrote:So your own pursuit of wisdom or Truth is/was this religion you mentioned?
My own pursuit of wisdom has lead me to Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, and most recently, Mormonism. In my experience, they all use truth but never in a convincing way. Whatever a religious person means when they talk about truth is not what I mean: we are playing different sports. And I can't say I am necessarily correct.
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by jupiviv » Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:31 am

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:
jupiviv wrote:Why does over/misuse of a word make it nonsensical to someone who has a fixed definition of it?
Words are social; as I said, they work like a game.
Lots of things work like games, but it doesn't follow that they are games. Words are social in a social context, but not in the logical context which involves thoughts in your brain. If the latter context didn't exist, neither would rational discourse of any kind.
If you don't even bother to approximate the definitions of others, you have forfeited sense.
Not so unless I am confused between my definitions and those belonging to others.
If everyone calls a knife a spoon, except one person who calls it a knife, there isn't any guarantor that either party is correct. Truth is like that.
By your own reasoning, you can't be certain you are correct in saying this (since others may disagree with you).
jupiviv wrote:So your own pursuit of wisdom or Truth is/was this religion you mentioned?
My own pursuit of wisdom has lead me to Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, and most recently, Mormonism. In my experience, they all use truth but never in a convincing way. Whatever a religious person means when they talk about truth is not what I mean: we are playing different sports. And I can't say I am necessarily correct.
Why not call it Christianity? I agree that those religions use truth for the purpose of covering up or beautifying untruths - in general of course.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:20 am

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:The moment you cannot see goal of purpose of something, without exception there's a losing of connection and meaning, a static situation, a mind "in rest", perhaps even paralysed, giving birth to the view.
I notice that you don't refer to truth in your entire post. Is truth, to you, no longer a part of your present philosophical process? It stopped being part of mine, which is how I manage to debate without irony.
Referring to "truths" can be helpful, like crutches, objects, supernatural entities and other stuff. But in the end the whole of ones position and output is that truth. You end all the referring and describing but start representing it -- even in writing, at least for those inhabiting a similar contextual realm.

My first reply to you already stated
  • The whole arrival of existence and life implies the arrival of truth. The way, the life, the truth as one string.
Pretty clear I think. Of course we can delve into the word "truth" or explore the absolute immutable elements of existence from logical necessity. But they only serve one goal, to dispel delusion, all ignorance, all dukkha.

But debating without irony? You should rethink that one. In this day and age every word becomes pure irony in terms of philosophical truth telling. Even declaring its death. It would be like Nietzsche's character looking for God with his lantern. Did we kill it? Should we have killed it? Was it ever there? And in the same vein: to declare the death of philosophy would require a certain type, someone having entered life in such a way that all he knew before seems now dead. Which is probably just a shadow effect of the enlightening.

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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Tenver- » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:51 am

Now, I don't know if this is still active and the OP here but:

Nietzsche - "I am still waiting for a philosophical physician in the exceptional sense of that word -- one who has to pursue the problem of the whole health of a people, time, race, or of humanity -- to muster the courage to push my suspicion to its limits and to risk the proposition: what was at stake in all philosophy hitherto was not at all ‘truth’ but something else -- let us say, health, future, growth, power, life."

If you eradicate man from this Earth, does truth die with him?

Same for animals?

Poor Earthlings we are...

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Re: Death of Philosophy

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:07 pm

Tenver- wrote:Now, I don't know if this is still active and the OP here but:

Nietzsche - "I am still waiting for a philosophical physician in the exceptional sense of that word -- one who has to pursue the problem of the whole health of a people, time, race, or of humanity -- to muster the courage to push my suspicion to its limits and to risk the proposition: what was at stake in all philosophy hitherto was not at all ‘truth’ but something else -- let us say, health, future, growth, power, life."

If you eradicate man from this Earth, does truth die with him?

Same for animals?

Poor Earthlings we are...
Here truth is suggested to be a manifestation of some biological principle, at its best. So anything getting the juices flowing in some evolutionary "fit" direction. Carrots and sticks. Another more metaphysical position, also touched up on by Nietzsche, would be that philosophy and religion, including all things romantic and erotic, all the highest achievements hitherto have pushed for the "Thing" being materialized and concretized. The ideal in its ending realized! With that act, "God", the unrealized ideal in heaven, necessarily dies, murdered by that very act -- and with that the symbolic world of man and meaning too, since they were all upheld by it.

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