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I'm Actually More Confused

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Posted by Aurino Souza on September 20, 2002 14:01:52 UTC

Hi Harv,

I have at least a superficial interest in most areas of human knowledge. I know a little about a lot, except for electricity, computers, and music, of which I like to think I know a lot. A huge portion of my life is spent reading books about subjects as varied as psychology, economics, new age ideas, art history, to name a few. But I'm sure I'm no different than everyone else here, that is not my point.

My point is that in my pursuit of knowledge, I always had it that philosophy is an important body of knowledge worth exploring. People talk about it all the time, quote philosophers here and there, and often explain the evolution of our culture in terms of the ideas of a few famous philosophers. So more than once I tried to check it out, but it always ends up the same way.

Any time I approach a philosopher's writings, I end up being disappointed. My reaction is always the same: "this guy doesn't know how to solve problems". At this point I came to consider that the entire body of philosophy could be disposed of, and the world wouldn't change a bit (except that philosophy teachers would be out of a job) Or perhaps it would change for better, as there would be less Alans around.

But I'm being cynic. I think philosophy is actually an interesting intellectual exercise. Just as people like to go to the gym to flex their muscles, people philosophize to flex their brains. They achieve absolutely nothing, except that their muscles or neurons get stronger. That might be worth it.

That said, I think some exercises are better than others. For instance, as far as rational thinking goes, any exercise should be guided by logic. Daydreaming is good if you're trying to develop your artistic abilities, but if the purpose of brain-workout is to prepare one to solve real problems in the world, logic is paramount. As far as I can tell there is only one brand of philosophers who practice logic-based philosophy, but we don't call them philosophers, we call them scientists.

What I'm trying to tell you here is that it is possible to apply the strict methodology of science to the abstract problems of philosophy, so that we can achieve something, but I don't get the feeling that you think that is either possible or worth doing. I will reply to your post, but I'd like to know how you stand on this issue.

Please don't take this as offensive, you know I respect your way of thinking even if I can't make much sense of it sometimes. It seems there's a huge gap between us, which is funny considering how close we are in the more important aspects of life. I guess that's what makes you interesting in the first place.



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