Author Topic: Why study philosophy?  (Read 394 times)

Offline Daniel

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Why study philosophy?
« on: September 23, 2018, 02:15:47 PM »
As far as I know, it is altogether impossible to know which philosophy, if any, is correct. Philosophy itself gives no answer.

So, why study it?

Moreover, it seems that all of the philosophies out there are based in nothing but unverified assumptions. So while philosophy can be a powerful tool to beg the question, and perhaps to alter somebody else's opinion, it can never be a means to knowledge or truth.


Does anyone have a compelling argument which definitively proves one philosophy to be correct?
(I already know the basics of Thomism, but I am not yet convinced. And nobody seems to have proof. Just vague claims such as "Thomism solves all the problems which other philosophies fail to solve" and "Thomism has been recommended by the popes" and "Thomism alone provides an accurate description of reality".)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 02:29:45 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2018, 04:04:58 PM »
It is my rough understanding, and I am no expert, that there are two reasons why people might think philosophy is useful, or isn't useful.  If Aristotle is correct in synthesizing the sum of philosophy up to his point, then those two reasons would be the prior analytics for success in argumentation, and the posterior analytics for conviction of knowledge.  The prior analytics utilize the syllogism, and the posterior analytics utilize demonstration.

What this boils down to is that firstly, philosophy is useful if you believe that only that which can be demonstrated(empirically) is that which can be known.
 And secondly, philosophy is useful if you believe that there is a denominator common to the two premise syllogism system that all mankind can agree upon. 

I like to consider culture and language when thinking about this.  Should western culture change and shake its head left to right when it displays agreement like the Russians, or should Russian culture change and nod their head up and down for us?  Should the world only have one language?  Good luck trying to enforce either of these conceptually among the yids, who oddly enough at the same time spearhead that movement.   

It may even be that language is the achilles heel of his prior analytics, and that culture is the achilles heel of his posterior anaylitics.  I would have to think longer about it.  But, I feel comfortable throwing it out there.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 05:04:21 PM by Philip G. »
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 05:09:42 PM »
Daniel - I recommend this source for philosophy.  This professor is great, just trust me.  He has a podcast called philosophy without any gaps.  I have linked you an Aristotle segment on the posterior analytics.  He has made philosophy graspable for even me, who am not fond of philosophy. 

https://historyofphilosophy.net/aristotle-epistemology
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - habacuc 2,11-12
 
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2018, 10:43:40 PM »
Daniel - I recommend this source for philosophy.  This professor is great, just trust me.  He has a podcast called philosophy without any gaps.  I have linked you an Aristotle segment on the posterior analytics.  He has made philosophy graspable for even me, who am not fond of philosophy. 

https://historyofphilosophy.net/aristotle-epistemology

I should have linked you him talking about thomas aquinas, due to your interest.  I linked aristotle because I wanted to post about the two analytics.  I first discovered this professor because I was looking into the university system and its founding.  And, he covered it beautifully, it was the first episode I listened to, and those that surround it I found very useful.  The introduction of aristotle into christendom, and its consequences was also very interesting. 

 https://historyofphilosophy.net/medieval-universities
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - habacuc 2,11-12
 
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2018, 10:41:36 AM »
Read Aeterni Patri and youll see some reasons Leo XIII lays down. 

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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2018, 06:38:05 PM »
Traditional Catholic theology is built on Catholic philosophy (existence, the self, etc.)
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2018, 08:23:02 AM »
I haven't looked at Ęterni Patri yet. Maybe I will, but somehow I doubt it has anything in it besides the Pope's opinion.


Traditional Catholic theology is built on Catholic philosophy (existence, the self, etc.)
I'm aware of that, but this is what I find a bit troubling.

If you look at all the philosophies out there, you will notice that they all contradict one another. It follows that either all philosophies are wrong/false, or else that one philosophy is right/true while the rest are wrong/false. The question arises, how do we know which one is right, if any, and which ones are wrong? Philosophy provides no answer, and so philosophy is not the means to truth.

Now the Church does seem to provide an answer. The Church's claim is that there is this thing called 'faith' which brings knowledge of the truth. By measuring each philosophy up against the standard which is faith, we can separate true philosophy from false philosophy.

And I will admit that this explanation is quite plausible, assuming that there's such a thing as faith.

But two questions arise.

First, if persons of faith already have knowledge of the truth, why study philosophy? (Seems superfluous. If you already know that your theology is true, then there's no need to prove that it's true. In fact, proof would be disadvantageous, since it is said that faith is a higher kind of knowledge than demonstration. Not to mention that if you seek a proof, and if you make some sort of an error along the way, then you're going to lose the knowledge you already have.)

Second, (and this is my bigger concern at the moment,) what about those of us who don't have faith? Why should we even assume that faith exists in the first place? The Church's idea seems to be that faith is its own proof: if you have faith, you know that faith exists; if you don't have faith, you cannot know whether faith exists. But then, those who lack faith cannot know that faith exists and therefore cannot know whether or not they ought to believe the Church's claim that faith exists and that it is therefore possible to know which philosophies are false. All they can say is, "Maybe there's a true philosophy out there, but we nonbelievers cannot at this time know what it is."

Christians use philosophy to defend Christianity in seemingly the same way that non-Christians use philosophy to defend their religions. And neither philosophy can be definitively proven or disproven by means of philosophy. So from philosophy alone, it seems that the non-believer cannot come to know which religion is true.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 08:20:32 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2018, 10:13:05 AM »
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Why study philosophy?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2018, 08:17:23 PM »
Pon de Replay - I had never heard of Lucian. But yes, this is what I'm talking about.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 10:34:31 AM by Daniel »
 
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