How halfhearted of you...

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Gray, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Gray

    Gray New Member

    Philosophy. Wonderful stuff. Great people have expressed great ideas throughout history. There have always been contrasting and even conflicting points of view, this cannot be denied. But what has become increasingly popular since the introduction of post-modern theory is what I call the 'halfhearted' view. You know, the typical existential responses to philosophical ideals, like "Genius cannot be defined", "Good and evil cannot be defined" and "Life itself cannot be defined." Basically, NOTHING can be defined by these halfhearted philosophers.

    If, however, and life IS indefinable, then why bother to contemplate? I'd like to let it be known however, that while I believe certain philosophical questions are best answered in this manner, existential nihilism has contributed NOTHING to the human experience.

    Post your views on 'halfhearted' philosophy, as well as questions that are likely to be answered in this manner, neh?
  2. Youkai

    Youkai Valued Member

    If everything, life the universe etc could be fully defined the philosophers would be out of work. So much like the car engine that runs on water all the answers have been suppressed by a secret society of philosophers. And you thought it was the big conglomerates that secretly ruled the world eh?

    If you want my complete view on life and everything it'll have to wait until after I've had my lunch, no scratch that ask me again after I've been out for a beer at the weekend because I'll have all the answers then. :D
  3. jonmonk

    jonmonk New Member

    I think the point that comes out in a lot of cases is that these things are all defined by human conciousness. I think that what is contemplated are the processes by which we arrive at these definitions.
  4. Talyn

    Talyn Reality Hacker

    People used to say, what started the universe. Then they came up with the big bang theory. Then people asked what was before the big bang, the big crunch theory was one of the ones put forward, but regardless of which theory, it was implied that something did exist before the universe. So existence was determined to be infinite, perhaps in an infinite number of realities beyond merely the physical (I believe that), so how did existence come to exist? God? How does God exist? Because he just is.

    Kind of a few "half-hearted arguments" in there, but there are some questions that perhaps, can't be answered, some that perhaps, aren't meant to be answered but merely there for you to keep a grip on what is real, and what matters in life.
  5. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter


    You already expressed my view. :D

    The discipline of philosophy leads us to recognize that there is a higher being out there, but it doesn't tell us much about him/it/whatever.
  6. Gray

    Gray New Member

    Point taken, but my main belief is that if everything is dependant upon the person experiencing, then any question could be answered in the same manner. Existential philosophers might as well just stop now, because SURELY nothing can be defined in their minds. What I'm saying is: what's the point of claiming 'nothing can truly exist/the human intellect is too limited to grasp these things'? That's a contradiction right on the philosopher's part. How can a 'limited human being' claim to even HAVE an answer if they're only going to state the miniscule capacity of human understanding? That would imply that they have PASSED their 'human limits' and found an answer in the first place. Next stop, Contradiction City.
  7. Talyn

    Talyn Reality Hacker

    The idea of it is not necessarily to find an instantaneous answer, and perhaps they're not saying an answer can't be found, but saying one can't be found yet. The idea that current human understanding can't find an answer only serves to help people to believe that we can evolve in our understanding of the universe, and keeps pushing people to experiment with their beliefs of what is real and what is not. I don't claim to be able to answer anything with certainty, but that definitely won't stop me from trying.
  8. Joe_GA

    Joe_GA New Member

    Socrates distinguished between those who despaired of the possibility of finding truth; and therefore held all arguments in contempt (nihilists) and those who believed that there was truth to find, while fully recognizing that one might never find it in this life (or at least come to have full knowledge of it). If we are talking about having a complete and truthful view of all reality, then we are talking about something known only to the mind of God. If we are talking about having knowledge of some truths about existence and the universe, then we are talking about things within the grasp of the human mind. We can also distinguish between those things of which we have certain knowledge; those things of which we have probable opinion; and those things which we may accept on faith and speculation, but lie outside of any possibility of attaining knowledge of them in this life. So, I do agree that the more extreme versions of "post-modern" philosophy are self defeating and nihilistic. But I also think that we must be wary of being all too certain of our opinions and blinding ourselves to truth because we are not sufficiently skeptical of the views we hold because of habit, custom, and tradition.
  9. Gray

    Gray New Member

    Interesting input so far.

    Talyn, I do agree with what you are saying. It would be plain arrogant to seek an instantaneous answer, there's no doubt about that. I also agree that many 'answers' have not been found yet. In fact, I am a supporter of Taoist philosophy and the concepts it projects (accepting natural circumstances, for example). For this reason I do agree that some things are probably better left alone in pursuit of keeping a "grip on what is real, and what matters in life".

    But surely you must agree that the immediate unmeditative response of "That cannot be truely defined" is counter-productive. Nihilism promotes a rejection of understanding in this way. If nothing can be defined, then why bother thinking? Why would a nihilist philosophy at ALL if he truly believes that there is no proof of his own existence? Although saying nothing can often times be an answer, a reflexive "nothing exists" requires no thought at all.

    It's self-defeating, you know?
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2005
  10. Cuchulain82

    Cuchulain82 Custodia Legis

    Nice response Joe GA! I think that much of the (post) modern relativism/nihilism stems from two sources- WWI and the drive towards objectivity in the social sciences. Just thought I'd throw that out there...

    As for 'half-heartedness', I personally find it very aggrivating. However, I also find people who refuse to listen to the validity of alternate views more aggrivating. I hate having an argument that quickly turns into 'It doesn't matter what you say, I think X and you're not going to change my mind!'

  11. Gray

    Gray New Member

    Amen to that. Often times I feel those people are best left in their own restrictions. I can understand why some people may never change their views no matter what... For example, I am a vegetarian out of respect for nature, but that's my own personal choice, and I don't care what anyone else eats. I do find however that many vegetarian activists can often times make situations worse due to their stubbourness and inflexibilty, and the ways in which they are unwilling to accept alternative points of view to their own.
  12. Talyn

    Talyn Reality Hacker

    Well to be honest I think that it's not only counter-productive but damn near impossible anyway. Proof of non-existence is a practical impossibility, and that's what they're trying to do.
  13. Makoto

    Makoto New Member

    My opinion is that they have a point, but it's a point that's been made so many times it doesn't need to be made again.

    There is a lovely law I've heard of, called the Law of Pragmatism. I've never yet heard it put into words that would express its applicability in any situation (or just most), but basically it is this: If it appears to be true in practical application, then (to just about all intents and purposes) it's true. *shrug* That's my counter for half-heartedness.
  14. Koryo

    Koryo Valued Member

    If nihilism is true, then who cares if it's contributed nothing, because then surely nothing matters? If it's not true, then it becomes no more worthless than any other incorrect idea.
  15. Talyn

    Talyn Reality Hacker

    I thought of a saying last night during my night shift. Whether it's humourous or not I don't know, it was about 4 in the morning, so I would've laughed at almost anything...

    "Existentialists aren't the bane of existence, but give them a while and they can tell you what is."
  16. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    Of course there are things that we as a species will never know. For instances, we'll not know how the world was formed or how the universe began.
  17. Gray

    Gray New Member

    But how are you so sure? :D

Share This Page