Friday, October 28, 2005

The Mid Semester Lull

Ah yes, another nice lull in posting here at the moldies. I know that my excuse is . . . well . . . mid terms of course. But, my mid terms are now over . . . which means that finals will be here soon. Regardless, I feel the desire to blog something, so here goes.

I have been reflecting a lot lately. Thinking about the task/discipline of philosophy in general. The analogy of a medical practicioner always comes to mind. I ponder "do people in the medical profession learn intricate details about human biology and medicine so they can be talking heads at parties, talking about cardiology etc.? Or, do they learn the stuff to be of service to people with the fruits of their learning?"

I think, in a perfect world, anyways, that the latter would (should) be the case.

The analogy applies in my mind, so should the end of the philosophical task be, to help people in some in some positive way or capacity. As a medical practicioner would desire to help someone with a physical ailment, so should a philosophically minded individual seek to help people who might have, lets say, metaphysical problems--or something along those lines.

This is certainly not an attempt to sound pious here (I am far from the aforementioned mark), but it seems as though this should be at least part of the goal--an attempt to be a good steward of thought and a servant to others in a philosophical capacity.

In a nutshell, my musings as of late seem to have the same bottom line. Selling out to the process of philosophical inquiry, and doing so in the Spirit of our Lord. What a mark, indeed, and one that I am sure to fall terribly short of. But, I at least hope to die facing in the direction of these stipulations.

Keep up the good work soldiers. The spoils of eternity are well worth the temporal battle.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Gandalf write that?

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Terrence said...

What does this guy have against the Talking Heads?

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Guy Scott the Metaphysical Melon said...

Dude, MEdical professionals aren't in the business of fruit sales... sheesh..

12:55 PM  
Blogger Doctor Logic said...

sal,

At the risk of ruining the vibe (yet again), and solemnly answering your post...

Isn't philosophy the quest for consistency? I want to know whether the various actions I take in life are coherent with each other, or whether those actions are in conflict. Not just whether the right hand knows what the left is doing, but whether they are undoing each other's work.

To philosophize is (or should be) to wage war against confusion.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Sounds like the topic of John Haldane's 'Faithful Reason: Essays Catholic and Philosophical'. There are the two different views on philosophy, one on internal consistency and coherent thinking, and the other that philosophy actually searches for truth as a human discipline hoping to benefit humanity. I would agree that a philosophy should be consistent, and coherent, and in a sense is a quest for consistency. But that is a concommitant part of it, essentially what is being taken as the whole for most analytic philosophers. Just as prior the primary aim of philosophy was to establish how we can know (ah the good old enlightenment). Prior to that, philosophy was about penetrating the essence of things and reality, and was actually treated as being useful for people outside of their circles. I agree with the last view.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the topic of John Haldane's 'Faithful Reason: Essays Catholic and Philosophical'. There are the two different views on philosophy, one on internal consistency and coherent thinking, and the other that philosophy actually searches for truth as a human discipline hoping to benefit humanity. I would agree that a philosophy should be consistent, and coherent, and in a sense is a quest for consistency. But that is a concommitant part of it, essentially what is being taken as the whole for most analytic philosophers. Just as prior the primary aim of philosophy was to establish how we can know (ah the good old enlightenment). Prior to that, philosophy was about penetrating the essence of things and reality, and was actually treated as being useful for people outside of their circles. I agree with the last view.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Sal Monella said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:10 PM  
Blogger *Moldy* said...

Dr. Logic,

Let's say for the sake of argument that consistency was the main goal of philosophy. Would not a by product be, in the case of a discussion wilth someone hammering out their own position, that you would seek to aid them in being consistant in their philosophical view; thus, at least somewhat giving creedence to sal's point of helping others as being an important goal of a philosopher?

A

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Meds arent fruit salespersons. But I heard that the metaphysical (water)melon is!!

2:39 PM  
Blogger Sal Monella said...

Actually, it was written in the spirit of Jack Handy (only 80s-90s SNL fans will relate).

Because this is on the web, I believe you detracters are short of the fullness of the transendental nature of my contemplation. You see, I am seated in a cave, burning incense, reading Thomas Merton, and having the existential experience of a lifetime.

I foresaw some type of steril computation of my muse coming from D. Logic, almost as if I had visited a parallel universe that was fast forwarded 4 hours and had already seen it take place. But, first, I must soften the theistic exclusivity that is evident in my post, and say that I will throw some salt over my shoulder in hopes that chance/hapenstance will work in your favor, Dr. Logic, as you travel down the beaten path of positivism. Also, I will sling the same ash at dedication to "consistency" that R. Audi does and claim --whats the use when philosophers only philosophize to other philosophers, and do so in epistemic-circularity?-

What you need, Dr. Logic, is a calgon bath of existential thomism/realism to bring you to your very own personal, existential moment in the life.

Listen for the sound of two hands clapping, and search for the double ended stick, and you might understand where I am coming from, my brother.

SM

PS. David Byrne rules! Psycho Killer, ques casade!! Ba Ba Ba Ba, Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba, Ba.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Qualiatative said...

It is important for Christians to help the helpless – both physically and philosophically. But ultimately, the physical will pass away. Doctors never save lives. At best, they can lengthen physical existence ever so finitely.

For this reason, I see rational theologians as more important than physicians. Christian apologists can do what the best physician cannot. They can reveal to the world the only true cure for destruction: salvation through Jesus Christ.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Doctor Logic said...

Qualiatative:

Yeah, so we should get rid of all the physicians and make them priests? That's the logical conclusion we should draw from your statement. And it's a scary thought. Of course, it's been tried before, you know. It was called the Dark Ages.

No. Pretending we are immortal isn't the answer. That just devalues our one and only physical existence.

We will soon have the technology not only to preserve physical existence indefinitely, but to improve our intellects and our capacity for all those things we hold as virtuous. That's the answer.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Qualiatative said...

Dr. Illogic,

"Yeah, so we should get rid of all the physicians and make them priests? That's the logical conclusion we should draw from your statement."

I am currently training to be a physician myself. But if all I ever did was perform a few surgeries or read a few MRIs, I would consider my life a failure. The greatest sin is for those of us who are enlightened not to share our knowledge.


"We will soon have the technology not only to preserve physical existence indefinitely, but to improve our intellects and our capacity for all those things we hold as virtuous. That's the answer."

You sure do dream in technicolor!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Doctor Logic said...

But if all I ever did was perform a few surgeries or read a few MRIs, I would consider my life a failure.

Hey, I agree that it would be irrational in your worldview to waste your time on that medical stuff. It would consume valuable time during which you could be out preaching or convincing people to unquestioningly follow your prescription for a moral life. If, instead of performing surgery, you could convince the patient to repent before he dies, you would be doing him much more good. As I understand it, accepting Christ is just about the only thing one needs to do to get into the afterlife.

You sure do dream in technicolor!

Yup. Me, Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom, Aubrey de Grey, and thousands of others. Even bioconservatives like Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama dream of this, but, for them, a world without aging and death is a nightmare.

The greatest sin is for those of us who are enlightened not to share our knowledge.

Knowledge? Or beliefs? Beliefs is all that you have. Knowledge has to be proven, and, in principle, you cannot do that because you have defined your religion as a metaphysical thing beyond empirical test. So even if what you believe in were meaningful (which it isn't), it is no more convincing than an infinite number of alternative (and contradictory) metaphysical things.

Now, quantum electrodynamics. That's knowledge!

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Dr. (are you really a doctor) Logic,

Can you prove the proposition:
"Knowledge has to be proven"
by an empirical test?

When you later wrote:
"Yup. Me, Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom, Aubrey de Grey, and thousands of others. Even bioconservatives like Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama dream of this, but, for them, a world without aging and death is a nightmare."

Ever heard of an appeal to authority? Qualiatative could appeal to William Lane Craig, William Dembski, Richard Swinburn, JP Moreland, etc, all persons with many advanced degrees who share those metaphysical stances of Qualiatative and have presented rational reasons as to why their metaphysical beliefs are reasonable.

This whole paragraph:
"Knowledge? Or beliefs? Beliefs is all that you have. Knowledge has to be proven, and, in principle, you cannot do that because you have defined your religion as a metaphysical thing beyond empirical test. So even if what you believe in were meaningful (which it isn't), it is no more convincing than an infinite number of alternative (and contradictory) metaphysical things."

Since there isn't an empirical way to verify you verificationism, I take that last paragraph to not be meaningful.

Therefore you are rambling.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Ariel said...

Sal,

Thoughtful post. Been thinking about similar stuff lately. You basically said it, so I won't repeat you.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Doctor Logic said...

Dr. (are you really a doctor) Logic,

I'm afraid so.

Can you prove the proposition:
"Knowledge has to be proven" by an empirical test?


No, it is a definition of knowledge. You can disagree with my definition, but surely there is some difference between knowledge and belief?


Ever heard of an appeal to authority?

I interpreted Qualiatative's comment about technicolor dreams as a suggestion that my ideas were eccentric or uncommon. Naming several mainstream futurists on both sides of the debate was not an appeal to authority.

Since there isn't an empirical way to verify you verificationism, I take that last paragraph to not be meaningful.

The Principle of Verifiability is not a "discovery" about the nature of meaning. It is a definition of meaning. A proposition has meaning when you know what would be implied and what would be refuted by its truth. You can disagree with this definition of meaning, but, as I have said before, this definition sets the bar pretty low.

8:34 AM  

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