“Philosophy”, East and West

Like all terms in any language there is no full presence of meaning.

Here are the three definitions of “philosophy” from LDOCE. They are distinct but related as all polysemy are.

1 [uncountable] the study of the nature and meaning of existence, truth, good and evil etc
2 [countable] the views of a particular philosopher or group of philosophers
3 [countable] the attitude or set of ideas that guides the behaviour of a person or organization

I think the first two terms are fairly straightforward (the first one at least) but it is the third which is of interest here.

One often uses the third meaning in sentences like, “my philosophy on life is …” or “his philosophy on the matter is that …”.

Interestingly this does not translate across languages.

When learners try to ask a question like “what is your philosophy on X” they often fail by literally translating the words.

In Japanese, for example, “X in taisuru anata no tetsugaku wa nan desu ka” sounds strange and unnatural. More natural would be “X ni kanshite wa dou omoimasu ka“, which would be literally close to “what do you think of X“, which would sound like asking for an opinion.

The term philosophy then entails some degree of objectivity, whatever that may be. This is not true of what do you think of X. The point being the possible structure of the language and the influence of it upon you must be taken into consideration.

Going back to the other two meanings too it would be hard to use the same structure as “the philosophy of Confucius” or “his management philosophy”. Different words would replace philosophy for this usage in Japanese and Chinese, and presumably in many other languages as well.

12 thoughts on ““Philosophy”, East and West

  1. ontologicalrealist

    signature103, You wrote, “Dare I say it? Objectivity is a kind of subjectivity, in my opinion.”

    That is an interesting answer. I agree with it. I would go further and say that all our knowledge and understanding is subjective.

    You know, it is better to clarify the meaning of concepts first. In this case, I would ask the question:
    What do you mean by subjective and what do you mean by objective? Give two examples of subjective and two examples of objective.

    Reply
  2. ontologicalrealist

    Hi Landzek, I do not think that it is possible to not have subjectivity or objectivity or express it.

    What do you think? I do want your answer so that things are clear. I hate Unnecessary ambiguity.

    Reply
    1. landzek

      Yes. Lol. I am trying to practice brevity and clarity, but I do not always pull it off too well so forgive me if I don’t achieve my ideal.

      To answer your question I would have to have a context. In an open ended question such as the possibility of subjectivity your objectivity, I’m not sure that I could answer it briefly enough for the blog comments here.

      In short I would say subjectivity and objectivity did not rely on anything that I could believe or want to have. Whatever is objectivity and subjectivity is based solely in the context in which I find myself with relation to those object-terms.

      Reply
    2. signature103 Post author

      Dare I say it? Objectivity is a kind of subjectivity, in my opinion.

      And again, dare I say it, sometimes it is a mega-long answer is clarity. lol

      Reply
  3. landzek

    I might add to your three types of philosophy fourth kind; The kind that does not appear nor occur within a certain degree of objectivity. Or, if we want to address a certain consistency with what an object might be, philosophy is that which expresses the object of thought. Perhaps.

    I know; a bit too contentious, huh?

    Reply
      1. signature103 Post author

        In some ways I understand what you are saying … from an OOO point of view. But what is neither subjective nor objective, to me, is something like a rock. Since a non-perceiving object is just that. Non-perceiving. A rock may not make this differentiation and perceiving being does. To me, that is its characteristic.

        Ask me whether perceiving is important or not and I will say I do not want to be like a rock. But a rock cannot even make that choice.

      2. landzek

        I can agree with you on that. Then along side of it, in the same way we may have a rock and then we might have a stick sitting by one another, they do not reduce to one another that object there is a stick in that object there is a rock. In the same fashion I would have to say that when I’m agreeing with is already occurring within a certain contextual framework that is given to you, that is given to your ability to come to concepts.

        Now realize that I’m not saying that somehow you are believing in some sort of illusion or that somehow the rock and the stick or illusionary or something like that or we are conceiving of things incorrectly with that somehow that is not a rock but just some sort of mental manifestation of concepts. I’m not making a reduction for what you just replied that I am agreeing with in a certain sense to say that my further comment explains your comment more thoroughly somehow. I am not saying that. I am not making some sort of metaphysical statement that is more foundational than what you just saI’d. I am saying that these two apparent situations, eg. The situation that you just said in the reply that I said I agree with, and the situation where I am saying that that is relying upon a certain set a Givens, i’m not saying that one has more truth than the other. Yet neither am I saying that they exist relative to one another. A rock is a rock it is sitting there if you throw that my face I’m going to get a bloody nose. That stick is a stick and if you pick it up in Jabbott am I I I’m gonna lose my vision probably . There is no reduction between those two situations; any reduction is a further metaphysical speculation based in an argument of negotiation over what is more true than the other.

        Likewise I’m not saying that we can’t have argument and we can’t have negotiation or discussion. I’m not making a statement to shut down the obvious and apparent human situation.

        But I am saying that there is a way to talk about the rock and then there is a way to talk about the stick and then there is a way to talk about the relationship between the rock and the stick. We all know all the deer constructive ideas where by philosophically we can be like Bertran Russell and really there is no table there because it reduces down to an infinite set of characteristics the end of which we have no way to define. We all know this, so what. We all know the deconstruction of the postmoderns and how everything exist within discursive contacts and we need to expose her unpacked hidden codes that are within certain context of certain terms and certain usages and certain cultures etc.

        We all know this we all do this we all use this etc. and what?

        OK granted that.

        Now I am saying that this certain set of contexts by which you made that statement that I agree with can be spoken about in a manner that reveals something about the situation of reality that we have not come upon before due to this post modern swamp we exist within.

        Of course you don’t want to be like a rock. But some people would say that they don’t want to be like a native American person. And many people would say that they don’t want to be like that white person. Some people would say they don’t want to be like that Pomeranian dog there.

        Again I’m not reducing it down to some sort of perception or some sort of intellectual deconstruction of that we all have opinions on things.

        I’m saying that we are allowed to ask what it is about my experience that says that that rock is any different than my experience. What is it about being human that not only makes me different from the rock but makes me say something to the extent that I don’t want to be like that rock as an existing thing.

        I’m saying that we are allowed to analyze these relationships, and this analysis does not always have to fall back into this deconstruction of human privilege and intentionality.

        Ok. That was kind along I’m sorry. I get carried away with voice dictation and so that’s one of the reasons why hate cell phones 😆lol

      3. signature103 Post author

        I agree with you here.

        Consciousness is, perhaps, mundane. I use mundane as a technical term to mean ‘ordinary’, or ‘nothing special’.

        I guess what I am pushing in my philosophy is humility. But no matter what we do it because that is the characteristic of this kind of being.

      4. landzek

        One of the difficulties with speaking about an Object orientation is to be able to ‘see ones view’ is just a view, a manner of viewing, of seeing. Not necessarily an ‘opinion’. Racism is not an ‘opinion’, it is a manner through which one sees, and so also often “Be’s”, that is, if they are unable to ‘see that theirs is but a view’.

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