Tag Archives: theory

What does it mean to be a philosopher?

According to one dictionary, philosophy is the study of the nature and meaning of existence, truth, good and evil etc. And a philosopher is someone who studies and develops ideas about the nature and meaning of existence, truth, good and evil etc.

Personally, I prefer to boil down this definition to just philosophy is the study of the nature of existence and truth. It follows thus a philosopher is someone who studies and develops ideas about the nature of existence and truth.

The inclusion of meaning assumes that existence has meaning to begins with. Here, I beg to differ (or perhaps go along with existentialists like Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre) and point out that nowhere does it say life has implicit meaning, that only we have assumed it to have meaning, and a universal one at that. It is for this reason I believe that Western philosophy tends to think Eastern Philosophy, particularly Buddhism is nihilistic in outlook.

Thus, Western philosophy has a tendency to belittle relativism and relativistic meaning. They are happy to say things like the only constant is change and not blink an eyelid at the relativity and even the contradiction in the statement or proposition. One must also see the nature of language (move towards a philosophy of language) in order to understand the nature of knowledge (epistemology), the nature of existence (ontology) and the nature of reality (metaphysics).

And so I must therefore question the nature of religion as well. I have never known a religion to be personal, for one person and that person alone. If it were then its god must be non-universal. In short, religion is a social act. If it were a non-social act then we need not talk of church and religion in the first place. But the fact that we do have church and the concept of a religion we must assume religion to be above all else a relativistic social construct. And if so then the talk of good and evil must also be relativistic as well. Philosophy, therefore, must reject religion, or at least study religion as part of the nature of human existence, not to assume it is part of or above philosophy as such. There is what I will suggest here as not so much a philosophy of religion but a religion of philosophy, and that it has infiltrated Western philosophical tradition so thoroughly that it had almost escaped notice.

Damn it, Dennett! Why did you have to say it?!

Someone had to say what had been going on in my mind. 

All along we thought robots can become humans, when in fact we, humans, are nothing but fancy biological evolutionary robots. 

The joke is on us. And the sad thing is we can think about this. 

I want to read this smart guy‘s books. 

Eagleton and Value-judgement 

We are memories. Some memories stay with you more than others. That is just how life works. 

I had read Terry Eagleton’s book Literary Theory during my postgraduate years. The one takeaway message from it I got was that nothing is value-judgement free. Not only did Eagleton explain this clearly but he also showed what his position was without hiding it as some others often do. Postmodernism is about being transparent about your values, and about being honest to yourself about these values. For Eagleton, his position is a socialist one, that we should be doing things for the greater good of all. But he is honest about the fact that it is a position and it has flaws like anything else. 

Unlike Eagleton, Francis Fukuyama held that Communism was wrong and that the collapse of the Soviet Union is proof of this. For Fukuyama, capitalism must be right because of its continuation. From Eagleton’s standpoint neither are correct. Both are a flawed as each other. But nonetheless we must take a position because that is all we can do. 

Not too long ago at the start of the Twentieth-century we still believed that it is possible to be objective. And still today some (not not many) continue to believe so. The difference is that now people are unashamedly taking subjective positions which are clearly flawed and selfish and that is all “thanks” to Postmodernism. For better or worse everything can be taken out of context and appropriated for its own end. And it is still the duty of Postmodernism to point this out

The Necessary Angel

Wallace Stevens has a collection of essays called The Necessary Angel. I have always liked the title. I personally do not believe in angels (I am Buddhist) but I do believe in the need for angels and such. To be human is to use the imagination. I am all for the imagination (it is only when angels interfere with the our lives of many that I see a problem).

God is a metaphor. What I mean by this is that Christians use God to present their beliefs. And as a Buddhist I use Buddha and Bodhisattvas to present mine (Buddha is a metaphor). It is not a question which is correct but that what is exactly being presented that is important. We need to put our ideas in some kind of concrete way (we have no choice) and no better is it to personify our ideas and concepts.

Philosophy must be questioned

It is rather strange (or rather not) that philosophy spends so little time question itself. We need a “Thomas S Kuhn of Philosophy”, someone to put a spotlight on the problems and habits of philosophy.

Why I am an atheist but not against religion

As a person who looks at language for a living and have come to believe all of what we know and believe comes from a combination of experience, thought and language

Not matter where we look cultures have religion. We, as human being, like to make religion, as much as we like to make language or literature. We are different to other animals in our ability to do so in such a way. 

So I cannot be “against” religion, or language or literature. It is inherent in us to make religion, language, literature and the such. 

What I do have believe, though, is that we also have the same capacity to “see through” the need for religion, language, literature, etc. For whatever reason we have religion, language, literature, etc, we have to learn to deal with it as reasoned but critical beings in a physical universe. 

The subject in Western philosophy

Should there be a subject? 

Is there a difference between observing an external object and the internal one called the subject? 

Is it here that Western philosophy fails?

Another person’s object can be a subject, and vice versa. By label of subject have we not created a subject-centric of the world when really there is no central view?

I can sympathise with OOO for this reason. But at the same time with sense as the only access to the world, we have no choice but to have a central view.