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Old 2005-01-17, 02:31 PM   #1
MrBoogiejuice
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Philosophy

A friend of mine has asked me his opinion on a philosophy paper he's just written not sure if he did it for uni or personal pleasure, but thought I'd share it with you lot 'cause I reckon it's pretty funny.

Kit

Which if any of the following is preferable: dualism, monism or pluralism?

The issue becomes a lot clearer if we use a dialogue..
Imagine two people stood in front of a wall:


#1: I wonder what is behind the wall?
#2: A truck.
#1: How do you know that?
#2: The wall is exactly large enough to cover a truck from our view.
#1: but it’s only large enough to cover a small truck; it couldn’t cover an articulated truck.
#2: What’s your point?
#1: Well… just saying ‘it’s a truck’ doesn’t tell us enough, does it? We don’t know what kind of truck is behind the wall; for all we know , the wall could cover a single egg…
#2: Why would the wall be so big then?
#1: So maybe it’s an egg and a duck.
#2: Whoever heard of two things behind a wall?! The very idea is absurd!
#1: Why?
#2: Well, there is only one wall. So there must be only one ‘thing-behind-the-wall’!
#1: But there is the wall as well as the ‘thing-behind-the-wall’, so I deduce that there are two ‘things-behind-the-walls’.
#2: But if you will say that there are two ‘things-behind-the-walls’, what is stopping there from being ten, or even twelve ‘things-behind-the-walls’?!
#1: Hmm… good point… well I can see at least twenty different bricks that make the wall, so perhaps there are many ‘things-behind-the-walls’! ‘Behindthewall’ could be pluralistic!
#2: Perhaps… but even if there are, let’s say, twenty ducks and ( if we want to be really crazy) five geese, maybe even some eggs as well… if there are all these things, aren’t they all still ‘Behindthewall’?
#1: I suppose…
#2: So we can say that the true nature of ‘Behindthewall’ is monistic – these geese and ducks and eggs are actually one; they are all ‘Behindthewall’ – we talk of ‘Behindthewall’, which is one thing, so ‘Behindthewall’ must be monistic, otherwise how could we talk of ‘Behindthewall’?
#1: Ahh, but you’re forgetting the wall, remember? There is a wall and ‘Behindthewall’. The back of the wall is obviously ‘Behindthewall’, but because we can see the front of the wall, we know that the back of the wall must be a kind of ‘Behindthewall’ that is ‘NotBehindthewall’. So there are two kinds of ‘Behindthewall’, one of which is a kind of ‘NotBehindthewall’ –they are both different but connected in a way I cannot explain. I thus deduce that ‘Behindthewall’ is by nature [Cartesian] dualistic.
#2: It’s a toughie… perhaps we will never know the true nature of ‘Behindthewall’…
#1: Don’t say such a thing!
#2: Well, think about it; all we can see is ‘Infrontofthewall’ and we can never tell if ‘Infrontofthewall’ has anything to do with ‘Behindthewall’; I mean it really could be anything…
#1: Anything?! Even a dog?!
#2: Yes, even a dog!
#1: But we should still try to find out the nature of ‘Behindthewall’..
#2: Oh yes! But we shall have to be rigorous: no more guesswork! We must be scientific about this! The only way we can discover the true nature of ‘Behindthewall’ is by closely studying and defining the nature of ‘Infrontofthewall’ – we must list all the bricks and find out how they work…
#1: Hold on… we don’t know what ‘Behindthewall’ is like, do we?
#2: No..
#1: If we don’t know what ‘Behindthewall’ is like at all, how can we know that ‘Infrontofthewall’ has anything to do with ‘Behindthewall’? Even if the nature of ‘Infrontofthewall’ held any facts about ‘Behindthewall’, we could never verify them, precisely because we cannot see behind the wall to get any kind of grounding-in-fact of our guesses.
#2: We could only know the nature of ‘Behindthewall’ if we had already seen it?
#1: Exactly.
#2: So… we haven’t even seen ‘Behindthewall’ and therefore cannot know anything of its nature… in fact… we cannot even know ‘Behindthewall’ exists!
#1: Blimey, you’re right!
#2: So if we don’t know the nature of ‘Behindthewall’, it could be a pluralism, a monism, a dualism, something we haven’t thought up, or none of these?
#1: Yes.
#2:And there are no grounds that we have, or can have for considering any of these positions as ‘preferable’?
#1: Correct…
#2: So our debate as to the nature of ‘Behindthewall’ has been nothing more than fanciful dreamery and oft-confused guesswork which lacks any concrete meaning?
#1: I suppose so…
#2: Yes! That’s it! We only dreamt up ‘Behindthewall’ once we had noticed, or maybe even dreamt up ‘Infrontofthewall’. Haha! How could we ever have thought we could have knowledge of something we had imagined! We wanted ‘Behindthewall’ to be there, so we dreamt it up. We wanted it to be monist, so we dreamed up ways for it to be monist; and the same with pluralism and dualism! We weren’t looking at the ‘true nature’ of ‘Behindthewall’ (how can you have a ‘true nature’ of a concept?!) we were just looking at our own ways of imagining how ‘Behindthewall’ ‘was’ – we were looking at our own ways of imagining how an imaginary thing might be!
#1: Good God! You’re right! How stupid and futile this whole thing has been. I feel all dirty!
#2: Well yes. But I’m glad we got that sorted out – just to think, we could still be debating the benefits of monism over dualism right now! Lets go get some chips.
#1: Yes, lets!
As #1 and #2 walk off, their fading voices can be heard…

#2: I say, what do you imagine a God who made us would be like?
#1: Well… I’d say he’d have to be all powerf… oooh! You almost caught me with that one!
Their laughter can be heard as they walk away.

ALTENATIVE ENDING:
Instead of going to get some chips, the two men walk off and we se that the ‘wall’ was just a painting in an art gallery.

In Summary: Metaphysics is nonsense; a game for bored romantics. This is fine, but we tend to get rather muddled when we think it has anything to do with anything (anything to do with ‘life’).
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Old 2005-01-17, 02:59 PM   #2
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Re: Philosophy

Quote:
Originally posted by MrBoogiejuice
In Summary: Metaphysics is nonsense; a game for bored romantics.
oooh, them are fighting words!!
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Old 2005-01-17, 07:10 PM   #3
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well, its too bad the only serious challenge to metaphysics was the logical positivists and their standard for something to be worthy of discussion hilariously excluded their own standard and lots of other useful things.

Metaphysics can be useful in limited cases. Using metaphysics can eliminate some questions/responses and push things in mroe concrete directions. In the behind the wall example, we could postulate that anything is behind the wall or nothing is. we have proof on neither. but as the postulations get more specific, we would slowly eliminate some of them.[edited down to not bore everyone to death] I see metaphysics as more of a realm of thought excercise than actual philosophy. however it can occasionally be useful.


woo for having a philosophy degree that never gets used.
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Old 2005-01-17, 10:48 PM   #4
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That's hilarious.

That'd make a good short for a film for a film/philosophy major.
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Old 2005-01-17, 11:00 PM   #5
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Vary funny, although it isn't really PUNny, it reminds me alot of "Who's on First" from Abbot and Costello.
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Old 2005-01-18, 12:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by markf
well, its too bad the only serious challenge to metaphysics was the logical positivists
does this include wittgenstein? i know a lot of people would bundle him in with the logical positivists, but i have my suspisions that he was sooo much more than that..
and what about nietzche? yes, he had metaphysics too, but at least he was honest enough to recognise it as 'poetry'...

Quote:
Metaphysics can be useful in limited cases. Using metaphysics can eliminate some questions/responses and push things in mroe concrete directions. In the behind the wall example, we could postulate that anything is behind the wall or nothing is. we have proof on neither. but as the postulations get more specific, we would slowly eliminate some of them.
I'm not sure about this... if, as you say, we 'have proof of neither', on what grounds would we be able to 'slowly eliminate' some of our questions?

I tend to side with wittgenstein here... if we have no grounds for elimination or affirmation, how can we have a (serious/philosophical) debate about them? this is what i tried to show in the general absurdity of the 'wall dialogue'

Quote:
I see metaphysics as more of a realm of thought excercise than actual philosophy. however it can occasionally be useful.
I agree with you here - i think metaphysical thought can be very good for stretching those neurones to the fullest (i dare anyone to hold a sustained session of thought/debate about 'Being qua Being' without feeling dizzy afterwards). They can also help us to live our lives in a way that better suits us (eg using nietzsche's metaphysics to escape from christianity etc). However, i feel that metaphysical subjects have taken up so much of western thought that we have ended up rather detatched from 'real life'. and this isn't nice.


Quote:
woo for having a philosophy degree that never gets used.
yeah. i'm looking forward to never using mine
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Old 2005-01-18, 12:34 AM   #7
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God.
what an awful way to welcome myself to the forum!
sorry for the pretention guys!
and hi, nice to meet you all!

x
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Old 2005-01-18, 08:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by metro_tramp
God.
what an awful way to welcome myself to the forum!
sorry for the pretention guys!
and hi, nice to meet you all!
not at all, not at all
not since Sendhair used to post regularly was this kind of discourse on the forum
i always suspect that a lot of the stuff i do on the puter actually makes me dumber
it's nice to read thru something that doesn't


how did u get into uni'ing?
did u need a practical example of existentialism or something?
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Originally posted by metro_tramp
... using nietzsche's metaphysics to escape from christianity...

that's going straight to sig i'm afraid
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Old 2005-01-18, 01:03 PM   #9
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Mr boogiejuice has slowly been filling my brain with uni talk...
It seems his posting my philosophy essay was actually a snide trick to get me to sign up here
And i fell for it; now i'm 'in'.
So it seems now that i'll have to take up the seat and the wheel for myself.
Feels kinda like i've ended up somehow in the mafia.. (in a good way of course!)
Hopefully boogiejuice will train me up...

Of course, being a philosophy student, i'm still very suspect of the whole thing... I mean; if you can't step on the same river twice, how the hell d'you expect me to balance on one wheel even once?!

This is gonna take a lot of thinking...
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Old 2005-01-18, 02:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by metro_tramp
This is gonna take a lot of thinking...
oh, i'm afraid not
like most physical skills, aquiring the ability to ride the single wheel takes a whole heap of practise and as someone remarked on these fora, practise is basically the stuff u do to get your mind to 'give up' so your body can just do it
this is as close as u'll get to experiencing your physical intelligence
and for one as 'in his head' as u seem to be (and i mean that generalised assumption in the best possible way), it might be a remarkably liberating experience

besides, chicks dig it

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Old 2005-01-18, 02:28 PM   #11
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Talking Re: Re: Philosophy

Quote:
Originally posted by GILD
oooh, them are fighting words!!
No, no, youse gots it all wrong, it's "oooh, them's is fightin` words".
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Old 2005-01-18, 03:04 PM   #12
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Re: Re: Re: Philosophy

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Originally posted by brian.slater
No, no, youse gots it all wrong, it's "oooh, them's is fightin` words".
'woids', perchance?
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Old 2009-09-06, 09:13 PM   #13
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Does anyone here have an unexamined life.

Does anyone here have an unexamined life.

If so, Socrates said your life is not worth living.

He does not advise what to do if your life is not worth living.

ANY SUGGESTIONS?
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Old 2009-09-07, 12:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyTheMountain View Post
Does anyone here have an unexamined life.
Billy, given the inordinate amount of time you spend examining and commenting on the lives of others here, I'd say - AND PMs I'VE EXCHANGED WITH OTHERS CONFIRM - that you are THE prime candidate among us.

(Yes, I know. "Ooh, you pwned me.")

Sincerely,
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Old 2009-09-07, 03:37 AM   #15
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Raphael,

Perhaps you missed this part of the thread ....

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Originally Posted by BillyTheMountain View Post
He does not advise what to do if your life is not worth living.

ANY SUGGESTIONS?
Billy
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