“The Philosophers Corner” Message Board › Should the purpose of Philosophy be debate only or debate plus action?

Should the purpose of Philosophy be debate only or debate plus action?

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Alec
user 8646896
Group Organizer
Sydney, AU
Post #: 65
Organiser's response:
I like your comment XXXX, I stipulated something like that in the "about this group" but you are right that I can make it more obvious. I'll see to it, when I have a bit of time.
Thanks.
Jes.

Member's email:
Hi Jes, I too was uncomfortable with that email.
Do you see us as navel gazers if we simply have an interest in exploring philosophy through this meetup ?
I appreciate your cause, and it seems noble.
It would be fair that you edit your meetup "about" to include the spirit of what you rote in this email. It should be clear what our contact details may be used for. Today is promoting a cause, tomorrow it might be supplying our contacts to another noble entity to have them promote a noble cause to us.
Kind regards
Member.

Organiser's response:
Dear member,
The reason to have sent that email is to encourage people to take action in regards urgent issues that matter in our lives. I say it many times at the gatherings, that we will poorly influence society or suggest ideas, if things are done only indoors and not spread our ideas around. I don't want this to be confused with politics, as I have a very poor opinion of politics including all nations. But can we argue that simply talking and entertaining an audience is delivering the actions that Ethics suggest to put into practise? I never wanted that The Philosopher's Corner would be just an entertainment event but to have an educational approach and to deliver a more proactive function.
Yet, we don't have the means to reach further into the community, but we can ally with those organisations which have the means to do that and which offer us the capability to do so.
You have the perfect right to ask what Philosophy has to do with other organisations or with the kind of work they are involved in. Well, if you see Philosophy as a purely metaphysical discipline, then knowledge will be privileged and no urge for action will be required. Knowledge will only be accessed in this case by a very small niche of the population that has a purely philanthropic interest in certain matters, but if you follow Kant, I belief he said, that one of the roles of philosophers is to challenge the system, to become revolutionaries who alter the state of things in order to improve the societies they live in.
I don’t agree with the comment of our group stooping down, as the intention is genuine, though it could have originally sounded unrelated, I hope this message will clarify the intention behind that email. As we discussed during our last presentation “Can Civilisation Survive the Next 30 Years? by Ian Bryce”, we argued: “ we could debate about psychological states of mind, about dualism, religion versus philosophy, ontology, epistemology, but one of the most important issues to always need have present in any deliberations that affect the way we live is to talk about life and the necessity to have a home for life, like our planet.
It is a matter of establishing the priorities Existence à Life à Intelligent Life, I think we should all have a component of Philosophy of Objectivism and the comments on existence (Ayn Rand) to include in any considerations we take about life.
Regards,
Jes

Email from member:
Hello Jes,
It may well be good news, but may I ask what this has to do with the Philosophy Corner, or with philosophy more generally? And further, why do you think it is appropriate to use the Philosophy Corner's mailing list to distribute political propaganda?
Needless to say, I'm disappointed that the Philosophy Corner has stooped so low..

XXXX

Email from member:
That's great news!! I sick up and fed with the self destructive direction our ignorant pollies are 'leading' us. Let's create a sustainable world and wok with our environment, not against it!
Response from Organiser:

In my last email, I wanted to let you know about the protection of our natural forests and the Barrier Reef. There was another electronic article attached that by mistake the copy and paste function carried forward, I appologise for having included the article in between, which is more related to other matters no intended to be sent to you. I hope that wouldn't have lead to misinterpretations.
Regards,
Jes.

Email from member:
Bob Katter has a right to expres his views as they represent the views of a number of th community, When Bob Katter buys up all advertisment spaces acvailable so you can not express your homosexualist agenda then you will get some sympathy. Meanwhile spare me your bull shit and attempts atsocial enginnering.

Organiser's email:
Congratulations! Minutes ago Parliament voted down a native forest industry proposal to classify the burning of native forests for power as renewable energy. As Rob Oakeshott said in Parliament today, GetUp ran "a pretty stinging campaign". This is an important victory for native forests and genuine renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.
This comes on the back of a massive few weeks for GetUp members who have been creating national headlines. The year is still young but here's just three ways, best enjoyed alongside a cuppa, that you've already made an impact.
1 - Today: A big win for forests!
Just half an hour ago, the Parliament voted down a motion that would have seen taxpayer dollars pay for ancient native forests to be burned for power generation. The vote was so close that the Speaker had to use his deciding vote - meaning every vote counted! (email continues...)
George T
Giorgis
Sydney, AU
Post #: 1
In the context of the title of this topic, I think it is a fallacy to give two options as if it is black and white. My interpretation is that Philosophy is the study of the human condition or the quest for wisdom.

Who is to say that I don't take from a debate and act on it in my real life ? I doubt the point of philosophy is ever about the act of debating.

Now you have a good formula with the "Philosophers Corner”. To become pro-active as a group is something completely different and I suspect a different collection of people will follow and I am sure many in the current group would follow but many would not.
Alec
user 8646896
Group Organizer
Sydney, AU
Post #: 66
I totally understand it, but I expect that the group will still keep as inclusive as it has always been and to be able to welcome people who are more proactive, while still communicating with those ones that don't have the time or the feasibility to be like that.
Tibor M.
user 6890742
Sydney, AU
Post #: 1
Hello Jes,
Thank you for your considered response, explaining your intentions and your wish that the Philosophers Corner become "more proactive". Whilst I admire your motivation, I still feel your intention is misdirected. Philosophy is variously defined as the "Love of Wisdom" (Aristotle), as "Thinking about Thinking" (Quinton), and more recently as the "Pursuit of Knowledge". As far as I know, nowhere is it defined as "Urging to Action" - that is not a role for philosophy, but for politics. As you correctly identify, Philosophy has a role in education and enlightenment, but it lies forever beyond its charter (and it is far from wise) to advocate particular causes and/or to use philosophy as a tool to instruct and/or direct individuals as to how to act. As philosophers, we may educate and enlighten all we like, but we must leave individuals free to choose/decide their actions for themselves.
Regards.
Alec
user 8646896
Group Organizer
Sydney, AU
Post #: 67
Thanks Tibor for your instructive and educational response. I think the other members of the group will benefit from reading this comment of yours as I considered it is important to bear that in mind. However, let me say, Epicurus did not predicate only for thinking but instead he decided to changed his life and gather a group of friends to live with him in his house and live according to his ideas far from the corruption in the city. Socrates exposed his life to great risk and fatal consequences, when he decided to challenge the system of believes and encouraged his pupils to practise what they believed and not just to follow the mith reigning at the time. Kant spread his ideas that many thinkers and followers shared later on, and those ideas where the origin of many revolutions around the globe, Rosseau for instance asked for action while Voltaire more moderate did not pursue that, though his life was changed changing from country to country enjoying the protection of monarchs and suffering the hate from others.
So the question remains, how do you differentiate thinking and love for wisdom from behaving according to your ideas and deciding to take action when the occasion requires it?
Think about any current affairs, the right or prohibition for abortion, it is a moral and vital issue for many at the same time. The rights of refuges entering another country, is it their right to migrate or the right of the inhabitants of the receiving country to let them in? The right to decide on your health, must you take medications if the doctor orders you to do so, or can you choose otherwise? The right of protecting the planet from further damage, we drink and eat what grows on it, should we forget about the dioxines, pollutants, gas, lead, CFC's and keep producing plastic that affects our health? or do we just forgive and live with the remaining health that we can enjoy after we have suffered all kinds of chemical imbalances in our system?
There are many questions, for which I don't have the solution but I believe that letting people think and encouraging them to carry out their ideas is a universal right, if it carries no damage.
Many thanks.
Jes.
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