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Infrequently Asked Questions

Why care about philosophy? Because it’s the field which studies methods of thinking, and you use thinking in your life.

Can’t I think without knowing philosophy? Sure, but philosophy is the field which helps improve your thinking. Your choices are: don’t think about thinking, think about thinking and try to create or reinvent good ideas yourself (try to be a pioneer who is also ignorant of the field), or learn what is already known about it (and then maybe try to improve something after you are familiar with existing knowledge).

Isn’t it good enough to read a few life hacks about how to think better? No, those don’t work very well.

And Kant works well? No, Kant’s philosophy is much worse than nothing. There are many different philosophies. Some are good and some bad. You should learn about a bunch of philosophies and compare them and make your own judgment about what’s good. If you don’t do that, you will think using some of our culture’s default ideas about how to think, while not having a clear idea of what you’re doing or why.

Are our culture’s default philosophical ideas good enough? If you look around you’ll see lots of suffering. You have problems in your life and so do your friends. Better ideas allow for better results.

How do I try a bit of this philosophy thing? Read a little bit of something. If you’re having a good time, try a little of something else. After a few things, say something. Talk about what you think it’s about, how you think it’s useful, etc., and get feedback and criticism. Or ask questions. Or see if other people agree about what it means. In the alternative, if you don’t like something, if you run into some problem, talk about that. Talk fairly casually and keep it simple. Don’t put a bunch of effort into trying to be fancy or clever or sound smart. Use small words. Any effort you put into writing should go into clarity – saying what you mean so that people can understand you.

Can you be more specific? Not without you sharing any info. People have different life situations. The Fallible Ideas website has essays you can read, book recommendations, and discussion forums. Look around at a variety of things, not just my stuff. You should compare and make your own judgments. And then talk about your judgments so that e.g. someone can point out a way you misunderstood something and can change your mind.

I’ve tried discussing philosophy and the discussions weren’t very good, so shouldn’t I just give up? No, thinking better isn’t a topic to give up on just because some resources aren’t very good. It’s too important to pursue only if there are convenient, easy ways to pursue it. Try other options. And if you found something inadequate about my forums, you can and should say what it is. Unlike many other forums, no moderator will block you from expressing problems with the forum itself. That’s encouraged. Then a misunderstanding could be cleared up, or the forum could be changed, or everyone could agree it’s a different kind of forum than what you wanted, or whatever. Some kind of conclusion could be reached if you communicate about the issue. And keep in mind the problem could partly be you. If you go to a bunch of forums and the discussions you have aren’t very good (and you have the same issues with groups of friends, meetups, study groups, etc), maybe you’re doing something wrong. One of the things you can do about is try having a couple discussions then ask if anyone knows anything you’re doing wrong or knows anything you could do better to achieve some goal you have (saying what your goals are also helps).

How do I get inspired or motivated to actually do this? It’s up to you what to do with your life. Don’t look to me for that. I have suggestions about what makes sense and arguments that you haven’t refuted. But it’s up to you whether to be motivated by things like reasoning about why something matters which you can’t point out any errors in. Most people don’t find that kind of abstract intellectual issue motivating. Try thinking of some things that you find motivational, like some goals you have, and then writing down (or speaking out loud) some ways that better thinking would help with them. For example, if you want to get laid, better thinking helps. If you want to run or manage a business, better thinking helps. Thinking is a generic tool used in all human activities, so it’s relevant no matter what your interests are.


Elliot Temple on February 6, 2019

Comments (5)

A woman told a story about hearing voices cuz she wanted to kill her mother cuz she was a bitch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyL0jjI93OI


oh my god it's turpentine at 12:28 AM on February 23, 2019 | #11878 | reply | quote

> A woman told a story about hearing voices cuz she wanted to kill her mother cuz she was a bitch

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyL0jjI93OI

I assume the woman hearing voices wanted to kill her mother cuz the mother was a bitch but the reuse of "she" to refer to two different people was a bit amibiguous


Anonymous at 6:12 AM on February 23, 2019 | #11882 | reply | quote

It's better to read it as "she" referring to the same person both times. It *is* ambiguous (not "a bit"), but the better way to deal with the ambiguity is to read it more consistently.

Presumably they are *both* bitches, so it works fine both ways in terms of content. And if only one is a bitch, presumably it's the person interested in murder.


Anonymous at 8:59 AM on February 23, 2019 | #11883 | reply | quote

philosophy failed because it missed the concepts to evaluate virtue properly. neuroscience might come in hand now and we can combine them to a greater good.

bottom line is > define the human design as best as you can , values and virtues , see what comes up.

if anyone wantsto play with this, or refute the importance of this , hit me up : https://www.facebook.com/Keen4


https://www.facebook.com/Keen4 at 8:14 PM on March 2, 2019 | #11934 | reply | quote

Philosophy didn't fail just because many philosophers are bad. There are good ones: http://fallibleideas.com/books

Philosophy is the name of the field which includes, e.g., *methods of rational thinking*. That field can never be abandoned, we just have to improve it. We all use it. If you don't think about it, that guarantees you'll use bad philosophy.


Anonymous at 9:09 PM on March 2, 2019 | #11937 | reply | quote

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