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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

Toren rambles for awhile before realizing he doesn’t know anything.

I’m just going to dismiss the idea of philosophy ever reaching an absolute truth of any kind, because for any idea to have that kind of trust there needs to be no possible alternative. Philosophy is like a battleground for contrasting ideas, and it specializes in the ones that can’t be proven. A truth can’t exist with that kind of competition. When a truth does come around, I believe its usually from science, where there aren’t always so many possible answers. (Large masses attract other masses. Its a force. We’ll call it gravity.) So we take the ideas that seem reasonable and possibly trueish and we add them to our collective pool of sorta-knowledge. Okay, that’s cool. Does that help us in any way, or does it just entertain our minds and help our beard and bow tie image? I’m sure there are countless examples of how philosophical questioning has shaped and benefited the world in many ways, but I can’t seem to think of one.

What if we see that our own bodies are physical and are casting shadows, and theorize that therefor every other shadow must abide the same rule? What if we reason that if the shadows can leave, then so can the objects casting them, and therefor there is space outside the cave? That’s not truth, that’s a theory. No matter how factual it may be, they can’t prove it even a little bit. For all they know the shadows could be projecting the objects, or the other shadows are illusions of their mind, like their dreams, or countless other theories. That’s the place we might be in. We might be scratching around real answers, lost amid the ideas. Or there could be no truth. Or maybe we don’t need a truth. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that I don’t know anything.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Toren rambles for awhile before realizing he doesn’t know anything.

  1. I really like that analogy you made – “philosophy is like a battleground for contrasting ideas, and it specializes in the ones that can’t be proven”. Particularly the last bit, I think, really touches on the core of philosophy. What do you think philosophy has to tell us about the things that can be proven, though? Can it say things that can be proven, or can it only comment on them?

    Posted by liamthesaint | September 24, 2012, 5:32 am
  2. By my invented definition, something proven is something that has no reasonable alternative and is therefore believed to be true. These kinds of situations are rare in philosophy since there are just so many alternatives. I would say its probably possible, just very unlikely, for philosophy to find and kind of proven truth. Things already proven can open more questions, but other than insightful comments, probably don’t prove anything new.

    Posted by torendarby | September 25, 2012, 2:02 am
  3. It’s interesting how you brought up the point that we might not need a truth. But if we look around the world today, scientists, researchers, government and people in different fields are always trying to seek “truth”. So what is the truth? If you say that no matter how factual the theories may be, we can’t prove it. So then how then do we justify what is real or what is fake?

    Posted by Stephanie L. | September 26, 2012, 4:01 am
    • I don’t think I ever said there wasn’t a truth, just that its impossible to 100% verify, as was mentioned in class a few times. So to answer your question, we don’t.

      Posted by torendarby | September 26, 2012, 4:40 pm

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