Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Philosophy, what.  ---  .This section is about what is philosophy.  Topics include: ( ) Academic philosophy.  ( ) Definitions of philosophy.  ( ) End of philosophy.  ( ) Psychology of philosophers.  ( ) Types of philosophy.  ( ) Why do philosophy.  ---  1/24/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Philosophers are aliens?  Philosophers understand human life like an alien would.  (2) Philosophers are teenagers.  Philosophers never lose their sense of wonder.  ---  5/20/1999

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Philosophy as method or procedure: analysis of details, or synthesis of grand views.  (2) Philosophy as views or answers: example, existentialism, etc.  ---  12/01/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Philosophy as method: epistemology (inquiry, explanation, science, logic, reason).  (2) Philosophy as results: ethics (our choices), metaphysics (the situation), aesthetics.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Philosophy can broadly be defined as "thinking".  (2) Another way to define philosophy is as theoretical science.  (3) The great thing about philosophy is that you do not need a lab to do it.  You do not need a research team.  You do not need tenure.  You just need a pen and paper and your brain.  You can do it anywhere.  Anyone can do it.  ---  4/7/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Philosophy defined as thinking.  The process.  (2) Philosophy defined as the results of thinking.  The product.  ---  7/1/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Philosophy gets to the bottom, root, core, foundation of things.  (2) It studies everything, the big picture, the whole ball of wax.  ---  09/20/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Science and philosophy are both based on reason.  Versus.  (2) Superstition, magic, myth and religion, which are not based on reason.  ---  6/20/2004

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) To define philosophy as "thinking" is too narrow, because we think with our entire mind: drives, memory, emotions, attitudes, etc.  So, instead of defining philosophy as "thinking", we should really define philosophy as "using your head".  (2) But that does not go far enough, because our minds are not separate from our bodies.  Every day psychologists find more evidence for the mind-body link.  (Evidence like the fact that exercise and diet help improve cognitive functioning.  Evidence like the fact that depression can cause heart attacks).  So when we are "using our heads", we are also using our bodies.  (3) Taking this fact into account, perhaps we should broaden the definition of philosophy, and define it as "humans being".  To be is to philosophize.  Some do it better than others.  (4)(A) If we accept the definition of philosophy as "using your head", which we cannot help but do, then you admit that drives, memories and emotions all play a part in the creation of philosophical ideas.  For example, the end result of your philosophy may be a new type of logic, but your whole mind went into creating it.  (B) And when we accept the "using your head" definition of philosophy, you become more tolerant of drives, memories and emotions in the creative process.  When someone says that they provisionally accept an idea "because it feels right" (emotion), or "because I remember something good like this" (memory), or "because I want it to work" (drive), these statements are all signs of a work in progress.  (5) How far this is from philosophy defined as ideas that are logical, truthful, meaningful and foundational.  ---  6/21/1999

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1) Why it takes thousands of years for philosophical development or progress.  You need to find good minds, intelligent and creative, who are willing to work long and hard on philosophy, a subject that does not pay.  (2) Is it true that you only get a great philosophical mind twice per century, or is that all that the "intro to philosophy" books can hold?  ---  01/09/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  (1)(A) Philosophy and science prove ideas.  (B) Technology and art apply ideas.  (C) Ethics determines worth and utility of ideas.  (2) My "religion": Metaphysics goes to truth, proof, and knowledge, which goes to behavior, action, means/ends, ethics.  ---  10/23/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  A good philosopher is a hard-working dreamer.  ---  04/24/1997

Philosophy, what.  ---  A good philosopher knows Anglo-American philosophy (logic, language, and science), European continental philosophy (Marx, literary theory, deconstruction, existentialism, phenomenology), and Eastern philosophy (Asian thought, Buddhism, Taoism).  Knows all three well.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  (1) In academic philosophy, progress takes place very slowly (over centuries), and in very small steps.  And usually the progress is just a confirmation of what the common man already knows.  (2) A career in academic philosophy gives one little freedom.  (A) There is little freedom of scope or field.  You have to work within your sub-specialty, and within philosophy generally.  (B) There is little freedom of means of expression.  You must write carefully argued, dry journal articles.  You can not hold a conclusion without having an argument for it.  (3) In academic philosophy, because progress is so slow, there is a lot of intervening heming and hawing, in order to keep the philosophy departments open and the resources occupied.  There is a lot of publishing of bullshit, while we all wait in hope for the next big mind to come along.  ---  10/10/1997

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  A philosophical "school" is the result of sociological influences.  Students desire to gain a PhD, and do so by not crossing their PhD adviser.  More than "not crossing" the adviser, the PhD student kisses up and decides to emulate the adviser.  "What he said", the PhD candidate is a ditto-head.  A philosophical school is a clique.  A philosophical school is to some degree a result of the social emotion of loyalty.  At its worst, a philosophical school is to some degree the result of people attempting to secure for themselves an economic means of survival via a political struggle in a social arena.  ---  2/4/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  Leave history of philosophy to the historians.  Philosophers should be concerned mainly with state of the art problems and arguments for logically ordered issues, not historically ordered information.  Knowledge of the evolution of philosophy is not the main point of philosophy.  Knowing where we stand today, and where we are going, is the main point of philosophy.  ---  01/03/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  Look at the philosophy curriculum.  A course on Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, ridiculous!  The philosophy departments are playing it for all it is worth.  In biology, we do not study all the old, semi-useful semi-false theories.  We studied state of the art theories.  The historical way of teaching philosophy courses, and of organizing the philosophy curriculum, is bull shit.  It should be state of the art arguments, arranged in logical organization (by subject).  ---  01/03/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  Mythologizing the cannon.  Conceptual narrowness and rigidity keep academics down as much as their education helps them.  ---  08/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  Paid professional philosophy (1) Speeds up the development of ideas, due to competition.  (2) But slows down the development of ideas, due to a power structure that is resistant to change, which is inherent in organized academia.  ---  01/09/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  Philosophy, as an academic institution, has a tendency to create problems that do not exist, and then refuse to solve them, but rather, prattle on endlessly about them.  It is a self-perpetuating waste of time.  ---  8/2/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  Academic philosophy.  What are we to make of the fact that Charles Sanders Pierce, perhaps America's finest philosopher, was repeatedly denied a job in academia.  Ludwig Wittgenstein had a low regard for academic philosophy departments.  Friedrich Nietzsche also left academia to pursue his own writing.  ---  11/19/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  An argument against academic philosophy: the real problems lie elsewhere.  (1) The epistemology of the cutting-edge (academia and professional science) is fairly well advanced.  Therefore metaphysics has become a moot subject because we know fairly well what is "reality".  However, the epistemology of the masses needs help.  They cannot figure stuff out for themselves well enough.  They uncritically accept garbage ideas.  They are easily swayed by bad arguments.  (2) So to in ethics.  The cutting-edge intelligentsia knows what is right, what the major problems are, and how to achieve the goals.  It is already figured out fairly accurately and completely.  But the ethics of the masses still suck.  (3) Therefore, the imperative is not so much to search for new and better arguments (i.e. do philosophy).  Rather, the imperative is to change society towards these views.  And that takes political action, money, education, and all sorts of practical, grimy, hands-on activity.  Endless sharpening of arguments and endless debate is worthless.  That is why academic philosophy is not as important as politics.  ---  6/18/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  Arguments for or against the importance of philosophy today (for each of philosophy's definitions).  ---  08/04/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Contra philosophy.  (1) Philosophy is a waste of time, and not practical.  (2) Mindlessness is good (Zen).  (3) You could go crazy if you try to sort out basic questions and answers.  (4) Philosophy too often is neurotic avoidance of basic important subjects and ideas by hiding in complicated and obscure subjects and ideas.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Current state of philosophy.     PART ONE.  Academic philosophy is on the decline, according to some people, because...  (1) Science is increasingly encroaching into the turf of philosophy.  (2) Economic cutbacks in the humanities at universities is hurting philosophy.  (3) The "death of philosophy" theory holds that philosophy has been worked out.   (4) Failure of academic philosophy departments to produce enough new and useful ideas to justify the cost of funding.  (5) The tendency of academic philosophy departments to isolate themselves by writing in arcane jargon about esoteric subjects.     PART TWO.  However, paradoxically, philosophy is more popular than ever.  More people are reading and doing philosophy than ever.  (1) More people are getting an education worldwide.  (2) People are getting smarter because society is getting smarter.  IQ's are on the rise.  Higher IQ's means more philosophy.  (3) Democracy is spreading.  More freedom means more people facing the existential questions of what to do with their freedom.  This means more philosophy is done by people, even if its done unconsciously.  (4) The "death of god" phenomenon.  Religion is no longer the sole perspective.  The church is no longer the primary social and political institution.  People are more free to do philosophy.  (5) Higher population levels mean more people are around to do philosophy.  (6) Economic development means a growing middle class worldwide with the leisure time to do philosophy.  (7) Increase in the popularity of non-academic philosophy as evidenced by philosophy cafes, philosophy websites, talk radio, etc.  (8) Greater variety in both the methodology and subject matter of non-academic philosophy discussions.  ---  11/6/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Death of philosophy?  (1) Some people predict the death of philosophy due to the rise of the sciences.  (2) Some people predict the death of philosophy due to increasing academic specialization making philosophy less accessible to the public.  (3) Some people predict the death of philosophy due to a decrease in the funding of humanities departments in colleges.  (4) Some people predict the death of philosophy due to the fact that philosophy is so slow to develop relative to science.  (5) Some people predict the death of philosophy at the hands of religious fanatics and at the hands of mystical new agers.  (6) Yet people continue to think and philosophy trudges forward.  ---  8/29/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Defense of philosophy.  PART ONE.  Philosophy is often ignored.  Philosophy is often deemed unimportant by many because philosophy does not make much money.  However, in every person's life there will be moments of philosophical reflection.  And at a some point, every person may have a philosophical crisis.  The knowledge and skills of philosophy help people get through their philosophical crisis more easily.  The knowledge and skills of philosophy help people live healthier, happier, more ethical lives.     PART TWO.  How to define philosophy?  (1) Philosophy defined as a body of knowledge.  (2)Philosophy defined as a set of reasoning skills.  (3) Philosophy defined as critical thinking about enduring questions.  (4) Philosophy defined as critical thinking about foundational issues.  (5) Philosophy defined in contrast to science.  (A) Philosophy defined as critical thinking about questions for which science does not have the answer.  Philosophy defined as thinking about things that science has not yet discovered.  (B) Philosophy defined as thinking about questions that science tends not address.  For example, philosophy as thinking about questions of ethics.    (6) Philosophy defined in contrast to religion.  Philosophy defined as reasoning in contrast to religious faith.  Philosophy does many good things that religion does not do.  Philosophy does many things well that religion does not do well.  (7) Why philosophy?  Philosophy for when religion is not doing it for you.  Philosophy for when even science is not doing it for you.  ---  12/10/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Defense of philosophy.  Philosophy is often ignored by people.  Philosophy seems unimportant till a person is faced with a philosphical question or a philosophical crisis.  ---  12/5/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Defense of philosophy.  The problem of putting philosophy with the subjects of art, science and technology is that the artists, scientists and technicians want to do only art, science and technology, not philosophy.  Artists, scientists and technicians often abdicate doing any philosophy.  ---  1/7/2003

Philosophy, what.  ---  Definition of philosophy as study of wisdom.  Definition of philosophy as study of life or reality.  ---  01/02/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  Definitions of philosophy.  (1) Broad definitions.  (A) Thinking.  (B) Thinking refined.  (C) Organizing thoughts.  (2) Narrow definitions.  Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Definitions of philosophy.  (1) Foundational ideas on x.  (2) Preliminary ideas on x.  (3) Applied deductive reasoning.  (4) Theory.  ---  09/08/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Definitions of philosophy.  Broad definition.  Philosophy is non-religion, non-art, non-science thinking.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Definitions of philosophy.  Four definitions.  (1) Philosophy as reasoning to understand reality.  (2) Philosophy as logical arguments vs. science as factual arguments.  (3) Philosophy as foundational, basic issues.  Cutting to the core.  Central issues.  No b.s.  (4) Philosophy as theorizing vs. science as experimenting.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Definitions of philosophy.  Mine, anyone's, any philosophers, any philosophy school.  Definitions of any type.  Definition of any length (see semantics).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Different definitions of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics.  Historical development of these views.  What was the popular view, the view of mainstream academia, and the view of the intellectual avante garde?  ---  07/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Doing philosophy is a creative act of thinking.  However, studying the ideas of previous philosophers is only preparatory to the actual doing of philosophy.  The two are not the same thing.  ---  1/9/2003

Philosophy, what.  ---  End of philosophy.  I don't think philosophy is burned out.  We will always need philosophers to deal with what science, and theologians, and practical people shy away from.  And we will need philosophers to deal with new situations as they arise.  ---  07/27/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  End of philosophy.  If philosophy is being over-taken (taken over) by subject areas like psychology, sociology, linguistics, politics, economic, etc., then what is left of philosophy?  ---  07/25/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  End of philosophy.  Scientists, by being scientists (strictly empirical), will keep philosophy alive.  ---  07/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  End of philosophy.  We will always need philosophers.  (1) To deal with changing world situations.  (2) To figure out better all the shit the old philosophers only figured out halfway or wrong.  ---  08/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Ethics based on metaphysics.  Metaphysics based on epistemology.  Epistemology based on ethics.  The branches of philosophy are intertwined and interdependent.  ---  4/25/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Everyman is a philosopher.  Everyman should be everything: everyman an artist, everyman a scientist, etc.  Everyman should be a renaissance man.  Everyman should be a inter-disciplinary philosopher.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Folk philosophy is like folk psychology.  Slang expressions, proverbs, cliche's, etc., that express metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic views.  ---  08/10/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  I am a thinker.  This title avoids the negative and limiting connotations of philosopher, poet, writer, artist, theorist, intellectual, etc.  ---  05/30/1996

Philosophy, what.  ---  If one looks at the situation between philosophy of math and working mathematicians, or the situation between philosophy of science and working scientists, or the situation between philosophy of history and working historians, one sees that the working mathematician, scientists and historians do not want to be bothered by philosophers, and yet constantly encounter philosophical problems.  ---  2/1/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  If you can capture the essence of something in a work of art, an essence which cannot be captured in analytical prose, you have just done philosophy.  Is not metaphysics the finding of the essences of things?  For example:  Summer beach culture: sunsets, waves, boards, bikinis, sand, warm oiled flesh, tight jeans.  Mountain culture: sky, trees, rocks, space, height, sweat, wind.  City culture: crowds, traffic, noise, interiors.  Fall: fireplaces, shaggy dogs, wine, autumn leaves.  Spring: flowers, scents, rain, buds, warm, light.  Is this philosophy or poetry?  ---  12/30/1995

Philosophy, what.  ---  Is philosophy dead?  Is science dead?  Is art dead?  No, none of these subjects are dead.  New materials and new methods yield new subjects and new statements.  ---  5/14/2004

Philosophy, what.  ---  Is philosophy worked out perfectly?  No.  Will it continue to progress?  Yes.  Can I add to it?  Yes.  Has recent progress been made?  By who?  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Just as in science, the gathering of negative results is helpful, so to in philosophy, the cataloging of false arguments and weak arguments is also helpful.  ---  1/1/2002

Philosophy, what.  ---  Just as libraries can be disbanded, due to computers wired into the home, so can and should philosophy be disbanded.  Philosophy of mind, and epistemology can go to psychology.  Aesthetics to art.  All sciences should include philosophical ideas.  There is no need for philosophy departments.  Philosophy as it is taught today is a composite subject.  Split it up.  ---  11/29/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Many people turn to philosophy for the following: (1) Answers.  A plan.  (2) Truth.  Certainty.  (3) Peace of mind.  (4) Happiness.  (5) Health.  (6) Can philosophy offer any of these?  The above cannot be found in philosophy books.  But thinking well can bring us the above.  Philosophy is close to cognitive therapy.  It takes a long time.  It takes much practice.  ---  1/9/2003

Philosophy, what.  ---  Meta-philosophy.  What is philosophy?  Philosophy vs. science, art and religion.  Theory vs. practice.  Reason vs. emotion.  ---  1/7/2003

Philosophy, what.  ---  Metaphysics is not important anymore.  Aesthetics never was.  Epistemology and ethics are key.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Most important ideas.  (1) Philosophy today is getting its ass kicked by science.  Philosophy is taking a reactive rather than proactive role.  (2) Metaphysics is bullshit, because science tells us what exists.  Aesthetics is unimportant.  Epistemology is basically psychology (how to best think or mind).  Ethics is just not that complicated.  And so philosophy has not much to do these days.  (3) Philosophy has basically done its work.  It was important work.  It is important for each individual to understand philosophy.  But now philosophy is essentially stagnant.  Talk to me in another couple of hundred years.  ---  02/28/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  Naturalized philosophy consists of: (1) Naturalized epistemology (psychology).  (2) Naturalized ethics (politics, law, economics, sociology, game theory, decision theory, ecology).  (3) Naturalized philosophy of mind.  (4) Naturalized philosophy of language.  ---  3/3/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Once you have thrown out everything anyone has ever told you, you have to start figuring it all out for yourself from ground zero.  This is philosophy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosopher as generalist with wide knowledge vs. philosopher as specialist or academic.  ---  4/15/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosopher: is interested in theory, abstract, general, broad, basic.  Scientist: is interested in empirical, concrete, specific, narrow.  Technologist: is interested in practical, and ethics.  So a philosopher is a theorist.  And the search for an answer to a question or problem deserves attack from both the theoretical and practical sides.  Meet in the middle.  Ethics + politics = part of human (psychology/sociology) science and philosophy.  ---  09/15/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophers are people who take the time to sit around and bull shit.  Philosophers are people who risk being useless in a world of practical workers.  ---  9/14/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophical advantage and philosophical disadvantage.  The advantage you gain by holding a philosophy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy and science progress hand in hand.  Philosophy and other areas need each other.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy and science.  There is no clear boundary line between philosophy and science.  Scientists very often philosophize late at night, and philosophy often guides the experiments of scientists.  Philosophers often read about the latest scientific advancements late at night, and science guides the work of philosophers.  ---  3/15/2007

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy as a standard.  It is only a degree of quality that separates philosophy from cant, folderall, etc.  Philosophy is as much a standard as it is a subject or method.  ---  6/26/2002

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy as truth and justice (the american way).  ---  9/20/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy cannot be distinguished by its subject matter.  Philosophy also cannot be distinguished by its method.  Scientists and artists do philosophy in order to guide themselves.  Philosophers use empirical science, and empirical evidence, to back up their arguments.  Thus, we could disband philosophy departments entirely.  Aesthetics could go to art departments.  Epistemology and metaphysics to science departments.  History of philosophy to history departments.  Ethics to social policy departments.  (but each of the former is larger than the latter it would be handed over to).  The philosophy curriculum is a type of interdisciplinary studies (see philosophy, interdisciplinary philosophy).  ---  9/20/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy consists of arguments.  An argument is a reason for holding a view.  Philosophy consists of arguments about specific issues.  What makes philosophy complicated is that there are many issues, and each issue can have multiple arguments for it and multiple arguments against it.  What makes philosophy even more complicated is that there can be multiple arguments for and against each argument.  And so on, ad infinitum.  ---  2/26/2007

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy defined as critical thinking skills.  ---  3/8/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy defined as logical argument.  ---  8/14/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy defined as: Abstractions.  General principles.  ---  4/15/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy exists today as a result of specialization.  (1) Scientists stay out of ethical disputes.  (2) Most other specialists are to busy doing their own thing to devote time to philosophy.  (3) Many people are unable (due to inadequate mental facilities) or unwilling (thinking it is a waste of time, or useless) to do difficult, time consuming philosophy.  ---  09/14/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy has several parts.  Metaphysics, which asks the question, "What is going on?"  Epistemology, which asks the question, "How do we know?".  Ethics, which asks the question, "What should we do about it?"  ---  8/1/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is a club you try to join by getting your name in the books.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is an interdisciplinary, foundational area of study.  Whether you think its methods should be those of logic (analysis), language (analysis), or science (naturalized).  ---  01/30/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is like rock climbing.  (1) What areas have been worked out?  (2) What areas are hot and being opened up?  ---  09/14/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is like rockclimbing, only slightly less dangerous and slightly more worthwhile.  ---  6/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is primarily about epistemology and ethics.  Metaphysics is secondary.  Aesthetics is tertiary.  ---  1/25/1999

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is slow.  Philosophy is glacier-speed, on the individual level and on the societal level.  There are few fast philosophers.  Philosophy progresses slowly through the centuries.  ---  12/16/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy is what we should all do in our spare time.  Think and write.  ---  10/05/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy teachers are in danger of ending up like Latin teachers.  ---  3/4/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy today should be done in light of the latest advances in science.  Thus, philosophers should be reading the science journals as well as the philosophy journals.  ---  7/25/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Philosophy, history and psychotherapy, when done correctly, have many similarities.  ---  8/3/2004

Philosophy, what.  ---  Pro philosophy.  (1) Sharpens the intellect to deal better with everyday problems.  (2) Mindlessness is shit.  (3) Could go crazy if you don't sort out basic questions and answers.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  People have varying degrees of tolerance for states of uncertainty.  "Uncertainty anxiety" philosophers have very little tolerance for states of uncertainty.  ---  6/3/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  Philosopher as control freak.  Most people are content to be the product of accident.  What I mean is that for most people, the way they act, what they think and how they think is largely a product of how they were raised, rather than being something they consciously choose.  The philosopher, on the other hand, deliberates everything.  Every thought, emotion and action is scrutinized.  Why?  Because the philosopher wants what in Hollywood is called "creative control".  The philosopher seeks power.  The power that the philosopher seeks is not social power between people, but rather a type of personal psychological power to control the content and mechanism of his own mind.  The philosopher is motivated as much by the unconscious pursuit of power as by the conscious pursuit of truth.  (And anyway, beyond this, at a base level, Truth = Power).  ---  1/8/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  Philosopher as freedom monger.  Why does the philosopher reject everything that he has been told?  Why does he reject everything anyone has ever said?  Why does he start anew?  Because he wants to be free.  ---  1/15/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  Philosophers do philosophy to "keep their heads together".  To not do philosophy is to feel a nervous tension and anxiety that things are spinning apart into chaos.  Philosophers are motivated by fear and a need for control.  To understand things is to lower your fear level.  To not understand is to increase your fear level.  The philosopher wants to understand everything because he is an intellectual megalomaniac.  Philosopher as total control freak.  ---  3/4/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  Some people say that philosophers, unlike other people, retain a sense of wonder beyond childhood.  I say that philosophers, unlike other people, retain a sense of confusion beyond childhood.  ---  3/25/2002

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  The question is how much certainty you require in the realm of truth.  If you require 100 percent certainty then become a mathematician or logician.  If you only require a reasoned argument then become a philosopher.  If you want corroborating data then become a scientist.  If you want subjective perceptions then become an artist.  ---  1/1/2002

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  The question is how much vagueness and ambiguity can you tolerate?  If you cannot tolerate any vagueness and ambiguity then you become a mathematician or a computer programmer and use formal symbol systems.  If you can tolerate some vagueness and ambiguity then you become a philosopher and use natural languages as your medium of thought and communication.  If you tolerate a lot of vagueness and ambiguity you become an artist and use poetry, images or music as your medium.  ---  11/20/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  Two types of philosopher.  (1) Crisis-mode philosopher says "Its critical that I figure out this problem."  Some people are constantly in crisis mode. They can make good philosophers.  (2) Philosopher as creative artist.  The creative impulse is the primary impulse in some philosophers.  ---  1/15/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophers.  Two types of philosophers.  (1) One type of philosopher is motivated by the quest for certainty, because, unconsciously, states of uncertainty produce a great deal of anxiety in these individuals, so they do philosophy to reduce their anxiety levels.  (2) Another type of philosopher is motivated by a quest for truth, because they see truth as closely connected to justice, and if they can get the former (truth) then they will be a step closer to achieving the latter (justice).  (3) Most philosophers are motivated by a combination of both certainty and truth.  ---  6/3/2004

Philosophy, what.  ---  Psychology of philosophy.  Philosophical type.  (1) The people who do philosophy: the philosophical type.  People who are troubled by real practical problems, theoretical problems, or imagined problems, or have vague feeling of being troubled and are searching for answers or at least peace.  (2) People who don't do philosophy: non philosophers.  People who are not troubled.  Calm, satisfied, blind people who do not search for answers or ask questions, or think.  People who see no problems, repressed people.  People who believe it has all been figured out.  People who believe they can not figure out anything.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Relationship of epistemology, ethics and metaphysics.  (1) Epistemology is an ethical value.  Making a commitment to search for truth is an ethical good.  (2) Epistemological standards widen or narrow the metaphysical universe.  Low epistemological standards let in more metaphysical concepts.  High standards let in fewer metaphysical concepts.  ---  5/15/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Science, business, art and philosophy make various attempts to criticize each other.  And they make attempts to defend themselves from each others criticisms.  Criticisms of philosophy include the following: (1) Via science.  Philosophy is not as good as science.  Science is empirical and fact-based.  Science deals with the real.  Philosophy does not offer a high enough standard of proof.  (2) Via business.  Practical techniques like business is better than philosophy.  Philosophy is too theoretical.  Money is more important that ideas.  (3) Via the arts.  Experience, sensation and emotion are just as important as book learning.  The virtual experiences of the art is as important as the logic and reason of philosophy.  (4) Defense of philosophy:  The above are all philosophical arguments.  Science, business and art use philosophy to try to justify themselves.  ---  2/15/2003

Philosophy, what.  ---  Some people do crossword puzzles and some people do philosophy.  When you divorce philosophy from academia you get the "coffee-break philosopher" who is playfully creating philosophical puzzles and solving philosophical puzzles in their spare time just for fun.  ---  2/10/2001

Philosophy, what.  ---  The philosopher is curious in an impractical way.  Non-philosophers are non-curious, practical people.  ---  9/15/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  The philosophers life is long, physically inactive, thinking and writing, boring, horny, lonely, angry, depressed.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  There are many ideas that are true and good.  And for each good and true idea there are many more false and bad alternatives.  We need to organize and compare all these ideas.  ---  8/22/2002

Philosophy, what.  ---  There are two languages, or conceptual schema, called traditional philosophy and science.  New philosophy's job is to translate the former into the latter, and to show where the former went wrong and why.  Also, to show what questions are still up for grabs, that is, still unknown scientifically.  New philosophy's job is to tell what philosophical ideas have been ruled out by science, thus getting all the wrong theories out of the way.  Traditional philosophical disputes and problems (ex. Philosophy of mind) are no longer the important or key or decisive ones.  ---  02/01/1994

Philosophy, what.  ---  To me, a philosopher means a generalist (wide scope) and a foundationalist.  Most academic philosophers are specialists, thinking in narrow fields, and thus are not real philosophers.  ---  11/30/1996

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  (1) Academic.  (2) Mass.  (3) Popular.  (4) Folk and primitive.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  (1) Current philosophy vs. outdated philosophy.  (2) Momentary philosophy vs. long term philosophy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  (1) European philosophy: literary criticism based philosophies of deconstruction, hermeneutics, etc.  Weak.  (2) Anglo philosophy: logic and language.  Not bad.  (3) American philosophy: Science.  And by extension technology.  And by extension business.  Ethics and pragmatism.  The best.  ---  11/16/1997

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  (1) Figured out (thought of) vs. found out (learned).  (2) Generated out of the blue (intuitive), vs. generated through work (methodical).  (3) Unconscious vs. conscious.  (4) Philosophy of an individual.  Philosophy of a society.  (5) Systematic philosophy vs. unsystematic philosophy.  (6) Problem philosophy, and situation philosophy.  (7) Philosophy by method.  (8) Subject philosophy: philosophy of the 26 notes subjects.  (9) Philosophy by views.  (10)  Branches of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  (1) Philosophy accepted without thought, unconditionally vs. (2) philosophy accepted with thought vs. (3) philosophy accepted with reservations or qualifications (adding, subtracting, or changing ideas).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  (1) Short vs. long in length.  (2) Quickly developed vs. thought out over a long period of time.  (3) Simple vs. complex in nature.  (4) Truer vs. falser ideas.  (5) Important vs. unimportant subjects or ideas.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Alleged avante garde vs. correct avante garde.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Average joe philosophy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Branches.  The three big questions of philosophy.  What is going on (metaphysics)?  How do I know (epistemology)?  What should I do (ethics)?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Critiquing old views (conservative philosophy), vs. finding and testing new views (liberal philosophy).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Eclectic philosophy.  (1) Philosophy of any "thing" from perspectives of deconstruction, literary criticism, Marxist criticism, pragmatism, phenomenology, existentialism, language analysis, logical analysis, ordinary language philosophy, etc.  (2) Relationship (effects of and on) of x to every other thing.  ---  07/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Four branches (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics) X 26 subject areas.  ---  07/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Good philosophy: important subjects, important ideas, true.  Shit philosophy: unimportant subjects, unimportant ideas, false.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Meta-philosophy.  How philosophers define philosophy (its goals, methods, and importance).  How the masses see philosophy is important too.  Especially if there is a big difference between the two.  ---  08/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Philosophy found in the arts.  The arts are chock full of philosophy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Types of philosophy.  Two pairs of philosopher types.  (1) Big picture vs. narrow area of specialization.  Bigger is better.  (2) Theoretical (world of ideas) vs. practical (real world).  Philosophers are by nature theoretical, but their theoretical work should be guided by, and develop out of concerns with practical, real world conditions.  Philosophers should never lose knowledge of current, real world situation and problems.  If a philosopher is totally theoretical (with no practical knowledge), in a very narrow area of specialization (with no wide, big picture knowledge), he's in big trouble.  ---  07/30/1996

Philosophy, what.  ---  What you think, say, and do (and don't), both unconsciously and consciously sends and receives to your audience a message about your philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics).  Your audience is anyone you interact with.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why authoritarians would prefer if you did not start doing philosophy.  Philosophy defined as reasoning about the big picture.  Authoritarians realize that if people start doing philosophy then they will start thinking and asking questions, which makes the lives of authoritarians difficult.  It is easier for authoritarians to rule if people do not think, and do not question, but rather obey blindly and silently comply with unquestioning faith.  ---  9/17/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophers do philosophy?  To make themselves feel better?  The psychology of philosophers.  ---  9/15/1998

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophy?  (1) Survival better and health.  (2) Truth and knowledge.  (3) Solve problems, avoid mistakes.  (4) Reduce pain, get goals.  (5) Answer questions.  (6) Find reasons for action.  (7) Satisfy curiosity.  (8) Can't help but do it, well or poorly.  (9) To help (practical, applied philosophy).  (10) To discover (academic philosophy).  (11) To do good.  (12) The thinker's or philosopher's job is to think.  (13) Brave rationalists achieve.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophy?  Admitting that your beliefs may be wrong is tough to do.  Revealing and changing your basic assumptions is tough to do.  Thus many people repress the basic, foundational questions that philosophy deals with, and that are so important.  Philosophy lies close to the unconscious.  Thinking is hard.  Distractions are many.  ---  01/08/1997

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophy?  If we cut the humanities, we lose a big base of professional philosophers.  Then, when a moral crisis arises in the country, professional philosophers are not there to contribute a leadership position, or a dispassioned opinion, or a balancing check against government or big business.  Demagogues can then take over.  Professional philosophers are smart; they are working hard, and they do make useful progress, albeit not as quickly as science and technology.  When we cut the humanities we also cut the base of those who think about literature, art, etc.  When we de-fund and dismantle the university, we are essentially sending the message that intellectual pursuit is not important, or is futile.  And we also send the message that the opposite of intellectual pursuit, i.e. intellectual sloth, is good, and to be condoned or even encouraged.  ---  12/30/1996

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophy?  Is philosophy important, and how important, and why?  At what point is philosophy overkill and beating a dead horse?  When do mistakes in any area of philosophy have drastic results?  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophy?  Philosophy can improve conceptual organization, improve reasoning methods and ability and clarity, improve prioritization of values, and lower survival ability.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why do philosophy?  Why study philosophy?  Purpose of philosophy.  Importance of philosophy (in general, and for me).  Function of philosophy.  Value of philosophy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why philosophize?  If you philosophize, defined as reasoning about the big picture, you may be unhappy in the short run, relative to the blissfully ignorant and the blissfully faithful, yet if you keep at it you will be happy in the long run, happy that you made good use of your brain.  ---  9/17/2005

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why philosophy is not popular.  Most people get threatened, frightened, defensive, and angry when you ask them to examine and question their life meaning system, let alone if you tell them you think they are wrong.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, what.  ---  Why philosophy?  People become discombobulated without philosophy.  Philosophy combobulates.  Philosopher combobulator.  ---  7/16/2006

Philosophy, what.  ---  Your philosophy is your foundation, whether you know what your philosophy is or not, or whether you know that it is your foundation or not.  In times of crisis it either holds up and supports you or crumbles and lets you down.  Adulthood puts heavy stresses on your "house".  Doing philosophy is a matter of filling in the growing cracks in your foundation before your house falls.  Some try to repair the cracks too late, some never see the cracks at all, and some lack the mental tools to repair the cracks.  ---  12/30/1992

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.