I used to discuss alot of filosofy, especially on internet forums. One forum was philosophy boards, i think. it changed its name and merged with another forum, and its software is now trash. however, by fortuitous coincidence, i stumbled upon an old discussion of mine on Google. too bad the forum software makes it difficult to save the entire discussion (i tried), but here is the excerpt:

Reconstructo

@kennethamy,
I suppose I take a pretty holistic view of humans. What they associate with the word “intelligent” is tied in to their value system. Fred likes Jims values and calls him intelligent, which some might view as an abuse of the word. I suppose “intelligent” can function as a word of praise. I also take a holistic view on words. So many types of people out there. If we are “networks of beliefs and desires,” which I think is a good phrase if not the whole truth, then it all get’s tangled up. For some people, their idea of human decency is intelligence. For others, it’s all about the heart. For these heart-types, intelligence might as well mean wisdom or feeling. I think persuasion swallows everything. It’s just that objective science is so persuasive that there’s not much disagreement. But ethics, politics, this sort of philosophy we are doing now..all of these are tangled with ethics, and self-conception/self-ideal. Or such is my current view.

kennethamy

@Reconstructo

I imagine that objective science is so persuasive for a pretty good reason. Don’t you? I expect that this sort of philosophy that I do is not all that tangled up. After all, you seemed to think that what I wrote about the term “exist” as denoting a meta-property (what did you say?) made sense. I think a lot of philosophy can be done so that it makes sense, and give sensible answers that can be supported by reason and by argument. Sounds like a plan to me.

Reconstructo
@kennethamy
Oh yes, your brand of philosophy sticks near the rigor of objective science, and I respect that. It’s not my favorite part of philosophy, but I respect it.. I came to philosophy from a literary background/obsession It’s very much an aesthetic pursuit for me. My ethics are tangled up with it. Anxiety of influence and all that. I want to create, ultimately. Therefore the emphasis on metaphor and the creation of concept. I don’t know if you’ve look at the thread “subversive absolute christianity” but that’s the sort of thing that fascinates me. Much of what interests me could be put away in other genres, but much that influences me is called philosophy. Many Germans. And many of them are myth-makers, poets. Rigorousness is a virtue, yes, but not the only virtue.
kennethamy
@Reconstructo
I thought that the point of philosophizing was to clarify and find out things. Not to entertain. How can philosophy be an aesthetic pursuit? What is it that you would be pursuing? Rigor is a virtue only because it is a necessary means in inquiry. I don’t care about rigor in itself. Why should I? It is not as if I were in the pursuit of rigor, you know. If you want to create then why are you interested in philosophy? Why isn’t writing short stories, or poetry occupying you?
Reconstructo
@kennethamy
I don’t know how much continental philosophy you have enjoyed, but there is plenty of opportunity for creativity in philosophy. Many concepts are invented by means of metaphor. Also a holistic view of “first science” is not one that’s going to put everything in its own little box. I’m interested in connecting the dots. I hope this does not offend you. Whether you want to understand where other human beings are coming from is of course your choice. To me, this too is part of philosophy. Sure, we could chop it up into psychology/aesthetics/ ethics/epistemology/religion, but this is to chop up the living human being for whom all of these are a lived unity. I’m willing to explain my perspective but it’s nothing I want to argue about. I want to hear other people’s enthusiasms (however different than my own) more than their objections.
mickalos
@kennethamy
I think good philosophers are more than capable of being rather literary. Quine’s web metaphor is the obvious example, but this is primarily done in search of clarity rather than in writing an article that people want to read. On the other hand, Bernard Williams wrote what I believe is one of the finest philosophy articles ever written, called ‘The Self and the Future‘; it hardly creates serious difficulties with conventional beliefs about personal identity, as Quine’s article does for anyliticity, nor is it particularly convincing. It certainly makes you think that there may be something more to personal identity than psychological continuity, but lots of articles do this with lots of philosophical problems, so it’s no great achievement. The brilliance, or at least the thing that makes it such a wonderful article to read, lies not so much in the argument, but in the ingenuity and imagination of the thought example used to convey the argument. Presenting a situation that shows certain things to be the case, then offering an apparently different situation that shows opposing things to be the case, before allowing it to dawn on the reader that the appearance of a difference between the two situations is merely that, an appearance. Certainly one of the ‘must read’ philosophy articles.

The danger is, that when one becomes too concerned with how one says something, one loses sight of what one is trying to say. Indeed, you might find yourself spewing beautifully worded, meaningless nonsense, and if you lack the gift of being a good writer, simply nonsense. Not good philosophy. Of course, if you are too concerned with philosophical questions when attempting to write literature, your work risks sounding contrived, abrasive, and often even comical. It’s one of the reasons I think Orwell’s fiction is grossly overrated; the sound points he makes about socialism (or rather particular types of socialism) mask a lack of literary merit. Being too concerned with philosophy is certainly one of the many reasons why Ayn Rand writes terrible novels.

Of course, there’s a difference between employing literary techniques and writing literature, just as there is a difference between exploring philosophical themes and writing philosophy. Great literature is usually subtle in meaning, great philosophy makes meaning explicit and clear. But back to ethics.

Reconstructo
@kennethamy,
The ten commandments are poetry. Plato’s republic is poetry. VCR instruction manuals are poetry. Profanity is poetry. “Self is illusion” is poetry. “Philosophy is poetry” is poetry. Tautologies are poetry. Sure, this is to bend to current use of certain words, but that’s how abstract concepts are made in the first place. Just as concept comes from conception, the fertilization of the egg. A dead metaphor. Dead metaphor rubbed together to make live metaphor. Taste varies. Its the risk one runs. But if a writer doesn’t enjoy his/her own lines, he’s in the wrong business. Poetry is child’s play, sure, so what? And perhaps much of the serious business of philosophy is the child playing a game of grown-up. Soft science is generally made of poetry/trope. But to understand what I mean takes a leaning in, a sincere openness. And that statement is rich with metaphor. I can’t write it off, that language is primarily made of metaphors and philosophy of language.

We’ve got laws and churches and traditions. It’s no big deal if a foolosopher sees that ethics is made of air.

mickalos
@Reconstructo
I assure you, understanding what any of this means would take a great deal more than a leaning in, no matter how sincerely open a lean it might be. I think you’ve managed to strike an unhappy medium of writing nonsense in a comically contrived way. Really now, ‘Dead metaphor rubbed together to make live metaphor’? Do try not to beat us over the head with your metaphors.
Reconstructo
@kennethamy,
Ah now, that’s not so silly as it sounds, I assure you. Crack open a dictionary. Examine etymology. There you will find the birth-metaphor of words that have since changed their meaning. —If you don’t understand, that’s fine. There are those who do. I think you overestimate the strangeness of what I’m saying. I certainly have my influences. I didn’t make it all up myself, although I wish I could claim that. Do you know Joyce? It’s a wide wide world. Lots of new teeth coming in.
Finnegans Wake – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia