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Alex Schroeder ๐Ÿ @kensanata

I think more people in our society need to read this comic: existentialcomics.com/comic/19
More technology, surveillance, science or mathematics will never help us develop a sense of morality. We need philosophy for that.

ยท Web ยท 19 ยท 22

@kensanata I love this comic so much, and I feel ashamed for the times I've held anti-philosophy views.

@kensanata To be honest, we've been doing that philosophy thing for at least several thousands of years already, and the problem is far from being solved, so this is rather laughable, especially when you compare it to actual advances in mathematics and technology (not to mention surveillance). And every single grumpy old man has a very well developed *sense* of morality.

@deshipu I think the two are independent: we made advances in science and not so much in philosophy, and now some people claim we don't need philosophy to solve our problems but that is only partly true. To know whether we want more or less surveillance, we need philosophy. We didn't make much progress because it's hard. I see no incongruence and I don't think there is anything laughable about it.

@kensanata I agree the problems are hard and that we desperately need solutions. But philosophy doesn't seem to be able to actually deliver anything. Should we keep investing in it hoping that a miracle somehow happens, or should we pursue other ways of finding the solutions?

@deshipu @kensanata this is an argument older than any of us, but however moribund academic philosophy feels at this point in history (which is _very_, for the most part, to an external observer), "philosophy" has historically delivered us science, mathematics, and much of the framework of modern law/governance, which i think it's reasonable to view as actual outcomes.

@brennen @kensanata I think that part of the problem is that what we call "philosophy" today is not what it was a hundred, two hundred, or five hundred years ago. Hard science, mathematics, politology, history, economics, sociology, psychology, etc. have separated from philosophy into their own directions, even though they have been all called "philosophy" not long ago. But then arguing that we need more philosophy over less science is kinda weird, because both are philosophy.

@deshipu @kensanata i don't really disagree with that, but then i suppose i would counter that it's pretty clear from the modern shape of scientific-technological process that we could use some better moral/ethical reasoning in a lot of those disciplines.

@deshipu @kensanata
to put it differently: the subdisciplines of thinking about stuff really could stand to get better. i'm not sure _better_ looks like much of the formal discipline of philosophy at this point, but neither am i sure it doesn't have things to offer. certainly its history does.

@deshipu @kensanata (i've reached the point in this kind of discussion where i'm rambling like a confused undergraduate and should go get actual work done instead.)

@brennen @deshipu @steckerhalter I think it helps if you use surveillance as an example where the practical philosophical discussion happens at the Big Brother Awards or at the constitutional court in Germany. That is philosophy in action. We need more of that and less hoping that surveillance and human dignity will work out in the end, somehow.

@brennen @deshipu @steckerhalter I donโ€™t know much about the topic, but interment a post doc in philosophy at the university of Zรผrich working on animal rights. At the intersection of economics, agriculture, copyright, and so on, people thinking these things through are what we need. Others will repeat what they understand and like and it will end up influencing public discourse because people do care.

@kensanata the world shifts more and more to being driven by profit margins, the pressure on the individual is increasing, trying to squeeze every last penny out of the economic process and the working class is paying the penalty. the masses are influenced in always subtler ways. philosophy has very little to say in this. socialism has been right at least in recognizing how destructive capitalism is. @brennen @deshipu

@steckerhalter @brennen @deshipu The again, Karl Marx, Karl Popper โ€“ what are they if not political philosophers? Certainly not scientists. They just thought and wrote about stuff, didnโ€™t do any experiments, didnโ€™t invent any technologyโ€ฆ

@kensanata @steckerhalter @brennen They did much more than just thought. They published their works, written specifically to persuade and influence the audience. And to steer the public discussion and the policy makers. You could say they were the Facebook of their times.

@deshipu @kensanata

yes they were political philosophers. their ideology was put into practice through revolution. the influence thinkers have on society can unfold years after they are long dead. it depends on who picks up the ideas and what they make of it. when you look at it this way philosophy can have a great impact.
@brennen

@kensanata actually #religion took that part. #philosophy will not be able to do what religion did because the common people do not follow philosophy.

@steckerhalter Yeah, they claim that they did it but insofar that they did it, you might as well call it philosophy. After all all, the history of philosophy is full of religious folks. But not every religious person is a philosopher and not every philosopher is religious. But in so far as people argue (simple declarations don't count) about the kind of morals that we want or need, I think calling it philosophy is fair.

@kensanata you yes it is philosophy too in that way. the difference is this: people believed in religion which defined morality for them and influenced their conduct to a large part. philosophy that discusses what kind of morals we want or need is an academic exercise and the common people are almost not affected by it, rather they live as they please. it's the age of nihilism as nietzsche predicted.

@kensanata We've had religions since the start of Homo sapiens, and philosophy as a formal discipline for nearly 3000 years, and aside from the Pax Romana and Chinese Empire at times, constant war. Women and slaves were chattel property to all the "great" philosophers.

Science isn't *meant* to address those questions, it's just "how does shit work", totally orthogonal.

But Humans are bad to each other, and always will be until they go extinct.