Thursday, October 30, 2014

CityLit Key Themes - Session 5 Free Will and The Business of Philosophy

Philosophy it seems should occupy the space beyond the sciences be they Physics, Psychology or even sociology - over the years as Science has come more and more to offer explanations of what subsequently occurs the area for Philosophy has become more contested.
Can this be without cause?

The words that framed this weeks philosophy Key Themes (City Lit Style)  session were to quote loosely 'we might have to face something we may not be comfortable with...'

The question we sought to answer then was do we make choices? (or is choice illusory?)

What it came down to - I think was that if we choose to credit a view beyond the mechanistic one (known often as Newtonian) where given enough information we can calculate the outcomes of a given situation - the answer we get is even more troublesome as we must, it seems ascribe outcomes to some 'random' explanation.

As history has developed we change our views and improve our predictions be they of the weather of our region or the creation of the universe.

If we go back some time even such things as pregnancy were without explanation to some.

So the social scientists like the late  Pierre Bourdieu have written works like 'Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (looking at the type of Art appreciated)  that have been  able to predict behaviour by reliance on factors of upbringing, things like Father's occupation and education along with  statistics.

Psychologists (particularly those of the Freudian persuasion) can explain why we may have certain proclivities or tendencies based on their upbringing and early relationships.

 Neurologists can monitor brain activity and ascribe activity within the brain to external stimuli.

So it is (perhaps) that as Nietzsche says 'Why should you make a principle out of what you yourselves are, and must be?'

 The Business of Philosophy


It is perhaps a sign of our times that the experience of  finding  out about  Philosophy is becoming increasingly a marketable business it could be that this is partly a failure of 'Public' (as opposed to commercial) education.

 With academies like The Idler and The School of Life   there is now a new small scale operation - Philosophy off Brick Lane a micro brewer in terms of the other s mentioned but one to consider if philosophy has become your calling.

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