Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My mind, the mirror

Is my mind a mirror?

To put it another way, if philosophy is all about acquiring good knowledge of the world, including abstract knowledge such as relationships between things, good critical thought processes, etc, then am I not simply changing my mind to fit the world?

Is this really how I would like to see the summary of my life : MelbournePhilosopher was an interesting man who was partially successful in changing his mind to accurately reflect what the world is like? It seems like somewhat of a cold description of the meaning of a life.

The alternative, however, seems little better -- to be mistaken about the world.

To what extent is a little uncertainty good for us, and what would life be like if we had access to unquestionable correct information? Would our lives be better, or worse? If we had it, thus obviating the need for learning anything incorrect, what might we do or achieve with our lives?

Are normative things, like ethics, properly within that domain, or not?

Cheers,
-MP

2 Comments:

Anonymous Paul said...

"Is this really how I would like to see the summary of my life : MelbournePhilosopher was an interesting man who was partially successful in changing his mind to accurately reflect what the world is like? It seems like somewhat of a cold description of the meaning of a life."

What happens in the world is outside our control. We can try our best to influence it, but ultimately we have to accept what happens in it. As Epictetus, the Roman philospher said: "Do not demand that things should happen just as you wish, but wish them to happen just as they do, and all will be well."

If you accept that all events have a cause, then it has taken all of history to produce the chain of events that has brought us to this present instant. Learning and modifying our views to accurately reflect the way things are (loving wisdom), and striving to improve things, but accepting that we may fail, is what life is all about in my view. I don't see this as cold at all.

Cheers

8/26/2005 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous RdR said...

Your self-inquiry falls under the philosophy of the "meaning of life" -- which unfortunately has been somewhat less popular in professional philosophical circles these days.

A good reader on the topic is Life and Meaning by Hanfling.

One of my alltime favourite essays in the reader is Thomas Nagel's, "The Absurd".

A short quote from the opening of the essay:

"It is often remarked that nothing we do now will matter in a million years. But if that is true, then by the same token, nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now. Moreover, even if what we did now were going to matter in a million years, how could that keep our present concerns from being absurd? If their mattering now is not enough to accomplish that, how would it help if they mattered a million years from now?"

8/27/2005 04:24:00 PM  

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