PDA

View Full Version : A question about questions



B-Mental
05-19-2007, 07:47 AM
I've recently had a discussion with a philosophy student. Asked me the stupid tree in the forest question? If that person can call themself a philosopher just by asking stupid questions, then we all can be philosophers! Does asking stupid questions make one a philosopher?

kilted exile
05-23-2007, 11:56 PM
Ah, but that's what makes philosophy majors such fun. A lot of them think they understand the world better than other people, this can lead to immense enjoyment messing with their heads a little.

NickAdams
05-24-2007, 12:01 AM
Philosophers try to understand the world, but these questions just confuse both parties. The question that should be asked is: Are those who ask questions that can never be answered, truly seeking answers? Leave the party tricks to the clowns.

kiobe
05-24-2007, 12:41 AM
Philosophers try to understand the world, but these questions just confuse both parties. The question that should be asked is: Are those who ask questions that can never be answered, truly seeking answers? Leave the party tricks to the clowns.

I have a sign in my shop that reads in 4 foot letters "ASK". I originally painted it so the guys in the shop would ask questions before they messed something up. I think that confusion in the best cases causes thought and thought leads to discovery. We must ask the questions whether or not the answer is available now or 1000 years from now. Keep the idea alive.

NickAdams
05-24-2007, 01:22 AM
There's a difference between clearing confusing and creating it.

B-Mental
05-24-2007, 02:11 AM
When I was in basic training, my Drill Sergeant said there were "no stupid questions," to encourage people to ask questions. The was promptly followed followed by a question...that was the stupidest question. I can't remember the question now, but the sight of 400 soldiers laughing so hard they were crying was one of my favorite memories of the military.

I disagree kiobe, not all questions must be answered. I think many philosopers (and many people that pretend to philosophise) need to ask these questions to feel superior. Read Nietsche and tell me he isn't dreaming of the Ubermensch, because he was such an untermensch.

kathycf
05-24-2007, 02:10 PM
What I don't understand is why we don't have a thread regarding questions about turnips. People dismiss the turnip as "just" a root vegetable, and fail to recognize it's deep philosophical musings.

Am I a philosopher if I ask the question "What on earth did I just babble about?"....

Nossa
05-24-2007, 03:31 PM
I have a sign in my shop that reads in 4 foot letters "ASK". I originally painted it so the guys in the shop would ask questions before they messed something up. I think that confusion in the best cases causes thought and thought leads to discovery. We must ask the questions whether or not the answer is available now or 1000 years from now. Keep the idea alive.

So you ask a question, knowing that you won't get an answer, but you ask it anyways just for the heck of it? Isn't this called 'Wasting your time'?
When you ask a question, you're usually aiming at something, an answer most likely actually, or else why would you ask the question in the first place?
Personally, I believe that philosophers who ask question just to 'keep the idea alive' are not seeking an understanding to life, as they claim, they basically got nothing better to do with thier lives actually.
If the question is required, then it'll pop to the surface, if it's not, then it won't.Period. So basically the 'idea' will show itself once it's needed.

NickAdams
05-24-2007, 04:00 PM
What I don't understand is why we don't have a thread regarding questions about turnips. People dismiss the turnip as "just" a root vegetable, and fail to recognize it's deep philosophical musings.

Don't you have any carrots?

kathycf
05-24-2007, 05:14 PM
Don't you have any carrots?Goodness no. There is a secret society of turnipers lurking about these boards. Well, not so secret seeing as I just blabbed about it. :p

SleepyWitch
06-01-2007, 06:28 AM
I have a sign in my shop that reads in 4 foot letters "ASK". I originally painted it so the guys in the shop would ask questions before they messed something up. I think that confusion in the best cases causes thought and thought leads to discovery. We must ask the questions whether or not the answer is available now or 1000 years from now. Keep the idea alive.

yep, but there are some questions that may never be capable of being answered.
maybe some questions that we can't answer today will be answered in a 1000 years as science develops and new methods of investigation are found....

but in my opinion, some questions about the human mind etc can never be answered, at least not objectively, because our understanding of ourselves depends on the image we want to have of ourselves. So we will only find what we can accept and ignore what we don't like, no matter how much progress there may be in natural sciences.

Bii
06-01-2007, 08:37 AM
I don't think it's the asking of the questions that makes a philosopher, but rather the seeking of the answers. Seeking the answers takes effort, therefore a true philosopher will filter out the 'stupid' questions 'cos they realise they're not worth the effort of answering.

Note your comment re the tree falling down in the forest question. May seem stupid, on the face of it (although I'm sure Berkeley would disagree), but for many people this question prompts them to do something unusual. THINK. And in that respect, it has it's benefits.

B-Mental
06-01-2007, 09:11 AM
I don't think it's the asking of the questions that makes a philosopher, but rather the seeking of the answers. Seeking the answers takes effort, therefore a true philosopher will filter out the 'stupid' questions 'cos they realise they're not worth the effort of answering.

Note your comment re the tree falling down in the forest question. May seem stupid, on the face of it (although I'm sure Berkeley would disagree), but for many people this question prompts them to do something unusual. THINK. And in that respect, it has it's benefits.

I agree with your well thought answer in the first question. Still think the tree question is just plain and simply to help debate. How many times can you listen to someone say, "...but how do you know?" It may make people think, but "philosophers" never concede a point. They tend to ask more questions which they know they can ask more questions about.

Look at the titles of some of the forums here, and you'll see "philosophers" that want to save others by asking questions. I'm just curious about the nature of asking stupid questions to "save" others, or guide others.

Bii
06-01-2007, 10:51 AM
How many times can you listen to someone say, "...but how do you know?" It may make people think, but "philosophers" never concede a point. They tend to ask more questions which they know they can ask more questions about.

Perhaps then that is a sign of a poor philosopher, and perhaps those people that continue asking the questions are trying hard to appear clever, and not too hard to understand. It's a poor philosopher who can't concede a well made point. That suggests arrogance to me; a person who believes that they already know everything that's worth knowing.

As for the question "but how do you know..", it has it's place but if used in philosophical terms it perhaps indicates someone who's missed the point. In fact it's a very child-like question. What most philosophers understand is that knowledge is like a house of cards, one small gust of wind and the whole thing falls down. Anyone who perpetually asks the question "how do you know" maybe ought to turn it around and start asking the question "can you know?" and they'd probably be starting on the right path.

Brady10
06-02-2007, 04:46 AM
I answered no, because there is a difference between philosophical questions and non-philosophical questions. Non-philosophical questions can be answered with truth, and it is common for philosophical questions to have no immediate answer.

For example:
What color is my shirt? Who constructed the shirt?
These are non-philosophical questions.

Why were we created? What is the best plan to have a happy life?
These are philosophical questions.

Unbeliever
06-05-2007, 04:47 PM
"There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions."
Charles Proteus Steinmetz

I would say that not all rediculous questions have rediculous answers.

dramasnot6
06-10-2007, 08:05 AM
I believe a question is philosophical if it is one concerning something very questionable and indefinable. Questions like "How many feet do I have?" require a very direct answer that, I assume, the majority of the population can agree on. Now those who are horrifically pedantic may question it, bringing in a debate about the validity of numbers and the human languages limitations in describing what we see, and much much more inconvenient rubbish of a philosophical nature. A question like "What is the meaning of life?, in turn, sparks infinite amount of debate and other questions.

Now, of course, just because a question is of a philosophical nature makes it by no means GOOD or INTELLEGENT. Philosophy is just as much for intellectuals as it is for those without much education, that is the beauty of it. We can all question life and come up with our own solutions, using that delightful higher order intelligence we've been blessed with. The nature of stupidity is highly debatable in itself.

nps_marina
06-10-2007, 12:26 PM
I answered NO, also, because of the same reason given before: there are lots of non-philosophical questions out there.
Anyway, I don't know what makes or defines a philosopher...
but regarding the question of the tree in the forest, here's something I found a long time ago on a website that's long since gone. The archives are still up, though, so you might care to browse around (there's loads of movie reviews, but they are hilarious). www.brunching.com


If a tree falls in the forest, and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound? (Part of 'Answering the Eternal Questions' by David Neilsen)
Yes it does. It cries out in fear and trepidation as it nears the ground. "Hey! I'm falling! Oh Lord Christ Almighty I'm gonna hit the ground! This is going to hurt! Won't someone save me! The pain! The pain!" At this point, the tree has usually hit the ground and is now writhing back and forth in agony, crying like a big sissy. Trees are wimps.

:D

PeterL
06-10-2007, 06:34 PM
You neglected ta have "None the above." and "Other." as possible responses.

tulysg1982
06-11-2007, 03:19 AM
All the previous philosophical questions were regarded rediculous by their contemporary society.To me everyman doesnot have the ability to ask questions.IF u have an ques in your mind and your question has an answer ( or u r seeking the ans) regardless how rediculous it is, then you are a philosopher for u r thinking.thinking is the root behind all science.

Bii
06-12-2007, 03:15 AM
All the previous philosophical questions were regarded rediculous by their contemporary society.To me everyman doesnot have the ability to ask questions.IF u have an ques in your mind and your question has an answer ( or u r seeking the ans) regardless how rediculous it is, then you are a philosopher for u r thinking.thinking is the root behind all science.

So, asking 'where's the cat' makes you a philosopher? Fits your criteria.