Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
LoBagola

everyone who studies philosophy is unhappy (underlying philosophy?)

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I was talking to a friend about my interest in philosophy. He is someone who has a good sense of life and is open to logic but he told me that he think it's pointless studying philosophy in depth because he just looks around and notices that everyone who does so seems to be unhappy - which I think is an accurate observation for him and the people he knows. So what he does is prefers to look at the people who are happy and then tries to see what they are doing and extract from that what he thinks makes it work. 

 

What does this say about his psycho-epistemology? Who or what ideas is he influenced by?

 

I know it's pragmatic - but that's about it.

Edited by LoBagola

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does this say about his psycho-epistemology? Who or what ideas is he influenced by?

 

I know it's pragmatic - but that's about it.

 

What your friend is doing is living off of the philosophical choices of others. He does not wish to do the work of establishing his own understanding so he is taking what he perceives superficially as the causes of happiness and applying that to himself. He doesn't ask those people the basis for their happiness and just assumes that he can intuit the reasons from observed outcomes. This is likely to be a mistake. His assumed reasons will often, in all likelihood, have nothing to do with the actual reasons. This is because he takes these reasons ad hoc without integrating them into a web of understanding. I.e., he does not take the effort to establish his own philosophy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The underlying issue here is the same one on which your other thread is based. In summary it is the "ignorance is bliss" challenge.

 

This challenge is not made against philosophy, but against all sorts of knowledge. Consider these devil advocate positions:

 

"You read so much about food and all the studies, that you're now afraid to eat almost anything. Meanwhile, some studies show that as long as one engages is normal activity and eats an average diet, the chances that you will die before you're bed-ridden are unchanged. So, why bother with all the research?"

 

"They were poor, but they were happy. People have been poor and happy for generations, because happiness depends on expectations. Then, as the world opened up, and they found out how everyone else lives, they became disgruntled and frustrated."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are familiar with Objectivism, you should not be surprised that your friend notices how people who study most philosophies are unhappy.  Just think about what all those other philosophies are SAYING... you bet it's depressing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  So much stupid crap can be avoided if you just think about issues correctly, and that ability can only come from critical thinking skills and a decent philosophical framework. 

 

  I think one really concrete way philosophy has helped me is that I no how to be fair and to judge others correctly. Some people I meet are just storms of emotion that have no ability to regulate themselves. They blame others for their mistakes and give other people passes for superficial reasons. Having a good sense of judgement helps so much in dealing with others. It allows one to avoid bad people and reward good people, which creates a social circle that can function. Another benefit is that people take you seriously when you show that you are fair in your dealings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does this say about his psycho-epistemology? Who or what ideas is he influenced by?

It says that he values his own happiness and is seeking to secure and increase it, which is the essence of O'ist morality.  It also says that he knows that the knowledge of obtaining happiness lies in looking at the world around him, logically.

 

So he's already functioning on an implicit philosophy (implicit because he hasn't bothered to put it into words) which probably resembles Objectivism very closely.

 

The premise that studying philosophy causes misery, if applied to conventional philosophies, is probably true; there's nothing wrong with that, in and of itself.

 

However, by accepting that studying philosophy causes misery he has in effect sealed off an entire realm of knowledge from himself- which is unhealthy and dangerous for him.  This is the only real problem herein.

You should suggest to him that whatever is unknown is uncontrollable (you cannot build a nuclear reactor until you discover the atom) and that different people have different philosophies, which have profoundly different effects on them.  (See Philosophy: Who Needs It)

Since his own philosophy is directly and necessarily related to his own well-being, he should attempt to control it.  Since he needs to control it, he must first study it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×