ridiculousness in philosophy

I believe in reason. I believe there is such a thing as reason.

I believe that god is merely another term for reason.

Actually, I don’t believe in reason, I know reason exists.

Does that mean it automatically doesn’t exist just because it is reason?

If I use the word god instead of reason it apparently does!

(To some people anyway.)

So what’s going on?

Isn’t it true that there are many people who hate the very idea of god let alone mention of the word?

And these automatic god-haters will do everything in their power to destroy everything they can that has anything to do with this term god. They are quite unable to help themselves. You mention god to them and immediately they sneer and conceitedly look down on you as though you were some lower form of life!

I am as sick to death of these fanatical atheistic extremists as their god-loving counterparts.

The intellectuals in their ranks proffer meaningless arguments that turn them into laughing stocks. I watch as they discuss, debate, and cite this or that ontological, epistemological, or whatever -------logical argument in support their unhealthy bias. And am filled with pity.

Now you’d expect philosophers to know better than this. But no, they are the biggest clowns of all and have reduced philosophy to a game in which every ignoramus believes his worthless opinion has equal standing with that of any other.

This is not a healthy situation.

I cite the god example above but there are innumerable examples of this ridiculousness in philosophy!

I think there has got to be some pretty severe pruning operation put into effect in the garden of philosophical delights because, quite frankly, it has become a wilderness!

There’s not a gardener to be found anywhere and the place is completely overgrown with brambles.

What is to be done?

If I were to hand you (Epicteat) a pair of pruners, and you were to prune away to your hearts content, what would be left in the garden? What is not ridiculousness?

lol, I don’t think this post belongs in this forum. Nevertheless I feel like putting my own input in.

I think Socrates had a great solution to this problem. Remove ones own ego from the argument. Theres no arguing truth. Its not him who refutes her but truth that refutes :sunglasses:

And I would also venture to guess if people would understand they know nothing as confusious pointed out very eloquently “To know is to know that one knows nothing” then people could become a lot more open minded and discourse would be much better and healthier.

I would say one thing though and that is why does someone elses obsitnate behavior/beliefs bother you so much?

Man will always believe what he wants to believe.


You’re right, there’d probably be nothing left in the garden. It’d probably end up a desolate barren wasteland of a desert!

“What is not ridiculousness?”

Yes, there is some world-weary profundity in this question.


Yes, but Socrates anthropomorphised Truth. ‘She,’ (Truth,) was seen as a goddess. And as such it would have been perfectly possible for her to refute.

For any man to go around claiming he knows nothing is the height of inverse modesty.

why does someone elses obsitnate behavior/beliefs bother you so much?

Good question! Not sure about the ‘bother’ bit… do I really come across as being bothered? I certainly don’t feel hot and bothered. I think I go through a gamut of feelings and emotions.

What ‘bothers’ you?

Epicteat, if there would be nothing left in the ‘garden’ but a barren wasteland after the ‘ridiculousness’ is gone why are we in the garden at all? Would we not be better off going down the pub?

There are flowers in my garden which I nurture, thoughts which I cultivate.

Surely, there must be something you dont deem ridiculous?


Sometimes it feels like philosophy, that great and noble art, has fallen into the wrong hands, so to speak, and has degenerated into what I might call neologistically, ‘witchdoctory.’

So I see this crazy old witchdoctor jumping around a fire in a trance chanting dirges and rattling bones.

And I wonder what happened to the beauty that I once gazed upon.

I’ll see you down the pub in half an hour!


Epicteat, you say there was once beauty, surely what you once saw as beauty is still there? Why should the opinions/rantings of a few people change that?

I have not been into philosophy for long, and the subject is rather too vast to grasp during my coffee breaks, so I am tempted to rush to the core belief/s and not mess with ‘ridiculousness’. Do you know what you are talking about? Or, is it you dancing around the fire? Tell me, what is not ridiculous?

I think its your round.


Maybe I’m just old and disillusioned

What you say is right enough

And I probably don’t know what I’m talking about, and yes, it probably is me dancing around the fire!

How about a nice hot Irish whiskey on a cold wintry night?

Barman! Get my friend here a drink!

And then will you come with me to Dublin Art Gallery and look at this beautiful painting by El Greco, what do you say?

Now, look at my changes. If you believe in one thing, and if that is real, and you substitute in another word for that one thing, then the word substituted in is real?

I believe that I have a pet lizard named Tony.

I believe that the Lochness monster is a lizard.

Thus, I believe that I have a pet Lochness Monster named Tony.

Very flawed logic. Much like Descartes (if I remember correctly).

``I think therefore I am.´´

I think we’re using language in different ways.

For me, language is a god-given tool that means something as a whole. It works best in context. Using it, I try to grasp and express the inexpressible and somehow communicate with others.

Whereas, you seem to be employing language as though it were a branch of mathematics. No, rather, you seem to have taken the mirror of language and smashed it into a thousand fragments and made it utterly useless. Or, better still, you’ve taken the fine T’ang Dynasty vase of language and smashed that into a thousand shards. Now the children play toy soldiers with the shards and fragments.

Do you see the point I’m making?

The point that you are really retarded and claim that you are using it differently than I, just so you don’t look like a fool. I have seen this through all of your arguments. You claim that you are different and think a different way, and then when somebody calls you on your stupidity, you bring up subjectivity. So, yes, I get that point. The one that you were trying to infer, and the one that you and only you see as clever, no, please elaborate.

~After Death~

I’m sorry…is the complaint that their words are too big? I don’t understand what exactly it is you’re calling ridiculous.


I’m sorry to speak so frankly but your argument at the top of your initial post is terribly flawed.

I’m going to take your argument as you spelled it out and substitute god for reason as you suggest. The reformulation appears as so:

  1. I believe in God.
  2. I believe there is such a thing as God.
  3. I believe God is merely another term for God.
  4. I don’t believe in God.
  5. I know God exists.

  1. Does that mean God doesn’t exist just because it is God? (God does not exist)

Ok…each sentence is a premise. These premises are modally quantified by your knowledge or belief. Your conclusion is perplexing. I don’t know exactly what you mean by that question. I am going to interept it as meaning “God doesn’t exist.”==> I believe that is the conclusion you were trying to show follows from this argument. Also, it seems that in saying “I believe in God,” this statement entails the other, “I believe there is such a thing as God,” unless your belief is non-rational. Thus, premise 2 adds no cognitive value to your argument and is extraneous. So, your argument reformulated in terms of first order logic appears as follows:

  1. A
  2. A=A
  3. ~A
  4. B

  1. C (anything can follow from a logical contradiction)

This argument would be logically valid (although not strong), of the reductio ad absurdum form, if the statements were not modally quantified and premise 3 somehow follows from 1, 2 or 1&2 (which it doesn’t). It is irrational to assert both that “I believe in God” and its negation “I do not believe in God.” This undermines the validity of your belief in other words the soundness and completeness of your modal operator (belief). In asserting that you both believe and don’t believe something, essentially you are giving up Leibniz’s law of non-contradiction and undermining your argument’s logical validity. Thus your argument is essentially meaningless!

The above criticism can be applied universally to all systems whereas the following may be contingent upon acceptance of a particular system.
In the language of S5, knowledge entails belief. Thus your last two premises “I don’t believe in God” and “I know God exists” are inconsistent! (but this of course is contingent upon the acceptance of S5 as an adequate system of assessment for knowledge and belief)


Do you really have to employ so much insult?

You know very well I am far from retarded and stupid. I know how to use language, I can write correct English, (you used ‘infer’ above when you meant ‘imply,’) I can spell correctly, I can read with understanding, I can write with invention and flourish, I can put subliminal messages and codes into the text, and hidden ideas into the sub-text to see what effect it has on you, and then wince as I see you don’t even notice!

And what do I deduce from my observations, mainly that you have no idea what I’m talking about? I have read much more widely and extensively than you, I have lived a longer and fuller life than you, I know better than you. I am not proud of this, not boasting, it doesn’t make me a better person than you per se, it’s just a fact of life, no big deal, so what’s your problem?

If you read all my arguments and writings generally, in ILP, you’ll see that I am very human, full of love for my fellows, wanting only to extend a helping hand to them in the darkness of their clue-less existences. But as it is, what do I get, nothing but petty arguments, jealousy, and a lot of envy, from people like you.

I will not elaborate on anything for you until you stop insulting me.


Here we go again!

Philosophy is not about petty arguments. It is about practical living. I said it to someone else, I’ll say it to you, go and watch Ridley Scott’s film, Gladiator. See how a man applies philosophical precepts. Watch morality in action as Maximus organises his fellow gladiators and they overcome odds overwhelmingly stacked against them.

Talking in philosophical riddles in the classroom is all very well but the telos of philosophy is not the study of one’s own belly button. That’s why I speak of ‘ridiculousness in philosophy.’

Alright, it’s all very amusing and cool to call yourself a philosopher isn’t it? How come, then, Socrates, e.g., never called himself a philosopher? And, if you read even one or two dialogues of Plato you will often find Socrates drawing attention to the absurd in philosophy. Go ahead; pick up the Republic say, or the Phaedrus. Oh, but of course, that’ll all be my subjective interpretation wont it? Come off it!


Thank you for being polite and courteous!

I should make it clear that I’m really only interested in moral philosophy and have no interest in logical analysis.

You have taken my argument out of the context of written speech and exposed it to a kind of analysis that it wasn’t designed to withstand! I mean, a car is fine for driving along a road, but no good as a flying machine. I was just writing down talk, I wasn’t carving anything into stone!

God and reason are interchangeable in some contexts, but not in others. I am quite able both to believe in god and disbelieve in him at the same time. I see absolutely no problem with that. Everything in life is full of flaws and paradoxes and contradictions and absurdities and inconsistencies, all these factions are continuously at war, that is the nature of the flux we inhabit.

But I must deal with your analysis above. If what I said has been mistakenly understood as an intentional logical argument then obviously I haven’t made my position at all clear. For even I can see that the argument as originally expressed is logically invalid and meaningless and in defiance of all previously accepted canons of logical acceptability!

So please let me now give you the argument above in elemental form and specifically built to withstand critical analysis. Here goes!

(By the way, [4] should be ignored, because what I was saying when I said, “Actually, I don’t believe in reason, I know reason exists,” was simply that, i.e., I realised I was using the wrong term when I spoke of , ‘belief,’ what I meant to say was, “I know.” Thus it should’ve read: “Actually, forget all I said about believing in, I know reason exists.”)

I know reason exists

God can be another term for reason

Therefore, I know that god can exist

As for the “conclusion” you speak of, I am merely being polemical!

I hope this goes some way to explaining my position and again I thank you for your very courteous manner.

Well, unfortunately Philosophy is rarely practical. You can argue that it SHOULD be one way, but that will require logical argumentation–something you seem entirely unwilling to do.

What does this mean? How do you presume to know what the telos of philosophy is? And what do you mean by “philosophical riddles?” Are you talking about a certain topic or a certain philosophical method? I suggest that you give an example of a “ridiculous” position in philosophy and then show how it is ridiculous. Otherwise you just sound intellectually lazy.

Love the film, but it’s not philosophy. If you want to know what philosophy actually IS (not what you feel it should be) take an intro course at a college or university.

Are you accusing me of something here? I for one have never referred to myself as a philosopher, so I hardly see how this is relevant.

He never called himself original either. :wink:


Thank you for not reviling me and for your patience!

You say to me,

If you want to know what philosophy actually IS (not what you feel it should be) take an intro course at a college or university.

I find this remark altogether very patronising, smug and simplistic. You seem to be implying that I am some sort of inferior species of philosophical outsider, namely, one that has not had the benefit of an intro course in philosophy, and therefore one not fit to sit at the same table as you deipnosophists!

If I have somehow escaped the rigid indoctrination that is practised in the Church of State Education then what more proof than that there is a god!

For I have been spared a brainwashing, while for you ignorance is bliss!

To my mind it is the academic take-over of the arts and humanities that is responsible for the current impasse and debacle that is philosophy.

If you want to know what philosophy actually IS (not what you feel it is) try a few therapy sessions at your local Moonie deprogramming centre!

You ask me how I presume to know what the telos of philosophy is. Well I’ll tell you. Having studied, thought, read and written on the subject for the past forty years it strikes me as pretty clear that the end of philosophy is nothing to do with the study of one’s own belly button!

It is you that presumes! Just because you have no idea, then no one else has any idea either! That is presumption my friend!

If you’re not a philosopher, what are you?

Speaking of films…(and books!)

I sometimes feel like I’m McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. And that I’ve been put onto this ILP ward to show the lost souls that there is a way out. But of course this brings me into conflict with certain members of the Masonic Order of Philosophy – the ones that currently jealously hold positions of power and authority in the field. And I expect very soon to be hauled off to the operating theatre for a pre-frontal lobotomy.

Or maybe they’ll give me a draught of poison to drink!

Whatever, it’ll give me an opportunity to put philosophy into practise!


I’m not implying that at all. I’m saying that you need to understand what you’re referring to when you use the term “philosophy.” If there is going to be any objectivity to the term, then it must apply to the discipline as it has been handed down to us and continues to be practiced among those who have devoted their lives to studying it. Now it’s fine to say, “philosophy can’t account for everything” (which I personally believe) or “philosophy needs to change.” And I’m even fine if you want to re-define it and say, “this is what philosophy should be.” But in order to say those things, you need to have a clear idea of what you’re criticizing. I see very little clarity at all in what you’ve posted. Just reckless name-calling.

Calling me ignorant is pointless. You need to show me WHY am I ignorant if the charge is to have any meaning. Tell me, epictetus, What have I failed to understand that you see so well? Convince me of your position. Hell, convince me that you even HAVE a position that makes sense. This should be important to someone who “believes in reason.”

If I wanted to criticize Moonism I would at least try to learn about it. I wouldn’t just put together strings of mindless insults that serve no purpose other than to feed my sense of self-importance.

As for defining philosophy, we can start by consulting a dictionary:

Okay, so tell me: what is “speculative” about your version of philosophy? Where do you apply any sort of analysis to the “grounds of and concepts expressing” your supposedly superior beliefs? Without these elements, you have no way of knowing you’re on the right track. And you sure as hell aren’t going to get anywhere in convincing others of your beliefs.

Well no one’s claiming it does. But you were going to tell me what the telos of philosophy IS, not what it isn’t. I’m all ears.

If you’re going to be a martyr, I suggest that you get clear in your own mind what you’re dying for. Because so far I don’t acertain any definite set of beliefs in your writing. You think academic philosophy amounts to “indoctrination” but you won’t say how; you think you know the purpose of philosophy, but you won’t say what it is; you call me ignorant, but you can’t tell me what I’m ignorant OF. You have this romanticized notion of taking on some vast, corrupt establishment, but it’s increasingly clear to me that you don’t have the simplest understanding of what this “establishment” actually is. I’m not automatically opposed to your viewpoint, epictetus, but you have to convince me that you’re right. So far you’ve only engaged in name-calling.


With respect,

Go and talk to Jim Stockdale * about philosophy because I really can’t be bothered to explain even the basics to you

  • Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot

Ridiculousness may or may not exist in philosophy. You certainly haven’t shown that it does. What you have demonstrated very clearly is that philosophical cowardice and intellectual laziness are alive and well. I will not read the book you recommend because you’ve given me no reason to.



I wish you well!