the exasperated philosopher?

I posted this speculation in another discussion but thought it might deserve its own thread:

We can have thoughts based on what we think we know is true that either is not true or cannot be confirmed as true. That is always a facet of human interaction that is exasperating. We believe something that others do not. And try as we might we can’t reconcile the differences.

This is particularly the case regarding certain subjects that come up over and again in philosophy venues. For example, metaphysical issues, conflicts over moral, political and aesthetic values, God, free will, space and time, the nature of human emotional and psychological reactions etc.

Is it perhaps time to throw in the towel and presume these “problems” might never be resolved? That, in other words, we will always be exasperated when we can’t make all others see them as we do? Maybe there is no way we can.

It’s probably a good idea to get away from thinking you can make someone see things the way you do. I do it all the time, but I still think it’s not the best idea. Maybe a better idea is to be creative and have some fun and perhaps that can help inspire people to their own insights?

I don’t think it would be wise to altogether cease trying to get others to see things the way you see them. In a group of 100 you may only get through to 1 person, but is that so bad?

No, not so bad. But maybe I’m wrong about some idea, and getting through to that one person means one more person has this wrong idea…

I guess that’s the risk you take.

What about inspiring people to have their own insights? Isn’t that probably more artful? Then you don’t even have to ever feel exasperated.

That depends of course on how important it is to get more than one. In other words, the context. In here, we exchange words about words and most of us can walk away calmly from those who do not accept the reasoning we choose. But out in the world we live in the words can revolve around behaviors that have dire consequences. For example, imagine a woman who just had an abortion trying to convince her horrified family it was the right thing to do. Or a jury if she had it in a state that deems abortion to be a capital crime.

And I believe a way to ameliorate this exasperation is to acknwledge there are just some things we can’t know for certain.

But in some contexts, that can only work if up front you both acknowledge the insights are just points of view and not universal truths.

In particular contexts revolving around moral and poltical values.

I think what works, with respect to exasperation, is completely giving up on the idea of converting someone to your own point of view.

maybe not so good an idea in a capitalistic, free enterprise economic society for those seeking to sell you on something.

quite interesting how that doesn’t have anything to do with anything, mr finished

I know … but what about the so called spiritual experts that try to sell you their bogus wares, or any outside authority that one might be persuaded to rely on because of sentimentality to the ‘pitch?’

regarding the op…is there anything in particular (other than the op itself) that you are trying to convince others of? are you throwing in the towel on something specific that you yourself did or do want others to believe?

HTH – Recruiting evangelists?

I think you are experiencing the fundamental realization of the Perspectivist. One can only offer to a perspective; Insistance will almost inevitably end in exasperation where differing perspectives clash.

If we were to find solutions to said “problems”, Philosophy would be irreversibly changed thereafter.

that depends- are you recruiting atheists? :smiley: lol just kidding

God bless


How much of your own life is problematic if pov’s dwindle to almost nil? Perspectives are thought induced. Are we actually saddled with genuine problems or do most exist only in our thinking.

How much credence can you give to an understanding that despite the comparative nature of perspectives in thought, there really is no problem with your life presently?

Yes, I agree. But, as I noted above, in any number of actual flesh and blood existential contexts, giving up means giving in to behaviors that can have dire consequences for you or for others.

It is here that the exasperation can be particularly wrenching.

Yes, that we must accept that exasperation is a fact of lfe regarding both conflicting points of view and conflicting behaviors. Why? Because there are no essential, objective, universal points of view regarding moral and political values.

And if we can acknowledge that we can, perhaps, agree to approach actual existing conflicts in the spirit of moderation, negociation and compromise.

I know everything. I have all the answers. I have no doubts. It’s good to be like this. Ask me. Go on. Ask me.

As far as space and time go there is plenty of consensus, assembled in scientific theory. Philosophy deals with different things, namely the frame in which scientific knowledge can take on meaning.

You can, but you have to be very aggressive and persistent about it. A great mass has never been convinced of an idea by logical dialectic, but it can be persuaded by other means. The mind of the individual ceases to be of any importance when the emotions of the masses are stirred.

This ‘technology of persuasion’ has been an object of study for some influential philosophers, who came to the conclusion that in order to persuade the masses, you have to lie to them about your ideas and appeal to their emotions to make them trust and support you. Whatever this says about the ambiguity of the mental ‘sphere’, it tells us that humans do share some fundamental truths in the form of emotions. If this weren’t the case, we wouldn’t be so easily manipulated.