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205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion - Literature - Nairaland

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205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:40pm On Sep 14
On our website, we call it Philosophy Monday. It is a series where we discuss 5 questions “about human nature and the human condition” every week. The questions are culled from https://conversationstartersworld.com/philosophical-questions/

So, here we go... Join the discussion.

1. What harsh truths do you prefer to ignore?

You could give any answer, and still be right. But, when we decide to bring the whole of humanity into the picture, the answer can be narrowed down to one inescapable fate of mankind: death.

It is not only a harsh truth, but also a common fate shared by the whole of mankind. It is one thing that we all prefer to ignore, until we’re faced with the reality of it. However, the fact that we consciously prefer to ignore it doesn’t mean it doesn’t influence our lives.

Death has always been an interesting philosophical topic and would continue to mystify the human mind. While we shouldn’t let the thought of death plague us, we also shouldn’t completely ignore its influence on the story that is called ‘life’. For, one can only die well, when they’ve lived well.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:44pm On Sep 14
2. Is free will real or just an illusion?

The dichotomy of this argument is one that may never be united, and is sometimes futile. At its extreme, one would be drawn into considering this scenario:
“Imagine a universe in which everything that happens is completely caused by whatever happened before it. So what happened in the beginning of the universe caused what happened next and so on, right up to the present” (from https://www.scientificamerican.com)

That’s how far you’d have to stretch your decision if you say that freewill is an illusion. But, it is a plausible argument. It is true that several factors influence our decisions, many of such factors we might not consider consciously.

To answer this question, one would need to have a precise illustration of events, as well as the awareness of possible outcomes. It could boil down to the moral subject of good and bad, in which case, we would conclude that there would be rewards and punishments for decisions taken.

Freewill is surely indispensable if we are to give rewards or punishment to a person. Sometimes, court cases would turn to psychology to determine if a crime was influenced by an uncontrollable influence, in which case, freewill will be dismissed.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:48pm On Sep 14
3. Is there a meaning to life? If so, what is it?

Like the previous question, it would be difficult to reconcile the different views surrounding this one. But, one thing is true in every case, you can give meaning to life (or more precisely, your life). The question may lead to the never ending debate on essence and existence (which comes first).

However, these debates are inconsequential in the face of our own deeds. We all feel the need to find meaning, and if there’s indeed a meaning to be found, then finding it will only draw us closer to the truth. Of more pressing concern is what we do with the truth when we find it. But, for the sake of creating a better future, we want to define life so things don't go wrong. In which case, we could find consider the words of Victor Franklin when he wrote “that it did not really matter what we [expect] from life, but rather what life [expects] from us. We [need] to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who [are] being questioned by life—daily and hourly… Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual”.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:50pm On Sep 14
4. Where is the line between art and not art?

If there is a line, then who made it? The simple truth is that we all have different taste in aesthetics, which makes the popular adage true: “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. But, what is art?

According to Oxford dictionary, “art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, 'typically' in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”.

Typically (note), but not limited to painting or sculpture. Musical compositions, poetry and many other forms of self-expression have come to be classified as art.
The subjectivity of what can be considered art is not only limited to its aesthetic value, but also its emotional power. Some people just don’t feel anything for some powerful poetry, and that would a sacrilegious confession in the ears of others.

We can easily conclude that the more people who come to a concession regarding the artistry of a certain piece, the more chance of it being called art. But, time can also be a factor. As certain works are now more appreciated than they were when they were first made.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:54pm On Sep 14
5. What should be the goal of humanity?

The third question on this list is closely related to this one.
Humanity in this case is the collectiveness of human beings. However, trying to answer this question would lead us to a second definition of humanity. This is the state of being benevolent, being kind to other humans, (some would include animals), and seeking to alleviate suffering whenever and wherever possible.

Bringing the two definitions together, in a sequential order, one could say the goal of humanity is to be humane. Problems, however, arise when we start making variations to the second definition. For example, kindness to animals has opened ground for arguments like vegetarianism.

Also, people sometimes question if kindness is to be shown to someone who has previously been unkind. But, these arguments do nothing to hamper the consensus that the goal of humanity is to make the world a better place by showing kindness and helping those who are in need of help. Whether or not we pursue (or are capable of pursuing) this goal is another question.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:56pm On Sep 14
Feel free to drop your comments...
There's more coming.
Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:51am On Sep 16
6. Does fate exist? If so, do we have free will?

Fate requires the predetermination of an outcome, totally out of a person’s control. That is, we do what we do and end up where we do because that’s the only path we could have taken. An open poll on debate.org suggests that 53% believe that fate exists while 47% believe otherwise. However, you’ll get the true depth of the debate, only when you start reading people’s experiences, and the examples they use to justify their stance.

When we begin to figure personal experiences, we discover that there’s really no reconciliation between the opposite sides. People make decisions in life that may or may not reflect in their futures. There are also situations where one’s own destination may be influenced by the decisions of others. However, if regardless of all these influences, there is already a destiny awaiting each person, then that’s fate. Even when we’ve made conscious decisions to direct our own lives, it would all be conforming with an already laid out plan.

So, what would it matter to discuss about fate when life presents us with countless choices, day after day? Sometimes, we find ourselves powerless in the face of certain challenges; even then, it requires a conscious effort from us to accept or not to accept the changes it brings into our lives.

If human beings have freewill, and God has already determined the end from the beginning, it is needless to ask the question of fate, but more importantly is to seek where we stand in the light of unfolding events.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 10:53am On Sep 16
7. What does it mean to live a good life?

It means to live everyday, every moment, with good intentions. It is true that there are several derivatives to the question, like the subjectivity or objectivity of what a good life is. Emrys Wastacott expounds on the question by classifying the several thoughts that have attempted to explain it away. A good life, he posits, could be based on either or a combination of the following: “moral approval”, Epicureanism, fulfilment, meaning, and the consideration of a finished life.
Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 11:10am On Sep 16
8. Why do we dream?

This question fits well into philosophy as it is one phenomenon common to all of mankind. Science might have made headways revealing the processes that engineer dreams, but the purpose of dreams remains a subject for debate. There are many theories that try to explain why it is that we really dream.

These theories range from the suggestion that dreams enhance memory, to the belief that dreams help us cope with the challenges of wakeful reality. It is expected that dreams should have an effect on our normal life, just as our normal life affects our dreams.

Anxiety and depression are causes of sleep disorders, which can also affect dreams. Also, nightmares can be caused by traumas. But, how exactly do dreams affect our lives in return. Since it occurs mostly at a time when we take rest from daily hustling, it won’t be farfetched to say dream is also a regenerative agent, as our much needed sleep is.
One important factor is the fact that we usually ponder on dreams we find particularly fantastic or poignant. Yes, while some dreams may come as meaningless, there are some which are thought-provoking. In some ways, this mirrors our waking state. There are certain events that we count more important than others. Several works of art from artists like Edgar Allan Poe, John Lennon, Stephen King, etc., are said to be inspired by dreams. As posited by Edgar Cayce, “dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions”. So, it is left to us to ask the questions that our dreams require of us, if we’re to get any meaning from them.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 7:58pm On Sep 17
9. Where does your self-worth come from?

According to Collins dictionary, “self-worth is the feeling that you have good qualities and have achieved good things”. Often interchanged with self-esteem, it can be seen as an activity of the conscience, rewarding you for an achievement. However, it is not always a straightforward experience. There are many people who think they don’t deserve appreciation or respect, even when they’ve done something remarkable.
Because of past deeds, sometimes, we are left with a guilty feeling that can deprive us of self-esteem. Thus, it could take some mental healing to start to feel good about oneself again.
Most times, the feeling we have about ourselves comes from other people’s opinions. This also can be deceiving, as people tend to be bias. Whatever it is that spawns our self-worth, it is intricately woven to our purposes in life, and this we can achieve by coming to terms with the meaning that is attached to life (check question 3.)

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 7:59pm On Sep 17
Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by Introvertmemer(m): 7:53pm On Sep 18
Lovely,though its so sad you never see much recognition or appreciation to threads like this.
1-death is inevitable
3-life is meaningless though many would take comfort in the lie that a cosmic being has a higher purpose for them
4-whatever rows your boat
6-no such thing
7-i take pride in my definition of living life with happiness and have the ability to look back when am dying and being content
8-question that still baffles me
9-i do not know
i look forward to seeing more of your work

1 Like

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 9:29pm On Sep 18
Lovely,though its so sad you never see much recognition or appreciation to threads like this.
1-death is inevitable
3-life is meaningless though many would take comfort in the lie that a cosmic being has a higher purpose for them
4-whatever rows your boat
6-no such thing
7-i take pride in my definition of living life with happiness and have the ability to look back when am dying and being content
8-question that still baffles me
9-i do not know
i look forward to seeing more of your work

grin philosophy is ambiguous... I hope more people will contribute though, as most of these questions relate to the way we understand life. I'll be posting more of them, of course. The plan is to touch all of the 205 questions. Will do that by the grace of God. cheesy
Thank you.
Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 9:37pm On Sep 18
10. How will humans as a species go extinct?

There's a list on thrillist website that includes overpopulation, alien invasion, global pandemic, black hole and others. Some are more plausible than others, but one can never remove the veracity of unexpectedness, especially when dealing with humans.

Fossil records show that several species have met their doom, and a sixth great extinction is said to be on the horizon. It is true that humans are a peculiar species, having an intelligent awareness of their world as well as great adaptability skills. However, with all our endowment, we could be at serious risk of decimation if the rest of the world is in danger of extinction.

Humans do not only depend on humans, but are also woven into the web of ecology. Thus, the survival of our world, is our survival. For example, we’ve discovered what great roles are played by bees in pollination of food crops. Thus, it is also important for us to care for the world we live in, if we’re to survive for a long time.

It is a possibility that we end up being the architect of our own doom. And we’re never short of such ideas, are we, seeing how close we’ve come in the past century?

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 9:20am On Sep 19
11. Is it possible to live a normal life and not ever tell a lie?

What a remarkable life it would be, to live without telling a lie. Or better yet, to live a life free of deception. In order to attempt the question above, you have to admit that it is practically impossible to live without ever telling a lie. Almost everyone has told a lie before, even if they meant good by it, in which case they’d call it a white lie. So, it really depends on how extreme you want to go by asking the question. Does it include every lie, white or ‘dark’, or limited to the purposeful act of deception.

If you’re like Kant, and you believe that lying is always wrong, regardless the situation, you’ll probably find him/her a queer person, who never told a lie. Also, you’ll have a hard time finding such person. If variations were allowed though, and we redefine lying to mean purposeful and hurtful deception, then we’ll still be able to say what a great feat it is not to ever tell a lie.
Admittedly, it wouldn’t be a normal life, but a liberating one. It’s true you’ll hurt someone’s feeling (yours mostly), but you’ll take comfort in Mark Twain’s words: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. Feels like freedom, doesn’t it?

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 12:25pm On Sep 20
12. Does a person’s name influence the person they become?

Nomen est omen is the Latin phrase that encapsulates the hypothesis of nominative determinism, which is the idea that names can influence ones choice of work. Some psychologists assume that people may be subconsciously drawn to things that sound or relate to their names.

In the field of psychology itself, there are examples, such as Freud (meaning joyful) advocating for principles of pleasure; Adler’s (meaning eagle) incorporation of ‘will to power’, and a few others.
Other than the subliminal effect of names, it is also true that some people would allow their names to influence their behaviour, especially, when they’re named after someone.

But, all things considered, your name would have to combine with other variables for it to have any effect on your destiny. When we meet someone, we ask their names, and we immediately connect it to their lifestyle and work. However, when we get to know them better, we find other more prominent factors that made them. As Dr Martin Ford posits: “names only have a significant influence when that is the only thing you know about the person. Add a picture, and the impact of the name recedes. Add information about personality, motivation, and ability, and the impact of the name shrinks to minimal significance”.


Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 12:36pm On Sep 20
13. Is the meaning of life the same for animals and humans?

Meaning defines everything, and if the meaning of life is the same for animals and humans, then there’d be no distinction between the way we live and the way animals live. It would mean that humans are no different from animals in essence.

Evolutionists opine that the difference between human beings and animals is only a matter of degree. Thus, like animals, our basic outlook on life is survival and reproduction. And any other meaning we find along the way would only be personal and secondary.

Unlike animals, however, we humans have the ability to ask this sort of questions. This feat in itself could only mean something—that human beings can’t be satisfied with such an oversimplified outlook. It would seem that mankind is in constant search of something it has lost. That’s why it is assumed that animals live mostly in the moment, while humans spend most of theirs thinking of the past or future.

We’re a peculiar species, with a big diversity, but our ability to pass knowledge from generation to generation has helped us to stand out. So, we might be similar to animals in our desire to survive and multiply, but there exists a peculiar purpose for mankind. It flows through the stream of knowledge that is passed from generation to generation.

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 7:42pm On Sep 20
14. If someone you loved was killed in front of you, but someone created a copy of them that was perfect right down to the atomic level, would they be the same person and would you love them just as much?

We want to assume that the created copy comes along with all the memories and attributes of the real person.
Well, the dead would still be dead, but you’ll have an exact copy of them. Surely, it would be an unusual phenomenon; and when you finally recover from the counter-shock of beholding this uncanny copy, your relationship with them would definitely be different.
Seeing them die in the first place would have left an emptiness within you, and it is left to see if the copy can fill it.

Perhaps, you’d have a different perception if you didn’t see them die. But still, the whole situation could depend on the grief that’s felt, and how it's handled. Also, you’ll probably seek to know the identity and purpose of the person who created this copy. All these could affect your long-term relationship with the copy. Maybe if we didn’t use the word ‘copy’, we could paint a more acceptable picture. But copies are copies, what can you say?

Re: 205 Philosophical Questions And Discussion by SarcasticMe(m): 7:46pm On Sep 20
15. If you could become immortal on the condition you would NEVER be able to die or kill yourself, would you choose immortality?

There’s probably a large number of people who’d choose immortality if it were up for grabs. But, they’d do so only if some requirements were ascertained. For example, you wouldn’t want to live forever if the world would be at risk of colliding with the sun one day. Also, no one would want to live forever if they can’t be young forever. Neither would you consider immortality if there were risks of having a serious deformity along the line.

But then, if all these conditions were met, you would have been specifically engineered for eternal life, in such a way that you cease being a true version of yourself.
I believe we all crave immortality, but there’s something in our nature that makes us inadequate for the gift.

However, the idea of immortality remains ever present in our mortal endeavours. When we talk about such things as soul and life achievements, we often allude to a sort of transcendence. So, yea, one form or another, immortality would seem appealing, but definitely not in this present disposition. In fact, it is not against our nature to crave this experience.

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote: “If you were to destroy the belief in immortality in mankind, not only love but every living force on which the continuation of all life in the world depended, would dry up at once”.


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