What do I believe?

 

hume wise

As I’m beginning my morning read, happening upon an article on Phenomenology I’m clouded by my knee-jerk reaction of hatred and despise for the theory and field itself. Eventually, this forces me to stop reading and ask myself why? Then, what stance do I take.

Many who have discussed issues with me have pointed out, quite accurately, that I don’t take a stance on issues, I merely dissemble and attack arguments. When asked what I believe, or if I slip out something along the lines of “I’m an empiricist” I’ve been known to destruct what I claim as well.

As far as I am concerned, everything can be doubted. Am I a nihilist, then? No sir, that’s not practical. Pragmatist? In practice, sure (ha!). Does holding that the conscious thought of others cannot be proven make me a solipsist? Perhaps. But how do I know I exist but in the mind of a god?

Ah…

It rings of Descarte’s meditations, but without accepting that I am because I think I think (repetition intended). Or at least, that it is un-doubtable.

So, do I exemplify everything that is despised of philosophy? Believe nothing, doubt everything? Perhaps. At this point, until proven otherwise. Every argument seems to have its fallacies, everything can be doubted. As such, I suppose I believe in doubt.

Is this useless? Bullshit? Everything that is wrong with philosophy? A phase?

Penny for your Thoughts?

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8 thoughts on “What do I believe?

  1. Every argument seems to have it’s fallacies, everything can be doubted. As such, I suppose I believe in doubt.

    Yes, this is my view as well. Also if we continue to question why we believe something we are left with an infinite regress of “why’s” unless we decide to stop somewhere and just call those “foundational beliefs” perhaps because they are self-evident. But what does self-evident really even mean?

    But you are right to mention the practical in the middle of your post. That is where I live my life. Even with doubts of metaphysical beliefs, if a bus is headed in my direction and about to run me over I’d run out of the way and not question whether or not it exists. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are so many examples of things like that in life so to me it’s not all hopeless.

    • Thanks for the comment! Always good to hear from fellow doubters.

      You bring up a good question, what does self-evident mean? This is the issue I have with the current trend of phenomenology which seems to speak a lot of this “self-evidence.” Or “pure immanence”. Even if spoken of within the framework of immanence, within one’s mind, can that really be used as the basis for building thought processes? “Seeing”? Doubtful, for anyone in their right mind, if “sees” something, and has none to affirm the sight of it and plenty to deny would not place faith and foundation upon that observed “sight.”

      But… yeah… practicality. Comes to my mind a lot. Especially in the context of ethics. I used to enjoy arguing for the non-existence of altruism until I realized it doesn’t really matter. Whether I do it for self-benefit, or for another, I’d still save a man from drowning if I could. So what seems to be of most importance, is the action, what I actually do, no matter what I think or doubt.

      Not hopeless, just confusing at times. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. That is quite ironic that you quoted Hume (although I don’t remember him ever saying that. doesn’t mean that he didn’t). I put you in the Humian variety of “skeptical empiricism.” It’s a way of affirming modernity but not investing too much into it. To put it bluntly you are an empiricist without any guts ๐Ÿ™‚ On a more serious note. Most of the time we equate our philosophy with what we believe, write about, blog about, etc. Maybe our philosophy should be more existential and determined by how we live. Or maybe not.

    • “Empiricist without any guts.” I read that from my e-mail notifications, and have been thinking on it ever since. To prevent my usual knee-jerk reaction to argue and refute, I refused to comment until I thought it through.

      Whether in jest or not, it does have a ring of truth to it. I wish I could help it in myself. It’s hard to when anything and everything can be doubted and argued for such doubt. As discussed above, what can be held as self-evident enough to place a foundation?

      Well, I usually argue for the observable, the empirical. Which, sure, but it is the phenomenom stage, the interpretation, the experience of that which is observed that makes it difficult. Aaaaahhhh… idk.

      Good thoughts though, as always thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Just two quick comments or questions actually. (1) Is empiricism self-evident enough to place a foundation? The only reason I ask is there seems to be experiences in our daily lives that are no empirically verified. (2) Can everything be doubted and have you argued for such doubt of all things empirically?

        Genuine questions, I just want to get your take.

      • Well, 1) without defining what it means for something to be “self-evident” it’s a little difficult to answer. It seems “self-evident enough” is an opinion query. For sake of argument consistency, I’ll go ahead and say “no.”

        As for 2, Work in progress. To splurge a little, I’m contemplating writing my grad paper same on universal doubt. I’m gathering the material for that now.

        But I would have to answer yes (can you…), and no (…empirically).

        Curious as to the reason behind the questions? Indulge?

  3. I wasn’t too clear on what you meant that anything and everything can be doubted. Are you referring to an automatic gainsaying of a proposition or do you think that there are no ultimate truth statements that can be made because they can be doubted?

    • Not necessarily either, at least not in those words. How I describe doubt/skepticism is refraining from claiming a hold on knowledge. For me, currently, that pertains to any and everything.

      I suppose you could refer to it as an automatic questioning of a proposition’s premise, it certainly includes doing so. As doubt allows no foundational assumption, which many propositions require.

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