Co-ordinator : Tim McNamara 01902 751790
Philosophy Group 2 is not meeting at the moment and has no members. However, if there is enough interest I will start a group entirely for those who want to start from the beginning.
What is the point of Philosophy?
“the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it” ( Bertrand Russell).
We all have foundational beliefs on which many other beliefs depend and that we never question. Philosophers do. For example they might ask “What am I?”. Descartes convinced himself that he was “a thing that thinks”. He believed he was identical with his mind, and could exist without a body. However the evidence is all the other way around. When someone is unconscious there is no mind. When someone is in a persistent vegetative state the body is kept alive but the mind is dead. David Hume could not come up with a conception of himself except as perceiving, thinking or doing something. We are all natural Cartesians; a child does not think it strange to ask “What would I be like if I had different parents?”. The answer is they would not exist; Someone else would. A person is a product of their genes and all of their experiences and memories to date.
If, however, you find that Hume's view fits the evidence, you might come to the belief that you (the real “you”) does not exist; just a bundle of perceptions. You may find this view unacceptable as it would mean changing many other beliefs and attitudes, but it is not a novel view: “O Brethren, actions do exist, and also their consequences, but the person that acts does not...There exists no Individual, it is only a conventional name given to a set of elements”.
Attributed to Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC).
Philosophy covers not only what exists and the nature of existence but also ethics, identity, politics, religion, emotion, justice, language and thought, sex and gender, and much, much more.