Monday, December 16, 2013
Begging the Question
I've been reading Aristotle's Metaphysics, which is in some sense the basis of Western philosophy. In the present translation by one Hippocrates G. Apostle (yes that's the name of a dude who lived in the 20th century) there's an inclusion of the concept of begging the question. When I took philosophy courses this was one of two constant paradigms that we would come across. The first is that Determinism is both universal and indefatigable. You can deny determinism but you can't disprove determinism so that the end result suggest something akin to determinism is extant. The other is that one can't make a philosophical argument that doesn't conclude with the same precise reasoning that initiated the argument (if p therefore q, q being a derivation of p).
This was always interesting to me, that every core philosophical argument like John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism or Bentham's irrefutable nonsense has this same issue. You can sort of disguise this or create an elaborate web in which other reasonings are included, but the core principal lies the same; the human brain seems unable to create a boundless argument in such a way that the beginning formulation is not in some way reflected almost exactly as a core component of the ending formulation. What I mean by boundless is that the argument in and of itself doesn't occur in a physical reality; it doesn't utilize or base itself on things that happened or will happen, it bases itself on the general descriptions of things as a whole.
Note I don't think either Determinism or Begging the Question negate the need for Philosophy; all men seek some sort of greater purpose in their actions, no matter how fleeting or frivolous. I simply think that we are incapable of doing so without using the basis of our own knowledge; in some sense "Thinking outside the box" is an impossibility; of course your core thought processes will be based on your own experiences. It is quite an interesting conundrum. Philosophy is something I value quite highly though I doubt my capacity to improve upon this all-encompassing flaw.