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    Thread: The philosophy game.

    1. #1
      Knowledgable quassom's Avatar
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      The philosophy game.

      A whole bunch of people here like to use fancy jargon and ask silly questions that seem to me like common sense kind of questions. I really don't like it. I feel like sometimes people overthink certain things and don't get anything accomplished by doing so. I feel like pride is a big part of it. "well I can't possibly be wrong because of my reference to the Odeipus complex" knowing what the Odeipus complex is doesn't make your point valid.

      Now don't get me wrong, jargon is all well and good when it is used in the proper location surrounded by people who are obviously familiar with the terminology, heck sometimes I use jargon around people I KNOW who don't understand them just to kind of get them away from me because it is such a barrier. Part of what I think shows Intelligence is knowing when to use "professional" vocabulary and when to use more common vocabulary.

      That being said "common" vocabulary doesn't dumb down the conversation at all, in fact in my opinion it intellectualizes the conversation in this kind of setting (a Internet forum).

      Communication is useless if a person has to sit and ponder about what you meant in the prior sentence simply because you used a word worthy of google searching the definition to.

      This isn't the only thing that really bothers me about talking about philosophy but I feel that this point alone should be taken into consideration with open mindedness.
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    2. #2
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      I'll point out a few possible reasons from my perspective that some people might use uncommon terminology. Every person who commits the offence described can probably fall into one or more of the following categories:

      1) They're doing it on purpose, because they know most people won't understand them, and they get to feel superior.

      2) Their audience is not the common person - it's other people who are knowledgeable about whatever they're talking about. They aren't concerned with the common person understanding them because they're only looking for responses from people who know the background of what they're talking about in the first place.

      3) Similar to (2), but they're only looking for responses from other 'smart' people, even if they aren't knowledgeable in the subject. They speak in ways that common people might struggle to understand as a sort of filter, to make sure that only smart people will respond.

      4) They honestly don't know any better. Some people really are highly educated and interact daily with other smart, educated people. They're used to using a broad range of terms and don't realize that most people may not know them.

      5) They just want to convey whatever they're trying to say as accurately as possible. If the idea is complicated, it may be hard to describe accurately without using a few uncommon terms. The fewer words you limit yourself to, the harder it is to describe an idea accurately. So even if they know that some people may not understand a few of the words, it may be a worthy sacrifice.

      6) They`re aware that most people don`t know the terms they`re using, but find it sickening that people don`t make use of all the words available to them. So, in rebellion to this Orwellian narrow word range, they speak how they think everyone else should speak. To them, if you can`t understand what they`re saying, educate yourself because it`s your fault you don`t know.
      Last edited by Dianeva; 04-19-2013 at 11:28 AM.
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    3. #3
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
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      Personally, I like it when terms are used that I haven't come across before as it means I can look up and learn about something new. I've been introduced to a variety of ideas here that I wouldn't have found if the poster had used generic language.

      That said, when I post stuff I generally try to keep it fairly accessible given that I'm not usually writing exclusively for a technical audience, though some replies might delve into the terminology if the need arises. And when I know someone is misusing terminology either to try and make their point seem legitimate or to make themselves appear more intelligent, I will certainly call them on it.

      I can see both sides. You do get people throwing all sorts of terms around for various reasons as Dianeva mentions, but there are times where the usage is legitimate and is productive.
      Last edited by Photolysis; 04-19-2013 at 03:08 PM.

    4. #4
      Xei
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      You're totally right quassom. Words are there solely for communicating a concept from your head into somebody else's. If that fails then you've failed, not them.

      It's even worse when philosophers make up their own systems of nomenclature and yet can't be clear about them. This is especially true of continental philosophy. There are whole bodies of work where many people tout them as works of genius and yet can't actually agree amongst themselves about the basic meaning of the work. It's at best just art; at worst, pseudointellectual nonsense. Not philosophy, in any circumstance.
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    5. #5
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      While I mostly agree with this, I have trouble with the OPs use of the term "common sense." Part of the purpose of philosophy is to dig deeper into ideas that are so often overlooked.
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    6. #6
      Knowledgable quassom's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      While I mostly agree with this, I have trouble with the OPs use of the term "common sense." Part of the purpose of philosophy is to dig deeper into ideas that are so often overlooked.
      I'm glad you bring it up because upon looking at my "common sense" statement, it didn't really make a whole lot of sense to me either.
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    7. #7
      Knowledgable quassom's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      I'll point out a few possible reasons from my perspective that some people might use uncommon terminology. Every person who commits the offence described can probably fall into one or more of the following categories:

      1) They're doing it on purpose, because they know most people won't understand them, and they get to feel superior.

      2) Their audience is not the common person - it's other people who are knowledgeable about whatever they're talking about. They aren't concerned with the common person understanding them because they're only looking for responses from people who know the background of what they're talking about in the first place.

      3) Similar to (2), but they're only looking for responses from other 'smart' people, even if they aren't knowledgeable in the subject. They speak in ways that common people might struggle to understand as a sort of filter, to make sure that only smart people will respond.

      4) They honestly don't know any better. Some people really are highly educated and interact daily with other smart, educated people. They're used to using a broad range of terms and don't realize that most people may not know them.

      5) They just want to convey whatever they're trying to say as accurately as possible. If the idea is complicated, it may be hard to describe accurately without using a few uncommon terms. The fewer words you limit yourself to, the harder it is to describe an idea accurately. So even if they know that some people may not understand a few of the words, it may be a worthy sacrifice.

      6) They`re aware that most people don`t know the terms they`re using, but find it sickening that people don`t make use of all the words available to them. So, in rebellion to this Orwellian narrow word range, they speak how they think everyone else should speak. To them, if you can`t understand what they`re saying, educate yourself because it`s your fault you don`t know.
      I really like most of the points here! However I feel number 4 is just impossible simply because people don't talk like that on a day to day basis. Even politicians with their fancy nomenclature don't. I mean maybe it's a regional thing. I'm surrounded by broad vocabulary but if I spoke using those words I feel like I would get punched in the face as I'm sure other people would find this very prideful of me and possibly condescending to them.
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    8. #8
      Tea & Noodles/Ban Master SnowyCat's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      There are whole bodies of work where many people tout them as works of genius and yet can't actually agree amongst themselves about the basic meaning of the work. It's at best just art; at worst, pseudointellectual nonsense. Not philosophy, in any circumstance.
      I think the problem with those kinds of works is that they frequently undergo translation, and through such translation a lot of the original meaning and intention is lost. For example, reading Nietzsche in English can at times be a challenge because he frequently addresses extremely abstract concepts that don't translate well, such as his infamous statements about "the blond-haired beast" and his various discourses on the topic of "the will to exerting one's will".

      Let me give you an example;

      "... Let us say that in all willing there is firstly a plurality of sensations, namely the sensation of the condition "away from which we go," the sensation of the condition "towards which we go," the sensation of this "from" and "towards" itself, and then besides, an accompanying muscular sensation, which, even without putting in motion "arms and legs", commences its action by force of habit, directly we "will" anything. Therefore. . . sensations [and thinking] are to be recognized as ingredients of the will..."
      -Beyond Good and Evil

      While this passage may at first make absolutely no sense in English sentence structure and vocabulary, upon laborious inspection his true meaning can be extracted. The same can be done for many famous works that have undergone numerous translations.

      In my opinion, works of philosophy can only be written off as "pseudo-intellectual nonsense" when they are absolutely devoid of deeper meaning and just as nonsensical in the original language.
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    9. #9
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      Yeah and Nietzsche isn't the only example. The Myth of Sisyphus isn't the most difficult read but it come off a little verbose at times, too, but the philosophy of it is profoundly insightful. Then, of course, there's Kierkegaard who you can't write off as a bad philosopher just because it takes like an hour and a half to comprehend a few pages.
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    10. #10
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      While reading philosophers' writings I do get the feeling they're making it difficult to read on purpose, so that they feel educated and self-important. There's something interesting going on psychologically for the readers. If you can barely comprehend something that someone wrote, you're going to be more likely to think that they must be way smarter than you are, and once you do finally comprehend what they were saying, you'll think they must be right, because they're so smart. But maybe the difficulty is largely due to the translations, as people have said.

    11. #11
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      If you think someone is correct because of their verbosity you're a bad philosopher. I'd like to hear an example of a philosopher being verbose for the sake of it rather than out of necessity to communicate the idea accurately. Even Kierkegaard, who is the most difficult to understand philosopher I've ever read, is not adding needless complexity. The complexity of the words reflect the complexity of the idea. The point, therein, is to sit down and think about what they mean and wrap your head around it. In which case you may decide, as I did, that people like Kierkegaard and Nietzsche aren't necessarily correct, they simply bring up some good points.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    12. #12
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      6) They`re aware that most people don`t know the terms they`re using, but find it sickening that people don`t make use of all the words available to them. So, in rebellion to this Orwellian narrow word range, they speak how they think everyone else should speak. To them, if you can`t understand what they`re saying, educate yourself because it`s your fault you don`t know.[/COLOR]
      It's funny that you evoke Orwell here because he wrote about this exact problem in a paper called Politics and the English Language, which is a nice little read on this topic.
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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      5) They just want to convey whatever they're trying to say as accurately as possible. If the idea is complicated, it may be hard to describe accurately without using a few uncommon terms. The fewer words you limit yourself to, the harder it is to describe an idea accurately. So even if they know that some people may not understand a few of the words, it may be a worthy sacrifice.
      This and mostly this.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    14. #14
      DebraJane Achievements:
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      When I first came on line (Saturday 1-March-2008) I fell among Professors and high intellectual types on a iasd site called PsiDreams yahoogroups.

      Then a guy called Massimo said that I had a "metaphorical" mind meaning that I think in "stories".

      That guy is why I am still on-line cos when "you" guys say "(DebraJane) I haven't a clue what your burberling-on about". Well, I remember "that", one guy, "Massimo", understood "what I was burbling-on about" and he even told me why everyone else can't understand what I'm burberling-on about.

      The very, very best minds can connect with the highest intellectuals but can also translate what they mean into stories so even the "metorphorical" child's mind can understand.

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      Quote Originally Posted by quassom View Post
      A whole bunch of people here like to use fancy jargon and ask silly questions that seem to me like common sense kind of questions. I really don't like it.
      OH YEAH? WELL, why don't you just go ahead and answer the "silly common sense kind of questions", then, without littering this flourishing sub-forum of grandiose explication and exuberant exposition with your sub-par sob stories?

      I feel like sometimes people overthink certain things and don't get anything accomplished by doing so. I feel like pride is a big part of it.
      Oh, okay. I sort of see where you're coming from, now... although... yeah, no... NOT REALLY!! You do realise you're in the Philosophy sub-forum of DreamViews, right? If you still attribute validity to the idea of "over-thinking"--if you've yet to cast such a hilariously useless and abhorrent word out from the precious confines of your mind which house that dear vocabulary of yours, I worry not only about your understanding of the word "pride", but also about your familial ties and upbringing...

      Quote Originally Posted by quassom View Post
      I really like most of the points here! However I feel number 4 is just impossible simply because people don't talk like that on a day to day basis. Even politicians with their fancy nomenclature don't. I mean maybe it's a regional thing. I'm surrounded by broad vocabulary but if I spoke using those words I feel like I would get punched in the face as I'm sure other people would find this very prideful of me and possibly condescending to them.
      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      While reading philosophers' writings I do get the feeling they're making it difficult to read on purpose, so that they feel educated and self-important. There's something interesting going on psychologically for the readers. If you can barely comprehend something that someone wrote, you're going to be more likely to think that they must be way smarter than you are, and once you do finally comprehend what they were saying, you'll think they must be right, because they're so smart. But maybe the difficulty is largely due to the translations, as people have said.
      oh god i'm blushing



      Spoiler for But yeah, anyway, debra:
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    16. #16
      Tea & Noodles/Ban Master SnowyCat's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by tempusername View Post
      OH YEAH? WELL, why don't you just go ahead and answer the "silly common sense kind of questions", then, without littering this flourishing sub-forum of grandiose explication and exuberant exposition with your sub-par sob stories?



      Oh, okay. I sort of see where you're coming from, now... although... yeah, no... NOT REALLY!! You do realise you're in the Philosophy sub-forum of DreamViews, right? If you still attribute validity to the idea of "over-thinking"--if you've yet to cast such a hilariously useless and abhorrent word out from the precious confines of your mind which house that dear vocabulary of yours, I worry not only about your understanding of the word "pride", but also about your familial ties and upbringing...





      oh god i'm blushing



      Spoiler for But yeah, anyway, debra:
      Relax.

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