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What is the Most Important Philosophical Question

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posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 08:59 AM
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originally posted by: Nothin

Thanks for your gracious hosting WT, and letting the ideas marinate for a few days.
As you have seen: although most might not have your qualifications, they/we still like to try to contribute tidbits, as varying as the nuggets may be. So thanks for mentioning that all opinions, have a certain interest.
Nice to see that the candidates, contain choices from various viewpoints. Doing/being; externalist/internalist; and so on.

Peace.


Thank you, it is interesting to see the variety of responses. Some claim to know the most important question right off the bat. Some say there is no most important question. Some say there are 10 most important questions. A few realize this is a far more complex question than you would originally think. I really liked the idea that the most important question is meted with the most important answer. I am hoping that this thread helps us realize that in order to come up with the most important question, we first need to decide what is the most important function of philosophy. In order to do this, we must analyze how important each branch of philosophy really is, and cast aside the less important branches until we have our answers in the most important branches. In order to do this, we must come up with certain criteria that qualifies branches as more important or less important.

As far as the most important question goes, here are those criteria I have picked out from this thread so far:
-Individualistic
-Answerable

Some have claimed the most asked philosophical questions are the most important philosophical question. But this is not necessarily the case. It is quite possible that we have been neglecting the most important question.

Some of the these "most frequent" questions I have seen here are:
-Why are we here?
-What is the meaning of life?

These do not necessarily fit the criteria of being individualistic or answerable.

My next question... is there more criteria to add? Is this criteria correct so far?




posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 09:02 AM
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a reply to: InTheLight

You just hit on a very important philosophical issue. Humans prefer comfort and security, but we need struggles/discomforts in order to progress and learn. This issue has both individualistic and collective implications, and is relevant to everyday life. Perhaps the most important philosophical question is related to this issue.



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 09:23 AM
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a reply to: Wang Tang

Well, if asked a question on one's death like: Have they hurt you?

What would your answer be?

In the bardo of becoming? I said "A little"

I wanted to kick myself later for pointing at a finger as it removed any responsibility I had for the situation of the pain... I could have taken that pain I saw as a little.

But I gave an honest answer, if I said none? Hmm if my life was looked at in judgement of how others had treated me then I would have been a liar to whomever asked judgment if they saw pain and not a lesson.

So heavens and hells occured and all of them exactly what was deserved in personal responsibility for one's actions of body, speech and mind... the past life review. All karma or deeds of action balancing out... one side burning up and one side building to set in balance. Firm ground from the body of the past and water of empathy in the world past to come into one yet to be.

Objective experience in conscious awareness so now I'm being a bragart... but is pointing at it of any harm? To those that have experienced similar I can't say, to those whom have but maybe can't recall? I can't say either...

Such experiences to those with direct experience ring as truth, those that do not ring as fiction... the arm moves the bell of the mind to resound that ding whether a pendellum is present inside of it or not.

Half empty or half full? Both were holding the glass


edit on 19-11-2016 by BigBrotherDarkness because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 07:56 PM
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a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

You seem all over the place to me. Maybe try making your post more concise and stick to one point at a time. I am willing to listen to what you believe and why, but explain it slowly one simple step at a time.



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 08:42 PM
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a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

Like ServantOfTheLamb I am thoroughly confused at your responses... especially this one. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with my post you are replying to.



Firm ground from the body of the past and water of empathy in the world past to come into one yet to be




the arm moves the bell of the mind to resound that ding whether a pendellum is present inside of it or not.


Perhaps this qualifies as poetry, but effective philosophy it is not. I haven't the slightest idea what you are trying to convey.



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 09:03 PM
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How much do they/we/she/he mean to you?!?



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 11:14 PM
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a reply to: Wang Tang




Like ServantOfTheLamb I am thoroughly confused at your responses... especially this one. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with my post you are replying to.


I am glad I am not the only one.

Not sure if you saw my response to the OP. You've been so kind as to read and actually attempt to understand my position on our other thread, once I saw you wrote this I felt the need to respond in kind:




I think attempting to narrow it down to one question puts you in a box. I think the most fundamental thing we can start with is truth. What is truth? What is its nature? Can we know it? If so, how do we come to know it? I think your position on our relationship with truth determines whether or not anything is worth pursuing to begin with.



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 11:47 PM
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a reply to: Wang Tang




I assume the thought behind philosophy programs is that self-examination is a personal responsibility. You don't need a class or books or a teacher to examine yourself. 


Psht. Say that for yourself. I would definitely pay to have some classes on meditation and self examination.




It seems like Philosophy classes are more focused on understanding ideas


Well, that explains a lot. Understanding the ideas behind certain concepts is about as far as I think we will be able to go. And that leads me to that simple question my daughter asks about everything: Why?

Now I think the most important philosophical question should be "Why?". Just why.



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 12:11 AM
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a reply to: Nothin

You know, I really did not even think she was asking me literally why we were there. We were in our house doing what we always do, nothing out if the ordinary. And she didn't seem to think my answer was to a different question. She accepted it. I don't know.... I'm going to stick with the more philosophical one


Thanks for trying to explain his post a little better. But these-




So where do these philosophical questions come from? Is it the formative mind, or ego, that has noticed a difference between "we", and "here"? Is there a we without a here, and vice-versa? 



-kind of questions tend to make my brain over heat. Like I said, I haven't had any education whatsoever on philosophy. I have an understanding of it because I've been lucky to have some great friendships with a few people who were able to open up my mind to a deeper appreciation for life in general. But sometimes i just have to step back and take a breath to realize i don't even need to think that hard into ANY particular subject because at the end of the day every one of us will still ask the same exact question......"Why?"



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 07:19 AM
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a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb

Maybe take something at face value that you dont understand it and at that point there's no need to.



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 07:21 AM
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a reply to: Wang Tang

my apologies for off topic no questions as ive no doubts.

sorry for the interuption and thread drift



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 08:07 AM
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a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

That's the best advice a person could take. Understanding anything is dependent upon the individual. You could preach to someone until you're blue in the face but they will never get it until they get it. Kind of like quantum mechanics with me. Boy oh boy did that stuff just really confuse the hell outta me. I wanted to get it so bad but just couldn't wrap my head around it! Like I was hitting a brick wall. I didn't give up but I put it aside. Then one night I looked on here for something to help and found a thread discussing it. I stayed up till about 3am reading and rereading all the replies and only got to page 11!!! But I finally got it on my own. Well, for the most part lol
edit on 20-11-2016 by PageLC14 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 09:03 AM
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a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb

Ah yes I do recall reading your post. I realize now I didn't properly address the question of Truth, so thank you for bringing it back up.


originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb

I think attempting to narrow it down to one question puts you in a box. I think the most fundamental thing we can start with is truth. What is truth? What is its nature? Can we know it? If so, how do we come to know it? I think your position on our relationship with truth determines whether or not anything is worth pursuing to begin with.



It absolutely puts us in a box. As one of my Commanders used to say, you can't think outside the box until you learn how to think within the box. I think in philosophy, thinking within the box consists of sticking with questions that we have the ability to answer.

If we accept the criteria for the most important philosophical question that it must be individualistic and answerable, then most truth questions will not qualify.

What is truth? This seems too broad, and possibly unanswerable.
Can we know truth? Again, this may be unanswerable.

I think your last question is the closest to the most important question. Is truth worth pursuing? This is both individualistic and answerable.

With that said, we have come up with many good questions in this thread that qualify as individualistic and answerable, so it would seem to me we need more criteria to discern what the most important philosophical question is.
edit on 20-11-2016 by Wang Tang because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 09:20 AM
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originally posted by: PageLC14

Psht. Say that for yourself. I would definitely pay to have some classes on meditation and self examination.



What I mean is the thought behind philosophy programs (not my thought) is that you don't need a class or books or teacher to properly examine yourself. Regardless of if you are willing to pay for classes on meditation and self examination, I do not believe you will find many philosophy programs offering these classes, because they do not see it as their responsibility to educate students on these things. Perhaps it is because there is little demand for it, as there are so few people in our culture that are actually willing to pay for classes on meditation and self examination. But that is a separate issue.....



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: Wang Tang




I think in philosophy, thinking within the box consists of sticking with questions that we have the ability to answer.


Ah but then even in the box you are not limited to one question




If we accept the criteria for the most important philosophical question that it must be individualistic and answerable, then most truth questions will not qualify.


You know I think I just realized that before your question can be answered we need to discuss the meta-information at hand. When you say it is individualistic it seems to me you mean that the answer to the question is relative, or am I off base there? If I am right, then it seems to mean your most important philosophical question will, due to its criteria, have an opinionated answer and maybe that is what you meant by most truth questions would not qualify, but then I would ask what good is the answer to the question if by learning the answer we do not acquire anymore knowledge than we had before.




What is truth? This seems too broad, and possibly unanswerable.


You know I made this very same mistake with your question and didn't realize it until your post. Both the question, "what is truth" and "what is the most important philosophical question", can be understood in two ways? The most obvious way is to answer with a question that you think would be classified as the most important philosophical question, but we could also read it as what is the essence of the most important philosophical question? The two readings would have vastly different answers. Now you said my question was broad, but when I typed it I felt it was very specific as I was asking what is the nature of truth? What is the set of attributes that make truth fundamentally what it is? So maybe you took it as what are some examples of truth rather than asking about the essence of truth. Maybe I am wrong if so enlighten me por favor.




I think your last question is the closest to the most important question. Is truth worth pursuing? This is both individualistic and answerable.


I am extremely suspicious of this criteria. Of course if the answer to a question is simply an opinion then it is answerable because all it takes is stating your position. It doesn't have to be true, nor does it have to increase the knowledge of the individual. In fact the individual's awareness of their own opinion is the only condition that need to be met to answer any question with the criteria of individualistic as I understood it.




With that said, we have come up with many good questions in this thread that qualify as individualistic and answerable, so it would seem to me we need more criteria to discern what the most important philosophical question is.


I am not sure we should keep individualistic. It seems make the answer worthless. I would say part of the criteria must be that in understanding the answer the individual that understands will have gained knowledge. This would seem to remove the individualistic criteria.



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 10:33 AM
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I think it's impossible to get anywhere without the question of "how do I act" being the most important philosphical question regarding the survival of the thinker in this situation. It sets up your entire life and death. Including how much time you have to think and to act. In some cases like jail you get one and not the other.

If the thinker is living in nature, the one described by Roseau not the one in Leviathan, then this is less important. Your actions are based on the philosophy of survival. That question is how do I best survive, and morality and ethics lose importance.

If you live in a society, which gives you freedom to think, you have an obligation to make "how do I act" a foundation and all important principle as part of the social contract.

Moral philosphical is present in the social contract. The way people inter-act is important for the outcome of social order.
edit on 20-11-2016 by luthier because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 10:54 AM
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a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb

Ah, it is good to see someone that understands the complex nature of my original question. I think only a few in this thread have truly understood it as you have.

Absolutely, if the question is individualistic, the answer is relative. It seems you tend towards believing philosophy is intended to deal primarily with objective questions, and not relative questions. So now we must decide which is more important in philosophy, the relative or objective questions.

Page presented earlier a good case for the individualistic criteria.


originally posted by: PageLC14

But, I'd have to say that the importance of philosophy must first be examined on an individualistic level before anything else. We are the individual pieces of the bigger puzzle of mankind. How can we begin to understand the true nature of realty in its entirety if we can not even grasp a seemingly small part of it such as ourselves? Now, because it's different for each person, others may be able to see the importance of philosophy for mankind before themselves. Unfortunately, no puzzle can be whole if even it's missing one piece. So, ultimately, it boils down to the individual pieces.



This explanation from Page is why I have included individualistic as a criteria. I was sufficiently convinced.

If we go the individualistic route, it is very possible that different people will have different "most important" philosophical questions. This is where I begin to consider the importance of the often overlooked Feminist philosophy. Perhaps the most important questions could be different for men and women.
edit on 20-11-2016 by Wang Tang because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 11:26 AM
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originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb

You know I think I just realized that before your question can be answered we need to discuss the meta-information at hand. When you say it is individualistic it seems to me you mean that the answer to the question is relative, or am I off base there? If I am right, then it seems to mean your most important philosophical question will, due to its criteria, have an opinionated answer and maybe that is what you meant by most truth questions would not qualify, but then I would ask what good is the answer to the question if by learning the answer we do not acquire anymore knowledge than we had before.



I assume you are defining knowledge as a true, justified, belief? In which case I understand why defining truth would be of paramount importance. But my question regarding knowledge is: is attainment of knowledge the most important function of philosophy?




You know I made this very same mistake with your question and didn't realize it until your post. Both the question, "what is truth" and "what is the most important philosophical question", can be understood in two ways? The most obvious way is to answer with a question that you think would be classified as the most important philosophical question, but we could also read it as what is the essence of the most important philosophical question? The two readings would have vastly different answers. Now you said my question was broad, but when I typed it I felt it was very specific as I was asking what is the nature of truth? What is the set of attributes that make truth fundamentally what it is? So maybe you took it as what are some examples of truth rather than asking about the essence of truth. Maybe I am wrong if so enlighten me por favor.



I see what you're saying. So in order to effectively answer the question of the most important question, you would have to understand the essence of the most important question. So it is with truth. Giving examples of truth does not explain the essence of truth. So yes, the question of truth is specific in a sense. But it is broad in the sense that it is a question of objective reality and not subjective reality, as individualistic questions would be. And back we go to the debate on whether individualistic should be criteria for the most important philosophical question.



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 12:53 PM
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a reply to: Wang Tang




Absolutely, if the question is individualistic, the answer is relative. It seems you tend towards believing philosophy is intended to deal primarily with objective questions, and not relative questions. So now we must decide which is more important in philosophy, the relative or objective questions.


Well I don't necessarily tends toward believing philosophy as a whole deals with primarily objective questions, I simply think the nature of some questions is that their answer is objective and vice versa. A simple example, "What is two plus two?". The answer to this is obviously objective. "What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?" This answer is obviously relative as it relates to the individual. I think it is the question that decides whether or not we are dealing in objectivity or relativity. I suppose one could argue that "importance" is not an objective matter therefore the answer to your original question would likely be subjective, but then my question is what knowledge do we gain from our answering our question?




Unfortunately, no puzzle can be whole if even it's missing one piece. So, ultimately, it boils down to the individual pieces.


If every piece of information that you go off of is completely relative, and no knowledge is gained, then how does putting the puzzle together help you understand human nature anymore than when you began. All it really does it help you clarify what each individual's opinion is. It tells you nothing about the validity of that opinion, so it seems like you would spend a lot of time putting together a puzzle that yielded no picture.




I assume you are defining knowledge as a true, justified, belief? In which case I understand why defining truth would be of paramount importance. But my question regarding knowledge is: is attainment of knowledge the most important function of philosophy?


Basically. I would add in the no defeaters condition to get past the Gettier problem with a justified true belief, which I will just call a justified true belief from here on out. Well I think knowledge in the sense of a justified true belief is ultimately the only thing you can pursue with philosophy that you don't already know. Opinions are simply a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Anyone can do this on command. I could say it is my opinion that the universe had a beginning, but just knowing that is what I believe doesn't help me. I must also know if that belief constitutes knowledge for it to have any meaning in reality.




I see what you're saying. So in order to effectively answer the question of the most important question, you would have to understand the essence of the most important question. So it is with truth. Giving examples of truth does not explain the essence of truth.


Precisely!




So yes, the question of truth is specific in a sense. But it is broad in the sense that it is a question of objective reality and not subjective reality, as individualistic questions would be. And back we go to the debate on whether individualistic should be criteria for the most important philosophical question.


I suppose I am confused because a relativistic answer seems to me to be synonymous with opinion. What individualistic question could you possibly ask that I couldn't just state my personal opinion on and have the answer as the very answer is based on my beliefs not an objective truth outside of that belief?
edit on 20-11-2016 by ServantOfTheLamb because: typo

edit on 20-11-2016 by ServantOfTheLamb because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 01:13 PM
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a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb

Kant has a lot of work here in epistemology

According to Kant, it is vital always to distinguish between the distinct realms of phenomena and noumena. Phenomena are the appearances, which constitute the our experience; noumena are the (presumed) things themselves, which constitute reality.


A priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience, as with mathematics (3 000 + 2 000 = 5 000), tautologies ("All bachelors are unmarried"), and deduction from pure reason (e.g., ontological proofs).

A posteriori knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence, as with most aspects of science and personal knowledge.

I still argue with anyone that the single most important philosphical question in society based reality is "how do I act". Like how do I make decisions and why.



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