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Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Philosophy is the love of knowledge, which makes it a good starting point for critical thinking.  Unless we have a useful frame of reference, all else is folly.

Of course I can't explore all of philosophy in a few paragraphs but I can cover the important points.

The first question of philosophy is:


And of course the most useful answer is:


With that out of the way, the next question is, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"

In other words, do WE create reality though observation (or some other interaction)?  I'll answer this one quickly as well: if so, it doesn't matter.  And with the inverse where we're in The Matrix, it's the same irrelivance.

I DO believe the concept of Plato's Cave is useful.  Our observations ARE generally made in a subjective reality distortion field.  We have to struggle to find the objective, which gets me to the point of this blog post:

Our challenge is in finding useful generalizations.

Useful Generalizations

It was Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, "No generalization is worth a damn... including this one."  And it's true that the mind is an easy thing to twist, especially when insulated from reality with layers of language and logic.  But I believe Oliver's admonition was not futile, but was to get us to think about the QUALITY of our generalizations, and try to make sure they are useful, if not absolute.

My approach to philosophy is the scientific method, we make repeated observations then generalize about the next outcome without resorting to any ultimate or absolute conclusion.  In other words, do the best with what we have and stay flexible.

Mine is a very practical philosophy - if I can find useful models, I'll use them until they are no longer useful.

And then I'll seek a new model.

And along the way, I'll keep an opened mind.