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The Day Philosophy Would End (And Why It's Unlikely)

Updated: Feb 22

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The Root of All Philosophizing

It is likely that you are aware that the purpose of philosophizing is to become more knowledgeable and to reduce ignorance as much as possible. However, the source of philosophizing, the one that leads people to study philosophy and become philosophers, is the admission that one is ignorant. Or, has Socrates' put it, that we "know nothing".

Without ignorance, there would be no need for philosophizing. Philosophizing is there to fill a void inside us. A void we want gone. Therefore, anyone who either follows or generates philosophical content must be ignorant to an extent. The "pain" behind truth-seeking is the fact that you and I lack said truths. A philosophy article is an attempt at research, not necessarily a demonstration of knowledge, when all supposed "knowledge" can be proven wrong. Therefore, ignorance is the basis of all philosophy.

The process of philosophizing and search engines have a similar role. That role is to rid one of ignorance by finding knowledge—insights, evidence, wisdom, and so on—through either consumption of content, or through active thinking. It may often cause the intellectual to wonder why even bother to socialize for knowledge when he or she can research and use search engines, but I digress.

Falsehood and Mistakes: Obstacle and Opportunity for Philosophy's Growth

The notion of falsehood can either serve as a gap or as a "jumping pad" in the process of attaining truth. It all depends on whether or not one sees it, delusionally, as the truth itself, or as an honest mistake one has made. The assumption that there's subtext where there is not, for example, is a "good way" to conjure such delusions.

Therefore, falsehoods or fallacies should not be seen as terrible things when philosophizing; Things that deserve to be spotted, understood why they are such, and learned from, in order to improve and become more logical beings. That's because one can learn from them that they are wrong, and thus resume one's contemplations under that realization.

In fact, the concept of being proven wrong should welcomed when philosophers make mistakes. Because once these mistakes have been spotted, they can be avoided over the course of time, thus improving the overall industry of philosophy itself. Understand: Philosophy has been improving for thousands of years. Philosophers of old are always relevant because their work serve as a stepping stone for the further evolution of philosophical thought. The sign for this intellectual industry to end is non-existent, and for good reason.

As such contemporary concept of "fake news" should not be seen as something bad or dysfunctional as long as they are likely to be recognized as mistakes. Then they can be avoided by those who are well aware of it. We commit so many mistakes, that by doing so we nurture the untapped potential to learn from these mistakes to improve our thinking. It's untapped when we refuse to learn from them, by refusing to see them as opportunities for intellectual growth.

Articles, videos, and other sources of information should not be treated as absolutely correct. Humans are prone to make mistakes, regardless of how knowledgeable they may appear. For philosophy to truly end we must learn from as many of our cognitive and informative mistakes as possible.

Even news reporters, thinking they are very credible sources, can make mistakes. That's even though they are supposed to be the agents of truth (unless they are simply spreading propaganda). Philosophy triumphs journalism because philosophers care less for monetary gain.

Thales, so the story goes, because of his poverty was taunted with the uselessness of philosophy; but from his knowledge of astronomy he had observed while it was still winter that there was going to be a large crop of olives, so he raised a small sum of money and paid round deposits for the whole of the olive-presses in Miletus and Chios, which he hired at a low rent as nobody was running him up; and when the season arrived, there was a sudden demand for a number of presses at the same time, and by letting them out on what terms he liked he realized a large sum of money, so proving that it is easy for philosophers to be rich if they choose, but this is not what they care about.

Once mistakes are spotted and avoided, one can come closer to the truth. However, the truth is not infinite, as existence itself is finite. In other words, it is always prone to questioning, and rightfully so. He or she who fail to question the validity of their own beliefs are quick to fall into delusion.

And to commit to skepticism is a very mentally-draining task to do. To quote contemporary astrophysicist Adam Frank:

The most important thing to understand is that being a skeptic is, first and foremost, a responsibility. It requires something from you—specifically, time … and lots of it. True skeptics are committed to educating themselves on the subjects they’ve decided to become skeptical about.

Philosophy in the Information Age

We're in a time in human history when many truths can become known, through the mere access of a few taps on a keyboard or a smartphone. In such a period, when everything can be easily found, discovered, and understood, there is less and less popular demand for philosophy. How come? Because studying philosophy is far more difficult than quickly finding a piece of info online. And yet, the study of philosophy proves to us how ignorant we truly are, even in this digital age of information.

And in the age of the so-called "AI Revolution", those who would prefer to undermine the worth of humans, would instead refer themselves to AI philosophers instead. Now, more than ever, we philosophers are in urgent need to prove our worth to this world, or else we would be discarded in obscurity in favor of lazier pursuits of knowledge.

These pursuits of knowledge, more preferable by the lazy (which can send them to an early grave, at least physically) include:

Certainly, many things can be learned online today. Like myself, people can become auto-didacts by rigorous study of online material. This, at least for me, somewhat diminishes the need for formal education (unless it is necessary for getting a job), and further topples down pre-digital elitism.

However, the very fact that you are reading this indicates that there are still things to be discovered and understood. Otherwise, I would've stopped being an auto-didact, stopped learning, and thus, stopped writing and building a body of knowledge from guest writers. This is why I am still a philosopher (and why many others are as well).

In Newman's words from "Sienfeld", applicable to philosophy as well:

“Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there's never a let-up. It's relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in...."

In other words, even in this age of rapid and abundant information, there is still much to be learned. And the fact that philosophy is discarded as a competent research tool is horrible and a "good way" to nurture and normalize deception of information by unquestioned ulterior motives, along with a lack of understanding of logical fallacies that can be used against us.

We must question everything or we would be decieved by our own faulty reasoning and lack of proper understanding of data, which can be improved through philosophizing. The point of deep thinking, in the first place, is to be able to solve problems.

And our world is filled with problems. When we refuse to improve our understanding and memory, and consider them competent enough, it is us who become the problem with our vain, delusional confidence in thinking that can and deserves to be improved. And if we don't want to be manipulated, improvement of our cognitive skills is imperative.

The fact that many of us fail to process information competently is deserving of shame, especially in this age of information. Without philosophy we can easily fail questioning the quality of our own thinking.

The Eternal Pursuit -- Running Our Intellectual Fate

This article's findings raises an important question: Will philosophizing be an eternal pursuit? In other words, will we always be ignorant to some degree, no matter how much knowledge and insight we gain throughout our lives? If we will always remain ignorant to some degree, then philosophy itself would be quite Sisyphean.

After all, why should one strive for a goal that cannot be achieved?

Hehehehe... Of course philosophy is Sisyphean by nature. What did you think? To quote Seneca:

“Philosophy isn’t a parlor trick or made for show. It’s not concerned with words, but with facts. It’s not employed for some pleasure before the day is spent, or to relieve the uneasiness of our leisure. It shapes and builds up the soul, it gives order to life, guides action, shows what should and shouldn’t be done—it sits at the rudder steering our course as we vacillate in uncertainties. Without it, no one can live without fear or free from care. Countless things happen every hour that require advice, and such advice is to be sought out in philosophy.”

Philosophy will "die" when all logical truths in existence are to be made known. Then, it would mean that there could be a time in the future when there is no need to become a philosopher. Not create philosophical content, but to consume it.

And the fact that many questions are being left unanswered, such as the classical "Meaning of Life", does not mean philosophical inquisition is worthless. Otherwise, I would not bother covering up so many contemporary concepts, from video games to artificial intelligence. Both are Philosocom subcategories.

Whatever may be the case, the conclusion from all of this is that the time to philosophize is yet to be limited nor is futile just yet. Once there is no need to inquire for yet-to-be discovered insights, as everything would already be discovered, that will be the day where philosophy will die out. In the real world, independent thought is very much necessary to find new realizations.

And intellectual autonomy begins when we realize public opinion is not a credible source and as such needs to be questioned under the realization of Plato's Cave allegory.

Humanity... might not survive long enough to make all knowledge possible to know with no further inquiry. Otherwise, we'd be capable of omniscience. But we aren't capable of it. As such, the internet is infinite, which means it's archive of knowledge can grow indefinately.

The internet does not have a 'memory' but relies on the storage and supply of data from and by all sites connected to it. The sites joining it daily increase the storage capacity and this is also complemented by existing sites who add further storage capacity, so the state of 'being full' could never really happen unless some authority decided upon a limit.

Obviously, the internet contains many falsehoods and mistakes as well, but it doesn't mean that one cannot become significantly wiser and more knowledgeable, if they just use it the "right" way. The right way of having the initial knowledge to detect fake news and find sources which provide truth. Logical, empirical or both.

Unless the internet is to somehow be banned in the whole world, it is possible that no other source of information would ever be able to surpass it. I at least hope to keep contributing to it myself. And I mainly talk about the internet in this segment because it's libraries that must transform or remain in obscurity.

And remember, for the intellectual fate of our ever-increasing digital world: You cannot outsource a truly competent philosopher. The competent philosopher's influence is unmatched. Otherwise, Socrates would've been just a simple stonemason who claims to know nothing. Not a wisdom titan.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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